6th Sunday of Easter – Bread of Life Bible Study

6th Sunday of Easter: Living a life conforming to the prompting of the Holy Spirit is not easy. We have so many distractions in our everyday living.6th Sunday of Easter-C. May 22, 2022 – Bread of Life Bible Study

Today, living a life conforming to the prompting of the Holy Spirit is not easy. We have so many distractions in our everyday living, that only the Holy Spirit could empower us to remember with clarity the obedience that’s needed to walk the Christian walk.

“There is a famine today that is raging across this great land of ours. There is a deep hunger and thirst for the healing Word of God … With humility, boldness, and energy, we must personally hear the Word, pray the Word, study the Word, proclaim the Word, and live the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (from Introduction for The Bread of Life Bible Study)

Today’s podcast is based on the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study and presented by the coauthor, Marie Finn. Please visit the website: www.StDismasGuild.org for more information and for supplemental materials.

We pray that today maybe a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast. May the Lord speak to each heart the words He wants us to hear!

Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this sharing will help us better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness, and are called to “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Join with us as we come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me. Holy is His Name!

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

Presence of God

Presence of God | For a Christian the presence of God is an amazing feeling and even without that feeling we have faith that God is with us always.Presence of God – Special Replay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Call To Action:

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

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

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

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

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

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

5th Sunday of Easter

5th Sunday of Easter: Jesus's love for us shows us that there is no glory like that of being loved. Let that sink in for a moment.5th Sunday of Easter-C, May 15, 2022 – Bread of Life Bible Study

Jesus’s love for us shows us that there is no glory like that of being loved. Let that sink in for a moment. He died for you because he loved you just as you are, not as you should be.

 

“There is a famine today that is raging across this great land of ours. There is a deep hunger and thirst for the healing Word of God … With humility, boldness, and energy, we must personally hear the Word, pray the Word, study the Word, proclaim the Word, and live the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (from Introduction for The Bread of Life Bible Study)

 

Today’s podcast is based on the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study and presented by the coauthor, Marie Finn. Please visit the website: www.StDismasGuild.org for more information and for supplemental materials.

We pray that today maybe a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast. May the Lord speak to each heart the words He wants us to hear!

Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this sharing will help us better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness, and are called to “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Join with us as we come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me. Holy is His Name!

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

Holy Spirit Spiritual Journey

A spiritual journey is personal and it is different for each one of us, what is your story? How will your journey look in the future?Holy Spirit – Spiritual Journey ~ Episode 203

A spiritual journey is personal and it is different for each one of us, and it begins with faith and a large dose of the Holy Spirit. God promised He would not leave us orphans and the infilling of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was this gift to us and it continues today.

Many Christians remember the exact date when they “came to the Lord,” had a “Come to Jesus moment,” or accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Today I will share part of my spiritual journey with you and how you can walk with the Lord daily.

I wrote a short book about my spiritual journey entitled “One More Child,” which is available on Amazon. This wasn’t an easy book to write and yet, I felt called to share my story in case it would help others.

Everyone’s journey toward God is different. Some are more exciting than others, my story is one that is mediocre in the sense that I didn’t come from a place of great sin or loss, but I believe that those of us who come to the Lord in a deeper way find that for us the transformation is no less astounding. I was born a cradle Catholic in a family that loved God. We served an Almighty God and my parents were great believers. In our home, we had a family with several Bibles a few were in Italian and some in English. Coming from an Italian family that is no surprise.

Having been brought up with faith, the real test is leaving home and carrying on with this faith in our young teen and then later adult lives. I ask my kids and young people that I have taught at church – is your faith yours or your parent’s faith? It is interesting to hear the different responses. If we do not make it our own faith it will not be sustained and some of us, even adults still struggle with our faith.

As a young child, I often spoke to God, in a conversational sense more than in a way that was holy. As an eight-year, old I asked God to move a mountain as we were driving down the road, because of the scripture about having faith more than mustard sees – Matthew 17:20 states:  [Listen to the audio.]

As you can imagine, that didn’t work. And that is when doubt seeped in. What happens when our faith is tested? For many of us it is a time of reflection and contemplation. For an eight-year-old, it leads to disappointment.

When I was a child I received Baptism and professed my faith at the time of Confirmation. Fast forward into my adulthood and I found that going it alone was not so great – I was relying on myself and when things failed there was nowhere to go and no one else to point to, but when I realized I needed to rekindle my childhood relationship with God and place it on a new and deeper level, that is when faith began to blossom, and just in time.

I truly accepted the Lord during a time in college when a friend reached out to me about salvation. I believed I was saved since I had always followed the Lord, but I felt that accepting the Lord in front of someone else was a testimony to this faith. The scriptures tell us whoever is in Christ is a new creation – 2 Corinthians 5:17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!  Jesus wants to make us a new creation through the power of the Holy Spirit. That is His power over us to bless our lives. We become spirit-filled and then the fruits of the spirit among them love, peace and joy come into our lives.

Yet, religion without a relationship is hollow, it is to have knowledge with no heart. A relationship with the maker of heaven and earth is the key. The relationship is meant to bring us closer to God. Faith should be demonstrated, taught, and it is truly our inheritance, yet it must become our own, and our relationship with the Lord is at the front and center. Getting there is a journey.

When I finally re-gave my life back to God and prayed for God’s will in my life that is when things began to turn around. When I began to think seriously about marriage I prayed to the Lord to provide and in this prayer, I shared with the Lord that if I was to remain single that was fine as well –and I meant it. It gave me a sense of peace and freedom.

I learned that wanting control in life was a lost cause, our lives are not always controllable, our actions and choices yes, and we must make wise decisions, but sometimes things just happen and bad things happen to good people. There are questions in this life we can not answer. My spiritual journey has hit some roadblocks where I felt stagnant but then continued to persevere.

Do I wish I could spend more time with God? Yes. Do I always do that? No. The choice and decision to spend time with God in contemplation is one way I have learned to get closer to the Almighty.

My spiritual journey has had many ups and downs. There were times I struggled or I was upset with the Lord, as I believed He had given me more than I could handle. During these times, I wallowed in self-pity until I was able to realize the greater truth and the lesson in my struggles. The truth was I could not do life alone without God and I did not want to. I wanted to travel the road well worn, but that path did not take me toward God but away from Him and instead of happiness all I felt was dissatisfaction.  The Narrow Gate Matthew 7:14-14.

The narrow gate leads to the way, the truth, and the life which is found in the love of God. Jesus picked up His cross not for His sins but for ours. When we follow the Lord we expect everything to go well, after all, we are Christians, and as the song says, “They will know we are Christians by our love.” But, what happens when things are not wonderful and glorious?

Walking with the Lord is wonderful but it is a journey. As I work on my journey, I pray you will work on your own journey and I invite you to join me! The challenge this week is to spend time with God and grow closer and write down your story about your personal spiritual journey. I pray you are blessed.

 

5 ways to Care for your Soul

Our soul needs care just as our body does. This week, I’m offering 5 suggestions that help me be the Christian witness I want to be and live notlukewarm!

Five Ways

  1. Start your day with a prayer.
  2. Read scripture.
  3. Spend time in nature, noticing the beauty of God’s creation.
  4. Sit in silence for a short time.
  5. Practice gratitude.

Why do this?

As the saying goes, “you cannot pour from an empty cup.” Our ability to give to others is often determined by our internal state. And while taking care of our body is important, we cannot forget about our soul. In fact, from my own experience, I will say that my soul comes first, then I can do the rest of what is needed.

The challenge this week? Do it all! I guess I’m feeling a bit motivated or in need of soul care? God knows!

Need a speaker

Take a look at LiveNotLukewarm for ways to connect and have me come to your group.

 

 

Faith and Trauma

Fr. David Tickerhoof, TOR discusses the effects of trauma and what you can do about them with trauma therapist Margaret Vasquez.Because the particularly hurtful events we endure can become encoded in the brain in a way where they continue to be experienced as current rather than past, we can be effected in a wide variety of ways without even being aware.  We can end up stuck in a fight or flight response that can significantly limit our freedom to act or respond from love rather than fear.  This knee-jerk reaction mode can lead to a breakdown in our sense of connection to our very selves and this most often flows out to others.  As it turns out, “love your neighbor as yourself” is as much descriptive of how we tend to relate as it is prescriptive of how we ought to relate.  That is, we do tend to connect healthily to others to the extent that we are healthily connected to ourselves.

Since the spiritual life is about relationship to the Holy Trinity, the Church triumphant, the Church militant, and the Church suffering those relationships can, too, become quite muddled, unnecessarily complicated, and breakdown when we live out of the emotions and mindsets of painful and threatening experiences.  The good news is that it need not be so!

In this three part series, you’ll come to understand the effects of trauma on yourself and on others, what you can do to lessen or eliminate those effects, and live in the peace, joy, and freedom of the Love who casts out all fear.  Human and spiritual integration is essential to bring those spiritual concepts into our daily lives and relationships.  When we operate from a place of compassion we build the culture we were made for – one of connection, Communion, and personal integration.  Fr. David Tickerhoof, TOR discusses the effects of trauma and what you can do about them with author and veteran professional counselor and trauma therapist Margaret Vasquez.

Human and Spiritual Integration Series Podcast Summaries
Fr. David Tickerhoof, TOR and Margaret Vasquez, LPCC, CTT, CITTI

 

 

 

Nicodemus Seeks Answers Jn. 3:7-15 Deacon David Hockwalt

Nicodemus Seeks Answers. We trust that this reflection will help us all better understand that we are truly children of God.A Moment in Scripture- ‘Nicodemus Seeks Answers John 3:7-15 by Deacon David Hockwalt

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.

We pray that today may be a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this reflection. Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this reflection will help us all better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness. We want to come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me and holy is His Name!

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

4th Sunday of Easter – C

4th Sunday of Easter. The role of a shepherd was very well known. A flock of sheep knew their master by the sound of his voice.4th Sunday of Easter, C – May 8, 2022 – Bread of Life Bible Study

The role of a shepherd was very well known in Palestine, and they knew that a flock of sheep knew their master by the sound of his voice. When God speaks we  must listen to him, or else we risk pushing the truth out of our lives. Jesus says, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

“There is a famine today that is raging across this great land of ours. There is a deep hunger and thirst for the healing Word of God … With humility, boldness, and energy, we must personally hear the Word, pray the Word, study the Word, proclaim the Word, and live the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (from Introduction for The Bread of Life Bible Study)

Today’s podcast is based on the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study and presented by the coauthor, Marie Finn. Please visit the website: www.StDismasGuild.org for more information and for supplemental materials.

We pray that today maybe a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast. May the Lord speak to each heart the words He wants us to hear!

Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this sharing will help us better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness, and are called to “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Join with us as we come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me. Holy is His Name!

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

Growing Spiritually Serving Others

Be sure to subscribe to this podcast or listen to this here – online. You can download this talk on your computer or you can listen on your phone. Share this podcast with a friend.

Growing Spiritually Serving Others: In this episode, we will explore ways to grow spiritually and serving others.Tools for Growing Spiritually Serving Others

In this episode, we will explore ways to grow spiritually and serving others.

Show Notes: Tools for Growth in Serving Others

In the First Letter of John, the writer speaks of the anointing we who are baptized have from Christ. “But you have the anointing that comes from the holy one, and you have knowledge…As for you, the anointing that you received from him remains in you, so that you do not need anyone to teach you. But his anointing teaches you everything and is true and not false, just as it taught you, remain in him.” (1 Jn.2: 20-27)

The “anointing” referred to here is the gift of the Holy Spirit given to the baptized, source of wisdom and understanding. The Jerusalem Catechizes, presented in the Liturgy on the Octave of Easter Friday also speaks about the anointing with the Holy Spirit.

“When we were baptized into Christ and clothed ourselves in him, we were transformed into the likeness of the Son of God. Having destined us to be his adopted sons and daughters, God gave us a likeness to Christ in his glory, and living as we do in communion with Christ, God’s anointed, we ourselves are rightly called “the anointed ones.” When he said: Do not touch my anointed ones, God was speaking of us…But we too have been anointed with oil, and by this anointing, we have entered into fellowship with Christ and have received a share in his life.

This year we are now in the midst of celebrating the great season of the Pascal Mystery. It is the heart and core of the life and power of our Christian life. As Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed, during the Vatican Council II,  the Paschal Mystery is the heart and center of the Council’s teaching, and as such is the heart and core of a Christian’s life. How should we view this very clear teaching in relationship to the Church’s Grace of Renewal? In the spiritual renewal movements, the approach is usually a seminar which prepares one to be prayed for “a new empowerment of the Holy Spirit.” There is plenty of evidence of the wonderful things that happen for a person who has had this experience, and if one feels drawn in that direction of renewal, seeking to receive an empowerment of the Holy Spirit, a new special grace of spiritual refreshment, I highly encourage it.

However, I am proposing a different approach to a similar reality, which I have called the spiritual experience of the Church’s Grace of Renewal and Reform. The basic scriptural reference that I suggest is the Easter Sunday night experience of the disciples gathered in the upper room, recorded in St. John’s Gospel (Jn.20: 19-23). The heart and core of this approach is the full gamut of the Paschal Mystery, which includes the sending of the Spirit by the Father and Jesus. Certainly, we would need a preparation program including a series of teachings. The prayer of spiritual anointing and commissioning at its conclusion could be termed, the Baptism of the Spirit in the Paschal Mystery. The starting point of the threefold empowerment of the Resurrection, the Cross, and the Spirit would be the experience of the Glorified Risen Lord and Savior. It would also certainly include the empowerment of the Spirit and the Spiritual Gifts.

It is with this understanding in which I am presenting four opportunities to provide for others some tools for growth. In a previous reflective teaching, I presented some tools that focused on spiritual growth for individuals. Now in this teaching, I want to present a few tools that focus on group opportunities for others who may be seeking a relational program that is ongoing and growth producing in holiness of life. This reflective podcast teaching is going to concentrate on four opportunities which the podcast sponsors or supports for serving the spiritual growth of other brothers and sisters. In outreach, to others, this teaching is going to review the possibilities of serving a person or a group of individuals, who may want to be in relationship with others for the ways and means of spiritual growth and/or service to others. These four opportunities are ways of doing Evangelization.

The first tool which we want to consider is Power Focused Intercession. This means of growth, healing, and empowerment for others is looked at in some of the other podcast presentations. (The Path to Spiritual Freedom) Some of us may feel a real disconnect when we pray for others, or In the “Universal Prayers of the Faithful,” when it is hard to connect with the petitions. So we may settle for a dry cerebral or a disconnected prayer. We don’t seem to have a dynamic connection with the individual or group we are praying for.

This doesn’t mean that our intellectual prayer recitations for others are not blessed by God, they are! But what we want to try and do is proclaim and promote that we can have a connected grace-filled experience when we pray for others, which comes from our hearts and is experientially based. Where real change and miraculous results in the lives for whom we pray are happening.

Recognizing that in this approach we are exercising the beautiful truth that we are members of the Mystical Body of Christ, and Jesus wants to give to us an invitation to join him in ministering a powerful happening in grace for the benefit of others. The key is in knowing how to connect up with the powerful working of the glorified Lord’s grace for the specific needs of an individual or group.

The simple formula: I am sorry for all the hard, painful, and difficult things that have happened to you. I take limitless responsibility for all that has happened to you! Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you. Now before we are tempted to begin a rationalization that finds some difficulties, let’s take a look at how this formula is prayed in a direct union with the Lord himself.

We are members of the Mystical Body of Christ, by virtue of our water Baptism. We are in a dynamic personal relationship with the glorified Lord Jesus and one another. We are all the Body of Christ. This truth is the foundational truth in which we begin our intercession for another person or group.

The night of the Resurrection the glorified Jesus, who had already ascended to the right hand of the Father appears and says, Peace be with you! (Shalom!) It is done! I have accomplished it all! It is over and done with! Jesus gives the disciples and us the full experience of the Paschal Mystery. He breathes on them and says: “Receive the Holy Spirit…”, and commissions them to do also with others what he has accomplished and gives to them, and he will do it in them! In Romans chapter 8 it says, that both Jesus and the Spirit do intercession for us.

When we express our sorrow for the person we are praying for, we immediately leave our mere human desire and place ourselves in the heavenly plane; in total union with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We have just entered the supernatural realm. We then picture the person or group we are praying for and we enter into union with our glorified Lord and all that this means in light of that event, the Lord does the actual intercession, reparation, atonement prayer in which we are with him for he has accomplished it all!

So when we take limitless responsibility we are doing so in union with the Lord. So we should never take on the negative or destructive attitudes of the one we are praying for. So as we say, “please forgive me” it is the Lord who is acting in power. When we say I love you we are doing so truly with our human ability but now joined with the love of the Lord for that person. In this is the power we have of sharing in a miraculous power of love to change and heal another human being. And when we say “I thank You” we are “divinely” acting to affirm and identify the full purpose in which God has created that person.

This prayer of “power focused prayer” is a ministry and mystery of Love! When this procedure is a Spirit-led Experience and performed primarily with the heart, one will actually feel the powerful presence of the Lord working in a mysterious manner. Now, this is so good! When one does this prayer of cleansing, the individual will also feel the cleansing and healing going on in oneself. Therefore, while we are doing this mission of love for another person, the Lord is doing a work of tender healing and cleansing in the one praying. “Two sides of the same coin” The way to really learn the experiential truth of all this is by practice, practice, practice! The more we do this the more we are drawn into the power and the more we experience the cleansing power in our own life.

Unbound Ministry: An approach to healing and deliverance that fits well in Catholic Life: The approach to healing and deliverance which seems to fit best in the ambient of the Catholic Church is the ministry developed by Neal and Janet Lozano entitled “Unbound Ministry.”

It follows a similar approach to the general basics of praying with individuals for healing and deliverance. However, its uniqueness consists in the fact that the ministry operates from a position of “non-confrontational deliverance,” and the recipient of the ministry does the renunciation and takes personal authority of the specific aspects of personal evil. It uses common sense and the exercise of practical wisdom, which does not permit one to fight with evil spirits, but ministers truth in love to the recipient. In short, it is a ministry of evangelization, which provides deliverance from personal evil, and also aids the recipient in receiving spiritual healing and the gift of genuine freedom. Essentially it involves the “five keys to spiritual freedom”:

  1. The first key is to stand in the experience and truth of faith and practice life-giving repentance.
  2. The second key involves forgiveness: seeking forgiveness from God, forgiving others, and forgiving oneself. It also means giving forgiveness to others in all situations of life where I have been hurt or offended. The follow through in this key is after forgiveness then let things go and surrender them to the Lord, the icing on the cake is praying for those who have sinned against and hurt me. The fourfold features of completed forgiveness. Because all four are exercised it brings closure in the process of forgiveness.
  3. The third key is the acknowledging and renouncing in the name of Jesus, the identified attitudes and the spirits of darkness, which have been oppressing, harassing and working in one’s life.
  4. The fourth key is taking authority in the name of Jesus over these entities and commanding them to leave.
  5. The fifth key is finally praying with the recipient for the Father’s love and blessing. This blessing confers grace for the recipient in which they experience that they are a beloved son or daughter of the Father, and they are especially loved by God.

Fire Groups: A source for helping people make changes in their life, and living the Christ-Life.

Fire by its very nature has the ability to make changes in things. However, it is primarily used symbolically in Scripture. One may recall Moses seeing the bush on fire but not burning up; representing God’s awesome holiness. It purifies one from the dross of sin. It illuminates the mind and enables one to see what is pleasing to God. In the human person, the symbol of fire illuminates the mind, energies of the will, and gives strength to the soul. In relationship to personal holiness, it inflames us with love.

