Testimony of Judy Zelden

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Judy Zelden | Judy will share her life-changing experience of receiving the ‘Baptism of the Holy Spirit.’ the tragic death of her father, the conversion of her husband, Michael, and the great privilege of seeing her youngest son enter the seminary | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #TestimonyofJudyZelden #JudyZeldenTestimony of Judy Zelden

Judy will share her life-changing experience of receiving the ‘Baptism of the Holy Spirit.’ the tragic death of her father, the conversion of her husband, Michael, and the great privilege of seeing her youngest son enter the seminary.

Judy Zelden was born and raised in New Orleans, LA. She attended Catholic schools through college and graduated from Loyola University. She married Michael Zelden and they have three grown sons and nine grandchildren. They moved to Baton Rouge, LA., in 1983. After many years of Judy praying for her husbands conversion, Michael entered the Church in 1977 and serves as a Eucharistic Minister and loves to serve at Mass.

In 2015, Judy wrote her first bible study for Magnificat, ‘Women, Called by Name’, and in 2021, she wrote a second bible study ‘Women, Called and Sent’. Both bible studies have received the imprimatur. She is presently working on a bible study on the gospel of Luke.

Judy has been involved in Magnificat since its inception of its 42- year history and is one of the original CST members.

This testimony was given to the Nashville Chapter in February 2024.

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.

My Boundaries for Myself

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

My Boundaries for Myself |Boundaries are protective limits to ensure safety, health, and right order. They aren’t just a right, but a responsibility, because they are an essential component of being good stewards of ourselves | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #MyBoundariesforMyself #MyBoundariesMy Boundaries for Myself

Boundaries are protective limits to ensure safety, health, and right order. They aren’t just a right, but a responsibility, because they are an essential component of being good stewards of ourselves. We put gates up in homes with babies and toddlers to protect them from dangerous situations. They also protect caregivers from having to fear for a child’s every move. I have a fence up around my yard, which protects my dog from getting lost, stolen, or hit by a car. It also protects me from worrying about her, having to go look for her were she to run off, other people from getting bitten or chased, and drivers from accidentally hitting her. Moreover, it allows her the freedom to go outside without a leash so she can explore and relax in the beautiful outdoors. Boundaries establish rules of engagement and facilitate peace for all parties involved.

Maybe we were never taught that we get to have boundaries for ourselves and so experienced them as hostile walls or as rejection from others. Most people I’ve talked to didn’t have healthy boundaries modeled or set and were never taught how to set them. The reality is that boundaries are essential for healthy relationships. Remember, boundaries will look different for different people, because each of us has unique needs. Boundaries are important in protecting us. They aren’t just a right, but a responsibility.

Since we are body, mind, and spirit, we have a need for boundaries in all three of these areas. Are R-rated movies really good for us just because we are older? Just because we can do something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s conducive to our growth in wholeness and holiness. When we set limits for ourselves, we are keeping the bad out and the good in. Doing so keeps the living waters Jesus wells up within us from being wasted or polluted.

We spend exponentially more time talking to ourselves than we talk to others. That is not to say that we are constantly talking out loud, but our inner voice, thoughts, or expressions can be almost constant. What do we say to ourselves? What does our running commentary sound like? When thoughts that aren’t good for us come into our minds about ourselves, others, or situations, what do we do with them? Do we entertain them or do we “take every thought captive in obedience to Christ”? (2 Corinthians 10:5) This is a simple example of setting a healthy boundary in how we relate to ourselves. It is rooted in the boundaries God sets for us in scripture and overflows in our relationship to others.

Considering that God sees us as beloved and precious and values us beyond measure sets a firm foundation for healthy boundaries, which determine the way in which we think about ourselves. Many years ago, I had a job that required an enormous amount of travel. Being on the road so much, I often ate at restaurants. One day I realized when the hostesses would ask me how many were in my party, I regularly answered, “Just one.” This may sound like a little thing, but even though I was the one saying it, I felt a sting every time. It felt like the message I was unintentionally sending myself was that my existence was less because I was alone. Instead, I chose to say, “One, please,” and that’s what I say to this day. Each time I feel an honoring of my dignity as a person, rather than the sense of being diminished, as if I need another’s presence to give me significance.

I noticed something similar several years later. Pulling out of the driveway on my way to work, I realized that I had neglected to grab my computer bag or lunch. I caught myself saying out loud and with irritation at myself, “Ugh! I forgot that!” It made me feel frustrated and discouraged. I examined the situation and considered that actually, I had remembered the item before I drove away from the house. Good thing!  I changed my message to myself to one of gratitude that I recalled the needed item before I left.  This simple change in attitude helped me avoid so much useless frustration at myself. I felt joyful and energized rather than demoralized. Words are powerful.  The ones we speak to ourselves regularly shape how we see ourselves, and if we aren’t consciously monitoring, our self-talk can often fly in the face of how God sees us. Aligning and realigning our self-concept with the Lord’s concept of us is crucial for operating in reality and peace.

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

The Sacrament of Holy Orders

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

The Sacrament of Holy Orders | Our presenter, James Seghers, explains the priesthood and The Sacrament of Holy Orders in this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #Episode14 #TheSacramentofHolyOrders #SacramentofHolyOrders #HolyOrdersEpisode 14 – The Sacrament of Holy Orders

Our presenter, James Seghers, explains the priesthood and The Sacrament of Holy Orders in this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series.

Sacraments of Holy Orders and Holy Matrimony are two sacraments of service ordered to the salvation of others—matrimony to one’s spouse and children with the self-donating love of Jesus. Priests are uniquely conformed to the cross of Christ in order to pour themselves out for the salvation of the heavenly bridegroom’s bride—the church—and they do this in the “person” of Jesus.

St. Paul touches on this transformation, “I bear the marks of Jesus on my body.” (Galatians 6:17). James discusses the unique gift of the Holy Spirit given to priests to function in the person of Jesus. He also discusses the role of the priest in the Old Testament, beginning with Moses.

James mentions that Sacred Scripture teaches us that Jesus is a priest after the order of Melchizedek (in Genesis 14:18–20, Melchizedek brings out bread and wine and then blesses Abram and El Elyon.) Jesus, by a single offering, has perfected for all time those who are sanctified, and the sacrifice of Jesus is made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice of the church—the Mass. James continues to explain the hierarchy of the Holy Orders and how the rites of ordination function.

This is the 14th 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.

Esther for This Time #10 – Celebrating God’s Goodness & the Feast of Purim

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Esther for This Time #10: Prayer, Reversals, & JOY

Esther and Mordecai Writing the Second Letter of Purim, Painting by Aert de Gelder, 1685

Do you celebrate God’s goodness?  Esther can help you experience the joy of remembrance. When you reflect on what God has done for you, it inspires you to trust Him more and strengthens your faith. For Esther and Jewish families, the Feast of Purim is a celebration that reminds them how God delivered them from their enemies and continues to do so. Join our podcast today to celebrate God’s goodness and faithfulness by reviewing the many reversals in the Book of Esther.”

Reversals Continue

Approximately two months and ten days after the first decree was issued, Mordecai wrote the second edict, empowering the Jewish people to defend themselves against their enemies. The turnarounds were astounding! Today, we share at least 15 reversals and cover these points:

No Plundering (Esther 9: 1-17)

  • To plunder means to steal goods by force, often during a war and with an objective of making profit.
  • In Esther 9, the Jewish people remembered the violation of God’s commands in their heritage (1 Samuel 15) and acted in holy retribution for self-defense but took no plunder for their profit.

 The Feast of Purim Established Forever (Esther 9: 18 – 10: 3)

  • Mordecai and Esther declared two days of celebration in an official decree to be remembered forever.
  • Purim means “lots” or dice which is what Haman used to pick the date for the Jewish annihilation.
  • The Book of Esther, also called the Megillah,  is read twice during the Feast dated according to the Hebrew calendar.
  • Children “boo and hiss” and throw popcorn when they hear Haman’s name.
  • Today, Jewish families celebrate by bring gifts to the poor, giving gifts to each other, and eating fruit-filled triangular cookies called Hamantashens [haa·muhn·taa·shn] or Haman’s Ears. They are delicious! You can pick up a recipe card on my website WRAPYourselfinJOY.com or in my book.

Banquets and Feasts in Esther

  • Esther begins with a banquet and ends with a feast, all with great joy.
  • Four pairs of feasts celebrate the turnarounds and triumphs of God.

The Dream, Memory, and Plot (Esther 10 – 16).

  • Esther 10 -16 , the Deuterocanonical additions A – F,  suggest Mordecai remembers a Dream. It foretold God’s deliverance relating to the main events in Esther. In addition, these chapters add a few details to the occurrences.

The Hero of the Book of Esther is GOD

  • God used the beautiful Esther, caused the sleeplessness of the king, brought down Haman, exalted Mordecai, and gave the Jewish people victory over their enemies.
  • God showed tremendous power on behalf of his people. Almost like fireworks, the reversals came quickly and spectacularly, fifteen in all.

Remembering God’s Goodness

  • The Feast of Purim, still celebrated yearly in the Jewish tradition, helps families remember God has delivered them and will continue to deliver them.
  • Psalm 77 calls us to remember God’s goodness.

Personal Reflection

  1. Do you set aside time to remember, joyously celebrate and thank God for what He has done for you? How can you implement Esther’s example?
  2. Do you call upon God for creative solutions or turnarounds when problems arise? Try it!
  3. Are you encouraging others that God intervenes in history when his people seek him with prayer, repentance, and fasting? Please consider it!

New Podcast Series & Cup of JOY Women™

  • Join my newest podcast coming this summer: Ruth – Finding JOY in Tough Times and Trusting in God’s Goodness.  If you would like to host a weekly one-hour “Cup of Joy Women™ ” study with your friends, email me: karen@WrapYourselfInJoy.com. It’s free and I will send you all the materials you need for the weekly one-hour discussion and study over coffee. You can read more HERE on hosting a CUP of JOY Women or Cup of JOY Gathering small group.

Links

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!

 

Testimony of Kitty Cleveland

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Kitty Cleveland | Kitty Cleveland raise in a devout Catholic family in New Orleans, LA. She was the middle child of six girls. Her father was a lawyer and wished for all his daughters to follow in his footsteps | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #TestimonyofKittyCleveland #KittyClevelandTestimony of Kitty Cleveland

Kitty Cleveland raise in a devout Catholic family in New Orleans, LA. She was the middle child of six girls. Her father was a lawyer and wished for all his daughters to follow in his footsteps. Kitty had a dream of her own, to become a singer on Broadway and see her name in lights. But she chose the path her father had for her and became a lawyer. After three years in her profession, knowing she was unhappy, she left. At the same time, her father was convicted of a felony and sentenced to 10 years in prison. It was devastating for the family because he was innocent. The word the family received from the Lord was that his power was made perfect in weakness and that His grace was sufficient in this time of trial.

In 1998 during Adoration, Kitty clearly heard the Lord tell her to go into Music Ministry. Kitty is a singer and songwriter. She has appeared on television and radio, EWTN and the Johnette Benkovic’s, ‘Women of Grace’ show, she has performed in many concerts and has been a keynote speaker at home and abroad. Kitty is married a to a musician, and they adopted a daughter from China in 2005.

This testimony was given to the Marrero, LA. Chapter in May 2018.

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.

Valuing Myself

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Valuing Myself | How common it is for us to find our value in our performance, talents, skills, physical appearance, wealth or status? The scripture at the beginning of this section puts our value in right perspective because it reveals God’s perspective | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #ValuingGod #ValuingMyselfValuing Myself

How common is it for us to find value in our performance, talents, skills, physical appearance, wealth, or status? The scripture at the beginning of this section puts our value in right perspective because it reveals God’s perspective. Jonah was sent by God to preach repentance to the Ninevites and, when they did repent and God had mercy, Jonah was angry about it. We take a look at the scripture above and find how God saw them. They were clueless! He said they couldn’t tell their left hands from their right hands! That’s not a statement of harsh criticism from the Lord, but rather an explanation to Jonah of why he was gentle and didn’t smite them like Jonah would have preferred. That clearly reveals the heart of our good shepherd who values his people simply because we are his own.

In Genesis, the serpent tempted Adam and Eve by making them think they weren’t good enough and needed to be like gods (Genesis 3:5). Even in our time we hear constant echoes of that moment. Commercials bombard us every day with messages about the myriad ways we are not good enough – how their products can rescue us from teeth that aren’t white enough, clothes that aren’t bright enough, and vehicles that aren’t fast enough, the list goes on. Focusing on the externals to find our value keeps us continually trying to earn what we already have.

Hanging our value on anything other than God’s love for us corrupts our vision and becomes how we measure ourselves and the way we believe others see us. When we try to find our worth in people or things other than God’s love, we end up hiding and are left thinking if people knew who we really were, they wouldn’t accept us. I’ve known very wealthy people who found their value in their wealth and became paranoid, thinking others only wanted to relate to them for their money. Because their lenses were faulty, it was impossible to convince them otherwise.

Our value is inherent. It can’t be earned because we already have it – we are God’s children. When we work to prove our value, we’re actually placing our worth in something transitory. These can easily become the things we hide behind. Each of us has inherent dignity in the Lord and resting in that fact alleviates so many issues. We no longer have the same self-criticism, arrogance, or condemnation of ourselves or others.

Actually, our confidence becomes unshakeable because it is in God, not in us.  This doesn’t mean we should stop giving our best effort, but that we should do so from a place of confidence in our okayness, regardless of the outcome. Our performance is no longer an attempt to earn worth, but a gift of gratitude to the Lord for the gifts he’s given us. We stop trying to control how things turn out in order to justify our existence. When we have the being right, the doing flows peacefully and joyfully. The irony is that when we don’t spend our valuable time and mental and emotional energy worrying about the outcome, things generally turn out far better. When there is struggle, we are better able to adjust in a healthy way since our focus is on the Lord.

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

Anointing of the Sick

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Anointing of the Sick | Our presenter, James Seghers, explains the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick in this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #Episode13 #AnointingoftheSickEpisode 13 – Anointing of the Sick

In this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, explains the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.

To receive the church’s Sacrament of Anointing the Sick through the ministry of a priest, there is no need to wait until a person is at the point of death—a severe illness is sufficient. The hope is that the individual will be healed if it is God’s will. Without physical healing, the individual receives the Holy Spirit’s gift of peace and courage.

James continues to delve into how Jesus came to heal both the physical and spiritual. Jesus did not heal all people’s physical ailments, but the miraculous healings performed were to demonstrate the signs of the coming of the Kingdom.

Illnesses and suffering have always been among the most significant problems of human life. James discusses how enduring suffering matures a person by producing endurance, character, and hope and bringing one closer to God and how one can use their suffering as a redemptive suffering, uniting oneself with Jesus’ Passion.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)

This is the 13th 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.

Esther for This Time #9 – Creative Solutions and MORE Reversals

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Esther for This Time #9

Esther Reigns as Queen

Creative Solutions for Esther & Her People

Do you need some creative solutions for your life?  It may look like there is NO way out, but God working behind the scenes can always give a perfect solution. Today, we watch the reversals in Esther unfold through a second edict as many watching Esther and the nation’s deliverance express a desire for conversion.

In this podcast, we will cover the following points.

Mordecai Authorized to Write a Second Edict (Esther 8: 3-8)

  • Mordecai not only acquired Haman’s wealth and property but also his position.  The king gave him his signet ring making him the second most powerful man in Persia.
  • However, there was still unfinished business! If Haman’s first edict issued in the king’s name was not overturned, all Jews would still be killed. Legally, a king’s edict was irrevocable.
  • For the second time, Esther appeared before the king, and using gentle leadership asked for Haman’s decree to be revoked.
  • The king had given Mordecai his signet ring allowing Mordecai to write whatever he pleased.

Reversals: Jewish People Empowered (Esther 8: 9-10, 13-17 & 16: 15-23[E])

Two months and ten days after Haman issued the first edict, Mordecai summons the king’s secretaries and wrote a second edict that counteracted Haman’s edict, empowering the Jews to defend themselves.  At least six more reversals transpired:

  • Haman‘s edict was written and dispatched to kill the Jews (3: 13-15) The Reversal (8: 10-14): Mordecai’s edict was sealed and dispatched to give the Jews authority to attack those who would attack them.
  • Haman‘s edict becomes the law (3: 14) The Reversal (8: 10-14): Mordecai’s writ becomes a decree that all must obey.
  • Mordecai mourns in sackcloth, and ashes (4: 1). The Reversal (8: 15): Mordecai wears royal robes of blue and white, a crown, and a mantle.
  • Mordecai wails in disgrace at the king’s gate (4: 2). The Reversal (8: 15): Mordecai was honored as the whole city shouted and rejoiced.
  • The Jews mourn in sackcloth and ashes with fasting (4: 3). The Reversal (8: 16): They celebrate a time of gladness, joy, and honor with a royal festival and holiday.
  • The Jews were weak and dispersed in the culture (3: 8). The Reversal (8: 17): The turnarounds brought about such fear of the Jews that many Persians converted or said they were Jews.

Personal Reflection

Do you need creative solutions and more reversals? Don’t give up.  Ask our Lord to show you creative solutions for your impossible situations. Invite the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and your ears to what you don’t yet see.   Remember God loves reversals and His solutions are always the best solutions and they will bring JOY!! Principles from Esther to help guide you in difficult times might include:

  1. When God defeats your enemies, they are vanquished.
  2. Assemble with others for increased strength to defeat foes.
  3. God can give gladness, joy, and honor to replace sadness, darkness, and despair.
  4. When people observe reversals and empowerment on your behalf, it could lead to turnarounds, change of heart or conversions.

Links

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!

Testimony of Julia Monnin

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Julia Monnin | Julia Monnin grew up in a good Catholic family in Ohio. She was one of 5 children. Like most kids growing up she was swooped in the ways of the culture and made some bad choices in her high school and college years | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #TestimonyofJuliaMonnin #JuliaMonninTestimony of Julia Monnin

Julia Monnin grew up in a good Catholic family in Ohio. She was one of 5 children. Like most kids growing up she was swooped in the ways of the culture and made some bad choices in her high school and college years. She was ashamed of the sinful nature she had chosen for herself and became aware there was a need to change. Her mother knew something was bothering her and suggested she go to confession. She took her mother’s advice and that was a turning point in her life. She began to pray more and gain a deeper relationship with Christ.

After Julia’s major conversion, she left her job and went into full time ministry. She is an author, speaker, and spiritual companion. She published her first book in in 2017, ‘The World is Noisy, God Whispers,’ Vol.1. She writes a monthly blog and host two monthly podcasts (“The World Is Noisy – God Whispers”® and “The Schoenstatt Way of Life”), co-hosts a weekly podcast with Fr. Sean Wilson (“Darting Through the Faith”), and hosts a semi-monthly radio show on Radio Maria called “Living the Lectionary.”

Julia is the founder and president of the Catholic nonprofit apostolate Journeys Revealed Ministries whose mission is to “Spread the Love of Jesus by Sharing the Stories of Our Souls, One Intimate Moment at a Time.”

This testimony was given to the Pittsburgh Chapter in August 2021.

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

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The Sacrament of Reconciliation Confession

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation Confession | Our presenter, James Seghers, explains the origins of the Sacrament of Reconciliation Confession in this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #Episode12 #TheSacramentofReconciliationConfession #ReconciliationConfessionEpisode 12 – The Sacrament of Reconciliation Confession

Our presenter, James Seghers, explains the origins of the Sacrament of Reconciliation Confession in this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series.

In John 20:21-23, Jesus, having risen from the dead, bestows the miraculous power to forgive sins. “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so, I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

James discusses how the grace of the spirit has been bestowed on priests and how to understand the marvel of this Sacrament, one must comprehend the terrible reality of sin.

Using scripture to demonstrate, James describes how Jesus warns us that sin is inherent in human appetites and how specific human desires go against the will and law of the Father. Jesus also implores humanity to draw closer to the Father to receive grace and mercy in order to strengthen us and fight the pull of earthly appetites.

Additionally, James explores the types of sin, the degrees of their graveness, and how confession was even instituted in the Old Testament as a means of repentance, healing, and forgiveness.

This is the 12th 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.

Esther for This Time #8 – Reversals Begin

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Esther for This Time #8 – Reversals Begin

Painting: Esther reveals Haman’s plot to the King by Jan Lievens, 1623

God Loves Reversals

Do you need reversals in your life? Let Esther encourage you. God loves reversals, and He can make them happen for you.

Three Reversals

Today in our podcast, we encounter three reversals in Chapter Seven of the Book of Esther. This is God’s providence, bringing dramatic changes in circumstances in response to the prayers of His people. It can happen again, and it can happen in your life! Join us today as we cover these points:

God’s Intervention

  • When King Ahasuerus cannot sleep, he reads his chronicles and discovers Mordecai’s service needs a reward.
  • The King asks Haman what he can do for the man he delights to honor.
  • Haman replies the man should wear the King’s clothes, ride the King’s horse, and be proclaimed for service throughout the streets.

A Peripety

  • Haman hates Mordecai and is humiliated when the King tells him to proceed with these actions for Mordecai.
  • It is a peripety – a significant reversal of circumstances or turnaround of intentions written in heaven.
  • When Haman told his friends and wife Zeresh about the Mordecai incident, they warned him: “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of the Jewish people, you will not prevail against him but will surely fall before him.”

God Reverses Evil (Esther 7: 1-8)

  • Esther dishes up sweet words to the King.
  • She knew when it was NOT time to speak and when it was time to say her request to the King.
  • She used the exact words from the edict so that the King knew he was hearing the truth.

Persian Culture

  • In Persian culture,
    • Diners eat at a table while reclining on a couch.
    • Men could not come within seven steps of a woman in the King’s charge or harem.
  • Haman approached Esther’s couch to beg for mercy – he had overstepped his bounds by 7 feet.
  • To the King, he was assaulting Esther. So, he orders a face cloth draped on Haman.
  • In the Persian culture, a facecloth covers an enemy of the King so the King would not have to look upon the one he condemned.

The Lord Loves Reversals  (Esther 7: 9 – 8: 2)

  • Harbona, one of the King’s chief consultants, appears to know of Haman’s hatred for the Jews and of the gallows he built in his backyard to execute Mordecai. He suggests Haman hang on these gallows.
  • Oh, how the Lord loves reversals! His divine providence reversed three evil events for today.
    • The gallows built in Haman’s backyard for Mordecai are used to hang Haman.
    • The King removes the signet ring, indicating “a second in charge” position, from Haman and gives it to Mordecai.
    • Haman’s decree is reversed.  Instead of plundering the property of the Jews, the King gives Haman’s property to Queen Esther.
  • What the study of literature calls peripety—an event that suddenly brings a reversal of fortune and dramatic change in circumstances, is what Christians call a miracle.

