Openness With Others

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Openness with Others | Being open with others is something that requires great courage. Hopefully, by this point, we can begin to put the pieces of connection together and see how they interplay | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #Body #Mind #Spirit #RespectingtheBoundariesofOthers #Bound #RespectingBound #BoundariesofOthers #OpennesswithOthersOpenness with Others

Being open with others is something that requires great courage. Hopefully, by this point, we can begin to put the pieces of connection together and see how they interplay. We have looked at how having a foundation of being known deeply and treasured dearly by God gives us the highest authority upon which to base our identity. Also, we have discussed viewing other people as precious to the Lord and not basing our contentment on their thoughts or actions. It is from this vantage point we can engage with others, knowing their response to us does not make or break us, no matter how truly painful it might be. Another’s actions toward us do not affect our value in any way, because we have inherent worth as children of God.

Being able to be vulnerable with another is far easier when we have grown, and continue to grow, in connection to God and ourselves. It’s also important to remember that trust is a process. The same way we grow in trust with the Lord and with ourselves, we also grow in our ability to navigate a relationship with another person. This is not accomplished at one time, but is a process that takes time. As discussed, we will generally begin a relationship by sharing something good about ourselves. If we are compassionately received, we may venture into sharing one of our less glorious moments. Perhaps we even come to share an area of hurt, struggle, or shame. This is the process of growing in relationship. Interestingly, scripture actually tells us not to trust others (Micah 7:5-6). If we are looking for another person not to fail us, we will be disappointed, because every person is as human as we are. Only God will not break our trust. Instead, we should look for noble intentions and efforts at consistent good will from other people, and understand that there may be times when they fail us out of their own human frailty.

What are the signs that another person wills us good? Does the other person truly know us, or make efforts to do so? Do they treat us in a way that shows us they value us for who we are or do we feel used as a means for them to get their desired goal? Do they respect our physical, emotional, and spiritual boundaries or do they send the message we are not allowed to have limits? If we see red flags in any of these outer layers of connection, we may want to tread the waters of vulnerability very carefully and not have high expectations for healthy connection with them at this time. It may be risky to share sensitive information with them in hopes of being known. Remember when others aren’t able to be present to truly hear and see us, recognize our value as children of God, or respect the boundaries we have put in place, often it is not personal. Rather, it is a reflection of what they’re capable of at the time.

Finally, in all peer relationships, there ought to be reciprocity – give and take. It doesn’t mean we keep score, and certainly some days are better than others. Patience and understanding with others is essential. We don’t want to engage with others with a constant scrutiny of every interaction, the same way we would fail if we were judged so harshly. Given the ebb and flow of life and circumstances, these factors of connection can be guidelines to help us avoid drama and hurt in relationships. With practice we will grow in greater peace and fulfillment from the Lord’s indwelling presence, and that which we receive will flow from us out to others.

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

The Passion of Jesus Christ

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

The Passion of Jesus Christ | In this 20th episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, reflects on how the life of the Church revolves around the Eucharistic sacrifice of our Blessed Lord's Passion and death and how the sacraments are powers that come forth from the risen body of Jesus and are always life-giving | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #Episode20 #ThePassionofJesusChrist #ThePassion #JesusChrist Episode 20 – The Passion of Jesus Christ

In this 20th episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, reflects on how the life of the Church revolves around the Eucharistic sacrifice of our Blessed Lord’s Passion and death and how the sacraments are powers that come forth from the risen body of Jesus and are always life-giving.

James recounts how The Passion commenced shortly after The Last Supper when Jesus made his wedding vows in a deeply personal act, “This is my body which is given for you.” He details how our Lord, in his immense suffering, was not only burdened by the horrors of His impending Passion and crucifixion, but also by a profound sense of abandonment and sorrow over humanity’s sinfulness, offering a comforting understanding of our own struggles.

James further explains how we are subject to trials throughout our lives. Amidst our trials, however, and even while heaven’s assistance seems far off, we should look to Getsemene. The heavenly Father, who knows all and eternity, knows what is best for us. “Not my will, but yours be done.”

James also relays how the Apostles suffered during The Passion. However, their responses demonstrate human frailty, as Jesus said to Peter, “The spirit Is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Only by relying on Jesus, not ourselves, can we conquer our will and receive transforming graces. However, despite the Apostle’s desertion during The Passion, Jesus’ love and forgiveness continue to follow and unite the Apostles, leading them to a deeper understanding and gladly pick up their crosses to do the Father’s will.

This is the 20th Episode in the (20 Episode Series) of Understanding Catholicism.

 Jimmy Seghers was born in New Orleans. Jimmy has devoted much of his life to the pursuit of learning, teaching, and mentorship. Jimmy has taught Sacred Scripture and Apologetics (that is, the defense of the Catholic faith). Jimmy frequently gives retreats, parish missions, and talks on biblical subjects. He is seen on FOCUS with Lisa Flood discussing biblical and religious topics. His classes are approved by the Archdiocese of New Orleans for certification credits for religion teachers. Each week, Jim is heard on the Radio Maria network. He can also be heard each morning on Catholic Community Radio as he gives the daily Gospel reflection. His essays have been published in This Rock, the Clarion-Herald, and he contributed to a catechetical series published by Ave Maria University Press. His most recent book is The Fullness of Truth: A Handbook for Understanding and Explaining the Catholic Faith Biblically.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at www.magnificat-ministry.org.

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit    https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!

Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

God Is With You

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

God Is With You | I'm a note-taker, even at church. Sometimes, after prayer, I look through my notes to see if something resonates in my heart. This struck me as I read the words: "God is with you..." Take a few moments to consider this. How does it make you feel? | #podcast #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #newdayinChrist #Christ #AgonyandVictory #HeisRisen #ConsumedByJoy #ResurrectionPeople #Episode302 #GodIsWithYouAt church, you often hear that God is with you, but do you really believe that is true? How would you lead your life if you thought about the Lord walking beside you daily? And, should you think of the Almighty in such a personal way? In this podcast, Felice Gerwitz explores these thoughts.

God IS With You ~ Episode 302

I’m a note-taker, even at church. Sometimes, after prayer, I look through my notes to see if something resonates in my heart. This struck me as I read the words: “God is with you…” Take a few moments to consider this. How does it make you feel?

More importantly, do you believe it? Do you truly believe that God is with You?

Matthew 28:16-20 – The Great Commission (Read on air)

From the mouth of Jesus, friends! “…Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Now do you believe? If you are a Bible believer your answer should be a resounding, “Heck, Yeah!” If you are not a Bible believer, I can understand your hesitancy. How can you become a believer? Renounce sin, follow Christ, and at your first opportunity, receive Baptism in the Name of the Father, the Name of the Son, and the Name of the Holy Spirit.

Receiving Christ into your hearts should bring you peace. And, considering God the Son being with you should bring you hope and happiness. What a wonderful thing to consider.

God Is With You And Gives You Hope

We have such hope in our faith, don’t we? We may be challenged to lead better lives and to choose better options in our prayer and spiritual lives, but truly, there is hope. There is always hope when we lean upon the Lord, and realize that He is here in our midst.  And we are assured that Jesus cares about us and our needs in a personal way. We have verse after verse in the Bible about how Jesus spoke to the common people, he lived a humble life. He could have come as a prince of men, but instead, He came as the Prince of Peace, the Prince of the heavenly realm.

Jesus walked among men, and through His example, we see how to live. As we reflect on these thoughts, how do you feel God is calling you today? He does call us each day to a deeper walk, but many times we are so busy we ignore this call. We know the call is there (search your hearts) but we often say in our minds, later. I will get to it later.

Later may never come! Do it today. Do it now! Recommit your life to Christ, thank Him for being with you, ask Him into your heart. Ask Him to give you the strength, the grace, and the joy that comes from doing what you should do all the time. If we strive for the best and we fall short that is better than striving to do the minimum and falling short of our goal. No one said following Christ is easy, but it truly is rewarding.

Do you need hope? Do you need strength? Do you need God’s grace? Ask.

When we struggle, we often forget to pray. We are so bogged down with the problem at hand that our minds race to come up with solutions, or for some, to ignore the problem and carry on, or worse, shut down. We must persevere and consider that God’s word is truth. When Jesus rose into heaven He did not leave us orphans, He sent the Holy Spirit to infill the disciples to empower and strengthen them to face death.

John 14:1-2 (Read on air)

14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe[a] in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

Then read John 14:15-25, I will read you a portion of it…

Then in verses 25-28

Jesus taught the disciples, these simple men, that the first thing they must do is believe, not let their hearts be troubled, and be fearless because God is in control. This tells us also the same thing. God is here; He is in our midst, and we should not fear. Amen, and Amen!

Blessed Assurance

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

There are few things in life we have assurance in but with the Lord, we have the blessed assurance that He is there for us. In this episode, we look at the ways that we know, that we know, that we know that God is in charge and there for us.Blessed Assurance – Episode 178

There are few things in life we have assurance in but with the Lord, we have the blessed assurance that He is there for us. In this episode, we look at the ways that we know, that we know, that we know that God is in charge and there for us.

I’d love for you to visit my website MediaAngels.com and to look at some of my books, for example, a book that will help kids with faith: Print version or download: A Few Minutes with God plus study guide

Great for summer reading: The Truth Seekers Mystery Series – Entire Set and Study Guides

And, my book that tells how one big mistake translates into three more blessings — One More Child: Book

Unknowns

So many things in life are unknown. In fact, each day is like an adventure we never know what to expect or what we will find. Even if we have everything planned and scheduled the unexpected can throw us off. In fact, this happens to me all of the time. What about your life? Is it predictable? Or, like many do you have unexpected surprises (not the good kind) that take away your peace and sometimes even your joy. My daughter reminded me recently that in my quest for making sure that things go according to plans (mine not necessarily God’s) I tend to rush things. Recently something was not turning out the way I had hoped and she reminded me that it was God’s will and not mine that needed to take a front and center role. And, she is right.

What is the ultimate goal in our lives? The eternal and the salvation of our souls. Not what goes the way we hoped or planned and definitely not what we think should happen rather than what does actually happen. Sure, we can still plan and we can still hope. Hopefully, we are praying with a focus on what is truly important

There is blessed assurance in:

  1. Eternal life for those who follow the Lord. John 10:28 states – I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
  2. God’s enduring love – Psalm 107:1 – Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever…
  3. Unfailing love – Psalm 36:7 – How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.
  4. Faith without sight. We know that we know that we know that God is there for us: 1 Peter 1:8-9 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
  5. God is always with us. Zephaniah 3:17 – The Lord your God is with you, he is might to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

Read these scriptures and study them.

Write then in a prayer journal. Look them up and the verses that surround them and tell me how you feel after you read them after you allow the words to permeate your heart, and after you rest in the assurance, the blessed assurance that you are not allowed. By opening yourself up to the love of God you will realize that any pain we have or disappointments are already known by the Lord.

When we have hardship and disappointments we typically learn from these experiences.

It is after the fact that we realize the growth and the lessons learned. Of course in the midst of the struggles we won’t see this nor will we look at the situation with fondness. None of us want to struggle and hurt. But just as we grow we see that there is no way we would learn what we now know without this effort. This love of God and his provision and this assurance allows us to expand our horizons and to understand that with the Lord we can come as we are.

There are no illusions or false faces we put on because God knows us better than we know ourselves.

We can live our lives trying to do the best that we can but the assurance we have is the safety net that is God’s love for us and His providence. We can place our trust in His capable hands, recognizing that He has plans for us. These plans will unfold if we simply seek His guidance. As Christians, we invite Him into our hearts, yet we often forget to invite Him into our daily lives.

The ultimate goal?

Heaven and we can be assured, John 14:6 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” What a blessed assurance our salvation is to us as we traverse this obstacle course of the life in which we live avoiding the traps, going around the hardships, and learning from our mistakes.

Let Us Pray –

I praise you and thank you my God for you are good and gracious. Lord, I trust in you and realize that all that I have and am is known by you… I can rest, rest assured that you are there for me and that in my times of need you are holding me up, even if I do not feel it. Thank you, Lord, for loving me unconditionally. Thank you for loving those I care for and I ask a special blessing for the following… dear Lord please hear my petitions and even those I did not mention, and I pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Allow God

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Allow God | Allow God in, allow God to use you, and let God's love penetrate your heart. I'm sure you've heard all of these things and lots more if you've been a Christian for any time, but how do you allow God? Truly? In this podcast, Felice Gerwitz discusses her struggles and victories | #podcast #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #newdayinChrist #Christ #AgonyandVictory #HeisRisen #ConsumedByJoy #ResurrectionPeople #Episode301 #AllowGodAllow God ~ Episode 301

Allow God in, allow God to use you, and let God’s love penetrate your heart. I’m sure you’ve heard all of these things and lots more if you’ve been a Christian for any time, but how do you allow God? Truly? In this podcast, Felice Gerwitz discusses her struggles and victories.

Consider this: the Creator of the universe, the Almighty God, has given us the incredible gift of free will. He allows us to choose, to say yes or no. He even allows us to take the driver’s seat in our lives. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself, how’s that working out for you? Reflect on the times when you’ve chosen your own path instead of surrendering to God’s will.

How did that work out for you? I can tell you it didn’t work out well for me!

You may have seen pictures of allowing Jesus to be a driver in our car, the car symbolizing our lives. We are the passengers, and we allow Him to take the wheel. Whenever we get ahead of the Lord’s plans for our lives, things begin to fall apart, even if they are well-meaning. Then, we need to stop, re-evaluate, and make another plan.

Take a sheet of paper or your prayer journal and write the words “Allow God” as your heading. Once you’ve done that, begin with prayer and ask the Lord how you need to allow Him into your life more deeply. Take some time for this activity; I promise it will change your life.

When we allow God in, it may be painful at first. We may need to purge some of the baggage we’ve carried around with us, some of us for years. We may need to forgive those who have hurt us, and we may need to shed a few tears.

Your experience may be different. You may find yourself set free, feel a weight lifted off your shoulders, and, for the first time, genuinely focus on what it means to let the Lord into your life.

One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:11 (Read on air).

Surrendering to God allows that joy to seep in, enabling us to have a deeper faith and hope in the providence of Almighty God. I find that when I surrender, I have greater peace and am less stressed about things because I am confident that the Lord hears me, even if his answer is no or not yet.

In 1 Corinthians 10:13, we read (Read on air).

As my husband reminds me when we are tested or going through trials, the Lord shows up in a mighty way and gives us the grace to handle it – this grace is His love.

James 4:7-10 (Read on air.)

Think about that: when we draw closer to God, He will draw near to us! Praise you, Jesus, come, Lord Jesus, come!

One of the surprising joys of allowing God is how He can use me in His work. At times when I was home (and I shared this with you before on this podcast), I felt like I wanted to be the one out there sharing the good news. Instead, I was home, caring for the kids, washing the millionth load of laundry, and vacuuming the floors. Invariably, something would happen: the pest control guy would show up, or something would break. The Lord allowed me to share my love for Him in those times.

I try to remember this when things break or I am interrupted. When we say, “Your will, Lord, not mine,” amazing things happen!

Are you ready to let go and let God into your life? Are you ready? Then say it with me, “Yes, Lord, Yes!”

Testimony of Fr. Gary Copping

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Fr. Gary Copping | Fr. Gary was born and raised in New Orleans, in a family of four boys. Fr. Gary knew from an early age he wanted to become a priest and began researching different orders in middle school | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #TestimonyofFr.GrayCopping #Fr.GrayCopping #Fr.GrayTestimony of Fr. Gary Copping

Fr. Gary was born and raised in New Orleans, in a family of four boys. Fr. Gary knew from an early age he wanted to become a priest and began researching different orders in middle school. Fr Gary attended HC Schaumburg, St James Major Elementary, and Brother Martin HS.  He studied Biophysics for 3 years at the University of New Orleans and was a member of Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity.  After going on pilgrimage to Medjugorje in 1987, he left UNO to study at St Joseph Seminary College for the Archdiocese of New Orleans.  He received his BA in Liberal Arts and went on to study at Notre Dame Seminary.

After two years at NDS, he left the seminary in 1993.  In 1996, he married his wife, Judy, and they were married for 13 yrs.  Judy died in 2009 and Gary reapplied to the seminary.  He was re-accepted and studied for another three years, receiving his MDiv degree in 2013, and was ordained to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ on June 1, 2013.  He has served as Parochial Vicar at St Anselm in Madisonville, St Margaret Mary in Slidell, and he is now the Pastor of St Joseph Church & Shrine in Gretna and St Anthony Church in Gretna since July 2017.  He is active in two KC Councils, he is  the Chaplain for a Domestic Church Group, and for both David Crockett Fire Department and Gretna Police Department.

This testimony was given to the Marerro, LA Chapter in March 2021.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at: www.magnificat-ministry.org

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit :

https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!

Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

The Mass Part II

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

The Mass Part II | In this episode (Part two of two episodes) of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, discusses The Mass | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #Episode17 #TheMass #TheSacramentoftheMass #TheSacramentoftheMassPartII #Part2 #TheSacramentoftheMassPart2Episode 17 – The Mass Part II

In this episode (Part two of two episodes) of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, discusses The Mass.

The Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, when viewed as a whole, evokes a profound sense of reverence and awe. The liturgy of the word, in its preparation, guides us to enter into Jesus’ offering of himself to the Father. The priest at the altar, functioning in the person of Christ, the head, reminds us of the eternal high priest who operates in and through the human priest. During the offertory, as we make the gift of ourselves, we understand that our heavenly Father joyfully accepts the gift of broken men and women, further deepening our sense of reverence and awe.

As the priest holds up the Host, it is a moment for each parishioner to offer themselves, to personally connect with Jesus through the heavenly Father. Jesus, in his incarnation, opened the door for us to become partakers of the Divine nature and God’s adopted children.  James explains the role faith plays in the mass and the deeper meaning behind the communion preparation and their mystical natures—mixing water with the wine, the priest washing his hands, the acknowledgment of parishioners offering themselves, the four eucharistic prayers approved by the Vatican, the words of consecration, and the miracle of transubstantiation. This personal connection and transformation is what makes the Mass a truly unique, divine, and engaging experience.

James also discusses the Divine offering of Christ—why it was necessary and eternal, how Jesus acts as an intercessor, and how the Mass is the offering and sacrifice of Christ and parishioners to the Father.

This is the 17th Episode in the (20 Episode Series) of Understanding Catholicism.

Jimmy Seghers was born in New Orleans. Jimmy has devoted much of his life to the pursuit of learning, teaching, and mentorship. Jimmy has taught Sacred Scripture and Apologetics (that is, the defense of the Catholic faith). Jimmy frequently gives retreats, parish missions, and talks on biblical subjects. He is seen on FOCUS with Lisa Flood discussing biblical and religious topics. His classes are approved by the Archdiocese of New Orleans for certification credits for religion teachers. Each week, Jim is heard on the Radio Maria network. He can also be heard each morning on Catholic Community Radio as he gives the daily Gospel reflection. His essays have been published in This Rock, the Clarion-Herald, and he contributed to a catechetical series published by Ave Maria University Press. His most recent book is The Fullness of Truth: A Handbook for Understanding and Explaining the Catholic Faith Biblically.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at www.magnificat-ministry.org.

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit    https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!

Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

Testimony of Angela Rizzo

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Angela Rizzo | Angela Rizzo’s journey began in the Bronx, NY where she lived until the age of 28.  Born into an Italian - American family she lost her mother to cancer when she was 12 1/2. | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #TestimonyofAngelaRizzo #AngelaRizzoTestimony of Angela Rizzo

Angela Rizzo’s journey began in the Bronx, NY where she lived until the age of 28.  Born into an Italian – American family she lost her mother to cancer when she was 12 1/2.  With a loving father, younger brother and lots of extended family Angela grew up feeling loved.  But in her teen years she began to suffer from anxiety, worry, fear of death and hypochondria.   She was newly married at the age of 22 but feeling sad and lost.  Then she was introduced to a charismatic prayer group at her local parish.  It was there that the Holy Spirit began the process of healing her heart and her mind.

The spirit of despair and hopelessness began to leave her as she entered into praise, worship and inner healing. She went through a divorce after 33 years of marriage, and had her faith tested many times along the way but God’s word from Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans not for your harm but for good…” always lifted her up. Angela founded the Immaculate Heart of Mary chapter of Magnificat in Rockville Centre Long Island 25 years ago and continues as Coordinator as well as serving as the Regional Rep for Region #7 to the northeast. She is a Personal Life Coach, Mother of two adult children and 5 beautiful grandchildren.

This testimony was given to the Morgantown, WV Chapter in March 2023.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at: www.magnificat-ministry.org

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit :

https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!

Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot

The Mass

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

The Mass Part I | In this episode (Part one of two episodes) of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, discusses The Mass | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #Episode16 #TheMass #TheSacramentoftheMassEpisode 16 – The Mass Part I

In this episode (Part one of two episodes) of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, discusses The Mass.

James tells us that the Mass is not about fellowship, although that is a remarkable aspect. The Mass is also not about beautiful music, although that is desirable. The Mass is about surrendering oneself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ—who created us out of love and for love. The Mass is a summary of Catholicism, incorporating the Old Testament’s longing for the savior, which brings us to the advent of the Son of God made Man. The Mass explores Jesus’ public ministry, Passion, death, and resurrection.

Parishioners are called to participate actively in the Mass, which is transformative. The Liturgy of the Word, the first part of the Mass, prepares us to enter into the marriage supper of the Lamb presently, now, and for eternity. James also explains how the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life and a storehouse of inexhaustible riches and proceeds to explain how the Mass is a three-fold sacrament—of Jesus’ real presence, his unique, singular sacrifice, and how it unites us to Jesus in the reception of Holy Communion. The Mass also invites us into the presence of Jesus’ death on the cross and His triumphant reign in Heaven.

James continues to explain the various aspects of the Mass, its richness, and how it has a tremendous impact on the Eucharist’s ability to transform our lives by entering in a personal encounter with Jesus.

This is the 16th Episode in the (20 Episode Series) of Understanding Catholicism.

Jimmy Seghers was born in New Orleans. Jimmy has devoted much of his life to the pursuit of learning, teaching, and mentorship. Jimmy has taught Sacred Scripture and Apologetics (that is, the defense of the Catholic faith). Jimmy frequently gives retreats, parish missions, and talks on biblical subjects. He is seen on FOCUS with Lisa Flood discussing biblical and religious topics. His classes are approved by the Archdiocese of New Orleans for certification credits for religion teachers. Each week, Jim is heard on the Radio Maria network. He can also be heard each morning on Catholic Community Radio as he gives the daily Gospel reflection. His essays have been published in This Rock, the Clarion-Herald, and he contributed to a catechetical series published by Ave Maria University Press. His most recent book is The Fullness of Truth: A Handbook for Understanding and Explaining the Catholic Faith Biblically.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at www.magnificat-ministry.org.

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit    https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

Thank you for being a part of our network of listeners; we appreciate you!

Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

Prayer To God

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

When was the last time you wrote your own prayer? What about a prayer to God? Have you ever done this? If not, today is the day. In this episode, Felice Gerwitz explains how she expressly keeps a small journal in her purse for this purpose.When was the last time you wrote your own prayer? What about a prayer to God? Have you ever done this? If not, today is the day. In this episode, Felice Gerwitz explains how she expressly keeps a small journal in her purse for this purpose.

Prayer To God – Episode 300

Have you ever tried to write a prayer? We have such a great example, The Lord’s Prayer that perhaps we think there is no way we can even come close. Well, praying is from the heart, and it can be something you pray about and think about or something that comes to mind quickly. Yet prayer is more than a list of petitions and needs it is also a time to thank and praise God.

So many times, we feel that our prayers are not answered, that God does not hear us, but what I’ve learned over the years is that God absolutely hears us and knows the needs of our heart before we even ask for it, but we still ask. If our prayers look like a list of what we’d like to see happen, even if it is well-meaning, we may need to tack on “your will, Lord, not mine.” That, my friends, is the hardest thing to do, to die to ourselves to die for what we want!

Here are some podcasts to help you with prayer:

Before Jesus gave us the Lord’s prayer what preceded was chastisement or a warning how not to pray! In a nutshell and in our terms it is:

  1. Don’t pray loudly before others (because our reward would be on earth, from those who consider us pious) rather than by our heavenly Father.
  2. Don’t brag about praying.
  3. Don’t brag about how much you tithe or give to charity
  4. Don’t be proud of yourself for how much you give to charity.
  5. If you pray or you give do it from the heart and not because of your reward in heaven.

Let’s read the Lord’s Prayer as the ultimate example of how to pray. Matthew 6:5-14 (Read on Air)

Later in Luke, we read a slight variation. In this case, the Lord had been praying, and his disciples asked him how to pray.

Luke: 11:1-4 (read on air)

In the example of how to pray, we see that first:

  1. We praise God’s name.
  2. We ask for God’s will to be done here and in heaven.
  3. We ask God for our needs – our daily bread.
  4. We ask for forgiveness of our sins.
  5. We ask for the Lord’s protection against the evil one
  6. We ask that the Lord forgive us as we forgive others.

Our prayer does not need to follow a formula or be in this exact order, but it is helpful to see how the Lord taught us to pray. If you feel awkward about this, don’t. I keep a small notebook in my purse for the times I am inspired to pray, usually it is while at church. Most of the time my prayers are for those that I pray for regularly, like family members. Currently, the prayers include dear friends who are struggling and ill. Whoever is on your list, by writing it down, helps us to remember and recall who we should pray for and their needs.


In celebration of the 300th episode of A Few Minutes with God, Media Angels is making the eBook, A Few Minutes with God, free until Saturday, 4/27/24  

A Few Minutes with God | #ChristianBook #faithGet your copy here.

Introduce your children to a deeper walk of faith, within the pages of a novel, A Few Minutes with God.

Restoring Relationships

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Restoring Relationships | Relationships matter, whether with someone you love, someone you like, or someone you don't like but need to get along with at work or school. Relationships are the very fabric of human culture, and our relationship with God is the main theme that runs through the Old and New Testaments | #podcast #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #newdayinChrist #Christ #AgonyandVictory #HeisRisen #Episode299 #RestoringRelationships #withJesusRelationships are built over time and yet can be destroyed in seconds. It all depends on the foundation. In this episode, Felice Gerwitz shares how our relationship with the Lord can endure and carry us through our most difficult times to victory, in Jesus!

Restoring Relationships ~ Episode 299

Relationships matter, whether with someone you love, someone you like, or someone you don’t like but need to get along with at work or school. Relationships are the very fabric of human culture, and our relationship with God is the main theme that runs through the Old and New Testaments. Our pastor likes to discuss relationships when he talks about scripture, and in fact, he has preached on the topic in sermon after sermon, pointing to the first sin (Adam and Eve and their disobedience in the garden (Genesis 3) and how sin is a break in their relationship. In regard to Adam and Eve their breach of relationship with the creator, God. The same with all of the human race afterward.

The cause of the brokenness led the people of God to rebel time after time after time. For the last two years, I’ve been studying the Bible, and I become weary, to say the least, when I have to listen to the whining of the Israelites in the desert or the distress of Moses when, once again, the people turn back to their false gods. Yet, it is a reminder to us all that restoring relationships between a nation of people, and God is symbolic of our relationship with the Almighty.

Yet, time and time again, after the rebellion, God still calls for us to return. In Isaiah 65:17-21 we read:

If you are familiar with the Bible, those verses are familiar to you; if not, spend some time with the Bible and look them up, study them, and apply them not only to the people for whom they were written at the time, yes– but it was written for us today. God is promising us a new Jerusalem, and He sent his son, Jesus, to us in order to live, teach, and sacrifice so that this could happen. We have a new life with Jesus; we have a new life for eternity.

We cling to this life, we all do. We know this world and even with all of its flaws and the trials we face daily, we don’t want to leave anytime soon. Yet, Jesus, in His entire work on earth, continued to call us to open His arms wide and to reclaim and restore the people. The New Jerusalem is Christ, He is the fulfillment of the Scriptures, and he is the fruit of our faith and hearlds the new heaven on earth. He proclaimed the Kingdom of God is at Hand! That saying stumped me because I was looking too deeply instead of seeing it for what it was, Jesus, the Kingdom fulfilled and at hand.

The proclamation of the Kingdom of God is the news that Jesus Christ, true man, and true God– Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy. Just as Jesus served the disciples by washing their feet and serving them bread and wine at the Last Supper, for us these signs point to a deeper truth. Jesus himself is the bread and wine, he asked of us to eat of the flesh and drink of the blood. For some the saying was too harsh.

Restoring Relationships True Food

Read all of John Chapter 6 but an excerpt is here, John 6:53-59

The teaching was too hard for many. Is it too hard for you and for me? The apostles were stumped, but not Peter. The same Peter who would later deny Jesus three times. John 6:66-68

How do we feel about these verses? Do we wish to go away like so many did? It always struck me that Jesus didn’t call them back, He didn’t say, “Wait! I was talking symbolically.” It was problematic for many at the time and for many today.

Do we truly believe that Jesus wants to restore us, to restore our relationship with Him? Perhaps your church celebrates the Last Supper symbolically by sharing bread and wine. My church celebrates the Last Supper in communion each time we attend Mass. We truly believe the words of Christ. Literally.

In communion, we are united with Jesus in a deeper way; we strive to live lives with God’s grace that are pleasing to Him. The King of kings and the Lord of lords. He is truly the Messiah. When we approach the altar, we bring Him our worries, our concerns, our problems, our failures, and our joys. We lay them there at the foot of the cross. Jesus died once and for all. We do this as he said, In remembrance of me.” With God, there is no time. He is with us always in the present. Mind-blowing, I know!

Take the idea of a relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to heart. Bring your concerns to Him, the Almighty, He is waiting to restore you and to bring you with Him into everlasting life at the end of your life. If you have time compose a prayer to the Lord, and pray it daily. Ask Him to bring you into a deeper relationship with Him and start today!

 

Consumed By Joy

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Consumed By Joy | We are Resurrection People! Consumed by joy! Shouldn't that be the theme of our lives, especially for those of us who are committed Christians? If you feel your life currently falls short, listen in as Felice Gerwitz explores ways to bring that joy back into your life | #podcast #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #newdayinChrist #Christ #AgonyandVictory #HeisRisen #ConsumedByJoy #ResurrectionPeople #Episode298We are Resurrection People! Consumed by joy! Shouldn’t that be the theme of our lives, especially for those of us who are committed Christians? If you feel your life currently falls short, listen in as Felice Gerwitz explores ways to bring that joy back into your life.

Consumed By Joy ~ Resurrection People Episode 298

As I share this podcast, we’ve completed our Lenten journey of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. This does not mean we should ever stop; it just means that during Lent, we seem to make a renewed effort to turn our hearts to God. It seems that when Easter Sunday finally comes, we are past ready to rejoice and sing Halleluiah! This is what we’ve been waiting for, and in a renewed way we see it in the lives of our family and extended family members when we gather to celebrate.

Easter is so much more than chocolate bunnies and overly commercialized merchandise. We are so blessed as Christians to see this and to bring this reality to our family celebrations. The focus is on the Resurrection, and as I prayed about this, I kept thinking the words, “Resurrection people—we are Resurrection people.” But, what does that mean? So, I prayed and I researched and I finally concluded it means different things to each one of us, depending on our journey toward the Lord.

Consumed By Grief – Now Consumed By Joy:

I read a quote from John Paul II that said, “We are a Resurrection people and Alleluia is our song!” In other words, we rejoice in what the Lord has done for us, and we celebrate this in our hearts and minds. If we allow it to, this is transformative. We are no longer in the proverbial “ashes and sackcloth”. We are in celebratory mode.

We are consumed by grief as we read the scripture verses about the crucifixion and the Marys at the foot of the cross. John 19: 25-26 (read on air)

We know from scripture study that the disciple is John. They watched in horror, and we are often in horror as we read those verses. Most of the time, if you are like me, you want to skip the verse and go straight to the resurrection, the empty tomb, but I often remind myself that without the crucifixion, there is no resurrection. In this, we can be overcome and depressed and even despair, but we know the end of the story. We know that our despair as Jesus was taken to the tomb was short-lived. When we are discouraged, when we have doubts, when we are depressed or in desperate situations, we rely on the Lord because, by the very fact that we are Baptized Christians, we no longer belong in despair but should be reminded to rejoice!

We should bring the Lord all of the situations in our lives, our pain and suffering, our impatience and irritation with others, and ourselves… when we look at those things in light of the death and resurrection, we can see that our worries and our cares are fleeting in the grand scheme of things. Sure, we can acknowledge our pain and our suffering, but we also must put that in perspective. The evil one wants us to wallow in pain, in guilt, in self-recrimination, but Jesus, to a sinner, says, come.

We were blessed to attend the Easter Vigil, that is the service, the Mass that begins on the evening before Easter. It begins in some churches after sundown at 8 or 8:30. This service is beautiful in that the readings are from the Old Testament, beginning in Genesis 1:1-2:2, verses from the Psalms are read in between, and then verses from the Old Testament. Most notably as follows:

  • Genesis 22:1-18
  • Exodus 14:15-15:1
  • Isaiah 54:5-14
  • Isaiah 55:1-11
  • Baruch 3:9-15, 32-4.4
  • Ezekiel 36:16-17, 18-28

New Testament:

  • Romans 6:3-11
  • Mark 16:1-7

Some services select four from the Old Testament and Mark from the New Testament. This is so that salvation history is read and the fulfillment of the words is joyously proclaimed. Mark 16:5-7

Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went looking for the Messiah, but instead, they became disciples—they were the bearers of good news to tell Peter and the others! What an extraordinary grace! They were previously consumed by sorrow, and now they were consumed by joy! God, the creator of the universe, showed us that nothing is too small or too insignificant for Him. He showed us by his extreme sacrifice that our sins would be redeemed and that our sorrow was no longer necessary.

We are resurrection people. Please take some time to think about this and what it means to you. Just like you, I have problems, difficulties, and sorrows. Sometimes, the burden seems too big to carry, and I despair. Yet I know that the Holy Spirit dwells within me by virtue of my Baptism, by virtue of my yes to the Lord, and sometimes, it is a yes that happens multiple times a day. When we consider the resurrection, our hearts should be consumed by joy; it should convert us, and if not, think and pray about this if you can.

We have so many stumbling blocks we put up on our own and in the Name of Jesus, we pray they are removed! Our desire and longing should be for the Lord, for relationship with Him and our prayer is: “Dear Lord, please fan the flames of your love for us, within us, let it rage like a bonfire and ignite our hearts with love for You as you have love for us.” Amen!

Agony and Victory

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Agony and Victory | Is there such a thing as agony and victory? Everyone has agonized over something in their lives, yet there is hope. Most of us on this side of heaven have struggled and had trials and tribulations. In this podcast, we discuss agony with a twist: the victory that comes on the other side | #podcast #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #newdayinChrist #Christ #AgonyandVictory #HeisRisen #AfterTheAgonyAgony and Victory

Is there such a thing as agony and victory? Everyone has agonized over something in their lives, yet there is hope. Most of us on this side of heaven have struggled and had trials and tribulations. In this podcast, we discuss agony with a twist: the victory that comes on the other side.

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Jesus wants us to live a life free from agony and strife. He wants us to live a victorious life, but how can we do so when there are so many hardships in our lives? How can we hold on to the hope that is the bedrock of our faith without caving in and losing hope? We can do this by looking at the scriptures but also taking them into our hearts and applying them to our lives.

Jeremiah is one of my favorite prophets in the Bible. I love his steadfast, single-minded focus on the mission at hand. Like most disciples, he left his family and home to pursue the mission God called him to, and in so doing, tragedy could have been averted. There was a movie made for television on the prophet Jeremiah. As we watched it, I kept stopping the DVD player to say to the children who were watching it with me at the time, “Look! Look! Do you hear that? It is the same thing that is happening today.” Finally, the children were so frustrated they asked if we could finish the movie before we talked about it.

The movie depicted Jeremiah’s upward battle and struggle as he agonized over sharing God’s message with an unwilling people. He was willing to articulate his agony in Jeremiah 20:10:13 (Read on air).

God is a God of mercy and forgiveness, but also righteousness. Jeremiah says, “But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior, so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail.” When God sends someone to do His mission, He will equip them and provide for them. Jeremiah’s message was not very different from Jonah’s message to Ninevah: Repent. Repent. Repent. Yet, while Jonah was not a very good prophet and was a reluctant one, Jeremiah was obedient, and it cost him so much.

Jeremiah is said to be a prefigurment or a type of Christ in that he was crushed, maligned, rejected, and in anguish, the same as Jesus during his passion, the way of the cross toward the crucifixion.

Jesus quotes the words of Jeremiah: Jeremiah 5:12  (Read on air.) in Mark 8:18 – “Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?”

He also quoted Jeremiah 7:11. (Read on air) with Mark 11:17 (Read on air.) and also Luke 19:46

Why did Jesus quote Jeremiah? Because he, too, was rejected, despised, maligned, crushed, and in anguish. As Jesus reflected on the words of Jeremiah, he must have heard an echo of what was to come. The amazing thing, as our pastor pointed out during a sermon, is the same people, the Pharisees, scribes, and scholars who were amazed at the 12-year-old Jesus in the temple, amazed at his wisdom and comments and answers to the questions, were now ready to get rid of Him. These were the same people who wanted to crucify him.

The lesson is that out of His suffering, redemptive suffering for all of us comes the VICTORY of the Resurrection. Jesus was born, lived a simple life, and died on the cross to set us free. We can now rejoice because, as we read in the scriptures, the victory has been won!

1 Corinthians 15:54 (Read on air)

The death of Christ was not the end, as we head into the last week before Easter we recall His passion, the events leading up to His crucifixion, but it is what is on the other side that leads us to rejoice!

Jesus wants us to be whole; he wants us to be without the burdens we carry. Yet, he wants us to strive for truth and righteousness. To be like Him, we can look at the example of his mother, Mary. She said to do what he tells you at the wedding feast in Cana. She points to her son, and we, too, take that clue and abandon ourselves to Him.

Padre Pio of Pietrelcina said, “The cross will not crush you; if its weight makes you stagger, its power will also sustain you.” Isn’t that beautiful? It is such a powerful truth. The crosses in our lives often make us stronger, and we grow through suffering.

God abandoned himself for us; shouldn’t we abandon ourselves to Him?

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Luke 9:20:23—After Jesus asked, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.” Jesus gave one of his most famous discourses. He predicted His death and gave us a mission in life.

After Peter said, he was the Messiah. Luke 9:21-23 Read On Air.

Friends, to be disciples and follow, we must pick up our crosses daily. When we agonize and despair when we are rejected, lonely, and forgotten, remember the one who will never abandon or forget you, and cry out to Him. When agony comes, remember victory is at the other end. Maybe not how we would like it, but always within the perfect will of God. As we approach Easter or whatever time of year you are listening to this podcast, focus on the task at hand, yes—but rejoice in the Lord and His perfect will in our lives.

Jesus and His Mother

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Jesus and His Mother | Have you considered Jesus's relationship with His Mother, Mary? By examining this aspect of Sacred Scripture, we can grow in our love for our Lord | #podcast #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #newdayinChrist #Christ #JesusandHisMotherJesus and His Mother ~ Episode 296

Have you considered Jesus’s relationship with His Mother, Mary? By examining this aspect of Sacred Scripture, we can grow in our love for our Lord.

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Girls will discover the power of faith in this beautiful Bible that features women of the Bible! Here is a Bible for girls on their journey of faith! This special Bible is specifically crafted to highlight the stories and lessons of the inspiring, famous, and sometimes infamous women of the Bible. From Eve to Ruth, Esther to Mary, this Bible brings the stories of these women to life and shows how their faith and strength can still inspire girls today.  Check it out here!

A Son’s Love For His Mother:

Many of you listening have children or extended families. We know of the bond between mother and child and mother and son. We mothers have the ability to love without limit, and it grows with each child. Sometimes we wonder if we will have enough love, but then, our love expands. In our human condition, we have the ability to love, but can you imagine the love of the Son, Jesus Christ, for His Mother? Yet, we know Jesus and his mother spent time together; she raised him after all; she cooked, bathed, and took care of him. If we love our own parents, how much more did the Lord love his Mother?

Why would Jesus love his mother other than the obvious? When we read scripture, we can see the great sacrifice she went through and how his love must have expanded. Yes, I am using words we understand to describe a Divine occurrence, but we can, by our human reason (because faith requires reason), see between the lines because nowhere in Scripture does our Lord say, “I love you, Mother.”

Yet, by His Divine Nature, Jesus was obedient. His obedience was perfect. He was obedient unto death, death on a cross. Phil. 2:7-8 (Read on air.)

Sometimes, we forget that Jesus took his humanity in the womb of the Virgin Mary. He respected His mother and was always obedient. When he went to Temple at age 12 they were amazed at his wisdom and the questions he answered. He stayed with his parents until he was 30 years old always obeying. Mary was the one who caused him to start His ministry.

We can read the entire verse in John 2:1-12 — Please read and meditate on these verses; they say so much to me, and I get filled with awe every time I read and think about them.

This is the account of the wedding feast of Cana; they ran out of wine, and Mary offered her son’s services, basically to perform a miracle. Jesus said to her in John 2:4 – And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.”

When Jesus refers to his mother as a “woman” here, some people think it is a sign of disrespect. Can you imagine referring to your own mother as a woman? It might not go over too well. However, this was in fulfillment of Scripture. (remember, Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament!) But, this reference in particular is in regard to Genesis 3:15. Adam and Eve had sinned; Adam blamed Eve, “the woman you gave me,” and Eve blamed the serpent, “The serpent tricked me.” So, God, who is righteous and all good, not only cast them out of the Garden but said in Genesis 3:15 (Read on air).

The woman and Eve and the man, Adam, were the Old Testament symbols of disobedience. In the New Testament, the new Adam is Christ, and the new Eve (the obedient woman is Mary). The point Jesus made here to all those scripture scholars was clear. He was a fulfillment of the role of Savior, and His first public miracle was turning water into wine. But, not just any wine, the best they had tasted. John 2:4-6 (Read on air).

Mary always points to Jesus and says, “Do what He tells you.” John 2:11—(Read on air).

In other places in scripture, it says, “his hour had not yet come,” and he was able to escape or was not arrested, but at the request of His Mother, he was obedient. John 2:12 (Read on air.)

The hidden years, the years before the first miracle at the Wedding Feast of Cana, are called the hidden years. They are hidden from us because the scriptures do not reveal what went on in Jesus’s life in the home of Mary and Joseph. All we know is that Jesus was an obedient son and that he loved his parents. He loved Joseph, but Joseph was his stepfather. But Mary? Mary was his biological mother; she gave him life by her fiat, her yes.

Their relationship was special. Mary could count on her Son, and she knew in her heart that he was destined to do the Father’s will. He must have performed miracles at home because why else would she ask him to perform His first, publically? Can you imagine the joy of having such a Divine Son, yet with that joy comes crushing hardship and sorrow? Next week we will mediate on the road less traveled, the Stations of the Cross.

Before we end, I want you to know that the Lord, by His life, His death, and His Resurrection, gave us an example of a virtuous life. Join me as we pray. Today Lord, I want to share my love for you and my joy that You are My Savior. I ask, Lord, that you open my heart to be more virtuous and strive for those things that lift me up. I love you, and I thank you for the gift of my life. I ask for Your love and protection, now and forever. Amen.

 

Who Is God?