In the recent past in this country FIRE was used as an acronym to identify changing ones life and living a new life in Christ. At this time it is useful to identify a flexible small group opportunity that meets occasionally to help one another grow more deeply in the Lord.

A salient feature in a small fire group is this:

F stands for Faith; I stands for all the forms of Intercession. R stands for life-giving Repentance. E stands for Evangelization and doing mercy work. These four topics are joined as one, and they represent a process of opportunities for growing in Christian maturity. So FIRE represents a small group fellowship. These groups could be made available to those who are interested. These groups would be useful for spiritual growth, formation, and transformation

Merciful Christian Fellowship Groups: Fields of Compassion.

I served at Franciscan University of Steubenville from 1968 until 1990. In those years the Friars, members of the faculty, students, and members of the lay community worked together to develop spiritual renewal. Individuals at that time were trying to grow in holiness and serve others to grow in holiness and human maturity. Many were talking about “eating right” and losing weight and bemoaning the frustration of consistent failures in their sincere attempts. Someone mentioned about a group program started in the Boston area that claimed to be very successful in achieving the goal of weight loss. It was called, “Diet, Discipline, and Discipleship.”

Some decided to research and then provide the opportunity for those who desired to develop this approach of small groups, where individuals kept track, openly reported results and failures, and were held weekly accountable. The results were amazing! Individuals lost weight easily and consistently. The success of this communal relational endeavor was quite impressive. One of the lessons of this group centered accomplishment was the huge success that happened when individuals quit trying on one’s own and joined in a group effort.

The Church in this country is just beginning to appreciate the value of small fellowship groups developed to aid one in growing in Christian holiness and maturity. “Evangelizing Catholic Culture” Podcast will eventually be providing two types of small group fellowships for the purpose of growth and support in the Christian life. The first one is FIRE Growth Groups mentioned above, and the second one is Merciful Christian Fellowship Groups. The Merciful Christian Fellowship Groups are designed to help individuals grow in living a committed Gospel form of life. The MCFG’s are designed to provide a flexible formation experience as a modern penitent, to assist individuals to grow and share one’s faith, and training to do some type of evangelization or mercy service. Who may want to take a look at this opportunity?

  1. Anyone who has a personal relationship with Jesus, and feels called to deepen their skills in prayer and outreach to others.
  2. Anyone who wants to grow in the use of the spiritual gifts and qualities of mercy by practicing the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
  3. Anyone who enjoys prayer and desires personal transformation, and formation in the life of grace.
  4. Anyone who wants to grow more comfortable and skilled in sharing their personal faith story.

May We Pray!

Lord, we trust in your abundant Mercy and ask that you would fill our hearts with the desire to grow in holiness. May the Holy Spirit move us to become aflame with a desire to bring your love and mercy to those we serve. As missionary disciples give us a willingness to reach out to those who are suffering and struggling to live a happy life in this post-modern world. Let the joy of the Gospel and our humble acts of mercy bring your goodness and love to others. We ask this prayer of our Father who is ever ready to lead us more deeply into a union with Jesus Christ, his beloved Son. Amen,

 

 

The Courage of St. Catherine of Siena

About Catherine

Catherine of Siena was born in Siena, Italy in 1347. She was a twin but her sister died shortly after birth. The following year the Black Death entered Siena.

She had a vision of Jesus as a young child and from then knew she wanted to give her life to God and renew the Church.

She took a vow of virginity and cut her hair; her desire was to avoid marriage.

In 1363 she joins the Mantelatte, a lay Dominican order of women in Siena.

Bold and Courageous

She wrote to Popes and civil leaders, telling them to do what was right and necessary to fix the problems in the Church and community. She ministered to the sick and dying. A story I tell in the audio is about her helping a man who is to be executed.

Her Writings

We have letters, prayers and her most well know, THe Dialogue of Catherine of Siena. The Dialogue is a series of conversations between God and Catherine while she was in a deep prayer state.

Pray Catherine’s prayer to the Holy Spirit when you find yourself falling into despair.

 

 

Mary at the Tomb – John 20:11-18 by Deacon David Hockwalt

Mary at the Tomb - John 20:11-18 by Deacon David Hockwalt: We pray that you experience the presence of Jesus Christ today.A Moment in Scripture- ‘Mary at the Tomb’ John 20:11-18 by Deacon David Hockwalt

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.

We pray that today may be a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this reflection. Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this reflection will help us all better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness. We want to come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me and holy is His Name!

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

3rd Sunday of Easter

3rd Sunday of Easter: He whom God has exalted at his right hand as ruler and savior is to bring repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 3rd Sunday of Easter, C – May 1, 2022 – Bread of Life Bible Study

Better for us to obey God than man! He whom God has exalted at his right hand as ruler and savior is to bring repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. We testify to this. So too does the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those that obey Him.

 

“There is a famine today that is raging across this great land of ours. There is a deep hunger and thirst for the healing Word of God … With humility, boldness, and energy, we must personally hear the Word, pray the Word, study the Word, proclaim the Word, and live the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (from Introduction for The Bread of Life Bible Study)

 

Today’s podcast is based on the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study and presented by the coauthor, Marie Finn. Please visit the website: www.StDismasGuild.org for more information and for supplemental materials.

We pray that today maybe a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast. May the Lord speak to each heart the words He wants us to hear!

Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this sharing will help us better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness, and are called to “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Join with us as we come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me. Holy is His Name!

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

Love Of God The Father

The love of God is one of those mind-blowing ideas that will take the rest of our lives to fully grasp, and even then, we fall short.Love Of God The Father ~ Episode 202

Do you understand the love of God the Father? If so, I applaud you! The love of God is one of those mind-blowing ideas that will take the rest of our lives to fully grasp, and even then, we fall short. I feel the Creator God is so amazing and I’m in awe of Him (as I should be!) In this podcast, we will discuss God the Father and how we worship Him, even when we don’t necessarily think of Him.

Visit my website at MediaAngels.com for books and products for the entire family. Keep praying for the Ultimate Christian podcast network and I pray you share this podcast and the others on this network with friends!

Gosh, God the Father! I remember one year our church had a challenge, the first year was God the Father, the next God the Son, and the next year God the Holy Spirit. This challenge made me realize that my main focus is on Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, but not so much on God the Father. Intellectually, I understand there are three separate persons and one God, but do I truly understand that? When my children we little we often listened to and read Christian books for kids, and I have to say, it helped me as much or more than them! The concept of God was explained as the properties of water. Water is an element but it’s form changes, it is ice- a solid, vapor – which is steam, and liquid – water. It is all water but in different forms and the same idea is God. When I pray I usually begin with a prayer that encompasses all – the sign of the cross, “In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

Still, a difficult concept to grasp, but it does help us to wrap our minds around the persons of God. And, when we look at it this way we are always worshipping all three, not just one. But, for the sake of argument, this podcast focuses on the Father.

We think about God the Father when we pray the Lord’s prayer, the prayer that Jesus taught us, Matthew 6:9-13 “Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; …

The Nicene and Apostles Creeds both taught to early Christians as a profession of faith, teach the truths of the faith and focus on the first, “I believe in God, the Father Almighty…”

But, while the concept of God is not foreign I think it is crucial to concentrate on the Father’s love for us. His love created the universe for us, He created us and wants us to live with Him in eternity. He sent His son to die for our sins, and ultimately break the curse of sin and death with His resurrection, and new life in heaven. This is what we celebrate at Easter.

How do we celebrate this love for us? Do we live it out each day? Do we deny ourselves from sinfulness – or sinful acts? For most of us our sins are not grave, but all sin leads to more sin. The entire Old Testament speaks to God the Father and His love for us and over and over, some are righteous, those who try to follow the Lord, and others are not. Those who fail lose heart and courage to continue to follow God’s law and commandment. The laws and the judgments seem harsh but the result of sin is being lost forever in the fires of hell. With that looming ahead can you see why the harshness was there? For the sake of mankind not for God.

Truthfully, God does not need us. Anything we do is for ourselves and our eternal well-being, and while it pleases God and it is His will for us, it does not change the Almighty. Think about the Ark of the Covenant and when that was lost, the people cried. Did they cry because they lost the Word of God in the 10-Commandments that was in the Ark? Or did they cry because they had lost their protection from God. Either way, God was still with them, and yet they wanted that outward sign. They also lost the Ark of the Covenant because of disobedience to God’s commands. You can read all about it in 1 Samuel 4:7 – but in 1 Samuel 4:10 it says,

So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and they fled, every man to his home; and there was a very great slaughter, for there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers. 11 And the ark of God was captured; and the two sons of Eli, HoFiny and Phin′ehas, were slain.

Death came to those who disobeyed – and Isreal lost the Ark of God – the Ark of the Covenant.

God loves us – ultimately and without reservation. But God is also a God who is just and loves us even while this justice may hurt. When we reprimand someone we love in correction, we do this from a love for their well-being, and so it is with God – and yes, it hurts! How can we love God? By following Him, and sometimes we can do this by denying ourselves. As I record this episode we are past Easter, and now in the celebration phase of our Christian journey the time after Easter, with Pentecost soon to come. Yet, we should always consider, yes the joyous Resurrection but also the love of Christ’s sacrifice for us – I talked about this in the last podcast. (here)

Sometimes God’s love is demonstrated in the oddest of places, and in chance meetings. I met a young man who is a street evangelist, and he was explaining that he would go to the beach to share about the Lord, in a laid-back way. Not aggressively, but with love. I was so impressed by his calmness and his calling. He invited me and my sister-in-law to join him on the beach during the weekend to share in this ministry. My first inclination was no. But truthfully, I need to pray about this. Will I go? Maybe, someday. But the thought of this is hard for me. And, I have plenty of excuses and they are all valid. Sunday is our family day and we get together with extended family. It is a great excuse, but I can rearrange my day, or go early. So, I will pray.

God’s love calls us to be love to others, our family, our friends, and those we meet on the street as that young man is a witness to faith. He has a calling, yes, but God calls each one of us in many different ways. How is God calling you? A great book I recommend is Experiencing God, Knowing and Doing The Will of God, by Henry and Richard Blackaby and Claude King. I haven’t finished the book yet, as it is a Bible study, but it is very good, especially for those searching to unite your will to the Lord’s, and it is a very basic study.

A New Book: Joyful Encounters with Mary

A new book!

Maria Gallagher has written, Joyful Encounters with Mary: A Woman’s Guide to Living the Mysteries of the Rosary, a wonderful way to learn more about the joyful mysteries, virtues and the saints while living out your faith every day!

5 Joyful Mysteries

The 5 joyful mysteries are the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity, the Presentation and the Finding of Jesus in the Temple. Each mystery is discussed in light of Mary, a virtue, a saint and how Maria has seen this mystery in her life.  The chapters also have questions to reflect on how your faith is present in your life. To learn how to pray the rosary, go here.

Why a book about Mary?

Maria has been blessed with many role models who helped her in her own faith adventure, modeling the love and care of Mary for her. MAria also reminds us that Mary leads us to Jesus and is always there for us – listening, helping and untieing the knots in our lives. We both like the Undoer of Knots Novena.

Where can I find this book?

The book is published by the Marian Servants and is on their website. You can read more of Maria’s work on her website.

Maria suggests, for our challenge this week, to actively cultivate a deeper relationship with Mary, our Blessed Mother.

2nd Sunday of Easter-C Bread of Life Bible Study 2.24.2022

2nd Sunday of Easter-C Bread of Life Bible Study 2.24.20222nd Sunday of Easter, C – April 24, 2022 – Bread of Life Bible Study

Meeting their Resurrected Savior transformed eleven terrified apostles into courageous “keepers of the flame.” The secret of their power is also our secret, and that is the peace of mind and heart. The real power is the Holy Spirit, who gives us the Peace of Christ, and sends us out to fulfill the Great Commission, “His living presence in our life.”

 

“There is a famine today that is raging across this great land of ours. There is a deep hunger and thirst for the healing Word of God … With humility, boldness, and energy, we must personally hear the Word, pray the Word, study the Word, proclaim the Word, and live the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (from Introduction for The Bread of Life Bible Study)

 

Today’s podcast is based on the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study and presented by the coauthor, Marie Finn. Please visit the website: www.StDismasGuild.org for more information and for supplemental materials.

We pray that today maybe a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast. May the Lord speak to each heart the words He wants us to hear!

Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this sharing will help us better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness, and are called to “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Join with us as we come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me. Holy is His Name!

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

Easter Sunday-Bread of Life Bible Study

Easter Sunday: Alleluia is a Hebrew word that means "praise ye the Lord." On this Easter Sunday we give praise to our Lord.Easter Sunday. April 17, 2022, Bread of Life Bible Study

Alleluia is a Hebrew word that means “praise ye the Lord.” On this great day of Easter Sunday we give thanks, gratitude, and our complete joy in the form of praise to our Lord. We can only accept the fact of the resurrection when we have first personally encountered Jesus Christ. The understanding of the resurrection takes on a special meaning as we commit our life to Jesus and His presence remains with us. Alleluia- He is Risen – Alleluia – He is alive.

“There is a famine today that is raging across this great land of ours. There is a deep hunger and thirst for the healing Word of God … With humility, boldness, and energy, we must personally hear the Word, pray the Word, study the Word, proclaim the Word, and live the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (from Introduction for The Bread of Life Bible Study)

Today’s podcast is based on the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study and presented by the coauthor, Marie Finn. Please visit the website: www.StDismasGuild.org for more information and for supplemental materials.

We pray that today maybe a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast. May the Lord speak to each heart the words He wants us to hear!

Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this sharing will help us better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness, and are called to “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Join with us as we come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me. Holy is His Name!

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

Total Surrender

Total surrender is easy, right? Well, as a Christian, it should be easier, in theory at least. In this podcast, we will discuss a way that is helpful...Total Surrender – Special Replay

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

Thanks to our sponsor – MediaAngels.com

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

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

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

Believe me, it helps!

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

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

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

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

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

Giving Up Worry – Total Trust

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

Proverbs 3:5-6

Total surrender takes:

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

Let’s pray with expectant hearts!

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

Faith at the Empty Tomb

Happy Easter

I hope that if you pull this up on Good Friday, you wait for another day to listen. This is a resurrection meditation! Filled with the good news of Jesus’ triumph over death.

A Fresh Hope

Each year we celebrate Easter to remind ourselves, yet again, that Jesus gave us our salvation.

The Meditation

The mediation is based on John 20:1-9.  Here are the questions I pose for reflection:

  • In times of grief, do you want to be alone or need others around you?
  • Have you ever not known where Jesus was in your own life?
  • What helped you find him?
  • I have had many resurrections in my life, how about you? Find some time to think about those, maybe write them down and praise and thank God for them.

I didn’t give a Not Lukewarm challenge this week. Instead, I encourage you to spend time in prayer with the reflection questions and scripture passage.

Christ – The Ultimate Sacrifice

The work of Jesus Christ - the Ultimate Sacrifice, the death on the cross for our sins is learned by Christians very early on...Christ – The Ultimate Sacrifice ~ Episode 201

The work of Jesus Christ – the Ultimate Sacrifice, His saving death on the cross for our sins is learned by Christians very early on, but what have we done with this information? How has this transformed our lives? How can we look at this sacrifice as a gift and with joy for what He has done for us? In this podcast, the challenge will be to live out the good news.

Check it out! MediaAngels.com has books based on Christian topics for the entire family. And you may want to listen to this podcast on the Ultimate Love – here.

The ultimate sacrifice is one that we tend to avoid thinking about because it makes us sad. It is not a popular topic. To think that original sin first, and the addition of a sinful culture was the root cause of the death of Christ, seems too much to handle. When we experience the love of God, we must realize it came with a cost. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

He is the reparation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 22 – “The cost was reparation for our sins.”

It is the entire concept of cause and effect. When something happens there is an outcome, sometimes good and sometimes bad. The cause of a broken window is that the window must be repaired, which requires a cost. The retribution or payback is the “cost” and the “fix.” What is the cost of sin? Think about this for a minute.

The death of animals in the old testament to atone for sins was an unwilling sacrifice on the part of the animal, for sure. The sacrifice that was Christ replaced this type of sacrifice with a willing sacrifice of His life for ours. This giving of His life is so hard to understand. To give your life for another. Why? Because of sin.

The cost of sin is sadness, anger, brokenness, depression, retaliation, and of course death. Maybe not the death of our body but the death of our soul! It is the reason that we look for other ways to forget and many of those are not good. The ways to everlasting life are spelled out in the scriptures and the teachings of the church, oh so clearly.

Yet, while we have verses memorized such as – John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Do we believe them and realize that this means us.

When you think about Christ’s life, death and resurrection do you think you had a hand in His death? Surprisingly there are many who do not, because Christ died long before we were born. This is where we must remember that with God there is no time, no beginning, middle and end, no past or future, only now. The effects of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice is for now, for us. For those who lived before us, for those who died before Christ, and for those who will be born long after we are gone.

Mind-blowing, I know!

Here is what I’d love fo you to join me in contemplating:

  1. What does the ultimate sacrifice of Christ’s death on the cross mean to you?
  2. How do you live your life with this knowledge?
  3. If this fact (Christ’s sacrifice) has changed your life, in what way?
  4. If this fact (Christ’s sacrifice) has not changed your life, why is that?
  5. How do you live your life according to God’s plan?

I do not profess to have any or all of the answers about this topic, but I do know that I have considered this sacrifice in a personal way. When I pray I say, Christ died for my sins, not… Christ died for the sins of the world, or Christ died for sinners. While all of those statements are true, it is important to personalize, to own, to realize the great magnitude of this fact. Jesus died for me, a sinner. A repentant sinner (often daily) but a sinner nonetheless.

The older I get the more I realize my sinfulness. I try to look at myself as the Lord must see me, and I shake my head. I’ve often wondered how the Lord puts up with me! Thankfully, He does as I am still here and speaking out for the glory of the Kingdom of God as He allows.

God’s will whether we are united to it or not will come to fruition, if you pray the Lord’s prayer, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” My friends, we have a choice to make. Are we for Him or against Him? The world as we know it today is in shambles. I believe much of it is because good people stay silent and wait for others to speak out. We must ask the Lord to use us within our capacity, and always in love.

Jesus said in John 15:13 “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends…” Read John 15 and you will see the scriptures relating to the Vine and the Branches. It is an example of the good fruit that comes from following God, and His will for your life. So many times I wonder, “Am I doing the will of God?” and I know when I am not. It is easy to be complacent but we must be a people of action. How will you work for the Lord in His vineyard? What has He called you to do. It does not have to be extreme but we should be doing something.

When we fast, as we do in the 40 days leading up to Easter known as Lent, we deny ourselves. This reminds us that when we sin we give in to whatever “it” is in the lives that bring us down. Fasting brings us closer to God.

Your challenge this week:

  1. How will you appreciate the sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice of Christ each day?
  2. How will you be ready for the challenge of the call to make a change (big or small) in your life each day?
  3. How will you share the good news of what Christ has done?

It is a blessing to share the love of Christ with all of you, weekly. I pray you are blessed in abundance today and always.

 

 

 

 

The Four Women Church Doctors

Who are they?

Saints Hildegard of Bingen, Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila, and Therese of Lisieux are the four women Doctors of the Church!

Why are they called Doctors?

In honoring these women with this title, the Chuch is recognizing that the work and contributions each of these saints made has withstood the test of time. It is just as valuable to us today as it was to those who spoke, wrote, and mentored when the women first put forth their efforts.