Personal Reflection

  • Romans 15: 4 reminds us: “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.” Let Esther give you hope. God can give you reversals too:
  • Which of the following principles do you find most helpful for you?
    1. God can reverse the evils around us.
    2. Gentle leadership with prayer and God’s discernment accomplishes much.
    3. Teachers of drama or literature call a reversal “peripety,” but Christians call it a miracle.
  • What miracle or turnaround do you need today?  Based on what you observed from Esther and Mordecai, how will you pray for one?
    1. Read Psalm 37: 1-5 and notice all the phrases “do not fret” and “trust in the Lord” instead. Which will you do? The Lord will act as you delight in Him and commit your way to Him.
    2. Ask Jesus to bring laughter and joy to your life as you pray for the reversal.

Links

Invitation To Hope (Replay)

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

God’s Grace

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

God's GraceGod’s Grace is Sufficient

Episode 21

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

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

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

a few minutes with God

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

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

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

2 Corinthians 12:9

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

Testimony of Mary Lou McCall

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Mary Lou McCall | Mary Lou was a ‘military brat.’ Her family moved every three to four years. Her father was in the air force. Her mother was German, and her family spent much of her growing up years visiting her mother’s relatives in Germany | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #TestimonyofMaryLouMcCall #MaryLouMcCallTestimony of Mary Lou McCall

Mary Lou was a ‘military brat.’ Her family moved every three to four years. Her father was in the air force. Her mother was German, and her family spent much of her growing up years visiting her mother’s relatives in Germany. Mary Lou was raised Catholic, and her mother showed by example the reverence for the Church by their many visits to the Cathedrals all over Europe. Mary Lou was a middle child, shy and introverted. She married her college sweetheart, and they had five sons together. She became a television journalist and documentary producer bringing political and spiritual news to the forefront.

As a television reporter, Mary Lou was given an assignment to go to Medjugorje. The experience changed the trajectory of her life. She and her family have experienced intense spiritual warfare. She will explain as she shares a number of her sons’ various addictions.

She became a Drug Addiction Prevention Specialist and spokesperson. In 2020, Mary Lou was commissioned by the Archbishop as an Ecclesial Lay Minister as part of a graduate program at Notre Dame Seminary and she also has a master’s degree in Pastoral Leadership.

This testimony was given to the Marrero, LA, Chapter in June, 2022.

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 Eucharist Part II

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

The Eucharist Part II | On the second part of a two-part episode on the Eucharist in the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, delves into the sixth chapter of St. John's Gospel | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #TheEucharistPartII #Episode11Episode 11 – The Eucharist Part II

On the second part of a two-part episode on the Eucharist in the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, delves into the sixth chapter of St. John’s Gospel.

The prologue of St. John’s chapter six recalls two miracles that prepare Jesus’ audience for the following Bread of Life discourse. The first miracle identifies Jesus as the Messianic profit like Moses, which was predicted in Deuteronomy Chapter 18. The second miracle occurred when Jesus walked on the sea to meet up with his disciples. This is an act heralded Jesus as God in his Divinity.

In Chapter 6, Jesus multiplied five barley loaves and two fish, feeding the hungry gathering crow who began to follow up because of the signs Jesus was performing. The next day, the crowd, seeing Jesus and his disciples had left the area, the crowd began to search for Jesus, and when they found him, Jesus responded, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life— which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.” (John 6:26)

In his conversation with the crowd, Jesus informs the crowd not to think of the material but the spiritual. The crowd, understanding, always asks what they must do to receive this bread. Jesus responds, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst. (John 6:35). In this statement, Jesus states that he is the life-giving bread that challenges the crowd to change their focus and understanding.

Jesus explains the holy wonder of his body and blood becoming the food for eternal salvation and instructs the crowd to proceed in faith, challenging them with their limited understanding. However, the crowd, still lacking in spiritual awareness, remains resistant and unwilling to accept Jesus’ teaching.

This episode underscores Jesus’ message as the Bread of Life “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. (John 6:54).

This is the 11th 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.

Esther for This Time #7 – God-Designed Comedy

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Esther for This Time - Prayer, Reversals & JOY

Mordecai Led Through the City by Haman by Azor Masters, Painting, 1420 AD, The Hague

God-designed Comedy

God-designed comedy can reverse calamity! Don’t you wish every tragedy turned into a good laugh instead? Sometimes, we think God doesn’t have a sense of humor. Today in our podcast on Esther, we cannot help but see the comedy from the hand of God that reverses a tragedy.

In Between Dinner Parties

In our last study, Esther asked the king and Haman to a festive banquet dinner she prepared. At the end of the dinner, Esther invited the king and Haman to a second dinner the next day. She delayed the real request because her discernment through prayer and fasting told her the timing was not right.  Between the two dinner parties, Haman bursts with pride to family and friends at being asked to dine twice with the king and queen of Persia. However, his joy disappears at the sight of Mordecai, who refuses to stand up in his presence. Today, we join the king, whose sleeplessness, ordained by God, leads to a reversal of circumstances. We cover these points:

The Sleeplessness of the King Results in a Peripety (Esther 6: 1-12)

  • The King can’t sleep, so he entertains himself by reading his annals – large volumes that record the history and accomplishments of a king’s reign.
  • The King’s sleeplessness begins with peripety (pronounced “pe-rip-e-tē”). The term is used in dramatic arts to define a sudden reversal of fortune with a change in direction.
  • In a tragedy, the plot turns a lead character’s fortune into ruin.
  • In a comedy, the reversal changes tragedy into comedy.
  • In Esther Chapter Six, we see both kinds of peripety.

God’s Reversals (Esther 6: 12)

  • The king turns in his annals to an event that occurred five years earlier, only to discover that Mordecai’s service had NEVER been rewarded.
  • Just then, Haman arrives at the inner court after constructing a 75-foot-high gallows for hanging Mordecai.
  • Haman lusts for power and hopes to wear the King’s robe.
  • The ancients attached great significance to wearing a royal robe. It was considered a mark of great favor and honor.
  • Haman tells the king what could be done to the man whom the king wants to honor.

Haman Humbled (Esther 6: 13-14)

  • Haman hated Mordecai and was greatly humbled when he proclaimed his greatness while wearing the king’s robes and crown and riding the king’s horse.
  • God’s hand seems to create a peripety: Haman, once honored as second in power to the king, is humiliated, and Mordecai, in sackcloth and ashes, is exalted in the king’s robe and attire.
  • Haman’s friends and wife Zeresh realize that the Jews worshipped a God, who seemed to be intervening.
  • Haman did not know the warnings of Proverbs 16:18 and Matthew 23: 12.
  • Proverbs 16: 18. Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. NRSV-CE or
  • Matthew 23: 12. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. NRSV-CE

 The Greatest Peripety of All (Ephesians 2: 4-6)

  • The greatest reversal of all God planned since creation was our redemption from sin and eternal death through Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection.
  • It was the greatest REAL peripety of all.

Personal Reflection

  • In Esther Chapter 6, we see God’s hand at work reversing many situations. Which of the following principles do you find most helpful?
  1.  Wait for God’s timing and guidance: He can intervene in your life with a miracle that changes everything.
  2.  God intervenes in history when His people call out to Him with prayer, repentance, and fasting.
  3.  Jesus Christ is your reversal of fortune—He died out of love for you to forgive your sins and offer you eternal life. Now is the time to accept His forgiveness as His plan for your life.
  4.  I will try to remember these verses to remind me of God’s ability to intervene in the worst of circumstances:
  • Isaiah 59:1. See, the Lord’s hand is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.
  • Jeremiah 32: 27. See, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too hard for me? NRSV-CE

Links

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.

Testimony of Fr. Tony Mugavero

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Fr. Tony Mugavero | Fr. Tony Mugavero is pastor of Holy Apostles parish in Rochester, NY. He has been devoted to the vocation of the priesthood for 44 years. He loves his vocation and he has many God stories | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #ComeFollowMe #TestimonyofFr.TonyMugavero #Fr.TonyMugaveroTestimony of Fr. Tony Mugavero

Fr. Tony Mugavero is pastor of Holy Apostles parish in Rochester, NY. He has been devoted to the vocation of the priesthood for 44 years. He loves his vocation and he has many God stories. He shares a fond memory of his sister Rosalie and the 25th wedding anniversary he and sister planned for their Italian parents. Fr. Tony encourages his audience to also share their God stories that profoundly speaks to the question the Lord asks, ‘Who do you say that I am.’

Fr. Tony has overcome all trials especially when he was arrested and convicted of harassment for talking to women wanting to enter an abortion clinic to end their child’s life. He served 15 days in jail. He is a strong and brave man of conviction.

Fr. Tony is a strong advocate for life in all stages and has deep respect and love for mankind, willing to help in all circumstances. He believes that ‘All things work for good for those who love him, those he has called according to his purpose.’ Romans 8:28

This testimony was given to the Rochester, NY, Chapter in October 2022.

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

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Just the Way I Am

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Bare Bones Show Notes!

Here’s the thing: I love to speak, and I love to write, but for some reason, show notes. UGH! I might want to take some of the advice I give in this episode about the way I am and see if it changes. We shall see.

Scripture Quoted

Revelation 21: 5 “The one who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 :  “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.”

The main point

When we say, “That’s just the way I am,” we put ourselves in a box and deny the possibility of change, which we can do with God’s help.

 

Pray with this question: God, what do you want to make new?

Would you like to pray together or learn ways of praying to help you change with God’s help? Please contact me.

 

 

Connection to Self

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Connection to Self | Healthy confidence and self-worth are fruits of personal integration. The same factors that are essential for connection to God are also essential for connection to self – being known, valued, and open, and having healthy boundaries | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #ValuingGod #SufferingConnection to Self

Healthy confidence and self-worth are fruits of personal integration. The same factors that are essential for connection to God are also essential for connection to self – being known, valued, and open, and having healthy boundaries. Ideally, a child experiences being known, valued, accepted, and protected by good and loving parents. When this happens, it’s a natural bridge to having self-knowledge and self-acceptance.

So, why is it important to talk about this? Did we just move from talking about spirituality in the previous section to selfishness and being self-consumed? Not at all! Take a look again at the scripture from Mark 12 at the beginning of this section. The teacher who approached Jesus asked him which law is the most important. Jesus answered his question by also telling him the second most important law: To love our neighbor as we love ourselves. This answer hinges love of neighbor on love of self, revealing that in order to have the former, we must also have the latter.

As we consider loving ourselves, let’s remember what true love looks like. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, a passage we might already be familiar with, details the definition of love:

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

You might be thinking, “That sounds great, but where am I supposed to get all this love to give to others?” The truth is, God who is love dwells within us. First, we must believe it – more and more. Then we can begin to receive it and embrace it, and allow his love to modify our own ways of thinking and flow out from us toward others. Being more deeply formed in God’s mind causes us to continually reform our ways of thinking and behaving until we are eventually thoroughly transformed. That’s holiness, which is the goal of this life for all of us.  It’s not just for clergy and religious. We are all called to be holy.

If we pour a large amount of water into a container, the container will soon begin to overflow, much like we are called to overflow with God’s love for each other. Even if Niagara Falls is poured into a colander, at the end we will still have an empty colander. When we tear ourselves down in our own thoughts or self-talk, we poke colander-like holes in our hearts.  No wonder we feel so empty! When our relationship with our own self is in shambles from our constant criticism, all the helps God wants to give us can’t find a place to hold on. Even forming and maintaining a healthy external relationship becomes nearly impossible when our internal relationship is hurtful. Next thing we know, we hit a rough patch in an external relationship and we begin to wonder where God is in it all.

St. Thomas Aquinas said, “What is received is received according to the mode of the receiver.”1 The way we relate to ourselves can be considered our mode. If we don’t believe we are lovable, we won’t be able to believe someone else loves us and their love can’t reach us. For this reason, it is crucial that we make an act of our will and conscious efforts to open to God’s grace so that when he tells us he loves us, we can allow his grace to convince our hearts that it is true. Then we will receive what we can and regard ourselves a little more charitably. He will tell us again, and we will embrace the truth a bit more, and so on. It’s a never-ending cycle; since there’s always more of him and we, with our cracks, tend to be a bit leaky.

It’s essential for us to make a shift in how we choose to relate to ourselves – it is a necessary part of being spiritually and emotionally responsible. Otherwise we are very prone to make the mistake of making God responsible for our emotions when we are the ones making ourselves miserable.  If we constantly send ourselves the message that we’re not lovable, it only stands to reason it will be hard for us to believe he or anyone else could or would love me. Taking on the mind of Christ includes shifting how we think of ourselves to how he regards us.  That is absolutely non-negotiable if we really believe he is God.

In the upcoming sections, we’ll break down the same aspects of connection we considered in connection to the Lord – knowing, valuing, and having healthy boundaries – so we can grow in our ability to fully accept, receive, and embody Jesus’ words and redeeming love for us.

May the Lord give you peace.

Margaret

The Eucharist

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

The Eucharist Part I | On this two-part episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, discusses the Eucharist, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #TheEucharistPartIEpisode 10 – The Eucharist Part I

On this two-part episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, discusses the Eucharist, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians.

On Holy Thursday, Jesus knew he would depart from this world to the Father, and not wishing to leave his followers desolate, he gave us the sacrament of coming to us in the humble form of bread and wine as a testament to his unconditional love and mercy.

Jesus’ ardent love drives our Lord to be present in the thousands of tabernacles worldwide, where he patiently waits for our visits to embrace us in his eucharistic heart.

Through sighting historical and biblical evidence, James shares the meaning of Jesus’ real presence in the Eucharist and why the Eucharist is the summit of Christian life. He also debunks teachings against this fact, offering solid evidence disputing heretical mindsets.

This is the 10th 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.

Esther for This Time #6: Pray, Wait and Discern

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Esther for This Time, Wait, Pray, & Discern

Image: Esther before Ahasuerus (1547-48) Painting by Tintoretto

Pray, Wait & Discern

Are you praying, waiting, and discerning? Have you ever prayed in a daunting situation? Were you looking for a quick solution? Sometimes a quick solution is not the best solution. In our podcast today, Esther shows us the value of prayer, but also why it’s important to wait and discern God’s solution.

Esther Puts Her Life on the Line

Esther’s name comes from the Hebrew root “SIT-UR seter,” which means “concealed.” It suggests her identity would be concealed for a time, but the time had come for her to reveal her faith.  Mordecai asked her to go to the king to stop the edict against the Jews, but without an invitation, she could be executed.  Esther finally agreed to put her life on the line for such a time as this. She knew she needed God’s intervention, so she called for three days of fasting from food and water for all Jews, and even her maids. Then she would go to the king with the conclusion, “If I perish, I perish.”  In the podcast today, we will cover these points.

The Third Day (Esther 5: 1-8)

  •  The “third day” in the Jewish faith is significant. A Jewish commentary suggests believed God’s deliverance for Israel would come after prayer on “the third day” (Midrash Raba, Esther).
  • For example, in the Old Testament, Hosea 6: 2 says,  After two days, He will revive us; on the third day, God will raise us up, that we may live before him. NRSV-CE
  • The third day also connects to the Christian faith and Jesus’ resurrection.

Esther’s Gentle-Discerning Leadership (Esther 5: 5-7)

  • Esther “stood” before the king, radiating inner strength and outer beauty from God.
  • Esther 15 (Deuterocanonical): the King invited Esther to him, saying: “Come near. 11 Then he raised the golden scepter and touched her neck with it; 12 he embraced her, and said, “Speak to me.”
  • Gentle leadership characterizes a leader who is kind, compassionate, loyal, and willing to listen to the needs of those around her.
  • A discerning leader prays and waits for God’s direction.
  • Queen Esther was truly a gentle and discerning leader.  She leaned completely on God for strength and guidance.

 Esther’s Discernment and the First Banquet (Esther 5: 9-14)

  • The fasting and prayers of Esther and God’s people changed the heart of the King.
  • On the third day of fasting, Esther abandoned herself in total submission to God, put on royal robes to show her authority as Queen of Persia, and became the leader God designed her to be.
  • Esther asked the king and Haman to a festive dinner banquet she had prepared.
  • At the end of the meal, Esther delayed and again asked the king and Haman to come to a second dinner on the following day.
  • God’s guidance and discernment indicated Esther needed to wait one more day.

 Haman and His Prized Sons

  • Haman boasted to his family and friends (v. 10-12). He had 12 sons.
  • Historian Herodotus says the Persians prized a large number of sons, second only to great courage in war.
  • Haman’s pride burst with pride at being invited to dinner twice with the king and queen of Persia.
  • Only the sight of Mordecai, who would not bow to him, pricked his joy. His wife, Zeresh, suggested he build a 75-foot (50-cubit)- high gallows and hang Mordecai immediately.

Personal Reflection

  • Which principles on prayer, waiting and discernment will you apply?
  • I need to seek God with other pray-ers for support to stand firm in spiritual battles.
  • To become gentler and more discerning, I need to increase my time in prayer, repenting for myself and others, fasting, and waiting.
  • I want to rely more on God’s discernment. I must wait where God has placed me and invite his discernment and leadership.
  • I will try to remember this verse: Isaiah 40:31.“But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” NRSV-CE

Links

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.

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.  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.

 

Testimony of Denny Charbonnet

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Denny Charbonnet | Denny grew up as an only child in a devout Catholic home. She attended Catholic schools. Her mother had breast cancer while Denny was in high school but recovered. Shortly after, she lost her father to an unexpected heart attack | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #ComeFollowMe #TestimonyofDennyCharbonnet #DennyCharbonnetTestimony of Denny Charbonnet

Denny grew up as an only child in a devout Catholic home. She attended Catholic schools. Her mother had breast cancer while Denny was in high school but recovered. Shortly after, she lost her father to an unexpected heart attack.  Denny’s plans to attend Theatre Arts in NY were dashed. She married her high school sweetheart, but it was a troubled marriage and eventually ended in divorce.

While on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje in 1987, Denny experienced an undeniable, life-changing interaction with the Blessed Mother and the Holy Spirit. Involvement with the Charismatic Renewal further solidified her conversion experience and launched her into a lifelong relationship with our Lord and his mother, Mary.

Denny has always been quick to credit God’s guiding and sustaining hand in her life. She has taught Theater Arts to hundreds of students for the past 31 years at St. Paul’s Catholic High School in Covington and has used the stage as a forum to bring Christ’s Gospel message to both her students and audiences.

Denny’s role as a mother is her most precious gift. Her children followed in her evangelistic footsteps, attending Franciscan University of Steubenville, and volunteering their time in the Catholic Church in various ways. Her oldest son, Beau, is pastor at St. Angela Merici Catholic Church in Metarie, and her son, Jean, and daughter, Elise Angelette, who passed away from cancer, and her 10 grandchildren live close by on the Northshore.

Denny offers Romans 8:28 as the Scripture that has been written onto her heart in a profound way these past four years as she walked alongside her daughter Elise in her battle against breast cancer. “For we know that all things work for good for those who love the Lord Jesus Christ and are called according to His purpose.”

This testimony was given to the Marrero, LA, Chapter in September, 2018.

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.

Going Deeper

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Going Deeper | When we take a moment to look at nature, we find that life is always a process. Whether it is the acorn becoming a mighty oak, an egg hatching into a duckling, or a baby growing into an adult, life is a process | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #ValuingGod #Suffering #GoingDeeperGoing Deeper

When we take a moment to look at nature, we find that life is always a process. Whether it is the acorn becoming a mighty oak, an egg hatching into a duckling, or a baby growing into an adult, life is a process. Since physical life is a process, why would emotional and spiritual life be any different? We would never look at a toddler and think they are wrong or bad for not being an adult. The very idea is outrageous and would deny the beauty of the child and the process God has made.

The process of growth surrounds us. It is beautiful and wonderful to know that we always have more room for development in our relationship with God, as formation is a lifelong process! He is infinite!  We grow when we allow him to increase our capacity for him and receive more of who he is. The more we receive of him, the more we are transformed into who we really are, the more our capacity for him increases, and so on.

Like any relationship, we first approach another by opening up and revealing the good things about ourselves. Next, we might show some of our less glorious moments, and begin to be vulnerable. Finally, we reveal our pain, our shame, and our weakness, that which we hold deep within us, hidden from view until we know it’s safe. Once we have a firm trust in another person’s acceptance of us, a bond is developed. We find this same pattern as we grow closer to the Lord.

As we begin to improve our relationship with our creator, we begin to see things as if through God’s eyes, which allows us to see Him more clearly and to be drawn more deeply into union with Him. This doesn’t happen once and is complete. Instead, we tend to follow a winding staircase as our deepening union with God reveals to us more dross, which we are then able to release. Liberation from our own garbage helps us know God even more closely and become more one with him. Good mental and physical health work together with our growing spiritual health. They are not at odds with each other, but together bring us into a state of wholeness and holiness that is our birthright as sons and daughters of God.

St. Thomas Aquinas said, “Grace does not destroy nature, but perfects it.”1 We need personal integration and rightly ordered relationships. By seeking God’s kingdom first, everything else falls into place. As we learn with the help of God to quiet the clamor and chaos of disorder, his grace brings wholeness to our lives. God’s perfecting work leads to fulfillment and order, personally and interpersonally.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. In what ways can you see you have grown in your relationship with God over time?
  2. What areas of your own formation are you growing in the most at this time?
  3. How might it help to consider your relationship with God as a process?
  4. How might it help you to consider other people’s relationships with God as a process?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, we thank you for coming to us to reveal the heart of the Father and to redeem us in your love. It was not enough for you to save all mankind, but you desire a personal relationship with us. We want to grow closer to you every day. Please give us the grace to do so and to be patient with ourselves in the process. In your holy name we pray. Amen.

Action Step

What’s one thing you can do to take a step closer in the way you relate to the Lord? Take that step this week.

Journaling/Further Reflection

Ask the Lord to show you what the biggest block is to your receiving and responding to more of his love at this time in your life. Ask him what he wants you to know about that and journal what comes to you.

Scriptures for Meditation

Jeremiah 29:13

Luke 2:52

James 4:8

1 Peter 2:2

Revelation 3:20

 

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

The Sacrament of Confirmation

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

The Sacrament of Confirmation | On this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, delves into how Christ, through the Sacrament of Confirmation, sends us an outpouring of the Holy Spirit | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #TheSacramentofConfirmationEpisode 9 – The Sacrament of Confirmation

On this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, delves into how Christ, through the Sacrament of Confirmation, sends us an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

The Sacrament of Confirmation is the second of the three sacraments of initiation. This Sacrament completes the Sacrament of Baptism and unites the confirmed more perfectly to the church, which is Christ’s mystical body. James explains how, through the Sacrament of Communion, Jesus marks each confirmed Christian with the “seal” of the Holy Spirit, empowering Christians to be faithful witnesses of Christ. James relays the story of the beautiful St. Agnes of Rome, who became a virgin martyr because of her commitment to Christ.

Additionally, James relays the characteristics of this unique “seal” — our belonging to Christ, a permanent enrollment to receive Christ’s services, and gives Christians a promise of divine protection and the final trial at the end of time. The confirmed person also receives the power to boldly proclaim faith in Christ publicly with courage.

James discusses several instances of how the Sacrament of Confirmation was foretold in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, Jesus proclaimed, “And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” (Luke 12:11-12).