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Who is God? | What is your relationship with God? Who is God? Do we really know and understand the magnitude of our prayers or what the Almighty has done for us? In this podcast, we will discuss the mystery of God and explore, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"  (Matthew 16:13) | #podcast #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #newdayinChrist #Christ #Who Is God?What is your relationship with God? Who is God? Do we really know and understand the magnitude of our prayers or what the Almighty has done for us? In this podcast, we will discuss the mystery of God and explore, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”  (Matthew 16:13)

Who is God? ~ Episode 295

Thanks to our Sponsor, Harper Collins Christian:   Kingdom Girls Bible

Girls will discover the power of faith in this beautiful Bible that features women of the Bible! Here is a Bible for girls on their journey of faith! This special Bible is specifically crafted to highlight the stories and lessons of the inspiring, famous, and sometimes infamous women of the Bible. From Eve to Ruth, Esther to Mary, this Bible brings the stories of these women to life and shows how their faith and strength can still inspire girls today. Featuring a beautiful design and easy-to-read text, this Bible is a great resource for girls growing in their faith and learning about the women who have impacted the world. Check it out here!

Many of us have grown up with some type of faith, but even if you haven’t, there may have been a prevailing sense that something out there existed. We are told in the first paragraph of the Catechism – 198: Our profession of faith begins with God, for God is the First and the Last,1 the beginning and the end of everything. The Credo begins with God the Father, for the Father is the first divine person of the Most Holy Trinity; our Creed begins with the creation of heaven and earth, for creation is the beginning and the foundation of all God’s works.

That is very good, but who is God? Years ago, I heard a debate between a creationist and an evolutionist. The creationist didn’t stick to the science; instead, he pointed out that the evidence for creation was in the Bible. Can you guess why he lost the debate? That’s right. The other person did not believe that the Bible was accurate, let alone that God created the world.

So, if the foundation, belief in God, isn’t there, the entire argument falls apart. Not just creation vs. evolution but faith vs. no faith.

God is undefinable. He is a mystery. He can only be understood (by me, anyway) under the premise of faith. My pastor always says to pray like this, “God, I love You as You Know Yourself to Be. Basically, that means we can not grasp the majesty of the Almighty, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, and so we pray in a way that is pleasing to Him and understood only by Him.

Too deep?

Seriously, I’ve been thinking about this question, and in looking at the hundreds of topics on the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network and on this podcast, A Few Minutes with God, I’ve realized that we’ve discussed so many things, but not. Who. He. Is.

If I asked you to stop the audio and jot down short sentences describing God (and you can do this if you’d like), your list may look like this one:

Who Is God?

  1. God is the Creator. (Genesis 1:1 In the beginning when God created[a] the heavens and the earth.)
  2. God is love. 1 John 4:8 (Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.)
  3. God is our salvation. Pslam 68:19 (Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation)
  4. God is our Savior. Acts 13:33 Of this man’s posterity God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised;
  5. God is the way of life and the truth. John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the wayand the truthand the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

But Who is GOD?

We can define God; we can talk about the virtues evident in God. We can discuss the Trinity, but the word Trinity is not found in Scripture. However, we are taught about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. One God and three distinct persons.

We read in Matthew 28:19: 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.

We baptize as Christians in the Name of the Trinity.

But what did Jesus say about himself, his divinity? Matthew 16:13-19 not only tells us about who Jesus is but also the power He bestows upon men. In this case his disciples. (Read on air.)

Reading that passage, we learn many things.

  1. Jesus is defining himself by asking the question, “But who do you say that I am?” The reference “I Am Who Am” Exodus 2:14 – God said to Moses, “I am who I am.”[a] He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
  2. Simon Peter, the first disciple to define Jesus correctly, says, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
  3. The Holy Spirit (Father in Heaven) revealed this to Peter.
  4. On this rock, I shall build my church – the foundation of Christianity (as an aside, Catholics believe that Peter was the first pope, which is why the papacy is called the “Petrine” office. The pope is the Bishop of Rome. Jesus further confirms this when he says, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bin on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
  5. Do not tell anyone that I am the Messiah — why!

In conclusion, what we say we know about God is a tiny microscopic speck of who He actually is, and it takes faith that can only be given by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to change our hardened hearts. Please make an effort to seek God, no matter where you are in your spiritual walk. Just be still before the Lord and say the words, “Here I am Lord, I come to do your will,” and watch the miracles happen in your life. Praise Be Jesus Christ now and forever, Amen.

Don’t Suffer Alone

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Don't Suffer  Alone | When you feel let down or are suffering, don't suffer alone! There is no need. The victory is won, and you can rejoice in the good news. Join Felice Gerwitz as she shares her thoughts and ponders about God's Word and how He will never disappoint you | #podcast #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #newdayinChrist #Christ #Don't Suffer  AloneWhen you feel let down or are suffering, don’t suffer alone! There is no need. The victory is won, and you can rejoice in the good news. Join Felice Gerwitz as she shares her thoughts and ponders about God’s Word and how He will never disappoint you.

Don’t Suffer  Alone ~ Episode 294

Thanks to our Sponsor, Harper Collins Christian:   Kingdom Girls Bible

Girls will discover the power of faith in this beautiful Bible that features women of the Bible! Here is a Bible for girls on their journey of faith! This special Bible is specifically crafted to highlight the stories and lessons of the inspiring, famous, and sometimes infamous women of the Bible. From Eve to Ruth, Esther to Mary, this Bible brings the stories of these women to life and shows how their faith and strength can still inspire girls today. Featuring a beautiful design and easy-to-read text, this Bible is a great resource for girls growing in their faith and learning about the women who have impacted the world. Check it out here!

Have things been rough lately? Have you struggled with just making it through the day? Everyone I’ve talked to, myself included, feels like we’re under attack. Things are going wrong in an unprecedented manner, and to make matters worse, it doesn’t seem to get better.

When you’re going through hardships, it is hard not to place blame on the individuals who caused you harm or the situation, yet it is only through his permissive will that we are allowed to suffer, for lack of a better word. God knows it’s happening. Nothing surprises him; truthfully, that is a comfort for me. The situation may surprise me, but it’s not a surprise for him. I know that God has this, even if I don’t. Hardships happen. (Story shared on air).

Other friends spoke about their hardships, illnesses, family loss, financial issues, and lawsuits. In the grand scheme of things, when we discuss life everlasting in heaven) these events, while complex and tragic, are fleeting. We don’t have to do it alone, we don’t have to suffer alone, and we are not alone. The Lord gives renewed grace to deal with these issues.

Don’t Suffer  Alone

Today, we will rejoice and be glad, not only because the Lord does hear our prayers but because He has mercy upon us. Just look at the book of Daniel, particularly Daniel Chapter 3. We read about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. It is a powerful lesson for us all — for when you feel alone, for when you are defeated, for when you think there is no hope. The three are put in the furnace to burn because they angered the King. At first, they praised the Lord, repented, and lamented to the Lord that they no longer had a leader (sound familiar) and had been handed over to their enemies. But they asked for mercy. Again, please read it all yourself, but I wanted to focus on this portion for you, Daniel 3 42-45 (read on air.)

Then it goes on in verses Daniel 3:46-50, and I am paraphrasing here — The angel of the Lord comes down having heard the prayer of Azariah and his companions, and we read he drove the fiery flame out of the furnace and made the inside of the furnace as though a moist wind were whistling through it. The fire did not touch them and caused them no pain or distress.

God sent an angel to drive away the flames. He can also do that for us because when we suffer, we feel as if we are consumed; we can’t think of anything else, and all we can do is dwell on the issue. But we should know by now, especially if you are a long-time listener, that God is in charge. We further read in verses 51-56 (read on air)

Here are some past episodes that may help:

Overcome Daily Struggles

Fill Up Your Spiritual Tank

Your Heart, Your Faith

Those verses should make you rejoice in the Lord. Even amid hardships

The Lord knows our hearts, and he knows when we are hurting, when we are distressed, when we feel broken. He knows our hearts when we are happy and rejoicing and good things are happening in our lives. So what should we do? We rejoice and be glad we thank God for everything, even the hardships, and we pray for those who have hurt us. That friend is the hardest thing to do! Why is forgiveness so difficult when God forgives us? I think for one reason: it’s because of the injustice we see in the situation. We look at it with human eyes and say oh my gosh, why is this happening to these people we know, or why is this happening to us?

But if we spend our time realizing that everything that happens is allowed in our life by the Almighty’s permissive will, then we know it’s for a greater purpose, and what is that purpose? It is so that we can grow closer to him. One of our dear elderly pastors always makes the overarching remark about the New and Old Testament, which can be summed up in the thought that God wants a relationship with his people. Isn’t that true?

So, let’s not suffer alone. Let’s turn toward the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Let’s pray; let’s read the Word of God. The Almighty is waiting for us. He wants a relationship with us! He is there, and he is the constant in our lives. When we suffer, we pray and ask our friends to intercede for us and our heavenly friends, such as the saints who have gone before us.

Instead of getting bogged down with semantics, worrying about the outcome, and doing all the things the enemy wants us to do, which will take her eyes off of God, we need to focus on him. Recently, something good happened in our lives, and my husband and I were stunned that we were not joyful and jumping up and down. Instead, we were worn out by the ordeal that happened beforehand, and that’s all we could focus on, so we began to pray for those involved and praised God for the good results!

Friend, this is what our enemy does. He keeps us focused on the things that do not matter and keeps our eyes off of the Lord and toward ourselves, angry toward others who have wronged us, and towards situations we have no control over. I hope it helps you to realize that we all suffer. No one’s life is perfect, and altogether, this side of heaven, so friends, I leave you with this thought: You do not need to suffer alone; rejoice in the Lord always!

Love of Family

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

LovLove of Family | The love of family comes from an outpouring of our love for God. In this episode, we will discuss why our families should be a priority after our love of the Lord. Thanks to our Sponsor: Harper Collins Christian:   Kingdom Girls Bible | #podcast #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #newdayinChrist #Christ #LoveofFamilye of Family ~ Episode 294

The love of family comes from an outpouring of our love for God. In this episode, we will discuss why our families should be a priority after our love of the Lord.

Thanks to our Sponsor: Harper Collins Christian:   Kingdom Girls Bible

Girls will discover the power of faith in this beautiful Bible that features women of the Bible! Here is the ideal Bible for girls on their journey of faith! This special Bible is specifically crafted to highlight the stories and lessons of the inspiring, famous, and sometimes infamous women of the Bible. From Eve to Ruth, Esther to Mary, this Bible brings the stories of these women to life and shows how their faith and strength can still inspire girls today. Featuring a beautiful design and easy-to-read text, this Bible is a great resource for girls as they grow in their own faith and learn about the women who have impacted the world. Check it out here!

I read an article that claimed most people don’t really love their family. They feel a sense of obligation and duty. What? While we may feel a sense of obligation and duty, that typically happens because we love our family, not as a result of some mistaken obligation. You and I know that our families are under attack, but we have the source of all goodness and truth, that is, the Bible.

Family and marriage have value, and by virtue we are following in the mandate God gave in Genesis 1:28 “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it.” We are also told that marriage and family is an honor – Hebrews 13:4 (Read on air)

That is not what we hear from those who are in the world, and sadly, even among Christians who believe that living together is a good idea, especially as it saves money and gives each person a chance to see if the relationship will work. Statistics show that among those who live together before marriage, the rate of divorce is higher.

STATS here.

Most Christians get married, but some are led to a life of celibacy, for example, priests, nuns, and other religious as well as lay people. Yet, even singles would agree that family is important. So, why do the world and the secularists continuously try to minimize godly love or the love of family because they want the family destroyed? Why is this?

If you destroy the family, you destroy society. We were created in the image and likeness of God, and the enemy hates us! One-third of the angels refused to serve God it was infact due to pride.  A link here to Biblical verses.

Jesus says in Luke 10: 16-20 (Read on air).

Let’s rejoice that are names are written in heaven but realize that disruption in families begins by dividing the spouse and the children from their parents. It begins slowly with including people in commercials that are not godly examples.

There was a headline that caught my attention, and it read: Extinction activist wants humans to voluntarily die out: ‘Feed ‘em, don’t breed ‘em’  – I have a link in the show notes for you to see for yourself –Here you will read about

What is happening in our world? What is happening to all of those who follow the Lord but remain silent? Friends, we must pray – Proverbs 18:21 states. (Read on air).

Isaiah 54:10 (Read on air).

I recently interviewed Kirk Cameron on my podcast for homeschoolers, Vintage Homeschool Moms – link here. He made a compelling argument for the state of American Family Values, and he said it happened on our watch. Wow – he is right. It happened when so many of us were afraid to speak up, but if God is in it – if God leads us, we will have the grace to follow through. Here is an actor who could spend his time however he wants and instead is fighting for families.

We know God is merciful.

Psalm 86:15. (read on air).

He is merciful, but he is also a just God.

No doubt, the breakdown of the family is Satan’s prime target because he knows that marriage is the earthly representation of the relationship between Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:22-32). And if he can destroy the marriage (and family), he can destroy the church. For this reason, we must always be ready to fight against his attacks by arming ourselves with the weapons of war as found in Ephesians 6:4-20: The first verse begins with  Fathers,[a] do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. ” but it ends with the Armor of God, because friends, we need that Armor!

We must be the beautitudes. This could take up an entire podcast, but I recently read Matthew 5:1-10 and felt like my eyes were opened. It moved me, and it sums up what our attitudes should be as Christians.

Matthew 5:1-10 (read on air)

… do we want to enter the kingdom of God? Here is the path, the direction, the outline, if you will. To be poor in spirit, to allow to comfort us when we mourn, to be meek, thirst for righteousness, be merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, and if we are persecuted for righteousness sake, we will receive the kingdom of heaven.

To serve our families in a selfless matter, whether they appreciate it or not, to serve our friends and those in need, and that friends is what a Christian looks like – Amen!

Key To Repentance

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Key To Repentance | As a Christian the cornerstone of our faith is the key to repentance. It is an important ingredient to turning toward God and finding that our faith deepens. The key to faith is the topic of today's episode | #podcast #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #newdayinChrist #Christ #KeyToRepentanceKey To Repentance  – 293

As a Christian the cornerstone of our faith is the key to repentance. It is an important ingredient to turning toward God and finding that our faith deepens. The key to faith is the topic of today’s episode.

Thanks to our Sponsor: Harper Collins Christian:   Kingdom Girls Bible

Girls will discover the power of faith in this beautiful Bible that features women of the Bible! Here is the ideal Bible for girls on their journey of faith! This special Bible is specifically crafted to highlight the stories and lessons of the inspiring, famous, and sometimes infamous women of the Bible. With over 400 engaging features, colorful illustrations, and helpful notes, this Bible is perfect for girls ages 8 to 12 as they learn about the strong and faithful women who came before them. From Eve to Ruth, Esther to Mary, this Bible brings the stories of these women to life and shows how their faith and strength can still inspire girls today. Featuring a beautiful design and easy-to-read text, this Bible is a great resource for girls as they grow in their own faith and learn about the women who have impacted the world.

Key To Repentance:

The key to repentance begins with a realization that you have sinned. Just like an person who suffers from drugs, alcoholism or some other form of substance abuse in order to get better you first have to recognize you have a problem! This problem is then addressed and the first order of business is to repent.

We can break it down to repentance to anything contrary to Biblical teachings that crop into our thoughts, our words and manifested in our deeds. This happens over the course of time, making one bad decision after another, and another. These decisions often lead us down the road to difficulties for us and for our families. This is why it is important to surround ourselves with people who are uplifting and likeminded in our Christian walk.

But the good news is that repentance is a first step in following God. In accepting the Lord, at some point in you life you made a decision. The decision was not only to recognize sin and renounce it – but to promise to “sin no more.” Repentance is taught throughout scripture. The first teaching our Lord gave is in Matthew 4:17 –  From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

He was announcing that He was ready to begin his public ministry, and now he asks others to join him.

The Lord asked us to repent and then went on to find “fishers of men,” the apostles. He saw Simon and Peter and his brother Andrew. He asked them in Matthew 4:19 “Come follow me…” Then he found two more Simon Called Peter and his brother Andrew. He called them as well.

He invited them to join His mission of conversion of the world to Christianity. Of course it wasn’t called Christianity at that time, but we have come to recognize Christ as the Messiah, the second person of the Trinity. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit in that order. When we repent the Lord opens our lives to an entirely new way of thinking.

This invitation is for us as well, are we ready to drop our nets and follow him? The nets in our life can be the very things that keep us bound to worldly pursuits and away from a deeper relationship with the Almighty. I’m not talking about caring for our family, or working, I’m talking about those things that keep us bound. The pull of the internet or social media. One friend shared that she checked Facebook every few minutes because she had the fear of missing out of not knowing what was going on with her friends. She finally realized that it was pulling her away from what she needed to do each day, and made sure to set a time limit for visiting the website, and then eventually rarely if ever visited.

This may seem extreme but each one of us has to analyze what the pull is on our life. Are we drawn to something of value or to a waste of time? I know that when I visit social media for work I get drawn in on what my friends and family are doing and I can waste so much time. So, I rarely use social media. Again, each of us has to decide for themselves. Is social media a sin — of course not, but if it is uses for sinful actions we need to be aware and take heed. Repent and move on!

God is in the today – He is here to give us the graces we need each and every day. Repentance is like taking a shower and washing off all the grime, it is like putting on a white robe of righteousness and vowing to take a step in the right direction. One. Step. At. A. Time. Is it easy, no. It can only be done by God’s grace, so pray and ask Him for it!

Praying For God’s Grace – Key to Repentance:

  1. Ask the Lord to call to mind areas of sin in need of repentance.
  2. If you can, go to confession (Catholics). This is a sacrament of grace.
  3. Ask the Lord for forgiveness.
  4. Ask the person you have harmed (if any) for forgiveness.
  5. Ask God for the grace to sin no more!

Repentance allows us to heal, not only from our human and bodily illness but from spiritual illness. In Matthew 23, after asking us to repent, and asking the apostles (and us by extension) he began to teach and heal. Matthew 4:23-25 (Read on air.)

What great news! Amen and Alleluia. What comes with repentance? Healing.

God gives us the grace, especially with prayer and fasting to live a life that contains self-control and is godly. We begin good habits, avoid the near occasion of sin, whether it is social media, television or other sources. Whatever it is, ask God for the grace to have the control to avoid it! There is power in God’s grace. The first step is to want it and to receive it.

When we repentant there is a painful element of purification. This can be as I just shared by asking those we hurt to forgive us, but there is more. We must understand the reason we sinned in the first place. Getting to the root cause helps us to avoid getting into this sin, again. Maybe you think you can’t do it — you can’t change. But, if we find that difficult to repent we must remember the sacrifice of Christ.

Christ died and suffered for a sin that He did not commit. Yet, He did it for us. John the Baptist was put into prison through no fault of his own.

In Mark 1:15-15 (Read on air.)

Jesus said that the time had come and His Kingdom has come. And once again we read “Repent and believe the good news!”

Repentance is a gift that God gives us to change our ways. It is a mission for us, and we can be transformed. Through the life, death and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ he calls us with His love and mercy. I pray you search out the way the truth and the life John 14:6 – Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Amen and Amen, let’s seek goodness and truth each day, beginning now.

God Establishes His Kingdom

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

God Establishes His Kingdom | On this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, discusses God’s founding of the Kingdom from the days of King Saul and King David to the destruction of the Temple in 586 to the Babylonian captivity | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #GodEstablishesHisKingdomEpisode 5 – God Establishes His Kingdom

On this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, discusses God’s founding of the Kingdom from the days of King Saul and King David to the destruction of the Temple in 586 to the Babylonian captivity. James also gives examples of God’s boundless love, mercy, and forgiveness. James explains the many natural gifts bestowed on King Saul to make him a great ruler. However, Saul’s poor moral choices undermine his rule and faithfulness to God. King David, from the tribe of Judah, is chosen as Saul’s successor.

Capturing Jerusalem after a hard-won battle, King David made the city the capital of his Kingdom. He desires to build a temple for the Ark of the Covenant, temporarily housed in a portable tabernacle. However, through the prophet Nathan (1 Kings 8:17-18), God tells David, “In wishing to build a house for my name, you did well. But it is not you who will build the house, but your son, who comes from your loins; he shall build the house for my name.”

David, through adultery with Bathsheba and the subsequent placement of her husband, Uriah, to be slain in battle, eventually repents and is forgiven. However, he pays a hefty price— for the rest of his life, conflict, and war plagued his family and Kingdom.

David’s son Solomon, who also begins his reign faithful to the Lord, Under Solomon’s reign Israel reached her greatest point as a nation—honor, wealth, power, and respect, but at the end of Solomon’s reign, Israel became temporally and spiritually bankrupt.

God had a special love for David: “I will be to him as a father, and he will be to me as a son.” (2 Samuel 7:13–16). James delves into how this relationship lays the foundation for the future coming of Christ.

This is the 5th Episode in the (20 Episode Series) of Understanding Catholicism.

Jimmy Seghers was born in New Orleans. Jimmy has devoted much of his life to the pursuit of learning, teaching, and mentorship. Jimmy has taught Sacred Scripture and Apologetics (that is, the defense of the Catholic faith). Jimmy frequently gives retreats, parish missions, and talks on biblical subjects. He is seen on FOCUS with Lisa Flood discussing biblical and religious topics. His classes are approved by the Archdiocese of New Orleans for certification credits for religion teachers. Each week, Jim is heard on the Radio Maria network. He can also be heard each morning on Catholic Community Radio as he gives the daily Gospel reflection. His essays have been published in This Rock, the Clarion-Herald, and he contributed to a catechetical series published by Ave Maria University Press. His most recent book is The Fullness of Truth: A Handbook for Understanding and Explaining the Catholic Faith Biblically.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at www.magnificat-ministry.org

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Your Heart ~ Your Faith

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Your Heart Your Faith | There is a saying, "Your heart is where your home is," but I believe your heart is where your faith resides. In this podcast, we discuss how "heart issues" may lead us astray and far away from our faith in what is right and holy in the eyes of God | #podcast #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #newdayinChrist #Christ #YourHeartYourFaithYour Heart ~ Your Faith ~ Episode 291

There is a saying, “Your heart is where your home is,” but I believe your heart is where your faith resides. In this podcast, we discuss how “heart issues” may lead us astray and far away from our faith in what is right and holy in the eyes of God.

Thanks to our sponsor, Sevenfold Films and Genesis Apologetics Presents Film – The Ark and The Darkness – Movie Trailer here: NoahsFlood

In theaters March 20-21! Noah’s Flood is preserved in ancient writings from every major culture around the world. Recent discoveries confirm what the Bible has said all along. Sevenfold Films and Genesis Apologetics present: The Ark and the Darkness. If you missed the in-theatre date, check the website for streaming options.

An extended family member recently shared that after several traumatic experiences, she realized that all that mattered was God, faith, and family. It is somewhat of a hard lesson that we all learn and relearn from time to time. As our lives get busier, and we move to that speed of life that seems to break the sound barrier at times, we find that slowing down helps us finally see the light.

When we have a broken heart, we tend to fold into ourselves; it is hard to be objective or have clarity in the midst of a trial. Our hearts are a powerhouse; they keep us alive and functioning, and in this same way, our internal organ that God created to sustain life is often where we feel that hurt and joy. We are lost we don’t know where to go.

God asks us to follow him, and we read this in John 1:43-51 where Jesus called Philip and Nathanel to follow him. But that call is for each one of us. Do we say, “Yes, Lord.” Or, is our answer, “In a minute, let me finish this first.”

This is a question we all answer in our lives, and when trauma hits, depending on our heart and its inclination, depending on our faith, that is how we will cope with the situation. Our hearts will betray us if we are not grounded in the truth if we go on feelings alone, and if we are swayed by the enticements of this world. The pull of the world is strong, and the evil one works overtime on the young and the old alike to sway us from our path and our mission.

Your Faith – Questions to Ask:

  1. Where are we going?
  2. How are we dealing with the daily struggles in our lives?
  3. How is our mental health? We wake up each day often without direction.
  4. What are the first thoughts that come to mind when you wake up each day?
  5. Where does your heart lean?

Are we like Thomas, the apostle who said to Jesus, “Lord, we don’t know where we are going, so how can we know the way?”

Friends, we are lost. Our hearts are broken, and there seems to be no way out from our thoughts and sometimes feelings of hopelessness. But there is good news, and there is hope. Without hope, we would be lost, but God gives us a clear path and a clear direction and that is to follow him. If you don’t have this scripture memorized, do it this week, and when you feel lost and forgotten, pray this verse out loud!  John 14:5-7 we read (Read on air).

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know[a] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Do you hear that? We don’t have to feel lost — Jesus is …the way the truth and the life.

If we want to know Jesus, we can, and we can go to Him. He will then introduce us to the Father, for, “if you know me,” he says, ” you will know my Father as well. ”

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. We should say this again. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

Never lose hope! 2 Corinthians 4:1-3

Therefore, since through God’s mercy, we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.

Following Jesus is opening our hearts to the love and mercy that He gives us, and where the heart is, so is our faith. We have faith that God will not let us down and that he will answer prayer, not as we want it but in His time and the way he ordains. We know that we can have a clear conscience and sleep well at night if our hearts are united to His.

But it is more than that! God is calling you and I to dig deeper. How can we do this? By realizing that we are more than what we do, or try to do in this case for the sake of righteousness. The Pharisees complained that Jesus and his apostles were not following the Jewish ritual of cleanliness — which was for a time at the temple. But these men decided they should carry on the letter of the law, by the ritualistic wasing even before meals. But Jesus took them to task explaining that it is rooted in the heart that evil results.

Mark 7:14-23 — (Read on air)

 And he called the people to him again, and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 there is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him, but the things which come out of a man are what defile him.”[a] 17 And when he had entered the house, and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters, not his heart but his stomach, and so passes on?”[b] (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man.”

Friends we want our hearts to be full of love, full of compassion, we must fight against the vices that plague our world. How many of us listen to that verse or read it and say — well, I’m not that bad. Maybe not with theft, murder or adultery — but what about envy, slander, pride and foolishness? I know I’ve suffered and confessed those things.

When we look at what the Lord offers, life with him or without him we will always choose Him!

Friends, what else could we want? This week examine your heart take inventory of your priorities and rearrange them to allow the Lord to come and grow you and bless you, today and always.

God Chose You

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

God Chose You | You are not a mistake; God chose you! Many people walk around today depressed or sad. But today is a day to rejoice and to realize that you have a greater purpose in this life | #podcast #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #newdayinChrist #Christ #GodChoseYouGod Chose You ~ Episode 290

You are not a mistake; God chose you! Many people walk around today depressed or sad. But today is a day to rejoice and to realize that you have a greater purpose in this life. Tune in to today’s episode of A Few Minutes with God Podcast and get ready to have a life-changing experience.

Thanks to our sponsor, Genesis Apologetics – The Ark and the Darkness. Learn more here: NoahsFlood

From the movie: There is a tale over 4,000 years old, preserved in ancient writings from every major culture around the world. Many thought it was only a myth, but evidence supports what the Bible has said all along. Sevenfold Films and Genesis Apologetics present: The Ark and the Darkness. It will be in theaters March 20-21 and streaming afterward.

 

I belong to a women’s ministry named Magnificat, and we have meals about four times a year at these meals. Each person gives their testimony, and it truly is life-changing, especially when you hear where the person had been in their life and how the love of God and his kindness and mercy change them at each meal; I encourage the women to open their hearts and to be ready to be changed. This change may happen quickly, or it may happen over time.

God Chose You ~ Today!

I am going to say the same thing to you today: be ready to be changed. Why do I say this? Well, the reason is many of us walk around each day wondering if we have a purpose or listening to the evil one when he says you are worthless. That is not true! You just need a reminder.

We forget that we have been chosen by God; today, I’m going to share with you a list of some of my favorite scriptures. I’d like you to write down these as well as some of your own search the Bible, and you will find that you truly are chosen by God. He did not make a mistake when he created you. He knew you before you were born. Jeremiah 1:4-5

The word of the Lord came to me, saying, Before I formed you in the womb I knew[a] you, before you were born I set you apart;  I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

God Chose You and Sent His Son

When we look outside at the world, we feel insignificant. Instead, look within, look in your heart, and toward the Lord. We often fall short or lose sight of who we are: heirs to the kingdom, and through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, eternal life is available to us, not just to you or me, but to each one of us who chooses the Lord.

How can we forget that we are chosen? We must remember this and make a point of waking up each day and saying, ” Thank you, Lord, for choosing me. Thank you, Lord, for giving me the opportunity to serve you today. “

Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing Kirt Cameron, who is known for his role in television and movies. He is less known for the fact that he didn’t grow up in a Christian home. In fact, he was far from God while he was in his younger years; he said people often asked him. How did you find God and Hollywood? and he said, I didn’t find God; God found me.

This is Biblical – John 15:16 says, “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.”

God is looking for each one of us. God has chosen you. He knows our name, he knows your name, He knows everything about you! Listen as I read some of these scriptures, take them into your heart, and know you are special. You are worthy; you are a son or daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I Peter 2:9 states (read on air).

God knows everything about you! You are worth so much more than the creatures of this world.

Luke 12:7  “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Matthew 10: 26-31 (read on air).

So we praise God daily in  Ephesians 1:3-4 we read:  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. 

He chose us before the creation! Do you hear that? How amazing, how wonderful, and how utterly exciting. Not only that, but we belong to Almighty God! Isaiah 43:1 states (Read on air)

And what do we do with this information? First, we ask ourselves, “What does God want of me?”

John 6:44 says to believe: (read on air).

We are to persevere in all things. Romans 8:28 —And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.

And so I leave you with this thought. If God has called you by name, and you are an heir to the Kingdom of God, and he knew you before you were created, and you belong to him, then you are most definitely chosen by God, and you definitely should rejoice! Let’s spend this week praising and thanking God for finding us and calling us to Him. Amen.

Trial By Fire

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Trial By Fire | When was the last time you said everything was going great? I have no issues, no problems. Life is good. Sure, that happens from time to time. But we all have hardships; sometimes, it is a trial by fire | #podcast #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #newdayinChrist #Christ #TrialByFireLife is tough. It throws us curves when we least expect it. We often endure a trial by fire. Yet, as Christians, we have the tools to make it through challenging times and emerge victorious in the end. In this podcast, Felice shares insights and tips for those who struggle with hardships and, at times, with faith.

Trial By Fire ~ Episode 289

When was the last time you said everything was going great? I have no issues, no problems. Life is good. Sure, that happens from time to time. But we all have hardships; sometimes, it is a trial by fire. When there is a crisis in our lives, our faith is challenged. For some, this means they have a faith crisis. For others, they believe that God has abandoned them, and so they abandon their faith. Some stop believing, going to church, or reading the Bible. Still, others think they have done something wrong and deserve the punishment. This is not the way to think. We must first take our thoughts captive. The evil one is a deceiver and a liar and wants us to continue to believe the lies that God does not care.

1 Corinthians 10:3-5 (Read on air).

We can not understand the mind of God.

Abandoning the one who created us is never good. A trial by fire is a test. We must remember that Almighty God is in charge of everything. Whether it is our lives or the lives of our loved ones, we know that God knows our hearts and struggles and hears our prayers.

We can, however, read the Word of God and be encouraged and edified.

In John 1:1-5 we read (on air).

Let those words sink into your heart, and I pray that verse gives you as much hope as it gives me.

  1. In the beginning, God existed.
  2. Through God, all things came into being. There was nothing without God.
  3. What came into being was life. There was nothing beforehand—just a void. Without God, life would not exist.
  4. The life was the light of all people
  5. God was there to shine a light at the very beginning.
  6. The light shines in the darkness…and what? The darkness has been unable to overcome it! Amen and halleluiah.

When we have questions such as, “Why me?” or “How could God allow this to happen.” or “I know God is in charge, but I am so confused.” We must acknowledge that we are hurting and give ourselves time to grieve, but we can not stay in this spot forever. One way to do this is by understanding that God is in control. Things happen for a reason, and ultimately, in the end, our goal is heaven.

God loves us so much He calls us to him. He sent Jonah to Niveh to bring back an evil town to him. The prophet was reluctant, tried to avoid the mandate by the Almighty, and had a rough go of it until he finally went to Nineveh and said the bare minimum. (Jonah was not a very good prophet!)  He walked through the town saying, “Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed.” The city was so large it took three days to walk from one end to the other. Yet, Jonah had only walked one day when the leaders and the people believed Jonah the profit, put on sackcloth, prayed and fasted. God was moved and did not destroy the town.

God called the people of Nineveh to leave their sinful ways and follow him. God calls us to follow him when we are joyful, hurting, or in the pits of despair. God calls us even when we avoid him like Jonah did.

We must have joy. I looked up 1 John 1:1-5, and here it is: (Read on air).

Let’s break that scripture down.

  1. God always tells the truth, and the apostles and eyewitnesses testified to it.
  2. The Father has revealed the truth about eternal life
  3. Relationship (fellowship_ is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ
  4. They wrote this so that our JOY could be complete.

Struggling Trial By Fire

When we are struggling, we must realize the truth: the love of God, the hope He gives, and the joy and faith He gives us are all we need. This world is fleeting, and yet we hold on to it as if we can’t stand to think of anything else.

When we struggle, we can cry out to the Lord in prayer and allow our hurt and our needs to be heard. We can cry out to heaven, and we can ask our friends to pray. We can quote scripture; good ones are Col. 3:16, Matthew 4:4, and Ephesians 6:18.

We must fight off any temptation and against any lie that God does not care about us! Let’s all pray together! “In the Precious Name of Jesus, I pray against this lie; Jesus, I know you care about every one of us — each person listening today; please, my Lord, allow them to understand and be comforted by the grace of God.”

Friends, the Almighty pursues us and wants us to reside with him in heaven.

Remember that Jesus was tempted in the desert; the perfect one, the Holy One, was tried. Satan offered him the world; he showed him food. But what did Jesus say?

Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).

What does living in the “word that proceeds from the mouth of God mean?”

It means that when you follow God when you believe that the Word of God is faithful when you know that God is only good and wants the best for YOU, it changes you. It gives you peace when you go through difficult times and are tried by fire. It makes your life new. You become a new creation! You become the unique, awesome, and glorious person God created you to be.

So, is that it? No. We continue to pray because we are constantly being tested and struggling. Ephesians 6:18 says, “Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.”

St. Paul tells us to pray in the Spirit to continue to preserve.

  1. We pray in the Spirit. Come Holy Spirit.
  2. We pray all the time.
  3. We pray with humility with our hearts.
  4. Prayer is a piece of the Armor of God — God’s armor keeps us protected.

But does God hear our prayers?

James 5:16: (Read on air.)

Remember, our goal is heaven and eternal life with God Almighty. But a fight is ongoing; the enemy wants us to reside in eternal damnation. Remember, the battle has been won; God is victorious. Continue to pray, continue to believe, and let’s pray for each other every day. Amen.

Moral Dilemma

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Moral Dilemma | Episode 288 We are made in the image and likeness of God. We are told this in the first book of the Bible. We read in  Genesis 1:26m | #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #MoralDilemmaUnderstanding the nature of sin, we can often make the right choice, especially when faced with a moral dilemma. In this podcast, Felice Gerwitz discusses the issues and ways to avoid putting ourselves in harm’s way.

Moral Dilemma – Episode 288

We are made in the image and likeness of God. We are told this in the first book of the Bible. We read in  Genesis 1:26 (Read on air)

God created us; he has given us a body, mind, soul, and spirit. He has given us a sense of reason—the ability to figure things out, to judge, and to make good decisions. Sadly, our first parents, Adam and Eve, used their ability to make moral decisions, but not good ones! They failed and failed miserably. They took the beautiful gift of life, a wonderful world in which to live, and instead of a sense of wonder, they were tempted to defy God.

In a nutshell, a moral dilemma is going against the nature of God, the created order, and trending toward evil. Those who believe in doing whatever they want, whenever they want, are truly free. This is far from the truth. Freedom comes from a clear conscience, a sense of moral good that is ingrained in our souls, and a thirst for what is God. People seek love, for purpose, for friendships. That wanting in our hearts is the gift God has given us that we will find fulfillment first in Him, then in others.

To act morally depends on what we do, why we do it, and the situation or circumstances surrounding the action. For example, a moral good would be feeding the hungry, giving alms to a charity, or helping an older neighbor by cutting the grass. These are good things.

The opposite is murder or stealing. Acts such as these are evil. You could say that in war, murder is permitted; however, for the most part, murder is taking another’s life, and that is against God’s order. The Old Testament is filled with wars, one tribe against the other. The payment for sin is death. Romans 6:23 – 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

When we sin, we work against the Lord. John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me.

Look at the Ten Commandments, and that gives you an idea of what God requires of those who follow Him.

The Ten Commandments

Moral Dilemma

What makes up a moral dilemma? It is a situation we find ourselves in that stretches our faith and our resistance to evil. It is a temptation to do what is wrong. Many fall into the trap of rationalization. The person who says they cheated on their spouse because the person was unlovable. That is not a reason, nor is it fair to place blame on the other person. It is a symptom of not taking responsibility for an action. Retaliation is another way that people rationalize a bad decision or behavior. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

How do you make the right decision? It takes prayer and help from the Almighty God.  It takes surrounding yourself with people who are like-minded in faith and morals. It takes not allowing yourself that first step into what may on the surface appear innocent but turn into something lethal. This happens when kids search online unattended, or even something innocent like an online encyclopedia or library app can lead kids astray.

It is important to have virtue, the realization that every life is valuable from conception to natural death, that every person is created in the image and likeness of God, that earth is our temporary home and our goal is heaven.

Our choices are so important. I read, or tried to read a very lengthy scientific abstract that was written by psychologists who took 48 test subjects, who were women and some were atheists, and others were Catholics. They asked them moral dilemma questions and asked them to make a decision. I took a look at the first question and the two outcome choices. Neither of them was acceptable to me (which I think was the point of the experiment because they were testing brain activity as well.) In fact, the first one was about a time of war, an orphanage and putting to death one child (so you would not be killed), one by suffocation, and another way by lethal injection. Neither is acceptable, right?

The findings were that one set of people had compassion and cared to a greater extent than the other. Their reasoning was that faith was very important to the moral decision that was made. That was not surprising to most of us.

Without faith, our moral compass would be off, but even those with faith tend to stray. It is a small step away from the Lord and then another and another. Think about missing church one time, the second time is easier and so forth. Bad habits can be made as easily as good. This is why it is important to set up a prayer routine and keep to it each day. It is helpful because it keeps us on track.

Being virtuous isn’t something we inherit or fall into, it takes training so to speak. It takes practice; it takes that good habit of prayer, reading the Bible, attending church, reading good moral books, and avoiding shows that are not only unhealthy for our state of being (horror or over-the-top action movies) on a steady diet. Being good is not enough.

The way we act leads to the type of person we are and what we are known for, in the sense of how others see us, but more importantly, how God sees us. How do you see yourself? What acts or choices have you made that give you the true freedom that comes from a life lived in Christ?

People who are against faith say that we do not have freedom but we do, we have the freedom to do anything that is not sinful. If you asked a non-believer if they were free to run a red light, murder someone, or steal, they would say no. Yet, they believe that because we are faithful, we do not have the freedom to do immoral acts, and I would agree with that. Immorality never leads to true happiness.

The evil one is out for our souls and hates anyone who loves and follows the Lord. Yet there is power in God who has defeated the evil one, broken the bonds of sin, and opened the gates of heaven. We read in Romans 6:8-10 (read on air).

 But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin, once and for all, but the life he lives, he lives to God.

We, you and me, can face the moral dilemmas in our lives with the assurance that we have the Lord on our side, and He and only He can give us the true freedom and joy that we seek in this life. Amen! This week, let’s work on creating those good and virtuous habits that will help us to grow in the Lord.

Read more here:

Contraception and Infertility

Birth Control here

New Day in Christ

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

New Day In Christ | Every day is a new day in Christ for those who believe. We get a blank slate to begin all over again. While this is a wonderful concept, it only matters if you plan to do it better or with the help of God. | #podcast #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #newdayinChrist #Christ Every day is a new day in Christ for those who believe. We get a blank slate to begin all over again. While this is a wonderful concept, it only matters if you plan to do it better or with the help of God.

Every Day Is A New Day In Christ ~ Episode 287

How exciting to wake up every day and do it over. “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118: 24

It can be a chance to make a new habit, spiritual or personal. We can use the new day to get closer to our relationship with Christ and dig deeper. Or we can waste our day and then long for a new day to start again.

Some recommended podcasts:

Calm In The Storm

Renew Your Mind

Each day, our list of things to do gets longer and longer. I used to track everything in a notebook, and now I use a combination of notebooks and apps on my phone, yet I don’t find myself getting any further ahead. In fact, I think sometimes I become distracted. This is one more thing to add to the list of areas of improvement. If you are like me, you are harder on yourself and expect more than you expect of others.

What is your goal? Is it to spend time with God?

We tend to get excited in a new calendar year but slowly lose that ambition as the year continues on and find, mid-year, perhaps, that we are far away from our goals to grow closer to the Lord. This year, I am going to challenge you and myself to keep that determination moving forward during the year. Not only can we begin again, but we can begin with renewed hope. I love the word “Hope.”

New Day In Christ

Scripture is full of hope and the realization that Christ has made us new; in fact, the Bible says if we are in Christ, we are a new creation. If our goal is to make every new day in Christ special, we begin being here. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, we read, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” But what is that passage referring to? It tells us in verse five that the Spirit was given as a first installment. This is in reference to the Holy Spirit, God. Let me read the entire section from 2 Corinthians 5:5-10 (read on air.)

Now the one who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a first installment.[a][b]So we are always courageous, although we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yet we are courageous, and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord. Therefore, we aspire to please him, whether we are at home or away. 10 For we must all appear[c] before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.

New Day In Christ ~ 1 Corinthians 5:

We can be successful in our new day in Christ with the help of the Holy Spirit. The verse tells us so many wonderful things.

  1. The Spirit is the first installment.
  2. We are to be courageous – because this is not the end. Our world is not our home. (Calendar)
  3. We are in this world, but we do not need to be in this world. This means we can live our lives, but we must remember that this is not the end, and heaven is our goal.
  4. We walk by faith and not by sight. We do not need to see it to believe it. Faith is belief in what is not seen. If we could see it, we would not have faith to believe. We are confident in our love of God the Father, the Son- the Christ and the Holy Spirit. We have been called by name, and we rest in the assurance of this. What wonderful news.
  5. We want to please God; now, we have a chance each and every day. Wake up and give your day to the Lord. Offer it up.
  6. We will be judged at the end of time. When we die, we have finished the race, and now we await the judgment.

Being a “good person” is not enough. We should want to aspire for more than that.

Each day, we can go about our routine. Get up, praise God. Get dressed, praise God. Go to work. Praise God. The joys and praises of the Lord should be on our lips at all times. How do we do this? By His grace. Isaiah 40:31 states:

They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength,
    they will soar on eagles’ wings;
They will run and not grow weary,
    walk and not grow faint.

God gives us the renewal of strength so that we will not only run and not grow weary but we will soar on eagles wings!

Malachi 1:11 (Read on air). Each day the Lord reminds us that from the beginning of the day until the end of the day His name will be proclaimed among all of us who follow Him.

From the rising of the sun to its setting,
    my name is great among the nations;
Incense offerings are made to my name everywhere,
    and a pure offering;
For my name is great among the nations,
    says the Lord of hosts.

And what about Ephesians 4:20-24 (Read on air.) We are asked to put away our former selves. The person you were yesterday or the day before. That person is a new creation; that person has been reminded that we worship the one true God. You are ready to learn and dive deeper, and you are ready for what th

That is not how you learned Christ, 21 assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus, 22 that you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and put on[a] the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.

I challenge you to make your list of new day scriptures, jot these down in your prayer journal, and read them daily. Better yet, record yourself reading these scripture verses and listen to this recording daily. It will help you to become a prayer warrior and live each day to the fullest! And I pray we can remind each other to begin each day in prayer and praise, and how much better our day will become.