To learn more…

Click on the name of each saint to learn more about them.

And your challenge this week is to learn more about one of these great women saints!

Don’t forget, if you’d like to study the Book of Revelation, we begin on April 20. Also, join the newsletter to find out when we being the Set the World on Fire retreat.

Palm Sunday: Bread of Life Bible Study

Palm Sunday: Bread of Life Bible Study. Jesus manifested to the whole world by being on the cross the core of healing is through forgiveness.Palm Sunday of Lent-C Bread of Life Bible Study

The way to the Kingdom is the way of the Cross. Jesus then manifested to the whole world by being on the cross the core of healing is through forgiveness. Jesus asked the Father to forgive all those who were putting Him to death.

“There is a famine today that is raging across this great land of ours. There is a deep hunger and thirst for the healing Word of God … With humility, boldness, and energy, we must personally hear the Word, pray the Word, study the Word, proclaim the Word, and live the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (from Introduction for The Bread of Life Bible Study)

Today’s podcast is based on the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study and presented by the coauthor, Marie Finn. Please visit the website: www.StDismasGuild.org for more information and for supplemental materials.

We pray that today maybe a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast. May the Lord speak to each heart the words He wants us to hear!

Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this sharing will help us better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness, and are called to “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Join with us as we come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me. Holy is His Name!

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

Faith and Hope

Where do we find faith and hope in our lives? We tackle our mountainous to-do lists daily and find ourselves overwhelmed and floundering.Faith and Hope

Where do we find faith and hope in our lives? We tackle our mountainous to-do lists daily and find ourselves overwhelmed and floundering. And then we wonder where does our hope comes from, surely not the things we turn to daily for escape. Tune in for the answers.

Thanks to our sponsor

I wish I had all the answers for every struggle you are going through right now. But, while I don’t have all the answers I know someone who does. And, that is the focus today, where do we find our faith and where do we place our hope? Is it in the escape of a movie or a book? Is it in micromanaging the lives of others, or reading social media posts in order to find humor or join in a discussion that will surely bring anxiety before it brings peace?

Where does your faith and hope come from? It comes undeniably from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But, that does not mean we do not have to pray for it daily. Here are some helpful ways to pray with the scriptures:

Daily pray: Lord helps me in my unbelief. Give me faith and hope!

  1. Psalm 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
  2. 2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
  3. Leviticus 26:12 And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people
  4. Proverbs 28:1 The wicked flee though no one pursues, the righteous are as bold as a lion.
  5. Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

When we pray with those scriptures as well as others we will find that faith and hope is renewed. Recently I was messaging a friend on Facebook, they sell my books when they travel to speak. And he left me with this – God is good all the time. So I responded in a message back, “And all the time God is good.” – that is so uplifting. It is like a secret handshake when we can acknowledge with another believer that we realize that only in God’s goodness are we redeemed and are we happy. Because even with faith we find ourselves at a loss from time to time. Floundering.

When we find ourselves stressed and out of sorts it is due to relying on ourselves instead of asking our gracious Lord for help. I learned that when I am overwhelmed it is time to Stop. Drop. And Pray. It is the SOS to the Lord that I need help and I need it now. Even in times where there is nothing pressing or weighing on us we use it as a pick-me-up.

In the Scriptures, we feel a sense of urgency often when Jesus is surrounded by crowds. They are urgent to rush him and ask him for a healing or a prayer or some type of favor. Why is there this rush? Because the people who did not fully understand – or had less of an understanding then we do today could sense the holiness surrounding him and they thirsted for this. Just as we thirst for more of Him and less of us in our lives. We pray Lord I do believe, help me in my unbelief. We pray in a way that is foundational for all of the times we have lacked the faith to see our ways through a tough situation. God will not leave us orphans. He is our Father and at the time of challenge, He may be stretching us to grow us in our faith.

God challenges us to grow in our prayer lives as well. Our eternal happiness is in heaven and it awaits us. We must die to self to fully appreciate and understand that this world lacks, by a pale comparison to the bliss of heavenly life. Friends we have absolutely no conception of this life and that is why we cling to our lives here. We have the free will to choose daily. And what do we choose? Matthew 16:26 says “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”

I choose the life that the Lord has for me. I choose God. I choose everlasting life.

Let’s pray:

Dear Lord, I ask you to continue to increase my faith and my hope in You. You are the answer for all joy, peace, and love in the world that has turned upside down. I thank you, Lord, for giving me clarity eyes that see and ears that hear. I pray that you continue to give me a sense of discernment and sound judgment. Dear Lord, please continue to bless me, my family, and my friends’ and I pray specifically for the following needs: And I pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Ask God for the Plan

Scripture

“I cannot do anything on my own; I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me.” John 5:30

Reflection

If Jesus, who is the one speaking, makes the point that he cannot do anything on his own, how much truer is this for us? Jesus is showing humility and by his example is telling us to do the same. Turn to God the Father. Ask him before you do anything so it will be aligned with his will, not yours.

Free Will

Free will, we all have it. And for some, it means doing whatever we want. For others, for me and probably for you, we want to do the Father’s will. Let’s face it, he is a much better planner than I am. The way Jesus knew his Father’s will was through prayer. It is how we stay connected to him.

This week, before you make a major decision or changes to your previous plans, go to God first and ask for his plan.

Interested in more?

Join the Revelation Bible Study with the Live Not Lukewarm Community.

Want to dive deeper into praying with scripture? Sign up for the Live Not Lukewarm newsletter to receive 4 Ways to Pray with Scripture.

 

Renewal of the Mind

Following Christ takes the renewal of the mind, and this is harder to do in today's culture. In this podcast, Father David shares a personal testimony as well as how the Lord showed him the missing piece in his life, regarding faith.Renewal Of The Mind – Episode 44

Following Christ takes the renewal of the mind, and this is harder to do in today’s culture. In this podcast, Father David shares a personal testimony as well as how the Lord showed him the missing piece in his life, regarding faith.

Evangelizing Catholic Culture – The Book.

This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church

Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today.

In my first year at the College of Steubenville now Franciscan University in 1968, and after one year of Ordination to the Priesthood, I was teaching theology. In those days when the students got sick, it was only a matter of time until the faculty got what the kids got. In looking back, I realized that I was very personally unsettled. I knew there was something missing in my life and I wasn’t sure what it was. However, whatever it was it was interiorly very painful. In one of those episodes of poor health, I went out to the hospital for a double shot of penicillin. On the way home I realized I was going into shock. I just got into the doors of the hospital when I collapsed.

When in my weakened condition I returned back to my dorm I sat in my chair in a depressed state and wondered if I had made the right decision in my life. Several nights later in the middle of the night, I awoke to experience the presence and peace of the Lord in a most profound way. The thought that went through my mind was this “you are trying to run your own life! Why don’t you let me run your life?” I saw the radical roots of sin in my life so I repented and fell back to sleep. Two weeks later after listening to a talk on the Church’s Grace of Renewal, I had some folks pray with me for that gift of grace and transformation, and I experienced a major powerful change in my life.

Immediately I was attracted to the healing ministry, so I studied and practiced it in the following years, the key two or three major healing methods available. Usually, in these methods, the concentration was in the repentance and emotional healing of the heart, with some exception, usually with a fair amount of success. In this last year, I related here at Franciscan to a woman who is a trauma therapist. One day she mentioned that she would do treatment with me if I wanted it. After a little struggle with pride and self-revelation, I consented. The ministry took the better part of the week. On Saturday morning as I arose from sleep, I felt tremendous freedom in my mind, like I was a new person. I experienced new freedom to discern and choose God’s will and the joy that comes from that.

I realized that the healing of the mind was very important because the mind is the rational power center of the human person. In retreat talks on mind renewal, Margaret (the retreat leader) gives a talk on the physical activity of the brain, which sheds light on how trauma affects and damages the operation of the brain. After a person receives healing about this matter, there is further healing necessary, which entails the process mentioned by St. Paul (Rom.12:1-2). The real issue is personal transformation, which involves a connection overview of the specific features of the process from the false self to the true self. Namely, we all need to understand and feel the reality of being called, chosen, known, valued, right personal boundaries, etc. Let’s talk about them!

5th Sunday of Lent

5th Sunday of Lent-C Bread of Life Bible Study. Jesus offers to all of us the second chance, the gift of forgiveness.5th Sunday of Lent-C Bread of Life Bible Study

In Jesus there is the gospel of the second chance. He didn’t say that what the adulteress had done did not matter, broken laws and broken hearts always matter; but he was interested in her future more than her past. Jesus offers to all of us the second chance, the gift of forgiveness.

“There is a famine today that is raging across this great land of ours. There is a deep hunger and thirst for the healing Word of God … With humility, boldness, and energy, we must personally hear the Word, pray the Word, study the Word, proclaim the Word, and live the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (from Introduction for The Bread of Life Bible Study)

Today’s podcast is based on the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study and presented by the coauthor, Marie Finn. Please visit the website: www.StDismasGuild.org for more information and for supplemental materials.

We pray that today maybe a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast. May the Lord speak to each heart the words He wants us to hear!

Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this sharing will help us better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness, and are called to “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Join with us as we come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me. Holy is His Name!

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

Faith Challenge – Episode 200

It’s time for a challenge, a faith challenge! When was the last time you asked God for more of Him and less of you? When we look at our faith is it something we take for granted, or is it something we need to cherish? Felice shares three faith challenges in this 200th episode of A Few Minutes with God!Faith Challenge ~ Episode 200

It’s time for a challenge, a faith challenge! When was the last time you asked God for more of Him and less of you? When we look at our faith is it something we take for granted, or is it something we need to cherish? Felice shares three faith challenges in this 200th episode of A Few Minutes with God!

Visit my website for great faith challenging books, such as One More Child and A Few Minutes with God.

What is a faith challenge? It is a way to increase our faith in good times and in bad. It is a time to grow, to become stronger, and to be light to others. It is also helpful to be prepared and get your faith-kit together. Something you can pull out in times of need that will help you to overcome with God. God is here for us all of the time, yet in times of crisis, we freeze up and forget we have many tools in our arsenal!

Perhaps your faith has been challenged when something terrible happens in your life or the life of someone you love. What do you do during these times? Usually, we drop to our knees and pray, but sometimes we feel like God doesn’t hear us. Has this happened to you? For many Christians when our faith is challenged we get more of God, not less. We may not feel Him, but we know without Him we would fall.

First Faith Challenge Prep:

  1. Be prepared. Do you have a prayer you can pray to calm yourself down? If not find one or write one.
  2. What are your favorite go-to scriptures when you are in need? Write them down with the subheading for each topic. Have your Bible handy with marked passages to read.
  3. Be ready to use your praise journal (and prayer journal) and have it handy.

Faith Challenge 1 ~ Hard Times:

  1. Pray for strength and wisdom.
  2. Pray with someone else and if necessary, pick up the phone and text or call someone who will pray for you.
  3. Put your need on a prayer chain. If you do not have one, ask around. There are many eMail prayer chains available as well as on social media. The Facebook page here is just for that need.

All of us have been challenged by recent worldwide events. I don’t need to list them, I am sure you have a mental list of your own. It was and has been a horrible time with fear the number one ingredient that everyone in the media keeps pushing. Are you fearful? What do you do when you experience fear?

Faith Challenge 2 – When Things Are Out of Our Control:

  1. Know that God is in control, remind yourself of this.
  2. Remind yourself that God always wins.
  3. The enemy is a liar and fear is one way to manipulate us, pray this verse: 1 John 4:4 “…for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

Another challenge in our lives is when someone lets us down. This is more difficult when it is someone we know or love. We feel abandoned and alone. We feel misunderstood. We feel at a loss. During these times where can you turn?

Faith Challenge 3 ~ When People Let Us Down.

  1. Remember that God will never let you down. God is always there, even in the midst of difficulty and trial.
  2. Focus on today, don’t let past hurt or future what-ifs bog you down.
  3. Pray Jeremiah 29:11 –For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

The biggest challenge we have as Christians is to get out of our own way and allow the Lord to work in our lives.  We often give the enemy the credit, but truly it is our own obstacles that are the most deferential to our spiritual growth. If things are not going as we planned we are quick to blame (or I am quick to blame, and maybe you are a bit like me?) but I’ve realized the older I get that the only person responsible for my spiritual growth or lack, of growth, is me.

Ask yourself these quick questions:

  1. Am I taking time to pray and read the Bible?
  2. Am I spending quiet time with God?
  3. Do I praise God in all things?
  4. Am I allowing the Lord to work in me?
  5. Do I surround myself with like-minded Christians?
  6. Am I spending time ministering to others (even if it is your family – that counts).
  7. Do I share what God has done for me with others?
  8. Do I see the miracles of God’s grace in my life?
  9. Am I appreciative of all that I have?
  10. Am I loving and kind to my own family or Christian support group?

These are just a few of the ways we can check our own hearts and motivation. If we are striving to become more faithful in thought, word and deed we are working toward a goal and not becoming stagnant. The challenge for you this week and in the next is to grow in faith and challenge yourself in this way! May God be blessed.

A Reflection on the Annunciation by Donna Ross

Reflection on the Annunciation by Donna Ross Mary was chosen by God the Father to birth His Son Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit! She is the daughter of the Father, mother of the Son and spouse of the Holy Spirit!  Donna Ross is the Coordinator of the CST Magnificat Ministry. A ministry to Catholic women.Reflection on the Annunciation by Donna Ross

Mary was chosen by God the Father to birth His Son Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit! She is the daughter of the Father, mother of the Son and spouse of the Holy Spirit!

 

Donna Ross is the Coordinator of the CST Magnificat Ministry. A ministry to Catholic women.

10 Reasons to Study Scripture

Begin with Scripture

“Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.” Hebrews 4:12-13

10 Reasons

  • It is the Word of God. What’s better than that?
  • You will get the best advice.
  • Spending time in the Word helps you to slow down and live in God’s time.
  • Yes, the sword is sharp as St. Paul says, but it is for a reason. To reveal what God wants to heal, root out, change in you to become who He created.
  • God’s Word is deep, meaningful, real and honest. Often the interactions we have in real life are less than deep, meaningful, real and honest.
  • It will help you figure things out in life. The big questions that need time and space and discernment.
  • God’s Word shapes and fills us, so then we can share it with the world.
  • Spending time in the Word teaches us who God is and who we are.
  • It reminds us of how much you are loved and cared for by God.
  • By spending time with God in the word you become a better person, the person He created you to be!

This week, spend 15 minutes a day reading, studying, praying with scripture. Start here with the daily Mass readings.

Want to dive deeper into praying with scripture? Sign up for the Live Not Lukewarm newsletter to receive 4 Ways to Pray with Scripture.

Join the Revelation Bible Study with the Live Not Lukewarm Community.

Forgiveness Matt. 18;21-35 By Deacon Dave Hockwalt

Forgiveness Matt.18:21-35 by Deacon David Hockwalt. We pray today is a special day as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ.A Moment in Scripture- ‘Forgiveness’ Matt.18:21-35 by Deacon David Hockwalt

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.

We pray that today may be a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this reflection. Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this reflection will help us all better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness. We want to come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me and holy is His Name!

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

4th Sunday of Lent

4th Sunday of Lent: Who do you relate to in the Prodigal Son? The one who squandered his inheritance? His Father? The other son?4th Sunday of Lent-C Bread of Life Bible Study

Who do you relate to in the gospel on the Prodigal Son? Is it the one who squandered his inheritance then recognized the need to be obedient to authority or the Father extending compassion, love and forgiveness to those who have hurt him or the son, hopefully, learning from his anger that it puts everyone in bondage especially himself?

“There is a famine today that is raging across this great land of ours. There is a deep hunger and thirst for the healing Word of God … With humility, boldness, and energy, we must personally hear the Word, pray the Word, study the Word, proclaim the Word, and live the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (from Introduction for The Bread of Life Bible Study)

Today’s podcast is based on the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study and presented by the coauthor, Marie Finn. Please visit the website: www.StDismasGuild.org for more information and for supplemental materials.

We pray that today maybe a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast. May the Lord speak to each heart the words He wants us to hear!

Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this sharing will help us better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness, and are called to “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Join with us as we come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me. Holy is His Name!

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

Generosity and Faith

Some people are just naturally generous and in this episode, we are going to talk about generosity and faith.Generosity and Faith ~ Special Replay

Some people are just naturally generous and in this episode, we are going to talk about generosity and faith and a way to deepen your love for God which in turn will translate into your love for others.

Sponsor Media Angels, Inc. – One More Child book — A Few Minutes With God

Other episodes you may enjoy:

Thanksgiving and Faith 

Thanksgiving and Trust

Recently I was thinking about the book the Five Love Languages. In this book, the author, Gary Chapman discusses the different ways that we say I love you, and this is especially important for couples.  I’m going to share just two with you that actually apply to my life and that of my husband. My husband‘s love language is to spend time with me, he thinks that expresses his love for me and he does this with something he considers valuable, and that is his gift of time. My love language is to bake you something or to give you something I am a gift-giver I love thinking about what will make someone else happy whether it’s something that I put effort into in making or something that I buy. As you can see these two things are different. And as my husband likes to say isn’t it wonderful that God made us so different. That definitely is a positive spin to what could possibly be a difficult situation.
But when I think about generosity it comes in all different shapes and sizes. When we look at each other in the human sense generosity comes from something that we personally think is valuable or important and often if we are honest it is something that makes us happy. So, it that really being generous if we get something out of it? That is food for thought. But, when I think about generosity as a focus of faith it is so much deeper.
When we look at our lives objectively we can see that often we gather things that we can’t possibly use. Have you ever cleaned out a closet of clothing? Have you ever looked at things that you may have purchased for your children and more than half of the things were never worn? We gather these things so many of which we can never use. But the gift of faith the gift that God has given us? That is the gift that just keeps on giving.
Let’s look at just one tiny aspect of the generosity of God and that is faith. Faith is freely given to all, but few accept it. If you are thinking, Felice you are wrong! My church is huge, many accept the gift of faith–then, my question is where were all the faithful when they shut our churches down? We hid in our homes afraid. I was one of them. However, if I told you in January of 2020 that our churches would not be at full capacity by November 2020 when I am recording this show, what would you say? You would have a hard time believing me. I am not condemning you -or me, it is just what happened in our lives and some of our church leaders and pastors are now in court suing for the constitutional right to worship, freely. This is a gift of the generosity of our faith that we took for granted. Never again will we do this. So, back to faith–yes, it is freely given by God but what do we do with this gift?
I personally want a deep sense of faith, and I am going to pray this for you.
1. The faith of knowing that God is in charge of our lives.
2. The faith of knowing that the Lord will never leave us.
3. The faith of knowing that God is in the here and the now.
4. The faith of knowing when we are weak that Almighty God is strong.
5. The faith of knowing that the battle against evil has already been won by the birth, life, death, and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ.
If we know these things we will have a deeper sense of the generosity of the gifts God has given us and the truth that these become in our lives.
God’s gift to us can never be repaid and that is another thing that is different about the gift of faith. Usually, if someone gives us something we can gift them with something back. In a way, it almost negates our generosity. And if you give with the thoughts of what you were getting back, that further dilutes generosity. Generosity from the Lord is in the fact that he died for our sins, that he gave us everlasting life. Look around you, is this all there is? For those who are Christian, we believe there is more.
This world that God has given us has its ups and downs and many of the ups are from Him and the downs are from things and choices that we make. The saying that “God is good all the time and all the time God is good,” is a refrain the Christian say, but the question is do we believe it? If you have strong faith the answer is yes, and it’s not because we say it over and over again so that then we believe it. No, it is because we truly believe in our hearts that God can only give us things that are good. Do bad things happen in our lives? Of course, they do, because God has also given us free well.