James continues that with free will, the confirmed can either receive or block God’s grace and explains how when we are open to the Holy Spirit, this Sacrament roots us more deeply in divine affiliation, unites us more fully in a loving relationship with Christ, increases the gift of the holy spirit, renders our body with the church more perfectly, and provides a spirit of strength.

This is the 9th 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.

Esther for This Time # 5 – Your Mission For Such a Time as This

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Your Mission For Such a Time as This

Do you have a mission for such a time as this? You indeed do, and this podcast will help you!  Join us today as Queen Esther trusts the power of God in prayer, gains needed courage and discovers her mission.

A Passover Turned to Weeping

In Esther Chapter 3, Mordecai refuses to bow down and pay homage to Haman.  Enraged Haman hatred for Jews and cast Purim (somewhat similar to our dice) to determine the date for the killing of all Jews throughout all of Persia. The king agreed, and the announcement for the annihilation of all the Jewish people was distributed throughout the kingdom on Passover—the very day Jewish families annually commemorate the time God delivered them from slavery in Egypt and saved their firstborn.

Now, their joy-filled Passover celebration was turned into a time of wailing. Could you imagine this happening to you, your family, or your church family on a celebration like Easter?

For Such a Time as This is a phrase that comes directly from Chapter 4 of the Book of Esther.

Today, we cover these points:

Sackcloth and Ashes (Esther 4: 1-4)

  • Mordecai heard of the edict, and he sobbed greatly, tore his clothes, and put on sackcloth and ashes. He wailed and wept bitterly on the city square at the palace gate.
  • For all Jews, the happy celebration of Passover with family, friends, traditions, and food quickly turned into wailing, fasting, and prayer. According to Scripture, the Jewish people always linked prayer and repentance with fasting.
  • Sackcloth, made from grain bags, was scratchy and could cut the skin. It served as an act of penance and pleading with the Lord. Ashes, worn on the head or sat in, were a sign of self-humiliation and deep sorrow, often over a national disaster. See Joel 2:12 and 17 to summarize this Biblical purpose for fasting, weeping, and penance.

Persian Palace Life (Esther 4: 5-12)

  • Esther lived in the plush palace environment, but she may have become secluded from the world around her. She was not aware of Haman’s edict.
  • She tried to send clothes to Mordecai. Only when he refused the clothes did she ask what was wrong? Mordecai gave her the evidence of the edict, but she indicated she could not go to the king as he had not called for her in over 30 days. She could be put to death if he did not reach out.

National Fasting (Esther 4: 13-17)

  • Esther called a day of national fasting.
  • Throughout Old Testament history, fasting meant fervently calling out to God with a heart of repentance, sorrow, submission, and supplication to seek his help, protection, provision, and forgiveness. For example, refer to Judges 20, Deuteronomy 9, Joel 1-2, 1 Samuel, and Jonah 3.
  • Every year, according to Leviticus 23, all of Israel fasted on the Day of Atonement, and a scapegoat would be driven into the desert to represent the people’s sins (a foreshadowing of what Christ would do on the cross for us). As they prayed, repented, and humbled themselves, their sins would be taken from God’s sight on the scapegoat.
  • See Esther 13 and 14 for examples of how to intercede/pray for a nation from Esther and Mordecai’s prayers (e.g., praising God’s goodness, repenting for your sins and the sins of your nation, pouring out your heart to God, asking for God’s intervention).

Planning a Fast

  • Fasting is about aligning ourselves with God—drawing close to Him, worshiping Him, hearing from Him, repenting (turning), and changing our ways.
  • Fasting requires planning for most of us, but most importantly, it involves replacing our time spent focused on food and “busyness” with prayer and seeking the Lord.
  • A fast, drinking only water or juice, can last for a meal, a full day, or more. Fasting can also involve refraining from certain foods (see Daniel 10: 2-3). or refraining from distractions like media or television, internet usage, shopping for a certain amount of time, etc.).
  • For the plan, you may want to take five steps: (1) write down your objective, (2) decide how you will fast, (3) schedule time in adoration & personal prayer, (4) read God’s Word & ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you (e.g., John 14 and 15), and (5) believe that God will answer with discernment, direction, and/or a miracle.
  • In Esther’s case, an extreme response would be required for her to safely go to the King, so she called for an extreme fast— three days of abstaining from food and water for the entire nation!

Personal Reflection

Today, our story teaches us:

  • At first, Esther was unaware that God had a mission for her—God planned to use her powerfully. With Mordecai’s help and God’s providence, she discerned her mission but was initially afraid and denied it.
  • Esther needed fellow pray-ers. She asked her entire Jewish nation to pray, fast, repent, and seek God’s intervention. Only after three days of prayer and fasting did she find the grace and strength to proceed in her mission- to be used by God to save the Jewish People.

Application

  1. What is God’s mission for you at your place and time? The Lord Jesus has a mission for you. Ask Him in prayer. Often, it involves bringing God’s love and testimony to those around you. But sometimes, it may be more than you ever thought possible.
  2. Finally, you can pray with St.  John Henry Newman’s Prayer I Have a Place. Start with praying these few sentences:  “I have a place in God’s counsels, in God’s world, which no one else has; whether I be rich or poor, despised or esteemed by man, God knows me and calls me by my name. God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me, which He has not committed to another. I have my mission…” The rest is in a free bookmark on my website WrapyourselfinJOY.com.

Links

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

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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.

5 Ways to Prepare for Prayer

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

It’s Good to Prepare for Prayer

Sometimes, prayer becomes difficult because we can’t decide what to do, when to pray, or where is the best place—so many questions when all we want to do is sit down and focus on the Lord for a bit. As I listened and talked with people, I realized that often, what is lacking is a concrete plan to make prayer happen. I pulled a few of my favorite ways to be ready when it is time to pray.

5 Ideas for You

  1. Decide ahead of time what type of prayer you will pray. There are many options, and it can be overwhelming. Choosing in advance means one less thing to think about. You might even make up a weekly schedule of different types of prayer each day.
  2. Put together your prayer tools. If you are using a Bible, journal, pen, or pencil, put it in a bag or basket. If you are reading a book or praying a specific novena – whatever it is, leave it out or near your prayer space. Which brings me to
  3. be consistent in your place and time of prayer. At times, we may go elsewhere to pray in Adoration or outdoors, but where is your usual place? What is your usual time? Pro tip: pick a time when you are not sleepy. If it helps, schedule it in your calendar.
  4. Keep it simple. Focus on God and quiet, not the externals of candles, special lighting, incense, music. The more that has to be set up, the less time for actual prayer!
  5. If you are distracted in prayer, before settling down to pray, make a list of what is going on in your mind. Then, when prayer time is over, it will still be there. And solutions may come to you during prayer for some problems.

Bonus

I believe quiet and silence are non-negotiables in prayer. No matter how, when, or where, I encourage you to spend time looking at God and allowing him to look at you. Silence gives God room to make himself known. He comes to us in stillness, not noise.

I’d love to come speak to your group or parish. You can look here for previous talks but know that I love to craft new talks specific to your needs.

 

Testimony of Deacon Kevin Helfers

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Deacon Kevin Helfers | Deacon Kevin Helfers was ordained in the Diocese of San Diego in June of 2018 as a permanent deacon in the Catholic Church. He has been married to his wife Yvette for 31 years and together they have six children and four grandchildren | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #ComeFollowMe #TestimonyofDeaconKevinHelfers #DeaconKevinHelfersTestimony of Deacon Kevin Helfers

Deacon Kevin Helfers was ordained in the Diocese of San Diego in June of 2018 as a permanent deacon in the Catholic Church. He has been married to his wife Yvette for 31 years and together they have six children and four grandchildren. Kevin and Yvette have been active in Cursillo for 30 years and have been active in youth ministry, RCIA, bible studies and other charismatic prayer groups. Kevin was raised Baptist and attended various other Christian churches. Yvette was a cradle Catholic and as they became parents, they knew it was necessary to find common ground to raise their children.

Reluctantly, Kevin entered RCIA not convinced this would end well. But God had other plans and revealed them in part through a vision and ignited an excitement for serving God’s People that ultimately led him to be open to the diaconate. As a Deacon Kevin has been growing in his spiritual gifts and learning to be guided by the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Just this last year after completing the Encounter School of Ministry program he has begun to teach and encourage others what Jesus meant in John 14:12 when he told his disciples “Whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father”.  Deacon Kevin shares his excitement and inspirational story of the Holy Spirit working in his life.

This testimony was given to the North County San Diego Magnificat Chapter in February, 2024.

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.

Powerlessness

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Powerlessness | The common denominator throughout almost every experience that causes us suffering is that of powerlessness.  As people, we have limited ability to affect change in situations that are difficult for us or for those we care about | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #ValuingGod #PowerlessnessPowerlessness

The common denominator throughout almost every experience that causes us suffering is that of powerlessness.  As people, we have limited ability to affect change in situations that are difficult for us or for those we care about. This in no way diminishes our fundamental value; it simply part of the human condition. We come into the world almost totally powerless.  As we grow and develop and gain power, we have to learn to navigate our abilities without running over others, literally and metaphorically. Even though our ability to cause change increases as time goes by, we still have limitations.  These limitations can at times mean inconvenience for us and at other times they may lead to great suffering.  Regardless of our age, we always have a limit to our power.

What we do with our powerlessness greatly affects our spiritual life, peace, and joy. If we meet times when we don’t have power with pride, our self-reliant response will fail. Our failure leads to shame and shame leads to a desire to hide. When we hide, the isolation can lead to disconnection and deeper suffering. We don’t have to look very far to see this pattern in people of all ages when faced with challenging situations. There is a better response.  We can choose to accept the fact of our helplessness and meet the difficulty with gratitude that all will be used by God as gift for us, no matter how painful it may seem at the time. When we choose this way of interpreting a difficult situation, our faith and hope in God transforms the very same situation. Even though from the outside it may seem that nothing has changed, our ability to stay aware of the truth that God is with us and for us can help us to remain at peace.

St. Francis of Assisi had a particular devotion to Jesus’ incarnation, his suffering and death on the cross, and the Eucharist. He was awestruck by the humility of the omnipotent God who chose to make himself powerless to stoop down to us and raise us up to him. In doing so, Jesus gave us these three profound examples of how to embrace our own powerlessness. When we have times when we are painfully out of control, we can take consolation in the fact that the Lord understands our experience and we can trust that he is present to us through them. They can be occasions for intimacy with him if we choose to endure them with him. There is something about accepting and even embracing our powerlessness that prevents us from complicating already difficult situations.  Walking through the trouble with Jesus enables us to reject the temptation to put inordinate pressure on ourselves (or others) to fix things that are beyond our control. Once we’ve done all the Lord has asked of us, we lay the experience at his feet with hope, not for a particular outcome, but hope in him and his goodness that will use the trial for our good.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. What emotions arise in you when you think of Jesus choosing to embrace powerlessness as a baby, at his death, and in the Eucharist?
  2. What emotions arise in you when you think of being powerless?
  3. What do you think about the idea of embracing your powerlessness as imitation of the Lord?
  4. Do you think it would affect your experiences of suffering to consider them as occasions for intimacy with the Lord, as a sharing in his powerlessness and an imitation of him?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, we thank you for the immensity of your omnipotence and the exceeding humility with which you laid your majesty aside for our sake, to embrace the incarnation, your suffering, and to remain with us in the Holy Eucharist. Thank you for showing us how deeply you desire intimacy with us and for leaving us examples of how to embrace the powerlessness of our humanity. Help us to remember that you are with us always in the Blessed Sacrament. We pray all this in your holy name. Amen.

Action Step

Find a time our Lord set aside his omnipotence for our sake and place a reminder of it, either as a scripture quote, an image, a song, etc., somewhere you will see it throughout the week.

Journaling/Reflection

Ask the Lord to show you what you most fear about your own powerlessness and invite his perfect love into that place of fear.

Scriptures for Meditation

Mark 10:45

Luke 1:26-38

John 13:3-72

Corinthians 8:9

Philippians 2:5-11

Hebrews 4:15

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

The Sacrament of Baptism

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

The Sacrament of Baptism | On this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, explains the Sacrament of Baptism in four parts. First, James explains what it meant when Jesus declared himself "the living water | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #TheSacramentofBaptismEpisode 8 – The Sacrament of Baptism

On this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, explains the Sacrament of Baptism in four parts. First, James explains what it meant when Jesus declared himself “the living water.” “Whoever believes in me, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:38). Second, the necessity of Baptism, how Baptism was used in the early church, and what the Sacrament of Baptism does for the individual.

Jesus’ body is the true temple of God and was foreshadowed by the prophet Ezekiel. “I saw water flowing out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east. The water flowed out toward the right side of the temple to the south of the altar. (Ezekiel 47:1) James relays more biblical examples that identify Jesus as the life-giving water to eternal life.

In his crucifixion on the cross, Jesus gives his bride the Holy Spirit—the “living” water that flows from his pierced side. This living water is the marital bath that cleanses Jesus’ bride from sin so she can be wedded to Christ through the sacrament of Baptism. James also describes additional “water” symbolism that explains how we are reborn by Baptism. Jesus answered, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. (John 3:5). James also highlights the necessity of Baptism and how this sacrament forgives sins, demonstrates obedience to what Jesus commands for entrance into Christ’s church, and other examples of what God’s mercy and Baptism do for souls.

This is the 8th 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.

Esther for This Time #4 – Unwavering Resolve & the First Edict

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Unwavering Resolve & the First Edict

Esther for This Time #4

Esther 3: 8 Painting: “Haman Convinces Ahasuerus” by Masters, 1420 AD

Do you ever have unwavering resolve? In relationships, we use compromise for cooperation and keeping the peace. Nonetheless, we must stand firm, determined, and unshakable in some situations.  Join us today as Esther reveals the importance of unwavering resolve in difficult times.

Persia, 474 BC – Five Years After Esther’s Banquet

Welcome to Esther & Turnaround Joy Episode #4: Unwavering Resolve & the First Edict, where we encounter Esther and Mordecai five years after King Ahasuerus sponsored the beauty contest, crowned Esther as queen and celebrated with Esther’s banquet.

Next, we watch as the providential hand of God becomes more evident. We will see why God put Esther in a position of influence—even before the Jewish people faced the possibility of annihilation.  It’s 474 BC, and we join Mordecai as he stands near the palace gate and overhears a plot to kill the king. We cover these points:

Mordecai at the Palace Gate & Assassination Plot Foiled (Esther 2: 19-23)

  • Mordecai is “sitting at the gate” checking on Esther and likely working in a government position.
  • Mordecai told Esther not to reveal her nationality.
  • While at the gate, Mordecai overheard a plot to kill King Ahasuerus and reported it to Esther, who told the king. He hanged the would-be assassins Bigthan and Teresh.
  • Acts of loyalty like Mordecai’s were officially recorded so the king could reward the hero.

Mordecai is Resolute (Esther 3: 1-6)

  • Mordecai stood firm with unwavering resolve, which means firm, determined, not shakable, and displaying unwavering loyalty. (Vocabulary.com dictionary).
  • Therefore, he refused to bow down to Haman because God had commanded the Jewish people not to bow in adoration to anyone (e.g., Exodus 20: 3-6).
  • Haman was the king’s top advisor and “an enemy of the Jews” (Esther 3:10).
  • Haman was an Agagite, a descendent of King Agag of the Amalekites, who was of a fierce nomadic tribe that made their living by raiding settlements, killing the men, women, and children, and then taking their possessions. They had a “blood feud” with Israel, which demanded total extermination of the Israelites (see Exodus 17 and Deuteronomy 25).

The Pur, the Plan, and the Drink (Esther 3: 7-15 & Esther 13)

The Pur

  • Mordecai stood firm in his faith and obedience to God’s law and would not bow to Haman.
  • Infuriated Haman in April 374 BC cast the purpurim is the plural form.
  • The Purim were similar to our dice and were thrown to help make decisions and choose dates.
  • Esther 3:7 indicates the pur fell on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Aadar, March 7, 374 BC, for destroying all Jews.

The Plan

  • Haman offered the king 10,000 talents or about 375 tons of silver, which of course he hoped to acquire by killing Jewish families and plundering their homes.
  • King Ahasuerus gave Haman his signet ring, his signature used to stamp the wax on an official letter from the king.
  • Haman summoned the scribes to draft the edict on the day before Passover- April 17th, 474 BC (Esther 3:12).
  • The announcement was sent out to the 127 provinces of the Persian Empire on Passover—the day Jewish families annually commemorated God delivering them from slavery (see Exodus 12). The date was chosen to dishearten and terrorize the Jewish people.
  • The Passover celebration with family and friends quickly became a day of confusion and weeping. How ironic! The day of the announcement would fall on a commemoration of God’s deliverance. Could God again deliver them from destruction? It would be only God who could!

The Drink

  • To Haman and the king, it was just another day to celebrate their power, so they had a drink.
  • Haman’s heart was hardened with generational hatred, so he rejoiced in the genocide of the Jews.
  • Hebrews 4: 13 reminds us: “before him [God] no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account.”
  • Little did Haman know that the God of heaven was in control.

Personal Reflection: Unwavering Resolve

  • We witnessed a good example of unwavering resolve with Mordecai. He showed us there are times for unwavering resolve when we must follow God no matter the cost.  We cannot deny God’s commandments ever.
  • Mordecai refused to bow in worship to anyone other than the God of heaven and earth. He followed Exodus 20, “You shall have no other gods beside Me…You shall not bow down to them…”
  • Psalm 119: 2-4 reminds us: “Happy [blessed and joyful] are all who search for God and always do his will, rejecting compromise with evil and walking only in his paths. You [O God] have given us your laws to obey.
  • Unwavering resolve and devotion to God may be met with persecution. However, I can stay strong in the Lord and keep his commandments. 1 Corinthians 16: 13-14 says: Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.
  • Ask God, ”Where do you want me to have unwavering resolve?” Henceforth, ask God for help to be resolute. He will give it to you.

Links

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!

Testimony of Fr. Kyle Gorenski

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Fr. Kyle Gorenski | Fr. Kyle Gorenski was raised in a Catholic home in Rhode Island. His mother was devout, and she was involved in many ministries in the Church, his father was a Sunday Catholic | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #ComeFollowMe #TestimonyofFr.KyleGorenski #Fr.KyleGorenskiTestimony of Fr. Kyle Gorenski

Fr. Kyle Gorenski was raised in a Catholic home in Rhode Island. His mother was devout, and she was involved in many ministries in the Church, his father was a Sunday Catholic. He was the 2nd sibling of four brothers. High School was a struggle for Kyle as he had several learning disabilities. He contemplated becoming a priest but found out that it required much more schooling, so he put the thought aside. Kyle chose not to go to college and enlisted in the Army. He had three tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. His self-image improved and he learned not to give up. After two tours, he came home and got a job as a State Highway Patrolman. He enjoyed the job but felt something was missing.  Kyle entered the Seminary in Rhode Island, but his grade point was low, and was asked to leave. He pursued his quest to become a priest and applied to many dioceses in New England. The Diocese of Albany, NY, accepted Kyle and he was able to complete his studies despite his low academic prowess, thanks to a parish priest who believed in his calling to the priesthood.

This testimony was given to the Vancouver Magnificat Chapter in June, 2022.

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

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Knowing Myself

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Knowing Myself | What is the truth of who we are as God sees us? In creating us he made us in his own image and likeness and called us very good | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #ValuingGod #Suffering #KnowingMyselfKnowing Myself

What is the truth of who we are as God sees us? In creating us he made us in his own image and likeness and called us very good. (Genesis 1:31) He called us his own and bound himself in covenant with us. He has a plan for our good. He sent his only Son to reveal the depths of his love and mercy to us and to adopt us as his children. He has every hair of our head counted. (Luke 12:7) He gives himself to us intimately through the Eucharist and runs to embrace us as soon as we turn to make our way back to him after we fall.

In being a missionary of God’s love to ourselves, it’s necessary to know something about ourselves. It’s important to take time to get to know what we need in order to be at our best. When we grow in knowledge of our strengths and weaknesses and learn what motivates us, we are able to understand ourselves as the gift God made. This self-knowledge gives us an insight into the needs of others, as well. Coming to understand ourselves better doesn’t mean that we will necessarily look to the fulfillment of our selfish desires; rather we are more equipped to stay along the narrow way to the Lord. It really is like taking a step back and considering our soul as a little child. With greater understanding of who we are as individuals, we can have better patience, wisdom, and counsel for ourselves. This is self-talk at its best.

Without true self-knowledge, we inevitably end up desperate to be known by others. While we are made for community with our brothers and sisters, it is meant to be from a place of health, reciprocity and freedom, not a place of anxious need. Sadly, if we are frantic to be known by others, we devalue ourselves, disregard the healthy boundaries we need, risk crossing others’ limits, and end up relating to them as a means to an end, without being present to the gift they are. Happily, when we start from a place of being filled by the Lord’s knowledge of us and taking on his mindset about ourselves, we start from a place of fullness rather than starvation. This is how we can foster peace in our lives and in our relationships and drastically reduce unnecessary complications, pain and even trauma.

Using how God sees us as the gold standard of truth makes us fearless in self-examination. It’s amazing how powerful this can be – like an inoculation against comparison, judgment and rejection, even of ourselves. A quote I mentioned before is “God sees sin as pain in us”1 from Blessed Julian of Norwich. When we look at ourselves with God’s eyes, we don’t hide in shame and can get back on the right track much more quickly when we stumble. Even our sin, as God sees it, is an occasion for compassion. We don’t have to worry that forgiving ourselves for sin or weakness will lead to complacency if we remain open to the Lord.  The compassion of God is always oriented to making us more like him.

May the Lord give you peace.

Margaret

God’s Grace

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

God’s Grace | On this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, explains how grace heals us, how Martin Luther was in error in explaining grace, how Jesus established His church as the instrument in which his grace comes to us, the importance of good works and how the sacraments lead to have grace and live the Christian life | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #God’sGraceEpisode 7 – God’s Grace

On this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, explains how grace heals us, how Martin Luther was in error in explaining grace, how Jesus established His church as the instrument in which his grace comes to us, the importance of good works and how the sacraments lead to have grace and live the Christian life.

Sin and death came to the world through Adam and led to condemnation for all men; one man’s act of righteousness — Jesus’ life, passion, death, and resurrection led to the acquittal of sin, grace, and life.

Christians have always believed in the redemptive power of Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection. In the 16th century, however, Martin Luther promoted a flawed understanding of what God’s grace does for us and how we must respond. Luther confused the tendency to sin (temptation) with actual sin. Luther taught human nature was essentially corrupt even after receiving the grace of redemption; thus, good works that please God were impossible. This distortion makes Adam’s sin more potent than the merits of Jesus Christ. Luther also taught salvation by faith alone and that the Bible is the only authority—not the church. James discusses how this belief is not historical or biblical and how the flaws and problems that developed with the perpetuation of this false belief caused a severe fracture between Christians. James also details the role and importance of good works, how we receive grace through good works, and how they constitute the Christian life.