Mystery of Faith

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Mystery of Faith | What is the mystery of faith? In this podcast, we discuss the truths about faith, God's grace, and how we should follow the light. Sometimes, we don't understand but are willing to learn more. Your host, Felice Gerwitz, will share some powerful insights with you | #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #MysteryofFaithMystery of Faith ~ Episode 286

What is the mystery of faith? In this podcast, we discuss the truths about faith, God’s grace, and how we should follow the light. Sometimes, we don’t understand but are willing to learn more. Your host, Felice Gerwitz, will share some powerful insights with you.

Check out MediaAngels.com and download your character planners for families today.

Did you know that the “the mystery of faith” is found in 1 Timothy 3:9 in several translations, The Wycliffe Bible and the Douay-Rheims Bible? The verse states: “Holding the mystery of faith in a pure conscience.” Meanwhile, the New International Version states, “They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience.”

The mystery of faith is holding on to the deep truths of faith.

There are many things about faith that are mind-blowing when we stop to think about them. For example, the Trinity. The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. One God and three distinct persons. It is a mystery. Or what about miracles? How do they happen? There is no explanation; it’s miraculous; it is something we believe in by faith.

Now, faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1. The basics of salvation are easy to remember, but for some, they are not so easy to understand. Jesus was born a babe through the power of the Holy Spirit, which overshadowed the Virgin Mary. He was raised by Mary and Joseph in Nazareth, born in Bethlehem of Judea, and lived a humble life. The Christmas story is well known.

The miracle continues with three men from the Orient, The three Wise Men (or the Wise Guys as my children used to call them), and through the study of light, or the star, the Magi knew they would find something remarkable: a king. Our pastor told us that they were studying the constellation Leo, which is the Lion or Judah. They knew the capital of Judah was Jerusalem. The light they saw represented a King, and they expected to see this baby in a palace dressed in finery, as only a prince would be born into a royal household. That is why they went to seek the baby in the palace of King Herod.

In the scriptures, Matthew 2:1-12 (It is long, so I won’t read it on air, but do take the time to read it yourself if you have not already) In this scripture we read that everyone knew the prophecy, and when the Magi asked King Herod, he was troubled. But what is shocking is that all of the chief priests and the scribes, the learned men who knew and studied the Word, ignored the call; they didn’t go, but the Magi didn’t ignore it. They were surprised the babe was not in the palace, but they immediately went to Bethlehem, prostrated themselves before the King of Heaven and of Earth, the baby in abject poverty, and felt prostrate before him and worshipped him. They followed the light. And, by the power of the Holy Spirit, they were infused with grace from God. What they found was not a royal baby dressed in fancy clothing but what they saw exceeded their expectations. This grace was given to them by God and was a mystery they could not understand.

God’s ways are not our ways (I’ll read Isaiah 55:8-9) in a minute, and we’ve long established this concept 0n many of the episodes, yet we continue to try to understand that which is a mystery: why Jesus, who is the second person of the Trinity, fully God, and fully man would come as a babe to a poor family. Why not a wealthy family? Why not as a King? The Magi, the wisest of men, were expecting a royal baby. That was certainly what the people of Israel were expecting: a king who would set them free from Caesar’s rule.

Yet we learn when Jesus was born.* It is in John 3:1 – In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee. It was a time of unrest, and the people were waiting for their savior. Yet, many missed him. Unlike the Magi, the learned men did not follow the light.

It was many years later that Jesus began his ministry at around the age of 30 – Luke 2:23  Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry… In Numbers 4:3, we read that you had to be at least 30 years old in order to serve as a priest; in Numbers 4:3, “Count all the men from thirty to fifty years of age who come to serve in the work at the tent of meeting.”

Jesus did not begin his public ministry until around 30, but can you imagine his life with Mary and Joseph? How wonderful to live with the Savior! Again, it is a mystery that the Almighty God would humble himself. The last we hear of Jesus is when Mary and Joseph find him in the temple after three days when he was twelve. The years after this are referred to as the hidden years. It was as if the Lord wanted to devote his time to his parents (his foster Father, Joseph, and mother, Mary), who would sacrifice so much for him.

If those concepts are known to us who are Christian and still astound us, can you imagine if you were not a Christian? If I asked you to make a list of all the things that puzzle you about faith, what would your list look like?

List of Mysteries of Faith:

  1. Why do bad things happen to good people?
  2. How does the Lord allow evil to take place in our world?
  3. Why do people continue to reject Jesus as the true Messiah?

In Isaiah 55:8-9 we read: “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unjust man his thoughts, and let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God: for he is bountiful to forgive. For my thoughts are not your thoughts: nor your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are exalted above the earth, so are my ways exalted above your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts.”

This brings us to how God – who continues to call his people (us) back to Him again and again, has such mercy, such goodness, and such compassion! Yet, we continue to reject Him while we remain in error and sinful.

The mystery of faith is recognized by miracles that happen today. They are shrouded and often kept secret. For example, there are relics of the Holy Cross that Jesus died on that are kept in churches throughout the world. There are some at the Vatican. There are many historical accounts that Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great, was instrumental in recovering the True Cross in 326-328. That is something that isn’t often common knowledge!

We live in an age of unbelief and rejection, and as usual, I will not spell it out for you; you already know. And what I can do – what we can do is turn our hearts and minds totally toward God as a way of not only giving to the Lord but also reparation, to make up for those who have rejected Him. I will follow the Lord. I will learn and study; I will read good books that will fill my mind with knowledge and not fall short. It is a commitment I make today before you, and I pray the Lord gives me the grace to follow through.

And so let this be a lesson for us all that our loving God is calling us today and every day. Right now. He is calling you to come to Him. We don’t have to understand everything, and that is faith – the belief that Jesus Christ is Lord and that the Almighty has done great things for us. Yes, there are many mysteries of faith or scripture verses that may leave us puzzled, yet He has not rejected us; He waits for us with open arms. He has demonstrated this in His life, death, and resurrection. He has opened the gates of heaven, He continues to bless us and allow miracles to happen daily, and the Holy Spirit is with us always. Please, Lord let us be like the Magi, infuse us with grace to believe and to understand. The Lord Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and he has called us to worship Him.

I pray this is a time of miracles for you in your life – look for them each day. Rejoice in the mysteries of our faith and seek Him always. Amen and Amen.

*There is a super interesting article about how the age of Jesus was figured for all of those who say the math doesn’t add up. You can read it here.

Another article on the True Cross.

True Cross Article here.

A special on the Mystery of Faith here.

Interesting article about the Star of Bethlehem here. 

Renewed by Faith

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Renewed By Faith, Miracles Happen | Today, we will pray that we are renewed by faith! In last week's episode, I shared with you that miracles do happen; I witnessed people being healed. I also wanted to share with you a list of God's promises | #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #CelebrateChristmasandAdvent #RenewedByFaithMiraclesHappen #RenewedByFaith #MiraclesHappenRenewed By Faith, Miracles Happen ~ Episode 285

Today, we will pray that we are renewed by faith! In last week’s episode, I shared with you that miracles do happen; I witnessed people being healed. I also wanted to share with you a list of God’s promises.

If you missed the last episode, you can find it here. Christmas Miracle

I attended a presentation by Maria Vadia, who has dedicated her life to serving the Lord. I spoke more about it in the last episode, here is her ministry is The Glory of God Foundation. Here, you can find a list of all the scripture verses she shared. If you can, pray and ponder these verses, and I pray you are renewed in your faith.

To recap, Maria prayed for miracles, and many people in attendance were healed. The real miracle is that God heals, and we were able to witness this by others present. One of my friends said her back was healed of pain. Another from her knee pain, and yet another from fear and anxiety. Praise God!

As she continued to pray for healing, you could see the people in attendance warm up to her. In the Bible, we read many times about how the Lord healed. People were skeptical that he was the Messiah, but when they witnessed miracles, they realized He was the Son of God. In Mark 2:1-12 there is an account of the paralytic who was lowered through the roof by his friends. The Lord took pity on him, and in Mark 2:5-12 we read…

 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and take your mat and walk’? 10 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.” 12 And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

When we read passages like this, how can we not be renewed by faith? Miracles and healings are not just for the past; they are for today! Right now. One thing that touched my heart was hearing Maria say she prayed for herself and she was healed. I’ve done this when I suffer from migraines when I remember to do it! I lay my hand on my head and pray, in the mighty Name of Jesus, that I am healed. Sometimes, I am healed, and other times, I am not. We do not understand the why, but we can praise God in the fruits of prayer, either way. With healing or no healing, that friend is the true miracle.

The miracle is when those who are not healed have the peace and the grace to endure with the help of God.

Yet, when someone shares the good news, people doubt it! We need a kingdom mindset this year. We need to change our attitude and see the goodness of God. When we focus on Him, we can have the peace and joy we crave. We have hope.

Word of God: We can receive healing through the mighty word of God, and it begins with knowing the Scriptures, believing them and memorizing them. God’s word is a lamp unto my feet. Psalm 119:104-106

Through your precepts I get understanding;
    therefore I hate every false way.

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
106 I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,
to observe your righteous ordinances.

Praise: Singing and worshiping is praying twice. Praising God in word or song helps to get our spirit in tune with God. Psalm 33:3 – “Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.”

The atmosphere changes when we praise God, and the scriptures are full of words of praise for the Lord.

Joy: We must be joyful; the joy of the Lord keeps us strong. Proverbs 22:17-18

The words of the wise:

Incline your ear and hear my words,[b]
    and apply your mind to my teaching;
18 for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,
    if all of them are ready on your lips.

A joyful heart is good for our bodies, and it can be healing. The joy of the Lord is good! This is in contrast to what the world tells us. In Galatians 5:22 we read: By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. 
Praying: It is important to pray and to pray with others. Matthew 18:19-20
Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”
Many times when I pray, I lead with that prayer. I ask the Lord to calm my mind, to help me focus on Him, and I ask for the Holy Spirit to come, then I pray, Lord, you promised, where two or more are gathered in my name, I am there among them. Please dwell among us… then I lift up the prayer or the need. When we pray we should use Scriptures they are so powerful.
John 14: 15-17
If you love me, you will keep[f] my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate,[g] to be with you forever. 17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in[h] you.
and God promised not to leave us orphaned. John 14: 18-21
“I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. 19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”
Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Not only that, but God gave us the gifts to use to pray for healing. 1 Corinthian 12 4-11
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.
It is up to God how he gives the gifts to each one of us, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pray for them! God is a generous God. We can claim healings in the Name of Jesus. But then we must give glory to God.
The Bread of Life: For me, as a Catholic, that means the Eucharist. At this time, I pray to the Lord, I ask for a deeper relationship with Him, I say, Come, Lord Jesus Come. John 6 (read the entire chapter), but after Jesus performed the miracle of the bread and loaves, the people questioned him, and they wanted more signs. They said what sign you are going to give us then?
John 6:29-34 — Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” 30 So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which[g] comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”lieve in him whom he has sent.”So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? 
He then went on to say in John 6: 35-37 – 35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; 38 for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. 3
We must believe, and that is the biggest obstacle. Just like the people who saw miracles from the very hands of our Lord and Savior didn’t believe and wanted more miracles, that is how we are today. God wants us restored; he broke the bonds of sin, and the enemy has no power over us. Jesus forgave our sins, he died on the cross to take on our sins, and He rose from the dead and conquered it!
I want to leave you with this powerful scripture – Romans 8:9-10
But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit,[a] since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit[b] is life because of righteousness.
Amen and Amen! Let God be praised today and always.

 

Christmas Miracle Every Day

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Christmas Miracle Everyday | What is a Christmas miracle, and how can we experience this every day? In this episode of A Few Minutes With God, Felice shares a recent event that changed her perspective on prayer and miracles | #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #CelebrateChristmasandAdvent #ChristmasMiracleEverydayChristmas Miracle Everyday ~ Episode 284

What is a Christmas miracle, and how can we experience this every day? In this episode of A Few Minutes With God, Felice shares a recent event that changed her perspective on prayer and miracles.

Here are some other podcasts to enjoy.

Today I want to share with you the good news! Christmas does not just happen one day a year; as Americans, we celebrate this on December 25th, so if you are listening to this on Christmas Day – Merry and Blessed Christmas.

But Merry Christmas should be in our hearts all year long. Why? Because during Christmas we celebrate the Word, the Incarnate, Christ our Lord, being made flesh.

John 1:14 – And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son,[a] full of grace and truth.

The entire beginning of John is my favorite verse, and I want to read them for you.

Christmas Miracle Today:

John 1:18

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life,[a] and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.[b]

10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own,[c] and his own people did not accept him. 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son,[d] full of grace and truth. 15 (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) 16 From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son,[e] who is close to the Father’s heart,[f] who has made him known.

This is the miracle we celebrate once a year with presents and food, with family and friends, and with decorations. Yet, the miracle is truly that because of this amazing event, the Lord Jesus came into our lives as a babe, lived a life free from sin, at 32 began his public ministry, was ridiculed and suffered; he took on our sins and died on the cross to set us free, then rose from the dead three days later.

We reside with Him in the spiritual sense in the Holy of Holys. As Christians, we unite our lives to His, and He, by his life, death and resurrection, has created for us a life that can be miraculous.

In December I attended a dinner hosted by a Christian women’s group featuring Maria Vadia. I have met Maria many times and she spoke at our Magnificat Prayer Breakfast as well a few years ago. Everytime I hear her speak I feel the annointing of God and His presence. She has an amazing story of how God used her to share the good news worldwide. Her ministry is The Glory of God Foundation

(Share how I didn’t want to attend the meeting – and ended up feeling sick after lunch).

Maria spoke to an audience that wasn’t used to hearing about miracles and healing. Her entire ministry is based upon this and the charisms that God has given her in her healing ministry. She gives all the glory to God, as the name of her foundation attests. What happened that evening was that many people (even those reluctant to believe) were healed. A friend shared with me today at Mass that the friend she brought with her was healed. Amazing.

But why are we amazed? Why are we surprised?

Maria told about how the Lord wants to heal us, yet she shared that not everyone she prayed for was healed –but many had joy in their hearts even if they were not healed. God gave them the blessings and consolations of peace in their situations. As she spoke she quoted so many scriptures I had a hard time taking notes! She said one of the gifts the Lord gave her was a hunger for His word. She said that Jesus took on every sin on the cross. 2 Corinthians 5:21-For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. And Hebrews 9:22–Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

And that the good news was that He took away every sickness. Isaiah 53:5 — But he was wounded for our transgressions,  crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,    and by his bruises we are healed.  And, she said that by his wounds we are healed —1 Peter 2:24  He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross,[a] so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds[b] you have been healed.

And that Jesus came and is one with the Father and ministers to his people. John 5:19

–Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father[a] does, the Son does likewise.

Jesus taught, he preached, and he healed – and that is why her ministry is centered on doing what Jesus said, Matthew 10:7-8 As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’[a] Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers,[b] cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.

She began calling out different ailments. She started by saying that God would heal someone with kidney issues. In my heart, I claimed that healing for my youngest grandchild, my grandson was born with kidney issues that the doctors hope he outgrows. So, in the Name of Jesus, I claim the healing for Andrew.

I want to be like her and proclaim the good news. The King of God is at Hand. Mark 16:15: And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news[a] to the whole creation.

She said God created us for a kingdom purpose, we are to do His will. Ephesians 2: 4-10

But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ[a]—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

One main thing was that she shared was that we needed to change our perception of healing, that God wants us to believe we can be healed. John 8: 31-32 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 

She said the healing is there but few believe.

1 John 3:8 — Everyone who commits sin is a child of the devil; for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.

The enemy wants to keep us in bondage – but Jesus Christ came as a babe so that we could be set free! Amen.

She continued on by sharing other ailments that were being healed. Knees, backs, eyes, breathing problems and more. I will do another podcast with all of the scripture verses she used in a handout for you! There were so many and I think it would be beneficial for all of us to have them in a printable form.

A young priest, Father Daniel was in attendance, and later he asked me if I saw the show of hands of those who were healed. I had not, but he said over half of the audience, more than 200 women were in attendance. Praise you Jesus.

So, as you can see the Christmas miracle continues today and every day. Go forth today, my friends. Believe the good news. Jesus Christ is alive today and always. Find your own Christmas miracle daily, that is your challenge.

Faith Matters

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Faith Matters | How important is faith in your life? For many, faith matters to a lesser degree than it should. In this episode, Felice explores the importance of staying vigilant in our walk with the Lord and how to shore up our resolve in times of weakness. | #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #CelebrateChristmasandAdvent #FaithMattersFaith Matters ~ Episode 283

How important is faith in your life? For many, faith matters to a lesser degree than it should. In this episode, Felice explores the importance of staying vigilant in our walk with the Lord and how to shore up our resolve in times of weakness.

You may enjoy these podcasts:

  1. Spiritual Sandpaper
  2. Prayer Text
  3. Glory and Praise Forever

Have you seen t-shirts, signs, mugs, and even Christmas decorations with the words “Believe” on them? This seems like a good thing, but is it? What do we believe? What do they believe? There are some false prophets out there who talk new-age nonsense, and that is something we should avoid.

Quickly, the new age is a hack of real faith. Some of it sounds good; for example, you should have “love, joy, and peace” in your life. But then it gets wacky and says things like, you should do what your heart tells you, you should do what you feel like doing, whatever feels good, do it. It further gets into the use of “spiritualism,” involving transcendental meditation, reincarnation, the use of crystals, and other strange occult practices. That, my friends, is a recipe for disaster. The new age is entrenched in the occult.

All the more reason, we should be aware of what we believe and shore up our faith in the truth. The real God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit. If faith is important, answer the following:

  1. Why do you care about faith?
  2. Why do you worship?
  3. Why do you work at doing what is right?

What do we really believe? In a study my daughter did in her classroom at a Christian school, she asked her students if they could tell her their denomination (if any) and what they believed. Many could not clearly articulate their beliefs, and so their assignment was to go home and discuss it with their parents. It is amazing that we can attend church regularly, Bible studies, and other prayer groups, yet when asked, it is difficult to define our beliefs clearly.

Sure, faith matters, but if we don’t know what we believe, that could be part of the problem. We want to put on the armor of Christ, Ephesians 6:10-18 which begins, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. …

We should spend some time thinking about what we believe and make prayer a priority. Why? Because when strife or adversity comes into our lives, we must be prepared. It typically goes one of two ways. When adversity hits, we either become more committed in our faith or question God with the “Why me?”

Many of us fall into the downward spiral of self-pity, and that is difficult to get out of; we’ve all been there. I just visited the cemetery today to put flowers on the gravesite of my parents, and I still miss them. The stark realization when I look beside their gravesite is the bench that has my last name etched with special scripture verses we picked out. In the end, I am reminded each time I visit the grave site death is inevitable.

This is why faith matters to me! I want to evangelize and share the good news, and I can do this today with you. It is no accident you tuned in to this episode today, even if you are a subscriber to my podcast. God wants to do an amazing work in your life. You may have felt called for some time, and that is wonderful. It begins with you understanding your faith walk and why it matters so that you can explain it to someone else in this hurting world.

Before we can evangelize, we must be disciplined. I heard an exorcist share on YouTube that the main reason that we are attacked by the evil one is because we lack elementary spiritual discipline. He talks about how most people can’t tell themselves no. They do not have self control in their lives to continually say no to temptation. I think I talked about this video, and some of you may be curious and want to listen on your own. Even if you are not Catholic, it is worth giving the video the 55 minutes it takes to watch. The video, which is the second of a three-part series, this one is titled Obstacles to Prayer and Holiness here

As we live our lives, we must give evidence to the truth that we are striving for holiness, but holiness only comes with blessings from God. As Christians, faith matters, but so does honesty, integrity, and doing what is right. A friend of mine’s husband was a born-again Christian, he led a men’s Bible Group at breakfast, yet that didn’t stop him from leaving his wife and children for someone else. Faith matters not only in our proclamation of faith, “Jesus I believe in you! I love you! I want to follow your will!” it means dying to self and taking up the daily cross and following Him.

Faith begins with the understanding that Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, came into this world as our Savior, died for our sins, and rose on the third day. He conquered sin and death. He did it for you and for me. That should make us rejoice!

The only place to go is forward. Do not look at the past; look to today and the only place to go is to Jesus. Don’t walk, run! We can become distracted by the things of this world, and to that, we say, “Get behind me, Satan, in the name of Jesus!” By focusing on the eternal, by putting our trust in God, by looking at the good that is in our lives (look carefully, those of you who doubt; it is there), and rejoicing in everything. Remember, everything in our lives does not go unnoticed by the Almighty. God gives us the tools we need for sanctity. Remember that he has armed us (think back at the beginning of this podcast, put on the Armor of God). He has armed and equipped us and it is up to us to allow him to work out the conflicts in our lives so that we can flourish in that peace that surpasses all understanding.

While we should pray, “God give me a new heart!” We read in Ezekiel 11:19  I will give them one[a] heart, and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,

A heart that hungers for the Lord, a heart that hungers for righteousness and goodness, a heart that wants to be used by God to minister to this hurting world. Amen! Dear friends, it isn’t easy, but our faith should be the most important thing in our lives. Everything else will pass, but our faith redeems and gives us a chance at everlasting life.

In the next podcast, I will share with you the miracles in the lives of believers today and how we can enjoy the fullness of life as Christians all year long!

The challenge this week is to live out our faith; if we are not sure what we believe, research and think about it! Then, pray and strive today to walk closer to our Lord.

 

Loneliness At Christmas

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Loneliness At Christmas | Loneliness can happen at any time of the year, yet loneliness at Christmas seems especially painful. In this podcast we will discuss our role as Christians and how to bring to those in need the joy of the season of light | #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #CelebrateChristmasandAdvent #CelebrateChristmas #LonelinessAtChristmasLoneliness At Christmas ~ Episdoe 282

Loneliness can happen at any time of the year, yet loneliness at Christmas seems especially painful. In this podcast we will discuss our role as Christians and how to bring to those in need the joy of the season of light.

Visit Media Angels.com for gifts for your family, especially the Character Planners that help you and your children focus on the importance of developing good habits.

Here are some podcasts you may enjoy.

Loneliness

Connection With Others

Temptation is Real

As I think back on Christmas past, I remember how my father felt after my mother’s passing. Every time there was an event or holiday, he missed her, especially the first time. He was so used to spending time with her and sharing his life that when she was gone, it was as if a piece of him was missing. My neighbor died this summer unexpectedly, and I am certain his widow also feels the pains of firsts, the first Thanksgiving without him, the first Christmas, and more. We are only neighbors, and friends, but when someone has a special place in your life, you will definitely feel the loneliness at Christmas.

In Isaiah 41:10 we read: (Read on air.)

God gives us the strength we need, but we need to ask. How often do we forget to ask? I know I do. In living our lives we can feel lonely even in the midst of people. I think that is why we stay so busy, so we don’t feel loneliness and so that we don’t focus on what is bothering us.

Loneliness At Christmas Can Be A Struggle

Psalm 16:11 – (Read on air.)

When we are in a good place with our faith and our Lord, it seems to stem the loneliness. We don’t feel as alone or afraid. We find that joy that surpasses all understanding. Yet at times, we feel as if we are being tested.

In 1 Chronicles 29:17, we read on air.

Loneliness At Christmas Understood

There is no secret formula to combat loneliness at Christmas other than to give our hearts to the Lord. My friend would take her three boys and spend time at the soup kitchen or Church ministries. She did this at Thanksgiving as well as at Christmas. This took place after she was divorced, and she felt that her holiday was different, sad, and lonely. She decided that in giving, we receive, not for the sake of receiving. And she did! She said it was the best holiday and she wished she had done it sooner.

That is truly a gift.

Make me an instrument of your peace is a song as well as a prayer attributed to St. Francis…O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.

St. Francis gave up his life of wealth to serve the Lord and to serve the poor. We may not all have the opportunity to spend time with the poor this Christmas, but if you can, it is well worth it. Sometimes ministering to our own families and extended families is serving the poor in spirit. Other times they are blessing us with their joy and presence. It takes an effort to travel, especially during the holidays.

Loneliness can be a blessing; it is a pearl of great price. Think about how the Lord Jesus prayed at the garden of Gethsemane and the apostles could not stay awake with him for one hour. I pray in my mind that I am there with him. God, Jesus doesn’t need me, yet we can offer the simple tasks as an offering of our hearts even if it is just in our thoughts.

Matthew 13:44 states (read on air).

Loneliness Overcome

Our loneliness is a struggle, and it is something we may try to overcome, but each in our own way. Finding other like-minded people is helpful. I often see people at church who have lost a loved one join together for the holidays or even after church for coffee. I try to reach out to friends I know who may be struggling. I know they are being social even if they do not feel like it. It is easier to stay home, but putting out the effort is often rewarded.

We can all pray that the Lord uses us to minister to others, whether it is visiting someone without family in a nursing home, serving the needs of the poor, donating to a worthy cause, or buying gifts for those less fortunate. All of these things are small in the scope of our lives, but each one of these things brings us closer to the Lord.

This week the challenge is to pray for those who are struggling and lonely this Christmas as well as other times of the year and to ask the Lord to use us to bring joy to their hearts. Let God be praised now and forever.

 

Never Underestimate Prayer

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Never Underestimate Prayer | Do you think your prayers never get answered? I believe you should never underestimate prayer! In this podcast, Felice discusses ways we can shortchange the Lord and what a blessing it is to realize that our prayers have been answered | #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #CelebrateChristmasandAdvent #CelebrateChristmas #NeverUnderestimatePrayerNever Underestimate Prayer ~ Episode 281

Do you think your prayers never get answered? I believe you should never underestimate prayer! In this podcast, Felice discusses ways we can shortchange the Lord and what a blessing it is to realize that our prayers have been answered.

Thanks to our sponsor – Media Angels, you can find curriculum as well as books such as One More Child and A Few Minutes with God.

Before you ask, no, my prayers do not always get answered, well–let me rephrase that. They do get answered but not how I would like them to be answered. I hope that makes you feel better. But that is no excuse to underestimate the power of prayer. We can pray, sometimes for years (or it seems like years), with no results.

Never Underestimate Prayer

If you haven’t done, so already, I invite you to listen to a previous podcast I did that is on the topic of forgiveness. What does this have to do with prayer? Well, I prayed for many years, and it turned out to be seven years, for a situation that happened in my life. Basically, I was praying for a person who had hurt me. Every time I was upset or felt helpless, I asked the Lord to bless this person. Did I feel like praying was a blessing? No, but felt led by the Lord to pray it anyway.

I invite you to do this. If you are upset with a person or hold a grudge against them, it is always best to go to the Lord in prayer and to pray for this person. The reason is that the enemy dislikes it when we pray for someone. The enemy wants us to be upset and unkind in our thoughts and in our actions, and when we reverse that and pray for a person who we believe has wronged us, then the enemy has no power over us and usually leaves us. In my case, a chance meeting showed me that all of that animosity and hurt feelings and everything else that I was feeling was gone.

This was truly a miracle, and seven years–wow! That’s why we should never underestimate prayer! I didn’t even realize it had been so long. However, the outcome was such a blessing in my life and one that I wanted to share with all of you. It isn’t always easy to admit when we are at fault, and holding grudges and unforgiveness in my heart is an example of being at fault. None of us are exempt from sin.

I learned through perseverance and prayer that the Lord always answers our prayers, and we should never underestimate prayer or his power in our lives, we feel defeated and alone and that no one hears us or understands us, and I think that’s what leads so many people into sin —they think that no one understands them, that God doesn’t hear them until finally a situation crops into their lives that they feel is an answer— but instead the situation becomes worse than the solution.

Friends, we must be steadfast and continue to pray. When I look at the lives of the Saints, those holy men and women who’ve gone before us. I see their lives are marked with struggle, yet they continue on and persevere. What a wonderful example that is for each one of us. Can you imagine if Abraham had given up or if David had stopped worshiping God after sinning? Sure, it took him some time to repent, but eventually God, God wants our hearts and minds to be single, focused and living the best life we can keep him at our center. The key is repentance and prayer.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

That is a scripture we should commit to memory!

One of my sons started listening to a podcast from a businessman.  He has been very successful, and he wants to share his success with others who are striving to live lives that he calls “striving for excellence.” I may have mentioned this to you in a previous podcast, but it’s worth mentioning again, especially since it has encouraged my son to strive for excellence. I explained that when we strive for excellence we’re striving to put on the mind of Christ. Excellence only comes from God, the same way we receive grace or blessings in our lives. It is a pure gift.

When we strive to live each day the best way we can, we should offer up our day to the Lord. Otherwise, are attempting the impossible, especially with daily temptations.  Striving to do something on your own is a recipe for failure. How can we strive to put on the mind of Christ? One way is to focus on what is important each and every day to our day to the Lord and ask him to come into our lives in a deeper way. I often pray this prayer. I don’t know how successful I am, but I do ask the Lord to come into my life in a deeper way.

We should set aside some time for prayer. How often you can do this depends on what is going on in your life; I know people like the idea of downtime, but what better way than spending time with God? On the days that I can’t spend time with God, I offer my day to him. I try to focus on what is important that day and give it the rest to him.
We can make our lives a prayer to God, and in that way, even if we are not verbalizing our intent, God knows our heart and perhaps will bring a scripture verse to mind or maybe a song of praise. Challenge yourself to memorize a scripture verse this week. Then another one next week. Soon you will have four verses memorized by the end of the month. Can you imagine if we did that monthly?  We’d have 48 verses memorized by the end of the year.

Colossians 3:16 (Read on air.)

Gratitude And Prayer

Can we sing gratitude? I’m sure if we were all in a room together and sharing about how the Lord has answered our prayers, we would be amazed at each of our stories. Each one of us has hardships that we bear, but each one of us has been blessed whether or not we realize it. If not, perhaps you can pray for an attitude check. Praising God in all things, seeing the good in our lives and those around us. This takes prayer, and it takes grace!

One way we can see how we are doing in our faith walk is to look at our lives as a glass that is half full or half empty which is it? Is your life half full, or is it half empty? If you believe your life is half full, meaning that you are blessed, rather than half empty, meaning you are lacking, that is one indication. No, it’s not an exact science, but it is an illustration that shows how we can look at things optimistically or pessimistically. The choice is ours. Believing that God hears all of our prayers is really Important.

Ultimately, when we pray, it is up to the Lord; if he answers the way we would like him to answer or not, if it is a prayer that is important to our salvation, those are the ones that are answered the most. For example, Lord, give me more faith, our Lord, bring me closer to you. Remember, when we pray, it is not a feeling; it is a decision we make. We make a decision to pray similarly to making a decision to forgive ourselves as well as others as we are closer and closer to the Advent season. As I record this, and it will probably play for the first time during December, the season of Advent, let us call to mind how important it is to pray to the Lord and offer our daily struggles to him.

Your challenge this week is to look at answered prayer as a gift and give God all the glory that He rightly deserves.

Celebrate Christmas

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Celebrate Christmas and Advent | When you celebrate Christmas, does it include Advent? Advent is the time before Christmas. It is the 24-day countdown to the blessed event, the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Advent helps us to put the holiday in perspective. In this podcast, Felice discusses ways you can celebrate this joyous time, whether you are living alone or celebrating as a family | #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #CelebrateChristmasandAdvent #CelebrateChristmasCelebrate Christmas and Advent – Episode 280

When you celebrate Christmas, does it include Advent? Advent is the time before Christmas. It is the 24-day countdown to the blessed event, the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Advent helps us to put the holiday in perspective. In this podcast, Felice discusses ways you can celebrate this joyous time, whether you are living alone or celebrating as a family.

More podcasts on Celebrating Christmas here:

Countdown to Christmas

Christmas Blessings

Christmas is Real

Advent deals with the coming of Christ, yes, but also the openness of our heart to receive our Lord and Savior, as well as the more profound meaning of recognizing he came for a purpose: to open the gates of heaven and to set us free from sin.

In my church, Advent brings in the Christmas season or the start of what is called the liturgical year. This is the season of Christmas and ends in January with the feast of the Epiphany is celebrated—the coming of the wise men to visit Christ.

The liturgical year is also celebrated with special colors worn by the priests at church. They are as follows:

  • White: joy and purity, and the resurrection
  • Green – hope and perseverance the call to continue to listen
  • Purple – penance, waiting and morning
  • Red – martyrdom of Jesus and the sayings
  • Blue is in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • Pink —solemnity
  • Gold – royalty

Suppose you had to pick a color which would you pick to celebrate Advent. You would think white, possibly, but it is purple. Advent is a time of waiting and morning. It is a time of joy because we know the end of the story, but it is a time of hope and sorrow for what had to be because of the sinfulness, the free will choice of man. When we celebrate Christmas, we can follow the Lenten practice of prayer and fasting. This is difficult to do unless you live alone. But, some families do make this their practice.

One idea is to fast from a particular bad habit or from overeating during the holiday when it seems that cakes, cookies, and parties are abundant. It does not have to follow the strictness of Lent, the 40 days before Easter. The importance is to recognize the Christmas season as a time of reflection.

What can you do to celebrate Christmas? Decorations, sure. But keeping the focus on the “reason for the Season,” the Christ child. In our decorations, be sure to add a Nativity scene or two, a picture of the Holy Family, or something that reminds you of the coming of our Savior.

Isaiah 7:14 (read on air).

Or we can read the geology of Jesus in Matthew 1 – again a reminder of the prophecy of God the Father to Abraham, Genesis 26:4 (Read on air).

While we love the Christmas season for so many reasons, it is also a time of hardship for many. It is difficult because of the loss of a loved one, financial hardships, or perhaps illness. Yet, the key to the season’s joy is not on the external but the internal, the focus on Christ.

Isaiah 9:6-7 (Read on air)

Who doesn’t want to celebrate the season with joy after hearing that? We can each celebrate in a way that makes sense for your individual family. For us, it begins with nightly prayer. This year, Advent begins on December 3. We will begin early because everyone will be home on Thanksgiving. So we will do the first week twice. Each evening, we light one candle and pray from my favorite book.

During the Advent season, we use a round advent wreath with four candles, three purple and one pink. The pink candle is lit on the third Sunday of Advent to remind us of the momentous occasion that is to come the following week. It is a time of prayer and scripture readings, and our family adds the prayer of thanksgiving. We share what we are the most thankful for each evening after our prayer time. It is wonderful and I celebrate this time with joy with my family.

I’ve given the children advent wreaths to take to college with them so they could celebrate on their own until we gather at Christmas time. It is called the Season of Light: Daily Prayer for the Lighting of the Advent Wreath. I have purchased other books but do not like them as well. The readings are not very long, but they are heartfelt. The suggestion is given to do this during or before a meal.

However you celebrate this Christmas, I pray you are surrounded by joy. Your challenge this week is to think about how you want to prepare in the coming weeks and, as always keep Christ in your heart.

Blessed Be The Lord

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Blessed Be The Lord | This is a time of Thanksgiving and being grateful. But honestly, we should be singing, Blessed be the Lord" from the rooftops. Too much? At the very least, we need to realize where our blessings come from | #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #BlessedBeTheLord #BlessedBe #TheLordBlessed Be The Lord ~ Episode 279

This is a time of Thanksgiving and being grateful. But honestly, we should be singing, Blessed be the Lord” from the rooftops. Too much? At the very least, we need to realize where our blessings come from. In this podcast, you will be encouraged and leave with hope!

How do you feel when someone says, great job? Or, thanks so much for what you are doing, or you were so helpful. We enjoy being recognized. And while humility is a virtue, it is still nice to receive praise. It makes us want to strive to do better.

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How much more should we be thanking and praising God? He, after all, gave us our lives. He is the Creator of the Universe; He is the Almighty, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! The scriptures are filled with verse after verse of the words, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.” These are words of worship.

One of my favorite scriptures is Psalm 113:2 – Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forevermore!

Blessed Be The Name of the Lord

How do you feel hearing this? It fills me with joy. When we are thanking God, we may think we are doing it for Him, but we are doing it for ourselves. God is perfect, and we can do nothing to make him “more perfect.” He does not need our praise, but he deserves it.

Just like we don’t need to be thanked or praised for a job well done, it is still nice to hear it coming, especially from our family. Why is it that we take our own family for granted at times, just like we take the Almighty God and Father for granted?

We feel the eternal, heartfelt joy in the words in Ephesians 1:3 (Read on air.)

What is more important than spiritual blessings? Nothing. That is the greatest gift we can receive. By glorifying God, we are doing the little thing. It is a form of love of obedience, and what God gives us back is joy. An abundance of joy!

There is no way we can outgive God; try it. Anything we do to praise and glorify Him is given back tenfold. Just think of singing praise and worship music. The song, “Blessed Be The Lord God Almighty,” gets stuck in my head when I hear it and sing along. It is as if the Lord is reminding me of that—link to lyrics of the song. 

Singing the refrain reminds us of what is important; it gives us a chance to let go of the cares of this world and the stresses in our lives. It allows us to see the bigger picture, the end goal, and what we should strive to focus on. When we let go and let God, as the saying goes, we allow Him to work in our lives. Amen? For me, music helps. I can’t listen to music and work on anything at the same time because I tend to want to sing along. It’s a good thing the Lord doesn’t care what we sound like.

At church, I often see people who are not singing. We are taught that singing is praising God twice. Even if you can’t sing well, try it- you can sing low!  It is uplifting to sing, and singing prepares you. It opens your heart to hear the Word of God and what the pastor is teaching. It is also helpful to praise God before you open the Bible. When my children were younger, and I didn’t have time to go to church daily, I would pray the one-hour prayer. Not all at once but during the day as I had time. I thought I did a podcast on the one-hour prayer, but I have not. I will do one soon because it was beneficial and so helpful.

In a nutshell, the point of the one-hour prayer was to praise the Lord, repent from sins, and prepare our hearts for reading the Scriptures. It is an abundance of blessings–for us. What a wonderful and merciful God we have.

Today’s topic is probably not anything you don’t already know. Most of you have a relationship with the Lord, most praise the Lord, and most of you listen to praise and worship music, but it is a reminder to us all. First, do not take God for granted. He is worthy of all praise. Second, fill our hearts and minds with glory and praise, and we will find our hearts uplifted. It may even combat fear and depression. And, third, take it to heart. Make it your goal this week to thank God, saying, Blessed be the Lord—amen~and halleluiah. Jesus reigns yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Holidays and Faith

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Holidays and Faith | Faith takes a back seat when you get busy, especially during the holidays. This episode explores holidays and faith, keeping God in the forefront—simple ways to get in the holiday mood without taking your focus off of the Lord | #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #FaithfulChristian #HolidaysandFaithHolidays and Faith ~ Episode 278

Faith takes a back seat when you get busy, especially during the holidays. This episode explores holidays and faith, keeping God in the forefront—simple ways to get in the holiday mood without taking your focus off of the Lord.

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, with books for parents and children.

Here are some great podcasts you will want to listen to.

Rejoice! The kingdom of God is at hand. Friends, this is a time for rejoicing even if we don’t feel it. We are being bombarded from every side with personal, spiritual, and financial issues—some insurmountable. But nothing is too big for God, and during this time, when people turn their backs on him, we can still praise Him! When we get too busy, praise Him. When we don’t think we can go on, praise Him!

He is worthy of our praise.

Holidays and Faith Begins With The True God.

I was searching holidays and faith and was shocked by what I found on a popular search engine. The first one was a pagan holiday, and there were two other pagan holidays listed. I clicked the link to see what else I’d find and was sent to a website where I had to scroll almost to the bottom to find Christian/Catholic – Christmas. Seriously? Should I be surprised?  Probably not.

But you and I? We can make a difference, first in our own lives and then in the lives of others. If we were in charge of the search engine analytics, we would ensure Judaism, Christianity, and Catholicism were front and center.

Hebrews 11:1 (Read on air.)

What a wonderful encouragement. We have been blessed! We have been given the most incredible gift: faith in God. We see evidence of this in our lives and the lives of those holy men and women of God whom we respect and admire. For many of us, faith is something we live daily. But when we get busy, we sometimes forget to prioritize the most important thing: our relationship with the Almighty God.

Christian holidays are focused on the essentials of our faith—Christmas centers on the birth of Jesus, and Easter, his death and resurrection. Whatever the holiday, even if it is Thanksgiving or Valentine’s Day we can still pull in the Christian elements. Our faith transcends secular holidays, and we are reminded of the Divine. Especially since we know God is the way, the truth, and the life. He has given us a gift, a priceless gift, and that is faith.

In Romans 21:21-22 (Read on air.)

So, any time we get too busy or overwhelmed, we pray. Jesus said, “Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.” Right? The key is in prayer with faith. God will hear us always; the answer isn’t always “yes.”

Our state of mind is in direct proportion to our spiritual life. I had to take myself to task about this recently. I was feeling down, overwhelmed and really couldn’t handle the least little thing without extreme worry. I began an internal evaluation.

Checklist of Faith:

  1. Praying? Check.
  2. Attending church regularly? Check.
  3. Thanking God during the day? Check.
  4. Praise and worship music. No.
  5. Spending time with the Lord. No.

I had plenty of excuses, and as I shared on the last podcast, “All in For God,” we need to be done with our excuses. We need to say, “Here I am, Lord!” Amen? I started staying a little later at Mass, praying yes–but spending time in quiet. My mind may wander, but I bring it back to God out of determination. The evil one doesn’t want us to spend any time with God and will put all kinds of thoughts in our heads, even good ones. Yet, we need to be strong, determined, and focused.

During the holidays, things seem to ramp up on our time and emotional well-being. People are either happy or sad during the holidays. People are lonely, or they’ve lost loved ones, and people are overwhelmed and worried about the money they don’t have to spend on gifts. But, if we give some time in prayer to the Lord and spend it with him, enjoying the beauty of the outdoors and seeing the glory of God in the landscape, it is all a way to realize this world is so much bigger than just us.

How do we get to a place to celebrate the holidays and ensure our prayer life is not overlooked? That, dear friends, is up to you. Spend some time and think about what you have to do, how you will do it in the time you have, and what you can cut out. That is one of the most significant dilemmas we have.

Matthew 15:13 (read on air.)

There, we claim hope in the precious Name of God. We ask the Lord to fill us with his joy and peace. We pray that this holiday, whether a major calendar holiday, a birthday, or an anniversary, is filled with joy. You see, joy is a decision. Faith is a decision to accept what is freely given. There are so few things we have control over, yet we do control our minds and faith.

This leads me to our challenge for this week: to be aware if we find ourselves leaving God out of our family celebrations, no matter what the time or the season. Let’s put God first, and everything else will follow.

 

Teaching Self-Talk to Children

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Teaching Self-Talk to Children | Teaching Self-Talk to Children. Positive self-talk is one of the most important interior skills a person can have.  Unfortunately, it rarely, if ever, gets taught.  Since we listen to ourselves far more than we listen to anyone else, it’s an essential skill to have | #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #TheStruggleisReal! #InterconnectedPsychology&Spirituality #InterconnectedPsychologyandSpirituality #TeachingSelf-TalktoChildrenTeaching Self-Talk to Children

Teaching Self-Talk to Children. Positive self-talk is one of the most important interior skills a person can have.  Unfortunately, it rarely, if ever, gets taught.  Since we listen to ourselves far more than we listen to anyone else, it’s an essential skill to have.  When we have positive self-talk, almost any situation can be handled with confidence and peace.  When we lack it, we can quickly become dependent on others for affirmation and validation.  At best, that positions a child to be a follower in the crowd and, at worst, leaves a child vulnerable to teasing and bullying, which can be quite destructive and traumatizing.

If you haven’t already, you might want to listen to my podcasts, How to Talk to Yourself and How to Talk to Mean Voices, because learning to talk to yourself in a healthy way will help you teach the same to your child.  The most effective self-talk isn’t just talking to yourself but from your true/wise self.  That means speaking from a calm, confident, and compassionate place to whatever part of us struggles.

Here are a few principles to teach children for positive self-talk:

  • Emotions are information.
  • Emotions are only one source of information.
  • We have emotions. We aren’t emotions.
  • The true/wise self can see the information the emotional part is struggling with and can also present other information.
  • Personify the emotions for the sake of being able to treat them compassionately.