Another amazing gift of the generosity and love of Almighty God is the gift of free will and how that allows us to do what we want in our lives, and that want can include the love of our Lord, but we love the Lord because we want to. We can choose not to do that. That is also part of our free will as well. Whenever I have a hard time grasping the concept of the free will that God gave us I think about forcing someone to love me. We all crave love in this life. We want people to like us and those close to us, to love us. However, we want this freely, right? We don’t want this to be forced and so it is with Almighty God.

We can never understand the mind of God all we can do is strive to do the best that we can do each day. As the holidays are coming up as I record this show, I think about all of the things that I will do soon and maybe you as well. I will shop, I will bake, I will buy or make some gifts, and I will be with those I love. But what will I do as a gift for Almighty God? The one thing I want to share with you again and again because to me this has been an a-ha moment and one gift that we can give Almighty God is to give Him our will. Why? Because we have the free will do to this and HE gave us free will, so we can give it back to Him as a form of humility. Do this takes deep faith. Do you have the faith that surpasses all understanding?

Friends, that is what I’m going to pray for you during this season. To have faith to have trust in Almighty God and all that he will provide for you!

Let’s pray
Dear Lord, I praise you and I thank you and I give you all of my will to do with as you please help me my God to understand the gift of generosity, to understand the gift of faith, to understand the gift that you have given me and allow me my God to be aware of these gifts. I ask my God, for the prayers that I have in my heart for those I love in my life and for myself… and I praise you and I thank you in Jesus’s Name. Amen.

Denunciation of the Pharisees

Denunciation of the Pharisees Matt. 23:1-12 Deacon David HockwaltA Moment in Scripture- ‘Denunciation of the Pharisees Matt.23:1-12 by Deacon David Hockwalt

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.

We pray that today may be a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this reflection. Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this reflection will help us all better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness. We want to come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me and holy is His Name!

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

Ditch the Heaviness of Life

Life can be heavy

All of us in this world has both good and bad things going on. There are moments of joy and despair, all intermingled, sometimes in the same moments. And where we focus often determines our attitude.

Scripture

“Then all who trust in you will be glad and forever shout for joy. You will protect them and those will rejoice in you who love your name. ” Psalm 5:12

GLAD

What is this GLAD technique? First, this is not something I came up with on my own. Here is a good explanation, especially in terms of mental health.

G – Gratitude

L – Learned

A – Achieved or accomplished

D – Delight

 

Use GLAD every day this week! Bonus if you do this with others, in person or via text or phone call. Let me know how GLAD you are!

Interested in studying the Book of Revelation? Find out all about it by subscribing to the Live Not Lukewarm newsletter. 

Penitent

Does any want to be a penitent? What does this mean to a Christian in a life that seems to be full of all types of hardships? Tune in as Father David works us through this difficult concept but will bring you closer to Christ.What Is A Penitent? Episode 43

Does any want to be a penitent? What does this mean to a Christian in a life that seems to be full of all types of hardships? Tune in as Father David works us through this difficult concept but will bring you closer to Christ.

Evangelizing Catholic Culture – The Book.

This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church

Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today.

The goal of the culture of compassion is to provide for an individual to become a modern Catholic penitent. The penitential life is characterized as a life of evangelical conversion and penance lived out in some kind of pattern, in order to bring forth the fruits worthy of penance.

In the Gospel, the Lord Jesus asks us to abide in him as he abides in us. Those who do such bear much fruit, and fruit that will remain, because apart from me you can do nothing, the Father is glorified by you bearing much fruit and becoming my penitent disciples. Being fruitful depends on the indwelling of the divine life in my heart, and our fruitfulness increases the quality and degree of this precious life within us.

The starting point of a life of penance is overflowing gratitude for the gifts and benefits which the mercy of the Father has bestowed on us in his Son Jesus the gift of Crucified Mercy. A life of penance does not depend on willpower alone for doing various types of penances and devotions. But a life of penance depends on the action and power of God bestowing his mercy, and for our part humbly and openly receiving. It is necessary to be humble and poor to receive the divine life of the Kingdom.

In the grace of the Holy Spirit, the Lord trains us to live lives that are self-controlled upright, and godly, and we develop attitudes that produce fruit in our personality and character. The power of grace in natural abilities and acquired skills bring forth fruit. This experience initiates an action of purification which accompanies a life of virtue for the penitent. The penitential life is a graced call within which one lives a life of penance. This is the time of fulfillment repent and believe in the Gospel (Mk.1:14-15). The penitential life is a process of conversion that completes us in Christ with overflowing love, gratitude, glory, and praise. The call and mission of a merciful penitent draws its transforming power from the passion of Jesus Crucified in the life of the Holy Spirit. The call to be merciful penitents is a distinct counter-culture stance to be sure. Francis of Assisi arrived at a definite point in his early conversion where he concretely recognized a call to do penance. A penitent in the way of conversion is a permanent dynamic reality.

3rd Sunday of Lent -C Bread of Life Bible Study

3.14.2022 3rd Sunday of Lent: We need to hear what is being said in the Gospel...Jesus died for us; he has left his Spirit to help us grow.3rd Sunday of Lent-C Bread of Life Bible Study

We need to really hear what is being said in today’s Gospel because we are like that tree and we need to repent. We need to be watered and re-cultivated or we will be ripped out and thrown away. Jesus died for us; he has left his Spirit to help us grow.

“There is a famine today that is raging across this great land of ours. There is a deep hunger and thirst for the healing Word of God … With humility, boldness, and energy, we must personally hear the Word, pray the Word, study the Word, proclaim the Word, and live the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (from Introduction for The Bread of Life Bible Study)

Today’s podcast is based on the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study and presented by the coauthor, Marie Finn. Please visit the website: www.StDismasGuild.org for more information and for supplemental materials.

We pray that today maybe a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast. May the Lord speak to each heart the words He wants us to hear!

Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this sharing will help us better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness, and are called to “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Join with us as we come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me. Holy is His Name!

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

Spiritual Motivation

In this episode, we will look at what motivates us as Christians and how to be sure the motivation is for the right reasons.Spiritual Motivation ~ Episode 199

What is your spiritual motivation to live a life as a Christian? Have you given this question any thought? Is it important to you to live a life that is pleasing? Pleasing to whom? In this episode, we will look at what motivates us as Christians and how to be sure the motivation is for the right reasons.

Please help me in sharing this podcast with family or friends! Thanks so much for your continued support. Visit my website MediaAngels.com for Christian books and classes for the entire family.

We are motivated by different things. In the Christian spiritual realm, we are motivated by the goal or the reward at the end of the journey.  What is the end? For a Christian, we believe it is heaven. Motivation takes on different forms and levels of effort as well. Are we motivated to read the Bible? Are we motivated to pray? Are we motivated to do works of mercy, feed, and help those less fortunate? Motivation is the force or the action behind the scenes.

When I think back on this podcast and this podcast network (The Ultimate Christian Podcast Network) I think of my motivation for starting this work. The motivation had to do with using my knowledge and expertise to help others to succeed in reaching the Christian community, collectively, with shows that were uplifting, Godly, and informative. They were to be food for the soul and based upon sacred Scripture as a foundation. The motivation has kept me going through now, the 199th episode.

Some people are motivated by money and that is what keeps them working hard or up late at night. Some people are motivated by fame or power. People are motivated into action, the doing of activity by something bigger than themselves. But no matter what your job or position, no matter what your focus in life, the ultimate motivation is spiritual motivation.

Jesus left us and rose to heaven after his resurrection but He promised to send us His spirit. God loves us 100% no matter what we do or no matter what – John 15:9-10 As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.

Jesus also promised not to leave us orphans but to send us the Holy Spirit. John 14:15-17

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[a] in you. 

This is the motivation that Jesus gives, another advocate and one that is in us, how? By keeping God’s commandments and being open to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a great motivator! When we keep our eyes on Him when we keep our eyes on the prize (everlasting life) that is when we will find success.

Things that squash our motivation is second-guessing, getting caught up in the things of this world that we can not prevent, and thinking that we know better than God. When we are confused the first thing to do is to get on our knees.

I’ve learned the hard way that when I start a project without prayer or direction it falls flat. We are motivated by working within our strengths, the gifts that God has given us. I could never be a public speaker without the grace and mercy of God. I am a shy person and no one who meets me believes it! Why is that? Because God also gave me another gift and that is passion. If I am passionate about a topic then I will work hard to bring it forward with God’s help. Without Him, I would flounder and be at a loss.

What is spiritual motivation to you? What is that that God is leading you to do? Is it to speak to a friend or co-worker about the Lord? Is it to take more time in your daily prayer time? Is it to read the Bible each day? What is it? What is it that will get you out of bed with a joy that surpasses all understanding? Finding that motivation is important but not necessary.

Let me explain. Motivation comes from within and it is also a choice. We may not feel that motivation all the time but if we are determined to change for the better and improve then it takes work. The enemy works overtime trying to destroy us but we can focus on the Lord and ignore the rest.

Spiritual Motivation:

  1.  Praying and asking God for an infilling or re-infilling of the Holy Spirt. My simple prayer is more of you God and less of me.
  2. Reading Bible quotes and making a list of your favorites.
  3. Visiting motivation websites and writing a collection of quotes that touch you. Positive Christian quotes here.
  4. Reading the life of the saints, such as Mother Theresa – we read in her life story that there was a time when she didn’t hear God but she still persevered and kept to the mission He had given her at the beginning of taking care of the poor in Calcutta, India.
  5. Being open to the Holy Spirit and praying for direction.

Do you surround yourself with Christian friends and other people who are like-minded? This is helpful when we are trying to grow in our faith because spiritual motivation is just that – growth.  If you do not have like-minded friends ask the Lord to bring you some! (Share my prayer and fulfillment.) As I have shared whether or not we feel like it is true the Lord does hear our prayers and He does answer our prayers especially those to grow closer to Him and to grow in our faith.

Praying for others can also bring us spiritual motivation. We want the grace and blessings upon those we pray for and if we pray daily the Lord will call to mind people we can pray for their needs.

Psalm 107: 1 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; or his steadfast love endures for ever!

Let us give thanks each day and ask the Lord for the guidance we need to live lives that are an example to others but also realize that He is there for us. We are not alone we are in good company.  There is always going to be an internal struggle for our time and focus. The presence of God in our lives gives us the added will to do His will, to allow us to forgive ourselves and others. To pray the Lord’s prayer daily, and to persevere! Nothing worthwhile is easy and it does take effort. That is why it is important to pray for help. Daily we renew our covenant with Christ, and we renew our faith by praying. We can pray, “Here I am Lord.”

May the joy of the Lord be in your heart each and every day – that is what I pray for you! Your challenge this week is to look at the Christian spiritual motivation in your life and the ways that you are answering the call of God.

 

 

 

 

 

We Have Given Up Everything – Deacon David Hockwalt

‘We have given up everything.’ Mark 10:28-31 by Deacon David Hockwalt. We pray that you experience the presence of Jesus Christ.‘We have given up everything.’   Mark. 10:28-31 by Deacon David Hockwalt

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.

We pray that today may be a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this reflection. Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this reflection will help us all better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness. We want to come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me and holy is His Name!

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

2nd Sunday of Lent-C Bread of Life Bible Study

2nd Sunday of Lent: Jesus is knocking at your heart's door. He will wait as long as it takes. Open the door and look into his radiant face.2nd Sunday of Lent-C Bread of Life Bible Study

Jesus stands knocking at the door of our heart, and He will wait as long as it takes. Open that door of your heart today and look into the radiance and dazzling brightness of His face. You will be transformed as you look into His eyes of love and mercy.

 

“There is a famine today that is raging across this great land of ours. There is a deep hunger and thirst for the healing Word of God … With humility, boldness, and energy, we must personally hear the Word, pray the Word, study the Word, proclaim the Word, and live the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (from Introduction for The Bread of Life Bible Study)

 

Today’s podcast is based on the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study and presented by the coauthor, Marie Finn. Please visit the website: www.StDismasGuild.org for more information and for supplemental materials.

We pray that today maybe a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast. May the Lord speak to each heart the words He wants us to hear!

Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this sharing will help us better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness, and are called to “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Join with us as we come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me. Holy is His Name!

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

Imagine You Walked with Jesus, A Guide to Ignatian Contemplative Prayer.

Teaching Prayer

Teaching a person to pray using Ignatian Contemplative Prayer is not an easy task. It takes time and repetition to learn. The other point to consider when teaching someone is that you want the person to enter into the prayer based on their needs, not the person teaching. In his new book, Imagine you Walked with Jesus: A Guide to Ignatian Contemplative Prayer Jerry Windley-Daoust does an amazing job of guiding you to a deep experience of prayer.

In this episode, Jerry and I talk about what makes his book unique, how it leads you through Jesus’ life with 40 different scripture passages and gives you a format you can use with prompts and suggestions to enter into prayer.

Don’t skip

Jerry starts the book off with 2 important chapters, the first an introduction to imaginative prayer and a brief tour of first-century Palestine. Both will be of help to you as you begin.

I also suggest moving through the scripture passages as Jerry has organized them. That way, you will see Jesus’ life and ministry unfold as you pray with the scripture.

Learn more

Find out more about the book, find journaling resources, more scripture suggestions and other help in getting started on the Guide to Imaginative Prayer website.

Our challenge this week comes from Jerry: “Go walk with Jesus in imaginative prayer! Choose a Scripture passage that reflects your situation, and go meet Jesus there, and see what happens.”

Stay up to date on all that Deanna has going on by subscribing to the Live Not Lukewarm newsletter. 

 

Culture of Connection in Christianity

Culture of Connection in Christianity with Father David TickerhoofCulture of Connection In Christianity ~ Episode 42

What is the culture of Connection? Have you heard about this as related to Christianity? In this podcast, Father David takes us through the importance of connection in regard to faith.

Evangelizing Catholic Culture:

This inspiring book by Father David Tickerhoof, Third Order Regular (TOR), on the role of Merciful Penitents in the Renewal and Reform of the Church. This book discusses the culture of connection as well.

Father David’s book is available! “Evangelizing Catholic Culture,” get your copy today.

The traditional Catholic culture that great-grandpa and grandma knew about, is based on stable and supportive relationships. Unfortunately, this is almost gone: disintegrated and still dissolving. The replacement for many Catholics and other Christians is the new neopagan religion in society called Secularism Humanism; its is all about me, we don’t need God or religion. In short, we need to develop a new Catholic Culture of Connection. The question is what should this new Culture look like?

What does this mean to us as Christians?

Faith cannot exist if it is not rooted in the culture. Culture is used here to mean a way of living. The last Popes have all maintained in one way or another that God is about a new work of Mercy. This new culture needs to be built on that experience of God’s current revelation and work in the Church, which highlights the reality of relationships that engender connection. Relationships survive only if they are rooted in connection. The foundation of a new culture of connection entails a threefold connection: a connection to self, God, and to others, what does this mean? Divine Mercy is the context within which the goal needs to be a Culture of Compassion.

Culture of Connection:

The threefold focus of connection to self, God, and others occurs by highlighting personal transformation. The key objective is the healing of the whole person! In our attempts to do this we have emphasized the healing of the heart; even to the extent of neglecting the healing of the mind. Now the vector has shifted to the mind; we see this clearly illustrated in trauma therapy. Since not everyone can take trauma treatment, we need to transfer some of the features of this ministry into retreat and workshop formats: “Through the mercy of God offer your bodies to the Lord as your spiritual worship; do not be conformed to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind so that you may know what is good, pleasing, and perfect, the will of God.” (Rom.12:1-2).

In the threefold connection of compassion, we relate first to “self-compassion”; secondly receiving the compassion of the Father through the pierced heart of Christ; thirdly when these two are alive in our minds and hearts, then one can give compassion to others. The vehicle for developing a new culture of compassion is the renewal of the mind. In this personal transformation, we pass from our false self to our true selves. We experience becoming calm and holding the peace of Christ in our hearts; confident, and compassionate, our true self.

First Sunday of Lent – Bread of Life Bible Study

We must have faith in God's promise that he loves us so much that he sent his only begotten Son into the world to die just for us.First Sunday of Lent – Bread of Life Bible Study

 

Knowing Scripture is not enough to defeat Satan because he also knows Scripture. We must have faith in God’s promise that he loves us so much that he sent his only begotten Son into the world to die just for us.

 

“There is a famine today that is raging across this great land of ours. There is a deep hunger and thirst for the healing Word of God … With humility, boldness, and energy, we must personally hear the Word, pray the Word, study the Word, proclaim the Word, and live the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (from Introduction for The Bread of Life Bible Study)

 

Today’s podcast is based on the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study and presented by the coauthor, Marie Finn. Please visit the website: www.StDismasGuild.org for more information and for supplemental materials.

We pray that today maybe a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast. May the Lord speak to each heart the words He wants us to hear!

Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this sharing will help us better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness, and are called to “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Join with us as we come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me. Holy is His Name!

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

 

Speaking with Love

Speaking with Love ~ Christian Love. Episode 198

Speaking with love, Christian love is difficult at the best of times and during the best of conditions. How can you speak to others with the love, easy if you do not have the love of Christ in your heart?

Visit the Media Angels website for books on Character Qualities for children and Christian novels. MediaAngels.com

Speaking with love is a gift. It isn’t always easy to speak kindly especially when we are annoyed. I fight with myself over what I want to say and what I actually say. Why? Because our human nature, if it is not grounded in Christ is one that is concerned with self. We want to be right, we want things to be fair (especially as they apply to ourselves) and we believe that we have a right to speak our mind.

Why do we speak out in a way that is not pleasing to the Lord? Mainly because we are upset or feel justified. Usually, anger gets in the way of clear thought or speaking kindly. Another reason can be fear. Fear is a gripping sensation that may make you feel out of control and when this happens our speech may reflect this fear and insecurity by taking it out on others. This is never acceptable or okay but we can change, and it first takes wanting to change to make it happen.

Recently I read a post on social media that a friend of mine who has written quite a few books commented on another book that was recently released and had a movie as well. She talked about the hateful comments, from fellow Christians, that she received when she gave the book and movie a review. I know nothing about the book or the movie but what I do know is that people are entitled to their opinions and as Christians we are held to a high bar. There is never a reason to be personal in our speech in a hateful way. There is just no excuse.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 talks about love. This is the love that speaks of God’s grace, God’s promise, God’s example.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

That my friends is what Christian love talks about and how we are to speak.

  1. Speak with patience.
  2. Speak with kindness.
  3. Speak without envy.
  4. Speak without boasting.
  5. Speak without being proud.
  6. Speak while not dishonoring others.
  7. Speak in a way that is not self-seeking.
  8. Speak in a way that is not angry.
  9. Speak in a way that doesn’t point fingers or accuse.

But there is more. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. The truth, we are told will set you free. John 8:31-32

31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Our words should be ones that protect others, trust in truth and encourage with hope and continue on through the tough times. When we speak with love and kindness we are following the example of Christ. In the Bible, we read that Jesus often said, “Go and sin no more,” but He was not disparaging of the sinner, he didn’t call them out or use crude terminology. He didn’t point fingers and tear the people down. No, he lifted, encouraged, and taught using parables and stories so that the people could relate and understand.

Ephesians 4:25-32 – gives us an example of righteous anger but it also gives us a reason to be careful with how we speak. We are to put off falsehood and speak truthfully but we are admonished in anger not to sin. (Read).