This is the 7th 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.

Esther for This Time #3 – The Spa & A New Queen

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Esther for This Time #3: The Spa & the New Queen

Esther Bedecked by Aert de Gerder, 1684; The Painting shows Esther about to be crowned & bedecked in an ermine-edged coat

The Spa & A New Queen

Are you seeking attractiveness and favor with others?  On the way to becoming queen, Esther offers us an example of attractiveness, God’s way. Join us today at the Spa, circa 479 BC, and hear how the attractiveness of heart wins friends and favor and witness the providence of God unfold.

Persia, 479 BC

  • Four years have passed between Chapters One and Two of Esther (see Esther 1:3 and 2: 16). According to Greek historian Herodotus, during that time, King Ahasuerus suffered a great military defeat by the Greeks and returned home to consume himself with overindulgence and sensuality.
  • He also missed the lasting relationship with his beautiful wife, Queen Vashti, whom he dethroned at his last party. The king’s advisors suggest a beauty contest with exotic spa treatments to help find a new queen. So today we are off to the spa to witness a new queen’s crowning.

Mordecai Brings Up Esther (Esther 2: 1-8)

  • Mordecai was introduced as a Jew in the family line of Kish (King Saul’s family) of the tribe of Benjamin. (Calling him a Jew repeatedly suggests that he was somehow still a foreigner and not completely accepted into secular Persia.) A person’s family line shows his status in Jewish lineage. When the Scriptures mention Nebuchadnezzar carried away Kish, the verses refer to the Babylonian captivity, with a second forced removal involving King Jeconiah of Judah in 597 BC. Likely, Mordecai’s grandfather and family members were among those taken captive in 597 BC.
  • Mordecai was born in Susa of Persia after the defeat of the Babylonian Empire. He and his family had chosen not to return to Jerusalem when Cyrus the Great allowed the Jews to return home beginning in 539 BC.
  • Esther was introduced as Mordecai’s younger cousin (Esther 2:7) whom he raised because she had been orphaned. Likely, her parents died when she was young. So it would have been Mordecai who taught her the Hebrew Scriptures and the Jewish faith

Esther & The Spa Treatments (Esther 2: 9-12)

  • The beauty contest was not the usual Persian way to select a queen. Normally, kings took their wives from the families of the Persian nobles, which is probably how King Ahasuerus crowned Vashti. However, a self-indulgent and powerful king could choose any woman he wanted for a wife.
  • In Susa, Esther was given seven servants plus food, probably laden with oils to fatten her up and help her display the Persian ideal of beauty. The women were given oil baths of delicious-smelling flowers and herbs to soften the skin and add a fragrant aroma.
  • At Susa, Divine Providence – God unfolding his purposes – becomes more visible to the spiritual eye, as we notice Esther found favor with Hegai.

Esther is Crowned Queen (Esther 2: 12 -18)

  • After twelve months of beauty treatments, it was Esther’s turn to come before the king.
  • Esther pleased the king, even though we do not know the details or how this happened in one evening. Obviously, the king saw her inner and outer beauty—the first woman that pleased him since Vashti. It was Divine Providence behind the scenes that surely turned the king’s heart toward Esther, even if she was only cooperating with circumstances that were beyond her control.

Esther’s Banquet

  • When King Ahasuerus crowned Esther as his Queen, he. gave another party, calling it Esther’s Banquet. This celebration included both men and women, generous gifts, and even tax relief.

Personal Reflection

Today, our story teaches us:

  • The Lord can turn the heart of a leader. We can trust and pray that He does in our times as well.
  • God is at work even though we don’t see him right away. We can pray to see God active in the scenes of our lives, for he is surely there at work.
  • Ultimately it is God who turns the heart of the king. He gave Esther favor, and her inner beauty seemed to capture the king’s favor and love.

Personal Application & God’s Attractiveness Plan

  • Read Proverbs 31: 30 and 1 Peter 3: 3 to summarize God’s beauty plan.
  • Proverbs 31: 30. Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting, but a woman who fears [worships, honors, and respects] the Lord is to be praised. (GNT)    Obviously, with age, beauty fades, but to worship, honor and respect God creates a lasting attractiveness that appeals to others too.  God blesses all of our attempts to honor Him. So how is your attractiveness quotient when you consider spending time daily to worship and honor God is an important part of any beauty plan?
  • 1 Peter 3:3-4. Don’t depend on things like fancy hairdos or gold jewelry or expensive clothes [outward adorning] to make you look beautiful. 4Be beautiful in your heart by being gentle and quiet [with a calm temper and contented mind]. This kind of beauty will last, and God considers it very special [precious in His sight]. (GNT)  It’s not that God objects to putting our best foot forward, so to speak, or trying to look our best at any age, but His Word suggests an attractiveness plan.
  • Does your attractiveness plan include a gentle, quiet spirit with a calm temper and contented mind or demeanor? Ask the Holy  Spirit to help you. Ephesians 5:  22 says, the fruit of the Holy Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, and more in our lives. 

Links

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!

Suffering

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Suffering | There are times in all our lives when we go through trials: illness, rejection, abuse, death of a loved one, or loss of a dream, just to name a few. When such things happen, it can be difficult to stay rooted in the truth of God’s connection to us | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #ValuingGod #SufferingSuffering

There are times in all our lives when we go through trials: illness, rejection, abuse, death of a loved one, or loss of a dream, just to name a few. When such things happen, it can be difficult to stay rooted in the truth of God’s connection to us. Even if we’ve had mountaintop experiences of God’s love, sufferings such as these can cause us to feel isolated, disconnected, or abandoned, even from our all-loving creator.

Let’s take a look at the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary when the archangel Gabriel appeared to her. He greeted her as “favored one” (Luke 1:28). He went on to promise that the son she would conceive would rule with greatness over an everlasting kingdom. Yet, she is the Mother of Sorrows. She went on to be told, by Simeon, that a sword of sorrow would pierce her heart. She had to flee to Egypt to protect her newborn baby, watched him be contradicted continually throughout his life, deserted by his closest friends, mocked and mercilessly tortured, and subjected to a shameful death without seeing the fulfillment of those promises. It was not because God didn’t see who she was or value her. Remember, she is highly favored. We see the greatest example in Jesus himself, whom the Father called his beloved Son, and yet the cup of abuse and death was not taken away from him.

These cases show us that God has a much bigger big picture than ours. He is outside of time and sees all eternity. When suffering comes, it is not a result of not being loved and valued by the Lord. He will work all things to our good, even if it does not happen in this life. We’re used to watching sports or playing games – whoever has the most points at the end is victorious. In this life, we don’t see the scoreboard. Only after death will we know fully how God, who will not be outdone in generosity, will repay all we have to endure.

When Jesus was betrayed, Peter was so terrified of physical suffering he three times denied knowing him. Even so, only days after the Lord’s resurrection the Acts of the Apostles presents us with a bold and courageous Peter proclaiming the truth regardless of threat and persecution. He even rejoiced when he was physically abused for the sake of preaching about Jesus. Peter finally learned through the Lord’s resurrection what Jesus had told him all along; His kingdom is not of this world. When we remember the same fact, we are able to keep our view on eternity rather than seeking our reward in this life.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. Recall a time of suffering or trial in your life. Did you question God’s love, value, or protection of you? Why or why not?
  2. What, if anything, have you found helpful to remind yourself of God’s love and to connect to him during painful times?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, we know you suffered and left us an example of faith in our Father’s love. Please grant us the grace to follow you. Remind us of the Father’s constant love for us, even in the most difficult times. In your holy name we pray. Amen.

Action Step

Consider what it is you are most caused to doubt about God during times of suffering. Write a letter to yourself reminding yourself of God’s love that you can read when difficulties come your way.

Journaling/Further Reflection

Consider your answer from number two in the discussion questions. Ask the Lord what he wants you to know about that and note what he brings to mind.

Scriptures for Meditation

Sirach 2

Wisdom 3:1-9

Luke 2:34-35

Romans 11:33-36

Hebrews 4:14-16

Even amid your sufferings, may the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

Testimony of Mildred Moy

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Mildred Moy | Mildred Moy was born in Hong Kong. She was the youngest of four girls. She was a very shy child. She was born and raised Catholic and received a Catholic education through High School | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #ComeFollowMe #TestimonyofMildredMoy #MildredMoyTestimony of Mildred Moy

Mildred Moy was born in Hong Kong. She was the youngest of four girls. She was a very shy child. She was born and raised Catholic and received a Catholic education through High School. Her mother fostered in her a close relationship with the Virgin Mary. Her mother told her that the Blessed Mother never fails to console her when she is sad, and Jesus loves us, and we can trust him in everything. Mildred moved to Vancouver, Canada when she was 17 and attended college. She graduated with a degree in Computer Science and Business Administration. Mildred wanted to prove to the world that a female could succeed in business and technology. She did very well in the business world and received a special achievement award from a Fortune 500 company with stock options. She had everything the secular could dream of; the sports car, brand named clothes, the affluent social life, a great career and lucrative salary. but her spiritual life languished only attending Mass out of duty. Mildred was faced with challenging decisions to live her life for Christ or in the secular world. She lived in deep darkness.

Mildred’s life changed when she went on a street ministry retreat. She began to desire a deeper walk with Christ, and she also attended a Life in the Spirit Seminar. She wanted to do full-time ministry work. She went to China to check out volunteer opportunities in an orphanage and she returned to Vancouver to quit her job and began her work in street ministry eventually opening Mary’s Street Ministry catering to the emotional, homeless, drug addicted and prayerful needs of women. She has seen many miracles of the Holy Spirit moving powerfully in the lives of the street people. Mildred discovered that only when we are living and giving to others are we truly alive.

This testimony was given to the Vancouver Magnificat Chapter in October, 2022.

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 :

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Jesus Comes to Save Us

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Jesus Comes to Save Us | The name 'Jesus' means 'God saves,' and 'Christ' means the 'Messiah' or 'Anointed Savior' who fulfills all the prophecies of the Old Testament | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #GodEstablishesHisKingdom #JesusComestoSaveUsEpisode 6 – Jesus Comes to Save Us

The name ‘Jesus’ means ‘God saves,’ and ‘Christ’ means the ‘Messiah’ or ‘Anointed Savior’ who fulfills all the prophecies of the Old Testament. In this episode, James explains how, in each Gospel, Jesus is introduced as the Divine Word became flesh to bring about a new creation so humans could become children of God, highlighting moments in Jesus’ life that demonstrate his mission and message from the Sermon on the Mount to Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection.

Jesus’ mission begins with a call to repentance — turning away from sin and embracing self-sacrificing love. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus, speaking with Divine authority, teaches how to think and value correctly and do the will of God. James takes us step-by-step through highlights in Jesus’ teachings.

Before Jesus begins his passion, he tells the apostles, “I give you a new commandment,” says the Lord. “Love one another as I have loved you. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34-35). With his death, Jesus also gives the gift of his mother (John 19:26-27), and his identity is revealed to the world, “When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54). Jesus’ love, passion, and resurrection conquer sin, allowing us the opportunity and a pathway to eternal life.

This is the 6th 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.

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.

Esther for This Time # 2 – The Queen, the Refusal & the Bad Advice

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
The Queen, the Refusal & the Bad Advice

Vashti Dethroned

Queen Esther ~Refusal of Bad Advice

What can you learn from Queen Esther? Do you need more wisdom and less bad advice in your life?  Today, we will encounter the outrageous King Ahasuerus, who regrets the outcome of his bad decision based on bad advice! Join us as we discuss the true wisdom from God that does not disappoint.

The Party (Esther 1: 1-8)

Welcome to Esther for This Time: Prayer, Reversals & JOY Episode #2 based on my book Esther For Such a Time As This: Prayer, Reversals and JOY.  The Book of Esther in the Old Testament was written so that even 2500 years later, we can still relate it to our culture. We can learn so much from Queen Esther.

Today, we continue in Esther Chapter 1 with our introduction to the pompous and extravagant King Ahasuerus and the opulent six-month party he threw in the capital city of Susa (modern-day Iran) in the third year of his reign. Ancient historians suggest over 15,000 men came to the party, which lasted 187 days. Amid the grand party, the king received and followed bad advice. In the podcast today, we will cover these points.

Vashti’s Refusal (Esther 1: 9-12)

  • Queen Vashti was throwing a grand party herself for the wives of governors, nobles, and officials who came to the king’s celebration when the king called her to appear before an unruly, intoxicated horde of men to show off her beauty.
  • She refused to come for reasons we might guess.
  • When she refused, she did not expect the king’s boiling rage!

The Bad Advice to the King (Esther 1: 13-21)

  • King Ahasuerus’ wise men, led by their spokesman Memucan, advised the king to dethrone and remove Vashti forever. Guided by his wounded pride, with no respect for his wife, the king followed this bad advice and dethroned Vashti.
  • The Scriptures teach women to honor and respect their husbands and men to love their wives (Ephesians 5: 25, 3). But the king was a pagan consumed with pride and self-indulgence who did not know God’s commands or God’s ways.
  • Greek Historian Herodotus records that King Ahasuerus won a great battle after this feast but later suffered a terrible loss to the Greeks during the four years that occurred between Esther Chapters One and Two.
  • The King returned home from battle and likely consumed himself with even more indulgence and sensuality, only to find he missed a lasting relationship with his lovely wife.

Personal Reflection

Where do you need wisdom today? Our historical story teaches us

  1. Be cautious when taking counsel from worldly advisors who stroke your ego or are motivated by a desire for power.
  2. Be courageous and maintain your integrity in difficult situations.
  3. Anger and violence do not demonstrate strength in a husband or a leader.

Application

  1. Read Proverbs 3: 5-7, James 1: 5, and Proverbs 3:17.
  2. These verses instruct us to ask God for wisdom, who promises to give it generously and ungrudgingly.
  3. So, ask God to lead YOU and clear the road for YOU to follow.

Links

 

Openness & Self-emptying

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Lent – it’s not only about you

“Where is your brother?” is the second question Pope Francis asks in his Lenten message for 2024.

The first is, “where are you?” which I talked about in the previous episode, Where are You?

In the book of Exodus, God reaches out to the Israelites. They are so downtrodden that they are unable to even call out to God for help. But God cares for them. And cares for each of us.

3 Pillars of Lent

Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are not meant to be three separate acts. One leads to the other, pulling together the three leads us to learn how to detach from created things of this world that separate us from God.

The three together, as Pope Francis says, create an openness and self-emptying that rids us of attachments.

Then, we are able to better care for those around us.

Our attitude has an effect on others.

 

Connect with me here!

 

Come Follow Me

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Come Follow Me | Fr. Tom Sparacino reads from the Gospel of Matthew 11:28 ‘Come to me all you who labor and are burdened. And I will give you rest, take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy and my burden light. | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #ComeFollowMe #Fr.TomSparacino #ThoughtsandPonderingsCome Follow Me

Fr. Tom Sparacino reads from the Gospel of Matthew 11:28 ‘Come to me all you who labor and are burdened. And I will give you rest, take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy and my burden light.’

The Lord calls us. He has called us from the moment of our baptism. He’s called us into these new waters to come to come and be with us. Come and be filled.   Come and be strengthened. Come and have hope and how powerful a thought, all we need to simply do is to go, he says. Come and we go. The question is, do we go? Do we realize that our lives are not an option? That it’s a demand really of the Lord when he says, “Come, follow me.” It is a matter of life and death, heaven and hell, salvation, and damnation. When we feel that we are burdened, we need to come after him and he will make us disciples. He will strengthen us to live in his presence. We must try to form a habit, of always walking in his presence. We must live, eat, eat, literally Jesus. Love him with all your being. Then, and only then, will you be able to come and follow him.

Fr. Tom has been a priest of Jesus Christ for the Diocese of Pittsburgh since 1998. He has served as high school chaplain, and co-vocation director and is currently the Rector of St. Paul Seminary and the Director of Pre-ordination Formation. Fr. Tom has been the spiritual advisor to the Magnificat Pittsburgh Chapter since 2010. The Holy Spirit has poured His joy into Fr. Tom, and he gladly pours it out on all of us. His infectious laughter and lightheartedness and like a bright light in a dark world. We know you will be inspired as you listen to this joyful servant of the Lord.

Fr. Tom Sparacino’s teaching was given to the Pittsburgh Magnificat Chapter in August 2021.

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 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.

Embracing God’s Boundaries

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Embracing God’s Boundaries | In our connection to God and fully seeking to respond to his love for us, we now come to the concept of embracing the boundaries he sets for us | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #ValuingGod #EmbracingGod’sBoundariesEmbracing God’s Boundaries

In our connection to God and fully seeking to respond to his love for us, we now come to the concept of embracing the boundaries he sets for us. We’ve discussed morality as God’s protection over us since he is our all-loving creator. The Ten Commandments are the starting point of these boundaries. They lay out for us, in the most foundational way, how to live under the umbrella of God’s protection. He’s not lying in wait for us to break his law so he can zap us. Rather, as the good shepherd, he provides safe pasture, knowing what we need and what truly nourishes us.

And so, we move from the Ten Commandments to the Beatitudes. It would have been too much for these teachings to have come in any other way than by the mouth of Jesus, who made them incarnate for us. He has called us to follow in his footsteps, not just to obey the rules but also to be one with him. He whom we are called to espouse forever in Heaven is our crucified love. In the Gospel of John, Jesus told us:

If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own, but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15: 18 – 20).

Obedience to the law will be empty and confounding, but taking up our crosses and following him will lead to the deepest intimacy. Rules for the sake of rules lead to turning inward. Receiving the boundaries, he sets for us as coming from the heart of our all-loving Father rather than from a place of control leads to boundless life and gratitude.

As a therapist, I have seen others longing or even adamantly determined to obtain an end they cannot see, which would be disastrous. It’s been humbling because I know the Lord has seen me do the same. At times, he’s said no to my petitions, and I’ve taken it as rejection, proof of a lack of love, when in truth, it is quite the opposite. Not only that, but he’d rather risk being misunderstood by me than give me anything other than what is the absolute best for me.

Our Lady of Lourdes told Saint Bernadette Soubirous, “I do not promise you happiness in this world but in the next.”1 We know the Lord has our eternal good in mind for us. Whatever limits he sets or requires of us in this life, or whatever he might ask us to endure is to our ultimate and perpetual good. In her book, Crucified Love, Ilia Delio writes of God’s goodness, “This nature of the good underscores a Trinity of eternal love whose immensity of divine goodness is such that no greater good can be thought.”2 Put simply, if we think something is desirable or a good idea, it is only a shadow of the goodness of God.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. Have you ever taken care of children or a pet and experienced the child or animal seemingly regarding your protection as meanness? Describe the experience from your perspective as the caregiver and consider God acting in this way toward you.
  2. What might be preventing you from seeing that God’s limits for you are in fact his protection?
  3. Do you tend to see God’s law as what he wants from you or what he has for you?
  4. If you look at God’s law as what he wants for you, why do you think that is?

Prayer

“Most high, glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me, Lord, a correct faith, a certain hope, a perfect charity, sense and knowledge, so that I may carry out your holy and true command.”3 – St. Francis of Assisi

Action Step

Consider your life. In what area do you tend to feel God is asking the most from you? Ask him to show you what he has for you in that same area.

Journaling/Further Reflection

Spend some time considering the paradox of a personal cross as a mysterious gift and note what comes to you here.

Scriptures for Meditation

Proverbs 3:5-6

Psalm 16:11

Psalm 119:105

Luke 9:23

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Hebrews 10:36

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

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

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.

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.

Esther for This Time: Prayer, Reversals & JOY – The Backdrop & the Party

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Prayer, Reversals, and JOY

Have you studied the book of Esther? Do You Need Reversals in Your Life? Are you struggling to find faith and courage? Esther will show you how. Join our newest series based on the Book of Esther.  It’s a  wonderful study for Lent.  It is about trusting in God, intercessory prayer, and receiving strength to stand firm amid life’s challenges. It is about gentle leadership, discernment, and how God can give you reversals and joy in situations and relationships. Esther is a book of faith, hope, and joy!

[Don’t forget the Joy podcast series here.]

This is the Time

Welcome to Esther for This Time: Prayer, Reversals & JOY Episode #1, based on my book Esther For Such a Time As This: Prayer, Reversals, and JOY.  When we wonder, “Where is God in our lives or our families or communities,” Esther reminds us that God never abandons us. He is faithful. Now is a good time to start if you have never read or studied Esther. You cannot depend on movies depicting Esther because some are more fictional than historically accurate. You will gain so much more by reading it yourself, as the lessons from Esther are so encouraging. And, of course, there is a JOYFUL ending. Today, we will cover these points:

The Backdrop for Esther (Esther 1: 1-3)

  • The days of Ahasuerus (Esther 1:1) refer to the reign of King Ahasuerus, who historically ruled the world as King of the Persian Empire from 486 to 465 BC. In Greek, his name was Xerxes.
  • The Persians, led by Cyrus the Great, the grandfather of Ahasuerus, had defeated the Babylonian Empire of King Nebuchadnezzar, who had taken the Jewish people captive to Babylon beginning in 605 BC. Cyrus the Great had a relaxed attitude toward the Jewish people and allowed them to return to Jerusalem or move to other places. Some went back to Jerusalem. Some scattered throughout Europe. Some stayed in Persia and learned to fit into its culture. This is where we meet Esther.

The Lavish Party (Esther 1: 4-8)

  • King Ahasuerus resided in Susa, one of the three royal cities in the Persian Empire.
  • He threw the lavish party, mostly to inspire patriotism and show off his wealth and splendor to his military leaders so they would support him for going to war against Greece, as history tells us.
  • An old tradition stated that the rest of the party could drink only as the king drank, but at his party, all were instructed to drink freely. The golden goblets used for serving the wine may very well have been the sacred goblets seized from the Jewish temple in Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 605 BC (see Daniel 1). Now, they were being used in a very unholy way by a very pagan king!

Personal Reflection.

  • King Ahasuerus was trying to make himself a god in power, prestige, and more.
  • He did not know or refused to acknowledge the truth that God loves us dearly but as Proverbs 15:3 points out: “The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good,” or Hebrews 4:13, saying: “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
  • Consider these questions for reflection today:
    • Do you wonder where God is when you see the world focused on self-image, power, and prestige?
    • Do you get discouraged when it appears God is silent about all the evil taking place in the world?
    • When God seems silent, do you turn your attention to the party—that is, to the worldly distractions that draw you away from God, faith, and family?

Prayer Response

  1. Read and pray with Psalm 103: 15-22. Try to memorize the verse that speaks most to you.
  2. Seek God. When you think he is silent as the world parties on, open yourself more to God. Remember that only God, our heavenly Father, Jesus, our Savior, and the Holy Spirit can offer you the true Joy, Peace, Love, and Fulfillment that the world is seeking, as epitomized by King Ahasuerus.
  3. Ask for your needs. When you are lonely, confused, or frustrated, talk to Jesus from your heart.  Ask Him for what you need. Remember Jesus’ words in John 15: 11: As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.   (You may want to listen to my podcast season #1 series, Finding JOY.)