The autonomy, self-efficacy, emotional regulation, and confidence that can come from practicing positive self-talk is hard to overstate.  The first young child I used this with was my nephew when he was three years old and by it, he resolved what had become a dramatic situation quite quickly and peacefully.  I was astounded.  Listen to the podcast to hear the story.  I had a young mother tell me she had similar results with her five-year-old daughter.  I think the only reason it might sound complicated to us as adults is because we may have had years of believing we really are the emotions we’re experiencing, relying on others to soothe us, or even believing that we’re mentally unstable if we talk to ourselves.

Teach your child to talk to himself as Jesus would talk to him and you won’t regret it and he won’t either.

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

All In For God

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

All In For God | What are your priorities? Somewhere in that list, does God make it to the top? In this episode, we will explore how we can be all in for God today and always. It is an easy way to restructure our priorities | #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #FaithfulChristian #KeystoUnlockingYourFaith #UnlockingYourFaith #AllInForGod All In For God ~ Episode 277

What are your priorities? Somewhere in that list, does God make it to the top? In this episode, we will explore how we can be all in for God today and always. It is an easy way to restructure our priorities.

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, with books, self-paced classes, and printables. Check out the website for more information.

I belong to a women’s ministry, Magnificat. It is an international ministry that brings women together within the context of a meal. We pray, praise, and worship, and host a speaker who tells us how they have grown in the love of the Lord and how they got to the point they were all in for God. Most of the time, it is a call to action. A call to change our lives for the better and to focus on the most important thing: our faith.

In prayer recently, we felt the Lord was calling us to go deeper, yes, but to be single-minded in our focus on Him. The time of excuses, dear friends, is over. We all have them. I’m too busy; I have too many people who need me, my job, my home, my faith community. All are excuses. I know. I use them. Often.

The Lord is steadfast in love, yes – but he is a jealous God. Exodus 20:5 – You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me…

and then we read in Exodus 34:6 (Read on air).

The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lorda God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. 

Are we willing to reject God? We may not worship false idols in the sense of the people of Israel, statutes that they sacrificed even their children. Yet, today we see abortion is a type of sacrifice. It is a sacrifice of free will, an offering to evil in order. Parenting is hard work, and it is sacrificial. It is the element of self-sacrifice that has been lost. It is self sacrifice that will lead us closer to the Lord, not away from Him. When we die to self we

 

 

 

 

Keys To Unlocking Your Faith

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Keys to Unlocking Your Faith | The keys to unlocking your faith are not complicated, yet often missed in our hectic lives. In this podcast, we discuss the key elements of faith and ways we can be open to receiving more of Him and less of us | #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #FaithfulChristian #KeystoUnlockingYourFaith #UnlockingYourFaith #KeystoYourFaithKeys to Unlocking Your Faith ~ Episode 276

The keys to unlocking your faith are not complicated, yet often missed in our hectic lives. In this podcast, we discuss the key elements of faith and ways we can be open to receiving more of Him and less of us.

Everyone likes keys, and what’s not to like? They unlock previously blocked or locked items and often treasures. What is more important than the treasure of faith? For those of you who are lifelong Christians, the answer may be obvious, but still, when was the last time you asked the Lord to come into your life and unlock those places you’ve previously blocked?

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Think about this. Many of us pray and have an openness to God. We read the Scriptures, pray our prayers, and maybe even confess our sins. But, there is the place we ignore, we don’t think about, and we won’t release to the Almighty.

One time, I felt strongly in prayer that God was calling me to do more. He was asking me to give Him my all — but in a way that made me pause. “Lord, I’ve given you my heart, mind, intellect, all of me.”

But what about your health, your family, your finances?

Do we release everything to Him and say – Your will, Lord, not mine? Sure, within reason or what we believe is reason. We worship God, but what do we leave on the table? There is a saying in business that often we leave money on the table. That means we do not maximize our investment or profit to the fullest. We are, in essence, short, short-changing ourselves.

The same can be said in faith; we give God everything except everything.

The key to unlocking your faith is a complete surrender, and some of you listening are just not ready. Join the club. We are rational human beings. God gave us intellect, He gave us reason, He gave us free will (which often gets us in trouble). But He has also given us everything.

Jesus gave me everything by lowering Himself to come as a babe, live among us, suffer, and die to atone for my sins and the sins of humanity. He opened the gateways of heaven for me. He loves me. And I can choose to deny Him.

We walk around with heaviness and a lack of joy because we carry the burdens of life. We live in a world of war, strife, anger, and deceit. How do we see the silver lining in this world? Yet, we hold on and cling to life, don’t we? On occasion, I suffer from migraines. The pain is excruciating, but it is debilitating. For those of you who are fellow suffers out there, you know. I can do nothing, but I hope and pray it ends soon. Amid the suffering, the thoughts are disjointed as they believe there would be respite in death. How many suicides are there? The number has grown exponentially, especially among our young people. That is a lie from the evil one, and I rebuke it in Jesus’ Name. There is death, yes, when God wills it and only then.

If you are struggling, you can figure out the cause in this way. Try to listen to praise and worship music, try to watch something that is faith-based, and try to read Scripture. Does any of this bring a struggle in your mind or make you want to turn it off or away? If so, you are in the midst of a spiritual struggle. It happens to all of us from time to time. We want to bury ourselves in fluff, entertainment, and veg out occasionally. And, of course, there is nothing wrong with this. However, remember, the enemy wants to keep us in a loop of entertainment to rob us of the joy of a genuine faith infilling (Come Holy Spirit) and the joy that only comes from God.

There is good news! The good news is that true faith comes from releasing our will freely to the Almighty God.

So, back to the keys. The keys to unlocking your faith, what are they?

  1. Surrender to God’s will in your life—all of me, Lord, for all of you.
  2. Know that God will provide no matter what you cross if you lean on Him.
  3. Fill your mind with all that is good; listen to praise and worship music.
  4. Join a faith community. There is power in praying with other faithful Christians.
  5. Go to church.

Friends, the truth is that the struggle, while real, can be overcome with the simple keys to unlocking your faith. Come, Holy Spirit, come and fill each person listening today! Your challenge is to pray this week for more of Him in your life, and if you are ready, surrender all to Him. Amen!

 

 

Deliver Us From Evil

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Deliver Us From Evil | In the Lord's prayer, we recite the words, "Deliver us from evil now and at the hour of death," but what does that mean? As Christians, we avoid evil as much as possible, but that does not mean we aren't tempted. In this podcast, we discover the scriptures do more than warn | #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #FaithfulChristian #DeliverUsFromEvilDeliver Us From Evil ~ Episode 275

In the Lord’s prayer, we recite the words, “Deliver us from evil now and at the hour of death,” but what does that mean? As Christians, we avoid evil as much as possible, but that does not mean we aren’t tempted. In this podcast, we discover the scriptures do more than warn.

Sin can paralyze us. We can feel under attack. In some cases, it is difficult to break out of this hold, this attack. We live in a culture of self-indulgence, instant food, and easy access to things most countries can only dream about. Yet, we hear that many people feel empty and alone.

Many people are drawn to the prosperity scriptures, such as in Jerimiah. What is not to love? Jerimah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

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The Lord wants to shower us with an abundance of grace, but often, our hands are firmly in our pockets, or we sit with our arms crossed. We crave prosperity, but we realize it isn’t that easy to receive because of all the blocks we place in the way. God knows our hearts, and often we are found lacking. God wants to bless, heal, and restore us, yet it is up to us to open our arms to the Lord—your will, not ours. Deliver us from evil, Lord, as you will it to be. That should be our prayer.

The Gospel message is not for the faint of heart.

Psalm 9 – The Lord will judge the world with justice. Read all of Psalm 9, but the first (read on air)

Jesus is the Lord; he came and lived among sinful men when they yearned for a Messiah. These people did not recognize him even with all of the miraculous happening. Jesus cast out demons, yet the people of the day said he could only do this because he was evil. Whatever were they thinking? This is what we would call faulty thinking today.

In the Gospel of Luke 11:15-26, we read that the people were complaining about the Lord. They said Jesus casts out the ruler of the demons, but the only way he could do this was because he was evil. In verses 17-22, Jesus says, (Read on air)

And that, my friends, is the crux of the issue — whoever is not with God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is against him. There is no time to be lukewarm. Lukewarm will not only get us into trouble but also allow evil to come back with a vengeance. It was difficult for the men then, as well as people now, to give Jesus credit, to believe, and to turn back from sin.

The really scary part is that while the demon was expelled from the man, not only did it come back.

The Return of the Unclean Spirit

Luke 11:24-26 (Read on air.)

Spiritual warfare doesn’t take a break; those who get free of addictions, if you get free of the evil, you need to change your lifestyle to maintain that freedom. Turn to a life of prayer and a sacramental life. We are made as a spiritual vessel for the Holy Spirit, and if it is not filled by the Holy Spirit, it gets filled by other spirits. We can not leave it empty.

How do you avoid evil? Recognize it.

Even as Christians, the lure for understanding or knowing the future is prevalent in our society. Two years ago, I was in New Orleans for a conference and visited St. Louis Cathedral. The church had erected a high metal fence in front of it, which I found strange until I saw, little by little, people in colorful garments coming and setting up shop in the open, public space in front of the church. Who were these people? They were the “sellers” of evil. There were fortune tellers and palm readers, to name a few. Some people took tours to talk about the ghosts that inhabited many of the buildings and had been “seen” in years past.

Where there is good, evil abounds. You may think I am exaggerating, but the truth is that the enemy will do anything for your soul. The enemy is allowed in through a gateway, but always with our permission.

One way that evil enters is through occult practices; many are unaware of items such as occult games, for example, the Ouija board and tarot cards. Or activities such as seances and mediums,  which is how evil gets in, because people welcome and allow it, believing it is just for fun or not real. Friends, it is real. Evil does have power, but only what we give it; God is greater, He is Almighty, He has dominion over evil. Who will we serve?

Deliver Us From Evil, Scripture Warns Us

The scriptures warn us. The Old Testament is filled with worship of idols, of false gods. The true God, the Creator of heaven and earth, gave warning after warning. The 10 Commandments, the prophets, and what happened? All of the twelve tribes of Israel fell because while two of the twelve (in the south) worshipped the true God, they would not remove the “idols from on high” that the people worshiped. We can not be divided in our worship.

A verse that should give us pause is in Isaiah 47 – in verses 10-11 (Read on air.) Leviticus 20:6  (Read on air.)

Deliver Us From Evil – Five Easy Steps

  1. Renounce your sin, ask the Lord to call the sins to mind, and rebuke them in the Name of Jesus.
  2. Renounce permission you may have given the evil one to enter through the sin. Spiritual warfare prayer.
  3. Claim in the Name of Jesus that you are a child of God.
  4. Pray with a spiritual advisor or clergy.
  5. If you are Catholic, go to confession and receive the sacraments often.

Praying, reading the scriptures, asking for more of the Holy Spirit, and confessing are ways to avoid evil.

Spiritual Warfare Prayer

  1. Renounce sin – in the Name of Jesus, I give you dominion over my life and renounce the sin of *** ____________________ (pray and quietly wait on the Lord to reveal sin to your mind.)
  2. Put on the armor of God Ephesians 6:10-18.
    • RIGHTEOUSNESS: Girdle of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, flaming arrows against the evil one, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit.
    • WHOLE ARMOR: In verses 13-18,” Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
    • TRUTH: Stand, therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness.
    • PEACE: As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.
    • FAITH: With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
    • SALVATION: Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
    • PRAY: Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.Pray in the Spirit – come Holy Spirit, and keep alert.

***Once you have prayed against evil – for example, the spirit of lies, ask the Lord to fill you with the opposite, “the spirit of truth.” Always pray the opposite of the evil and ask God to fill you with His grace. If you do not know the opposite, pray, Come Holy Spirit.

Remember, the battle has been won! Alleluiah. Alleluiah. Jesus lived, died, has risen, and has broken the bonds of death. We must be open and vigilant and recognize that we can pray, “Come Holy Spirit, Come…fill my heart today and always.”

Your challenge this week is to pray the spiritual warfare prayer and take back any areas you have given over. Amen! May God be praised.

The Struggle is Real!

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

The Struggle is Real! | I grew up in the Deep South and learned to drive a stick shift when I was eight years old; for those under 50, some cars had manual transmissions, meaning that the driver had to change the gears.  In most cars nowadays, that happens automatically | #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #TheStruggleisReal!The Struggle is Real!

I grew up in the Deep South and learned to drive a stick shift when I was eight years old; for those under 50, some cars had manual transmissions, meaning that the driver had to change the gears.  In most cars nowadays, that happens automatically.  It was on old, unmarked dirt roads.  Driving underage and without a license isn’t something for which I’m advocating, but it was a great experience.  I loved everything about it.  Learning a new skill was fun, but in particular, there was something about the challenge itself that was exciting.

Fast forward to my experience of trying to teach adults to drive sticks.  It’s been surprisingly different.  Any adult I’ve ever taught has been apprehensive and has frozen when they stalled out.  Stalling out is common when learning to drive a stick.  The car doesn’t explode.  You don’t get ejected from the driver’s seat.  Aliens don’t take you to another planet.  You simply put the car in neutral and start it back up.  I began paying attention to a common difference in how we handle challenges as kids and how we do as adults.  It seems as though, as adults, we tend to have unrealistic expectations of ourselves that we should already know and be proficient at whatever the skill or knowledge is.  Many of us learning new things significantly trail off or stop completely when we age.

I realized I’d been doing the same thing a few weeks ago.  I lift weights and consistently avoid single-leg exercises because my balance isn’t great.  I couldn’t do those exercises without a struggle, and so I realized I wasn’t doing them at all.  We tend not to like doing or even attempting things we haven’t mastered.  The problem is that growth in virtue and breaking patterns of sin can require struggle.  If we avoid struggle in the physical realm, why would it be any different in the spiritual dimension?  I know the same applies to mental challenges.  Compare the number of kids who learn musical instruments or languages to the number of adults who do.  It can be a little more challenging since our brains prune parts we aren’t using.  At the same time, the brain is highly adaptive.

So, I started doing the single leg exercises, and boy, do I ride the struggle bus on these.  No doubt.  I’m doing them in front of others, too.  However, after embracing the struggle as a spiritual and physical exercise, I’ve come to – dare I say it! – enjoy them!!!  I can only do micromovements – approximations of the exercise I’m attempting.  I can already tell it’s creating some muscle memory, though, and I can feel in my legs that muscles are being worked in a way I hadn’t been able to tax them before.

To sum it up, the process of struggling can have many benefits.

  1. Challenges us to be non-critical/non-judgmental.
  2. Tests our humility.
  3. Gives us an experience of gains that can be made on the way to mastery and a value for the growth process.
  4. We can make friends with the idea of struggle. The carry-over can lead to struggling toward growth in charity, patience, discipline, and many other spiritual fruits.

If you feel like the struggle is real, embrace it!  Be compassionate with yourself, and enjoy the process!

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

 

Faithful and Prudent Christian

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Faithful Christian | Do you want to be known as a faithful Christian? What about a faithful and prudent Christian? What does faith mean to you, and how can you use this calling to believe and bless others | #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #FaithfulChristianFaithful Christian ~ Episode 274

Do you want to be known as a faithful Christian? What about a faithful and prudent Christian? What does faith mean to you, and how can you use this calling to believe and bless others?

Media Angels is a publishing company dedicated to bringing good books, curriculum, and materials to Christian families. Check out the website for more information.

In the Bible, we read about wisdom and discernment. We also learn that a prudent person uses discretion and makes good decisions. We can’t do this all of the time; alas, no one is perfect, but with the help of God, we can live a life as faithful Christians.

Faithful Christians study the Word, learn from experience, and try to apply Biblical and Church principles to their lives. It is deciding each and every day that I will serve. Isn’t it interesting that those who are opposed to Christianity are those who seek self before others?

We must look outward instead of inward. I find that I can be critical of myself, and that is because I hold myself to a high standard, and when I don’t, measure up to what I think I should do, I can feel let down. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I have time to pray each day, spend time in church or just in quiet with God. I also love to learn and listen to teachings whenever I can, usually taking notes.

Do you feel like that?

But what about those days when we get so busy or without any accomplishments? How do we feel then? Do we give ourselves some slack or allow ourselves to regroup? If we don’t, we can become a slave to lists and requirements without being true to our calling.

What is our calling? To serve God, yes, but to know the mind and heart of God. God is righteous. We see this very clearly in the book of Jonah. We read that one of the lesser prophets, Jonah (and he wasn’t a very good prophet, we come to find out), was sent to Ninevah to warn the people to stop worshipping false Gods or they would be wiped out.

Every child learns of the story of the unrepentant Jonah and how he disobeyed God, went the wrong way, got on a ship, and was thrown overboard by the sailors because he admitted the storm was probably due to disobedience. Once he was thrown over and the seas calmed, the sailors praised and worshipped the one true God and changed their ways.

Jonah was eaten by a large fish, as the scriptures tell us, and finally, he was thrown up on the shores of Ninevah. He warns the people we read in Jonah 3:4-5 – read on air.

Jonah did everything he could not to follow what God asked him. He went the wrong way, barely giving instructions to the people of Nineveh, the bare minimum, yet the people believed. Even the king wore sackcloth and repented from worship to the false Gods. God changed his mind, and this city was not destroyed.

The other prophets at the time went to warn the tribes of Israel, but Jonah was sent to Assyria, which made Jonah angry – he was upset because he didn’t think these people should be saved. In Jonah 4:1-2 we read:

First, Jonah didn’t think they should be saved, and secondly, he knew …it says, “…for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love…”

We may shake our heads at Jonah. Seriously? Why would he disobey God? But consider this: how often do we think we know better than the Almighty? How often are we angry if others prosper and don’t deserve it? This is not how a faithful person should act. We should act in a way that knows the heart of God.

  1. God is merciful.
  2. God is slow to anger.
  3. God is abounding in steadfast love.

God forgives, and yes, He can change His mind because He is God.

Faithfulness means trusting in Divine Providence, even when we don’t want to. It also means that salvation is not just for the elect – it was not just for the tribe of Israel, especially after they continually worshipped the true God of Israel. But then they would not destroy the altars to the false idols and gods.

Salvation was available to the sailors on the ship that almost drowned; it was available to the people of Nineveh when they repented. It is available to you and me and to anyone who wants to follow the teachings of God.

Imagine this…we, as Christian people, decide to repent for humanity. We put on sackcloth, fast, pray, and repent. Can you imagine how we could change the world if we could do this? God would take pity on us and deliver us from evil.

2 Corinthians 5:7, we read, “for we walk by faith, not by sight.” let’s, yes — walk by faith, but let’s also open our eyes to the true God and how to better show others by our obedience and action that we are followers of truth.

This week, look at verses that discuss the heart of God and let’s all try to be more like Him.

Having a Ministry Mindset

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

A Ministry Mindset | Having a Ministry Mindset. In Genesis, God put a man in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it.  That was not a result of the fall of man.  It was laboring that resulted from man’s transgression.  God worked for 6 days as He created for six days, contrasting with Him resting on the seventh day | #WholnessHoliness #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #AMinistryMindsetA Ministry Mindset

Having a Ministry Mindset. In Genesis, God put a man in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it.  That was not a result of the fall of man.  It was laboring that resulted from man’s transgression.  God worked for 6 days as He created for six days, contrasting with Him resting on the seventh day.  Work is not a bad, but a beautiful thing in and of itself.  It can even be a glorious thing when we do it in collaboration with the Lord.  Along this same line is the motto of the Benedictines, “ora et labor,” that is, “prayer and work.”  Both are seen as essential and redemptive.

The fact of our lives is that most of us must work either for ourselves or someone else.  This is not to be a contrast but an extension or an expression of our life of faith. We are God’s hands and feet in this world, and it is through us that He seeks to build up the Kingdom at hand.  It is through us that He seeks to restore the Body of Christ.  We are sent out to do this as the apostles and disciples were.

Too often, as laity, we can look to clergy and religious to do that while we go to our jobs.  That’s not how it’s meant to be.  While they may have a more specifically religious flavor to their mission, our work is supposed to be every bit as much of a ministry, but ministry in the marketplace, perhaps.

Some factors that distinguish work from ministry:

  • Seeing the Lord as the ultimate Master for whom we work.
  • Entering our work with the focus and goal of witnessing to the love of God.
  • Offering the sacrifices required of us as acts of love and praise to the Lord.
  • Courageously and gratefully embracing whatever is required of us in our jobs as God’s provision for our personal growth.

Perhaps the most fundamental difference in a work and ministry mindset might be starting from a place of love rather than fear.  When we start from being deeply, passionately loved by the Lord and loving ourselves as He loves us, we go out into the world carried by the waves of His love, which flow through us to others.  If, however, we start from a mindset of fearing not being able to pay the bills or fearing our lack of inherent value, we look for what we can get through a job rather than what we can give.

This day, may the Lord sear into the depths of your soul the knowledge of His infinite and never-failing love for you.  In that strength, may you minister to His people in whatever task you do, and may the Lord give you His peace.

Margaret

 

Hunger For God

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Hunger for God | Where can you satisfy your hunger, that is, hunger for God? There is only one place, and that is in Him. In this podcast, we will discuss ways to combat that emptiness that we feel from time to time | #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #HungerforGodHunger for God ~ Episode 273

Where can you satisfy your hunger, that is, hunger for God? There is only one place, and that is in Him. In this podcast, we will discuss ways to combat that emptiness that we feel from time to time.

Thanks to Media Angels, the sponsor of this episode. You will find more information on the website at MediaAngels.com. Check out the Character Planners for families.

There is a saying that people look for love in all the wrong places; the same can be said about looking for fulfillment that we can only find in God.

Check out the Wholeness and Holiness Podcast on this Network and two episodes I enjoyed.

Coping with stress as well as Greater Peace, Joy, and Freedom.

Hunger For God

Ultimately, when we struggle, we must find fulfillment because of a need. We can only find satisfaction in God. That hunger that we have, that restlessness, that unquenchable thirst is because something is missing. As a Catholic, I memorized the questions and answers in the Baltimore Catechism as a kid. The first question was, “Who made the world.” The answer was, “God made the world.” It went on to establish that God was the creator of heaven, earth, and all things and that man was a creature composed of body and soul made in the image of the likeness of God. But the fourth question asked, “Why did God make you? The answer is God made me to know, love, and serve him.

We find we are unfulfilled when we know, love, and serve the wrong things.

A hunger for God is the desire for what is good and holy. It is not in the New Age sense or the false gods. Just like food is nourishing for the soul, God is nourishing for the spirit, and the heart cannot be quenched with the things of this world.

We read in Jeremiah two verses 11 through 13 (Read on air)

In the imagery of these verses, we see the warning of God, and this morning is that God has pointed out that the people of Israel have turned their backs on the one true God, and when they do that, they will find spiritual hunger.

Psalm 81:10 states I am the Lord, your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt; open your mouth wide, and I will fill it

Furthermore, we read in Matthew 5:6 (read on air) and John 6:33-35 (read on air).

And that is the only way, my friends, that we can fulfill our hunger for God unless we totally rely on him, unless we totally ask him for forgiveness, unless we pray “your will” be done in my life, God, we will always be hungry and will remain and satisfied.

Recently, I have changed my prayer petitions. Instead of praying specifically for something I’ve asked for repeatedly, I’ve been praying, “Your will be done, God.” In this way, I am releasing my prayers to him and the stress and anxiety accompanying it. That doesn’t mean I expect God to answer my prayer the way I had initially asked it, although that would be nice, but I can rest assured that whatever happens, it is within God’s will.

In a world where we can’t trust the things we see because how do we know if it hasn’t been manipulated or photoshopped or some other wonders of photography haven’t misled us, we can’t seem to trust words because many times those are skewed to fit a specific agenda, we can’t rely on or trust the government entities and many times we can’t even rely or trust on those. We love those who have hurt us.

But we can trust in God. We can trust in his perfection. Trusting when we are hungry for that spiritual infilling, we can rely upon God if we find ourselves struggling or empty or depressed or lonely. If this happens to you, think about why and analyze what you have put your faith into. What is not filling you up? What is not satisfying your would?

If we are not filling up on the Word of God, if we are not filling up on prayer, if we are not filling up on good videos or books, we may find hopelessness and despair. This creeps in, the enemy is just waiting to prey upon us in our time of weakness.

The hunger for God is a hunger, for the good things. It encourages us to fill up with grace and allows us the tools against the evil one.

John 4:13-14 (Read on air) The hunger for God can only be fulfilled as Jesus says, and in John 6:35 He reminds us of this again.

Dear friends, I challenge you to look at your lives to see ways to regain that joy, regain that hope, and be fulfilled. Do not go hungry another day. Look to the Lord for your needs, and share the good news with others.

Does Anyone Get It?

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Does Anyone Get It | I want to share with you a devotion that I didn’t come to easily.  Because of my own relationship with my mother, I didn’t want a mother.  And I certainly didn’t want a sorrowful one!  Yet, that was this title of Our Blessed Mother I was forced to grapple with after having been in a religious community named for her | #WholnessHoliness #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #DoesAnyoneGetItDoes Anyone Get It?

Does Anyone Get It? I want to share with you a devotion that I didn’t come to easily.  Because of my own relationship with my mother, I didn’t want a mother.  And I certainly didn’t want a sorrowful one!  Yet, that was this title of Our Blessed Mother I was forced to grapple with after having been in a religious community named for her.  In digging into the history of that title, I found that title was first entered in the Roman Missal as Our Lady of Compassion.  That got my attention.  That was distinctly different from my broken experience of having a mother.  So, it opened the steel door I had slammed shut.

I didn’t want to come to this devotion for all the amazing promises associated with it.  That felt disingenuous, inauthentic, and self-serving.  However, I noticed that it was often a better fit for time constraints or where the bandwidth of my brain was.  I might not be able to pay attention to a whole Rosary, but seven Hail Marys and meditations seemed easier to focus on.

Over the years of praying this devotion, I’ve found my heart filled with compassion for her passion/suffering at the Lord’s Passion and the depths of her suffering convinced me of her compassion.  I began to trust her and see that no matter how alone, isolated, misunderstood, wavering in faith, and surrounded by darkness I might feel, she’s felt it all.  She knows the intricacies of emotional and mental suffering like no other human who was not divine.

When we are on our own crosses, we can have that assurance that someone DOES get it.  Not just anyone, but the most perfect and compassionate mother we could ever imagine.  How good the Lord is to know how much we would need that, how much we would need her.  So, we can trust that He gave her a maternal heart like none we could imagine.  Please pray these with me knowing she gets it.  You can trust her.  She is with you on your crosses in this life.

May the Lord give you peace.

Margaret

Christian Example

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Christian Example | What is a good Christian example? We can point to the saints, people like Mother Teresa and others. But, truly we can be an example to others by asking the Lord for His grace and His help | #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #PromisesofChrist #ChristianExampleChristian Example ~ 272

What is a good Christian example? We can point to the saints, people like Mother Teresa and others. But, truly we can be an example to others by asking the Lord for His grace and His help.

Sponsored By: CTCMath.com a curriculum for students grades K-12 with online tutorials and help. Visit the website for more information.

Sadly, we, as Christians as a whole, are not the best examples of how to live. The promises of the gospel message show others, especially those who are suffering, that there is faith, hope, love, and compassion from the Lord.

God gives us many examples through the scriptures of how he expects us, his people, to act, and we fall short. Sometimes we fall short by word, sometimes by deed, and most of the time, just because we’re too lazy to do what is right truthfully, sometimes we can be so hard on ourselves or as one of our pastors says we have Christian scrupulosity. We care more for the letter of the law rather than the law itself. When we read the scriptures, we see it plainly, and yet how many of us take it to heart I know I’m guilty of this myself.

In Luke 7:31-35 we read, (on air).

Now, if we read the gospel of Luke Chapter 7, we will see before this happened, Jesus had been very busy. He was curing many who had diseases and sicknesses and casting out evil spirits. He gave sight to the blind and cured those who had leprosy. Those who were lame walked, but yet Jesus was reprimanding the people because even though they saw these miracles, they were not ready to change their lives

As Christians, we know the end of the story. We know what it is we should do God had compassion on those, and on those who were suffering, he brought people back to life. This is an example to us today of the gift that God gives us as Christians. We have the opportunity for everlasting life with him, so how are we going to be an example as Christians? How are we going to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to the Lord?

I can give you a list, of five or ten things you can do. But, my list might not be the one that is right for you. And, in doing this good thing, being a Christian example, it can cause us to be boastful, or to congratulate ourselves that we are not like those sinners over there. Friends, we must be cautious.

I did a podcast sometime back that I titled Judgmental Christians, and I’ll put a show a link I’ll put a link in the show notes. (Tell the story on air)

To summarize the other podcast, I explained how I should live my life according to the gospels I should improve my life, and I needed to forgive those who hurt me and ask forgiveness for those I had hurt. Friends, we are all flawed! It is difficult to show an example of Christianity to others when we are hurting, and as my mother used to say we need to get our own house in order before we can try to fix the houses of others

In giving others an example of what it means to be a Christian, we are following the example Christ gave us. However, when we pray, when we give alms, we do this because we should out of obedience, it is a free-will decision

Being a Christian is a free-will decision, and acting like one means we show others humility, love, and compassion, especially if they are hurting and especially if they feel rejected by others. When Jesus walked the earth, he called his disciples, I love the phrase “Come follow me” This is an example of what it means to follow and to be called by God.

But we know we are all called by God, the Scriptures tell us, He has called us by name…(Isaiah 43:1). Knowing someone’s name held great importance in Biblical times and even today. Aren’t you happy when you remember someone’s name or they remember yours? The significance is import. Even more, God knows the “number of hairs on my head– And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Matthew 10:30.

In Matthew 9:9-13 we read (on air).

Wow! God is calling us; he is calling all of us. Not the perfect, not the ones that have it all together, but us. The sinners.

As a Christian, our example may be flawed, but it is at least an attempt, not at perfect but of example. All of these things show us that there is a right and a wrong way to act, but one thing we know, we should not be judgemental like the Pharisees.

Think about everyday life, driving in traffic trying to find a parking spot or maybe returning something at a store when the clerk is very frustrating. We can use these everyday opportunities to say thank you or some other greeting that is welcoming. Or, “I appreciate the excellent job you have done or appreciate how hard you’re working if they haven’t done an excellent job.” You know what I mean.

Sometimes it only costs us a few minutes of our time, and sometimes it costs us much more. It is a sacrifice, and that is a small price to pay. If we can all show just a little bit of grace to others because God has given us grace, we should. Jesus asks us to follow him. It is not a call we should take lightly. It is those baby steps that take us closer to Christ.

Let’s all pray and ask the good Lord to give us the grace we need to be a Christian example because only by his gift of love and grace can we possibly show others just a tiny bit of the goodness of God. My friends rejoice and are glad because he is there for us not just today but every day, and I just pray that this week your challenge will be, can you guess it that’s right, to be a Christian example to either yourself or to others in your life and beyond take care and may the Lord bless you today and always.

 

Interventions to Cope with Stress

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Interventions to Cope with Stress | At one time or another, we all experience stress in our lives.  Whether from anxiety and apprehension about the future or pain over hurtful things from the past, we can feel like our emotions hijack our brain and our ability to maintain that gift of the Lord’s peace | #WholnessHoliness #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #GreaterPeace #InterventionstoCopewithStress #CopewithStressInterventions to Cope with Stress

Interventions to Cope with Stress. At one time or another, we all experience stress in our lives.  Whether from anxiety and apprehension about the future or pain over hurtful things from the past, we can feel like our emotions hijack our brain and our ability to maintain that gift of the Lord’s peace. Despite knowing the truth and trusting in God’s goodness, we can feel nervousness in our bodies, making it difficult to concentrate, think straight, and focus.  Why is this, and what can we do about it?

This can happen because the emotional part of the brain can become stirred up and cause the brain’s right hemisphere to exert itself more than usual.  That’s because, with the right hemisphere of the brain, we experience all time like it’s now.  That means that the past hurts or future worries can vie for our ability to be in the present moment with the Lord, who is right here, knowing and loving us.

So, the first thing to do is remind yourself that what you are experiencing is biological.  Understanding that can help us realize that what we feel isn’t necessarily true just because it feels so big.  Those are emotions you are experiencing.  They are not who you are.  There is still a ‘you’ that knows God is in charge, is all good for you, and will use all things for your good.

The next thing to do would be to engage the left hemisphere of the brain or the five senses.  Below are some strategies to do just that.  Knowing these things can be like having a page out of the User’s Manual of your brain.  I’ll never understand why we don’t get taught these things in school.

Strategies:

  • Bilateral stimulation (anything that uses both sides of the body).

E.g., Swimming, biking, walking, jogging.

  • Anything that stimulates the five senses:

E.g., Smelling perfume or essential oils, sucking on a mint, chewing gum, holding an ice pack, the feel of Rosary beads, noting what one is seeing or hearing.

  • Math is almost exclusively a left-brain function. Make up some math problems and work them out without a calculator.
  • Puzzles such as jigsaw puzzles, sudoku, and logic games also employ the left brain.

These simple tools can give us a way to collaborate with the Lord’s gift of peace.

May He give His peace to you this day and always!

Suffering Christians

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Suffering Christians | We know there are suffering Christians worldwide, but what about in your home? We often suffer silently and become depressed when we can turn that suffering into something more that will enhance our own lives and the lives of others | #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod Suffering Christians – Episode 271

We know there are suffering Christians worldwide, but what about in your home? We often suffer silently and become depressed when we can turn that suffering into something more that will enhance our own lives and the lives of others.

This podcast is brought to you by our sponsor, Route 60 the Biblical Highway- check out the website for information about tickets and how to watch this fantastic film.

As a Christian, suffering is part of the package. Anyone who comes to Christ learns quickly that salvation does not mean we are free from pain and suffering. As I may have shared in another podcast, a personal situation put me off from deepening my faith. (Listen to the story on air.)

Check out these podcasts for those who suffer:

  1. Power of Praise here.
  2. Worship and Thanksgiving here.
  3. Blessed Assurance here:

When can we hope to be free from suffering? Sadly, not in this lifetime, however, joy can be had. How? Easy – changing your mindset. How do we do this? We look to the life of the saints. These may be holy men and women elevated by what they did in their lives, but they can also be the everyday people we meet.

We can learn much from those who have struggled and come out on the other side. While we struggle to put food on the table or pay for gas these days, or when someone struggles with a medical diagnosis, those moments take our breath away. How do we cope? What do we do?

Mother Teresa ~ True Inspiration for Suffering Christians

Mother Teresa was the most inspiring nun of our day who showed us that life was too short to sit by and watch people suffer on the streets. She said she would never have started her ministry if she had not picked up her first dying man on the roadside. Mother Teresa said that her “yes” to God was what he needed from her to begin her ministry, which continues to this day. She had many quotes, such as “God doesn’t require us to succeed; he only requires that you try.”

That means a mindset change. We look at our struggles and say, “What can I do?” Instead of “I can’t do this.” God requires us to try. It is difficult, I know, yet there is not one person listening to this podcast who has not suffered at one time or another. How did you cope?

When you are suffering, how do you try? How do you try to help others? Is it with prayer, physical help, or another way that God has called you? We can’t all be Mother Teresa. But we can be ourselves. And God knows, loves, and hears you. Do you hear him? In the quiet, we can find the answer by seeking God in prayer and turning to him.

Combat Feeling Down or Depressed

On a trivial note, I have been combatting a cold for over a week, and the cold was not the issue. It was the headaches, which I am prone to anyway. When my head hurts, there is not much that I can do, and I found that in my pain, I started feeling down, discouraged, and annoyed with my lack of bouncing back. I also know that those feelings were not from God. And, so, I took charge, and I began to pray in earnest. What did I find? It was a God-incident. I found a Catholic Catalog containing books, other religious items, and more in the junk mail pile. Just looking through that catalog gave me hope, peace, and joy. It was filled with holy reminders of God’s love and His providence!

Do not think your prayers are in vain – Mother Teresa said, “Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.”

Holy Reminder

I can not imagine those in chronic pain; what a field day the enemy can have in your life. He is a destroyer of peace and can cause a suffering Christian to suffer some more! When people are suffering, we often say things to encourage them, like “God will not give you more than you can handle,” but as Mother Theresa said, “I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.”

First, let me dispel the notion that if you love God and are a Christian, you will not suffer. This is not true. If anyone has told you that you need more faith or must have done something bad to lose God’s favor, ignore them. Better yet, pray for them because they are misguided. Yes, the Old Testament is full of the times when God has commanded his people to do something, and they turned their backs on him. What happened? They often perished, and their tribes and nations were overcome and overtaken by others. Why? They were not repentant.

What Suffering Christians Know

  1. We know that God knows what we are going through.
  2. We know that no matter what happens, God will not forsake you.
  3. God is trustworthy. His Word has stood the test of time.
  4. You are not alone.
  5. There is an entire Christian community out there. (Discuss chronic illnesses.)

When people we know are suffering, be there for them. Show them, Jesus. Ask them how you can pray.  One of the best ways to combat suffering is to have a go-to list of scriptures, praise, and worship music. I did several podcasts on praising God in song.

My List of Scripture Verses For Suffering Christians:

  1. Romans 8:28
  2. Philippians 4:13
  3. Matthew 11: 28-30
  4. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
  5. Psalm 34:18-19
  6. John 14:27

Your challenge this week is to look back on ways you may have overcome suffering in the past. How did you cope? Was it successful? If so write it down and share it with others who suffer. Also, make your list of scriptures that are helpful!

 

Promises Of Christ

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Promises of Christ | How can we believe anything Jesus said? Why are the promises of Christ real? Why should you care? This podcast will explore whether this is the truth and how we can apply it | #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #PromisesofChristPromises of Christ ~ Episode ~ 270

How can we believe anything Jesus said? Why are the promises of Christ real? Why should you care? This podcast will explore whether this is true and how we can apply it to our lives?

Sponsors keep us on air! Thanks so much to ROUTE 60: The Biblical Highway Airs for two days only. September 18 and 19: Visit the website for more information.

We know that words have power. We know that manipulation comes from those who are good with words. Words are used for good, and words are used for evil. The value of a word depends on who is saying those words. Is it someone you trust, respect, or hold dear? Or is it a stranger? If it is the latter, you can be sure you will consider the weight of those words less effective. How do you feel when you hear the news or something on social media? That’s right, we are suspicious, especially since we’ve been lied to and let down.

However, we know, especially as Christians, that there is someone who will never let us down, and that is Christ. Jesus is man and God, totally. He came into this world and lived, followed by apostles. Jesus preached to the people, healing and casting out demons.

We can trust the words of our Lord. Jesus did not have a sinful nature; he never sinned and can not lie; he only speaks the truth. God is righteous, and He does not change. We are taught He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. There is no time with God the Father, Son, and Spirit. God has infinite wisdom. And God loved his creation so much that he taught and warned them when they sinned.

Promises are powerful, and those promises come within words that can be used to convince and change our hearts, which is why the Holy Bible is a powerful tool. We read Scripture, and we are changed. There are entire books on the promises of Christ, but in this podcast, I want to focus on three.

First, what happens when Almighty God speaks a word? When God spoke, the world came into being. We read this in the account of Genesis. Genesis 1, take out your Bibles and read the words of Creation. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…”

We read repeatedly that when God spoke, amazing things happened. John 1:1-3  one of my favorite ever Scripture verses (read on air).

There are so many more promises of God throughout the Old Testament. Yet, time and time again, the covenant with Abraham is remembered through Moses, the descendants of David, and so forth. Yet, through all of these examples, what do we learn? That men are tempted to sin and disregard the promises of God.

There are so many things we can read about the promises of Christ – here are a few of my favorites.

Promises of Christ -Hope and Everlasting Life. A gift to humanity

John 3: 16-21 (read on air). “For God so loved the world…” This is such a fulfillment of good vs. evil, which will we choose. Jesus promised us many things, but we continue exposing ourselves to darkness instead of light. The lure of darkness is great. I once heard a teaching about the Christian law of physics that it is easier to be pulled down by a non-Christian than for a Christian to lift a non-Christian. Impossible, no, challenging, yes. This scripture explains why in a nutshell.

Christ is our Good Shepherd –

Read all of John 10:1-15 – Jesus promises to be the gate through which we enter, to save us, to give us life and have it to the full, he promises to lay down his life for us, and that he knows us. Wow. to be known, to be seen; that is what our Lord does for us.

John 10: 7-15 (Read on air) Jesus is the Good Shepherd!

The Father is revealed to the Son:

In Matthew 11 – we read about Jesus as he instructs his disciples, but what is eye-opening is that in the place where there were so many miracles performed, we read in Matthew 11; 5-6

Yet further down in Matthew 11:20, Jesus condemns the towns that even though they witnessed these miracles, they were unrepentant. They did not change, so there would be a judgment upon them.

Jesus gives us rest:

If we do change and are repentant, what are we promised? Matthew 11: 28-30. Jesus asks us to come to Him! (read on air).

Jesus gives us eternal life:

John 10:25-30 – Jesus promises to give us eternal life

He promises to make a place for us in his Father’s house

Are we guaranteed heaven? Jesus gives us a roadmap of belief in Him with an ultimate goal of heaven.

John 14:1-5 (read on air) “Do not let your hearts be troubled…”

So what can we do? We can believe that Jesus promises to be the Good Shepherd, to see us, really to see us and know us, to give us rest when we are struggling, to give us eternal life, and to go ahead of us and prepare a place for us in heaven. What a beautiful gift. And this is just a tiny bit of the promises Jesus gives us!

The following podcast is about holding on to our faith when we struggle and have problems.  We keep reminding ourselves that God is righteous and He does care. We cast our worries upon the Lord. In Matthew 6:31-34 we read (on air). Isn’t that right? Each day does hold its troubles, but with Jesus, we are assured help.

In this, we remember, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” While we do not put God into a neat and tidy box, we believe the Words to be true. First, we seek God’s kingdom.

This week, list the promises in Scripture that resonate with you and will sustain you through this life. It helps to memorize them and remind yourself when you are low or feeling down that God is the God of life and truth, and we must have faith.

Friends, we are not alone. God has promised us everlasting life, and I believe. Amen.

 

Christian Strength

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Christian Strength | We have tools and resources available to us; what about Christian strength that comes from the grace of God? In this podcast, we will discuss the tools God has given us to combat the evil one | #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #mercy #Trust #ChristianStrengthChristian Strength ~ Episode 269

We have tools and resources available to us; what about Christian strength that comes from the grace of God? In this podcast, we will discuss the tools God has given us to combat the evil one.

Have you visited CTCMath.com for an award-winning curriculum designed for the entire family? It is a great math program for ages K-12, and we are thankful for their sponsorship.

One of my sweet friends, who gets our emails, sent me this quote, “If you get on the scale and don’t like your weight, remember that you are carrying the full armor of God!” Thanks, Carolyn Wright, for sending me this quote. I love it! It is the little things that remind us we are not alone. Our strength comes from the Lord.

Nehimah 8:10 – “Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” How can we have this strength?

  1. If we love and worship the one true God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, that is half the battle.
  2. We must remember to put on the armor of God, Ephesians 6:10-18 (Here is a podcast on the Armor of God.)
  3. We are in good company! We are adopted children of the Almighty God, so we should rejoice.

Today, I was filled with joy that surpasses all understanding. There was no reason for this; in fact, before I went to church, I was burdened. I was praying for my family and felt a weight pressing on me. Whenever I felt this weight, I gave it to the Lord; in my mind, I said,  “Your will, Lord, not mine.” Then, I kept praying. When I finally arrived at church and knelt down to pray, I felt an overwhelming sense of the love of God.