25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”[d]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Is there a time when you were angry and then regretted what you said? We’ve all done this but in the verses, I just read it tells us to get rid of bitterness, rage, and anger and to have compassion. When we are in prayer we can sense the goodness of the Lord and feel his love, forgiveness, and compassion. Yet when we are in trying or difficult situations we may find we are at a loss and may fail to speak with love. Speaking with love takes practice and it takes faith. But there is hope because the power of God, the power of Jesus in our lives is real. How is this real? By the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us wisdom and many of the fruits of the spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. (Podcast here on Fruits of the Spirit.)

How do we get more of that spirit of God? By prayer and by asking for it. We can ask the Lord to help us to see the ways that our words hurt others, and repent. Repenting from sin should be something we do at the end of each and every day (or more often if you can). Jesus said we should forgive others seventy times seven. He did not say we should hold a grudge for the rest of our lives. God gave us the gift of life and the miracle of our lives is the ability to touch others in a way that is uplifting and helpful.

This week look at the words you use, with your family first and then with your friends. Are you speaking in a way that builds people up or does it tear people down? Can you speak kindly? Can you speak the truth but in a way that people will actually listen? When those who profess to be Christian can’t even speak with Christian love then what hope do we have for humanity? Christians have a common and unifying Father. We believe in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We are not orphans but we are children of the Almighty and we should reflect the love of God in our lives and the way we live our lives. John 14:15-20

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[a] in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

Our actions and our words should both reflect this love. We love in a way that reflects the joy in our hearts and if we are lacking this joy, we need to get it back. How can we do this? We need to focus on reading the Bible, taking time each day to pray, and focusing our thoughts, especially (if we can) first thing in the morning and last thing at night in giving God the praise He is due. Without praise and gratefulness, there is no joy. Without joy there is no hope. Without hope there is despondency and that is when the enemy creeps in and takes hold.

Love by its very nature is sacrificial and speaking in love means speaking with sacrifice to self. Our speech is a reflection of what is in our heart, and if our heart is lacking it will be obvious to those who listen to us speak. If you have difficulty in this area pray to the Lord and ask for help, ask Him to give you the words you should use. I often do this when I pray for other people. I have no idea what they really need in prayer, but God does! God can give us those gifts of the spirit and guide our speech so that we are a reflection of God’s love and an example of Christian charity!

This week your challenge is speaking in love to others and using your words or uplift and encourage. May God be blessed!

Asceticism

Asceticism – not a word you use every day

Lent is approaching and I’ve been considering the idea of asceticism. Which is different from minimalism.  But rather than my words, let’s look a the definition from A Concise Dictionary of Theology.

“Asceticism is the ways and mean sdopted by Christians under the action of the  Spirit to purify themselves from sin and remove obstacles in the way of freely following Christ. Genuine asceticism brings a growth in contemplation and the love of God that is not detrimental to personal maturity and socil responsibilty.”

And Lent…

The three pillars of Lent are prayers, fasting and almsgiving. Deacon John and I talk about how to decide what to both give up and do for Lent. We do not divest ourselves of attachments to worldly things for the good of our own self. We do it to grow closer to God and better serve others.

The steps to a plan

First, we pray. Then we consider our options. Add one act of prayer, fasting and almsgiving and give up something that allows you to have more time, money, energy – whatever is needed to do the acts you will do.

 

Lent begins on Ash Wedensday, Marh 4, 2022. Prepare for LEnt this week so you are ready when it begins. If you are listening outside of this time frame, pick something anyway to do for a week.

 

 

 

Who Do You Say that I Am – Matthew 6:13-20 – Deacon David Hockwalt

Who Do You Say that I Am - Matthew 6:13-20 - Deacon David Hockwalt. We pray that you experience the presence of Jesus Christ.Who Do You Say that I Am – Matthew 6:13-20 – Deacon David Hockwalt

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.

We pray that today may be a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this reflection. Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this reflection will help us all better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness. We want to come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me and holy is His Name!

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

8th Sunday of Ordinary Time-C Bread of Life Bible Study

All through the ages, no matter what type of situation may have been present, almost everyone would agree that if you are critical, rather than compassionate, you will also receive criticism. 8th Sunday of Ordinary Time-C Bread of Life Bible Study

All through the ages, no matter what type of situation may have been present, almost everyone would agree that if you are critical, rather than compassionate, you will also receive criticism. If you treat others generously, gracefully, and compassionately, these qualities will come  back to you in full measure. Jesus does not mean we should ignore wrongdoing, but we are not to become critical of others that we begin to become one of God’s frozen people instead of one of his chosen people

“There is a famine today that is raging across this great land of ours. There is a deep hunger and thirst for the healing Word of God … With humility, boldness, and energy, we must personally hear the Word, pray the Word, study the Word, proclaim the Word, and live the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (from Introduction for The Bread of Life Bible Study)

Today’s podcast is based on the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study and presented by the coauthor, Marie Finn. Please visit the website: www.StDismasGuild.org for more information and for supplemental materials.

We pray that today maybe a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast. May the Lord speak to each heart the words He wants us to hear!

Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this sharing will help us better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness, and are called to “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Join with us as we come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me. Holy is His Name!

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

God Loves You – Special Replay

I probably don’t need to tell you that God loves you, but if you find yourself overwhelmed you need to hear it again and again.God Loves You ~ Special Replay

I probably don’t need to tell you that God loves you – however if you suffer from stress or find yourself overwhelmed you need to hear it again and again. In this episode, we will discuss God’s love and how closely tied it is to who we are and our relationships.

Thanks to our sponsor – Overcomer Movie to learn more about the DVD.

When I think about God’s love the refrain from a popular Bible song resonates although the words are slightly different than, “God loves you,” the words go — “Jesus loves you this I know because the Bible tells me so…” Yet do we really believe this and if we do why do we live a life that isn’t trusting that God’s got this – whatever “this” is in your life.

We take God’s love for granted. How do we know that He loves us?

  1. You exist – so the very fact that you are here is because of the fact that you were created. Your parents had to meet!
  2. You are who you are because of the love of God – our relationships hinge on who we believe God is – think about it.
  3. God has a purpose for you – yes, you. He created you for a reason and some understand it better than others but our entire life is striving to grow closer to him.

I purposely left out the fact that God sent His only son – to become man, in order to be born, suffer and die for our sins, and ultimately resurrected into to heaven. That is the number one reason I know that God loves me – but for me to know this I must be a professed Christian. John 3:16 is a favorite Bible passage of so many. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

We know God loves us because He loves us unconditionally. We do not need to perform good works or deeds in order to have God love us. He just does. Of course, we should do good things, please don’t misunderstand that it isn’t needed – the point here is that it isn’t needed for God’s love. We try to understand God with a human mindset. We love those who love us – we love those who are kind who gift us things who are welcoming and generous. But we can’t understand the mind of God – because for us it makes no sense.

Can we love unconditionally? No – it is very difficult to do – but for God all things are possible.

In the Bible, we read again and again about the mercy of God through the actions of his son Jesus. We read about mercy. We read about the Pharisees who often criticized him. Yet in Matthew 9:12 it says, “It is not those who are well who have need of a physician but those who are sick.” We are sick as sinners – we have a sickness in our souls and it is that sickness that causes us to doubt, to stress to be overwhelmed by this thing we call life. We need mercy and we need a Savior and it is in this Savior that loves us just because.

Think about that. Someone who loves you just because you are. Just because you exist. Who knew you before you were born, who knows the number of hairs on your head, who held you in the palm of His hand. Wow. Psalm 84:8 reads – “Show us, O Lord, your mercy; and grant us your salvation.” This is repeated again and again in our Bible readings during the time of Advent the days leading up to Christmas. We are reminded of this time and time again.

To receive the mercy and compassion of God we must show others mercy and compassion. This is not to be confused with God’s love. God’s love is unconditional. But there is, for a Christian a recourse if you will for sin. God teaches us in the parable of the Good Samaritan that because of sin (a man who was a Jew was robbed and left for dead. We learn that two people walk on without helping him, one man – the Samaritan stopped and helped the Jew – and he did this without a repayment. The Bible uses this as a lesson because the Jews and the Samaritans were adversaries – you can read more in Luke 10:25-37

The point here goes further that God knows our hearts. He knows what drives us – we can lie to the world but God knows our motivations. It is important for us to have compassion for others and if we have the love of God in our hearts this should come naturally.

Friends, for those of us who are believers we should go around looking joyful and hopeful with a smile on our face. Who would want to be a Christian if they think that Christians are a bunch of judgmental and depressed people! We need to open our hearts to God’s love – He is waiting with outstretched arms and all we have to do is say yes, Lord. More of you Lord and less of me.

Let’s pray.

Dear Lord, first I thank you for your unconditional love – I thank you for allowing me to be created and for giving me the opportunities to share the love you have given me with others. Pour into me oh, my God – your love and your mercy. Help me to be compassionate to others to be in the right place at the right time to be used by you! Help me to show this love to others. Take away my stress, my anger my feelings of being overwhelmed and replace them with the peace that surpasses all understanding knowing that you are right beside me. I pray particularly for the following intentions:  Thank you ahead of time Lord for all the blessings and provisions you send and I pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.


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With the Lord’s Help

A Saint and some Scripture

We are reading The Way of Perfection by St. Teresa of Avila with the LiveNotLukewarm community.  The book is filled with wisdom, which is why she is a Doctor of the Church!

This struck me: “May our Lord assist me in everything that I shall do, that all things may be done according to His will, for such have always been my desires, though my actions are as imperfect as myself.”

And, thne we have the Letter of James, chapter 1, 19-22, though the entire letter is excellent.:

Know this, my dear brothers: everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, for the wrath of a man does not accomplish the righteousness of God. Therefore, put away all filth and evil excess and humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls.Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.”

Control the Tongue

Is it difficult to do? It is for me, how about you?

Invite God in more frequently, the more we ask for help the better off everyone will be. We can’t be a good example if we are not speaking with kindness.

Not Lukewarm Challenge

Read the Letter of James or say this prayer!

 

 

7th Sunday of Ordinary Time-C Bread of Life Bible Study

Jesus makes known, very strongly in this reading, that love is a decision and not some sentimental sloppy emotion.7th Sunday of Ordinary Time-C Bread of Life Bible Study

Jesus makes known, very strongly in this reading, that love is a decision and not some sentimental sloppy emotion. He was not talking about feelings, but about the use of our will.  We make a choice to love someone with our mind. We also make a choice to forgive someone with our mind.

“There is a famine today that is raging across this great land of ours. There is a deep hunger and thirst for the healing Word of God … With humility, boldness, and energy, we must personally hear the Word, pray the Word, study the Word, proclaim the Word, and live the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (from Introduction for The Bread of Life Bible Study)

Today’s podcast is based on the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study and presented by the coauthor, Marie Finn. Please visit the website: www.StDismasGuild.org for more information and for supplemental materials.

We pray that today maybe a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast. May the Lord speak to each heart the words He wants us to hear!

Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this sharing will help us better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness, and are called to “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Join with us as we come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me. Holy is His Name!

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

Ultimate Love

The ultimate love of Christ is something we can not possibly comprehend. It includes the creation of man, and His sacrifice for us.Ultimate Love of Christ – Episode 197

The ultimate love of Christ is something we can not possibly comprehend. It includes the creation of man, the love He pours out to us in our lives, and the ultimate sacrifice of His death on the cross. Thankfully we have His resurrection to bring joy to our hearts. In this episode we will discuss the ultimate love of Christ and why this should bring us joy.

Check it out! MediaAngels.com has books based on Christian topics for the entire family. And you may want to listen to this podcast on the Joy of the Lord here.

The word ultimate means the highest bar, the top of the heap, the best or most sought after. I even used the word Ultimate in naming not only this podcast network – the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network but another one as well. Ultimate says, pay attention, this is important for me and for you.

When we mention the word ultimate along with the love of God that surpasses all understanding as the scripture says. His love and His forgiveness are things that we learn about in the Bible. What we do with this information can be life-changing.  Do you remember the time you thought about the ultimate love of Christ in a way that changed your life?

In prayer, I have felt the Lord’s presence and sometimes it is overwhelming and I want to capture the feeling with words. But, words are so lacking. We should meditate on the fact that God’s love transcends time, space and even our understanding. God does not condemn us – (hate the sin love the sinner) but He does call us to that ultimate, the higher and deeper level of faith.

Romans 8: 1-4 [on audio]... keep reading Romans. It goes on to explain the spirit of Christ that is in us, and with this spirit we can live a life that is amazing.

Grace in Tension: Discover Peace with Martha and Mary

Author Introduction

I had a fun conversation with Claire McGarry, the author of Grace in Tension: Discover Peace with Martha and Mary, published by Our Sunday Visitor. Her website is Shifting my Perspective and you can find links to her books and recent writing there.

Instagram                                                                                                                                                   Facebook Author Page

Why Martha and Mary

In her repeated readings of the story from Luke 10, Claire senses her own frustration with Martha and Mary, not understanding why she is in tension over someone else’s story. In prayer, God reveals to her a process to learn how to face the tension in our lives and use it to help us uncover what is going on within ourselves.

GIFT (from page 19 of Grace in Tension)

  • Gauge, identify and name the tension I was feeling
  •  Invite it in so I could look it in the eye, robbing it of its hold over me
  •  Filter it through his lens, which sees the whole picture with love
  • Transform it by inspiring me to make the necessary changes in my life and in myself

By using GIFT, we can have a choice in how we react to the tension around and in our life.

Claire invites you to try her G-I-F-T acronym in the midst of your stress and tension, it would naturally lead you to God and a life that is not lukewarm.

 

6th Sunday of Ordinary Time-C

6th Sunday of Ordinary Time-C: The beatitudes show what Christians can expect from the world, and what God will give them.6th Sunday of Ordinary Time-C Bread of Life Bible Study

The beatitudes show what Christians can expect from the world, and what God will give them. Like a very sharp knife, the beatitudes cut away false piety from true humility.

“There is a famine today that is raging across this great land of ours. There is a deep hunger and thirst for the healing Word of God … With humility, boldness, and energy, we must personally hear the Word, pray the Word, study the Word, proclaim the Word, and live the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (from Introduction for The Bread of Life Bible Study)

Today’s podcast is based on the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study and presented by the coauthor, Marie Finn. Please visit the website: www.StDismasGuild.org for more information and for supplemental materials.

We pray that today maybe a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast. May the Lord speak to each heart the words He wants us to hear!

Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this sharing will help us better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness, and are called to “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Join with us as we come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me. Holy is His Name!

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

Special Replay: Faith Under Pressure

In today's world, our faith is under pressure.Faith Under Pressure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

The Father’s Love

Back home

I’m back home after two weeks away to finish my spiritual direction certificate. I graduated on January 30, 2022, and received my Spiritual Direction Certificate from the Cenacle of Our Lady of Divine Providence School of Spiritual Direction in association with the Franciscan University of Steubenville. It was a grace-filled time with lots to unpack and think about.

But this quote

We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son. (St. John Paul II)

Kept coming up again and again. I tucked it away to think about later and now it’s later. so a few thoughts.

My thoughts

This quote is from Pope John Paul II’s homily at World Youth Day in Toronto, Canada in 2002. I read the homily here, it’s not very long. I also was struck by these words:

Jesus offers one thing, and the “spirit of the world” offers another.

The “spirit of the world” offers many false illusions and parodies of happiness.

The Lord is calling you to choose between these two voices competing for your souls.

All of this is very Ignatian, choosing between two worlds, one which wants your good the other, not really interested in you at all. I’ve been struck this week with feelings of total inadequacy, which I know is the world playing with my mind after being immersed in the Father’s love for weeks, attacks come. To sway us, to confuse us, to pull us away from the truth.

How to overcome

First, pray with scripture so you can hear God speak to you. Then, I offer this not lukewarm challenge: make a list of all that God has done for you that reminds you of his great love for you.

Interested in reading a great book?

3 reasons to read The Way of Perfection by St. Teresa of Avila

You will grow in your spiritual life

It was written during a time of upheaval in the Church

St. Teresa gives practical ways to incorporate prayer in your daily life

We will begin on Wednesday, February 16 at 7:30 pm (EST) via Zoom. The cost is $8 for non-members (register here); LiveNotLukewarm members no need to register, but please email me that you will attend.

 

 

 

Jarius & the Hemorrhagic Woman Mk. 5:21-43 Deacon David Hockwalt

Jarius & the Hemorrhagic Woman Mk. 5:21-43 Deacon David Hockwalt ‘Jarius and the Hemorrhagic Woman’ Mk. 5-21-43 by Deacon David Hockwalt

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.

We pray that today may be a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this reflection. Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this reflection will help us all better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness. We want to come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me and holy is His Name!

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

5th Sunday of Ordinary Time-C Bread of Life Bible Study

Peter knew about Jesus' healing power, but he was amazed that Jesus cared about his day-to-day routine and understood his needs. God is interested not only in saving us, but also in helping us in our daily lives.5th Sunday of Ordinary Time-C Bread of Life Bible Study

Peter knew about Jesus’ healing power, but he was amazed that Jesus cared about his day-to-day routine and understood his needs. God is interested not only in saving us, but also in helping us in our daily lives.

“There is a famine today that is raging across this great land of ours. There is a deep hunger and thirst for the healing Word of God … With humility, boldness, and energy, we must personally hear the Word, pray the Word, study the Word, proclaim the Word, and live the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (from Introduction for The Bread of Life Bible Study)

Today’s podcast is based on the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study and presented by the coauthor, Marie Finn. Please visit the website: www.StDismasGuild.org for more information and for supplemental materials.

We pray that today maybe a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast. May the Lord speak to each heart the words He wants us to hear!

Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this sharing will help us better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness, and are called to “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Join with us as we come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me. Holy is His Name!

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

The Joy of the Lord

The joy of the Lord is... can you fill in the blanks here? The joy of the Lord is so many different things to different people!Joy of the Lord Episode 196

The joy of the Lord is… can you fill in the blanks here? The joy of the Lord is so many different things to different people but in this podcast, we will explore how God’s joy can bring us to a greater and deeper commitment with Him!

Please visit my website for books and classes at Media Angels.com

Check out these our podcasts on the topic of Joy: Joy in Living God’s Will and Daily Joy here.