Links

 

 

Where are You as Lent Begins?

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Scripture

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment. Joel 2: 12-13

Ashes

On Ash Wednesday, as ashes are placed on our foreheads, we hear  one of two possible phrases:

“Repent and believe in the Gospel,” or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. ”

Lenten Message

Here is Pope Francis’ Message for Lent 2024

He reminds us during Lent, we go through the desert and God leads us to freedom. However, we need to desire to “open our eyes to reality” to answer the question, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9).

When we know where we are in relation to God, then we will know our sins and what our focus is on during the time in the desert.

 

 

Testimony of Evelyn Garcia

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Evelyn Garcia | Evelyn Garcia is a message of hope to all who know her. She is a fourth-generation native of Orange County, CA. Evelyn is a cradle Catholic and has a large extended family | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #TestimonyofEvelynGarciaTestimony of Evelyn Garcia

Evelyn Garcia is a message of hope to all who know her. She is a fourth-generation native of Orange County, CA. Evelyn is a cradle Catholic and has a large extended family. She got married at the age of 19, and she knew it was a poor decision, so the marriage ended soon after. She was able to get an annulment. The experience challenged and riveted her faith, and she has been a daily communicant ever since. She has had a diverse career, first as a middle school teacher in public schools, and presently, she is the travel coordinator for Dynamic Catholic, which evolved from a long-time friendship with Matthew Kelly. She runs the west coast office at Christ Cathedral in Orange County, CA. Evelyn shares many unbelievable stories of how God showed up and how miracles happened as she traveled on pilgrimages around the globe. Evelyn has deep trust in the Lord and Blessed Mother and is not afraid to ask for what may seem impossible because she knows that all things are possible with God. She can’t wait to meet the Holy Family in heaven.

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.

Valuing God

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Valuing God | In taking up this section on valuing God, something a friend of mine once said to me comes to mind, “God can’t be a priority.” Her point was that he is all; he is the only priority | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #ValuingGodValuing God

In taking up this section on valuing God, something a friend of mine once said to me comes to mind, “God can’t be a priority.” Her point was that he is all; he is the only priority. Consider the passion of our Lord: if Jesus’ commitment to us wasn’t absolute, things could have turned out radically different. He could have abandoned the cross at any point. However, because he is consumed with love for us, there was nothing to evaluate or reconsider. He didn’t need to do a cost/benefit analysis as to whether we would respond well to the love he would show to us and the graces he would merit for us.

Do we value the Lord the same way? If we don’t start from a firm understanding that he knows us and has the big picture of this life, and the next, perfectly in view, then we are likely to have a honey-do list for the Lord. If we don’t realize the depth of his consuming passion for us personally, then we’re likely to default into relating to him out of servile fear. Without realizing that the limits he sets for us are a manifestation of his protection for us, we’ll treat him like a vending machine, dispensing the grace we need to accomplish our plans, since we presume we have to look out for ourselves. We’ll be insulted, angry, and feel rejected and abandoned when his way is not our way.

When we relate to the Lord by valuing him for who he is, not what he does or what he can do for us, we’re able to remain consistent. Though we may struggle with painful emotions at times, our regard doesn’t ebb and flow based on how we evaluate his performance. It’s a stance of submission to his wisdom, but primarily an acceptance of his infinite passion.

Let’s not cheat ourselves out of the greatest romance the world has ever known and the greatest lover for whom we could ever long by focusing on the ‘how’. When we keep our focus on the ‘why’ of letting the all-loving God love us and loving him in return, the details don’t take care of themselves, they are taken care of by him according to his infinite wisdom and in a way that will, one day, blow our minds.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. Do you tend to relate to God with a focus on what you want him to do? What is it you find yourself wanting from him?
  2. Do you consider he has more for you than your limited understanding can figure out or ask? Why or why not?
  3. Do you find it difficult to trust his love for you? Why or why not?

Prayer

Most high and glorious God, lover of our soul, we thank you for who you are and that you are trustworthy. Please help us to receive your love so completely, that we may lose ourselves and thereby find ourselves in your heart. We ask all this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Action Step

Consider making the intentions of Jesus’ Sacred Heart your only intention for this week and consider what his intentions might be.

Journaling/Further Reflection

Ask the Lord to show you if there are any areas of your life where you don’t believe his design and power are capable of accomplishing anything greater than your own hopes. Ask him to show you why this is difficult for you to trust him with and what he wants you to know about it.

Scriptures for Meditation

1 Chronicles 16:34

Psalm 63:1

Psalm 71:8

Psalm 1:6

Habakkuk 3:17-18

John 4:24

The 10 Commandments

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

The 10 Commandments | On this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, discusses the 10 Commandments and how God gave us the 10 Commandments on Mount Sinai as the divine remedy to the slave of sin | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #The10CommandmentsEpisode 4 – The 10 Commandments

On this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, discusses the 10 Commandments and how God gave us the 10 Commandments on Mount Sinai as the divine remedy to the slave of sin. Individuals who look upon the commandments as restrictions to their freedom have bought into the devil’s lie, like Adam and Eve. James explains that the commandments are a gift from God that teaches humanity the fundamental steps to grow in love and holiness. Observing the commandments and leading us closer to God promises a happier life. This fact is clearly stated in Deuteronomy (30:9): “…and the Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all your undertakings, in the fruit of your body, in the fruit of your livestock, and in the fruit of your soil. For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, just as he delighted in prospering your ancestors, when you obey the Lord your God by observing his commandments and decrees that are written in this book of the law because you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”

In an age when humankind has drifted toward self-love, doing what feels right, and justifying living by their own rules, obedience to a higher authority is often frowned upon. James walks listeners through each commandment and explains how God’s laws translate in today’s society. The first three commandments focus on loving God, with commandments four through ten concentrating on loving others and helping one another get to heaven.

This is the 4th 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 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.

Back to Prayer Basics

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

What does the Catechism say about prayer?

Take a look at Part Four, Christian Prayer. In this episode, I refer to #s 2558-2565

“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.”  St. Therese of Lisieux

“Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.”  St. John Damascene

2024 is a Year of Prayer

Some important points from the press conference:

  • We are asked to intensify prayer, renew and rebuild our spiritual practices
  • prayer is nourishment for the Christian life of faith, hope, and charity
  • the Church and people of God are to become a concrete sign of hope
  • let’s get back to basics

Look at your week and focus on a different type of prayer each day:

Sunday: Mass; Monday: silence; Tuesday: petition Wednesday: rosary; Thursday: thanksgiving; Friday: scripture; Saturday: Confession and contrition

Sign up for my newsletter to learn more about prayer!

 

Testimony of Denise Beyer

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Denise Beyer | In 1994, during a time of questioning whether to remain in the Catholic Church, the Lord heard Denise’s cry for truth, she experienced a dramatic encounter of God’s love during Mass that forever changed her life | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #TestimonyofDeniseBeyerTestimony of Denise Beyer

In 1994, during a time of questioning whether to remain in the Catholic Church, the Lord heard Denise’s cry for truth, she experienced a dramatic encounter of God’s love during Mass that forever changed her life.

Denise’s understanding of the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist awakened her spirit as she read the scripture in John Ch. 6.She attended a Life in the Spirit Seminar and learned about the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit and was baptized in the Holy Spirit. Her prayer life deepened after she received the gift of tongues. She went back to Confession after many years of not receiving the sacrament.

Denise began praying the Rosary and attended daily Mass. She prayed that her family would also return to Mass and the sacraments. Denise has been married to Roy for 48 years. They have 4 grown children and 11 grandchildren.

Denise currently serves as a member of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of New Orleans (CCRNO) Core Team for Women’s Retreats and Days of Refreshment as well as on the Steering Committee for the Southern Regional Conference. She has co-hosted Catholic Community Radio’s “Wake Up” show with Jeff Blackwell and Gaby Smith.

Denise has spoken at Days of Renewal, Retreats, Conferences and Magnificat Breakfasts, and Life in the Spirit Seminars throughout southern Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. It is her hope and desire to make the living Presence of Jesus and the fullness of life in the Holy Spirit known to all by proclaiming the Word of God and the richness of our Catholic Faith.

“We have peace with God, through Jesus Christ…because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Rom. 5:1,5

This testimony was given in August of 2018 to the Baton Rouge Magnificat Chapter.

 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 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.

Knowing God

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Knowing God | Knowing God is crucial.  We've already been discussing connection to God and mostly it’s been about who he is and how he is toward us | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGodKnowing God

Knowing God is crucial.  We’ve already been discussing connection to God and mostly it’s been about who he is and how he is toward us. We see he is personal, knows us perfectly, desires for us to experience profound intimacy with him, cherishes us beyond measure, and operates in our best interest, (which is far better than we could ever hope for or imagine).  He protects us and provides for us always and perfectly in the ways necessary to draw us to him.  When we stay within his loving boundaries, we remain in him and under the shelter of his wings. If we move out from under his protection by sin, he immediately takes us back, time and again, when we turn back to him in repentance.

We can miss all this.  We can believe God wants something from us that we really can’t give him. We can live our lives with the burden of assuming he is harsh and demanding and his love must be earned. If we wear the lenses through which we perceive him as distant, we will interpret events as though he is cold and uncaring. There are all sorts of different versions of imperfect lenses, but only the ones of truth help us see him clearly and experience him accurately.

If someone close to us is misunderstood, we might be surprised or maybe even a little defensive of them. That’s because we know them, who they are and their heart, and we readily come to an accurate understanding of their behavior in a given circumstance. We have to begin with an understanding of God as all good and all loving when we consider the circumstances and events of our lives, or we’ll misunderstand who he is. If we don’t start there, we will never be able to understand what he does or allows to happen. We can’t interpret him through the lens of our limited understanding of circumstances, but rather we need to remain trusting of who he has revealed himself to be when times are difficult.

Inevitably, life has times of trial and challenge. Sadly, we can be so fearful of displeasing God we can sometimes rush to a conclusion without starting from a right understanding of who he is. We can feel so lonely, isolated, and forgotten.  We might put inordinate pressure on ourselves to earn his love, when the truth is he is madly in love with us. Our lenses, like the lenses of a pair of binoculars, can be adjusted. As we grow closer to him, the focus continues to become clearer. He is infinitely loving and good, so there is always room for greater clarity in our vision of him. This clarity is gained as it is in all relationships, by spending time together in open communication. It is not enough to know about him. We must seek to know him and to open up to him in return. This relationship requires us to reciprocate.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. When you find yourself struggling in life, through what lenses are you usually viewing God? (e.g., aloof, demanding, etc.)
  2. Why might you see him that way?
  3. What aspect of God’s goodness is the most difficult for you to internalize? Why?

Prayer

Watch Cory Asbury’s video for his song “Reckless Love”1 at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sc6SSHuZvQE.

Action Step

Write yourself a note or letter about who God truly is that you can read when you are in difficult times.

Journaling/Further Reflection

Take some time to reflect on your note or letter from the Action Step and ask the Lord to reveal to you what he particularly wants you to take to heart.

Scriptures for Meditation

 

Psalm 46:10

Psalm 119:10

Jeremiah 9:23-24

John 17:3

2 Peter 3:18

 

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

God Expands His Covenant

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

God Expands His Covenant | On this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, discusses how God expands His Covenant to prepare for advent—the period of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas and also of preparation for the Second Coming of Christ | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #GodExpandsHisCovenantEpisode 3 – God Expands His Covenant

On this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, discusses how God expands His Covenant to prepare for advent—the period of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas and also of preparation for the Second Coming of Christ.

After the fall of Adam and Eve and within ten generations, the human race had become so wicked that God determined to create a flood to destroy most of humanity. Only the righteous Noah, Noah’s family, sons, and daughters-in-law, survived the flood. The Lord renews a covenant with Noah and his descendants. The flood was a prefiguration of the sacrament of baptism. Baptism now saves humankind as an “appeal to God for a clear conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21).

Sin, however, rears again when Noah’s son Ham has an incestuous relationship with his mother (Leviticus 20:11) and the son of their illicit union, Canaan. Subsequently, some of the worst enemies of the Jewish people descend from the Canaanites. Ham’s sin shows how sin reverberates.

James takes us through the generations of our Lord’s genealogy up to the birth of Christ, explaining how some honored their covenant with God while others strayed following their will, not the Lord’s, and the subsequent blessings and chastisements transpired. It was through the birth of Christ that humankind was promised new life, new hope, and a chance at redemption.

This is the third 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.

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.

A Cup of JOY for Lent – An Invitation

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Invitation

You are invited to start a CUP of JOY Women™ or Cup of JOY Gathering (men and women).  A CUP of JOY small group is an easy way to gently evangelize and encourage others.  It fosters fun, faith, sharing, and Scripture in small groups.   All materials are free and accompany each weekly 15-minute WRAP Yourself in JOY Podcast with Karen Dwyer.

As a host-facilitator, you would get together weekly with friends over a cup of coffee (or tea) for one hour of thanksgiving, prayer, and discussion. Your small group will grow together in faith, hope, love, and joy.

The new Spring podcast series is Esther for This Time: Prayer, Reversals, and JOY, based on Karen’s book which has an imprimatur.  The series will last eight weeks and is perfect for Lent. Go to Wrapyourselfinjoy.com to sign up.

Answers to common questions include:

Why coffee?

Inviting others for coffee (or tea) will make your invitation seem friendly and casual. As a host- facilitator, you will find the handout for each meeting and the format easy to use for the one hour over coffee.

Why meet only for one hour?

The weekly one-hour format encourages participants to know the meeting will be focused and not take up much of their precious time. Discussing the content covered in the questions and Scripture will help the Scriptures come alive.

Are other topics available?

Esther for This Time: Prayer, Reversals, and JOY starts the week of February 14.  But if you choose, you could select the JOYFUL and Battle Ready podcast series with the accompanying Cup of JOY. This series focuses on defining true joy and putting on the armor of God from Ephesians.  All series are eight weeks, plus a suggested wrap-up finale meeting.   Go to Wrapyourselfinjoy.com to sign up.

What does the host-facilitator do?

Hosting a Cup of Joy Women’s small group is a beautiful way to gently evangelize and involve others in prayer, Scripture reflection, and discussion. Your main job as a host/facilitator is to arrange a meeting place, invite guests, prepare coffee, and facilitate the meeting. Your small group can meet at home or church, and it can include 2 to 10 women or more. You will receive weekly a prepared PDF worksheet that will guide your group through discussion, prayer, and study.  As the host, you will make a copy of the worksheet for each person. All will listen to the podcast to prepare for the weekly meeting.

How do I sign up?

Go to Wrapyourselfinjoy.com to sign up as a small group host and for your small group members. Then, you receive an email with all the necessary information for your group.

Testimony of Louise Carson

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

of Rochester, NY | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #Magnficat#TestimonyofLouiseCarsonTestimony of Louise Carson

Louise Carson is a cradle Catholic born and raised in Rhode Island. She met her first husband after college and moved to his hometown of Rochester, NY. They had three children. She went through a period of questioning why she was going to Mass. Shortly after, she went on a retreat, and the experience transformed her life, and she received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. She knew from then on that God truly loved her and would never leave her. Her renewed faith got her through a rough family time. Their oldest daughter was a troubled teenager who was put in foster care and became pregnant and a young mother at the age of 14.

Louise worked part-time in the medical field while raising her three children. She was divorced when her children were grown and was able to get an annulment. Louise went through a long grieving process and joined a support group that helped heal her pain. That is where she also met her 2nd husband. She received a certification in Pastoral Ministry and worked in her own parish for six years. Then, another tragedy enveloped the family with the loss of her grandson, and she shared how God reminded her that he would never leave her. The scripture she holds close to her heart is Jerimiah 29:11. ‘For I know the plans I have for you, a time to prosper and not of woe.’

This testimony was given in March 2022 to the Albany Magnificat Chapter, NY.

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    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.

Openness with God

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Openness with God | The human body is made up of about seventy percent water. Water is necessary for healthy energy levels and flushing toxins and plays a key role in the proper functioning of our whole system | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGodOpenness with God

The human body is made up of about seventy percent water. Water is necessary for healthy energy levels and flushing toxins and plays a key role in the proper functioning of our whole system. We need it for refreshment on a hot day, for cleansing of dirt and sweat, and it is essential to our lives and the lives of the plants and animals we consume for nutrition. Water is crucial. When a water source is stagnant, we know to be suspicious of it because it can more likely be a breeding ground for bacteria and parasites.

Jesus doesn’t just tell us he will give us water or that he will give us flowing water. He says he will give us living water! This water is his very life! His only requirement is that we be open by acknowledging our need for him. To ask him is the only thing the woman at the well had to do (John 4:4-30), and all we have to do is ask him, too.

For some of us, it’s difficult to express our needs, even to Jesus, because we experienced pain when we were vulnerable in the past. If others have used our vulnerability against us, it can make us feel weak and unwilling to admit our need. Perhaps we’ve asked the Lord in, but we keep him sequestered to the foyer of our hearts and make other rooms off limits to him. Maybe there is a particularly messy room we think we haven’t sufficiently tidied and are ashamed to let him into, or a room we are too scared to enter at all. Jesus honors our desire for control of our own inner self, and knows we need to pace ourselves.  When we allow Jesus to bring his living water to us, even if it is only to the foyer, he can begin to heal our wounds, calm our fears, remove our shame, and establish his spring of living water in the depths of our being.

Our need for this living, flowing water is as essential to our souls as clean water is to our bodies. Jesus constantly and eternally supplies us with this heavenly water.  We only need to remember it is there and draw from him. Living water would, of course, be flowing. Let’s not stop the flow with sandbags and dams of sin and pain, but allow Jesus free reign to flow into every area of our minds and hearts, and through us to others.

Wherever we are on our journey, however long we’ve been walking with the Lord, there is more to open to him because he has so much more of himself for us. We are known intimately, treasured unconditionally, and he is solicitous to protect us. He makes himself vulnerable and accessible to us at every moment, every day and night. All we need to do is to open up and ask for more of him.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. In what ways and at what times do you experience the greatest ability to be open to the Lord?
  2. What areas are the most difficult to open to him? Why?
  3. In what areas would you like to experience greater openness with him? Tell him.

Prayer

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love.

  1. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.
  2. And you shall renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray.

O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit,

did instruct the hearts of the faithful,

grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise

and ever to rejoice in his consolation,

through Christ our Lord.

Amen.1

Action Step

Ask the Lord to show you if there are areas of your life and your heart you have not yet opened to him or which he desires to fill even more fully with his living water and then give him permission to give you his life in these areas.

Journaling/Further Reflection

When Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well, it was noon, the hottest part of the day and the time people were least likely to draw water – she was hiding. She was hiding because of her shame, but he longed to bring his light to her areas of darkness so she might live in freedom. Ask the Lord to show you if you hide in any way because of shame. Spend some time writing to the Lord inviting him into these areas. Take time to receive him into those rooms.

Scriptures for Meditation

Job 13:15

Psalm 119:18

Matthew 16:24

Luke 24:45

Romans 12:2

James 4:7

Revelation 3:20

Creation and Fall of Man

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Creation and Fall of Man | On this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, touches upon four main points in the Creation and Fall of Man, beginning with an explanation of The Blessed Trinity, followed by God’s Creation of Angels and Humans, the Fall of Adam and Eve and the consequences, and the Promise Redeemer Jesus Christ | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #CreationandFallofMan #Episode2CreationandFallofManEpisode 2 – Creation and Fall of Man

On this episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, our presenter, James Seghers, touches upon four main points in the Creation and Fall of Man, beginning with an explanation of The Blessed Trinity, followed by God’s Creation of Angels and Humans, the Fall of Adam and Eve and the consequences, and the Promise Redeemer Jesus Christ.

Jimmy delves into the mystery and the three persons of the Holy Trinity, distinct but always one divine family of endless love. While God created all creatures, only humans and angels are endowed with intelligence and free will, and both humans and angels are called to love like God. God created man out of love and for love and to have an intimate relationship. The need to love and be loved is so profoundly embedded in intelligent beings that the failure to love does violence to their very natures. Jim further explains the definitions of love and commitment and their qualities and how, in relationship to God, love is expressed in obedience. God’s covenant with Adam is explained, as well as the dire consequences and psychology behind the fall of Adam and Eve. And lastly, how humanity is given new hope in Jesus, the Messiah, the new Adam, the anointed one, who, with his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the new Eve, amend the disobedience in the garden.

This is the 2nd 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.

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

Plan with God

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

 

Begin with Prayer

“Once our motives are pure and upright and we seek not our own interests, but those of our Lord and Master, He has constant care over us, because He is infinitely good.”        St. Ignatius Loyola

Some Ideas

Consider having goals of your own with your spouse and family. Have a few that are spiritual, something fun; others can be professional or health-related.

 

Looking Forward to Lent

Join me for a Lenten Prayer Group called Lightworks beginning the week of Feb 5. It’s on Tuesdays at 7 pm or Thursdays at 2:30 pm (eastern time).  Contact me here or via Facebook or Instagram.

This week’s challenge, Plan with God! Ask this question in prayer: What do you want me to do that will give glory to you?

Testimony of Jess Echeverry

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Jess Echeverry | Jess Echeverry is a wife, mother, family advocate, and speaker. She has survived parental divorce and alcoholism, as well as emotional, physical, and sexual abuse | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #MagnificatInt'lConference2023 #TestimonyofJessEcheverryTestimony of Jess Echeverry

Jess Echeverry is a wife, mother, family advocate, and speaker. She has survived parental divorce and alcoholism, as well as emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. Her testimony includes dark times of physical and sexual violence, teenage pregnancy, years of on and off homelessness, abortion, same sex attraction and two attempts at suicide. She is a strong and effective speaker who has been able to, with the help of God’s grace, turn those past experiences, and all the healing that she has received along the way, into real, loving help for others. As you listen to Jess share her empowering and merciful story may you be enlightened, be healed, and your faith be enriched.

Her husband Charlie is a Permanent Deacon for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and together they have 5 children.

Jess has previously appeared on multiple episode’s of EWTN’s The Catholic View for Women and BEK TV’s Ladies of Another View; radio interviews with Spirit Radio, Guadalupe Radio, Son Rise Morning Show and Incorrupto Radio.

This testimony was given in 2023 to North County San Diego, Palm Desert and Orange County Chapters in southern CA.

To find out more about Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women, visit us magnificat ministry

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 Speaks to His Children

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

God Speaks to His Children | On this first episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, James Seghers, our presenter, will focus on ‘how God speaks to us,’ how he speaks to us through divine revelation, through sacred tradition, and sacred scriptures | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #UnderstandingCatholicism #GodSpeakstoHisChildrenEpisode 1 – God Speaks to His Children

On this first episode of the Understanding Catholicism Series, James Seghers, our presenter, will focus on ‘how God speaks to us,’ how he speaks to us through divine revelation, through sacred tradition, and sacred scriptures. It will explain how divine revelation comes to us in two forms. In a number of Saint Paul’s written books of the New Testament, he describes how sacred tradition was faithfully handed down and enlightened by the Holy Spirit of Truth so that they were faithfully preserved and spread abroad by preaching. Our sacred traditions and Church doctrine have been passed down through the generations but will not necessarily be found in Sacred Scripture. The sacred Scripture described beautifully as God’s love letters, was divided into the Old and New Testaments. The Latin meaning of the Testament will be defined, and the important significance of its overall theme throughout the entire bible.