Have you realized that as Christians, we have powerful tools given to us through Baptism by the Almighty God? Not only are we claimed during our Baptism, but for some of us, we were infants claimed through the intercession of our parents and godparents, and at other times as adults, for those who convert to Christianity. But there is more. God knows everything about us, and we are worth so much in the eyes of God. We are worth much more than any animals. In Mark 5, we see that Jesus restores one man, casts out the evil spirits, and puts them into the swine, who proceed to go off the cliff.  One man was worth so much more than all of the swine!

The concept of exorcism shows us that God is greater than evil. There is more to this world than just what we see; there is a spiritual world. There are principalities and powers, and ever since the fall, we see this brokenness and disobedience of man. Yet, God is light and continues to shed His goodness on a fallen world; we have the choice, and God gives us this free will. After the fall, the world belongs or is under the dominion of the evil one. Jesus came not just to teach, heal, and forgive sins but to fight. We see this with the verses in Ephesians about the armor of God. People looked at Jesus as a prophet; they expected Him to lead an army and wipe out the evil of the day, but He did this in the way that God works. God does not work by outward force. He works by word and deed. He only has to utter a word and evil was cast out. He instructed His disciples to go forth and to command evil to leave in His Name.

After the Baptism of Jesus with John the Baptist, he went into the desert to prepare for the trials to come, and he did it with a fight to take back what belongs to God, and that dear friend is you and me! Praise God, what fantastic news. If that does not give us a boost of faith, remember that the exorcisms that occurred then and now were to reclaim what belongs to the Almighty God.

During the Rite of Baptism (in the Catholic church, I’m not sure about other denominations), there is a right of exorcism; it happens in every Baptism. We are claimed for the Kingdom of God, but we must be delivered from the evil one before this can happen.  Wherever the gospel has been proclaimed, wherever Christ is proclaimed, it is accompanied by exorcisms. We have stories of exorcism from the beginning of the New Testament. When missionaries went to various countries, they also had to do exorcisms to deliver the people from bondage.

I heard a teaching on the topic, and there was a man, a priest who was from Spain and a renowned exorcist, who wrote a book on the topic and studied it extensively. In his studies, he found so few exorcisms during the Middle Ages, and he wondered why, but he concluded that the amount of Baptisms had risen. They were transferred from the kingdom of the evil one; they were brought into the Kingdom of God.

Today, there is a rise in exorcisms; why? Well, for many reasons, one is that people are not having their children baptized, and another is that those baptized deny faith in God, in Jesus as the true Savior; those in sin are choosing the evil one. It is their choice. Therefore, this leaves them open to evil. It is a gateway, if you will, an open door.

Fear not! If you are baptized, you have been transformed into the Kingdom of God! Jesus says do not be afraid. We have strength in God through the Holy Spirit. In the book of Romans, particularly Romans 1, we read about the early church and their struggle but, more importantly, how they were encouraged. Romans 6:1-2 “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” 

We have been saved, in fact Romans 6 heading states Dead to Sin Alive in Christ. What good news.

Romans 6:23. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This reminds me of a podcast I did on the present moment on being mindful. Link here. God provides for us today. In the present, when we need Him most. We torture ourselves with regrets from the past and the fear of the future, yet we only need to focus on today.

So, friends. Rejoice. Today, as always, the Lord will provide for me and you. He will provide for your family. Continue to pray, continue to storm heaven for what we need. This week, your challenge is to pray for Christian strength for the Lord to provide the grace we need when we need it!

 

Christian Care

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Christian Care | As Christians, we care for many things, but we also have a responsibility. Christian care means more than thinking about a situation and praying; it means taking action when possible. In this podcast, we will discuss the responsibility of being a Christian and the blessings that come with this knowledge | #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #mercy #Trust #ChristianCareChristian Care ~ Episode 268

As Christians, we care for many things, but we also have a responsibility. Christian care means more than thinking about a situation and praying; it means taking action when possible. In this podcast, we will discuss the responsibility of being a Christian and the blessings that come with this knowledge.

Thanks to our sponsor: ROUTE 60: The Biblical Highway Airs for two days only. September 18 and 19: Visit the website for more information.

Are you ready to rejoice, praise the Lord for all that is good and holy and feel uplifted? Well, that is the goal of this session today. I feel that the topics have been heavy of late, which is not my intention in these podcasts. I want to be to my original mission, which is to encourage all of us to spend time with God but also to understand that we are children of God and so loved beyond what we can comprehend.

Do you have a family? Think about what that looks like and who is in your family. For most of us, we are protective of our family, care for them, and acknowledge that while no one is perfect, we are quick to defend our family members from outside forces. As I get older, my extended family has grown smaller with the progression of age and death. Life happens. Yet, our love for those who are gone has not decreased in some cases, it has increased, and our memories (hopefully) are good ones. We attended my husband’s family reunion, and I watched as people who often live nearby visited with each other and enjoyed good food and company. We were handed an SD card with old family movies that are now digital to view and enjoy. There we see the love and care of children, now adults.

We care for our family with love, but how much more does God care for us? It is so much that we can not imagine.

Romans 8:28 is a scripture many of us know, but what about Romans 8:26-27? I shared this scripture with you last week.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our times of weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

God the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, intercedes for us in our weakness. The Spirit searches our hearts and knows! God knows us intimately. That is why the next verse, Romans 8:28 is one of my life verses that blesses me each time I read it:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.

We, you, and I, have been called to His purpose. You are listening to this podcast, me writing this talk with prayer and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit; we do these things with a heart for God. We want to know more, to learn more, and to be inspired.

When we have an eye to the future, in the end, we can see that many of the things we struggle with daily are not as important as the bigger things. One of my friends and co-author of a series of books we wrote for homeschoolers used to tell me not to “sweat the small stuff,” and she was right. She died in her 40’s, and yet she was prepared. She was one of these people that had the joy of the Lord in her heart; people would ask her, “What is different about you?” She would then share the love of God with them and, more times than not, lead them to the Lord. One person was our account manager at the company where we had our books printed. My friend didn’t have an easy life, in fact she suffered bankruptcy and a failed marriage. Yet, through it all she persevered and loved God.

Do we realize the end is near and pray? We read in 1 Peter: 4:7-11 (Read on air).

The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

That verse is beautiful and a perfect example of Christian care…” each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others as a faithful steward of God’s grace in its various forms.” We use our gifts for others, not for ourselves. This is selfless love. This is the goal of a Christian to care for others. We care when we are hurting and when others are hurt. We are there for each other, to serve and to love. Sometimes we ask the Lord to give us the grace to love those unlovable in our lives, yet even with that prayer, He listens and answers us.

Our challenge this week is to show Christian care for others, to love others as God loves us and to pray that the Lord gives us opportunities to use the gifts He has given us to bless others. Amen!

Finding Healing for Holiness and Healthy Relationships

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Finding Healing for Holiness and Healthy Relationships | We all share a call to holiness, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church points out and the Scriptural basis for this comes from Ephesians 1:4 where we hear that we were chosen in Jesus by the Father before the world even came to be.  That means we are set apart for Him |  #WholnessHoliness #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #FindingHealingforHolinessandHealthyRelationships #HealingforHolinessand #HealthyRelationshipsFinding Healing for Holiness and Healthy Relationships

Finding Healing for Holiness and Healthy Relationships. We all share a call to holiness, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church points out, and the Scriptural basis for this comes from Ephesians 1:4, where we hear that we were chosen in Jesus by the Father before the world even came to be.  That means we are set apart for Him. We are made for a profound union with Him body, mind, and spirit for all eternity.  Even as intimate as marriage is, it only symbolizes the union we will have with God forever.  In Heaven, those who are married in this life will no longer be married to a human spouse.  Yet, the espousal relationship with the Lord will remain for eternity.  Connection is our most basic human need.  When we experience it, we flourish and suffer when we are lacking in that way.  No connection will ever be so profound and complete as what we are called to with the Lord.

What comprises connection?  It’s being chosen, known as an individual who is very good, value inherently, not based on what we do, and being safe with our boundaries being respected.  God supplies for these connection needs superabundantly beyond what we could ever hope for or imagine.  We have a God-sized whole within us because we were made for Him, and only He can satisfy these needs.  Sadly, parents or early caregivers often modeled something for us that was less than a good image of God, so it became difficult for us to believe that He relates to us in these ways.  So, how we relate to ourselves became flawed as we began to relate to ourselves in the way we were related.

Yet, these must be chosen, known, valued, protected, and provided for to remain as central as ever.  Much of the disappointment, frustration, and conflict we see in our world is because people are trying to get other people to fill those needs.  However, it’s only in receiving the Lord’s deep satisfaction of these needs that will allow us to live lives of profound freedom, joy, and peace.

Let’s take these areas of pain and hurt to the Lord and allow Him to show us the truth of who we are in Him.  Receive your Eternal Bridegroom into your heart this day.  Give yourself to the One who left Heaven to purchase you at the price of His Precious Blood and loves you personally and intimately beyond your wildest hopes or imaginings.

May the Lord give you peace.

Margaret

 

Are You Awake

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Are You Awake | Spiritual awareness is a blessing, and the question, “Are you awake,” comes in part as a nod in that direction and toward the world we live in. How are you awake, and what precautions are you taking to notice what the Lord brings to mind? In this episode, we learn not to be afraid but to be prepared | #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #mercy #Trust #AreYouAwake #AreYouAwake?Are You Awake? ~ Episode 267

Spiritual awareness is a blessing, and the question, “Are you awake,” comes in part as a nod in that direction and toward the world we live in. How are you awake, and what precautions are you taking to notice what the Lord brings to mind? In this episode, we learn not to be afraid but to be prepared.

Thanks to our sponsor: ROUTE 60: The Biblical Highway Airs for two days only. September 18 and 19 Visit the website for more information.

When we see the things happening in our world, we want to stay asleep! Are you awake to what is happening today, and if so, what will you do? In previous episodes, I have shared with you that I have insulated myself from stressing about worldly issues by turning off the television and social media and ignoring videos that explain the horrible tragedies and oppression in our world. One of the main reasons is that I feel helpless, and I am a doer. I like to accomplish and get things done. When I see something wrong, I prayerfully consider how to help. Yet, I tend to shut down when overexposed to unrighteousness and unfairness. Especially now that I am inundated with it everywhere I look. It makes me think the end is near because our Almighty God will not let this rampant sin go unpunished. Read the Bible, there is a warning, and when ignored, there is justice.

How can we prepare? When we pray, we must ask the Lord to open our eyes to what He wants us to know. One reason is for the knowledge, another for the ability to beseech God in prayer, and another is to prepare in any way we can.

Just this week, while gathering with the ladies in my prayer ministry, several alerted me to things I had missed. I was upset, and rightly so, yet praising God because He has provided for me in my need; he has allowed me the knowledge to pray and be aware. Being awake means taking action when possible; for most of us, that means prayer and sacrifice. What is God calling you to do? Has he allowed your eyes to be opened to a specific need?

These are the questions we must ask ourselves daily. How do we pray? How should we pray?

Romans 8:26-27 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

That is beautiful – we do not know how we ought to pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us! Praise God.

Sometimes I have spiritual awareness, and sometimes I am spiritually blinded. What does this mean? Having spiritual awareness in the Christian sense is different from the pagan. If you want to be freaked out, search for the term spiritual awareness to see what I mean. Much of it points to self-awareness that is unrelated to the true God. It talks about a sense of consciousness and understanding and the interconnectedness of all things without saying that the author of our awareness is the Trinity, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Pagan awareness centers on self and a force we can control. Christian awareness points to God and good and eyes that are open to see sin. We see that the greater power is within Almighty God. It is not in the pagan sense that we can become gods. That is a new-age fallacy.

To be spiritually aware in the sense of true Christianity means to see with eyes that are open and aware. Many scriptures attest to this, some beginning in Genesis. When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they became spiritually aware. Genesis 3:7 states: Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Sin does not go unpunished, and we further read that they were banished from the Garden of Eden that God prepared for them. We must never forget that God is in control, we love the Lord, and He loves us, but we are held accountable for the knowledge he has given us. Adam and Eve had the knowledge they did not have the will to follow it, and they suffered, as well as all of us, their descendants.

Being spiritually aware of sin is critical. Those not spiritually aware can not see the sin; they do the same thing repeatedly, thinking there is nothing wrong with it. It is an evil that permeates our world and the hearts of those who seem to have lost all sense of what is true.

Ephesians 6:12  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

The fight is against us, yes, but it is not a human fight. It is an evil deception and lies. Let’s call it what it is.

Opening our eyes and being awake gives us a sense of fear of the unknown. And fear is a tool the enemy uses to wreak havoc in our lives. That is why putting on the armor of Christ daily is essential. Here is one of my previous podcasts on the topic. The armor of God, His word is His protection.

Let’s pray that God protects our souls, hearts, and bodies from all the evil in this world. That, my friends, is something we can do, and that is pray. We must pray daily for protection and that God opens our eyes to the light. He has good in store for us if we follow His will.

1 John 7:9: (Read on air.) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[a] sin.If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

We have hindsight which we are told is 20-20. We can read the Bible and learn from the mistakes of those before us. The Holy men and women of God failed to continue to follow in the light and eventually were led to darkness. A past podcast dealt with the sins of King Solomon, who we read was given the gift of wisdom, but somehow common sense escaped him. He started as a wise person and ended up in a terrible place. He ended up foolishly worshipping false gods, the gods of his wives, first by marrying women of tribes he was warned not to marry. He made bad decisions, and others (his sons and the nation of Israel) were punished for his bad choices. King Solomon crossed the line – the scriptures list the false gods he set up shrines to worship, and one of them required child sacrifices. Horrible. His decisions had consequences.

Yet, so do mine. My decisions have consequences, and they don’t only affect me but others in my family and generations to come. Wow. What a responsibility. Many of us know what is right and what we should do, but often we do not have the will to do it. But we can pray for that strength; praise God!

Being awake means putting on the mind of Christ so that we are aware of the sinfulness in our own lives before we point out the sinfulness in others.

Praise God. We can repent and pray to the Lord to be spiritually awake.

40 With many other words, he warned them, and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

Let’s pray that a spiritual revival exists in our time and hearts. We are not in this alone. God is with us. This week ask the Lord to give you spiritual eyes that see, a heart that hears, and a will that is all for God. I pray for a blessing for you and your family today. Amen.

Fill-Up Your Spiritual Tank

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Fill Up Your Spiritual Tank | What happens when the well runs dry? We all need to fill up our spiritual tanks; for some, that means more often than others. In this podcast, we will delve into ways to receive abundant joy from the simple pleasures God has in store for us | #podcast #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #mercy #Trust #FillUpYourSpiritualTank #SpiritualTankFill Up Your Spiritual Tank ~ Episode 266

What happens when the well runs dry? We all need to fill up our spiritual tanks; for some, that means more often than others. In this podcast, we will delve into ways to receive abundant joy from the simple pleasures God has in store for us!

Thanks to our sponsor CTCMath.com – please visit the website; you will be pleased you did.

Are you burdened? Are you overwhelmed? Do you feel that if you are asked to do one more thing, you will… (Fill in the blank.)

None of us on this side of heaven escape from feeling overwhelmed, and if you care for a family and an elderly family member or are involved in work or volunteer, you know what I mean. When was the last time you laughed for the sake of laughing or spent time with a family member or a friend and walked away feeling freer and happier? For some, it has been a while, maybe a long while.

By its very nature, Christianity is joyous, and we forget this fact as we navigate the busyness of our daily lives. The joy of the Lord is our strength, and we need to remember this verse; Nehemiah 8:10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Can you allow the Lord to be your strength and fill you up? What do you have to lose? Let’s see…

  1. You can lose the idea that you are alone.
  2. You can lose the idea that no one cares.
  3. You can lose the idea that life is insurmountable.

Of course, we are sometimes alone, feel like no one cares, and have problems that never seem to end. Yet, allowing God to fill your spiritual tank is one way. God created us for Him and Him alone; when we feel down, it is often our own doing. We’ve decided we can do it alone; we are capable; after all, God gave us intellect, ability, and the will to accomplish many things. Yet, all of the success in the world (or lack of success) will not leave us happy or fulfilled. Only God can give us the fulfillment we crave.

In the Old Testament, we read about the Exodus and the journey of Moses and the people of Israel out of Egypt and into the desert to the promised land. Yet, two of the multitude of people crossed into the promised land. It was the descendants of this race; even Moses never made it. Why? In a nutshell, it was the lack of obedience and trust in the Lord.

God punished them, and rightly so. He said that the reason they would not enter the promised land, the land flowing with “milk and honey,” was in direct relation to their hardness of heart, their disobedience. Can we see that in our own lives?

Think about it. These people were saved from slavery only to complain and rely on their understanding rather than trusting that Moses, the messenger of God, was telling the truth. They wanted what they wanted. This was not only worship of false Gods but their memory of the life they had. They complained about being free from Egypt.

We read this, and it appears that the punishment from the Lord was harsh, but was it?

Have you felt punished in your life? Maybe you’ve prayed for something and don’t feel the prayer has been answered.  Join the club!

It has taken me many years to realize that I must first trust in God, that He knows what is best, and that I must thank God for all of the blessings, those I see and those I do not see.

We should remember the verses like Romans 5:1-5 … it is a verse of hope and faith – a great way to fill our spiritual tank!

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Filling up our spiritual tank can be done in so many ways.

  1. Listening to the Word of God by reading the Bible.
  2. Appreciating the blessings God has given you – write them down. (Praise Journal)
  3. Going to church, attending daily Mass if at all possible.
  4. Read about the saints, the lives of holy men and women of God who overcame great obstacles.
  5. Listening to praise and worship music and allowing the words to penetrate your heart.
  6. Sitting with the Lord and just listening. Even if you hear nothing, the Lord is with you. One of the prayers I learned early on is this prayer – Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.
    O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.
  7. Surrounding yourself with like-minded friends. I volunteer and serve on the Magnificat Ministry – a ministry for women, and we celebrate prayer breakfasts at least four times a year. This is an uplifting event to join in with other women to praise and worship the Lord and hear testimony from someone whose life has been transformed by God.
  8. Praying. Offer your day to the Lord in the morning and the evening. Ask the Lord to fill you with every good thing.
  9. Avoid anything negative or anti-Christian.
  10. Turn off social media and the television.

I’ve noticed that the times I need filling up are when I’ve let my eyes stray from the Lord and my mission, which is to love and serve the Lord and others he has placed in my care.

We can become discontent when we think other people are doing so much better than they are, and maybe they are; rejoice and be glad because we are already heirs of the Kingdom of God.

Friends, let’s pray for each other that we are filled to overflowing by the grace of God, and that is your challenge this week; pray for an infilling of God’s love, peace, and joy. Fill your spiritual tank to overflowing, and I will pray this for you this week.

 

 

 

Christian Comfort Zone

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Comfort Zone | Do you have a comfort zone as a Christian? Is your faith private? Is it personal? Is it something you do not want to share? If you want more from your faith walk, join Felice for this episode of A Few Minutes with God Podcast | #podcast #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #mercy #Trust #ComfortZoneChristian Comfort Zone – Time To Get Out! ~ Episode 265

Do you have a comfort zone as a Christian? Is your faith private? Is it personal? Is it something you do not want to share? If you want more from your faith walk, join Felice for this episode of A Few Minutes with God Podcast.

CTCMath.com is the sponsor of today’s episode, I want to thank them and encourage you to check out their products.

As Christians, we have our own way of expressing our faith. For many, it means attending church weekly and praying privately in their homes. Others share their faith with friends that are like-minded. Still, others have friends they’ve met at church.

And why not? All of these ways are acceptable. In fact, we should not brag, are we not taught this in scripture?

Scripture talks about not making a show of faith like the hypocrites. In Mathew 6:5-15 (read on air).

Then the Lord goes on to teach us how to pray, and He gives us the Lord’s prayer, encouraging us to forgive our trespasses as He has forgiven us.

Not only did the Lord admonish us not to brag about our holiness, but he also explained we should pray in private.  So, why am I talking about your comfort zone today? Because the Lord teaches us that while we should not brag about our holiness, we should also not keep the good news to ourselves. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”

Seriously. How could we not share the good news about eternal life with Christ? In fact, we read the words of Jesus before He rose up into heaven, Matthew 28:19 “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.”

How can we make disciples for the Kingdom of God? First, ask the Lord. I’ve shared in a past podcast about wanting to do the work of the Lord and share the good news, and I had little children at that time, and my vocation was not to go knocking on doors; it was to take care of my children and my family. Yet, God knew my heart, and He provided ways for me to share the good news with others by talking to the repairmen that came to the house or the pest-control guy. In this way, I could fulfill my purpose at that place in time and still share the wonderful things that God has done for us.

(Talk about going on a trip with my five children – two were in their late teens, and I had three others from several months old, three and five. The airline attendants could not believe the children were all mine, and it allowed for dialogue about children being a gift from God and what I thought about being open to the number of children that God would give me. Was this out of my comfort zone? Yes. I didn’t want to be the object of their attention, but I hope that this planted seeds of faith.

Asking the Lord to use you, sometimes out of your comfort zone, is one way that we can evangelize for Him. I’ve met street preachers and applauded them for their work. If that is how you’ve been called, it is a blessing. The college-aged young people I met gave out flyers at the beach as people were walking off the boardwalk and into the sand. If someone acted interested or wanted to talk more, they did — if not, there was no pressure.

Even if evangelization is forced, while it may be difficult, but I told her, God can use anything for His good and His glory. The assignment was given because of this passage in Luke.

Luke 10:1-12 (read on air).

This week’s challenge is to pray to the Lord and ask Him to provide for you when you are outside your comfort zone and that He gives you the words to use as you focus on His joy and love for you and others.

 

 

 

Parenting for Connection

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Parenting for Connection | Connection to God, self, and others is fundamentally important to our physical, emotional, and spiritual health and well-being.  Without it, we seek to self-medicate the emptiness through all sorts of things that will never satisfy and will only further the disconnection | #WholnessHoliness #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #ParentingforconnectionParenting for Connection

Parenting for Connection. Connection to God, self, and others is fundamentally important to our physical, emotional, and spiritual health and well-being.  Without it, we seek to self-medicate the emptiness through all sorts of things that will never satisfy and will only further the disconnection.  So, when we consider the task of parenting or even mentoring as godparents, coaches, teachers, etc. it is critically important to raise adults who are able to be connected and then able to foster the same in the future generations.

As we parent and mentor it is important to know what our goals are.  When we parent to foster connection, we are looking to raise adults who are able to give generously to and receive gratefully from others.  Another goal is that they will relate to themselves in a compassionate way, seeing themselves as God sees them.  That same mercy and self-compassion then flows our to others.  They will relate to the Lord with reverence and intimacy as the ultimate source of and one who has the greatest claim to our connection.

Over the next episodes, we will discuss parenting and mentoring based on the pillars of connection:  chosen (being directly and intentionally related to), known (seen and heard as an individual who is very good), valued (having inherent dignity as children of God), and boundaries (that physically, emotionally, and spiritually there is a place where we stop and the other starts that we must reverence and respect).

The benefits to children raised for healthy and authentic connection are so numerous.  They will have right order in their lives that will protect them from the chaos and drama that goes with disordered living.  They will have resilience built up within them that will help inoculate them against the effects of bullying.  Ultimately, they will have freedom, joy, and the shalom peace, that is, wholeness and completeness in their lives and will come to foster the same in others.

Join me as we take a look at parenting and mentoring adults for the future of our Church and society who are whole and holy!

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

Spiritual Sandpaper

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Spiritual sandpaper | Describes the events that happen in our lives that purify us and make us better than before, yet they are painful. In this episode, Felice shares how this can actually cause spiritual growth if we open our eyes to the possibilities 
| #podcast #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #mercy #Trust #SpiritualsandpaperSpiritual Sandpaper – Episode 264

Spiritual sandpaper describes the events that happen in our lives that purify us and make us better than before, yet they are painful. In this episode, Felice shares how this can actually cause spiritual growth if we open our eyes to the possibilities.

Visit our sponsor CTCMath.com for all of your family’s math needs. My own grandchildren use this curriculum and I’m excited they are sponsoring our network.

Have you heard sermons about being tested in faith? The longer you follow the Lord, the more you understand this concept. At various times in our life, we strive for goodness, honesty and perhaps even holiness. Yet, our faith deepens not by all the good things that happen in our lives but through our trials.

In the book of Job 23:10 we read, “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”

Our resolve goes one way or another. After being tested, or purified we are not lukewarm but either for or against God. Proverbs 27:21 speaks truth in the verse, ”

The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but people are tested by their praise.

We’ve discussed praise and worship on my past episodes, and praising God in our daily walk can make the difference between happiness and strife. In fact as I write this the Lord has reminded me of a private matter of which I have been praying and beeseching God and I am now going to thank God for the situation. I am not thankful, but if it is God’s will – or God’s permissive will then I will be thankful out of obedience.

Is this true faith to blindly follow? Not at all. It is faith that understands that while we have free will, God’s will is for us to join Him in heaven at the end of our life, and a life of ease and comfort rarely gets us to that destination. The areas of our life that are unchecked lead to temptation. This can look different for each one of us.

Spiritual sandpaper is that time in our life when things are uncomfortable, and yet we see, after the trial, that the outcome is better than we could have hoped and prayed. We had some years of reduced income due to the economy. We never lived over our means, but even our savings accounts and investments did not prevent the outcome. After this very uncomfortable time, the Lord allowed us to keep our home when many around us with deeper pockets went bankrupt, and we were able to pay off our debt in a difficult yet fulfilling way. This time has taught us to value money in a better way than would not have happened without this uncomfortable time in our life.

I praise God for the outcome, which was so much better than I could imagine. In prayer I kept getting those words, they would pop into my mind, “It will be better than you imagine.”

We know sandpaper can be gritty and abrasive, but what happens afterward? The surface is primed and smooth. The sandpaper in our lives was reduced income, it was not a life and death situation, even though it felt like it at that time. Many of you have had a situation with someone who has been abrasive in your life, and it has been a challenge.

Our pastor talks about a husband and wife being sandpaper to each other and it works out our flaws and shortcomings. Our family is also our spiritual sandpaper.

The scriptures talk about being tested many times. The most notable in our spiritual sandpaper focus today is Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

How are we sharpening each other? Are we helping each other in our walk toward the Lord –that is what we should be doing, but we often fall short. I don’t want to come off as preachy when I talk to my children about spiritual matters. Yet, sometimes I do. I send them videos of good sermons, Scripture verses, or encouragement. That helps in ways that are beneficial without me using a bunch of words.

Our job as parents is to aid our children. Our job as a husband or wife is to aid our spouse. The same goes if you are dating. We are to help and not antagonize each other.

Matthew 5:43-44:

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!’”

God commands us to love as He loves, which is difficult and sometimes impossible. That is why I have prayed, “Lord, I can not love this person right now, but I know you love them; please bless them abundantly.”

MOST OF THE ANIMOSITY WAS LIFTED whenever I prayed this prayer or something similar. Sometimes it took years, but the Lord was victorious in teaching me to forgive.

Why should we love even when people hurt us? Even when we are chafed, annoyed, or persecuted? Because the Lord asks it of us. I love how Jesus explains the main purpose of this command to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us in Matthew 5 verse 47, he says:

“If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.”

Do we want to be compared to pagans? Of course not; as believers, we want to do better than those without belief or those who believe in false gods. And that is our challenge today or this week. It is three-fold.

  1. First, to be aware of situations where we are sandpaper – that is, abrasive to others without cause. (Not sure there is ever a cause to be abrasive!)
  2. Be aware of situations where others have been abrasive to us, and we harbor unforgiveness. Remember the Lord’s prayer.
  3. Look at the spiritual sandpaper in our lives as a good thing, one that will help us to grow spiritually.

New Eyes of Faith

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

New Eyes of Faith | As a Christian, it is important to practice our faith. But what does your faith look like? The new eyes of faith is an awakening. In this episode, we explore the meaning of faith and how we sometimes deceive ourselves | #podcast #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #mercy #Trust #NewEyesofFaithNew Eyes of Faith – Episode 263

As a Christian, it is important to practice our faith. But what does your faith look like? The new eyes of faith is an awakening. In this episode, we explore the meaning of faith and how we sometimes deceive ourselves.

Thanks to our sponsor CTC Math – visit the website at CTCMath.com

Faith can be subjective. Your faith is naturally based upon your experiences, your understanding, and even your denomination. Even two people sitting next to each other in church can have a different take on faith. This lends itself to an interesting question. Where is your faith, and can you say you practice what you believe?

This may be a hard question to answer and one that will take some time and thought.

Do we love the One who gave us life? The one who loves us beyond anything we can imagine. Let’s take a moment and think about that. You. Are. Loved. That alone should open our eyes and give us new eyes of faith. That should fill us with such love that we want to share this love with others.

That is the crux of the issue that many of us face in our world today. Those who say they have faith and those who do not practice what they supposedly believe. Listen, we all fall short, but by the grace of God, we flounder. Thankfully Jesus came into the world to redeem us. We read in 2 Corinthians 12:9 (Read on air).

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
When our eyes are opened, we see evil for evil and good for good. That is why so many of us are upset by what is happening in our world today. Many people, they have been desensitized, and they can not see evil for evil.

Our eyes can be opened to greater faith and a deeper walk with the Lord, and at times it takes something catastrophic to happen before we can see the light, so to speak. Many things we consider important no longer are, and those things we hold onto, we find we can do without. Has that happened to you? You find that what was previously important is no longer an issue or of great concern. It is as if the blinders were removed; now, we can see clearly.

In Genesis 3:5, the tempter tells Adam and Eve a lie; the scripture reads:  “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

So, what did they do? Genesis 3:6-7 (read on air).

What did they receive? New eyes of faith, but it was not a positive outcome for the pair. The eyes of Adam and Eve were opened when they ate the forbidden fruit. God warned them. His perfect will was for them to live with Him forever in the place He had created for them. Instead, they made a choice, and we see it perfectly in hindsight –

Scripture often talks about finding “favor in your eyes,” with many references to finding favor in God’s eyes. That should be our goal, to find favor in the eyes of God. How do we do this? How do we deepen our love for God? One way is by spending time in His presence. We have many reasons why this can’t happen. We have family responsibilities, work, school, and other obligations. And, it is a choice.

New Eyes of Faith

Just like Adam and Eve had a choice. This is the first lesson we learn in the Bible about good vs. evil. It is the enemy against us, the evil one. He hates what God created. God created and said, “It is good,” and that is what the evil one wants to destroy. He wants to destroy our families and us. An increase of faith helps us weather the storm of life, but we need that connection to each other and God.

Faith is a connection to the Almighty. We are made for connection. One of the podcasters on this network, Margaret Vasquez, who hosts the Wholeness and Holiness Podcast, talks about connection. As a trauma specialist, she knows that a lack of connection often causes dysfunction.

We can become disconnected from ourselves, those around us, and those we love the most. And a disconnection from God can lead us to other less desirable things!  We can find we lack direction, and worse. Who we are is important, but who we are in Christ is important to renewing faith. Do we witness the gospel message? How can we when we are struggling ourselves? It is time to take a deep refreshing breath and look at our faith with new eyes.

As a business owner, I know that I better fulfill that promise when I promise to do something. No one cares about our excuses. Thankfully my job is not life and death, but it is important to keep websites up, bills paid so that the podcast stream doesn’t stop on your app and other things that we do to keep the business running. All of our behind-the-scenes work is invisible, but it is necessary for our customers. Many of my decisions were based on troubleshooting better options.

The worse thing we can do is not admit when we are wrong. We can all improve. Isaiah 2:10-12 (Read on air). Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.  (Talk about humility)

Isaiah 5:20-21  (Read on air)

In this way, we should troubleshoot our options when it comes to renewing our faith and praying to the Lord to open our eyes.

We can ask that the Lord gives us the new eyes of faith to:

  1. Identify areas where we have sinned.
  2. Make better choices.
  3. To choose God first above all others.
  4. To make time to pray.
  5. To get our priorities right

Remember, faith is a choice. It is a free-will option given to us by an Almighty God who loves us and who loves you beyond anything we can comprehend. It is perfect love, and no one can love you the way God can. We are created in His image. We were created for a specific purpose. We were created to love and serve Him, but He gives us so much more than anything we can do for Him. Our challenge this week is to pray that the Lord opens our eyes to areas we need to improve and gives us a deeper faith.

 

 

Solomon’s Downfall

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Solomons Downfall | In the Bible, there are definite lessons to learn but one for the ages is King Solomon's Downfall. What can we learn and how do we apply this to our lives today | #podcast #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #mercy #Trust #SolomonsDownfall #SolomonSolomons Downfall – Episode 262

Solomon’s Downfall. In the Bible, there are definite lessons to learn but one for the ages is King Solomon’s Downfall. What can we learn and how do we apply this to our lives today?

Visit CTC Math for more information about a wonderful Math curriculum for students from grade school to high school.

When we first read about Solomon we learn about his wisdom, and how he has been blessed by the Lord with his father, King David’s blessing. 1Kings:2-4 (read on air).

When David’s time to die drew near, he charged Solomon his son, saying, “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his ordinances, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn; that the Lord may establish his word which he spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail you a man on the throne of Israel.’

This was God’s will, that Solomon should rule keeping God’s statutes, his commandments, and his ordinances. He had a dream where he spoke to the Lord. 1 Kings 5-9 (Read on air)

At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream[k] by night; and God said“Ask what I shall give you.” And Solomon said, “Thou hast shown great and steadfast love to thy servant David my father, because he walked before thee in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward thee; and thou hast kept for him this great and steadfast love, and hast given him a son to sit on his throne this day. And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people whom thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered or counted for multitude. Give thy servant therefore an understanding mind to govern thy people, that I may discern between good and evil; for who is able to govern this thy great people?”

This pleased the Lord because Solomon did not ask for a long life or riches, he also didn’t ask for victory over his enemies. He wanted discernment something we all should pray for and that we desperately need!

The Lord gave Solomon specific instructions on how to build his house and the worship that would happen there. It took many years to build not only the house of worship but his own home, as God instructed. 1 Kings: 7: 51 states, “Thus all the work that King Solomon did on the house of the Lord was finished. And Solomon brought in the things which David his father had dedicated, the silver, the gold, and the vessels, and stored them in the treasuries of the house of the Lord.”

So, Solomon was blessed with wisdom that was renowned. People came from all over to hear his wisdom and one of the most famous stories is about the two women with the baby. Both women had given birth, yet only one had a child who survived. The woman whose child died claimed the living child was hers. They went before the King and he said that since they both claimed the child. Solomon then ordered that the child be split in two so that each mother should get half. The true mother cried out to give the baby to the other woman, while the false mother said the baby should be killed. Solomon then ordered the baby be given to the woman who cried out for the child’s safety. We all know the story and the wisdom illustrated. It was truly a gift from God.

He would live a long life and his household would be blessed and it should have all ended happily ever after. But as with the humanness of man, unfortunately, it didn’t. And what was his biggest downfall? One of the biggest downfalls was that Solomon took many foreign wives.

Maybe it started out well at the beginning and these women left their practices behind, but as tends to happen the old habits do not change and Solomon wanting to please his wives allowed them to worship their gods, these were the gods that the Lord warned about. These women, which we read about in detail in 1 Kings 11:1-4 were from the tribes that the Lord warned against.

Sadly Solomon too began to worship these false gods as his wives did, and the Lord warned him repeatedly to stop. Why didn’t he? Why would Solomon who was wise and gifted by God with this amazing kingdom over which to reign and given every blessing turn his back on God’s commands? Was it the lure of sin? Solomon’s wives were a great temptation to him. We read warning throughout the scriptures. 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”

That is a scripture we should memorize and take to heart. It is difficult to stay strong when we are around those who do not hold to the same moral code, who do not believe in God, or who hold to His teachings. The lure of sin for Solomon in this case was too many women, women from places he was forbidden to marry, false gods, and too much temptation.

Yes, Solomon was fair and righteous and wise for a period of time in his life, but this counts for nothing since we read that at some point he faltered the lure of temptation too great. Hebrews 4:11 states “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, that no one fall by the same sort of disobedience.”

Sin does not go unrewarded. For there is recourse for all who sin. 1 Kings 11:11

So the Lord said to Solomon, ‘Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant” (1 Kings 11:11).

Have you ever wondered why God would allow the Bible’s elite, the men and Kings of old to have multiple wives, some bordering on the ridiculous? I believe the keyword here is God allows but he does not sanction this, in other words, this is not God’s will. He created man and woman for each other beginning in the Garden of Eden.

We know this because in the book of Mark Jesus is asked this question and he answers this clearly:

Mark 10:2-10

And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to put her away.” But Jesus said to them, “For your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,[a] and the two shall become one.’[b] So they are no longer two but one.[c] What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”

10 And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11 And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

Pray and ask the Lord what lesson he wants you to take from this, what does God want for your life? The biggest sins are the ones we commit when we know they are wrong. But praise God we can return to Him, we can repent and sin no more. Why didn’t Solomon who was wisdom itself not realize his sin? The question is why do we not recognize our own sin?

But rejoice! Tomorrow is a new day we can live this life without guilt by keeping our eyes firmly set upon Him – the God of second, third and often more chances! Our challenge this week is to recognize areas of weakness and strive, through prayer and grace to sin no more!

Mirror of Scripture

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Mirror of Scripture | When was the last time you read a passage in the Bible, and it was as if the Lord was showing you a mirror image? I call that the Mirror of Scripture! In this episode, we'll look at scripture verses that highlight areas that need our attention | #podcast #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #mercy #Trust #MirrorofScripture #ScriptureMirror of Scripture Episode 261

When was the last time you read a passage in the Bible, and it was as if the Lord was showing you a mirror image? I call that the Mirror of Scripture! In this episode, we’ll look at scripture verses that highlight areas that need our attention.

Visit our sponsor – CTCMath.com, for information about this wonderful math curriculum for kids ages K-12

Everyone wants to hear, “Well done,” or “Great job,” or better yet, “You are on the right track!” Yet, often the response we get when praying is silence. A silence of mind and of our hearts. How are we doing in our spiritual walk, and what does the Lord have to say to us in the words of scripture?

When we least expect it we hear God, it can be in reading a Scripture verse that we feel is powerful or just for us. Or, it can be in the words of a friend or something we hear at Church, maybe in a sermon but often in the Word being read. At my church, we hear readings from the Old and New Testaments each week. The readings may be ones I’ve read many times before yet they are powerful, and more so when it hits me as if a mirror is held up and I see my reflection.

Spiritual Mirror

I can say with assurance that many of us do not like what we see in the mirror. In fact, we possibly avoid looking into it other than getting ready for our day, in the morning. A mirror shows all of our flaws, the spots on our faces, the bad hair day, or other things we’d rather not address. By looking in the mirror we see how we look to the world.

Having a good body image and being happy with our own worth, inside and out is important. The point I’m making is that as a mirror shows our flaws and imperfections so too does a spiritual mirror. It shows us areas of faith we should work on to gain a better sense of where we are going. Hopefully toward a deeper faith.

Mirror of Scripture

Matthew 5:14-18 (Read on air.) 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. 15 Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

I love this verse! There is a Bible Song, “This Little Light of Mine,” we taught our children, and they sang it at Bible camp. It further illustrates that the light of Christ should shine through us to others. Alone we do not shine light but with God we do, and if we have this holy light we have work to do for the Kingdom.

If we hide our light we are not sharing the good news. God knows our situation, He knows what is happening in our lives. He understands our trials and He doesn’t call us to do anything He is not preparing us for ahead of time. A friend of mine didn’t want to embrace faith strongly because he was afraid God would send him to Africa on the mission field. He was a doctor, and he was seriously worried about this! But, when he finally opened his heart to the Lord, He was ready to go anywhere God called him. He and his wife lead our prayer group for many years, and they are some of our closest friends. God never did lead him to the mission field, but God allowed him to pray with his patients and at times allowed healing.

What is the weakness of our lives? Do we make excuses so that we don’t have to go to the mission field as well? Opening our hearts to God allows Him and only Him to work in our lives in a powerful way if we allow Him.

James 1: 22-24 (Read on air)

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.[a] 23 For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who observes his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing.

Powerful! We can be doers with the grace of God, and His providence. Friends, God so loves you. And we can spread that love to others. Today I was at a store and something I purchased was way cheaper than I expected. I told the lady checking me out that God was blessing me. I hadn’t paid too much attention to her, other than to say hi and ask how she was since I was busy loading up the items on the conveyer belt. When she smiled back at me after hearing me say, God was blessing me she said, “I wake up each day and thank God for it, each and every day.” As I looked at her, I was smiling and agreeing with a hearty, Amen! This lady was missing some teeth and fairly elderly, and working, but praising God.

Some of us have harder lives than others and yet if we can praise God in the midst of our trials that is using our lives in a positive way.

By looking at Scripture as a mirror, exposing our shortcomings and ways we have not pleased God, we can offer this to the Lord with a heartfelt purpose and that is to change. By continuing to show God we are dooers not just listeners we can better align our will to His. This week your challenge is to pray to the Lord before you read the Scriptures. Ask Him to use the Word to be a mirror. Let this help you grow closer to Him and in your faith. I will do this as well. May God bless you today and always.

 

Spirit of Trust

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Spirit of Trust | How do you trust in what you can not see? That is true faith, a spirit of trust. In this episode, we discuss how trusting in the Lord is a surefire way to have peace and tranquility in our lives | #podcast #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #mercy #Trust #SpiritofTrustSpirit of Trust – Episode 261

How do you trust in what you can not see? That is true faith, a spirit of trust. In this episode, we discuss how trusting in the Lord is a surefire way to have peace and tranquility in our lives.

Thanks to our sponsor, CTCMath.com – check out their website for more information.

Trust. That is a word that you may not use often. Usually, this happens because we have been hurt in the past. When we are hurt, concerned, or worried, we tend to put up our walls, and for many of us, these walls have turned into a fortress fortified with an uncrossable moat surrounding all sides. So, when people talk about God being love, God being our father, or even God being there with open arms, we don’t know what this means.

Now, let’s add to this thought the idea that we must trust in the Lord and His will for us! Having a spirit of trust allows the Lord to work through in us, and through us, it allows the Lord the right to purify us if need be. It says, “God – your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Sound familiar? This comes from the Lord’s prayer.

That is the goal, yet how do we get to the point of having a spirit of trust and trust in the Lord?

If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, how can you trust what you do not know? Living a life without trust is like living a life without hope. We hope in what we see, what we can touch, and what we know to be true through experience. Yet, that is falling short of the life we can live.

Hebrews 11:1-3 talks about faith with assurance. (Read on air)

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old received divine approval. By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear.

There is so much to unpack there!

First, there is a common element we have in our life that we hope for things. We hope for the best, or we hope things will work out the way they are supposed to work, or we hope that things won’t go as badly as we think.

Do you see how our progression of thought gets from good to bad? Often the enemy works on our weaknesses, and since we don’t want to get our hopes up, we aim low so we won’t be disappointed. Sound familiar?

How about having a Scripture ready in case our thoughts take a turn for the negative? Let’s aim to trust in the Lord with all our hearts!

Proverbs 3:5-6  (Read on air.) Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight

When we lean on our own understanding we can be led astray. Or how about fighting God’s will in our lives? Doing what is wrong when we know what we should do? How often do people think the 10 Commandments are only suggestions? When we fight the Lord and refuse to submit to doing what is right, we will most definitely find that we are on a well-worn path, and that does not lead to heaven! We want to be on the road less traveled, the road to heaven.

Who doesn’t want a path that is straight? We should aim high and ask the Lord for His best, which I guarantee (and there are not many guarantees in life) is way better than anything we can imagine. We stray off that path when we start doubting God’s best for us!

2 Corinthians 4: states, “…because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

You must have a spirit of trust and of faith in order to see this truth. We can do this by seeking the Lord for our strength – 1 Chronicle 16:11. “Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his presence continually!” 