What did you answer when I asked you what you would say when asked, “The joy of the Lord is…”

I can give you so many such as the Joy of the Lord is my strength, Nehemiah 8:10

The joy of the Lord is my rock, He is my Savior and my Lord. How can I thank the Lord who created the heavens and the earth and who knows every hair on my head and every need I have beforehand? The only way I know how is by giving him all the praise. And, when we praise God, what naturally follows is a thankful heart.
The world is trying to weigh us down and watching the news is enough to depress even the most joyful. There is nothing that surprises the Lord and there is nothing, no event that He does not already know the outcome.  Throughout the history of mankind, we see the same mistakes made over and over again, beginning with the fall of the garden of Eden. Things have not changed significantly in the sense of people continuing to sin!
We read in  Psalm 92:4
Each day we have a challenge, and that challenge is to keep the joy of God in our hearts. Ask ourselves the following questions:
1. What can you offer the Lord today?
2. What can you thank the Lord for today?
3. How can you show the joy of the Lord to others?
Think about these questions and what is key is that whenever we are in the mindset of trying to please the Lord we are receiving blessings. We can not outgive the Lord. Try it. The Lord will not be outdone and we can see that as evidence in our lives. The disciples followed Jesus not because it was easy, but because there was no other way to light, truth, and love. Jesus was compelling, He drew them in with His unconditional love and forgiveness. They were transformed from the ordinary to the extraordinary.
How can we be transformed each day in our ordinary lives? Think about this? It is the theme of this podcast and that is to have the joy of the Lord in our hearts. We can study the Word of God in the scriptures, memorize scripture verses to help us when we are down, turn to God in prayer whenever we have a need or just because we want to praise and thank Him. We can be transformed by the everlasting love of God and the joy that thought brings to our hearts.
Have you gotten off course? We all go off course at some time in our lives. We feel that the Lord is too busy for our needs so we will go it alone. This is not the way to live life and when that burden seems to heavy to carry we will see the evidence in the fruit and that is the wrong path or the path of least resistance. Friends this is not the path we want to be on, we want to be on that narrow path that leads to God and that joy we talk about, the joy of the Lord.
Is there something that is weighing you down? If so, release it and give it to God. That is why over the course of the years I’ve asked you to try a journal, first a praise and thanksgiving journal because that is unbelievably helpful. The second is a prayer journal so that you can go back at some point and see all of the prayers that have been answered. It is truly a faith booster. I have one that I started in 2008 and that thing has pages that are bent and highlighted words and sticky notes. I keep it around to remind myself that while not all prayers were answered, the ones that were important were answered better than I can possibly imagine.
What is the end of this story? We need to keep the focus of Christ in our minds daily, to focus on the blessing we have in our lives, those simple things, the comforts of a home of a family of the blue sky and green grass or even a snowy vista…whatever that is that God brings to us in nature. Nothing can hold back an attitude of gratitude if we will it to be.
The joy of the Lord is my strength and I pray that for you today, and my challenge to you is to increase that joy in your heart with song and prayer, daily! May God be blessed! Amen, and amen.

Conversion of St. Paul – Acts 22:3-16 By Deacon David Hockwalt

A Moment in Scripture- ‘Conversion of St. Paul’ Acts 22:3-16 by Deacon David HockwaltA Moment in Scripture- ‘Conversion of St. Paul’ Acts 22:3-16 by Deacon David Hockwalt

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.

We pray that today may be a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this reflection. Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this reflection will help us all better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness. We want to come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me and holy is His Name!

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

365 Dates to Renew your Christian Marriage

Let’s talk

That phrase could be the answer to “how to strike fear in the heart of my husband?” But it isn’t. Honest. Dating your spouse and keeping your marriage at the forefront of your life can be difficult. What you might need is to take a look at this book from Dana Nygaard for 365 sets of questions to ask on a date.

Why this book?

At times, it is hard to think of what to talk about besides the necessary or tedious or mundane. Dana had put together questions that vary from fun to serious to silly that you can ask each other on your date. And “date” is loosely defined here. It can be a walk, a drive, dinner, or quiet time at home when the rest of the house is sleeping.

Each date has 3 questions: Ready, a warm-up; Set – while you are on your date, deep but can still be talked about in public and then Go – this is the time for privacy as you go into the topic more deeply. Prayer is also included, to be used individually and together.

Who is this for?

Any couple who wants to know and learn more about each other.  You can purchase the book on Dana’s website, follow her on Facebook and Instagram too!

Dana has a great challenge for us this week. She says, “protect your marriage by intentionally pursuing your spouse on date nights.”

Stay in the Not Lukewarm loop by signing up for our newsletter.

4th Sunday of Ordinary Time-C Bread of LIife Bible Study

4th Sunday of Ordinary Time-C Bread of Life Bible Study: There can be no renewal unless there is first repentance.4th Sunday of Ordinary Time-C Bread of Life Bible Study

There can be no renewal unless there is first repentance. Jesus told them that in him everything is complete, and they did not believe him. In rising above their expectations, he began to reveal the mystery of the resurrection.

“There is a famine today that is raging across this great land of ours. There is a deep hunger and thirst for the healing Word of God … With humility, boldness, and energy, we must personally hear the Word, pray the Word, study the Word, proclaim the Word, and live the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (from Introduction for The Bread of Life Bible Study)

Today’s podcast is based on the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study and presented by the coauthor, Marie Finn. Please visit the website: www.StDismasGuild.org for more information and for supplemental materials.

We pray that today maybe a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast. May the Lord speak to each heart the words He wants us to hear!

Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this sharing will help us better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness, and are called to “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Join with us as we come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me. Holy is His Name!

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

Special Replay: Judgmental Christians

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looking at ourselves:

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

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

Let’s pray:

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

 

 

All in with your spiritual life

What does ‘not lukewarm’ mean?

To me, it means being all in, first with my spiritual life so then, the rest of life will follow. Life will never be perfect, but when grounded in faith, especially prayer and scripture, we all stand a better chance of dealing with life.

Scripture points

but showing love down to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Exodus 20:6″The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.” Luke 16:19

“But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath, but let your “Yes” mean “Yes” and your “No” mean “No,” that you may not incur condemnation.” James 5:12

A plan helps

As boring as it may sound, a plan helps. Commit to specific times to do certain things. And once you have made the commitment, stick with it. Don’t allow laziness or inertia to stop you. You have God on your side!

Not Lukewarm Challenge

Make a plan for your spiritual life. Contact me if you’d like to discuss some ideas or have a conversation.

 

 

And don’t forget, sign up for my email newsletter to stay up to date with Live NotLukewarm!.

Teaching with Authority – Mk. 1:21-28 Deacon Dave Hockwalt

A reflection on Teaching with Authority Mark. 1:21-28 by Deacon David Hockwalt. We pray that today may be a special day in your life...A reflection on Teaching with Authority Mk. 1:21-28 by Deacon David Hockwalt

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.

We pray that today may be a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this reflection. Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this reflection will help us all better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness. We want to come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me and holy is His Name!

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

3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time -C

Let others be amazed as you teach, for the Spirit of the Lord is upon you, and He has anointed you to teach your family about him.3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time-C Bread of Life Bible Study

Jesus arrived in Nazareth where he went into the synagogue and preached before an amazed audience. Let others be amazed as you teach, for the Spirit of the Lord is upon you, and He has anointed you to teach your family about him. You can feed your family, friends, and community God’s Holy Word.

“There is a famine today that is raging across this great land of ours. There is a deep hunger and thirst for the healing Word of God … With humility, boldness, and energy, we must personally hear the Word, pray the Word, study the Word, proclaim the Word, and live the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (from Introduction for The Bread of Life Bible Study)

Today’s podcast is based on the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study and presented by the coauthor, Marie Finn. Please visit the website: www.StDismasGuild.org for more information and for supplemental materials.

We pray that today maybe a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast. May the Lord speak to each heart the words He wants us to hear!

Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this sharing will help us better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness, and are called to “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Join with us as we come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me. Holy is His Name!

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

Christ Included

Do you suffer with anxiety stress the inability some days? Is Christ included in your life? If not, this podcast will help!Christ Included ~ Episode 195

Do you suffer with anxiety stress the inability some days? Is Christ included in your life? In this podcast we will talk more about a sure fire way to turn all of this around
Visit my website at mediaangels.com you can find more books and products that I have written with Christian content that you will enjoy.
Well, who doesn’t suffer from anxiety or stress or any of those things that hold us down from time to time? But, we can face these challenges, how? Include Christ. Is Christ included in your daily struggles. Why would you include someone you don’t know that is why it is important to have a relationship with our Lord?
1. Relationships take time and effort.
2. Relationship with God takes time and effort.
If you are a believer this is not far fetched, but it you are not–it may be a harder issue to grasp.

Christ Included:

In order for Christ to be included in your life it begins with a relationship and a trust that He will be there for you. Start with the Scriptures 2 Corinthians 5:7 – For we walk by faith and not by sight.
Think about this, what does this mean to you? If you are walking by faith that means that we are trusting in what we cannot see we cannot see God. There is an analogy often used about the wind in comparison to faith. You can feel the wind and see the effects of the wind. So, how do you know that wind exists exists if you can’t see it? Because you can feel it and see the effects. The same with God when we walk by faith and not by sight we are relying on faith and a greater entity than ourselves. When we bring Christ into the equation not as a lucky charm not a something that we hold out and say, “Okay Lord perform now the way we want you to.” No, we bring the Lord into our life not as a crutch but as the Almighty, the God of heaven and earth, the God who cares about the number of hairs on our head.
Include Christ into you life by:
  1. Align your will to God gods well.
  2. start each day praising God.
  3. look for the good
  4. Spend time in prayer
  5. Spend time reading the Bible
If we bring God into the equation I promise you it will lower your stress your anxiety and your inability to move. If we are with God who can be against us? If we are walking knowing that our Lord is with us why do we fear? More faith is one of those prayers God will answer. I pray that you include God in your every day, you include God in your decisions, you include God in your prayer life, and you include God in all that you do and I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen!
The challenge for you my friends is to bring the Lord with you and I pray that you are blessed

You are valuable

It’s easy to get sucked in

New Year’s resolutions, goals, plans — good, especially if they work for you. What’s not good is coming away with the thought that you have to change because you are not enough or not quite up to the world’s standards. We are bombarded with messages of do it this way, be better, stronger, eat this, drink caffeine, don’t drink caffeine.  Every day it seems, what is the best way changes.

What isn’t going to change – GOD

He does not change. And His word stays and is true. In Jeremiah 1:4-10, God speaks to Jeremiah and class him to be an oracle, a prophet. His prophet. God says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…I dedicated you, a prophet…I appointed you.”

God does the same for each of us.

We are valuable

It can be easy to forget that our worth lies with Him who made us. God is calling us
to do away with whatever stops us from building and planting. It may not be quick or easy, but we can do it with his help.

Hold on to the truth that you are valuable to God because he created you!

Pray this week with Jeremiah 1:4-10. Ask God to reveal to you your value from His eyes.

And don’t forget, sign up for my email newsletter to stay up to date with Live NotLukewarm!.

 

Faith Tested By Fire – Special Replay

We all want faith, but our faith must be tested. Faith tested by fire withstands as we have seen through the many example of the goldy men...Faith Tested By Fire – Special Replay

We all want faith, but our faith must be tested. Faith tested by fire withstands as we have seen through the many examples of the goldy mean and women who have gone before us. In this episode, Felice discusses that trials do make us stronger and what we should pray instead of, “Lord take this cross away.”

For immediate download: A Few Minutes with God plus study guide

Truth Seekers Mystery Series – Entire Set and Study Guides

One More Child: Book

Faith is not faith until it is tested. 1 Corinthians 13:12
I head a sermon this weekend that changed the course of today’s podcast. I wanted to talk about faith as we are in a season of our Lenten journey as I record this we are walking toward the time of celebration and Easter, but most of us do not feel like celebrating because we can’t help to focus on the day to day goings on in our world. We have faith, and yet for many, our faith withstands but by the grace of God. It is often tested and we are in a sense of working within the will of God. It is amazing to think that faith well freely given is something we have to work through. For anything worthwhile in this life takes work. Jesus reminded us that faith is not faith until it is tested. Jesus reminded his apostles of A time when he would be sacrificed for us the disciples did not want to hear this and Jesus this response was frightening to us get behind me Satan. Why is this? Because the enemy does not want us to have faith because true faith cannot be broken.
I think one of the things that really has an impact on me the most is when I think about the disciples who walked with our Lord, who experienced the miracles of Jesus, who saw in him neon The Almighty. And yet during the time of his passion, they deserted him! If those who had experience Jesus fully did not know God, how can we? The only way is through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Unless God opens in aluminates our minds we cannot experience true faith. We are tested every day there are obstacles in our life there are tragedies in our life we have disappointments in our life and we often ask where is God?
But what we always see in the Scriptures is that God transforms evil into God. Even in the worst evil, we can see the greater good. Jesus talks about refining us just as the finest gold must be fired so that the impurities can be taken out. – Zechariah 13:9
1 Corinthians 15 reminds us without the cross and crucifixion there could be no resurrection. Verse 50-52 states… 
Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
I think one of the greatest things that we as Christians have the help of the Almighty and the Hope that is in Christ, and without hope we would be despondent. If we know that God and only in Him and His infinite wisdom and mercy knows what is best for us–and remember, He knows every hair on our head … if this is that same God then, of course, we have the confidence to believe that He knows what we need in our lives. We think we know better. We don’t.
I often find myself in situations that are of my own doing. I often find myself saying yes before really thinking things through and when things fall apart, I always wonder, Where is God? But God hasn’t left, He is at the same address, he is there waiting for me, expecting me to go to him in prayer, and truthfully maybe I did, but I’m not even sure.
And, in the quiet, in the silence of our heart, we hear Him and He says, “Did you?” No condemnation just a simple question. That dear friend only we can answer ourselves. Today our focus as our faith is tested by fire is that instead of asking that our cross be removed, we what our Lord for the grace to face the difficulties in our lives so that we too may be winners and survive the trial. We should pray that while we believe in faith that God is there and always hears our prayers, that we pray that we can feel the hand of Almighty God around us, holding us up when we are too weak to do it on our own. In this way, our faith will be purified through trial and fire but God, while allowing these tests also allows us to have a deeper understanding of faith!
Let’s pray:
Dear Lord Jesus, I praise you and I think you and I ask my God did you send me the tools I need to withstand the evil one that you help me in my every day to focus on you on the greater good and eternity instead of the here and now. I know God you are here and today not asking my God to be with me in every step on me to shine a light before me so I know which steps to take. And I ask for a blessing on the following people that I pray for in my life and I pray this in Jesus precious name amen!

2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time -C Bread of Life Bible Study

Jesus was on a mission to save the world, and yet He took time to attend a wedding and take part in its festivities.2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time-C Bread of Life Bible Study

Jesus was on a mission to save the world, and yet He took time to attend a wedding and take part in its festivities. Jesus knew that being part of people’s lives was very much a part of His mission to Calvary. He valued these wedding festivities because they involved people, and He came to be with the people.

“There is a famine today that is raging across this great land of ours. There is a deep hunger and thirst for the healing Word of God … With humility, boldness, and energy, we must personally hear the Word, pray the Word, study the Word, proclaim the Word, and live the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (from Introduction for The Bread of Life Bible Study)

Today’s podcast is based on the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study and presented by the coauthor, Marie Finn. Please visit the website: www.StDismasGuild.org for more information and for supplemental materials.

We pray that today maybe a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast. May the Lord speak to each heart the words He wants us to hear!

Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this sharing will help us better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness, and are called to “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Join with us as we come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me. Holy is His Name!

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

Prioritize, 2022

A New Year

Each year we have the opportunity to begin something new. And while many people take stock of their life in the new year, it can be done at any time. This episode is a fun one as my husband joins me in a conversation about our word for the year and goals.

Word of the Year

There are different sites where you can randomly pick a word for the year. This one does not require any login or email from you, so give it a try. Or, as you make your goals for the year and pray, a word may come to you. That is usually my method, though I use the website one for fun! Our word for this year is “Prioritize.”

A few of our goals

We both want to read the Bible in a year. Deacon John will also read 15 minutes a day and I want to read 1 business book a month.

A goal that has been in the works since 2020 for me is to complete my spiritual direction training. God willing, that will be done by the end of January! Writing another book is on my list again. A new one is to have a reactive day once a month where I can spend time sewing, crafting or some other creative work.

Why not come with a word for yourself and/or set some goals for 2022? I’d love to hear your words and why/how you’ll apply it in your life.

And don’t forget, sign up for my email newsletter to stay up to date with Live NotLukewarm!.

New Year For The Glory of God

As a Christian, do you live your life for the glory of God? Did you dedicate this new year for the glory of God?New Year for the Glory of God – Episode 194

As a Christian, do you live your life for the glory of God? Did you dedicate this new year for the glory of God? I believe this new year will be your best ever and my hope is not in the world but in God!

Visit my website at MediaAngels.com for special offers on books and classes for you and your family! MediaAngels.com

First we will begin with a prayer and I will end this podcast in a new way this year, with a spiritual challenge – let’s begin. Dear Heavenly Father, I praise you and I thank you for the gift of life and I offer this New Year to you, my God. May I be ever faithful and may I learn to be in your precious Will, and I pray this in Jesus Name. Amen.

How can we live this new year as the best ever? By being in God’s will – the will of God is the one where we know without reservation that our will is joined to His, but often people ask how can we know God’s will for us. Will God’s will line up with what we want in our life or how we want our plans to go? Not always.

The Glory Of God Each Day

How do we live our lives? Many of us have no choice but to care for loved ones, our family and put others first. It may be a choice but a small part of us, maybe buried deep down wants the freedom to pursue other things. I remember wanting the time to write and realizing only after I was married and had my first son, that I loved the idea of writing books. Why did it take me so long to realize this? Perhaps because I never sat down and thought about what I really wanted to do and in life. There was not time to write and when I finally had the time, I had another baby just as I was launching a media company. God’s timing is not always our timings.

I didn’t stop but forged ahead because I felt that it was God’s will and He provided the help and the people to move forward. Yet it was not easy and there were many late nights when the baby slept and giving presentations when I was six months pregnant! Yet, I know that many of my books have been used by missionaries and the words of faith have touched people’s lives through my yes to an idea. But without the grace of God nothing could be accomplished!

The truth is the books I wrote, curriculum, had nothing to do with the books I wanted to write. I wanted to write fiction and had two book ideas. Yet, these were left unwritten in the pursuit of what could be considered a higher calling the education of children. The idea for communication to other Christians is what brought the idea of a world-wide podcast ministry. First to the homeschool world, the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network and then the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network, where this podcast resides. These ideas translated into thousands of hours of teachings for the world to access for free. Again, only possible by God’s grace and the yes from so many other people who have aired podcasts on this network.

Again, this endeavor did not come without a cost. When we say yes to God, it comes with a cost but the reward far outweighs the yes. Do we say yes in the hope of a selfish outcome? A reward perhaps in money or honor?

If we live our lives a way that is joyous but it is focused on selfishness pursuits, you can be sure the result will not be good. How should we live this New Year? Begin with an eye toward eternity.

The focus on this New Year for the Glory of God should be:

  1. Prayer for a greater faith.
  2. Prayer to seek the will of God first.
  3. Prayer to be open to God’s will.
  4. Prayer to listen to God’s leading.
  5. Prayer for the joy that surpasses all understanding.

So, in focusing on prayer we open ourselves to God in a way that allows Him to work in us. Through the grace of God we too can find that in living for others we will true happiness.

Often I have wondered how to do God’s will and I am reminded of the Lord’s prayer. Do you pray the Lord’s prayer daily? Some call it the “Our Father” … Jesus gave us these verses in Matthew 6:8-15 – but read the entire chapter of Matthew if you wonder what the Lord thinks about prayer and those who pray without really meaning it as worship. [More on the podcast.]

But deliver us from evil. For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

There have been many very good articles and sermons preached on the Lord’s prayer – but as you read it what comes out to you? For me it is:

  1. Do not be like those who say words but do not mean them.
  2. Revere the Name of the Almighty. God’s Name is powerful.
  3. Pray for the return of the Kingdom of God – meaning the return of Christ!
  4. Pray that God’s will is done here on earth and lines up to God’s will in heaven.
  5. Pray that we are provide for –our daily needs.
  6. Pray that if we have harmed others they will forgive us.
  7. Pray that we forgive those who have harmed us.
  8. Pray that we are spared from evil.
  9. Pray for forgiveness.
  10. And the Key – if we can not follow this, we will not be forgiven by the Father!

Which brings me to the final point, and that is if we are living for the glory of God and not for our own glory we will realize that God knows best. If we truly believe that God is our Father how can we not believe that He wants what is best for us – which means that in living for the glory of God we are giving Him our free will and attempting in our humanity to unite to His Divine will – think about that for a minute! Wow. This makes me joyful and it also encourages me to pray that I am able to accomplish this by His grace.