The New Testament lies hidden in the old, and the Old Testament is unveiled in the new. The apostles were faithful to the Commission they received from Jesus, preached the gospel to all nations, that message, preaching the gospel of all nations is the same for us today as it was so many hundreds of years ago. It will explain how many books make up the Old and New Testaments and what happened in the period of Martin Luther King during the protestant reformation that caused them to remove seven books from the Old Testament. Jimmy Seghers will give us the name of every book of the Old and New Testament and the writer of each book. He will also share the central theme of each book. We can rely on the richness of Church teaching to better understand how God has spoken to his children throughout the ages and how he continues to speak to us today.

This is the first 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  magnificat ministry

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’s Openness

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

God’s Openness | The God of the entire universe, who is all-knowing and all-powerful, is open in relating to us. One of my favorite scripture verses is from the short little book Baruch, “Blessed are we, O Israel; for what pleases God is known to us!” (Baruch 4:4) | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #God’sOpennessGod’s Openness

The God of the entire universe, who is all-knowing and all-powerful, is open in relating to us. One of my favorite scripture verses is from the short little book Baruch, “Blessed are we, O Israel; for what pleases God is known to us!” (Baruch 4:4). How amazing it is that he chooses to make himself known to us! Not only does he reveal who he is, but also what pleases him. There is tenderness in his self-revelation and, given our free will, vulnerability. What if we didn’t know how to please him who loves us so personally and intimately? How we’d long to know how to bridge that distance!

Throughout time, we see God stooping further and further to show himself to us. Knowing we would many times reject him, he still so desires a relationship with us that he became incarnate. In doing so, he manifested who he is to us in a manner to which we could relate. Of all the ways he could have done so, he came as a tiny, helpless baby and has made himself even more vulnerable – to the point of a gruesome crucifixion and death. Finally, he remains in the Eucharist, where he hides his majesty in bread and wine. In the late 1600s, Jesus revealed his sacred heart to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. He asked her to remind us how much he loves all mankind and how he longs for our love.

It’s important for us to take note of the Lord’s openness with us. He starts from a place of seeing each of us as his dear children who are very good. He treasures us beyond measure, promises to provide for and protect us, and to work all things for our good (Romans 8:28). He gives us the freedom to choose or refuse him, and then intimately bares his heart to us. He wants an intimate relationship with us, but only one of our free choosing. He is omnipotent but doesn’t force himself on us. The Lord, who can easily go through locked doors, chooses to stand at the door of our hearts and knock (Revelation 3:20).

When someone knocks at our door, we can ignore it, dismiss the person, speak to them through the closed door, open it and talk to them on the porch, welcome them in as a guest, or bring them in to live with us in deep communion. What is our response to the Lord? He has knocked and continues to knock daily. It is up to us to answer.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. What comes to mind when you think about God’s openness with you?
  2. Is there anything about his vulnerability that surprises you? If so, what?
  3. Is there a particular memory, thought, or emotion that comes to mind in considering Jesus opening himself to you?

Prayer

Most high God, omnipotent Lord of the universe, we give you thanks and praise for revealing yourself to us in the expanse and beauty of creation. Thank you for making yourself known to us in an infinite number of ways. More than all this, we are humbled and in awe of how you empty yourself for us and open yourself to us, longing for our love. Please give us eyes to see you and ears to hear you knocking at the door of our hearts, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Action Step

Spend a few minutes each day with the concept or an image of the Lord opening himself to you. Thank him and ask for the grace to let him in more deeply.

Journaling/Further Reflection

Consider the Lord opening himself totally to you. What is moved in your heart when you think of this? Wonder? Delight? Fear? Confusion? Tell the Lord and ask him what he wants you to know.

Scriptures for Meditation

Isaiah 53:7

Zechariah 9:9

Luke 2:4-7

John 6:54-57

John 13:5

John 19:31-37

2 Corinthians 8:9

Follow the Joy

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Follow the Joy by Fr. Tom Sparacino | Listen as Fr. Tom Sparacino, from the Diocese of Pittsburgh, proclaims with exuberance ‘Follow the Joy’ with his crowd-pleasing humor. He shares many stories that will captivate your attention. Joy at the foot of the cross with Mother Mary (“Ma” as he calls her) and answering the call of Jesus to “feed my sheep” are charisms of Fr. Tom | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #MagnificatInt'lConference2023 #FollowtheJoybyFr.TomSparacino #FollowtheJoy #Fr.TomSparacinoFollow the Joy by Fr. Tom Sparacino

Listen as Fr. Tom Sparacino, from the Diocese of Pittsburgh, proclaims with exuberance ‘Follow the Joy’ with his crowd-pleasing humor. He shares many stories that will captivate your attention. Joy at the foot of the cross with Mother Mary (“Ma” as he calls her) and answering the call of Jesus to “feed my sheep” are charisms of Fr. Tom. To live in joy is walking with purpose and overcoming any fear and pain when we give it all to Jesus. There may be sadness and atrocities all over the world, but there is joy in the house of the Lord. How we follow the joy is not done alone; we follow Jesus.  We focus on Him who strengthens us. Living in joy is embracing Jesus and holding onto Mary. Joy is the breath and grace of the Holy Spirit.  If we are joyful messengers, we will live out the good news with joy, passion, death, and resurrection. We need to remember the crib, the cross, and the crown. Fr. Tom suggests five habits to receive joy: live to listen to Him, live to praise Him, live in contentment, live in focus, and live to serve. We belong to the kingdom, so count it all JOY.

Fr. Tom has been a priest of Jesus Christ for the Diocese of Pittsburgh since 1998.  He has served as high school chaplain, co-vocation director and is currently the Rector of St. Paul Seminary and the Director of Pre-ordination Formation.  Fr. Tom has been the spiritual advisor to the Magnificat Pittsburgh Chapter since 2010.  The Holy Spirit has poured His joy into Fr. Tom, and he gladly pours it out on all of us.  His infectious laughter and lightheartedness and like a bright light in a dark world.  We know you will be inspired as you listen to this joyful servant of the Lord.

This talk – Follow the Joy was given at the 17th Magnificat International Leaders Conference in Pittsburgh, PA in October 2023.

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.

Ask, Seek, Knock

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Scripture

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Luke 11:9

Why Pray Each Day?

Because God has something to say to you, and you can’t hear him if you are not silent. Each day, spend some time with the Word, silence, and your journal. And by journal, it can be a sticky note on the page you re reading. Something to write what you hear in your time of listening to God.

 

What will your commitment be to God for quiet prayer, dedicated time just for him?

Need a Speaker?

Contact me and we can talk about it!

Testimony of Barbara Heil

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Barbara Heil | We are delighted that you have chosen to join us today! This podcast features the conversion testimony of Barbara Heil | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholic #testimony #CatholicTestimony #FollowtheJoy #TestimonyofBarbaraHeil #BarbaraHeilTestimony of Barbara Heil

We are delighted that you have chosen to join us today! This podcast features the conversion testimony of Barbara Heil.

Barbara Heil is a former Pentecostal prophetic minister who has traveled the world as a missionary, teacher, and evangelist. After an amazing journey, Barbara came into full communion with the Catholic Church in April 2013. She has spent the last few years traveling the U.S. and the world over, conducting worship seminars, retreats, and conferences, leading mission trips, offering prayer and counseling, and seeing thousands healed and set free inside and out, equipping lives for the Glory of God. She is a dynamic and inspirational speaker with a passion to awaken others to their destiny and purpose in Christ and to lead people in deepening their walk with God.” That is why her favorite scripture verse is 1 Peter 3:15: ‘But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.’

This testimony was given at the Pittsburgh Chapter Meal in October 2019.

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    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.

Fall on Me

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Fall on Me | Bishop David Toups introduces his dear friend for over 20 years, Dr. Carol Razza.    What we are about to experience is a woman who has stepped into the Holy Spirit with everything she's got, and that is what she is going to help us do | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #MagnificatInt'lConference2023 #FollowtheJoy #Fall on Me #Dr.CarolRazzaFall on Me

Bishop David Toups introduces his dear friend for over 20 years, Dr. Carol Razza.    What we are about to experience is a woman who has stepped into the Holy Spirit with everything she’s got, and that is what she is going to help us do. Carol expressed, ‘Expect the unexpected.’ We can expect God to move, and in fact, He’s already moving. He doesn’t stop moving. What happens is we just don’t keep up. We need to keep up. We need to cry out, ‘Holy Spirit fall on me, over and over again.’ Fall on me, and not just to be filled but to be overflowing. We need to be spilling out all over filled with Him. All you must do is take that first step. Because that first step says I trust you. Lord. We experience abundant life filled to overflowing in Him. Carol takes us through a healing process to experience freedom though forgiveness and fullness of the Holy Spirit. Her lively and animated delivery leads you through a time of transformation to be rid of the lies we tell ourselves to a place of peace and freedom as a child of God and an heir to the kingdom.

Dr. Carol Razza is a full-time faculty member and formation advisor at St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida.  Her degrees include an Ed. D in child and Youth Studies from Nova Southeastern University, an M.S. in Counseling Psychology from Nova, and a B.S. in Psychology from Florida Atlantic University.  She has worked in Private practice as a psychotherapist for over twenty-five years.

Dr. Carol has written two books, Sonblock – How Christians Unknowingly Shield Themselves from Grace and Parent Me Please!, helping parents parent their adolescents.  Carol has been called to bring the awareness of God’s Kingdom throughout the world as an international evangelist.  She lives in Father God’s supernatural joy and encourages to do the same.  Dr. Razza’s greatest blessings are to her husband Paul, their wonderful sons and daughters-in-law and grandchildren.

This talk – Fall on Me was given at the 17th Magnificat International Leaders Conference in Pittsburgh, PA on October 7, 2023.

God Provides Boundaries

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

God Provides Boundaries | The reason we started with the concept of connection to God was so we could have a clear understanding of the fact he is with us, knows us intimately, values us for who we are and sent his Son to save us by emptying himself on the Cross | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #FEARLESS #fearless #Prayer #GodProvidesBoundariesGod Provides Boundaries

The reason we started with the concept of connection to God was so we could have a clear understanding of the fact he is with us, knows us intimately, values us for who we are and sent his Son to save us by emptying himself on the Cross. He is continually emptying himself in the Eucharist and pouring his graces and mercy upon us, which draw us into the life of the Trinity. He makes his home in us through baptism and animates us by his Spirit. We cannot let go of this foundation as we consider this section on boundaries. If we do, we risk having a very distorted image of God.

As the author of life and our creator, he knows what limits are good for us, foster our health, and lead us to deepest intimacy with him, our fulfillment, and our prince of peace. The same way he set limits for the ocean, knowing what is good and necessary to foster life, so does he do for us. There is something very different, though, about his boundaries for us. He has given us free will, which means we can choose to embrace him and be embraced by him. We can run to our Father’s loving and protective arms or we can refuse them and their protection for us.

Our free will allows us to choose whether to abide by his law. We may choose to see his law as a set of rules that he requires us to follow, but the danger in this is it can very quickly lead to bitterness, judgment, and resentment. This was the mindset of the older brother in the story of the prodigal son who could not tolerate the father’s mercy. The father’s goodness caused him outrage, which revealed his own lack of connection to his father. He was obeying the rules as boxes to check off and a way of keeping his nose clean. This clearly did not lead to a depth of intimate relationship and certainly prevented him from being a conduit of grace to his brother. It’s difficult to imagine the older brother had much satisfaction in life beyond his self-righteousness.

There are times I have to refuse to give my dog things because I know they would not be good for her. Her limitations of language and understanding prevent me from being able to explain to her why I can’t let her go off-leash near traffic or why I can’t let her eat food that would be unhealthy for her. Sometimes, it hurts to say no to her and I have to remind myself it is for her own good. Indulging her desires, knowing they would be dangerous or deadly for her, would actually be an act of selfishness, not of love for her. How much greater the chasm between God’s understanding and ours! How much more does the Father know about what is good for us! His law is consistent because his wisdom is perfect and his loving protection is unwavering. Of course, we can choose to see God’s boundaries as requirements, because they do require our free response. The much fuller truth is that his law is first and foremost a providential and protective gift. We can respond with grudge or gratitude.

Blessed Julian of Norwich, a 14th century mystic, was gifted with revelations from our Lord himself. From what was shown to her she wrote Revelations of Divine Love in which she shares a profoundly compassionate and merciful thought, “God sees sin as pain in us.”1 He knows partaking of forbidden fruit makes us sick and it excites compassion from his heart. When we wander off he seeks us out and waits to embrace us when we turn back to him. He has already prepared for our return home to him by the mercy he offers us and which he longs for us to experience. He bathes our wounds, even those of our own making.  He’s just that good.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. Do you experience the sacrament of reconciliation as a time of fear and shame, or as a time of intimate reunion with God?
  2. Why do you think you experience the sacrament of confession the way you do?
  3. What strikes you as the greatest difference in seeing God’s boundaries as for us versus something that he wants from us?
  4. Does considering that God’s limits are an expression of his love change how you see his law and/or how you see him?

Prayer

All good and loving Father, your protective arms reach out to embrace us and keep us safely on the path to eternal joy with you. Thank you for your infinite mercy for the times we’ve chosen our understanding over your boundless wisdom and goodness. Please give us the grace to follow Jesus, the way to you. In his holy name we pray. Amen.

Action Step

If there are any aspects of morality with which you struggle, ask the Lord to show you how it is an expression of his loving protection for you.

Journaling/Further Reflection

Do you most often experience God’s law as gift or as demand? Consider if this might be based on your past experiences of limits from parents or early caregivers. Ask the Lord what he wants you to know.

Scriptures for Meditation

Deuteronomy 28:1

Deuteronomy 30:19

Joshua 1:8

Psalm 119: 165

Jeremiah 29:11

Ephesians 2:4-9

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. 

Exhortation to the Ministry

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Exhortation to the Ministry | In the final general session of the International Leaders’ Conference, Donna Ross, Coordinator of the CST (Central Service Team), gave a talk on the ‘Exhortation to the Ministry.’ She defined the word ‘exhortation’ to strongly encourage us, and as you listen to her talk, she will truly inspire you | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #MagnificatInt'lConference2023 #FollowtheJoy #ExhortationtotheMinistryExhortation to the Ministry

In the final general session of the International Leaders’ Conference, Donna Ross, Coordinator of the CST (Central Service Team), gave a talk on the ‘Exhortation to the Ministry.’ She defined the word ‘exhortation’ to strongly encourage us, and as you listen to her talk, she will truly inspire you.  Donna emphasizes the importance of not grieving or quenching the Holy Spirit with our sinful thoughts and behavior. Paul exhorted that warning in Ephesians 4:30. We need to rise up and follow the Holy Spirit’s lead. To be truly effective, we must model our Blessed Mother to be humble, trusting in God, and obedient in our lives. Donna shares a story about a Monastery that was transformed by the message, ‘The Messiah was among them.’ We need to remember that message in our Ministry and in our daily lives.

Donna Ross is a cradle Catholic who strayed from the Church for many years before she realized what she was missing! A powerful call of the Holy Spirit brought her back to the Church with a new appreciation for her faith. She ended a 25-year career with the Magic Kingdom of Disney in 1994 to work for the Eternal Kingdom of God. With numerous skills developed in the workplace and enriched by the Lord’s grace, she was called into full-time ministry in His beloved Church. She has shared her conversion of heart on programs such as St. Joseph Catholic Radio, Wordnet’s “From Kingdom to Kingdom,” and Women of Grace®. In addition, she hosts the “Magnificat Proclaims” radio series featuring testimonies of Catholic women from around the world. Donna has been a leader in the Southern California Charismatic community, founded the Palm Desert Magnificat Chapter, and is currently part of Magnificat’s Central Service Team. She received the Diocese of San Bernardino’s “Our Lady of Guadalupe Award” for using her God-given gifts for the sake of God’s people.

This talk was given at the 17th Magnificat International Leaders’ Conference in Pittsburgh, PA on October 8, 2023.

Prayer

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Prayer | Personal prayer is essential to internalizing the radical, profound intimacy the living God wants to experience with us. His love for us is infinite. It might be easy to read the last line and agree with it in our head, but in our heart still feel less than adequate, rejected, or forgotten | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #FEARLESS #fearless #Prayer #fearlesschapter6 #fearless6Prayer

Personal prayer is essential to internalizing the radical, profound intimacy the living God wants to experience with us. His love for us is infinite. It might be easy to read the last line and agree with it in our head, but in our heart still feel less than adequate, rejected, or forgotten. Our mind might be able to quickly categorize the statement as true, especially if we grew up in church, have studied Theology, or are religious or clergy. Yet, absorbing the Truth – God – is a lifelong process, one we will likely continue throughout eternity. It is not enough to know the description of God or how he desires to relate to us, even Satan knows the truth. We must make ourselves available to that relationship by spending time exposing our heart to him who exposes his heart to us.

There are many ways to pray, spontaneous intercession, praise and worship, the Rosary, litanies, or Mass.  Contemplation is a quiet type of prayer in which we allow the Lord to permeate us at the core of who we are and transform us into him.  To go to the source of water – a spring or a river – and draw water, but not consume it and allow our bodies to absorb the minerals and hydration would still leave us weak and dehydrated. St. John of the Cross talks about the importance of such prayer. He says,

Learn to abide with attention in loving waiting upon God in a state of quiet. Contemplation is nothing else but a secret, peaceful, and loving infusion of God, which if admitted, will set the soul on fire with the spirit of love. 1

Contemplation is spending time drinking in the living water of God’s self-gift to us by being present to the Lord who is present to us. This is fundamentally being before him in quiet availability with our hearts open to his heart. He dwells within us through Baptism and we receive him in the Eucharist, but contemplation is the process of being infused with him.

Because contemplation is personal and intimate prayer, St. John says it is “secret.” It is taking time away from other people, activities, and things, and being “in a state of quiet” paying attention to God and waiting on him. In that kind of waiting, we make time and space to let our hearts become available to be infused by his “spirit of love.”  This love sets our souls on fire. The caveat is that we must grant him permission to permeate us in order for this to happen. As we know and have seen in the connection figure, he is within us at our deepest core. We aren’t trying to get him inside us from out there somewhere. Rather, we are allowing him to saturate us from the inside out.

Just like any relationship, growing closer and allowing someone into our heart and life is a process. The more we receive God, the more we love him in return, the more we feel safe with him, and the more we open ourselves up to him. In opening more, we permit him to more truly, fully, and deeply transform us and our lives. In relationships, we tend to reveal the good things about ourselves first. When the other person accepts us at that level, we have the courage to share some of our frailty with them and hide less of our weakness. Eventually, we feel confident enough in their good will toward us that we share with them our shame and pain. The same is true of how we grow in relationship with the Lord. This is why it takes time. It’s not a limitation in him but in us, and one with which he is perfectly patient and persistent. He always calls us more deeply into his peace and love, and it requires vulnerability to respond to his invitation.

Shalom, the Hebrew word for peace, has a much richer meaning than we are used to. It doesn’t simply mean the absence of conflict and stress. It is about wholeness, fulfillment, completion, and perfection. Jesus is the prince of peace. For this reason, it makes sense that spending time admitting him more deeply into every aspect of our lives draws us into deeper wholeness. It also draws us to holiness as we become more imbued with him. Thus, growing deeper in prayer can lead to us becoming more in touch with our brokenness or woundedness. This is an act of God’s love and mercy because he desires to make us whole, but it requires courage on our part to allow him to do so.

Spending time in quiet certainly can seem to amplify the noise we may have inside us. Sometimes that noise is busy-ness. At other times, it may be that we are using internal noise to drown out pain. I remember a time in my life when even a moment of quiet was intolerable. I had to always have external sound turned up really loud to overcome the cacophony of chaos inside. I’d get in my car and immediately turn the music up and get home and instantly turn the television on. The expression ‘peace and quiet’ sounded crazy to me because quiet was anything but peaceful. As our own wounds are healed, the noise within ceases. We relate in less painful ways toward ourselves, and others. We put up fewer and fewer obstacles to the flow of God’s love into us and through us to those he puts in our lives. The process and cycle of connection continues to deepen on all levels.

In order to succeed in the practice of contemplation it is helpful to make frequent use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Just as in any relationship, we are capable of participating with another even if there is something out of order between us, but it is much more intimate when the conflict is resolved. The same is true for our relationship with God.  Resolving conflict by confessing our sins is the first step to repairing and building anew. Starting from a state of conflict will only start us off from a place of noise, rather than a place of quiet. In addition, when we practice contemplation with God it can be helpful to find something simple that can hold our attention on him. For some that may be a scripture or a title of Jesus. For others, it may be an image or statue of him that we picture in our mind or have present with us. The point here is not to busy our mind, but to open our heart to his love in a state of receptivity.

Questions for Reflection/Discussion

  1. Do you find yourself avoiding being still and quiet with the Lord? Why or why not?
  2. What is the internal noise you might be trying to drown?
  3. Have you ever considered that prayer requires courage? What are your thoughts on this?
  4. Have you found a key that opens the door to prayer for you? What is it? (Scripture, image, etc.)

Prayer

Lord, thank you for your infinite love for us and for desiring us to live in the fullness of that reality. Please grant us the grace to receive this truth more fully into the depths of our mind and heart and be set ablaze by the fire of your love so our lives can give your warmth and light to all those we meet.

Action Step

Spend some time finding a scripture, quote, or picture that draws you into a sense of God’s love.

Journaling/Further Reflection

If you have a sense of disquiet when you go to pray, ask the Lord to show you why that might be and ask him what he wants you to know about it.

Scriptures for Meditation

1 Kings 19:9-12

Psalm 37:7

Psalm 63:2-4

Matthew 6:5-8

John 7:37-44

2 Corinthians 4:18

 

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

Seeking Consolation and JOY? Join Anna & Simeon at the Presentation – A JOY-Filled Advent & Christmas #7

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
A Joy-Filled Advent and Christmas with Anna & Simeon

The Presentation in the Temple, Philippe de Champaigne. 1648; Join Simeon & Anna at the Presentation of Jesus

Seeking Consolation and JOY? Ann and Simeon Show Us the Way.

Are you seeking consolation or more joy? Join us today at the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, where Anna and Simeon show us JOY. They offer us ten ways the Holy Spirit can help YOU.