As I was working on this talk, I was hit with a question, “If I could see the Lord, and He was standing before me, would I recognize Him? So, I ask you the same thing. Think about all of the people who saw the Lord when he lived among the Jews and Gentiles. The Romans did not recognize Him and His chosen people, and the people of Israel (the Jews, especially those in charge) also did not. [As an aside, doesn’t it seem that those in charge often lead the people astray?]

Even if we saw the Lord would we believe and follow Him? Would you trust that what He was teaching was right and true? I would hope that I would and that you would as well! Let us pray that we have eyes that see!

Romans 8:24 – “For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?”

Again, faith is believing what we can not see but know it is true in our hearts, and this, my friends, is the grace God can give to each one of us, a gift of faith and a gift of trust.

It is better for us to live for the Lord rather than incur judgment at the end. Every one of us has seen hardship through the years. Each one of us has felt hopeless, abandoned, or misunderstood. Each one of us has lived through hurt and disappointment. You can’t get through this life without some type of hardship or trial.

Yet even a bad day in this world is better than sinning and living selfishly with only thoughts for yourself. This is why we need the grace of God, we need His blessing and His strength in our lives.

2 Corinthians 5:6-10 (Read on air.)

So we are always of good courage; we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. We are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body.

Friends rejoice! Listening to this podcast is a good sign; you are following the road less traveled. You are choosing, again and again, to deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow Him! We continue to ask and pray for the grace of God in our lives that will increase an infilling of the Holy Spirit and allow the Lord to work in us!

This week our challenge is studying, praying, and meditation on Hebrews 11 – and especially Hebrews 11:1-3. Our faith can grow, and in this way we will be open to trust in what the Lord has in store for us!

 

Parents As First Responders

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Parents As First Responders | Parents are first responders to the needs of their children, but they are also spiritual first responders. They are people who are ready to share the good news with others | #podcast #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #ParentsAsFirstRespondersParents As First Responders ~ Episode 37

Parents are first responders to the needs of their children, but they are also spiritual first responders. They are people who are ready to share the good news with others. Today I have a special guest, Lt. Tommy Neiman who has spent his life literally rescuing others as a firefighter and paramedic. I found his story fascinating and also his new book specifically for children. Join me on this podcast to learn more.

Tommy shared his passion for leading others to the Lord, especially children. In his book he opens the chapters with a topic, and then a scripture verse. He introduces words that may be new to the children and then tells a story with a lesson about bravery and service. He also encourages them by listing a memory verse for the children to learn. He shares a special story about a “God-incident” where the Lord lead him back to his own neighborhood and a neighbor who he feared as a child. The Lord showed up powerfully in their interaction. His resounding message to parents is to be present.

Parents are the first responders as they are responsible for a child’s care and physically and spiritually. We teach our children and instruct, but spiritually they will learn the most by example. As parents we must show our children the virtues, patience and kindness, however showing this in our faith to the Lord.

*please note: there is mention of animation, however the workbook is illustrated not animated.

About Tommy Neiman:

Lt. Neiman is a a firefighter/paramedic with Saint Lucie County Fire-Rescue and also a former homeschool dad to three wonderful kids. He is the author of a Rookie Rescuer, a workbook where he take kids on actual I’ve had and present powerful Spiritual truths at their level. He was honored as 2003 Firefighter of the Year for the state of Florida and spoke at the Florida Governor’s prayer breakfast for Governor Jeb Bush. He worked with the Discovery Channels Shark Week for a shark bite call I had and responded to New York during 9/11 in 2001. For more information visit his websites: www.tommyneiman.com or wwww.RookieRescuer.com.

 

Spiritual First Responder

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Spiritual First Responder | What is your spiritual first responder? Where do you go in times of stress, worry, or hardship? This episode explores those tools and a healthy way to deal with stress | #podcast #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #mercy #SpiritualFirstResponderSpiritual First Responder ~ Episode 260

What is your spiritual first responder? Where do you go in times of stress, worry, or hardship? This episode explores those tools and a healthy way to deal with stress.

Visit MediaAngels.com, today’s sponsor.

Driving on busy roads, we often hear emergency vehicles with blaring horns and flashing lights, and our first reaction is panic. Where am I? Is the ambulance, fire truck, or police car coming my way? How do I get out of the way? What do I do first? Similarly, how do we react when we are in an emergency situation of our own?
Being a first responder means being a person of action and good under pressure. Without the benefit of the training, we may need to work up to it and learn at our own pace. Responding to a crisis with the correct answer or help isn’t easy. The good news is we are not in this alone. We are armed with faith, and just like putting on the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18), we can prepare and be ready.  God tells us specifically what to do!
Putting on God’s armor is important when we deal with our own problems and those of others.
What do you do when someone asks you for advice in a serious situation?
We can break it down like this:
  1. Listen carefully to what is being said.
  2. What is the need?
  3. Is there anything you can do?
  4. Plan of action

There is power in just listening when someone is hurting or in need. It is a relief that there is someone who can be there for you and that often is one of the greatest blessings. To know you have someone you can talk to and count on to keep your needs confidential and to help you with prayer or other things is wonderful as well. Yet, it is good to be prepared. Your spiritual tool kit may look different than mine, which is okay, but here are some things that may help you plan.

Spiritual First Responder Tool Kit.

  • Emergency Scripture verses
    • The Joy of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10)
    • What, then, shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us? (Romans 8:31)
    • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phil. 4:13)
    • Taste and see that the Lord is good! Happy is the man who takes refuge in him! (Psalm 38:8)
    • Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, and constantly pray.(Romans 12:12)
    • I have said to you that you may have peace in me. In the world, you have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
    • Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might (Ephesians 6:10)
    • He is my rock, salvation, and fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my deliverance and my honor;  my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.
      Psalms 62:6-8
    • Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1-9)
    • And my God will supply your every need according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
  • Praises – Praise God in Word and deed
    • Thanks be to You, my God
    • I praise You and thank you in all things.
    • All glory to God
    • You are the Alpha and the Omega
  • Words of reminders to yourself and others.
    • God, You are in control.
    • I will keep my eyes on Your Lord.
    • I will look to You, Lord, for all of my needs.
    • I release all of my cares to You, God.
    • I trust in You, my Lord.

I belong to an international ministry with a very large and interconnected ministry. We have upwards of five or six emails that come out each day, thankfully, someone consolidates them all into one, and we send It out to our local group for prayers. It is amazing that anyone in need has a network of people who pray. Many of the older ladies in our church are called to do this daily, and they take their jobs seriously.

Being a prayer warrior is important work, and while we can’t all be on the front lines, some of us can. There are those who pray for the end of abortion or at the abortion clinics themselves. Others work in grief centers or addiction hotlines. These are the true spiritual first responders, and if we as Christians can possibly help, we should, even if it is just for our family and friends.

God really cares about us, and He loves you so much~ remember that when you are struggling or feel like giving up. You are special, you are precious, and God chose you. Remember, He will provide for us when we are in need!

Think about preparing yourself for a time of spiritual need, and this week the challenge is to gather those scripture verses and other things that will help you and those in need.

Testimony of Casey Sprehe

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Casey Sprehe | Casey’s first experience of the Holy Spirit was as a teenager while attending a Retreat. She knew something was very different as she observed the attendees praising God | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #TestimonyofCaseySprehe #CaseySpreheTestimony of Casey Sprehe

Testimony of Casey Sprehe. Casey’s first experience of the Holy Spirit was as a teenager while attending a Retreat. She knew something was very different as she observed the attendees praising God. She discovered it was having a relationship with our Lord. Casey encountered Christ as never before and returned home transformed. She got involved in the Charismatic Renewal. She feels her calling is to bridge the generational gap and help the Millennials strengthen their faith and become leaders in the Charismatic Renewal in the Catholic Church.

Casey grew up in New Orleans. Her undergrad degree was in Theology teaching and then received an MA in Theology from the Augustine Institute. It was there that she met her husband. She serves on the board for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, the Southern Regional Conference Steering Committee and assists with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of New Orleans Youth Retreat. Her main vocation is as a stay-at-home wife and mother taking care of four young children. Her extra time is spent as a Catholic speaker and evangelist.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us at magnificat-ministry.org

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Spiritual Cleaning

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Spiritual Cleansing podcast from A Few Minutes with GodSpiritual Cleaning ~ Episode 259

When was the last time you did spiritual housecleaning? In this episode, we will explore why many of us struggle daily and the unnecessary burdens we carry around. Many of these can easily be trashed.

Thanks to Media Angels, the sponsor of today’s episode. You can visit MediaAngels.com for books and classes. Many products are available for immediate download.

The Lord gives us such an amazing compacity to feel. We are blessed with five senses, and we use these in our daily lives, often without thinking. However, it is those senses that can get us into trouble. It is time to take stock of our lives and get rid of the trash that does not belong. We can do this in several ways.

The first is to look hard at our lives and happiness. If we are in need of spiritual cleansing, we may feel a burden or heaviness. This is the first sign that something isn’t right in our lives. Before we cast the blame on someone else, let’s look interiorly first and see what we can change. This is not an easy task and may take some serious introspection. It also takes time, a commodity many of us do not have.

By identifying why we carry around specific burdens, we can hone into the issue and then figure out the remedy with the help of prayer. Some baggage is too hard to remove on our own and may take a Christian counselor or therapist. We are blessed to have the Wholeness and Holiness Podcast and Margaret Vasquez on the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

For most of us, it may be a matter of identifying an issue, such as turning to food when we are stressed or bored. Watching inappropriate shows or reading inappropriate books. Or a host of other things we do that can lead us into sin and guilt.

The God we serve is the Creator of the Universe, and we tend to forget that! David said it beautifully in the Psalms, and in Psalm 19:1-2 we read…

Psalm 19:1-2
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day, they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.

If even the heavens declare the glory of God, shouldn’t we? This righteous God leads us clearly in His word to avoid evil, yet evil can be so tempting. Many of us have John 3:16 memorized. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

But what about John 3:17? “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

And what do we need to do? John 18-21 (read on air).

And that is why spiritual cleaning is needed. We often need to tune up our faith and belief that God is a righteous, fair, and honest God, but we must believe in Him to have everlasting life with Him and believe He is the redeemer worthy of honor and praise.

John 3:19 goes on, (read on air).

How stark and scary! Jesus is the light, and Jesus came into the world for those chosen by God — the chosen ones of God were the people of Israel. Their leaders were interested in keeping their power rather than opening their eyes to Jesus – who was the fulfillment of prophecy. We are blessed to have the Bible and many Bible studies where we can see this so clearly. The Old Testament and the New mess together, and we see such evidence of this. Yet those people, the Israelites who the Almighty God took out of Egypt and slavery, continued in their slavery, their sinful ways> These religious leaders denied He was the Christ and hated light. Why? Because of the fear that their deeds would be exposed. Not all of them, we learn later that Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, who was a Pharisee and a member of the Jewish ruling council (John 3:1-2) were the ones to take Jesus’ body and place it in a tomb.

John 19:38-42 (Read on air.)

Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night.

So while not everyone denied that Christ was the Redeemer and Savior, their fear kept them from acting. Thankfully we know the end of the story and Jesus rose from the dead, but still, this miracle is denied by many today. If we deny God we can do whatever we want, in theory, but the burden of sin rests on the human soul, and that is what causes the guilt.

Who can hide from God? None of us. He sees all that we do, He knows our hearts and our motivations, and while we can fool ourselves, we will never fool God. When our kids were younger, my husband used to explain to our children when they were denying they did anything wrong that what they were doing was lying to themselves. I thought that was such a great analogy.

When we lie to ourselves, we make excuses or deny that our actions are wrong. Things like, “I’m not that bad compared to other people.” or “I would never do the things that this person or that person does.” We consider that if we work hard enough, we can earn a ticket to heaven. And, while works and faith go hand in hand, they are not exclusive. You can not love God and act in sin; you can not act in sin and say you love God.

Spiritual cleaning is so important to root out those sins that take over like weeds when we are not watching or aware of what is happening in our lives. And like those vines with the tenacles, I have them in my yard; when I pull one stem, five more come up with them. It reminds me to take stock of my life and examine my conscience from time to time.

Take the time to look at your life, if you need some help, I have several podcasts on this topic that may be helpful:

  1. Examination of Conscience here.
  2. Reexamine Your Conscience here.
  3. Avoiding Sin here.

As the scripture says, the reason we don’t want to look into our sinfulness is because then we have a fear of being exposed. But as John 3:21 states – “But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”

No matter if we fear it or not, it will come out in the end. This life is fleeting, and we consider the ramifications of sin because of our eternal life. Taking the time to clear out unhealthy habits, whether stress eating or binge-watching a show instead of doing something worthwhile, can make us lighter and happier in the end. I don’t know anyone who felt good after overeating, and there is a reason for that! These things while minor (after all, if you are listening to this podcast, you are on the road to seeking a closer walk with God), yet we all need to be an encouragement for each other!

Confession is good for the soul, and I pray that you take stock of your life this week and throw out the trash that has you burdened!

 

 

Testimony of Amy Del Valle

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Amy Del Valle | Amy Del Valle grew up in New York in a culturally Jewish home.  She was the oldest of three children and had a younger sister and brother. Family life was very dysfunctional | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #TestimonyofAmyDelValle #AmyDelValleTestimony of Amy Del Valle

Testimony of Amy Del Valle. Amy Del Valle grew up in New York in a culturally Jewish home.  She was the oldest of three children and had a younger sister and brother. Family life was very dysfunctional. Her parents divorced when she was 8 yrs. old and there was a long custody battle. Her mother remarried hoping for a better family life but the stepfather was very abusive to her brother and sister. Amy tried her best to protect them. She spent much of her time at a friend’s house when they lived in Staten Island to get away from her unstable home life. The family was very kind to her, and she felt loved and accepted in their Italian Catholic home.

When Amy was in high school, she worked in her stepfather’s Dry-Cleaning business and would remain there to eventually to manage the store for many years after. It was through work that she met her future husband, Peter. He was a non-practicing Catholic. They were married by a Catholic priest that intertwined the Jewish and Catholic traditions in the ceremony, to appease both sides of the family. Their faith journey began together, and they became the parents of two daughters. They looked for a new church and found the Lutheran Church to be the best option as their daughters went to preschool there. They felt pulled back into the Catholic church once the daughters were old enough to receive the Sacraments. They became very involved in the new Catholic community. Amy became a Lector and Cantor and Peter became a Deacon. They knew they were home at last.

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Model of Honesty

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Model of Honesty |St Margaret of Cortona lived back in the 1200s.  Her mother died when she was a young child, and her father remarried a woman who was cruel to Margaret| #ChristonPodcast #Christon #podcast #WholnessHoliness #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #St.MargaretofCortonaModel of Honesty

A Model of Honesty, Authenticity, and Courage – St. Margaret of Cortona

Model of Honesty. St Margaret of Cortona lived back in the 1200s.  Her mother died when she was a young child, and her father remarried a woman who was cruel to Margaret.  When she was 17 years old, she left home as the mistress of a nobleman to escape her father’s home and the abuse she endured there.  She lived in sin with him for nine years and they had a son together.  Even while in the midst of such a sinful life she wanted to live a better life but delayed her conversion.

One day, her lover’s dog came, got her, and led her into the woods where his dead body was.  Margaret realized she couldn’t delay her conversion and went on to exhibit true honesty, authenticity, and courage as she turned her back on her old way of life.  She admitted to herself and everyone that wrong is wrong and that she’d done wrong.  It took great authenticity and courage to not want to hide in shame.

She focused the same honesty, authenticity, and courage on the Lord after her conversion.   She continually begged Him for a sense of His Presence.  She focused her emotional neediness on Him and was unashamed in doing so.  He most often relented and gave her deep spiritual experiences of Himself.  One day in prayer, He showed her that her place in Heaven would be among the virgins.  He told her that is how He sees her.

The Lord’s ability to renew and transform so far exceeds anything we can comprehend.  His mercy and grace are so complete, and He puts our sins and shame so far from us.  We can take great courage from St. Margaret of Cortona’s life and imitate her example.  Let’s be honest about our sins, our neediness for the Lord, and authentically pursue Him wholeheartedly and with courage knowing that He will NEVER turn us away.  Rather, He will transform beyond our wildest dreams whatever we give Him!  Let’s give Him our hearts!

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

Question about Paying Taxes

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Question about Paying Taxes | A Moment in Scripture- The Question about Paying Taxes Mk. 12:13-17 By Deacon David Hockwalt | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #QuestionaboutPayingTaxesQuestion about Paying Taxes

A Moment in Scripture- The Question about Paying Taxes Mk. 12:13-17 By Deacon David Hockwalt

Question about Paying Taxes. This scripture shows the greatness of Jesus. Two enemies join forces: the Herodians and the Pharisees. They try to entrap Jesus by setting up a lose-lose situation. Taxes were a hot button issue. They ask Jesus if it is lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not? If Jesus agrees on taxation, he alienates the majority of Jews who can’t stand Roman rule. If he rejects the tax, he will be reported to the Roman authorities for instigating rebellion.

Jesus turned the lose-lose situation into a win-win. Because Caesar’s likeness is stamped on the coin for tax it should be given back to him as his rightful property. God’s image and likeness is stamped into every living person as we were created in the image of God. We have the higher duty of giving ourselves back to God by serving him. In these complex times we must discern among the likenesses who we are to give the rightful authority by whose image we are created.

Deacon David Hockwalt serves at the St. Francis of Assisi Parish in La Quinta, CA

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Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit    https://store.magnificat-ministry.net

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Share your favorite podcast with a friend and be sure to rate us on Apple Podcasts. Your feedback means a lot.

 

 

7 Keys To Sharing Faith

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

7 Keys To Sharing Faith | Does sharing your faith scare you? Do you share your faith in a personal way? Or do you fear what others will say? In this podcast, we will explore ways to share your faith and how your testimony may impact the lives of others |  #podcast #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #7KeysToSharingFaithSharing Faith ~ Episode 258

Does sharing your faith scare you? Do you share your faith in a personal way? Or do you fear what others will say? In this podcast, we will explore ways to share your faith and how your testimony may impact the lives of others.

For some of us, sharing our faith is easy, and it can be simple without much fanfare. My husband often praises God in his speech. For example, he will say, “Praise God the job went well,” or something similar. He uses that phrase often, and it does have an impact on others. Once his sister said, “And, as my brother would say, praise God!” She noticed, and others do too. He also walks around with a smile on his face and nods to complete strangers in stores. When we were first together, I use to wonder why people were looking at us and smiling. Then I realized it was because of my husband! Even though I had lived in Florida for over half of my life at that point, the New Yorker in me had a difficult time with all this friendliness!

But shouldn’t we be happy and smiling at others if we love God? Try and tell me what happens when you do this. You will be surprised at the change not only in yourself but in others. Nehemiah 8:10 “Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

The joy of the Lord should indeed be our strength.

I’ve learned by reading, listening, and having very good conversations with people who do not share my faith that we can agree to disagree. This, my friends, is one of the keys to sharing your faith, to be respectful. Before we get started, being personal and sharing what you know is important. If you are not filled up with the love and joy of God, it is difficult to share what you don’t have. No one wants to follow a vengeful God! God is just, He is loving, and He wants the best for us. The enemy wants to destroy us.

7 Keys To Sharing Faith

  1. Love the person where they are at and share the good news! Jesus lived and died for our sins and to give us everlasting life. John 6. (Listen to Meaningful Faith here.)
  2. No judgment – not our job.
  3. Be respectful – as the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in one day, and neither is conversion. It is the Lord that invites us into a life of faith and if someone is closed off, they are not ready to listen.
  4. Share a personal story (read the confirmation note to Ryan)
  5. Ask for reservations or why they have not committed up to this point
  6. Listen
  7. Address concerns

As we share our faith, let it be an encouragement to us to dig deeper into our own faith and to study. If we don’t have the answer to a question, that is fine; tell the person you will get back to them. We can’t possibly know everything, and each person’s observations and journey in life have been different. I once read a book by an avowed atheist who became Catholic. The first chapter was so eye-opening. Essentially the author grew up in an atheistic home. One of her parents was a non-practicing Catholic and the other a very strong atheist. By strong, I believe it was her father who was adamant that she knew about noted atheistic scientists and read her books by these authors.

As a young child was sent to Bible Camp. She was asked (forced in her words) to accept Jesus as her personal Savior, and she refused. She was eight years old. The reason? First, she didn’t know anything about Jesus; second, these people were not kind; third, they threatened her with hell if she did not accept Christ. She said the final straw was they said, “Well, I guess you be like your parents.” She said that she thought to herself, well, if that means kind and loving, then great. If that means anything like you, then no thanks.

This young girl had no idea what hell was, she only knew that she didn’t believe they served a kind and loving God because of how they acted toward her, and the entire situation left a bad taste in her mouth!

Friends, this is a prime example of everything that could possibly go wrong. When we share our faith, let it be because of the love of God within us not because of an ulterior motive. Only God can truly call a person to Him, and yes they have free will to deny Him, but again it is up to them.

Your challenge this week is to share your faith with others, the love of Christ, and what he has done for you!

Meaningful Faith

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Meaningful Faith | Has your faith matured through the years to hit the realm of "meaningful faith | #podcast #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #mercy #MeaningfulFaithMeaningful Faith ~ Episode 257

Has your faith matured through the years to hit the realm of “meaningful faith?” In this podcast, we discuss how our faith needs to be our own and for the right reasons.

Visit the Media Angels website and check out the One More Child book and A Few Minutes with God.

Do you remember the first time you realized there was a God and He loved you? Perhaps you are a new Christian or, like me, you’ve been raised in a church since infancy, and faith is all you know. Even if that is the case and you are a long-time Christian, there had to be a moment, time or day that you realized that the only person you would serve in this life is God, then family and everything else. Joshua 24:15 (Read on air)

Today is no different than the past when this verse was written. The gods today and not those of the Amorites; the gods are entertainment, business, distractions, gossip, the internet, and the associated dangers. These distractions pull on us each day. Not to mention our normal, everyday work, chores, and caring for our family.

Our faith may start as the faith of our parents or the faith of a friend or Pastor who introduced us to Christ, but at some point, that faith needs to be incorporated into our own faith, a faith that is strong and steadfast. In other words, meaningful faith. It takes getting to know the Lord and realizing all He has done for us.

The Old Testament, the beginning of the world, and salvation history tell us over and over again about God’s love, justice, and forgiveness. And instead of a grateful nation (the nation of Israel), all that the Almighty received in return was disobedience. Over and over again, the people complained, rebelled, and did not follow God’s laws and ordinances. These laws were created for a purpose, and when they were broken (for example, the men of Israel intermarrying with people who worshipped idols), the men of Israel began worshipping these pagan idols as well. The Almighty knows our weaknesses and warns us to help prevent disaster, yet the people did it their way.

When we know the Lord Jesus as our personal Savior, we want to please Him and follow His will for our life. Just like a beloved family member or friend, you would do anything to make them happy, to help out to the best of your ability. The same with God.

When you go to church and worship God, you get to know Him and follow His will for your life. However, if you are only doing these things, essentially going through the motions, this is not meaningful faith. Meaningful faith is knowing there is no other option in your life.

In the book of John 6 – there are so many nuggets of truth for our faith – for deep and meaningful faith. I am going to read you some of the verses from this book, and please go back and read it in its entirety so that your faith may be deepened:

John 6:30-71 -(Read on air) John 6:30-34

So, first, we read that the Jews challenge Jesus to give them a sign to prove He was the one true God, just as the Israelites, their forefathers, while in the desert, were given “manna” miraculous food to eat as they wandered in exile, and we know how that story turned out. Those first people who were saved from slavery in Egypt and were to go to the promised land continued to rebel against the Almighty even when instructed by the prophet Moses under the direction of God! Jesus goes on to explain…

John 6:35-40

Let’s read that again John 6:40 … For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the son and believes in him should have eternal life…

Friends, do we believe, truly believe? Do we test God and want signs and wonders? Are we like the Jews, believing only what we can see or only believing if our prayers are answered? Is our faith lukewarm? Do we grumble like the Jews who did not want to take Jesus literally? Jesus said He was the bread of life and that if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. (In eternity.) He said it over and over again in the verses, and then he looked at his disciples, who answered in verse 60, “This is a hard saying. Who can listen to it?” Jesus answered in this way…

John 6:63-66 (Read on air.)  And here is the question. When the teachings get tough, when temptation is too great when we feel like we can not go one more day, will we give up? Will we go away? And finally, the punch line, if you will, the punch line is why I brought these scriptures to your attention for the following.

This … this is it, “Lord, to who shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.” Amen and Amen.

The second person of the Trinity, the Lord Jesus Christ, specifically taught us how we could have everlasting life – and the people, to his face, shunned him! Friends, let us pray and hope we would be different if we had lived at that time and walked those streets. We are walking very difficult streets in the culture wars, in dealing with the world around us. Some of us are living difficult personal lives, yet we must always keep our eyes on God. That is true and meaningful faith – belief in the unseen yet merciful and loving God!

Let us pray never to fail the Lord – to be there without question, excuse, or compromise. To keep the Sabbath holy, to recognize sin as sin, and to sin no more!

Mercy Seat

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Mercy Seat | We know that God is merciful, and his mercy endures forever, but what is God’s mercy seat and what can we learn to apply to our lives? | #podcast #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #Godandmercy #mercifulGod #mercy #christianmercy #sinnomoreMercy Seat – Episode 256

We know that God is merciful, and his mercy endures forever, but what is God’s mercy seat and what can we learn to apply to our lives?

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I love the idea of a mercy seat; what do you picture in your mind? In scripture, we read that the mercy seat was the cover or a lid of the ark of the covenant. This is discussed in Exodus. I’m sure you know the story, but Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, as they were jealous of him. This led to a tremendous journey for the people of Israel. Joseph was favored by the Pharaoh in Egypt, but after generations they both died. The next pharaoh wasn’t as kind, especially as the Lord blessed the people. Pharaoh put the people into slavery, and they cried out to the Lord in prayer. Many, many years later, they were delivered by Moses.

The Lord gave Moses direction for the people, but they were entrenched in sin. After all the years of living in Egypt even though they were slaves, they dressed, ate, and acted like the Egyptians, even worshipping false gods. Moses was directed to bring the people to the promised land, “flowing with milk and honey.” However, the people were stubborn, and even while Moses was up on the mountain speaking to the Lord the people were making a grave image to worship.

These people were in need of direction and mercy! Therefore it was the Lord himself, through Moses that directed them. He couldn’t leave it to anyone else, he made a covenant with Abraham, this was a promise to his family and his descendants, and this promise is unbreakable. The words received by Moses from the Lord were inscribed on stone tablets that were then put into a chest. This was, in essence, a portable sanctuary used by the Israelites because they were heading toward the promised land, but in essence, wandering in the wilderness.

The Lord gave specific instructions on how to fabricate the ark of the covenant in Exodus 25, then we read in the following verses Exodus 25:17-22 (Read on air.)

What does it mean when the Lord says, “There I will meet with you and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the covenant, I will deliver to you all my commands for the Israelites.” – so, how did the Lord do this? He did it in a visible way. There was a cloud, a symbol of God’s Divine presence which the people saw. It was a cloud during the day and a column of fire at night.

It was a place of worship and the ark contained many precious things. In Hebrews 9:3-5 we read. (Read on air.)

In the ark of the covenant – the chest or container were the two stone tablets inscribed with the Word of God – we know them as the 10 commandments. There was also the law, the way the people were to govern, worship, and other useful information. When we read the passages in scripture they are detailed and ways the people could stay healthy and avoid disease. There were other objects as well, the golden pot of manna – this was the food provided to the Israelites in the desert. There was also Aaron’s rod we can read about that in Numbers 17:1-13. These objects were sacred. Later it would be placed in the temple in Jerusalem, where it was placed in an inner room called the Holy of Holies. And, the ark was made and inlaid with gold. Gold was precious then as it is now. Gold is considered the most precious of currency and has value. In this way so is God. God is not a commodity but he is above all else, above all of the other false gods invented by people and God was and is to be revered above all else.

So what was the mercy seat? Just as the gold cover or lid of the Ark of the Covenant covered the treasures within, the mercy seat covered or protected the people of Israel from the judgment of the Law. It brought to the forefront that God was a God of mercy, slow to anger, and yet righteous.

It is difficult to think about the hardships the people went through in the desert, and some were condemned to die for disobedience. It is difficult with our Western sensibilities to hear about this death and destruction when we read the Bible. Yet, the people who were freed from slavery, who saw a miracle of the parting of the Red Sea, who saw manna come down from the sky to feed them, and doves at night — these people were rebellious. These people continued to complain. These people were made to wander in a desert when there was a direct route into the promised land because of their disobedience and rebellion. In fact, we learn that they will not enter the promised land, however, their descendants will. Even Moses who has been steadfast sins and is kept from this land.

It’s as if God has a Plan A – to bless us and we opt for Plan B or C because of our free will decisions and lack of faith. Just like the people in the desert, God wants us, his people to flourish and God wants to bless his people. But just like the people of Israel, often we have so much we need to unlearn. The people lived in Egypt and took on their ways, we live in basically Sodom and Gomora, our world is turned upside down and we have to focus on what is important, true, and right.

From their time in Egypt, the Israelites learned about all types of sacrifice. This was a people that had participated in pagan worship which included child and human sacrifice. God was teaching them that sin could not go uncorrected and that there had to be atonement for sins if there was a violation of God’s laws as written in the 10 Commandments. They had a day of Atonement where their sins would be presented before the Lord and an animal sacrificed along with very specific things they did as a result. Instead of humans, God taught them animal sacrifices for the atonement of sins. These sacrifices were a way for sin to be removed. This was a foreshadowing of Christ, his atonement as the perfect sacrifice for our sins, the removal of sin, and therefore mercy. Christ shed His blood for us.

Today in Judaism the Day of Atonement known as Yom Kippur is the holiest day. It is a time of repentance, and there is a day-long fast and intensive prayers.

In Christianity, we look at Christ as love and mercy. This ties the Old and New Covenant together in an amazing way. The covering of sin was a visible sign to the Israelites, and for us this sign is Christ. This is the mercy seat of God! In Romans, Paul was telling the people in Romans 3:24-25 (Read on air.)

Just like the mercy seat was the cover of the Ark of the Covenant, Jesus is the covering for sin. It is our faith and our belief that we are set free. God is mercy but He is always just. There cannot be mercy without justice and there cannot be justice without mercy.

John 8:31-32 (Read on air.)

Shouldn’t we want to leave sin behind? I’ve been praying a prayer each evening and these are the words I pray that resonate with me, “You are the strength and the light of my soul in you, I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve you by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against you.”

How I desire this to keep myself from sin, to keep myself pure and holy, but I can do none of this without the Lord, frequent attendance of Mass and communion, and frequent prayer and time to listen to the Lord.  The prayer continues with a plea to the Lord to help me to follow His gracious inspirations and to keep me free from sin. 1 John 4:10 states  (Read on air.)

If we follow the Lord we will receive mercy, but this comes with justice. The sacrifice of Christ was merciful for humankind. Without His ultimate sacrifice, we would be in eternal sin and damnation. This week pray that the Lord keeps you from sin, pray for that connection to God in such a real and tangible way as to help us avoid those things that are harmful to our immortal souls. Amen, and may the Lord continue to bless you, pray for me as I pray for you.

Prayer Text

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Prayer Texts | When was the last time someone asked you to pray? Have you considered sending them a prayer text? | #podcast #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #praying #sendingprayers #prayingthroughtextPrayer Text – Episode 255

When was the last time someone asked you to pray? Have you considered sending them a prayer text? In this podcast, we discuss the importance of prayer and how to use technology to pray now.

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When was the last time someone asked you to pray? Or when was the last time you asked someone to pray for you? If someone asks us to pray, we say, “Of course, I’ll pray for you,” or “Yes, count on my prayers.” Or, we say something similar. I would then often forget to pray for the person and feel guilty. Then when I prayed, I reminded the Lord (as if he needed reminding!) that there is no time with God – God is timeless, so even if my prayers were late God still heard them!

That is when I decided I would pray right then. I would pray when talking to someone in person if they asked for prayer, I would place my hand on their arm and pray. If I received a phone call for a prayer request, I’d ask the person if I could pray for them right then.

Then with technology, I found that people were sending texts and asking for prayers. I finally had my solution. I would pray now via a prayer text. After all, if someone is sending me a text and asking for prayer, it is important to do it right away! It helped me to remember to pray for this person throughout the day and their special need, as well as to let them know that I was serious about praying and that we do it right then.

We don’t always have the words we need when it’s time to pray, so sometimes it takes pausing and asking the Lord for his help and asking, “Lord, how should I pray? You know the situation, my God, so please provide.”

Sometimes the request is an easy one, such as praying for me. I feel like I’m getting sick! That is a prayer request I receive from one of my children who teaches and is surrounded by children.  So we can easily text something like, “Dear Lord Jesus, I praise You, and I thank You. I ask you to bless my daughter and fill her with your peace, love, and joy. I ask a blessing upon her, and I ask for good health and a swift recovery, keep her from getting sick, and I pray this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

Scripture reminds us of the necessity of prayer in Mathew 7:6-8 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Jesus is the healer; He is the one who gives if we ask, not as we want it but as He wills it. And that is why it is important to remember to pray for God’s will. This can be difficult for us because, as we’ve discussed many times on this podcast, we often pray, Lord, I need this and that, or please do this and then. That is praying “my will” instead of “Lord, please grant this if it is your will or Lord, grant this if it is for the good of my eternal soul.

I love to see others pray via text in special situations. For example, when my son was in a particularly tough training in the military, I set up a Michaels’s Prayer Warriors text message group. Each day I would send out a text prayer, a reminder so that we could all keep him in our prayers, and I did this for each day he was gone for a total of 62 days of training. They kept us focused and united as a family, And I believe it brought us closer. My son claims that it was through our prayers that he was able to pass this rigorous course the first time instead of having to recycle or be dropped from the course like some of his friends and acquaintances. He also prayed, knowing he had our support at home.

We are a family of God with God at our helm. We must be that example to others to pray unceasingly. 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 states, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

This is a perfect way to pray! Another way to use a prayer text is to do this online. If you are on social media such as Facebook, people often post prayer requests, and usually, other people will like the post or give them a heart or do some other kind of little graphic to let them know that they care and are praying. But how much more powerful if we each take the time and type out a specific prayer for them? It helps us read prayers that others post and unite us all in prayer.

Obviously, it takes practice if you’re not used to praying extemporaneously, but it is similar to just speaking to the Lord. I always like to start with praising and thanking God because he is worthy of our praise. Psalm 145: 1-2 I will exalt you, my God, the King, and I will bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you, and I will praise your name forever and ever.

If you take a few minutes to ask the Lord how He wants you to pray, just start by quietly (or aloud) praising Him and lifting up the situation or need to him. You can ask the Lord specifically for help, such as “Dear Lord, I don’t have the words for the situation, so please give me the words you would like me to use,” or “Lord, please come into this prayer and help me to pray your perfect will.”

Then I listen, and whatever the Lord has put on my heart to pray for, I pray. Typically God gives us a thought of something we should pray for specifically.  Sometimes you will be inspired to pray a specific way. I remember one time praying for my son for a severe headache; I felt like he was suffering. I had no way of knowing if he had a headache or not. We just pray in faith it doesn’t matter if we find the results; what matters is that we are faithful to pray.

We are called to pray — in prayer and supplication. Phillippians 4:6-7 we read, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

I love that! The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

What better way to use technology for the good than to use the tools we have at our fingertips? Most people today have smartphones with text capability. How wonderful to receive a text from my friend saying they are praying for me, especially when I need those prayers. And if you think of someone and they keep coming to mind, maybe they need your prayers. This has happened to me in the past, so now I try to reach out when I think of a person who needs or may need prayer. By sending them a prayer via text, they know I care. Who doesn’t like to get a prayer or be prayed for?

Your challenge this week is to use technology for the good – whether on a text message, social media, or even a phone call and pray for someone in need.

 

 

 

Keeping God’s Word

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Keeping God's Word | How can we keep God's word close to us? In this podcast, we explore ancient traditions still practiced by those of the Orthodox Jewish faith today and how we can learn from these practices. | #christianpodcast #podcast #keepingGod'sWord #faith #faithpodcast #CatholicKeeping God’s Word ~ Episode 254

How can we keep God’s word close to us? In this podcast, we explore ancient traditions still practiced by those of the Orthodox Jewish faith today and how we can learn from these practices.

Thanks to our sponsor CTC Math and the curriculum receiving rave reviews. Check out the sponsor of this week’s episode.

When reading the Bible, we often hear of the Lord saying over and over again, especially to the Israelites, to keep his WORD next to their hearts and never to forget what the Lord has done for us. The Israelites were taken out of bondage as slaves, yet they had much to learn as they wandered in the desert. And, if you read Exodus and Numbers, you will find they were an ungrateful nation!

We would like to think we would be different, but as we both know, that is impossible without God’s grace. As we live our lives, we do not want to be forgotten. We want to leave a legacy for our family. When people talk about us, we want it to be with fondness and consideration. You can think about this for a moment. What is an accomplishment you do not want to forget or want others to forget?

Throughout salvation history, God has and continues to save His people. It was clear when he took the Israelites to the promised land. The Jewish culture still remembers this and keeps a sign of God’s word on their doorposts, sometimes even in their homes. I was fascinated when reading about the Mezuzah, [MA-ZOO-ZA ], and I looked it up. The word itself means doorposts. It is a small scroll with a piece of parchment paper handwritten by an expert scribe. Some are very basic, and others are quite elaborate. On the outside are Hebrew letters. The Mezuzah is believed to be an extra spiritual protection to the family that places one at the door. When the Jewish person enters or exits their home, they kiss their fingers and then place them on the mezuzah and recite – May God keep my going out and my coming in from now on and ever more – which is from Psalm 12:18

The foundational text of the Holy Scriptures – Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11:13-21 begins with Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, and the Lord is One. This is the command that God gave the Israelites. “And you shall write these words upon the doorposts of your house and upon your city gates.”

It is a beautiful verse; let me read it in its entirety. (read on air) Deuteronomy 6:4-9
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.

Why don’t we, as Christians, have these on our doorposts? Why are we not continuing this tradition? Well, one of the reasons is Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophecy of the Old Testament, yet, the Old Testament has many things we ascribe to – for example, teaching our Children diligently, putting the words of God in our hearts, and more. We have Bibles in our homes, often multiple Bibles. I have two different apps on my phone where I can read scripture. In reading the Bible, we consider and ponder the words and place them in our hearts, both the Old and New Testaments.

Think about your home, car, apparel, and maybe even a religious symbol like a cross. These are outward reminders of our faith. The Bible verse plaques in my home or on the doors to our bedroom. Where do you see signs of God’s word in your home?

I love the idea of a mezuzah, and I believe we must never forget; we take so much for granted as Christians. Consider how you can improve on your faith journey and keep God’s Word in your heart. What can you do?

We read in  Psalms 119:105-106

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws.

By our Baptism, we have been made sons and daughters of God; He is the way, the truth, and the life. John 14:4-6 we read (read on air). Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

At times in our lives, when we are lost, and we, like Thomas, do not know where we are going, we can remember this passage. Through Jesus is everlasting life. While God took the Israelites out of bondage and slavery physically and spiritually, the same applies to us today. With our faith in Christ, he takes us out of slavery from sin and into the life everlasting. We must follow that path less traveled, but it is lit with the true light of righteousness.

We may believe that the Old Testament is obsolete and it does not apply to us today. We think it is written for a people long ago. It does apply to us today because, just like any history lesson, if we do not learn from past sins, the sins of our forefathers, we will continue to make the same mistakes. The sins of Adam and Eve, of Moses being a humble servant but in his anger hitting the rock twice and not setting foot in the promised land, in countless events during the time in the desert. Making an idol to worship while Moses was speaking with God for direction for the people. Why go back into sin and slavery when you left it behind?

Because we are stubborn people, we want what we want. We think what we do is not “that bad,” especially if we compare ourselves to others. Friends, I am sure there is some truth to that, but shouldn’t we strive to do the best we can each day? To keep God’s word in our hearts and yearn for time with Him. Our relationships hinge on our relationship with God first. Everything else will fall into place!

This week, consider all the ways you can keep God’s word in your hearts and mind.

I pray that you are reminded of all God has done for you and that you continue to put God’s Word in your heart and never forget! May God be praised, now and forever!

Power of Motherhood

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Power of Motherhood | The power of motherhood can not be denied, and behind every powerful person in our world is a Mom. In this episode, we will discuss the powerful legacy moms leave. | #christianpodcast #motherhood #powerofmotherhood #legacy #parentinglegacy #legacyofmom #moms #mothersdayPower of Motherhood ~ Episode 36

The power of motherhood can not be denied, and behind every powerful person in our world is a Mom. In this episode, we will discuss the powerful legacy moms leave.

Thanks to our sponsor CTCMath.com – a wonderful math curriculum for kids. Check out the website for more information. Sponsorships keep us on the air.

Do you have a special group of friends? I do, and these women keep me on track. The place faith and family before all us – and they encourage and bless others in friendship. These are the women I prayed for in a time when I felt the world pulling me by virtue of my degree into the workforce. Yet these women encouraged me in the virtue and power of motherhood. They let me express what I knew in my heart that women are the caregivers, welcoming and should care for their children.

The power of Motherhood is in self-giving, and fulfilment of what God has called you to do. Behind every powerful corporation, president, and other powerful “leader” is a mother. By virtue of giving life, this person is responsible for another. I still miss my mother who has been gone over twenty years, yet her impact on my life is stunning.

My mother was the first example of powerful motherhood – she encouraged me to set my goals high. You want to be an artist? Go paint. Do it.  You want to become a teacher? Go for it. Whatever I wanted to do she encouraged me. We worked hard together as a family in my parent’s Italian Restaurant. The hours were long but when we had an opportunity we vacationed together as well. Our parents always gave us opportunities they didn’t have – and we do that for our own children as well.

Mothers are wonderful and work so hard, yet they are often unappreciated, neglected and misunderstood! When I complained to my mom being tired with little kids or about my husband she would say, “God put you together as a family, you make the best of it, pray and it will all work out. Love your children and your husband as God loves you.” Wow so much wisdom. She didn’t give into my complaining, but she acknowledged it and she encouraged me toward greatness.

If you don’t have a cheerleader that is there to encourage you to greatness, let me take this opportunity to do this for you. You can take charge of your life today, invest in your family and you will find yourself so much stronger and happier. You can do this and you are not alone. Even if you live in the other corner of the world away from me, know you have a kindred spirit. We women are powerful and the voices of the outside world want to squelch this, but in you heart know that you are enough and your worth is not in what others think.

In the midst of adversity we have a choice to sink down or to rise up, and I pray that you rise up to the challenge. My family, my children and my husband—our relationships became stronger when we placed our faith in God first as the foundation of our lives. Mothers work behind the scenes for the most part and no one will ever see the wonderful things you do – that is outside of your family, and often they don’t appreciate the sacrifice or effort. Of course we want to be appreciated but, this side of heaven we may not see the fruits of our efforts. The power of womanhood is in the idea that we are more than we think we are because we were created in the image of God. Our soul and spirit are greater than what this world has for us, yet we are precious and special in the eyes of God – get right with God and all else will fall into place. God gives us the grace to do this.

Relationships matter. A relationship with the Almighty, then the relationship with your spouse. Often we place our kids first and then wonder why we are stressed and can’t handle another day.  But, without a good foundation of two, it makes raising children more difficult. It is hard to see the bigger picture. Once the kids are grown, many relationships fall apart. Invest in your spouse and work together as a team. Easier said than done (ask me how I know).