So, the challenge friends for today and this new year for the glory of God…

The challenge is:

To examine your life and find the ways that you can live for His glory—what are the things you would change, and what are the ways you hope to live a life that is pleasing to the Almighty. Spend some time in prayer, give your life to the Lord and renew your Baptismal promise and I pray you have the peace, love and joy this year and it is the best year ever! Amen!

Thanks for listening to this podcast and I encourage you to share it with a friend and give me a star rating on your favorite podcast app

Baptism of the Lord- C Bread of Life Bible Study

John's baptism with water symbolized the washing away of sins. Jesus' baptism by fire includes the power needed to do God's will.Baptism of the Lord – Bread of Life Bible Study

“John’s baptism with water symbolized the washing away of sins. Jesus’ baptism by fire (Holy Spirit) includes the power needed to do God’s will. The church received baptism of fire on Pentecost when the Holy Spirit in the form of tongues of fire came upon the believers.”

“There is a famine today that is raging across this great land of ours. There is a deep hunger and thirst for the healing Word of God … With humility, boldness, and energy, we must personally hear the Word, pray the Word, study the Word, proclaim the Word, and live the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (from Introduction for The Bread of Life Bible Study)

Today’s podcast is based on the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study and presented by the coauthor, Marie Finn. Please visit the website: www.StDismasGuild.org for more information and for supplemental materials.

We pray that today maybe a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast. May the Lord speak to each heart the words He wants us to hear!

Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this sharing will help us better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness, and are called to “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Join with us as we come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me. Holy is His Name!

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

The Best Episodes of 2021

Quite a year

Our year began with an episode that encouraged us to begin a spiritual makeover by “Changing our Hearts.” 

Later in the year, I talked about Rhythm, Routines and Habits, a good one to listen to as you begin planning for a new year, be it in your personal or professional life.

I hope that as we talked about prayer, scripture and books that all of our hearts and souls turned toward God and are now more closer to him and Jesus.

 

Prayer Episodes

The topic of prayer resonates with you.  Prayers of Gratitude and Surrender was a conversation with my friend Erin McCole Cupp. We talked about how the practice of focusing on gratitude helps us as we deal with problems in life.  You also like to pray with your spouse, something that is always helpful in my own marriage.

And the books!

Author interviews are a great way to meet new people and figure out what to read next. Barbara Lee, author of Answering God’s Call, a Scripture Based Journey for Older Adults; Whisper: Finding God in the Everyday by Danielle Bean and then first-time author Christy Wilkens book, Awakening at Lourdes were all favorites.

Don’t forget

I’ll be back in 2022 with more episodes on not lukewarm living. If you have any topics, questions or comments,  please leave a comment here.

Listen to one of the podcasts mentioned above, leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts, or sign up for the Live Not Lukewarm newsletter. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This

Clear Choice – Special Replay

The clear choice is obvious for a Christian who is faced with obstacles, debates, and sadness that threatens to push us into depression.Special Replay: Clear Choice For Christians

The clear choice is obvious for a Christian who is faced with obstacles, debates, and sadness that threatens to push us into depression. What can we do? The choice is clear. Listen to this episode of A Few Minutes with God.

For immediate download: A Few Minutes with God plus study guide

Truth Seekers Mystery Series – Entire Set and Study Guides

One More Child: Book

The noise is deafening all around us. There is an upheaval that is unparalleled in my lifetime and people are asking, “What is happening to our world?” The short answer is when you take God out of the schools and you secularize life, you end up with godless people who are easily swayed by thoughts of free money and government handouts. The long answer is that it is way more complex.

A familiar scripture is, John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” And the clear choice is to follow Him and to imitate Him. How do we do this? There has always been and will always be until the end of time a conflict between good and bad, right and wrong, evil and righteousness. When things seem unfair we can look to the cross and see the ultimate injustice upon a sinless redeemer.

The end of the story is that God wins. All the time. And that is our hope and where our salvation rests. We see the hand of the Lord in every day in our lives. In the beautiful weather, or after a rainstorm when we see the glorious rainbow. Or where I live we see those beautiful sunsets.

What is robbing you of your peace? Think about this and jot down those things that make you anxious or angry.

Here is a quick list:

  1. The news. Social media. Turn it off.
  2. The latest text, or email. Wait to answer it. Set times when you do this and keep to schedule.
  3. Lack of time in prayer with the Lord. Prayer works. I promise.

In real life, it isn’t practical to believe we can be peaceful twenty-four-seven, yet when we are stressed we should be able to take a deep breath and regroup. In the night if I wake up I begin praising God, simply saying, “I praise you and I thank you, Lord God. Jesus I trust in you.” Or something similar to this and it calms me and soon I am back to sleep.

The level of anger and helplessness felt in the lives of many the past few months has been overwhelming. This past year in fact has been one for the history books. And so many have fallen prey to depression and anxiety. In fact, for a time I personally pulled away from social media and all news, except for short recaps on a news outlet I follow online. With so much disinformation — a word we barely used a few years ago, who knows what to believe. And it is best to continue on with my work and to focus on what is important in my own life.

We see family members at odds. Friends at odds. And it seems to only get worse every day. Who profits from this anger? No one. In fact, my next podcast is on that very subject. How to talk to people who are at odds in a way that is befitting a Christian! Kindness with Words.

As a Christian, the choice I make every day is very clear. I chose Christ. But for those who are lost who do they choose? I meet people on occasion that are confused, sad, and frankly, scared. They are worried about what is happening in our world. And the news sensationalizes it all to keep us in a state of fear and panic so we are glued to the screen to see the next latest greatest word. Believe me, I’ve been there. But now. I chose God. I chose peace. I chose joy. As I write this it is a new year and the calendar has turned. Our life is a choice, our free will is in force and our free will is a gift that is given to us, that no one can take away.

But what does that mean, “chose God?” My definition is very simple. It means to allow God to work in our life by giving Him our will and asking for His. About ten episodes or so ago I titled a podcast, “Knowing God’s Will,” Which even by my own admission is a very bold statement. The way to know God’s will is to give God our own, and in doing so we will know if we listen to our conscience the right path to take. Do we go left? Or do we go right? Or do we stay right where we are?

Perhaps things of this world can be taken away. But our faith can never be taken away. Mark 8:36 states “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” The things of this world remain behind when we die. We should not put our faith in things, in man, but in the Almighty because only the Almighty God will not let us down.

Maybe you do have faith but it has been shaken lately. Remember what I said about choices? Habits are formed by doing the same thing over and over again, and if we make a decision to chose God, daily (it is a daily choice), this will become a habit. It is faith in action. The choice gives us a sense of peace that transcends all that is happening around us. It allows us to focus on the task of the day whatever that is in your life. Even the mundane, doing the dishes or fixing a meal can be joyful and give us a sense of peace if we thank God for those little things.

Let us pray and ask that the Lord helps us to show through our actions that He is indeed Lord of all!

Dear Lord, I praise you and I thank you for all that you have done in my life each and every day. While the choice is clear we need your help, we need your help my God to follow you to open the door to make the path straight. Dear Lord I ask you to help me each and every day. Please help me to find the peace that surpasses all understanding today and all the days of my life. I pray for the following needs:   And, I pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

The Epiphany of the Lord

So it was to a waiting world that Jesus came and the astrologers from lands far away gathered at his cradle. It was the first sign and symbol of the world's conquest by Jesus Christ.The Epiphany of the Lord, January 2, 2022 – Bread of Life Bible Study

So it was to a waiting world that Jesus came and the astrologers from lands far away gathered at his cradle. It was the first sign and symbol of the world’s conquest by Jesus Christ.

“There is a famine today that is raging across this great land of ours. There is a deep hunger and thirst for the healing Word of God … With humility, boldness, and energy, we must personally hear the Word, pray the Word, study the Word, proclaim the Word, and live the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (from Introduction for The Bread of Life Bible Study)

Today’s podcast is based on the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study and presented by the coauthor, Marie Finn. Please visit the website: www.StDismasGuild.org for more information and for supplemental materials.

We pray that today maybe a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast. May the Lord speak to each heart the words He wants us to hear!

Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this sharing will help us better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness, and are called to “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Join with us as we come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me. Holy is His Name!

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

Holy Family-C – Bread of Life Bible Study

For parents, it is both sweet and painful to see our children as adults. When the time comes to step back and let go, we must do so in spite of the hurt. Then our children can take flight and soar to the heights God intended for them.The Holy Family, Jesus, Mary & Joseph – Bread of Life Bible Study

For parents, it is both sweet and painful to see our children as adults. When the time comes to step back and let go, we must do so in spite of the hurt. Then our children can take flight and soar to the heights God intended for them.

“There is a famine today that is raging across this great land of ours. There is a deep hunger and thirst for the healing Word of God … With humility, boldness, and energy, we must personally hear the Word, pray the Word, study the Word, proclaim the Word, and live the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (from Introduction for The Bread of Life Bible Study)

Today’s podcast is based on the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study and presented by the coauthor, Marie Finn. Please visit the website: www.StDismasGuild.org for more information and for supplemental materials.

We pray that today maybe a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast. May the Lord speak to each heart the words He wants us to hear!

Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this sharing will help us better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness, and are called to “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Join with us as we come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me. Holy is His Name!

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

Christmas Is Real

Christmas is Real - Is Christmas real? What about the date, wasn’t Jesus born in the spring? When we get right down to it, what does the date matter, and what is the bigger and greater message of Christmas?

Christmas is Real – Episode 193

Is Christmas real? What about the date, wasn’t Jesus born in the spring? When we get right down to it, what does the date matter, and what is the bigger and greater message of Christmas?

Visit the website at MediaAngels.com. If you have children you may be interested in the Character Counts planners, these are geared for school-aged children to be aware and exposed to character qualities that often go unnoticed. In addition the books One More Child and A Few Minutes with God, both are great additions to your Christian home library.

Christmas. What do you think of when you hear that word? For many, it is the overwhelming thoughts of the commercial aspect of Christmas, the preparation, the decorations, and the gifts to buy. I often asked my young children, “Why is it when Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus that you get presents?” Of course, no one could answer that question. Through the years we have worked on making the meaning of Christmas real in our hearts and in our lives. One year I gave my children an envelope filled with one blank strip of paper with each person in our family’s name on it. I asked my children to write down what gift that person has – spiritual gifts as well as gifts of character. In other words, was there evidence of generosity, or joyfulness – did the people in our family have the gift of kindness or service? I gave everyone in the family – myself and my husband included, a week to think about this and come back and share together as a family. It was a thoughtful assignment but also brought home the true gifts are ones that we can not buy.

Christmas is Real!

Many would like you to believe that Christmas is not real but a fabrication. There are all kinds of movies that point to Santa as the true spirit of Christmas with miraculous interventions in the lives of others through the kindly, fat, jolly guy. Many encourage their young children to believe in Santa and when kids finally learn there is no Santa, other than the true St. Nicholas, they usually feel that they have been lied to by their parents. I was one who felt that way, it was the only time I can remember being disappointed in my parents for lying to me!

The things that happen to us as children usually translate into how we feel as adults and I never encouraged the belief in my children, but told them that Santa was a representation of the gift of giving. I also encouraged them to not tell their friends there was no “real” Santa as that was not our place! Each family makes decisions that are best within their own household.

How we celebrate Christmas shows us an insight into our hearts and our faith … are we more interested in the decorations, the food, and the presents? Are we sucked into the vortex of buying that stretches our budget or do we look at the gifts and the true meaning of the Christmas message? Despite what the world tells us Christmas is real, the birth of the Savior did take place, and the exact date is irrelevant. The truth is that the Savior was born to free us from sin, the Savior came in humility to parents who were humble to show us without words but with example what true love looks like.

God could have come into this world in any way He wanted, He could have been born to a King and Queen and commanded an army to get rid of those who oppressed the Jews, but who were the Jewish leaders when Christ was born?  [more on the podcast]

Why is it so hard to believe? [More on the podcast]

Why do we follow them instead of the true light? Where does your faith come from? This Christmas seek the Lord in the scriptures read all of the book of Luke to yourself, and with your family. Read the book of Isaiah and the prophecies that came true in the time of Christ.

Christmas is a time when we celebrate the gift of hope. Without hope in this life, there is nothing. The joy of Christmas can last a lifetime; we can count on it when we feel hopeless or are suffering the loss of loved ones. In the last six months, I have lost four dear friends, they were younger than I or the same age and when people we love are gone it brings home to us that life is precious and it is short, it not forever. We are here for a short time and the question is how will you live this life? Will it be in pursuit of selfish pleasure or with an eye to the everlasting life that comes from faith in God to rejoice in eternity with Him?

I pray that the blessings of Christ and the realism that comes with the Christmas message is in your hearts. May the love of Christ that surpasses all understanding come upon you today, and may the love, peace, joy, and hope of this Christmas be with you today and always.

A blessing from all of us at the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network for a Blessed Christmas and New Year!

 

Faith, Present, Future

Our Three Quotes

“Faith is the fundamental response to the love that has offered itself up for me.”         Fr. Hans von Balthasar

 “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

“It is because of faith that we exchange the present for the future. ” St. Fediles 

The Incarnation

Our faith begins when we accept that God did send his Son in the form of a newborn baby to begin the way to our salvation. Our view then, can be on the future, not to the exclusion of taking care of life in this world but with the perspective that this world is not what is most important.

As St. Fidelis says, we exchange the present for the future, embracing what is to come. Knowing that when Jesus comes again we will have the truth, beauty and goodness faith offers us.

 

When you need a boost in leaning more on your faith this week, call on the Holy Spirit to lift you up. A simple “Come Holy Spirit, fill and help me” is enough. One deep breath in and out. Be filled with faith!

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Advent Reflection – Prepare Our Hearts By Deacon David Hockwalt 12.13.2021

Advent Reflection - Prepare Our Hearts By Deacon David Hockwalt focuses on Matthew 21:28-32. Enjoy todays podcast!A Moment in Scripture- ‘ Prepare Our Hearts’ Matt. 21: 28-32 by Deacon David Hockwalt

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.

We pray that today may be a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this reflection. Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this reflection will help us all better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness. We want to come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me and holy is His Name!

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

Seeds and Dirt by Mary Wilson – Thoughts and Pondering

Seeds. And dirt. And God.  What a combination!Seeds and Dirt by Mary Wilson – Thoughts and Pondering

Seeds. And dirt. And God.

What a combination!

This podcast is provided for you by Magnificat, A Ministry to Catholic Women. We pray that today may be a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast.

4th Sunday of Advent- C Bread of Life Bible Study

4th Sunday of Advent: Through us Christ can become real for others. Out there, right where you are, there is someone who needs your visit.4th Sunday of Advent -C – Bread of Life Bible Study

Through us Christ can become real for others. Out there, right where you are, there is an Elizabeth who needs your visit. As you wait, like Mary waited, go out of yourself to others as she did.

“There is a famine today that is raging across this great land of ours. There is a deep hunger and thirst for the healing Word of God … With humility, boldness, and energy, we must personally hear the Word, pray the Word, study the Word, proclaim the Word, and live the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (from Introduction for The Bread of Life Bible Study)

Today’s podcast is based on the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study and presented by the coauthor, Marie Finn. Please visit the website: www.StDismasGuild.org for more information and for supplemental materials.

We pray that today maybe a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast. May the Lord speak to each heart the words He wants us to hear!

Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this sharing will help us better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness, and are called to “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Join with us as we come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me. Holy is His Name!

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

Christmas Blessings

Blessings of Christmas - Christmas blessings come to us all year long, yet are we aware of the beauty of the Christmas message? The message of peace, love, joy, and most of all, hope!

Christmas Blessings Episode 192

Christmas blessings come to us all year long, yet are we aware of the beauty of the Christmas message? The message of peace, love, joy, and most of all, hope!

Visit my website at Media Angels for wonderful books and classes that glorify God in all things. MediaAngels.com

What comes to mind when you think about Christmas?

Think about this. You are so special in the eyes of God that He sent a Savior just for you. This child did not come with a mighty army but was born to humble parents. A young woman, a Virgin, and her betrothed, Joseph known as a carpenter. This working class of people was not nobility, but their example resounds through the generations.

What do we learn from the Blessed Virgin Mary and her spouse, St. Joseph? We learn the true sense and meaning of the words: unselfishness, love, humility, and faith in the face of severe consequences (Mary could have been stoned to death for being “with child” without a husband.) The scriptures talk of visions and dreams. The angel Gabrielle came to Mary and told her she was the chosen one. She didn’t have to say yes, but she did, knowing full well the consequences. Joseph, who Mary had been promised to wed, could have divorced her quietly, but then the Lord sent another angel in a dream so that he would know this was the will of God.

Why were Joseph and Mary so different? They really were not different but given extraordinary graces. They had faith, it was the faith that was taught to them all of their lives and they lived this faith. It was in every breath they took and the lives they lived. It was a simpler but harder life than what we live today. They had hardships but they knew that their goal was not a comfortable life, but one with an eye to eternity. And, they knew that they had been given a gift, what we consider a Christmas gift today – that of the birth of a son, who became Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

Mary and Joseph were the caregivers of the Eternal Word of God – and we by way of faith are given this gift each and every day. How? By our belief not only in the miracle that happened over two thousand years ago, but by the increase in our faith each day.

What is the Christmas blessing to you? Think about this:

  1. Do you think you are worthy of blessings?
  2. Do you realize that the blessings of the birth of the Savior were for you?
  3. Are you aware that faith is a gift?
  4. Are you open to the gift of faith?
  5. Are you open to the miracles that happen all around you each day?

Is your heart open—and can you spend some time in silence to search for this you will find it! You will see that the gift of faith and the birth of the Savior was for you – you are that special in the eyes of God!

Our world is one of darkness, our world looks at the ordinary and makes it less than – there is a big emphasis on tolerance but only when you follow belief as they do. What they believe is not acceptable to a practicing Christian.

Let me just say quickly that if you believe in God as the Creator of the world we are all one flesh – there is not a difference in the human race and we are all created equal in the eyes of God – so if we are all equal and the Almighty Creator of the universe says we are, who are humans to say that men are not? Who is sowing the seeds of discontentment in our world and in the hearts of men? The prince of this world, the evil one.

So then, how will you live your life? Is it to love and serve others, or yourself? Sometimes we can only put one foot in front of the other and think about the day at hand. So many people struggle with illness, or sadness due to things that are out of their control. All we can do at times is to pray, hope, and trust that God is God and He has a perfect plan for our lives.

[More on the podcast – read Luke 10:17-20].

The battle has been won, but the fight remains and therefore the blessings we receive at the time of the celebration of the birth of our Lord – Christmas blessings …

 

Let’s Pray!

Dear Lord you are the Savior of the World and I thank first, God the Father for sending you His Son, and You, God the Son, and also God the Holy Spirit for remaining with us always. With the Holy Trinity, we are assured the faith that will withstand the trials we face in this life and pray that we will remain for all time in eternity with you. I ask you my God for your blessings and to listen to these prayers I have in my heart … during this time of Christmas blessings and miracles I ask for miracles to happen not only to fortify my faith but to increase the faith in others, and I pray this in Jesus Name. Amen.

 

What does it cost?

We begin with scripture

“Without cost you have received, without cost you are to give” (Mark 10:8b).

Gratitude. Humility. Thankful. Sacrifice. Share.  These are all words that come to my mind as I read those verses, Mark 10:6-8. And I ponder what I have received without cost. And then it hits me, everything I have I have received without cost. How can I say that? On the surface it does not seem to make sense. I, like most people, regularly trade my time and talents for money; it is called work, career, or ministry. Our talents and time though, are gifts that we received from God Most High.