Off to the Temple

Welcome to Advent JOY Podcast #7, based on my book The Joy Of Advent: Journey With The People, Events, and Prayers At The First Coming Of Jesus Christ.  Today, we travel with Mary and Joseph to the Temple and the Presentation of the Lord. There Anna and Simeon will join us at this very special event as we cover the following points:

Circumcised, Redeemed, and Purified (Luke 2: 21-23)

  • At the time of Jesus’ birth, the Old Testament Mosaic Law required every firstborn Jewish male to be circumcised at 8 days after birth
  • The naming of the baby took place at the same time as the circumcision.
  • Mary and Joseph by divine appointment knew what the Child was to be called. And so “He was named Jesus” which means the Lord saves- the name told to both Mary and Joseph via an angel (Luke 1: 30 and Matthew 1: 20).

Jesus Came to Fulfill All the Law (Luke 2: 23-24)

  • Now, forty days after Jesus’ birth,  Joseph and Mary again follow the Mosaic Law for the Presentation of Jesus in the temple and Mary’s Purification. In Matthew 5:17, Jesus said He came to “fulfill the law,” which begins at His birth.
  • For Mary’s Purification, the sweet Blessed Mother of humble means offers “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,” which Leviticus 12: 8 prescribed for a new mother who could not afford a sheep to offer.

The Presentation or Redemption of Jesus (Luke 2: 25-38)

  • This “redemption of the firstborn” meant that the parents redeemed Jesus or bought Him back from God. Isn’t it amazing that almost 33 years later, it would be Jesus who would pay the price for our redemption by dying on the cross?
  • The Catholic Church celebrates the Presentation of the Lord on February 2 every year.

Simeon & Anna

Although their lives differed, Simeon and Anna had much in common.

  1. Both Simeon and Anna were described as deeply spiritual people. They loved the Lord, practiced their faith, and did not allow themselves to become bitter or decrepit with the times.
  2. Both were “senior citizens” active in serving God. Pope Francis says of the Presentation:  It is a meeting between the young, who are full of joy in observing the Law of the Lord, and the elderly who are full of joy in the action of the Holy Spirit. It is a unique encounter between observance and prophecy, where young people are the observers and the elderly are prophets! (The Feast of the Presentation, Vatican, 2-2-2014).  
  3. Both knew the Scriptures.
  4. Both believed in the Scriptures and were looking for the Messiah. Bible scholars and theologians say Jesus has fulfilled at least 300 Old Testament prophecies.
  5. Both were looking forward with HOPE. The words looking for indicate they were actively waiting for the Savior with hope.
  6. Both worshiped, prayed, and adored God. Their eyes went more to God than to the news of the day. That brought consolation.
  7. The Spirit of God guided both.
  8. Both Simeon and Anna recognized the Messiah.
  9. Both received Jesus and were changed.
  10. Both Simeon and Anna received a message about Jesus from the Holy Spirit, and they shared it.

Simeon’s Prayer – The Nunc Dimittis Reflects Isaiah’s Prophecies (Luke 2: 29-32)

  • Simeon’s prayer is one of the Church’s great prayers, or canticles (little songs). It is called the Nunc Dimittis because v. 29 in the Latin translation of the Bible begins with the words “Nunc Dimittis,” which means “now dismiss your servant.” In other words, Simeon was saying to the Lord, “Now I am ready to die; you can dismiss me, Lord; I have seen the Savior.”
  • Every evening, all priests, religious, and laypeople who pray the Liturgy of the Hours pray the Nunc Dimittis prayer.
  • Today and every day, you can pray the Nunc Dimittis from Luke 2: 29-30.

Our Response

  • Why not spend some time with these verses? Using your holy imagination, see yourself receiving Jesus from Mary’s arms as Simeon did.
    • Look into the face of Jesus and give Him your shame and sadness.
    • In exchange, receive His Love and JOY. He has come for YOU. You can’t help but be consoled.
    • Then like Anna, praise God because you have seen the Savior of the World. He has come to give You peace, as John 15 says, Peace I give you, but not as the world gives. He has come to give the world peace as Luke 2: 14 says, Peace on earth, good will toward to men.  He has come to give you His love.

Remember Lamentations 3:22-25. (ESV) … His mercies are fresh every morning. Great is His faithfulness 25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him.

Links

Join me for my next podcast series, starting in February: Esther for this time: Prayer, Reversals, and JOY.

Consider hosting a weekly one-hour Cup of Joy small group study that accompanies each podcast series, especially this next one: Esther for this Time: Prayer, Reversals, and JOY.  Read more on hosting a CUP of JOY Women or Cup of JOY Gathering small group.  It’s free, and I will send you the materials you need for the one-hour discussion and study. For questions, please email karen@wrapyourselfinjoy.com

You can download a Bookmark of prayer points from A Joy-filled Advent Podcast #1 at my website: WRAPYourselfinJOY.com.

Check out more podcasts here!

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

 

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.

 

Testimony of Monique Moussot

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Testimony of Monique Moussot | Monique shares her personal testimony at the Magnificat Saturday night dinner held in Pittsburgh. The audience was enamored with her every word as she shared her ‘awe–inspiring’ testimony, and so will you | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #MagnificatInt'lConference2023 #FollowtheJoy #TestimonyofMoniqueMoussotTestimony of Monique Moussot

Monique shares her personal testimony at the Magnificat Saturday night dinner held in Pittsburgh. The audience was enamored with her every word as she shared her ‘awe–inspiring’ testimony, and so will you. To set the stage for Monique’s early years, she was baptized Catholic and received the sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation but had no sense of a loving God. She was quiet and did not talk much. She had few friends growing up. Her family life was unpredictable due to young and inexperienced parents. Her family was poor and lived in meager surroundings. She and a younger brother endured the uncertainties of home life and struggled with a low self-image.  Her college life brought new hope but then she got ill. She met a group of praying women, and that was the beginning of her physical and spiritual healing.

Monique Moussot was born and raised in the Bronx, New York.  Born to teenage parents struggling with, shame, drug addiction, bitterness, betrayal, and rejection, her stage was set for a lifetime of difficulty and failure.  Instead, Monique was transformed by God’s powerful grace. Hers is a joyful story of rescue and deliverance.  Small graces, turned into healing and transformation. Monique was freed from crippling illness, anxiety, resentment, and rage after she met a community of Prayer Group women who told her about Jesus. Monique will share her experiences of how living a new life and learning how to say ‘yes’ to Jesus led to unexpected miracles. Over 30 years in Corporate America, serving in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, working for the Archdiocese of New York, and now serving Magnificat with the Regional Communication Service Team, Monique knows that nothing is impossible for God, because He makes all things new.

This testimony was given at the 17th Magnificat International Conference in Pittsburgh, PA, October 7, 2023.

Valued by God

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Valued by God | God’s love for us is unlike any other. As covered in the previous section, God created us and so knows us and loves us intimately. Now consider he does so knowing he will always be giving to us far more than we could ever begin to repay, far more than we will even be able to comprehend | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #FEARLESS #fearless #ValuedbyGodValued by God

God’s love for us is unlike any other. As covered in the previous section, God created us and so knows us and loves us intimately. Now consider he does so knowing he will always be giving to us far more than we could ever begin to repay, far more than we will even be able to comprehend. He is not just a good father. He is our heavenly Father. He is God and adopts us as his own. This means he chooses us freely, knowing everything about us, good, bad, and ugly.

At times, we experience circumstantial relationships, like the interaction with a clerk in a store or wait staff in a restaurant. Both parties know the primary purpose of the encounter is an exchange of goods or services. Such times can be transformed into healing and evangelistic encounters when we take the time to see and acknowledge the human being before us truly. We may also experience personal relationships where the message is conveyed that the other is mostly interested in what we can provide them, for example, if someone relates to us for our looks, money, status, or because they want us to do something for them. When interpersonal relationships take on a transactional dimension, it can be quite painful. It can leave us feeling treated like an object or as a means to an end. This is the absolute opposite of God and how he relates to us. Rather than giving to us for what he can receive from us, he gives to us, desiring our capacity for him to increase so we may receive more and more.

Jesus, who is total fullness, emptied himself (Philippians 2:7) in order to become one of us.  He desired to redeem each of us by his self-sacrificing love, already knowing how we would blow it.  Not only that, but he chooses to seek us out when we are lost. He is the good shepherd and leaves the ninety-nine to find us, as we hear in the Gospel parable (Matthew 18:12-14). His love for us is not transactional or because he needs something from us. He cherishes us as surely as a shepherd would treasure a lost sheep once he found it.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. Recall a time you felt valued for who you are and not for what you could give or do. What stands out about it to you?
  2. What image of Jesus helps you to conceptualize his unconditional love for you?
  3. What makes it difficult for you to fully accept the fact that God values you for who you are?

Prayer

Heavenly Father, you are the Good Shepherd who seeks us out when we are lost. You put us on your shoulders, delighted to bring us home. We thank you for your faithful love for us, which far exceeds anything we could ask or imagine. Please heal us from the lies we have believed that we are not valuable for ourselves, but only for our performance, looks, or what others can get from us. We ask you for the grace to experience your delight in us and that you always watch for us just as the prodigal son’s father watched for him, and ran out to him “while he was still a long way off” (Luke 15:20). Thank you for the immensity of your tender love for me personally. Please give me the grace to accept this love ever more deeply. Amen.

Action Step

Recall an image from scripture that helps you see God’s value for who you are (the creation account, the lost sheep, the lost coin, the prodigal son, etc.). Post a reminder of this somewhere you will encounter it throughout the day (on your phone, in your car, on the bathroom mirror, etc.). Allow this image to be a reminder that your value is inherent because of who God is and who he made you to be.

Journaling/Further Reflection

Ask God to help you identify any blocks within you that might prevent you from believing and experiencing the way God cherishes who you are. Ask him what he wants you to know about that and then note what he puts on your heart.

Scriptures for Meditation

Isaiah 43:4

Matthew 6:25-34

Luke 12:6-7

John 3:16

Romans 8:28

Titus 3:4-7

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

Perplexed? Exchange Your Plans for God’s Plans! – A Joy-Filled Advent #5

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Perplexed? Exchange Your Plans for God’s Plans!

Do you find changing plans perplexing? Mary and Joseph changed their plans often as they listened to God. Why not ask God to help you lean into change? God can help you most when you are willing to exchange your plans for God’s plans!

Advent JOY

Welcome to Advent JOY Podcast #5, based on my book The Joy Of Advent: Journey With The People, Events, and Prayers At The First Coming Of Jesus Christ.  Today, we travel with Matthew’s Gospel, meet some unexpected members of Jesus’ ancestry, and hear of Joseph’s dream and his faithfulness to Mary. Matthew fills us in on details of Mary’s return home to her betrothed Joseph after she visits Elizabeth.

The Family Record (Mathew  1: 1-7, 16-17)

  • So, we start with Matthew 1. At the time of Jesus, families kept a genealogical record (or family tree) to distribute inherited property and other rights under Jewish laws.
  • Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI points out that Matthew 1 is not a perfect historical account that includes every single member of the ancestry of Jesus Christ, saying: ”This was not Matthew’s goal.“ (Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives, 2012, p. 8).
  • Matthew wrote to appeal to the Jews by placing Jesus first and foremost as the Son of Abraham—the Patriarch and Father of Israel promised as part of an everlasting covenant with God (Genesis 17: 6-7), and as the Son of David—the priestly King of Israel, whose ancestors were prophesied to reign forever (2 Samuel: 7:13).

Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba in the Lineage of Jesus

  • Jewish lineages, at the time of Christ, usually did not contain names of women. Christ’s ancestry lists five women in Matthew 1. Of course, we would expect the  Blessed Virgin Mary to be named. But there were four others listed—Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba who came from foreign ancestry or had a reputation for immorality that could have disqualified them from inclusion in the lineage of Jesus Christ.  All were Gentile women who turned away from immoralities or idolatries to become faithful to God in their circumstances.
  • Even if your past life or “family tree” seems dishonorable, Jesus offers you forgiveness, grace, mercy, and a new beginning when you turn to Him. You are part of the family of God, and every day you can have a new life in Christ. Hebrews 2: 11: G”od is not ashamed to call them [or you] brothers and sisters.”
  • Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote on the deeper meaning of the genealogies of Jesus and said:“[T]hose who believe in Jesus enter through faith into Jesus’ unique new origin, and they receive this origin as their own…Joseph did not beget Jesus but was truly born of the Holy Spirit from the Virgin Mary, so it can now be said of us that our true ‘genealogy’ is faith in Jesus who gives us a new origin and …to birth ‘from God” (Jesus of Nazareth, p. 12-13).

Found with Child (Matthew 1: 18-25)

  • Dreams were a common way God communicated with His people in the Old Testament. Joseph did not hesitate in his response to the angel in the dream. He trusted God to work everything out. He willingly exchanged his plans for God’s plans. We could say he leaned into God’s plans.
  • Joseph, from the tribe of Judah and the house of David, a carpenter by trade, became the legal head of this precious family (Abbott Ricciotti, The Life of Christ, 1947).  Joseph is a role model to families—looking for God’s plans and leaning into them. This was the beginning of Joseph’s mission for life. Some have said it this way, Joseph was born for this vocation — to be the father of Jesus and Mary’s most chaste spouse. Like Mary, Joseph said “yes” to his vocation. His entire happiness was in knowing what God wanted him to do and carrying it out to the end ( Fernandez, Conversation with God, Vol. 1, 1997). He was devoted to God and his family.

Our Response

  1. Lean into God’s Plans. Can you picture Joseph’s perplexity when his plans suddenly changed? He was likely building the house, planning the wedding, or earning extra money for the marriage, but he was unprepared to hear Mary’s announcement.  Then God gave him more direction through an angel in a dream.  He leaned in the changes. You can ask yourself: Am I open to changing my plans to fit God’s plan? Talk to Jesus about how you can stay open to God’s plans. What changes can you lean into?
  2. Accept Your Place in God’s Family. If you feel unworthy or unqualified to be part of God’s family, remember Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth. These women changed direction to follow God, joined God’s family, and are part of the lineage of Jesus. It is not too late for your family to come to God.  Ask Jesus to forgive you and your family. Ask him to help you change directions.  Then do what he tells you.

Links

Consider hosting a weekly one-hour Cup of Joy small group study that accompanies each podcast series, especially this one:  A Joy-filled Advent: Journey with the People, Events, and Prayers.  Read more on hosting a CUP of JOY Women or Cup of JOY Gathering small group.  For more information, please email karen@wrapyourselfinjoy.com

You can download a Bookmark of prayer points from A Joy-filled Advent Podcast #1 at my website: WRAPYourselfinJOY.com.

Check out more podcasts here!

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

Needing more JOY or Peace? Join the Chorus of Angels & Shepherds! – A JOY-Filled Advent & Christmas #6

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Jesus Christ is Born -Join the Chorus of Angels & Shepherds!

Jesus Christ is Born – Join the Chorus of Angels & Shepherds!

Needing More JOY and Peace?

Do you need a message that brings MORE JOY and Peace? Join us today for the birth of Jesus and meet the Angels and the Shepherds who have a lot to share. Uniting your heart with the Angel’s Gloria and the Shepherd’s praises will help you know more JOY and peace.

Traveling to Bethlehem

Welcome to Advent JOY Podcast #6, based on my book The Joy Of Advent: Journey With The People, Events And Prayers At The First Coming Of Jesus Christ.  Today, we return to the book of Luke. There we join Blessed Mary and Joseph on their 80-mile journey to Bethlehem. When they arrive, they find it crowded with people, who like Mary and Joseph, had come at the command of Caesar Augustus.

Join us today for these points:

No Home for the Creator of Creation (Luke 2: 1-7)

  • Jesus would be born in Bethlehem, in the City of David, as prophesied by the Old Testament prophet Micah over 700 years earlier and recorded in Micah 5: 1-3.
  • Emperor Caesar Augustus, a master bookkeeper and statistician, likely wanted to keep track of his subjects and kingdom by public enrollment.
  • Joseph had to go to Bethlehem, as he was a descendant of King David. Mary went along too – she may have been required to register, or Joseph wanted her with him.
  • Bishop Fulton J. Sheen explains: Joseph “searched in vain for a place where He, to Whom heaven and earth belonged, might be born. Could the Creator not find a home in creation? …  A stable would be the last place in the world where one would have looked for Him. Divinity is always where one least expects to find it. (Life of Christ, 1958, p. 13-24.
  • Jesus, God Incarnate and the Savior of the World was born and then tightly wrapped in bands of cloth by his mother, Mary, and laid in a manger where animals ate.

The Good News (Luke 2: 8-11)

  • The angel’s message of “Good News” is summarized (v. 10-11): “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the
  • We can say with assurance that Jesus is our Savior, who delivers us from sin and makes us right with God. He is our Messiah, the anointed one who will reign as KING forever.

The Fields Outside of Bethlehem (Luke 2: 12-20)

  • Amazingly, God chooses shepherds—the little, the lowly, the less important of the world (1 Corinthians 1: 28), but also calls himself a shepherd (e.g., “I am the Good Shepherd,” John 10:11). In Ezekiel 34:12-16, God describes himself as one who “shepherds right.” He tends sheep, rescues them, leads them, gives them rest, brings back the lost, binds up the injured, and heals the sick.
  • Jesus is our Shepherd: If at times you feel “lowly,” please know that Christ is YOUR Savior and Shepherd. He came for you! You are His little lamb, and He loves you.
  • Some shepherds around Jerusalem took care of the temple lambs used in the temple sacrifices. Shepherds would wrap lambs born without blemish in swaddling cloths and place them away from the others  (e.g., Leviticus 4-5). Amazingly, the shepherds caring for the temple lambs used for sin offerings would be the first to recognize Jesus Christ, who came as our sin offering forever!

The Angel’s Gloria and the Shepherds Praises (Luke 2: 14-20)

  • We find two beautiful choruses in Luke 2:14-20. First, there’s the Angel’s “Gloria” (v. 14), which is so-called because the first word in  St. Jerome’s Latin translation is “Gloria.”
  • This song of the angels proclaims peace to a world that needs peace as we do now. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; the peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27, NABRE). The only place of true peace is in Jesus; today, we must remind ourselves of this. We can join the angels in praise: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward all.”
  • The second chorus includes the shepherds’ praises (v. 20). They praised God for the good news from the angel and the song of the heavenly host of angels. From them, we learn that praising God for His goodness is a wonderful way to evangelize and get other’s attention on our Savior.

Mary Treasured and Pondered God’s Words (Luke 2: 19)

  • Mary “treasured and pondered” these things in her heart.
  • She gives an example for us in treasuring, pondering, and delighting in the things God has revealed, especially because we have God’s Word in Scripture.

Our Response

Try to put yourself in the scenes with Mary, Jesus, the angels, and the shepherds. Then prayerfully ask:

  1. Am I praising God for sending Jesus, like the angels and shepherds did?
  2. Am I making a “manger” for Jesus in my heart, allowing Him to be my Savior and Lord?
  3. Am I receiving the true joy and peace that Jesus offers?
  4. Am I treasuring God’s Word in my heart as Mary did?

Links

Please consider hosting a weekly one-hour CUP of JOY Women’s small group. Karen provides studies and discussion questions to accompany each podcast and each series.   In February and for Lent, we will start the new series: Esther for This Time: Prayers, Reversals, and JOY.  It is an exciting podcast series about how God answered prayer and sent mighty reversals for a family, people, and nation. Click here to read about hosting a CUP of JOY Women’s small group.  For more information, email karen@wrapyourselfinjoy.com.

Free Bookmarks: You can download a Bookmark of prayer points from A Joy-filled Advent Podcast #1 at my website: WRAPYourselfinJOY.com.

More Podcasts: Check out more podcasts here!

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

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.

Needing Calm? Seek Stillness with God! – A JOY-Filled Advent #4

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Need Calm. Seek Stillness with God!

Zechariah writes, His Name is John!

Needing Calm? Seek Stillness with God!

 Do you need more calm in your life? Today, Zechariah teaches us to seek God in stillness and shows us the joyous blessings. Stillness with God will do the same for you this Advent, giving you more joy and peace!

Advent JOY & the Celebration at Zechariah’s Home

Welcome to Advent JOY Podcast #4, based on my book The Joy Of Advent: Journey With The People, Events, and Prayers At The First Coming Of Jesus Christ.

Today, we are going to a celebration at Zechariah’s home. It’s the circumcision and naming of his newborn boy. Can’t you picture yourself as one of the neighbors who has come to help name the baby born to the old priest Zechariah and his aged wife, Elizabeth? Can you hear yourself say:

“This must be some child—a miracle baby! What a blessing from the Lord for Elizabeth! Zechariah is mute since the last time he went up to serve in the temple.” Join the podcast as we cover these exciting points:

The Circumcision and the Sacrament of Baptism (Luke 1: 56-59)

  • The neighbors come to celebrate the birth and help with the circumcision.
  • Circumcision is a rite by God under the Old Covenant, usually performed on the 8th day after birth. It was a mark on a male and a sign that he was in covenant with God, sanctified for divine service, and a member of the Jewish people.
  • Under the New Covenant, circumcision is not a religious ritual for us (Galatians 5: 6).
  • The circumcision ritual is similar to the Sacrament of Baptism, celebrated with family, friends, and godparents.
  • For the Christian, baptism is a sign one belongs to Christ, is united with Him in His death, and is incorporated into the Church (Hahn, Catholic Bible Dictionary).

The Neighbors Want to Name the Baby Zechariah (Luke 1: 60-66)

  • Zechariah confirms that His name is JOHN.
  • Immediately, Zechariah’s mouth was open, and his tongue was freed.

 Zechariah’s Silent Retreat Results in Joyous Benedictus Blessings (Luke 1: 67-79)

  • Zechariah grew in faith, peace, and trust in stillness with God.
  • Benedictus means Blessed be..the Lord.
  • Zechariah’s prophecy is called a canticle, which means “little song”- a liturgical song from a Biblical text.
  • Zechariah thanks God for the promises to be fulfilled in the Messiah and for His Son John, who would go before the Lord to prepare His way, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by forgiving their sins.

Responding to the Scripture

  • Seek God in stillness. Choose a quiet morning or evening during Advent. Turn off all media and be present with the Lord in adoration, prayer, and Scripture. Sit with God and LISTEN. You may find a new vision, peace, and a deeper relationship with God – the one He wants with you.
  • Let God redeem you. If you are living in any darkness or carrying baggage, Jesus wants to carry your baggage, forgive your sins, and give you peace. “By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Links

Consider hosting a weekly one-hour Cup of Joy small group study that accompanies one of the podcast series, especially this one:  A Joy-filled Advent: Journey with the People, Events, and Prayers.  Read more on hosting a CUP of JOY Women or Cup of JOY Gathering small group.  For information, please email karen@wrapyourselfinjoy.com

You can download a Bookmark of prayer points from A Joy-filled Advent Podcast #1 at my website: WRAPYourselfinJOY.com.

Check out more podcasts here!

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

Stepping Into Your Anointing

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Stepping Into Your Anointing | Psalm 18:20 “He set me free in the open; He rescued me because He loves me.” Janice had a life changing encounter with the writings of St. John Paul II and through the power of the Holy Spirit a deep passion for ministering to women began | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #MagnificatInt'lConference2023 #FollowtheJoy #SteppingIntoYourAnointing #JaniceCharbonnetStepping Into Your Anointing

Psalm 18:20 “He set me free in the open; He rescued me because He loves me.”