In life nothing in life is perfect, so quit expecting it in your motherhood and how you parent. We can’t always make our kids happy – in fact, only God can make a person happy. So, do your best, parent with love, and let go of the rest.

Motherhood never stops. As I began to write this episode my daughter was in the hospital waiting for an emergency C-section (her first one, but her ninth child). My granddaughter’s 16th birthday is a day away, and my daughter was concerned, from her hospital bed, that she wouldn’t be there for Samantha’s birthday! This is what we do, we mothers. On the other hand, I worry for my daughter, but I will ensure my granddaughter is pampered and spoiled on her birthday! The good news is that while I delayed the re-launch of this podcast, my ninth grandchild was born and not out of NICU yet, but praise God for the treatment he is receiving. We moms keep on going, because we must.

I pray that if you are discouraged or feel abandoned, you realize I AM HERE FOR YOU! Come over to our Facebook podcast family page, send me an email or know I am praying for you. Believe me when I say while it is nice to receive the accolades of others, you must be confident in the knowledge that God has you in the palm of His hand, even if it doesn’t feel that way!

We don’t need to be praised for being uniquely feminine, but by virtue, that is what we are. We can look at the Bible, which is a blessing for us, and look to the model of all Christian women everywhere, and that is Mary. She is the mother of our Savior but more than that, because of her example, her “Yes,” in the midst of adversity we can learn so much from her. She stayed quietly in the background yet when it came time for her to be strong, visit her cousin Elizabeth and we read the words in Scripture, “My soul magnifies the Lord,” we can see that this is no simple peasant girl on the inside. God infilled and inspired her. Luke 1:46-55

We read in Proverbs 31:28, “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, he praises her.”

And the 10 commandments – Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”

We as women are destined to greatness, and by virtue of motherhood, whether you have given birth, are a parent by marriage or adoption, or care for children in some way through volunteering. You, my friend, are called to a greater purpose. If you strive to live a virtuous life you will be rewarded by the grace to persevere.

Moms tend to be the strong ones in the family, yet as a mother, I encourage my husband to understand the power of fatherhood. (Listen to the podcast on the topic here.) Homes are the strongest when both parents are united.

Overall the destiny of motherhood is real.

The Destiny of Motherhood – Real-Life Application

  1. Love begins with a relationship. First, start with a strong relationship with God, then your spouse, and then your kids. This is building the kingdom of God in your own home.
  2. Our culture pushes women as objects rather than role models. My favorite clothing store had the motto, “Clothing for the role model.”
  3. Moms are the power behind the family; they are the ones everyone goes to in times of need.
  4. Look to your family and not out the window at others; the grass looks greener, but it never is (septic tank reference).
  5. Lastly, focus on home – your kids are with you for a short while. I know everyone says this, and when you are in the midst of dirty diapers up at all hours of the night and have your hands full with sick children, it can’t go fast enough. But you are leaving a legacy.

You, as a mother, are destined for greatness. There is power in motherhood, which comes from within, but it needs to be filled and encouraged. I want to share a book with you, One More Child, that I wrote a few years ago and is free on Kindle if you have an unlimited subscription, but it is free for a short time now in celebration of Mother’s Day.

 

 

 

Faith Minutes

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Faith Minutes | Spending time with God takes minutes...can you spare the time? | #christianpodcast #podcast #afewminuteswithGod #faith #prayer #makingtimeforGod Faith Minutes ~ Episode 253

Healthy prayer habits can be faith minutes; in other words, making the most of our time. We see the effects of spending time with God, but we typically put off prayer until we have more time. Let’s put some wasted time to good use with tips to get you started.

Thanks to our sponsor CTCMath.com a wonderful math program for school-aged children. Thanks to our sponsors!

Today I heard a sermon, and in it, the deacon said, “God has extravagant love for us.” I love that imagery—almost more love than we can handle. In this love, we should feel secure and safe; it is the place we go when we sin and ask for forgiveness and when we want to thank the Lord. It also reminds us to use the time we have to give God praise and worship.

In past podcasts, I’ve discussed many ways we can do this, for example, in reading a scripture verse or memorizing scripture. We can have faith minutes while listening to music or praying for a friend. It is, in essence, the time we spend that brings to mind God, but in a deeper or more focused way.

Using my time wisely gives me a sense of accomplishment and contentment. I feel I’ve succeeded in my day when I can look back and see the things that are completed. And the first thing is prayer. What makes you feel contentment or success in your prayer life? I know prayer is more than a checkoff point on a list, but shouldn’t it be just as important? For example, we make time at some point to figure out how we will spend the day. When will you shop, cook, do laundry, or clean? When will you eat dinner, or when will you spend time with family or friends? Shouldn’t you make the same use of our time for God?

You can often judge whether you need more time with God by how you feel. Do you feel empty or unfulfilled? We fill up our days with so many activities it is difficult to figure this out at times, but one way is to think about how you pray. Are you always asking?

Asking God in Prayer:

  1. God, I need this…
  2. God, can you please…
  3. God, can you help me…
  4. God, can you let this…(or don’t let this) happen?
  5. God, do you hear me?!

I felt a sense I was doing that in my prayer time, and I changed my prayers to this…

Asking God’s Will in Prayer

  1. God, I need this…if it is Your will.
  2. God, can you please…if it is Your will.
  3. God, can you help me…if it is Your will.
  4. God, can you let this…(or don’t let this) happen if it is Your will?
  5. God, let your will be done.

Our faith minutes can be what we make them; at the red light, we can praise the Lord. “Thank you, Jesus, you are good and worthy of all praise.” We can praise God at the grocery store, standing in line, or at the post office. What are those minutes when we wait that we can put under the Lordship of God?

This Sunday, our Pastor talked about waking up at night and praying the following, “Jesus, I trust in You. Jesus, I trust in You. Jesus, I Trust in  You.” And I thought, wow, this is a prayer minute!

A few minutes with God can look different for each of us, but the essence of prayer is conversation and relationship. Conversation with God and a relationship with the Almighty that begins with respect at its foundation. Sometimes we read Scripture verses and have no idea what they mean, especially in the Old Testament. But here is a wonderful scripture that sums up this podcast, Psalms 20:1-5 (Read on air.) This is called the Psalm of David.

David had many failings in his life, and we have a first-hand seat when we read about it in the Old Testament, but one thing that recurs with David is asking for forgiveness with the thought of moving forward and away from sin. If prayer can help us do this in our lives, I consider it a win!

We are told if we believe, we will be saved, but we can pray in our unbelief at times of weakness!  Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

We were created to serve the Almighty, and as the deacon said, “God has extravagant love for us.” Try to outgive God, praise, and worship Him without thinking of anything in return. That is how the Lord loves us without requiring or expecting anything in return, but how can we not give praise to the One who loves us without reserve?

This week our challenge is to find those faith minutes in our life where we take the time to pray and open our hearts to blessings or where our faith is renewed, and we fill overflowing with God’s love for us! I pray this for you this week; may you be blessed!

 

 

 

Growing Virtue and Uprooting Vice

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Growing Virtue and Uprooting Vice | For the longest time, I would bristle when I would hear people talking about growing virtue and rooting out vice because so many times it sounded like something they were engineering | #ChristonPodcast #Christon #podcast #WholnessHoliness #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #UprootingVice #GrowingVirtueandUprootingViceGrowing Virtue and Uprooting Vice

Growing Virtue and Uprooting Vice. For the longest time, I would bristle when I would hear people talking about growing virtue and rooting out vice because so many times it sounded like something they were engineering.  I’m thoroughly convinced that growing in holiness is something I’m completely incapable of on my own, and I can easily get myself tied in a knot if I try.

I remember the Lord telling me once in prayer when pondering such a thing, “I don’t need your treatment plan.”  A therapist creates a treatment plan to work toward health with a client.  The Lord was letting me know in not so many words that He had a far better idea of what growth I needed and how to accomplish it.  It put me back in the spot of receiving from the Lord, which is a far better spot to be.  The Holy Spirit is the Sanctifier.  I’m not.

As we dig into the concepts of connection:  1. that we are chosen by the God of all creation to exist here now and are made to spend eternity with Him, 2. known more intimately by Him than we could ever know ourselves, 3. valued so totally by He who emptied Himself to redeem us and manifest the Father’s love for us, and 4. protected and provided for by the God of all creation, we are filled with such a sense of love, security, stability, and belonging that far surpasses anything we could ever hope for or imagine.  It is exactly that deep and abiding unearned love that flowers into a virtue when responded to.  If we try to do it on our own, it is an exercise in futility or even frustration.  If we do have any success, we can so easily end up being proud of our humility.

It is Jesus who makes us into a gift to the Father by the action of the Holy Spirit.  Of course, we are called to collaborate with that grace.  We must receive it first.  Regardless of if we are male or female, the soul is primarily receptive.  The Lord is the Bridegroom and is the initiator.  In receiving not just His love, but He who is Love, and responding in love to His love, we move from vice to virtue.

Let’s receive Him, His love, and take on His mind and heart of compassion towards ourselves; then, He will naturally flow through us to others.

May the Lord give you peace!

  • Margaret

Penny From Heaven

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Penny From Heaven | when you find a penny, what do you do? I call it a gift, a penny from heaven. It is something little, often ignored and stepped over but valued nonetheless | #chrisitianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcasat #feedingyoursoul #christianpodcast #christianliving #afewminuteswithgodpodcast #pennyfromheaven #fromheavenPenny From Heaven ~ Episode 252

When you find a penny, what do you do? I call it a gift, a penny from heaven. It is something little, often ignored and stepped over but valued nonetheless. In this episode, Felice shares her finds and treasures that are inspirations from the Lord.

Thanks to our sponsor, this curriculum is for kids of all ages. Visit CTCMath.com, a math curriculum from the comfort of your home with self-paced lessons. This is one not to miss. Share this with a friend, and we appreciate CTC math.

What do you do when you see a penny lying on the ground? Most of us walk over it and ignore the coin. We do this for many reasons, and all of them are valid. It is an insignificant amount; it is dirty, we don’t want to bend down to pick it up, and so on.

I was right there with you for quite some time. But then something changed. I decided that each penny signified a gift from God. While it may hold little value in the monetary sense, it is, after all, the smallest coin we have; it represents the gifts that God has in store for me. Each penny is a blessing; each penny is a reminder that God knows me and sees me. He sees all of me, and I am important in His eyes.

Do you see a penny from heaven as a blessing?

This is one of those podcasts where I wish we were together because I imagine some of you are like me; you stop and pick up that penny or that coin. You recognize it for what it is – not for the monetary value, but for the gift. It is a blessing, you happened upon it, and it has value in your eyes.

It reminds me of the widow’s mite, and we read about it in Luke 21:1-4 [Read on air.]

Just as the widow gave her savings, what was described in her poverty, to the Lord, I, too, set aside this money for the Lord.  I have areas throughout my home set up like little prayer corners and plaques proclaiming scripture verses, and basically, some have called my home a mini-shrine. It’s not, but it is all a matter of perspective.  Walking by a sign or a prayer corner reminds me to pray or consider what the Lord has done for me.  One particular shelf above my computer has a small depiction of Jesus and Joseph. Jesus is seated on a bench, animated with his hand outstretched, and Joseph listens to him in rapt attention. The workbench and work are briefly forgotten as Joseph is focused on the Lord. I set up a small container where I place any pennies I find.  I feel that these gifts are given to me, but then I can turn around and donate it back. After some time, these coins add up, and I donate them to charity.

This is a visual sign of an invisible truth. Faith is invisible but has such an impact on our lives. I know some people think that having a statue, a cross, or even a picture depicting a religious scene is idolatry which the old testament warns us about. And, if I had a statue of Baal or Budda, I would agree with you, but I don’t.

I believe in the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, the lineage of David and Jesus, the true Lord and Messiah. My God is a God of infinite love and mercy. I want reminders of Bible verses and religious scenes.

Maybe picking up pennies seems silly to you. But it is a small gesture and reminds me about so things that are spiritually important. My shortlist would include the following:

  1. A reminder not to take anything in life for granted.
  2. Acknowledgment that even a penny can symbolize something greater
  3. The understanding that value is in the eyes of the beholder
  4. Remembering that the value placed by material things in our world is nothing compared to that of heaven
  5. A reminder not to ignore the simple things in my life

Maybe your list looks different, and I have a much longer list, but the purpose here is to give you the overall idea–which is looking at your day, each day, and seeing the gift that God has for you. No matter what happens, we can turn to the Lord and thank Him. What is that penny you have stepped over and ignored in your life? What is it that seems insignificant but holds bigger value?

I feel blessed in many ways, not because I live in a castle, am royalty, or am a multi-billionaire. I am blessed because my eyes have been opened like Saul on the road to Damascus, and the Lord has called me by name.

In Acts 9:1-20 We read the entire account of Saul – but here is the first part (Read on air).

We later read in the following verses that Ananais also receives a vision from the Lord, and he says, “Here I am, Lord.” The Lord tells him specifically where to go and that he will find Saul of Tarsus. Ananias knows how he is – Saul has been harming the Christians in Jerusalem, and he reminds the Lord of this. Let me stop here – doesn’t that strike you as ironic? Here is a man with a vision from God; he is conversing with the Lord, yet he is reminding him of something that the Lord already knows!
God is so patient with us, isn’t he?

The Lord says to him, in verses 15-16  (Read on air.)

I am sure Ananias was fearful, but he went, laid hands on him, saying verses 17-20 (Read On Air.)

Saul thought he was doing the right thing, he thought he was doing the will of God, but God showed him that he wasn’t and purged him into the three days of darkness. It was a false belief – which makes me think, what false beliefs do I harbor that I need to dispel? Is it simple, like the value of finding a coin on the ground, or is it deeper in understanding that the God we serve is loving and kind but also righteous?

God restores our belief daily if we let him. Your challenge this week is to look at those little things as gifts from heaven, whether it is a penny found or something more!

 

 

 

 

Everyday Prayer

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Did you know that our lives can turn into everyday prayer? We can turn a life of struggle into a life of rejoicing with the idea that we can hold onto the joy of a truly spiritual life. #podcast #christianpodcast #afewminuteswithgodpodcast #everydayprayerEveryday Prayer ~ Episode 251

Did you know that our lives can turn into everyday prayer? We can turn a life of struggle into a life of rejoicing with the idea that we can hold onto the joy of a truly spiritual life.

Once again we have a wonderful sponsor for our network and that is a math company for kids of all ages. Visit CTCMath.com a math curriculum from the comfort of your home with self-paced lessons. This is one not to miss. Share this with a friend and thanks to CTC Math as our sponsor.

Years ago a good friend of mine discusses how she prayed all day long. She had nine kids at the time and I could not believe she had time for so much prayer. In my mind the only people who prayed like that were in a convent somewhere and had the time for an immersion of prayer. But us regular folks? Not so much.

We are busy with all of the things we do. I always thought, as a young mom that I would have so much time when my kids grew up, in fact I worried that I would be bored or not know what to do with all of my time. Now I don’t know where my time goes! Sure, I work from home in my own business and I have some time set aside for the projects I want to tackle, but my days are still filled and busy.

Many of us waste time and this can be something we look at and chose to do something about. How can you pray everyday? Easy. As my friend with the houseful of kids says, “Jesus is always on my lips.” She said she’d pray while folding laundry. As she was folding a particular child’s shirt she prayed for them. While cooking dinner, she prayed for her family, while vacuuming, and even she said while going up and down the stairs. She said instead of asking the kids to retrieve something she forgot upstairs she’d use that time to pray.

Living a life of prayer can be a choice. It doesn’t have to be anything drawn out or inspired, but it should be heartfelt. Can we pray by reading the Bible? Yes! Can we pray while listening to praise and worship music in the car? Yes! And we can pray as my friend does while doing laundry.

Prayer, like faith, is a gift and it is a choice. We can love one another as God loves us. John 13:34-35 [Read on air.]

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
This calls to mind something my mother use to say, “How do you act when no one is watching?” God sees all things, he knows our hearts and he knows our motivations… and when we pray we do it for ourselves since God is God and nothing we can do earns us salvation, nor does it change God. Yes, our salvation should be worked out through fear and trembling in Philippians 2:10-12 we read so that at the name of Jesus  every knee should bend,     in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue should confess  that Jesus Christ is Lord,     to the glory of God the Father.
What I am saying here is that praying changes us. It makes us focus on what is right and just and what is important. We trust in the Lord to hear us and we praise Him in all things. We can live lives that are joyfully worshipping Him or lives that strive only for selfish purposes. This past 40 days of Lent – the days before Easter were probably the hardest but the most fulfilling than any other time of my life. I had a specific intention and was praying daily for it – and the truth is I struggled as I was worrying about my son in the Army Rangers Program (he passed in 62 days without recycling, meaning doing the challenge again which was a miracle). While praying I learned to trust in the Lord, I learned to journal faithfully daily and keep the Lord as the focus of my day.
It is amazing how we can focus on what is important when there is a need. But what about the times when there is not an immediate need? Sure we always need prayers for something in our life but when it is not major we tend to slack off.
Praying daily is keeping the Lord as the focus, it is concentrating on what we can do for the Lord not what He can do for us. It is sacrifice yes, but it is freedom from slavery and sin, because when we are in His Word, and focused on living lives that are pleasing to the Lord who always sees us at our best and at our worse that we can begin to grow. Divine light is given to us in prayer, it illuminates our minds and our hearts. Praying in our daily lives as we walk the dog or take out the trash is a sign of spiritual growth.
Currently, I’m taking care of an elderly dog and that means accidents. I am praising God for the fact that I have tile floors and thanking Him for the blessings of the chore. Do I want this chore? Of course not! When we are filled with grace and the love to serve others, even an animal it is a selfless love that we can pass on and in this way show others the love of God. We can’t do this unless we are filled up to the brim and that means praying in the mundane and the daily struggles and joys of life.
Everyday prayer transforms a mundane life into a life of joy. We see this in the lives of the saints. We read about St. Therese of Lisieux, who has many life changing quotes. Here is a link to a page that has more, but a few are:

“Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice here by a smiling look there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.” She didn’t say all for God – but we know that God is synonymous with love!  She also said, “Without love, deeds, even the most brilliant, count as nothing.”For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.”

Mediate on these quotes and think about the truth in her words. She was a simple nun, living out her life in extreme poverty yet her life contained riches beyond compare. How can we live our lives? Let’s start with everyday prayer. That is your challenge for this week, how can you infuse everyday prayer into your daily walk with the Lord? While doing your chores and those things that no one else sees but are important nonetheless. In our simpleness, we will find the grace to live holy lives. Praise God, now and forever!

 

 

Restless For God

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Is your soul restless for God? How can you tell? In this episode, your host, Felice Gerwitz, discusses how we may be unhappy and dissatisfied and the key that may be missing in your life. #restlessforgod #afewminuteswithgodpodcast #christianpodcastRestless For God ~ Episode 250

Is your soul restless for God? How can you tell? In this episode, your host, Felice Gerwitz, discusses how we may be unhappy and dissatisfied with life. And she discusses “what” may be missing in our lives.

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When was the last time you prayed, picked up the Bible or just sat in the presence of the Lord and felt relaxed and complete? This happens, yes, but for many of us it is difficult to quiet our minds long enough to hear from the Lord, let alone feel any type of comfort and peace.

Why is this? Why are we restless? Why is it that the minute you pick up your Bible, or focus on a prayer that your mind wanders? You want to jump up and send an email, a text or maybe even fold laundry. Why can’t you just focus?

We can easily lay blame at the enemy’s feet. But there is more than temptation at stake here. And, that is what I’d like you to think about today. Why are you restless? Why are you thinking about all of the things on your to-do list rather than about God?

If we dig deeper we can add the following questions to the list, why are we dissatisfied? Why do we think there has to be something more? Or, that we are not doing enough or not pleasing God for the other side of the equation.

I found myself restless not that long ago and I had to take a hard look at the questions I just posed for you. Part of my restlessness stemmed from a lack of control over my life situations. I was unable to fix things or make things right. I was in fact required to place all of my cares into the hands of a loving and waiting for God. Yet, I was too upset and frustrated to stop and do the very thing I knew would bring me relief.

I felt like I was carrying the world on my shoulders, and in the midst of prayer, I was in the trenches so to speak not wanting to give up one tiny bit of ground to the growing chasm in my soul. That may sound melodramatic but it is true. I felt lost and I felt forsaken.

When we are in the depths of despair there is only one place to look and that is up. We can turn to the right and left but nothing but God will bring us the peace we crave. I knew this in my mind. Like many of you listening I spend time in prayer and stand in the gap so to speak for family members and friends in need. While my faith is strong that does not mean that my faith doesn’t falter in battle. Truly when we are in deep prayer we are in a battle, often for souls. Faith is a gift and while we accept it freely it comes with responsibility. However, that does not mean we take on the cares of the world to the detriment of our own well-being.

I realized that I could not carry the burden of praying for others on my own shoulders and I had to release them to the Almighty only then did I hear a whisper in my mind that said, “I never expected you to carry this burden – it was not for you to carry.” And, then relief as if a weight was taken off my back.

We can only be happy when we are with God not only in our prayers but in releasing our will to His perfect will. Our world is looking for happiness and pleasure in all of the wrong places. We know this, but we are only human.

Psalm 73: 23- 26 [Read on air.] Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel,    and afterward you will take me into glory.25 Whom have I in heaven but you?    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.26 My flesh and my heart may fail,    but God is the strength of my heart    and my portion forever.

When we are stuck we can go to the Scriptures and find relief. When we are stuck we realize that nothing, nothing will satisfy us but the love of God. Perhaps you can’t feel that love or you feel you are unworthy (news alert: we are all unworthy except for the saving power of Jesus Christ). But if you know it in your head, ask the Lord to feel it in your heart.

John 6:27 reminds us of the fact that while we feel that restlessness and we look for a solution to our problem we look in places that will not give us rest or happiness. [Read on air.] Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.”

What is the root cause of the restlessness we feel? Do you know? For each of us this answer may be different, but for most of us, the solution is the same.

Have you heard the saying, You have made us for yourself, O Lord and our hearts are restless until they rest in You. This is a quote from Saint Augustine which he writes in his Confessions. (More of the quote here and here.) Our hearts long for God because we were made (our spirits and souls) in the image of God. We were created as we learned as young children to love and honor Him, and when we don’t we flounder.

Our hearts and in essence, our spirits and souls will only rest when we rest in God. We crave this love that we are missing in our lives and therefore we become restless. Psalm 116:7 sums it up perfectly in a few words: Return, O my soul, to your rest, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

Until we realize that our restless is because of our desire to know God better, to have a deeper communion with Him, a deeper relationship with Him, and only then can we feel that satisfaction that comes from the Lord who is always waiting with open arms. If you read the life of Augustine you will find that a great sinner converted to Christianity many believe due to the prayers of his mother (which gives all parents out there hope for their children). His story is one of redemption and grace and it is a story not only for him but for all of us.

This week examine the restlessness in your life, and determine to make a change, a change in your relationship with God which is always a change for the better! May God be blessed today and always.

Challenge After Easter

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

What is the challenge after Easter? Do we lose that Easter glow and forget about rejoicing daily? It's time to remember He is Risen! #afewminuteswithgodpodcast #easter #easterchallenge #christianpodcastChallenge After Easter ~ Episode 249

What is the challenge after Easter? Have you even considered this a question? In this episode, Felice explores the idea of embracing each day with the remembrance of the Resurrection and living our lives as true Christian sons and daughters.

Thanks to our sponsor CTC math! Visit the website at CTCMath for more information about a great math curriculum.

Before Easter, many of us take the time to seek God in a deeper way as we consider His ultimate sacrifice. This time is called Lent, and it is the 40 days before Easter. Jesus spent 40 days in prayer in the desert before what is called his public ministry. It is an amazing example to us. Jesus spent this time in preparation, and He was tested.

The Easter season is always special, especially if you practice fasting, almsgiving, reconciliation, or confession. We examine our lives and look for ways to improve. Maybe we realize there are sins in our lives, and we make a point of changing for the better. Lent is practiced widely in the Catholic Church and begins on Ash Wednesday, a time of receiving ashes on the forehead at church with the words, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust, you shall return.” This a reminder that we do not live forever, and while God is merciful, He is also just.

Perhaps you focused before Easter on prayer, journaling, or made a concentrated effort to renew your relationship with the Lord. This time is beneficial; if you did not have time to do this in the past, there is always today to begin. It is never too late to increase your faith and your time with God. Each day is a new beginning, and with it comes new hope! I love the word hope – it is inspiring and gives me the confidence that all will be well. Maybe not as I will it, but as the Lord wills it to happen.

During Easter, we celebrate the fact that God has conquered death and opened up a way to heaven and that we, as His followers, have a path ahead that is an invitation. Easter day may include worship, attending church, and celebrating by sharing a meal with friends and family. It is a wonderful time of connection.

What about after? Do we lose that Easter glow? Do we forget about rejoicing the day after HE has RISEN? Unfortunately, that is a yes for many of us. Each day after, we continue on with our lives and forget what God has done for us. However, the challenge is to remember Jesus daily.

Here are a handful of ideas to keep the Lord front and center:

  1. Praise and thank Him each day for the simple things. In a future podcast, I will discuss everyday prayer, but for now, know that our lives can be used as a prayer. If we dedicate our concerns to Him, the burden is often lifted. Maybe not totally, but in some way, we know we are not alone.
  2. Meditate on one scripture each day. For example, Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. Think about the words, and focus on what impacts you. The overarching theme here is that God’s protection for those who follow Him will not overwhelm us. It does not mean life is easy, only that He will give us the grace to handle it. By meditating on this concept, we will be renewed.
  3. Realize that you are not in this life alone. As a follower of the Almighty God, the King of the Universe, you are never alone. John 14;25-27  “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Advocate,[a] the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. Again an amazing verse to ponder.
  4. Use song as a prayer. Praying through the verses of your favorite Christian songs helps us to be placed in the midst of God. Praying through song is considered by some, praying twice. Here is a podcast I created sometime back on Christian music and using it for praise, here.

Can you add to the list above? What are some ways to keep God the focus of your life? Take some time and consider this question, maybe right now but afterward. We have different ways of worshiping God, but keeping God at the forefront of our lives takes work and a concentrated effort. Our lives would be so much better if we could remember to do this, and not just during the Easter or Christmas season but all year long.

For many of us, our lives are divided into compartments. There is work time and family or friend time; there is time for recreation, whether it is social media, a book, the television, or an online source. There is time for worship which may be one or more days a week. However, if we include God in all we do, if we did this, our lives would not only be richer but more in the sense of keeping us from sin.

When we get busy or our focus is on the wrong thing, we stumble, and we fall. In trying to do our best or make everyone else happy, we discover that we have lost something of ourselves. Many of us are “other-focused,” which means we place our family and friends above ourselves. This is not a bad thing, but we forget to fill up our own tanks with the hope that Jesus is the only important thing and that His life, death, and resurrection give us hope of eternal life. This is the essence of the Easter message. Understanding that God made us for Himself and that our dedication and prayer to Him daily is for us, not for Him. Nothing we can do can earn us salvation, but in the same way, we should give Him our very best. By doing this, we can release the burdens that keep us tied down to Him in the midst of worship.

How will you keep the Easter season alive in your life? Only you know the answer to this, and I pray that you are motivated to make take the message to heart; you are loved so much, John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Amen and Amen.

 

The Obedient Son

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

The Obedient Son Jn. |A Moment with Scripture-8:21-30-By Deacon David Hockwalt. This gospel highlights the misunderstanding between Jesus and the Pharisees| #TheObedientSonJn #ObedientSon #chrishtan #chrishtanpodcastThe Obedient Son

A Moment with Scripture-8:21-30-By Deacon David Hockwalt

The Obedient Son. This gospel highlights the misunderstanding between Jesus and the Pharisees. It is based on the fact that they are coming from two different perspectives. The Pharisees are in this earthly world, and Jesus is from heaven, above. The Pharisees cannot understand Jesus because they think about him in their own earthly terms. The same is today for those who deny Jesus’s divinity.

When Jesus says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come, they think he is going to take his own life. Jesus says, ‘If you do not believe I am, you will die in your sins.’ In the bible there is a deep connection between sin and death. St. Paul writes, ‘Through Adam sin entered the world and through sin, death.’ When Jesus is talking about dying in your sins, he is talking about dying in the state of separation from God. Only Jesus can heal humanity of sin and reconcile them with the Father. To this day, those who believe in Jesus accept eternal life with the Father. Those who reject Jesus refuse his gift and thus die separated from God.

DEACON DAVID HOCKWALT has ordained a Permanent Deacon in the Diocese of San Bernardino in 2012. He continues in active ministry today and is the spiritual advisor to the vicariate Life in the Spirit team.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us www.magnificat-ministry.org

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit store.magnificat-ministry.net

 

 

Suffering Is a Pain

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Suffering Is a Pain |This is a topic that is always with us in this life!  As Catholics we often hear about the redemptive power of suffering.| #ChristonPodcast #Christon #podcast #WholnessHoliness #MargaretVasquezs #SufferingIsAPain #SufferingSuffering Is a Pain

Suffering Is a Pain. This is a topic that is always with us in this life!  As Catholics we often hear about the redemptive power of suffering.  How are we to do that in a way that is powerful and in a way where we collaborate with the grace the Lord is giving?  We know the saints suffered well and that is even before they were saints.  We can tend to forget they weren’t yet canonized when they were still alive.  What is the difference between suffering and just being in pain?

Suffering is the way we respond to pain.  We often get taught not to grumble, complain, become impatient, take it out on your neighbor, or self-medicate.  Yet, nature abhors a vacuum and it’s insufficient to hear what not to do.  We need to know what to do.

  1. First, we need to acknowledge the suffering or frustration and not stuff it and then leave the emotions to come out sideways. In Jesus’ agony in the garden before His crucifixion, He didn’t deny or minimize what He was about to undergo, even though He knew how things were going to end and that He would rise in three days!  He still sweat blood.  He was real with the situation and was in touch with His emotions.  Emotions are energy that move us from or towards something and if we just stuff them, they can come out in a variety of unhealthy ways.

 

  1. Secondly, we can consider how the Lord experienced the same type of suffering or greater. He suffered in many ways in His earthly life, even before His Passion.  He put up with frustration in dealing with the apostles as they bickered about who was the greatest, He was a sign of contradiction, rejected even for doing good, denied, betrayed, tortured, mocked, ridiculed, and put to death.

 

  1. Next, we can unite our sufferings to His. That is so powerful.  The notion of atonement – being at one with Him can afford us an insight into the Lord’s own pain and what He endured for love of us.  Also, because He suffered in these ways, He is well acquainted with what we suffer.  I can be present to He who is present to me.

 

  1. Then, we experience the intimacy of being seen into by Him as we see into what He suffered. When the pain goes away what is left is love.  Suffering hurts, is painful, is difficult.  Don’t beat yourself up for that or put pressure on yourself that suffering shouldn’t be difficult.  If it wasn’t so, it wouldn’t be suffering.  Yet, the Lord can transform every occasion of suffering into an occasion of intimacy with Him.  His compassionate love sustains us in the midst of the difficulty.

 

  1. Finally, we do whatever good we are supposed to be doing out of the power of intimacy with the Lord. Suffering does NOT have to lead us to isolation, but through drawing closer to the Lord in the midst of it there is intimacy with the Lord. We are moved out of the isolation of pain into the intimacy of suffering with the Lord and then empowered by the union with Him and His Holy Spirit to imitate Him.  We are not made for isolation, but for connection.

Somehow through it all we are transformed from death to new life in Him!  He equips our crosses with that same transforming power of His Cross.

Principle Approach

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Principle Approach

Christian Education – Max Lyons

Principle Approach Max Lyons of the Foundation for American Christian Education (FACE) talks with Israel Wayne about the philosophy of the Principle Approach and how to teach Providential History. The Principle Approach was developed by Verna Hall & Rosalie Slater and has prepared many Christian school teachers and homeschoolers with a Biblical philosophy of education.

Dr. Max Lyons serves as Director of Teaching Services at FACE. He is a teacher, curriculum writer, and conference speaker, specializing in the areas of Bible, history, government, law, economics, and Biblical worldview. He has taught a Biblical worldview adult Sunday school class for two decades and served as teacher and administrator in three Christian schools since 1979. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Virginia Wesleyan College, a Masters in Christian School Administration from Regent University, and a Ph.D. in Christian Education from Whitefield Theological Seminary. Max and Margie have four children and seven grandchildren and they attend Kempsville Presbyterian Church.

Government Takes All…What’s Left for Me?

In this well-researched yet easy to read book, Dr. Lyons logically presents the case for limited government and free-market economics. https://www.facebookstore.net/product_p/gta.htm

Sons & Daughters: Walking in Truth

Your children are your priceless treasures! Learn the Biblical reasons to educate them in a thoroughly Christian program. This defense of Biblical Christian education presents ten compelling reasons for parents to equip their children with the Biblical worldview, ensuring that they walk in God’s truth (II John 4). This booklet is an apologetic for Biblical Christian education, most appropriate for high school and older. https://www.facebookstore.net/product_p/sdwt.htm

Celebrate Our Christian Holidays Like You Were There

Celebrate seventeen American holidays with the depth of their Biblical traditions and true history.
https://www.facebookstore.net/product_p/coch.htm

Website: https://www.Face.net

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/max-lyons-593b422b/

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To Learn more about Israel Wayne and Family Renewal, LLC visit https://www.ChristianWorldview.net

& https://www.FamilyRenewal.org

Feeding Your Spirit and Soul

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Feeding Your Spirit and Soul | Are you feeding your soul? What is your spiritual health and how can improve upon it? In this episode we dig deep. | #chrisitianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcasat #feedingyoursoul #christianpodcast #christianliving #afewminuteswithgodpodcastFeeding Your Soul ~ Episode 248

We feed our bodies, but are you feeding your spirit and soul? Everything we put into our bodies affects our physical health, but the same happens with our spirit and soul. Who do you surround yourself with, what do you read or watch, and how we engage with others? In this episode, we discuss ways to feed our souls that benefit our spiritual health.

Check out One More Child on the Media Angels shopping cart, along with a free journal. Be sure to sign up for our mailing list to receive your prayer journal.

Have you heard the saying “Garbage in, garbage out?” I’m sure you have, yet we don’t consider it means anything else than the food we eat. If we are careful about eating well to feed our bodies, why are we not careful with our spiritual being?

We know from the beginning of the creation of the world that God meant for us to live a life of abundance. To live in a garden without sin and to live essentially forever. We are created in the image and likeness of God, we are told. Genesis 1:26-27 God wants a relationship with us and is there waiting. We are the ones avoiding Him. Sin, at its root cause, is an issue of relationship. Relationships that are broken, harmed, and sometimes destroyed.

We read in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We are made up of spirit, soul, and body. We know what a body is, but what about our spirit and soul? While we have a spirit, we are not spirits in the sense of Heavenly Ages or the Holy Spirit. The spirit is the entity we have that connects with God; it is the “relationship” part. It gives us a sense of longing; we long for God, who has made us for Him. If we are unaware that this longing for happiness is essentially a longing for God, we are unhappy and unfulfilled.

People try all types of things to become happy. Whether it is eating, friends, drinking, or shopping. Have you heard the term “retail therapy”? That is a term that refers to shopping to make you happy when you are sad, as if new clothing or some other purchase can take away the sadness that is rooted in brokenness. Let me ask you – have you ever thought, “I would be perfectly happy if I had…” (Fill in the blank.) Whatever that need is, and again if you get that thing, you want, it will be a temporary fix. Money does not buy happiness, only God.

The spirit is also the reservoir, if you will, of faith. It is important for the life of the believer. Once again, it is that God connection, that belief that you know that you know, beyond doubt, that the Almighty lives and He cares for you in an intimate way. Not as some afterthought but designed purposely for this life. That craving is not for chocolate; it is for God!

Our souls and spirits are connected. The soul is shrouded in a body; it is called the “life principle,” all living bodies have a soul; if they do not have a soul, they would not live. Every living thing has a soul; however, man is unique. Why? Because we have rational powers, that makes us different.

Luke 12:19-20 states  (Read online.)

Our souls are where our selfish and sinful nature resides, and our souls are part of our bodies that leave our physical selves at the time of death. In Genesis, we read about the death of Rachel, the beloved wife of Jacob. Genesis 35: 18 (Read online.)

Our soul and spirit combined are where our emotional experiences reside. The soul can refer to the entire person, whether we are alive or have passed on. So shouldn’t we feed our souls with all that is good and pure? If our consciences are well formed, we will know when something is not right, when we shouldn’t watch, listen or be around something we know isn’t good for us.

We read in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (Read online)

And in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, (red online.)

So now what will you do? How will you feed the part of yourself that is tempted by sin or the part of you that wants a closer relationship with God but does not have the time? My challenge will surprise you. Sure, reading Scripture, praying, keeping a prayer journal, reading a good Christian faith book, and works of charity, all these are wonderful and can indeed fill your soul with nourishment. But there is more. Feeding your soul means working on your conscience. This means making an effort to do what is right. Just like forgiveness, making an effort means making a decision and doing it. Is it easy? No. Is it worthwhile? Yes, and yes.

Feeding our souls means taking the time to put our decisions in alignment. What road do we travel as Christians? The road that is less traveled. Giving into sin may seem like the easy way, but like our diets, eating what is good for our bodies, so too, filling ourselves with what is right and will be a blessing. Think of the people you hold in high regard. Is there a time when you saw someone fail? How did that make you feel? I know I’ve felt let down, especially if this is a person you care about. With all of the scandals going on in churches across our world, people have lost faith in God. That is a shame and truthfully not warranted. Yes, we can be heartbroken, but our eyes should never be on the pastor, the choir, or the Bible teacher; our eyes should only be on Christ because He will not fail us.

A very popular Christian author, speaker, and associate pastor left his faith behind when an extreme scandal at his church came crashing down. While he had nothing to do with this on the surface (maybe he could have done something or not turned a blind eye), the point is he allowed this tragedy to take him away from God. But what else happened? It was a domino effect because he had led many people toward God with his writings and sharing about relationships. We have his books on our own shelves. His downfall came from placing the wrong emphasis on the wrong people. Did God fail him? No. Did man. Yes.

Almighty God gave us life and gave us a chance to do things right. This is the only life you have, so live it well, and that means not in the sense of selfishness. I hear the words, “Live your best life,” as if anyone would purposely live their worse life — yet sometimes, while living your best, you live a life that is devoid of putting others first. Or, maybe if you are a parent, you put everyone else first but yourself and then find you have nothing left to give.

Not surprisingly, last Sunday, our pastor talked about the soul and its need to be considered. He is the same pastor who often talks about sin being a broken relationship with God. He shared that filling our souls in repairing that relationship with God and with the important people in our life. It does not mean we ignore others, we should have Christian charity, but it does mean we do not lose sleep over what people think about our walk with God. Many times people care about what people think of those who are unimportant in their lives.

When God is not a factor in our life, the evil one gets in and causes havoc to our souls. So decide today–what will you do? How will you fill your soul? How will you encourage that sense that nothing is fulfilling in your life (because it can’t be without God as the focus), and make an effort to change? Do you think you need to change, or are you content with your life as it is now?

I pray you to take this idea of feeding your soul to heart and find a way to make it happen. Only you can decide, and only you can create that effort and dedication to place God first in your life and lead by example, which is your challenge this week.

 

 

 

Testimony of Donna Ross

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Donna Ross. |After a wonderful 25-year career, Donna left the Magic Kingdom of Disney in 1994 to work for the Eternal Kingdom of God| #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #testimony #donnaross #testimonyofdonnarossTestimony of Donna Ross

Testimony of Donna Ross. After a wonderful 25-year career, Donna left the Magic Kingdom of Disney in 1994 to work for the Eternal Kingdom of God. The Lord enriched her natural gifts with supernatural grace and called her into full-time ministry to his beloved Church. Much to her surprise, many of her skills developed over the years in the workplace have been helpful in her ministry experience.

She was the organizational chair for the first Orange County Charismatic Conference. She served as vice president of Southern California Renewal Communities (SCRC) for six years. She has been involved with Magnificat in Orange County since its inception. She has been a host of St. Joseph Catholic Radio since 1998. As director of Pastoral and Educational Services and DRE for her parish, she loved sharing that God is alive and well with everyone. Donna is the founding coordinator of the new Magnificat Chapter in Palm Desert, CA, Our Lady of Desert Roses.

She served on the vicariate core team and was the team leader for Life in the Spirit and Growth Seminars. She is the recipient of the Bishops award, and the Our Lady of Guadalupe award for her generous and selfless service to the Diocese of San Bernadino. Donna is currently serving as the Coordinator of the Central Service Team (CST) of the Magnificat International Ministry. Donna is a woman led by the Holy Spirit, and her testimony truly proclaims the greatness of the Lord.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us www.magnificat-ministry.org

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs, (ex. Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and much more. To find great gifts for family, friends and YOU, we invite you to visit  store.magnificat-ministry.net

 

Matter of Life and Death

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Matter of Life and Death |In Scripture, we hear a lot about dying to ourselves.  We are commanded to do it and told it is essential for life|  #ChristonPodcast #Christon #podcast #WholnessHoliness #MargaretVasquezs #MatterOfLifeAndDeath Matter of Life and Death

Matter of Life and Death. In Scripture, we hear a lot about dying to ourselves.  We are commanded to do it and told it is essential for life.  So, what does that actually mean?  What is dying to ourselves?  Is there a value in suffering for the sake of suffering?  No!  The power and beauty of suffering come by enduring the pain and suffering of this life by joining it to the suffering of Christ.

As baptized members of His Body, we die with Him and rise with Him to know life.  In this way, death is active, not passive.  It’s staying connected to the Lord by actively and consciously uniting our pain to His.  We are called to die to sin and selfishness by embracing our crosses for the love of Him as He embraced the Cross for the love of us.  That union with Him – the Divine Indwelling of the Holy Trinity gives us the power to go through anything.

How are you planning to die today?  How am I planning to die today? – Rather than planning to please ourselves, we can plan how to let His Spirit and grace flow through us.  That’s how we can be conduits of grace rather than consumed with ourselves.  It allows us to become more and more transformed into Him.  We can suffer on our own, but in doing it in union with Jesus, we are able to grow into deeper spiritual maturity.

It’s more a matter of how we do what we do.  It doesn’t matter if we are called to a life of ministry.  Going the extra mile above and beyond the call of duty in whatever it is, we do we die to our plans and our convenience and are able to be Jesus to others in very simple and practical ways.

There’s a joy that comes from doing these things.  We are physically made for these things to feel good!  Oxytocin – one of the feel-good hormones – is released when we minister to others, are ministered to, or even witness someone else minister to another.

The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!  Living to die to ourselves brings the deep joy for which we are made.  St. Francis of Assisi said that when we do these things, the second death will do us no harm.  We will already be fitted for Heaven!

How are we trying to die today?

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

Fruits of Prayer

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

The fruits of prayer |The fruits of prayer are all around us. This is a challenge to not only enjoy the fruits of your prayer life, but ways to pray for others| #prayer #fruitofprayer #christianpodcast #christianliving #afewminuteswithgodpodcastFruits of Prayer ~ Episode 247

The fruits of prayer are all around us, and we should be encouraged, right? Yet we walk around carrying the burdens of the world on our shoulders. No more! This is a challenge to not only enjoy the fruits of your prayer life, but ways to pray for others.

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In the Holy Bible, fruit is the symbol of many things. It is the symbol of good faith; it is the symbol of avoiding (such as the tree of life and the tree of good and evil), it was the apple that symbolized temptation because of what it represented.

Good fruit is also a sign that we are on the right path. Matthew 7: 17-20 (read on air).

This is important because in Salvation history and throughout Scripture we are shown again and again the sinfulness of mankind. Bad choices are made, even those selected by God, fall into sin. Yes, we should accept the Lord as our God and Savior, as my pastor calls it, and I love it, the “Fundamental Option.” Yes, Lord I repent, I believe, I will sin no more and follow you. But… there is always a but! We must show our decision by our fruits our decisions, and constantly be in prayer.

I love learning new things, and I appreciate this because it is the only way I can grow in faith. I was talking to one of our pastors after church and asked him some specific questions. Finally, he said to me, when you pray think of the Holy of Holies. I knew what he meant, the Bible refers to this place, as I remembered in the Old Testament.  We read in Leviticus 16:12 (Read on air.)

There are other references in Scripture, but the point is envisioning this place, the Holy of Holies… can you picture it? It is a quiet place that is filled with goodness, light, and grace. It is where the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit reside.

Then, he asked me to think about bringing God into my problems instead of bringing my problems to God. Wow – think about this. It is such a beautiful analogy of allowing the Lord into our hearts, and that is truly a blessing. Do you see the difference? Bring our prayers to God, or bring our God into our lives and thus into our prayers!

When we think about the fruits of prayer, we consider how God has answered what we want, our prayers, and our petitions. Our happiness often hinges on what God has done for us. When you think about it in this way, it sounds awfully selfish! But it does not have to be, especially when we begin to thank and praise God for our past blessings and what he has done for us.

Can you make a list? What has God done for you in the last year? The last few months? The last few weeks? How about today? Stop this recording, or come back to this question later. The fruits of prayer are, in essence, our life. Our ability to live each and every day, for some it is difficult, especially if you are ill or caring for someone in need. We all have something to be thankful for, and early on in this podcast, I shared the idea of a journal that was filled with thankfulness for what the Lord has done for you.

The fruit of prayer is thankfulness and awe, and wonder. The Creator of the Universe cares for you and for me in a powerful way! Even in our darkest times, we can be thankful for the sun that rises and warms the earth, the glistening of the raindrops, or the gentle breeze that cools us off on a hot day. The fruit of prayer is contentment. That joy that surpasses all understanding, as I paraphrase Philippians 4:7 – one of my favorite scripture verses: And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The Fruit of Prayer Joy – Peace – Contentment – Satisfaction – Understanding

No matter what is on your list of feelings you may have when your prayers are answered, it truly gives us a sense that God is with us, but not only that, it is a sense of hope. 2 Corinthians 5-7 – For we live by faith, not by sight. Or “We walk by faith and not by sight.” helps us when we do not feel his presence. Out of obedience, we say, “Yes, Lord,” daily.

The hope that God gives us is the understanding that no matter what, He is with us—a personal story on the air.

This is the fruit of prayer, a turnaround, and a change of heart. We want our hearts to be on fire for God, but often we can only consider our needs or those of the people we pray for daily. Instead, consider how you fall short, and make a turnaround. A turnaround to do better, to try harder, or to do something differently. When something does not work out well, why do the same thing expecting a better outcome?

Peace, joy, and contentment are wonderful, but a change of heart is even better. It helps us on our journey, and we can consider the prayer, “Thank you, Lord, for all the blessings you give me; I need nothing but you.” If we can truly say that with conviction, we are on the road to healing of mind, heart, and will. Our will is being given to God the Almighty!

This week I would love you to join me in prayer and acknowledge the fruit of our prayers. Consider what God has done for you, the good fruit in your life, and praise Him in all things.

 

 

Working on the Sabbath

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Working on the Sabbath| Jesus had gone up to Jerusalem, where there was a pool known as Bethesda. These waters were thought to have curative power| #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #Workingonthesabbeth #sabbath #deacondavdhockwaltWorking on the Sabbath

A Moment with Scripture- Jn. 5:1-18 By Deacon David Hockwalt

Working on the Sabbath. Jesus had gone up to Jerusalem, where there was a pool known as Bethesda. These waters were thought to have curative power. Jesus sees a paralytic at the pool of Bethesda that had been ill for a very long time. He had trouble getting to the pool. At Jesus’ command, he was healed without going to the pool. He got up on his feet and picked up his mat, and walked for the first time in 38 years.

God is showing that he is bringing salvation to his people through his son. The local Jewish authorities were mad at the man for carrying his mat on a Sabbath day, violating a law. One could not carry a burden out of one’s house or through the city gate. The healing miracle that had just taken place did not seem to count in their eyes.  You might want to ask yourself if you focus on something substantial or trivial. Jesus is in trouble for violating the Sabbath and blasphemy. He called God his own father, making himself equal to God. Jews wanted to kill Jesus. Jesus brought healing, forgiveness, and divine judgment to the world at the risk of his own life. What are we willing to risk to be a disciple of Jesus?

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us www.magnificat-ministry.org

Magnificat Store

Did you know there is a wonderful shopping opportunity just waiting for you? Explore our shopping cart for rosaries, apparel, books, jewelry, statues, CDs, study programs (ex., Bible studies, Life in the Spirit Seminar, Growth in the Spirit series), and more. To find great gifts for family, friends, and YOU, we invite you to visit   store.magnificat-ministry.net

Don’t Believe the Lies

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Don't Believe the Lies |Margaret Vasquez’s Testimony. When Satan can get us to question God’s goodness and who He is as our Good Father and who we are as His beloved children, anything is possible in a really bad way| #ChristonPodcast #Christon #podcast #WholnessHoliness #DontBelievetheLies #MargaretVasquezsDon’t Believe the Lies

Don’t Believe the Lies. Margaret Vasquez’s Testimony. When Satan can get us to question God’s goodness and who He is as our Good Father and who we are as His beloved children, anything is possible in a really bad way.  It goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden.  It’s the tactic he used against Adam and Eve, and he tried it again when he tempted Jesus in the desert.  Satan is not the creator and he isn’t creative.  He does the same things over and over.  His desire is for disunity because Jesus longs that we be one, as He prayed at the Last Supper.  Satan wants to separate us from God and each other by causing division within our own minds and hearts.

Sometimes the painful circumstances of life tell us lies and when that happens often enough and from important people in our lives, we can fall into believing them.  The breakdown in connection to ourselves directly affects our relationship with God because, as St. Thomas Aquinas says, “What is received is received according to the mode of the receiver.”  If our ‘mode’ becomes one of ‘I don’t belong’ or ‘I’m not lovable’, then we tend to interpret events and interactions with others in that light.  This even applies in terms of how we relate to the Lord.

I went through a lot of abuse in childhood and young adulthood – even from people in the Church.  The resulting disconnection with myself, the Lord, and others left me vulnerable to a same sex relationship and the pain and shame of it all made going to Church so painful that I stopped going for 6 years.  That caused even greater sense of disconnection and pain.  It was a vicious cycle until the Lord sovereignly broke in and reestablished my foundational identity as being chosen, known, valued, protected, and provided for by Him.  He completely removed all same sex attraction and showed me it was rooted in a lack of connection to myself.

Don’t believe the lie that it is how you were born and not something that can be healed.

The Lord said, “Behold, I make ALL things new.” – Revelation 21:5. Nothing is impossible to Him.

This is my testimony to His love, His power, His grace, His healing, and His infinite, unearned mercy in my life.

Thanks for listening.  To God be the glory!

  • Margaret

 

 

Prayer Warrior

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Prayer Warrior | What are soldier prayers? The military raises leaders and those who have physical strength, stamina, and endurance in their physical lives. #podcast #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #prayerwarriors #soldierprayers #christiansoldiers #christianpodcast #afewminuteswithgodpodcastPrayer Warrior ~ Episode 246

Are you a prayer warrior? The military raises leaders and those who have physical strength, stamina, and endurance in their physical lives. How can we apply this to our spiritual life? Are we spiritually tough?

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As I’ve shared, my son is in the military and currently in Ranger School, trying for the Army Ranger Tab. This is a grueling sixty-day trial of body, mind, and spirit. It causes good men to dig deep, and it helps if they have a deep relationship with the Lord.

This Lent, I have traveled a path of praying alongside my son. I have journaled consistently, searched the Sacred Scriptures, and been on my knees in church praying for his needs and the Lord’s provision.

I have learned from talking to him during one of his brief breaks after passing the first section and moving on to the second that he has never prayed so much in his life. Being sleep-deprived, sleeping outdoors, eating freeze-dried foods, and not having enough to eat really wreaks havoc on a person’s physical and mental well-being.

Yet it has taught me that we can apply what a soldier goes through to our own prayer lives and become prayer warriors! Soldiers must endure, sacrifice, persevere, and be brave when facing danger.  They continue onward when many would call it quits. There is no choice but to continue forward; that is a lesson for all of us. When times are tough, we continue on, and we ask the Lord for His help. We can endure with our Lord’s help. Sacrifice, such as fasting, brings us closer to God. If we persevere through our anguish, we will find hope on the other side, and as for danger? We must pray that our minds are open so that we can recognize and avoid it.

Prayer Warrior Tips

Here are some things I find helpful.

  1. A blank personal pocket book. I purchased small little lined books that I keep in my purse and clip a pen to the book. On the back of the book, the last page or the cover, I list the people I want to pray for each day. This can be for specific prayer requests, deceased loved ones, or those needs that are dear to your heart. That way, I can flip to the back of the book daily to pray.
  2. A consistent prayer time. These are things you do each day. If you pray first thing (before or after a cup of coffee or tea), or maybe on your way to church, at church, and maybe a few minutes afterward.
  3. Fasting along when seeking the Lord for His will, or when in prayer for a special intention or for a need.
  4. Keep familiar scriptures in your mind that are encouraging. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:10-12 ADD MORE HERE
  5. Never quit. We know God is faithful; we know He is there for us even when things seem hard or problems are insurmountable. We must persevere in the face of hardship while acknowledging that while our feelings are legitimate, we must look for the greater good.

When we think about being prayer warriors, we should also consider praying the right way when someone asks. If you have a friend who is having surgery or struggling with a personal issue and asks you to pray, stop and pray immediately. If you do not have time, a simple “Jesus, please provide for her needs.” And then, when you have more time, be intentional in your prayer.

  1. Send a text message with a prayer.
  2. Send an email message with a prayer.
  3. Send a card and tell them you are praying.

Prayer warriors also put on the armor of God. We protect ourselves from the enemy with prayer. We get our strength from God, not from ourselves. When we pour into others, we become depleted, but if we are connected to the Holy Spirit, living water flows through us.

If you have time, become a prayer warrior – ask your family how you can pray. Join a prayer group, or online prayer support chain. Start one yourself. We started a text prayer chain for my son with our immediate family. I even called it Mike’s Prayer Warriors. (f you listen to this podcast, you know Michael’s voice; he does the introduction to this podcast as well as what we call the outro – so please join me in praying for his safety and those of our military and first responders.)

We can be first responders for the Lord. Our strength is in God. Our hope is in God, and our prayers are the result of our repentance from sin and the hope in Christ. Jesus, I trust in You!

 

 

 

 

 

Temptation Is Real

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Temptation is Real |All around me, I see that temptation is real, and the fallout is serious sin| #ChristianPodcast #Christian #podcast #AFewMinutesWithGod #temptationisrealTemptation is Real ~ Episode 245

All around me, I see that temptation is real, and the fallout is serious sin. But friends, we cannot become complacent, even if we are walking with the Lord; this podcast explores the meaning of temptation as it applies to our lives and what the Scriptures say.

One of our pastors reminds us that faith is not just a feeling but an action. This is true on so many levels. It is a choice, and I must decide whether I will follow the Lord or myself each day. What do you think temptation means? Does temptation mean doing something wrong, perhaps allowing ourselves to be swayed by the evil one? Something that is sinful or self-destructive? Each of us struggles with temptation of some sort, whether it is food, overindulgence in alcohol, laziness, or slothfulness. We don’t even need to leave home to be tempted.

Some believe their faith will save them from sin, which is only partially correct. Yes, faith helps, absolutely, but faith can also be used as an excuse to fall into depression, with the idea, “How could God allow that to happen to me?”  Our faith is like a shield, but the decision is ultimately ours to choose correctly. Sometimes our trials are overwhelming, and it is our faith that keeps us together, that keeps us whole. Why do we want to avoid temptation? Maybe this verse will give us the needed nudge.

Ephesians 2:3 (Read on Air) –

Who wants to be known as a child of wrath? The early Christians had their eyes opened, and then, afterward, they were aware of their sin. Once they were infilled with the Holy Spirit, this wisdom from the Lord allowed them to see the sin they did not think was an issue beforehand. The early Christians taught others. The words which we read in the Bible are powerful and obviously came from God.  We are taught the Word of God pierces our hearts like a two-edged sword and is convicting, and those words made an impact and changed lives. In the busyness of this world, we must make the time to allow those words to also penetrate our hearts so that our eyes can be opened. This doesn’t mean we are free from temptation, only that we can identify and avoid it.

We have all sinned, and we have all been tempted. Some of us are stronger than others at avoiding sin, and God knows our hearts. He hears our prayers and knows our weaknesses, but sadly so does the enemy. In the last podcast, I discussed a hardened heart. A hardened heart is us being stubborn; we want what we want. When we follow our own path and our own inclinations, sometimes we stumble or take the wrong turn; how do we avoid this regarding temptation?

An aside here, those who are stronger at avoiding temptation do several things,

  1. They pray and seek God, whether it is in the Bible, in talking to the Lord
  2. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people and attending church.
  3. Put on the armor of Christ; this means putting on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit—Ephesians 6:11-17 (read on air).
  4. Identify your weaknesses and avoid them. Not falling into temptation means avoiding the near occasion of sin.
  5. Pray against temptation with a simple prayer such as, “Lord, forgive me for my sins in thought, word, and deed.”

In Proverbs  28:14 (read on air)

Let’s look at that passage, how can you guard yourself? Take a few moments and think about this…guarding yourself means being aware, to avoid occasions of sin. This can mean so many things; it can mean avoiding people you know are trouble. I read a funny meme on social media that had a picture of two women, and it said, “partners in crime,” Then it went on to say, “If we get caught, I am deaf, and you do not speak English.” While it might make us smile, it reminds me that there are people I should avoid, and while that doesn’t make us popular, it is important. In college, I was called “mom” because my friends said taking me out with them reminded me of having their mom with them! All those years at the feet of my Italian grandmother and learning from my parents that faith was more than a building we attended Mass at; it was a lifestyle. Something that can be eroded with the wrong influence but should not be forgotten.

Our pastor said he was with a group of people at a social gathering, and one man began to tell an inappropriate joke, so he excused himself and began to walk away. He said he was not allowing himself to be put into this awkward position, but that same man came to him later, apologized, and recognized this was an area of weakness. He wanted to be liked and noticed by others, and he thought this was one way to do it. He was counseled that it was not!

James 1:12 – the trials of temptation while all around us and can be a source of struggle we must pray that we are spared and pray for fortitude and strength – Blessed is the man who perseveres when he is tempted, for when he has been proven, he will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

It is not easy, and no one said life is easy. Some think that becoming a Christian should come with blessings and rewards. It does, but not always in the way we want. A Christian walks the road less traveled, which may make you unpopular with friends, but in my case, my friends (the same ones who called me “Mom”) elected me as president of our sorority and other council positions. Did they want someone responsible, or did they want the party girl? Sure, responsibility comes with a price, and it is up to us to do the best we can, but unfortunately, that best depends on what we know. We can’t be expected to avoid temptation when we can’t identify it or if we don’t care. That is part of the problem in the Catholic and Christian circles, the “church” has been blamed for the failure of educating the youth, but I truly believe the education of Christian morals and values belongs totally in the home. Do your children know the Bible? Did you teach them about the lives of godly men and women, those who the Bible and we call saints? Do children know the difference between Noah and Moses? I had a class of 7th graders tell me that Noah was the one with the parted red sea. We had to do a quick overview of Bible history.

I was blessed to grow up with Bible stories instead of fairy tales, and I learned my Bible history at home. My faith was praying with my family for every little thing – faith by example. So, as Christians, we are called to a higher standard. I’m talking about myself as well as all of you.

Matthew 6 is the Lord’s prayer, and the last part states… and do not lead us into temptation… We are delivered by our awareness and decision, and that is faith. Faith is a decision.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked his apostles to stay awake for one hour, but unfortunately, they were unable, yet he said in Matthew 26:41 (Read on air.)

Our flesh is weak, and the enemy knows how to tempt us, especially if we try fasting. Fasting calls to mind our prayer whenever we want to eat the food. When we avoid that food, we learn how to pray specifically and avoid temptation—avoiding the food instead of eating it.

One of the podcasts I listen to is Wholeness and Holiness – and recently, the topic was “Into the Desert with Jesus.

She discussed sin and temptation in the desert when the enemy was with the Lord, and he said, “If you are the Son of God.” In other words, Jesus, do you know who you are? In this way, the enemy was trying to trick the Lord into proving He is the Son of God – Jesus knows His identity; he does not need to prove it.

When we don’t know who we are, when we give into temptation, it is because we have lost our identity. We either do not have confidence in who we are or think that doing whatever temptation will fix the issue. For example, a young person who gives into peer pressure by doing drugs or drinking alcohol to fit in – because everyone else is doing it.

If we are confident in our identity, if we know we are indeed sons and daughters of the Almighty, we are part of a Holy Family, then we don’t need those things to make us feel better about ourselves.

This is part of the relationship with God – if we are confident in our relationship, we will be strong. If we believe that God is there and we are here, he is a loving and distant God, then that won’t work in the here and now.

Friends, we as Christians have been given a powerful tool: the understanding that God is with us; he is for us, so who can be against us? Romans 8:31 (Read on air.) Who Can Separate Us from the Love of Christ? What, then, can we say in response to all this? If God is for us, who can be against us?

We need to shore up the troops, get your family on board, be united instead of divided, and conquer the issue head-on. If you are struggling with something major, ask your family to help.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (read on air).

I have asked the Lord for help when I have felt that I could not handle it anymore when things were hard. The temptation was a spiritual one, and that was negativity to give in to self-pity, or depression, to feel that no one cares and I was in “this” alone. Have you been there? Have you been in the depths of despair without a way out? One of the biggest issues for the elderly is loneliness. In the past, there were multi-generational families. I feel that this is a missing element in our family life today.

We may struggle with certain sins and temptations; these are ones we should identify and become aware of; in a past podcast, I shared an episode called Victory Over Sin and discussed these issues and the trap we fall into.

I want to leave you with this encouragement from 1 John 1-2

Avoiding temptation is a blessing, and it makes us stronger. And I pray this helps you make wise and beneficial decisions for your journey with the Lord.

 

Our Identity in Christ

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Our Identity in Christ |Our identity is crucial to our personal wholeness and growth in holiness| #ChristonPodcast #Christon #podcast #WholnessHoliness Our Identity in christ

Our identity is crucial to our personal wholeness and growth in holiness.  It’s a buzzword these days in secular society.  No matter who we are, how we live is going to flow from our identity.  Another way to say it is we behave according to who we believe we are.  For this very reason, the foundation of our human and spiritual integration is tied to who God is.  We have to get more foundational than the fact that we are his sons and daughters.  We must know what He’s like!

These days genealogy and DNA testing are ways that people might choose to come to know more about their ancestors.  Learning more about the people they came from sheds light on how they see and understand themselves.  How much more does it reveal to us who we are by coming to know who God is?!  After all, we are made in His image and likeness, as Genesis tells us.  God is good and not only good, but it’s impossible to conceive of any greater good than He!

Parents image God for us, yet none of us have had perfect parents.  So, many times we have somewhat of a less-than-perfect picture.   Sometimes it can be quite difficult to know in our hearts that God is deeply good.  When we’ve experienced hurt at the hands of parents or those in authority, it can color how we see Him.  That can happen even without our conscious awareness and even when we are very educated in Theology or are clerics or religious.

One thing I have found helpful and often recommend to clients is to consider ways our parents behaved that were painful and prayerfully.  Make a list.  Mom was like this, but God is like that.  Dad was like this, but God is like that.  Perhaps you’ll have a list of a number of things from both parents.   Seeing down on paper how differently God is and acts toward us from hurtful ways we experienced authority can be an important first step in untwisting confusing messages we took on as children or young adults.

From there, we consider who He is and who we are to Him.  Sometimes give this a try.  Sit in God’s presence and imagine Jesus there with you praying for the Our Father together.  It’s astounding to think that when I pray “Our” Father, I am praying with Jesus to God, His Father and my Father. Let’s take some time to let that reality pierce our hearts and ground us in our identity as a son or daughter of a GOOD Father!

May the Lord give you peace!

 

 

Harden Not Your Heart

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Harden Not Your Heart |"harden not your heart," given you pause? Have you felt that the Lord is leading you in some way, but you just don’t feel like following| #ChristianPodcast #Christian #podcast #AFewMinutesWithGod #heartofstoneHarden Not Your Heart

Have the verses,”harden not your heart,” given you pause? Have you felt that the Lord is leading you in some way, but you just don’t feel like following? In this podcast, Felice leads you through some thoughts and prayers for getting back on track.

Recently a situation came up in my life that made me realize I was not following the Lord’s leading as I should. It has happened to me throughout the years and so it was easy to recognize when it began to happen again. Have you ever felt like that? You know, or you feel like you know what the Lord wants you to do, but then you decide to do something else, or maybe not act on what the leading is.

First let’s look at several Scriptures that discuss this. Hebrews 3:14-16 (Read on Air)

And, Hebrews 4:6-8

Have You Heard the Words, Harden Not Your Heart in Prayer?

This hardening of heart for me was in regard to a thought one time and another time an action. I felt the Lord was leading me in a specific direction, and there was uncertainty on my part to say yes. Here is one example I can give you, as a young mom, I was involved in many volunteer organizations, at church, and at a women’s group. I was selected to be on a group that would tackle educational issues. Since I homeschooled my children, I was the perfect candidate first because I had an education degree, and secondly, because I didn’t have any ties to the local education system. However, I had this feeling that it would not be well received at home, and I was right; my husband was not a fan of this new “honor.” In my mind, rationalizing it, I felt the Lord had prepared me and put me in an ideal position to make real change. But after talking to my husband, I felt unsettled. My heart was unsettled. I lacked peace. It took some deep soul-searching and some extensive conversations with my husband before I let it go. Then the peace came.

I’ve had other situations where I did not feel peace after making a big decision, yet I knew that if it was God’s will, it would happen regardless. One bad decision, in retrospect, was after seeing what I felt was a God thing and then ignoring it. My heart was hardened because I knew what I wanted to do – and did it.

If the previous two verses are not enough to make you prayerfully think – let me read this next one.

Jeremiah 16:12 says, (Read on Air.)

That is a wake-up call for all of us – so how do we check, and how do we know if we have a hardened heart? We can learn so much from the Scriptures. And God gives us multiple chances to return to him and to change our ways, as we can read in the passages of Hebrews and Jeremiah, and we have the option to turn back.

But you may be asking, how do we know? How do we know if we are hardening our hearts?

Here are some ways you can check your motivation and heart.

  1. Are you walking with the Lord? Do you have time for prayer, reflection, and reading Scripture or some other spiritual book?
  2. Do you have a gut feeling that something is not right? A feeling of hopelessness?
  3. Do you have a restlessness you can’t put your finger on?
  4. Do you avoid thinking about the issue at hand and bury it under the guise of being busy or not dealing with the problem?
  5. Do you suffer from stubbornness? Ask someone close to you; it is hard to figure this out for yourself.

Any of these things can lead to a hardness of heart. Avoiding an issue, not making time for prayer, ignoring your sense that something is not right, restlessness, or avoiding thinking through the issues can then be compounded by helplessness. Some problems are serious and out of our hands, but yet it is important to prioritize time to pray. If nothing else, for yourself so you can get tuned in to God.

In the New Testament, we also read about hardened hearts – but even in the midst of Christ! You would think that having Jesus in your company and being with him day after day would be an eye-opener. Sitting there first hand, watching the miracles and the teachings, but in  Mark 8:16-18 (Read on air). The apostles had Jesus in their midst, and still, they didn’t realize that all they had to do was ask, and he would provide for them. This verse gives me hope. It tells me that it was not uncommon to have hearts that were hardened, and there is hope for us because, unlike the disciples, when we do not have bread, we can pray for that bread, that crumb of knowledge, that assurance that God is with us and in our midst.

We read in Isaiah 6:10 (Read on air)  We want what we want. I know I pray, but often it truly is, “Lord, please do my will.” With my son in the military, still in training but nonetheless straining when I can’t talk to him for a long stretch of time, I am constantly on my knees – our family has a prayer chain where I post prayer requests each day and a Scripture verse, but it is truly asking the Lord to bless, provide, and allow my son success in this training – Often I remind myself to go to the beginning of the prayer and type in words, Praise You and Thank-you Jesus for all you have provided.

So how should we pray? In Ezekiel, we see a perfect example, Ezekiel 36:26-27 (Read on Air).

We need that reminder. Are we walking in our own flesh? Are we doing what pleases us above others? I am sure the answer is no for many of you, but even as I read this, I think there are ways I can improve. Please, Lord, give me a new heart and a new spirit! Amen!

 

 

 

Into the Desert with Jesus

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Into the Desert with Jesus |The Scriptural basis for the 40 days of Lent is found in Jesus’ own going into the desert for 40 days after His baptism| #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #intothedesertwithJesusInto the Desert with Jesus

The Scriptural basis for the 40 days of Lent is found in Jesus’ own going into the desert for 40 days after His baptism.  In Matthew 4:1-11 we read (on air).

The devil tempted the Lord toward sensual satisfaction, testing the Father, power, and popularity.  These are all ways in which we experience temptation, as well.  We have Jesus’ example to follow and can learn something about Satan’s tactics in this.

Satan approached the Lord after He had fasted for 40 days and was hungry.  How vulnerable are we when we are worn down?  We can expect to be hit with temptations during difficult times and pay special attention to discerning the Lord’s voice at such times, praying, taking authority in Jesus’ Name over anything not of the Lord, and going to brothers and sisters in the Lord to get additional discernment.

It’s particularly interesting that the first two temptations from Satan start with “If you are the Son of God.”  Satan isn’t creative.  He does the same old thing to us!  He starts by getting us to question who God is to us and who we are to Him.  When we move away from the truth of our identity in the Lord, we are capable of anything bad thing.  We need to keep the fundamental truth of who we are to the Father always before our eyes, along with His provision for us, His protection over us, and His Lordship.

May we journey with Jesus into the desert this Lent, knowing He was tempted like us in every way but did not sin.  May we always stay rooted in our identity in who we are to the Father!

May the Lord give you peace!

Power of Words

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Power of Words |The power of words comes to life in the Gospels, in the healings of Christ, and in the vanquishing of evil.| #ChristianPodcast #Christian #podcast #AFewMinutesWithGod #PowerOfWordsPower of Words ~ Episode 243

The power of words comes to life in the Gospels, in the healings of Christ, and in the vanquishing of evil. Do we know how to use the words to benefit ourselves and others? In this episode, Felice shares what it means to be used by the Lord in a powerful way.

This episode is sponsored by Media Angels, Inc. – One More Child book — A Few Minutes With God

Have you heard that words have power? Even outside Christian circles, we hear of the power of words in positive thinking and self-help books. Words can be used to build up our own self-esteem, and positive words we are told are good for our health! Words are used to tell stories; in books and conversations, words bring us knowledge.

Even though words are powerful and can bring us knowledge, that does not necessarily mean they bring wisdom. Wisdom is a gift of God, and it is in that gift that the power of words comes. The fountain of wisdom is reading, studying, understanding, and taking the Scriptures (the Word of God) to heart. It allows our faith to be strengthened.

The Bible is called the Word of God, and the Bible has power. Hebrews 4:12 (Read on air.)

God spoke the world into being in the Book of Genesis; with God’s word, the seas parted as Moses, and the Israelites were taken out of Egypt; with the words of Christ, demons were cast out, and people were healed of not only their sins but their illnesses.

But words can be used for evil. We see the effects of evil words in our world today, with the difference between what is true and what is false. Often the words we hear are confusing, and the truth is blurred beyond recognition. Yet, if we are filled with the light of Christ, if we have faith and allow the Lord to work through us, we will have discernment. And, if we know His Word by studying Scripture, we can arm ourselves with the knowledge that truth only comes from God. In fact, the evil that used to be hidden beyond the shadows is now front and center out in the open, and while Christians protest, the evil continues to happen.

We can fool ourselves, but we can not fool God, He knows the intentions of our hearts, and often these intentions spill over into what we say. Changes can happen with the power of words, which can be positive or negative, with overwhelming consequences. If we are not informed, if we do not study the Word of God – if we do not realize that our words have power and can be used in a mighty way for the glory of God, then we are falling short of our mission as Christians.

Words are in prayers; words are in praise a

We must begin by acknowledging that words have power and that a spoken word can heal! I’ve seen it! I’ve seen prayers answered. Words are a gift from God. We can read the Word of God in the Scriptures and learn; we can use this Word to tell others the good news. You and I have a responsibility – we must understand that our words can cause serious damage or good. We can be a positive influence on our own family, our friends, or our place of work. Words can build people up, tear people down or sow discord and confusion. In fact, words have such power that they can be outright dangerous!

In fact, good and true words are often “shut down,” or the new buzzword; now, people are canceled. How can truth be wrong? It can’t. So what do we do? We arm ourselves with that two-edged sword. We arm ourselves with wisdom. If God is the giver of truth, the giver of wisdom which is freely given, we should begin by asking for this grace, similar to what King Solomon did; this is an amazing book of the Bible and shows us through example what can happen by asking in prayer.

We read about King Solomon and how he asked God for wisdom. 1 Kings 5:12 – (Read on air) Then we read about the two women who went before the King, each claiming to have given birth to a child. They asked the King to decide which of them was the true mother. King Solomon recommended cutting the baby in half and giving one half to each, but we read that the true mother gave her child up to the other. The King knew by the true mother’s selfless act that the child was hers.

Following this discourse, we read: 1 Kings 4:30: (read on air_

Why was this? Because God is the giver of wisdom. King Solomon asked, and God delivered.

We read about the wisdom of God in the words of men throughout the Scriptures, and when it is stated, it is followed by the actions being just and righteous, and men were filled with awe.

James 1:5 If someone among you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

Throughout the scriptures, we read about wisdom in the book of Judith especially – Judith 11:23 states: (read on air)

Wisdom is given by God in word and in deed. All through Job, we hear about wisdom; there is even the Book of Wisdom in Scripture.

Probably one of the most quoted verses in the book of Job is Job 28:28 (Read on air.)

Psalm 27:30 – The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is right.

How will we use this in our own lives? First, pray to the Lord, “Dear Lord, give me the gift of wisdom and the discernment on how to use it.” This prayer is the beginning. By asking the Lord we are opening our hearts to His will and His providence for us, our lives, and the lives of those we touch. Then as we are filled up, we pour out into others. We ask the Lord to help us with our family, to help us with our neighbors, and those we come into contact with each day.

A friend of ours, a doctor, would pray with his patients. But, first, he asked the Lord if he should pray. He would feel a gentle nudge in his spirit to pray or not to pray. Some people would not be open to prayer, and most came to a doctor for medical treatment, not spiritual treatment. Yet, in his years of practice, God was still using him in a powerful way.

How will you use the words that you have? Only you can decide. The power of words begins with God’s Word, and it ends with us being open to doing God’s will – I challenge you this week to pray for wisdom and the power to use words for the glory of God!

 

Lent A New Springtime

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Lent A New Springtime |If you find the time of Lent to be one of heaviness and drudgery, this is the podcast for you!| #ChristonPodcast #Christon #podcast #WholnessHoliness #LentANewSpringtime #Lent Lent A New Springtime

If you find the time of Lent to be one of heaviness and drudgery, this is the podcast for you!  Fr. David and I discuss the beauty of new life that comes from eliminating the distractions and dissipation of life and allowing our hearts to be attracted to the Lord.  Jesus, Himself went into the desert to be with His Father in prayer.  Each year the Church gives us these 40 days to focus more intently and intentionally on our relationship with the Lord.  While the Lenten obligations for Catholics are abstaining from meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and the Fridays throughout Lent and fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, there is so much more available to us.

The three pillars of Lent are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.   These are components of the normal Christian life, and yet we focus through them on the Lord in a special way during this season.  Why?  The why is Love.  We are all called to holiness, which is being loved by God, who is love, and being in love with Love.  These three areas help us to quiet the competing noise in our life so we can hear the Lord’s call more clearly and follow Him more closely.

Through prayer, we take time away to speak and listen to Him.  Try finding fresh ways to spend time with the Lord.  Perhaps go for a walk with Him or clear out an area of your house and make it a sacred space with devotional materials, a journal, Scripture, and a blessed candle.  Having a designated area for a designated purpose can help us focus and avoid distractions.   Fasting from excesses of pleasure and noise can help us become more aware of the Lord as the satisfaction of our souls.  We can focus on what we’re giving up, or we can ask the Lord to transform the hunger of our appetite into a hunger for Him.  Through almsgiving, we extend to the Lord, ourselves, and others the same compassion Jesus shows us.

Lent is a beautiful time of new life.  We are heading through these 40 days to the high Holy Days of the Triduum.  We are heading to Calvary with the Lord, and He is with us in our own sufferings and deaths.  Let’s embrace this great opportunity with joy and draw through it more closely to His Sacred Heart!

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret Vasquez, LPCC-S, CTT, CITTI

Prayer and Fasting

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Prayer and Fasting ~ Episode 242

Do you like the idea of prayer and fasting? Is it helpful in your Christian walk? In this podcast, Felice Gerwitz shares how scriptures encourage us and ways to grow in our faith through this simple and ancient practice. Perfect as we enter our Lenten Season before Easter.

Visit MediaAngels.com and the personal testimony, One More Child, and the novel, A Few Minutes With God.

I grew up in a household that fasted on specific days a week. For example, on Friday, we didn’t eat meat. This included chicken or pork. This was a remembrance of Good Friday, even though it was not Lent, the 40 days before Easter. Every Friday, we remember that Christ died for our sins and that through his redemptive sacrifice, we have everlasting life if we accept this as truth. This reminder as a child put faith in a real perspective. Especially as a child who did not like fish. Most of the time, I ate some type of egg or pasta.

What is sacrifice? Think about this.

I looked up the word sacrifice in an online dictionary and was astounded to read the first definition was “an act of offering to a deity something precious.” The other definitions had to do with destruction, surrender, or loss. Would you agree that sacrifice means giving up for the sake of something better? When we sacrifice or deny ourselves, we are reminded in a tangible way that there is more than this life. This life is temporary. 

Matthew 16:24-26 seems like a harsh teaching.  But picking up our cross may mean self-denial. What does this look like? We give up a specific food or a sinful activity in prayer and fasting. Giving up food may be difficult; for example, giving up chocolate is sacrificial. We may crave chocolate, and telling ourselves no when we want a piece is not fun, but this reminds us to thank God and praise Him for what He has done for us. Being in a relationship and remaining pure is difficult and means picking up your cross. A cross is different for each person.

This brings us to prayer and fasting. The significance of fasting has Biblical significance from ancient times. Putting on sackcloth and fasting saved everyone, Ester 4:3 (Read On Air.) Even Jesus fasted in the desert before his public ministry,  Matthew 4:2 “(Read on air.) That is where the 40 days of Lent before Easter comes from, it is a reminder of the time that Jesus spent in prayer in the desert. Symbolically fasting from something you do daily, whether it is a food or a sinful activity, or even a bad habit (too much social media) is helpful in picking up your cross and following alongside Christ.

Matthew 9: 24-29 (On Air)  Some translations leave out the fasting part and include only prayer, but the combination of prayer and fasting is so powerful! It will change your life. So, consider this when you are praying for something of importance or for an unanswered prayer. Give yourself a time period, maybe a week or two, a month or more, whatever that time is. Fasting does not need to be bread and water, although at a certain period of my life, I did this two times a week, once on Wednesday and then on Friday. It was a time of prayer that my husband and I both did for a time. It was truly a blessed time, and we were blessed through the experience. It is not for everyone and should be done only for a specific need. Bring it to prayer before you begin.

Remember, sacrifice is giving up something you don’t want to give up. My husband fasts by giving up soda, which he drinks daily. For me, chocolate is my go-to fast. For you, it may be different. Just remember that prayer and fasting are for a purpose, and fasting to lose weight is different. This type of fasting is for the end goal of your health, perhaps dropping a few pounds, but it is not for the sake of prayer or sacrifice.

God doesn’t need us to fast for Him. He doesn’t only answer prayer that we join to fasting. God is not at our whim waiting for us to command Him to answer our wants, needs, or desires. When people say, “God doesn’t answer my prayers,” that typically translates to, “God isn’t doing what I want Him to do.” It is disappointing not to have your prayers answered and devastating, to say the least. St. Monica prayed for Augustine for over twenty years at least, I’ve heard thirty years, but Augustine was 33 when his mother died. St. Augustine, as he is known now, wrote in his book, “Confessions,” that his mother’s prayers changed him, not his prayers because he was not praying. Augustine did convert to Christianity, became a bishop, a Father of the Church, and later a saint. I can imagine that his mother prayed and fasted for her son. This is a beautiful and true story, and it should give you hope. Monica did not turn her back on God because her prayers were not answered on her timeline.

Will you add prayer and fasting to your walk with the Lord? I challenge you this week to consider it and note in your journal changes, if any, in your spiritual walk! May God be blessed today and always.

Counseling vs Coaching

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Counseling vs Coaching |Counseling vs Coaching. They are both used in regard to wellness these days.  So, what’s the difference between them?|#christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #counselingvscoachingCounseling vs Coaching

What’s the Difference Between Counseling and Coaching?

Counseling vs Coaching. They are both used in regard to wellness these days.  So, what’s the difference between them?  How do I know which one is right for me?  A governing body regulates counseling in each of the United States.  The laws and regulations of the counselor boards state that counseling is the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders.  Counselors are required to have a master’s degree in counseling and to have been supervised for many hours along the way so that they have proven to be equipped to provide that service.  Counseling addresses a place of ‘stuckness,’ if not a place of great pain that might cause us to be stuck in certain unhealthy behaviors and painful emotions.

Coaching, on the other hand, is when we need a lesser degree of guidance.  Perhaps there are areas we’d like to improve, and we could use a voice of experience and some tips, tools, and strategies to improve our ways of relating to moving into greater freedom, joy, and peace.  Just as we might seek out a coach if we are trying to improve an athletic skill, but a doctor if we are suffering from pain that prevents healthy activity, so a coach can provide tools a person can use. Still, a therapist/counselor would be the one to provide the equivalent of medical care for an emotional wound.

Within the world of counseling, nowadays, people are more and more familiar with trauma therapy.  There are many different methods of approaching trauma with varying degrees of results.  If you are looking for a trauma therapist, I encourage you to ask the therapist for testimonials from clients they’ve treated.  Just because someone treats a certain problem does not necessarily mean they do so effectively.  You have a right to be an informed consumer, even as a client.  Intensive trauma therapy is a way of making greater gains in the therapeutic process because of the momentum that an extended number of therapy hours can provide.  That is, you can get on to the place of peace, joy, and freedom faster by putting in the time upfront.

Suppose a therapist is a Christian counselor or a Catholic counselor. In that case, you can open the areas where your spiritual life might be stuck because of emotionally painful experiences. Still, it is never the role of that counselor to force or pressure you into their religious views.  Counselors of faith ought to always receive you with compassion regardless of your spiritual views.

The Lord wants His people free.  Don’t be afraid to seek the freedom, joy, and peace He has for you!

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

Love As Christ Loves

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Love As Christ Loves ~ Episode 241

How can we love as Christ loves? Is it impossible, or is it? In this episode, we explore what true Christian love means to us.

Visit the website at MediaAngels.com for books and products written by Felice Gerwitz, specifically her ministry books, A Few Minutes with God and One More Child. Please share this episode with a friend, and share God’s love with all.

If I asked you, “What is the first thing that pops into your mind when I say, ‘Christ loves?” As always, our answers would be varied.

John 13:34-35

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

In a nutshell, to love as Christ means to love one another and to become Christ’s disciples, not only to learn, by reading the Scriptures, attending a Bible study, or doing a scripture study on your own. It means to look at our lives as a challenge to get better one day at a time. I read a book by a well-known evangelist who claimed that during some seasons of his faith journey, sometimes he just didn’t want to show up for prayer with the Lord. We all go through life struggles that can bring us closer to God or cause us to be stray. Showing up is half the battle.

In past episodes here and here I spoke about forgiveness. The graphic I selected for this podcast is one of Jesus writing in the sand. John 8 is at the Mount of Olives where Jesus went to preach, we read in verse 2-11 (Read on Air)

Another verse that comes to mind shows us how we should love each other. Ephesians 5:25, the entire verse is beautiful, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” this is an appropriate Scripture as I record this podcast in the month of February. How can this be? We are, after all, sinful creatures, and we fail each other often. In fact, we hurt those we love the most.

To love, you have to care, and to be hurt by love means you care so much that it crushes you when you consider the hurt. But love is more than what happens to us.  One definition of love is sacrificial, love gives, and love receives. Some of us love to receive gifts, and others like to give gifts; each of us is a unique gift. Scripture tells us we are created in the likeness and image of God. We are created with a body, soul, and spirit; we crave love, which comes to us unfailingly from Christ.

One of the most recited scripture is John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” This beautiful scripture speaks about the love of Christ for us – that sacrificial love. Can you imagine if Christians worldwide would think about loving as Christ loves us? Can you imagine the change in our world?

We can take it further, within our own families first and then our larger social circle, those at school, at work, and the people we meet in the grocery store. We can go against the flow and pray to the Lord for grace for this! We are so blessed, and we do not see it, but if we did we would give to others. It does not have to cost money.  A smile can brighten someone’s day, and a hug goes a long way toward healing hurts. We are so wounded that we forget that others are hurting as well. Christ’s love for us continues to pour out upon all of us – it wasn’t a one-time thing, sure His sacrifice was one time, but the effects of his sacrifice are everlasting.

1 John 4:16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

Can we abide in God’s love? It is never too late. No matter what sin or anger we have in our hearts, there is forgiveness. It can start right now. Today, with a decision to turn away from what the Bible calls sin. Our world says nothing is sinful if you want to do it – just go for it. But in this mindset, we see that some are givers and others are takers, which frustrates all. The givers are upset. They give with nothing in return, and the takers never think it is enough.

Corinthians 3:14 – And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Love binds everything together. That is why romance books and Hallmark movies permeate the stores and airwaves. Everyone wants to love and be loved. Everyone wants that unconditional love that the Scriptures talk about, but no one wants to love unconditionally! While we can love and have sacrificial love, it is difficult to love when we get nothing back. However, we can not outgive our God. He is mighty and immense, and His love knows no bounds. Try it; try to give God your love, your trust, your time, and your gifts. Ask God what you can do to serve Him. Watch what happens.

It may not be today, but it will be at some point in time when you least expect it. Have you looked back on the previous year to see the hand of God in your life? As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20 – we may not see the miracles in our life right now, but we will see them in the future.

My son is in the Army Rangers program; this week has been the longest week of my life. He had to pass this week’s challenges to be an RS – a Ranger Student. In the private group, the administrators shared what they were going through. As I was praying for him, I thought, as Christ gave us His sacrifice for our sins, so too did the military, the police, and sheriffs, the firefighters, the first responders put their lives on the line for others. This is their job, yes. But it is Christ-like; it is loving as Christ loves. These little aha moments are so amazing when we pray and ask God for His grace. (As an aside, please pray for my son that he successfully makes it through all three stages of this journey.)

So, friends, our choice is to love as Christ loves or to follow our own way. My choice is to follow Christ’s example. This week I urge you to think about Christ’s love and look at the Scripture verses, not only those I shared but those that you find on your own in the Bible. Journal about it and think about what you have learned, what God is teaching you!

Evangelize Now Call to Christian Families

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Evangelize Now – Call To Christian Families ~ Episode 240

We are called to evangelize now, no