Janice Charbonnet had a life-changing encounter with the writings of St. John Paul II, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, a deep passion for ministering to women began.  Born and raised in Canada Janice felt the call to quit her PR coordinator position in Canada and began service as a missionary with NET Ministries, traveling with teams across the US preaching the Gospel to teenagers. Janice moved to the New Orleans area and now serves on the women’s team for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of New Orleans.  She and her husband, Jean, speak at marriage retreats and draw on their life as parents of five children.  Janice preaches freedom in the power of the Holy Spirit.

This talk – Stepping Into Your Anointing, was given at the 17th Magnificat International Leaders Conference in Pittsburgh, PA in October 2023

Known by God

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Known by God | As we begin to take a look at our connection to the Lord, we start with the fact that he deeply and personally knows us. Ideally, we would have had a sense of being known (seen and heard as an individual who is very good) by our parents and caregivers as children | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #FEARLESS #fearless #KnownbyGod #part4Known by God

As we begin to take a look at our connection to the Lord, we start with the fact that he deeply and personally knows us. Ideally, we would have had a sense of being known (seen and heard as an individual who is very good) by our parents and caregivers as children. When that happens, it naturally creates a schema in our minds by which we are able to mature more smoothly and with a positive self-concept. The experience of being regarded as an individual who is seen and heard personally as very good, the way God sees us, becomes the basis for how we view ourselves.

For those of us who did not have such an experience as a child, it’s never too late. The Lord knows each of us in a deeply intimate way and that’s a good thing! He sees each one of us with all the beauty he deposited within us.  We each delight his heart in a very special way no one else does or ever can. You are made to reflect an aspect of his magnificence in a way no one ever has or ever will. You are not a number to him. Scripture tells us he has even counted the hairs of our head. He is the most loving father there ever could be.  He has called us to be his children. With him as father, it’s never too late to have a great childhood.

Oftentimes, we hear or read about having a personal relationship with the Lord. Do we consider he knows us each, personally? That is the starting place. He is the one who has initiated our relationship. Imagine how a good parent delights in their newborn or toddler. Such joy is not in what the child can do for them, but simply for whom the child is. God delights in each of us the same way. He sees in us unique characteristics of his own design. His father’s heart is filled with love at the sight of each of us.

This is the heart of God. This is the well from which he wants us to draw living waters. The well of his heart is infinite, superabundant and will never run dry. There is always a deeper intimacy he has for each of us and for which he longs. Intimacy with him is the source of deepest fulfillment. He longs for us to experience being known by him. He desires to give us this gift, his love, himself. Learning to draw this living water of his love is a process. Drinking these life-giving waters takes time in prayer and conscious effort. When so much noise clamors around us, it is necessary to remind ourselves of the presence of God so we can be lifted above the noise.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. Is there a way or a place you experience God’s love as personal?
  2. At what times is it particularly challenging to remember the Lord is with you?
  3. Is it difficult for you to believe God sees you as an individual? Why?
  4. What is something that draws you into deeper intimacy with God?

Prayer

Pray Psalm 139.

Action Step

Find a way to remind yourself throughout the day of the Lord’s presence with you.

Journaling/Further Reflection

Consider how you did or did not feel known as an individual who was very good when you were a child. Invite the Lord into whatever memories come and ask him what he wants you to know. Note what comes to mind.

Scriptures for Meditation

Jeremiah 1:5

Nahum 1:7

Psalm 139

John 10:14

John 10:27

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

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.

 

The Visitation & JOY of Fellowship – A JOY-Filled Advent #3

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Today, we witness the visitation of Mary and the Joy of fellowship. Do you need more JOY in your life? Who doesn’t? Advent is the perfect time to receive and share more JOY with others! Mary and Elizabeth will show us how.

Join us today as we travel with Mary 90 miles to the home of Zechariah and Elizabeth. We will drop in on a special meeting of hearts to partake in the delight, the prayer, and the JOY of Fellowship.

The Advent JOY Podcast

Welcome to A JOY-Filled Advent Podcast #3, based on my book The Joy of Advent: Journey with the People, Events, and Prayers at the First Coming of Jesus Christ.  Last week, we heard how God supernaturally begot the Son of God in the Virgin Mary and gave an old woman, Elizabeth, past her time conceiving a child. We discovered any barrenness in life can become a breakthrough! “For nothing is impossible with God!”

Advent JOY in the Hill Country

Today, we travel with Mary down the 90-mile road from Nazareth to the Hill Country of Judea, near Jerusalem. We will drop in on Mary’s visit to her old cousin Elizabeth. Both women are expecting, rejoicing over the births to come, and thrilled to see each other.  Join the podcast today as we cover these exciting points:

The Visitation – Leaping for JOY (Luke 1: 39-45)

  • John the Baptist leaps for Joy
  • Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaims words of JOY.
  • Mary praises and skips with JOY.
  • Jesus is always joy-filled—even in the womb!

The JOY of Fellowship – God Knows Our Need (Luke 1: 31-33)

  • Fellowship in the Scriptures is translated from New Testament Greek Koinonia, occurring 20 times in the New Testament.
  • Elizabeth brought out Mary’s JOY, and Mary brought out Elizabeth’s JOY. True fellowship strengthens and encourages faith.
  • Elizabeth praises Mary for believing Gabriel.
  • The Holy Spirit reveals the presence of Jesus in Mary’s womb to Elizabeth.

The Magnificat – Mary’s Song of Praise (Luke 1: 46-56)

  • Magnificat was the first word in Luke 1: 46 found in St. Jerome’s Latin translation of the Bible (4th-century common language of the people) and it means “my soul magnifies.”
  • The Magnificat is a canticle – a liturgical song from a Biblical text.
  • The Magnificat shows Mary’s love for Scripture. She knew the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) well.
  • The Magnificat reflects themes from many Old Testament Scriptures – the powerful arm of God, His mercy to all, His justice and faithfulness, and His care for the poor and afflicted (e.g., 1 Samuel 2:1-10 and Psalm 34:2, 35: 9, 103: 17, 107: 9, 132: 11, 138: 6).

 Three Months of Sharing Hearts

  • We can only imagine the comfort Mary and Elizabeth must have been to each other. They talked of the Scriptures to be fulfilled because they knew well the promises regarding the Messiah and the one who would precede Him. They shared the stories about Gabriel as his message had changed each of their lives. They would have known of Gabriel’s former visitations and announcements recorded in Daniel 9.

Advent Application

  • We can respond to these verses of JOY shared between Mary and Elizabeth by 1) Asking God for Advent JOY (He wants to give us His JOY), 2) Rejoicing in God’s goodness, 3) Preserving a quiet time for prayer, and 4) Sharing JOY with others, especially during Advent. God has JOY for YOU.

Links

Consider hosting a weekly one-hour Cup of Joy small group study that accompanies one of the podcast series, especially this one:  A Joy-filled Advent: Journey with the People, Events, and Prayers.

Read more on hosting a CUP of JOY Women or Cup of JOY Gathering small group.  For information, please email karen@wrapyourselfinjoy.com

You can download a Bookmark of prayer points from A Joy-filled Advent Podcast #1 at my website: WRAPYourselfinJOY.com.

Check out more podcasts here!

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

Chosen for Divine Intimacy

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Chosen for Divine Intimacy | Chosen for Divine Intimacy. God chose each of us individually out of all the possibilities of people to create, redeem, sanctify, and call into a relationship with himself for all eternity. I remember hearing that there is a one in 400 quadrillion chance for each one of us to be created | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #FEARLESS #fearless #ConnectiontoGod #ChosenforDivineIntimacy #FEARLESSChapter3 #ChosenforDivineIntimacyFEARLESSChapter3Chosen for Divine Intimacy

It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you… – John 15:16

FEARLESS Chapter 3 Chosen for Divine Intimacy. God chose each of us individually out of all the possibilities of people to create, redeem, sanctify, and call into a relationship with himself for all eternity. I remember hearing that there is a one in 400 quadrillion chance for each one of us to be created. Yet, it wasn’t by chance but by the intentional choice of the Lord of all creation. Not only did he choose for us to exist, but to exist within him, and he desires to permeate us with his presence completely. Such an intimate relationship can only be hinted at by the intimacy of marriage.

We are conceived first and foremost in the Holy Trinity and are members of the Holy Family with Jesus as our brother. Anyone who truly knew and understood this would most certainly choose him, and yet he tells us it was rather he who chose us. Our task is to internalize the fact that we are chosen, and the life that results is a life of ever-deepening gratitude and joy.

He longs for us, and with him is where we belong. He is the Prince of Peace, and we are made for Him.  As we accept his choice of us and live ever more fully and deeply as members of his family, we experience his reign over us and are permeated by and become instruments of his peace, bringing others more fully into their citizenship in his Kingdom.

This is the starting point, the foundation. He gave it all, even his life and his Holy Spirit, to show us that he will go to any lengths and do all that is necessary to be with us always and forever. Everything else hinges on this foundation, that we were personally selected by he who is all-good, out of his infinite love, that we might be transformed by love and live in union with him.

Every other hope for being chosen pales in comparison to the belonging we have had from the moment of conception. Internalizing and responding to this fact is to be the bottom line of our relationship with him.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. What do you think when you consider the fact that you don’t have to try to be chosen but that you are already chosen by God?
  2. How do you feel knowing that bringing the possibility of you to reality was a distinct and intentional choice of God?
  3. Does knowing this change how you see yourself?  God?  Others? Life?   If so, how?

Prayer

Heavenly Father, Creator of all things and my Creator thank you for choosing to bring me into existence to share your life and love for all eternity.  Please give me the grace never to forget that fact about myself and to relate to others in a way that acknowledges that same dignity.  Amen.

Action Step

Put a note on your bathroom mirror to remind you that God has selected you.

Journaling/Further Reflection

Consider what would be different if you lived completely out of the truth that you are God’s choice, and jot down what comes to you.

Scriptures for Meditation

Isaiah 43:1

John 15:16

Romans 8:29-30

Ephesians 1:3-4

Jesus Rejoices in the Father

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Jesus Rejoices in the Father | This is a moment with Scripture reflecting on the Gospel of Luke 10: 21- 24. Let's set the framework for this reflection. 72 disciples have returned from the mission. Jesus sent them on a mission to every town and place he intended to visit | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #JesusRejoicesintheFatherJesus Rejoices in the Father

This is a moment with Scripture reflecting on the Gospel of Luke 10: 21- 24. Let’s set the framework for this reflection. 72 disciples have returned from the mission. Jesus sent them on a mission to every town and place he intended to visit. A mission that sent them like lambs among wolves it sounds like a recipe for failure. Doesn’t it? Instead, they returned rejoicing because even the demons were subject to them when they invoked Jesus’s name. But Jesus tells them to rejoice, not because of the demon subjugation. Rather, rejoice because their names have been written in heaven. Moreover, this is the cause for Jesus’s spontaneous rejoicing and giving praise to the Father in the opening passage of Luke’s gospel. Just who are these 72 disciples? They’re humble souls to whom God has revealed the mysteries of his Kingdom.

In contrast to the trained religious leaders who may be puffed up with pride. From whom God has hidden the mysteries. This reversal is found elsewhere in Scripture. Recall the lowly shepherds to whom the birth of Jesus was first revealed. One would hardly call them wise and learn this great reversal being worked out by God is a reason for Jesus’s joyful praise. Yes, father, he says. Such has been your gracious will. As Christians, we all share in Jesus’s mission by virtue of our baptism. We don’t have to become scholars to bear witness to the Father. Son and Holy Spirit, this happens through the gift of faith. The same gift was given to the 72 disciples. It happens by the way we live our everyday lives. Uniting our love with the love of Jesus, to whom all things have been handed over by his father.

Deacon David Hockwalt was 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 at magnificat-ministry

Deacon David Hockwalt – A Moment in Scripture Reflection 12.2023

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.

 

“For Nothing Is Impossible with God” – A JOY-Filled ADVENT # 2

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
A Joy-Filled Advent - Nothing is Impossible with God

A Joy-Filled Advent The Annunciation- Nothing is Impossible with God

JOY in Nazareth

Welcome to A JOY-filled Advent, Podcast #2.  It’s based on my book The Joy of Advent: Journey with the People, Events and Prayers at the First Coming of Jesus Christ.  Last week we met the Archangel Gabriel, who appeared to Zechariah in the temple after 430 years of silence from heaven. When Zechariah disbelieved his announcement, Gabriel gave him a 9-month silent retreat.  This week, we follow Luke 1: 26 to a small town in Galilee, the hometown of Mary and Joseph, to hear another announcement called The Annunciation in the Catholic Church.  Join our journey today as we visit Mary, hear of a Savior to be born, and learn that “nothing is impossible with God.”

 Another Message from Gabriel (Luke 1: 26-30)

  • The powerful Archangel Gabriel brings the second announcement– this time to a young girl in Nazareth.
  • This most important heavenly Annunciation comes to a girl in a remote village where you might least expect it to occur. BUT God causes miracles to happen in the most unlikely and even ungodly places when people are open to Him.
  • The recipient of the Great Annunciation is Mary, a virgin teenager, engaged to Joseph in the lineage of David, which points to the Old Testament prophesies soon to be fulfilled.

Jesus Name by His Heavenly Father (Luke 1: 31-33)

  • The Baby would be named Jesus, Yeshua in Hebrew and derived from Yahweh – the Most Holy Name of God in the Old Testament. The message is clear: Yahweh God would name His son Yeshua after Himself.
  • Truly, Jesus would be the Son of God and fulfill  Isaiah 7: 14: Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel (God with us).

Mary’s Fiat (Luke 1: 34-38)

  • “Fiat” is the first word of Luke 1: 38 in the early Latin Bible translation and it means “let it be.” This was Mary’s “YES.”  
  • Mary received the Word of God, surrendered, and entrusted herself and her life to God’s will. Mary gives us this example of how to seek and accept God’s will: Listen, Dialogue with God, and Surrender.

God’s Power

  • Some may find it hard to believe in the virgin birth. But the virgin birth and incarnation are essential parts of our Christian faith.
  • The incarnation means God became man, reaching out to mankind.  In no other religion does God “become flesh” (John 1: 14), “accept the limitations of humanity,” come to earth to show His love, and then die for the sins of all (Fulton Sheen, 1958, Life of Christ, p. 19). St. Augustine says that when we cannot understand this miracle, “Let us grant that God can do something which we confess we cannot fathom. God is the God of the impossible!” (John Willis, 2002, Teachings of the Church Fathers).
  • For example, Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli told God he felt barren in his old age and then received a great miracle!
  • If you are unsure about God’s power to accomplish miracles or significant changes in your own life, consider this: If God can supernaturally beget the Son of God in a virgin and give an old woman Elizabeth, past her time of conceiving a child, God can fix the barrenness in your life too. If you feel unproductive or barren, ask the Holy Spirit to come upon you in new ways and to open new doors where least expected. He will give you a breakthrough! “For nothing is impossible with God!”

Links

Consider hosting a weekly one-hour Cup of Joy small group study that accompanies one of the podcast series, especially this one:  A Joy-filled Advent: Journey with the People, Events, and Prayers.

Read more on hosting a CUP of JOY Women or Gathering small groups.  For information, please email karen@wrapyourselfinjoy.com

You can download a Bookmark of prayer points from A Joy-filled Advent Podcast #1 at my website: WRAPYourselfinJOY.com.

Check out more podcasts here!

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

Power OF The Holy Spirit- Fr. Dave Pivonka

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Power OF The Holy Spirit - Fr. Dave Pivonka | One of the struggles we have in the Church today is that we get exactly what we expect. We do not expect much as a people, parish, and community. We do not see the Lord do great things because we do not expect him to | #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicpodcast #catholicpriest #testimony #CatholicTestimony #MagnificatInt'lConference2023 #PowerOFTheHolySpiritFr.DavePivonka #PowerOFTheHolySpirit #Fr.DavePivonkaPower OF The Holy Spirit – Fr. Dave Pivonka

One of the struggles we have in the Church today is that we get exactly what we expect. We do not expect much as a people, parish, and community. We do not see the Lord do great things because we do not expect him to. If we open our world, we will see God do amazing remarkable things. We need the Holy Spirit. We would then see things that have been there all along, but we just weren’t aware of it. The Holy Spirit wants us to see a world that is supernatural. A world of power, grace, freedom, and mercy. The Holy Spirit is the one that opens that up. There is lot of anxiety in our world today.

‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.’ Romans 15:3 ‘Hope does not disappoint because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.’ Romans 5:5. Our hope is in God and that can only happen through the power of the Holy Spirit. Because of that we can go through trials and tribulations and not be disappointed. Our question to God then changes from ‘why is this happening’ to ‘what do you want me to see?’

Fr. Pivonka is a well-known Catholic speaker, author, Priest, and President.  He received his undergraduate degree in 1989 from Franciscan University and has since earned a master’s in theology a doctorate in education and an executive juris doctorate.  He was ordained in 1996 and after holding various positions at Franciscan University of Steubenville was elected President of the University in May of 2019.  Fr. Dave has served as Director of Post- Novitiate Formation for Franciscans and hosts the Wild Goose video series on the Holy Spirit, a documentary on St Francis of Assisi and Metanoia.  Fr. Dave is the author of 7 books including Living Metanoia and Finding Freedom and Fulfillment in Christ.  He is the host of Franciscan University Presents and host a popular pod cast, They That Hope.  Fr. Dave believes that God is laying a foundation for revival in our Church and that Franciscan University is being invited to be the center of that revival.

As we too pray for revival in our church, let us place ourselves in the presences of our Heavenly Father, inviting the Holy Spirit to Enter In and allow Him to heal us, fill us and use us as only He can.

Enter In was given at the 17th Magnificat International Leaders Conference in Pittsburgh, PA in October 2023.

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

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

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Connection to God

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Connection to God | FEARLESS Chapter 2 Connection to God. Jesus is the bread of life.  He is the food for which we are made. What does food do? It nourishes us, gives us energy. Good food makes us healthy, bad food makes us sick, poisoned food can even kill us, but without food we would die a painful death. Fundamentally, food satisfies us. We eat so that we can live | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #FEARLESS #fearless #ConnectiontoGod #FEARLESSChapter2 #ConnectiontoGodFEARLESSChapter2Connection to God

FEARLESS Chapter 2 Connection to God. Jesus is the bread of life.  He is the food for which we are made. What does food do? It nourishes us, gives us energy. Good food makes us healthy, bad food makes us sick, poisoned food can even kill us, but without food we would die a painful death. Fundamentally, food satisfies us. We eat so that we can live.

Communion – deep, personal, intimate connection with God – is essential to being healthy and vivacious rather than sick, malnourished, and dying. If our connection to God is only in physical reception of the Eucharist and not in spiritual intimacy, then we are missing out on that for which our soul is ultimately yearning and seeking. He has so much more to offer us than for us to just go through the motions of receiving him. He longs for us to unite ourselves to him fully in every aspect of our person. He wants every facet of us to be nourished and healthy.

We are made for healthy food, but if we do not have access to it, we are still driven to eat. Eventually, we’ll settle for chips, a candy bar, or a soda because our hunger demands to be fed. If we don’t make planful and intentional choices, we will run the risk of making impulsive ones. It is the same way with being fed spiritually, emotionally and relationally. We are made for God who is infinite. Only he can fully satisfy our hunger. If we aren’t feeding on him in all of these ways, who or what are we consuming? Whatever or whomever it is, it won’t fill us because it isn’t able to, no matter how hard we or they try.

If we treat the spiritual life – our communion with God – as dessert or a side dish, nothing will be smooth, peaceful, or fulfilling for very long. Ultimately, we’ll be making unrealistic demands of our very nature as we seek to be patient, understanding and committed to others. We have to be fed first. We cannot give what we don’t have. To try to do so is like jumping off a building and expecting to fly. If we are hoping to be fed by others, we are setting ourselves, and them, up for an impossible task that is bound to end in stagnation, dependence, resentment, or destruction.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. In what way(s) do you feel like you’re running on empty – emotionally, spiritually or relationally malnourished?
  2. In what way(s) do you find yourself trying to be fed elsewhere? How is that working out?
  3. In what new way(s) can you allow the Lord to feed you?

Prayer

Lord, we are made for you and you generously empty your infinite self for us at every moment. Please bring us to deeper awareness of our need for you and your desire to be our fulfillment. We thank you for longing to answer this prayer beyond our wildest hopes. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Action Step

Before you check your phone in the morning or get out of bed, ask the Lord to fill you with himself and spend a couple of minutes receiving his love before your feet even hit the floor.

Journaling/Further Reflection

Ask the Lord to show you in what area(s) you are running without his nourishment and how he wants to be your sustenance so you can start to live your life from a place of fulfillment. Note what he puts on your heart.

Scriptures for Meditation

Luke 18:1

John 14:6

John 15:5-7

1 Thessalonians 5:17

Jude 1:21

 

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

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.

God Hears & God Answers; Don’t Give Up Hope – A JOY-Filled Advent #1

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

God Hear & God Answers

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

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

The Meaning of Advent

  • Advent comes from the Latin word “adventus, ” meaning “coming.”
  • The Advent season helps us focus on the present coming of Jesus in our lives and on increasing our desire for His presence every day.

The People, Prayers, and Events

  • This podcast will help you discover the people, prayers, and events so important to Jesus’ first coming.
  • You will meet Zechariah, Elizabeth, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Joseph, John the Baptist, the Angels, the Shepherds, Simeon, Anna, and the Magi.
  • It’s as if we will travel with them and partake in the most meaningful events in their lives.

The First of Two Annunciations

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

Gabriel, The Might of God and No Puny Angel

  •  Gabriel may sound harsh to you, but he has a gentle side too.  We have to consider the circumstances: the GREAT Archangel Gabriel had been sent by God to  O
  • Poor Zechariah—the Archangel Gabriel just couldn’t take his unbelief so with one look he muted Zechariah for the next nine months.
  • Gabriel is no puny angel –  “Gabriel” in New Testament Greek means “the Might of God.”

Personal Reflection

  • After listening to the podcast, please reflect on the powerful message of Zechariah, Elizabeth, and us in the first part of Luke 1: God hears. God answers.  Don’t give up on God.
  • Have you ever prayed for something so long that you gave up? Have you ever received more than you expected – just as you were about to give up?
  • St. Jerome wrote about Zechariah: “Your prayer is heard…that is to say you are given more than you asked for. You prayed for the salvation of the people and you have been given the Precursor” [John the Baptist] (Souvay, 1910, The Catholic Encyclopedia – Zacharias).
  • While Zechariah was praying and waiting and giving up on prayer all those years, he did not know that God was preparing Joseph and Mary and so, he had to wait just a little longer.

Application and Prayer Points

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

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

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

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

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

(e) Thank God. Let the Lord know that you trust your life and circumstances to Him.

Links

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

Check out more podcasts here!

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