At the service of others

We can choose to put those at His service and for the good of others. I often find myself at odds with the second part of the verse, “without cost you are to give.” In fact, I can spend lots of time thinking about how much it costs me to give. How much does it cost me to give love, care, concern, kindness, mercy? It costs as much as I want to believe it costs. When I remember that all I have received has been without cost then I can give without counting the cost. But when I start to tally up when I have given and what I want in return, I am not the person God created me to be or the person I want to be. Does that ever happen to you?

Make a list of all that you have received from God! It can include intangibles like faith and hope, people you love, your talents, material goods, where you live. Try not to judge your list. Then, each day, pray for a few people from your list, ask God to help you grow in talent or use material things for His glory.

It is not easy to give without cost but that is what we are asked to do. The Incarnation is the beginning of Jesus giving to us. By virtue of that gift, we receive salvation. My prayer is for us to embrace the gift of salvation that we have received and share it with others by the way we live our lives without counting the cost.

Rejoice In All Things – Special Replay

We celebrate Christmas once a year - the birth of the Savior, but what do we celebrate daily? Are we rejoicing in all things?

Special Replay – Rejoice In All Things

Can you really rejoice in all things when everything seems to be falling apart in your life and all around you? Yes, you can. And in this episode, I will share with you the secrets of Christian living.

Sponsor Media Angels, Inc. – One More Child book — A Few Minutes With God 

TruthSeekersMysterySeries 

Oscar Wilde is said to have said, and I am paraphrasing here, but that Religion was a fashionable substitution for faith. When we focus on what we are to do and not do we can become bogged down. When my children were little we would read the books of the saints and we loved these stories. They depicted young men and women who loved the Lord and though example, even in the toughest times and situations always showed the love of the Lord to others in their lives. They were wonderful stories that were true of heroism and virtue. Oh, to be like the saints. But, my young daughter said, “Mom, I love reading about the saints but the books are so sad because they always die at the end.”

Out of the mouth of babes, right? Yes, they die at the end after living heroic and virtuous lives. Yet, to us death is sad. This year my husband lost his parents, both of them, I lost my inlaws, and my children lost their grandparents. We think about the loss instead of the joy. They are in a place that knows no pain or sorrow. A place that is what we strive for all of our lives. As we live our lives we must seek God while we can and rejoice in all of the glorious things that happen.

To rejoice in all things can easily be explained like this, “Make lemonade out of lemons.” How can you apply this principle in your life. God’s ways are not our ways and if we are striving to be more like Him I want to remind you – as I forget to do this daily like I want to and that is to give your will to God each and every day. Lord, I give you my will. Please give me your will. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven! It is a reminder of the Lord’s prayer that we too should pray each and every day.

God said follow me. When you find yourself saddened or miserable think about who you are following, or what are you following. Is it the news, the events of the day? It is best to turn it off! The only way we can rejoice in all things is to think about today. Not yesterday with the should-have-could-have or tomorrow with the what if this or that happens. Just today. Focus on today.

In Isaiah 25:9 we read, In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”

and in Isaiah 29:19 we read: Once more the humble will rejoice in the Lord; the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.

Think about these passages and realize this is the Old Testament it was foreshadowing the coming of our Lord and Savior. We celebrate Christmas once a year – the birth of the Savior and we celebrate Easter once a year, the resurrection of our Savior, but what do we celebrate daily? Are we rejoicing in all things?

Put a smile on your face each day and ask the Lord for that grace to be joyful and appreciate the things that are the most important in your life. What are the graces you need each day? Is it the grace to go to work, to do the things you must do for yourself or your family? Very few people love their jobs and yet they get up daily and go to work so they can support their families, and even in this very act of giving they are an example to others. With our actions, we are a greater example than all of the words we can use.

Let’s pray!

Dear Lord, help me to have the gift to be able to rejoice in all things. Give met the gift to focus on today on the here and now. To think about each of these things and not worry about the other things that might or might not happen. Dear God I want to praise you each and every day and I ask for this gift. Dear Lord, I pray for the following needs in my life, and I pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

12.6.2021 3rd Sunday of Advent-C Bread of Life Bible Study

This week on the Bread of Life Bible Study: 3rd Sunday of Advent -C. John the Baptist broke upon the people like a giant clap of thunder...3rd Sunday of Advent -C – Bread of Life Bible Study

John the Baptist broke upon the people like a giant clap of thunder.  He did not tickle the people’s ears. He was not cute or an entertainer. His message was not good news, it was news of terror. John’s message took root in unexpected places, among the poor, the criminals, and the soldiers. They were painfully aware of their needs.

“There is a famine today that is raging across this great land of ours. There is a deep hunger and thirst for the healing Word of God … With humility, boldness, and energy, we must personally hear the Word, pray the Word, study the Word, proclaim the Word, and live the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (from Introduction for The Bread of Life Bible Study)

Today’s podcast is based on the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study and presented by the coauthor, Marie Finn. Please visit the website: www.StDismasGuild.org for more information and for supplemental materials.

We pray that today maybe a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast. May the Lord speak to each heart the words He wants us to hear!

Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this sharing will help us better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness, and are called to “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Join with us as we come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me. Holy is His Name!

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

Say Yes, Don’t Hesitate with God

Mary’s Yes

“Mary said, Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38

And at that moment the Incarnation began. Mary did not hesitate.

In The Reed of God, Caryll Houselander describes that trust of Mary’s yes.

We too can have that trust which will free us of so many worldly concerns and distractions.

My goal

To stop hesitating. I find myself questioning, wondering, are you sure God, do you really mean me, Lord?  I don’t want to change my plans or look foolish. Does my to-do list control my day or does God? When God asks, when I make a promise – I want to follow through, all the time. I want to stop hesitating.

This week, when you feel the prompting of God, do it. Don’t hesitate. And if you have made a decision to do something specific every day, do it. Don’t put it off. Honor your promise, made to yourself or others or  God.


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Come After Me – Matt. 4:18-22

A Moment in Scripture- ‘Come After Me Matt 4:18-22 by Deacon David HockwaltA Moment in Scripture- ‘Come After Me Matt 4:18-22 by Deacon David Hockwalt

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.

We pray that today may be a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this reflection. Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this reflection will help us all better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness. We want to come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me and holy is His Name!

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

11.29.2021 2nd Sunday of Advent -C Bread of Life Bible Study

11.29.2021 2nd Sunday of Advent -C  Bread of Life Bible StudyAs we prepare for Christmas and the 2nd coming of Christ we are told to repent and make way for the Lord. Repentance does not mean “I am sorry,” it means “Change”. And that means changing direction by looking away from sin and turning to our loving, forgiving God, and doing things His way not our way.

Even today we often judge by our culture’s standards, – power, beauty, wealth, education – as in John’s time, and miss the really special people through whom God works. Greatness is not measured by what we have, but by what we do for God. We can be like John the Baptist and give ourselves entirely to God so his power can work through us.

“There is a famine today that is raging across this great land of ours. There is a deep hunger and thirst for the healing Word of God … With humility, boldness, and energy, we must personally hear the Word, pray the Word, study the Word, proclaim the Word, and live the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (from Introduction for The Bread of Life Bible Study)

Today’s podcast is based on the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study and presented by the coauthor, Marie Finn. Please visit the website: www.StDismasGuild.org for more information and for supplemental materials.

We pray that today maybe a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast. May the Lord speak to each heart the words He wants us to hear!

Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this sharing will help us better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness, and are called to “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Join with us as we come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me. Holy is His Name!

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

True Charity

What is true charity and how can we give with a selfless heart asking nothing in return? Well, with God all things are possible.True Charity – Episode 192

What is true charity and how can we give with a selfless heart asking nothing in return? Well, with God all things are possible.

Check out the books A Few Minutes with God, The Truth Seekers Mystery Series and One More Child. Great for Christmas presents.

As the holiday season is upon us everywhere we look someone is looking for a donation for something and most of us give without a thought. I know it is easier for me to give a donation and that is why I like things such as the giving trees or angel trees where you are given a choice of buying a specific gift for someone in need. Many churches spearhead these types of donations and others offer sponsoring a family.

I remember one year a friend from church was so excited about her experience of sponsoring a family. She and another friend combined families so that they could give one special family in need a very merry Christmas and her experience was so touching. The next year she related that the family in need was not thankful, and did not want to interact with them at all but rather just have them drop off the packages with a request of leaving receipts for returns as well. These two experiences were very different and the latter left her with a very bad feeling about participating in the future.

I started thinking about this. And, I could see her point because her purpose was not for accolades but to show her children that there was more than buying a wrapping there were real families in need. The first family she continued to check in with and helped as needed, the second she did not.

But the more I thought about it I began wondering about the word charity and really its true meaning. To give and expect nothing back is a heroic virtue – and yet, we naturally want to feel that our efforts are appreciated. Yet, there are times that we will not be thanked and our efforts will feel that they are not appreciated and it is in those times that we can cry out to the Lord for His love and mercy – Read Psalm 86:17 this really shows us the love of God and how we can be the servant of the Lord… I’m going to read the first few verses but encourage you to read the entire chapter.

If we have God’s love who else do we need? True charity begins at home with our family. It begins with serving each other without a thought of a thank you or any appreciation. How often do we as parents make a meal without anyone saying they are enjoying it – or at other times there are lots of praise for our work. Either way, we do not boycott family dinner because of appreciation or now – we just do the work out of duty.

So too true charity that comes from our heart that we do not because we should or we have to but because of the love of Christ within us. True happiness, true faith come from this love that we can not contain, it is overflowing and it is wonderful because it is divinely inspired. We can write poems of praise to our God because of how often we forget to thank Him and praise Him each and every day for the wonderful blessings He has given to us.

Psalm 86 8-9 “There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. All the nations you have made shall come and bow down before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name.

There is no one like Almighty God! He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords – we have a wonderful season of Thanksgiving and Christmas to give all the glory and the honor and the praise to God and at the same time, we enjoy our lives with family and friends. What a wonderful life we have when we focus on the things that are not of this world. Not the glitter or the presents or the state of world affairs. These things take our mind off of the true charity that we should be focused on to our fellow brothers and sisters to those in our family that we love, our neighbors, and yes, even ourselves. We can give God all the glory, and remember that with His love, His grace, we will have the joy that surpasses all understanding!

Let’s pray.

Dear Heavenly Father, we praise you and thank you for all you have given us in our lives, please teach us that true charity is putting You first and everything else will follow in. Give me an overflowing of your love and your joy so that I may minister to those in my life. And, I praise you and thank you for all you have done… I ask for the following prayers and petitions if it is your will and I pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

 

 

Cure For Fear – Special Replay

There is no cure for fear, or is there? Everywhere we look, no matter what time or place there is something to fear, but there is hope...Cure For Fear – Special Replay

There is no cure for fear, or is there? Everywhere we look, no matter what time or place there is something to fear, if we allow it to creep in. Fear is a tool of the enemy. There is indeed a faction out there that wants us to be fearful. But, with Almighty God we can combat fear, we have weapons and tools!

Sponsor Media Angels, Inc. – One More Child book — A Few Minutes With God

Do we recognize Jesus in the everyday? He promised to be with us always. And while we understand so many things on the intellectual level our hearts are often heavy and burdened. The first thing I would like you to do is briefly think about what is your fear, what are you carrying on your shoulders? What is it that is weighing you down? Is the state of our world? Is it your children? Is it fear of fires, hurricanes, floods, disease, viruses, tornados, or other disasters? What is it in your life that has caused you to fear? If we look at Psalm 10 the beginning verse may sum up how you feel: “Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide in times of trouble?” Is that how we feel that the Lord is a far way off?

Sometimes I catch myself thinking way too much, psychoanalyzing things and wondering and worrying. I think we do more harm to ourselves in overthinking things at different times. What does God expect of us? I can’t talk for the Almighty but I do know that the Scriptures are clear on what He expects. The Israelites were a prime example at the time of the prophet Jeremiah in showing us what turning your back on all that is good and holy does for a kingdom. It destroys it!

We have an everyday choice to obey, love, and seek the Lord, to give him our hearts. Everything I have, everything I am, is a gift from God. So, in other words, what I am is God’s gift to me. Think about this. What I am is God’s gift to me. Many times we think we are not enough but if we consider that we are a gift from God it changes our perspective.

Evil on the other hand is a very frightening thing and the way we respond to evil says much about ourselves and our state of being. in Mark 3:22-30 we read:

22 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.”

23 So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27 In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house. 28 Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”

30 He said this because they were saying, “He has an impure spirit.”

We can not credit the evil one with what belongs to God. At the root of all evil is pride. Pride is the root of all sin. Do we find ourselves prideful? Do we think we know better than others how they should live their lives? Do we choose the world over God?

We read here the Lord’s admonishment is that we can not be a house divided. And. let me pause here and say that we need to form our conscience on the rock of truth. Not truth as the world tells us but truth as it is presented by the Christ, the living Word of God. If a kingdom is divided against itself that kingdom can not stand. If a house is divided against itself the house cannot stand. We must be unified and. we must be in prayer with Almighty God.

Once again, how much time do you give the Lord? Is he foremost in your thoughts daily? Do you begin and end the day in prayer. Set reminders if you forget in your busy day, but truthfully our Lord takes precedence over every other thing in our lives.

Once again do we choose the world over God? God wishes us to resist the tactics of the evil one and those are the things that rob our peace. Recently I was blessed with an outpouring of pure joy. It made no sense. I was just joyful! It wasn’t something I was thinking of something I was doing it just was. These times are far and few between, and please Lord bless me with more of this because it was heaven! It was a sense of security, and love that surpasses all understanding and just a sense of well being that all was right in a world where all is wrong.

So, friends the cure for fear as I have found are the five following points:

  1. As a believer, you are NEVER forsaken. Realize that the Lord is Lord of all. He knows everything. He will not leave you floundering or wanting. He is there for you.
  2. Be grounded in the word and the Scriptures. Memorize Romans 8:28Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.2. Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.3. Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
  3. Choose Christ over the world. Choose God each and every day.
  4. Surrender your will to God – more on this in upcoming podcasts – Daily – Lord I give you my will, Lord please give me your will. They Kingdom come Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
  5. Trust. Trust God with your life and your future. This of course takes faith but God will give you the gift of faith. Just ask!

Simple right? Of course not. It takes a daily walk and a large dose of faith. The faith that surpasses all understanding. And, for that my friends, we will pray!

Dear Jesus. You are the Lord of Lords and we know without a doubt that you have us in the palm of Your hand. We love you and we praise You Jesus and ask that you watch over us and give us that dose of joy that sustains us through any dark times. We give you our fears and lay them at the foot of your cross – you have overcome death and with your resurrection have conquered evil once and for all> evil has no power over you, and I pledge my allegiance you to my God who are good and deserving of all of my love! I pray for those I’d like to life up today… and I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen!

 

Photo Credit: Copyright 2020. Samantha Moss. Permission to use granted by subject and photographer for use as a marketing tool for this broadcast. Graphic Credit: Emma Moss

 

1st Sunday of Advent -C- Bread of Life Bible Study

Bread of Life Bible StudyAre you ready for when Jesus comes again on the clouds of heaven? Are you looking up or down? Be on guard lest your spirits become bloated with indulgence and drunkenness and worldly cares. The great day will suddenly close in on you like a trap. The day I speak of will come upon all who dwell on the face of the earth

“There is a famine today that is raging across this great land of ours. There is a deep hunger and thirst for the healing Word of God … With humility, boldness, and energy, we must personally hear the Word, pray the Word, study the Word, proclaim the Word, and live the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (from Introduction for The Bread of Life Bible Study)

Today’s podcast is based on the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study and presented by the coauthor, Marie Finn. Please visit the website: www.StDismasGuild.org for more information and for supplemental materials.

We pray that today maybe a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast. May the Lord speak to each heart the words He wants us to hear!

Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this sharing will help us better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness, and are called to “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Join with us as we come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me. Holy is His Name!

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

Be Brave, Spread Light

Catherine of Siena

“Start being brave about everything, driving out darkness and spreading light as well. Don’t look at your weakness, but realize that in Christ crucified you can do everything.” 

Shift your focus

It’s so easy when we are feeling all of our weaknesses that we dwell there and go down a rabbit hole of all the things we don’t have. Catherine suggests we drive out darkness and spread light. To me, it means shifting our focus from self to others. Spread the light of Jesus that is within you by virtue of your baptism.

Lean on Christ

Turn to Jesus when you need to be brave. He wants to help us.

This week, consider spreading light. Each day, do some small task that will help someone else. Be an inspiration with a kind word, a song, an action that you can share with another person.

Want to live more not lukewarm?

Sign up to join our Advent Book club. Or join the Live NotLukewarm email list for a new prayer series on praying with scripture.

A Moment in Scripture-The Call of Zacchaeus by Deacon David Hockwalt

A Moment in Scripture-The Call of Zacchaeus by Deacon David HockwaltA Moment in Scripture-The Call of Zacchaeus Luke 19:1-10 by Deacon David Hockwalt

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.

We pray that today may be a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this reflection. Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this reflection will help us all better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness. We want to come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me and holy is His Name!

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

Christ the King Sunday – Bread of Life Bible Study

Jesus Christ is shown as an all-powerful king, victorious at battle, glorious in peace. We can be victorious also in battle and glorious in peace when Jesus is our Lord and Savior, because the battle is his, and not ours.

“There is a famine today that is raging across this great land of ours. There is a deep hunger and thirst for the healing Word of God … With humility, boldness, and energy, we must personally hear the Word, pray the Word, study the Word, proclaim the Word, and live the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (from Introduction for The Bread of Life Bible Study)

Today’s podcast is based on the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study and presented by the coauthor, Marie Finn. Please visit the website: www.StDismasGuild.org for more information and for supplemental materials.

We pray that today maybe a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast. May the Lord speak to each heart the words He wants us to hear!

Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this sharing will help us better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness, and are called to “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Join with us as we come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me. Holy is His Name!

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

Resist Evil

How can we resist evil when it is all around us?Resist Evil – Episode 190

How can we resist evil when it is all around us? During certain times of the year, the stores are filled with spooky sounds and scary voices that are used in homes and businesses to celebrate a day that I try to avoid!

Check out MediaAngels.com for more books by Felice

People say that making fun of evil is what they are doing, but is this true is is it embracing and enjoying the idea of scaring others? I was in the store when a little girl was so fearful and her mother kept bringing her back to the spooky display. The little girl looked at me with fear in her eyes, and I said to her, “I agree with you, sweetie – I don’t like it either.”

The mom was a little put-off and she told me in her defense that she was trying to show her daughter there was nothing to be afraid of – and I shared my take on the situation. That while she was trying to desensitize her daughter the opposite was happening, and that God puts in our souls a desire for what is good and holy – and obviously her daughter had a built-in sense of fear of evil… the mom shared that she was a Christian and had not looked at the situation in this way.

Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out the obvious – and whatever the case is whether or not you celebrate certain holidays the main point here is that God has given us a spirit not of fear but of sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:7. …”for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.”

A few weeks ago I recorded a show on avoiding sin, but this one is so much stronger in the sense that resisting evil is something we are often unaware of!

Recently I was listening to a video [the link is in the show notes YouTube Avoiding The Enemy here… the pastor talked about ways we can let the door open to evil – and some of the ways are very surprising, and others not so much. The obvious ones are to avoid séances, tarot card readings, or crystal balls – using crystals or other practices, avoiding occult games.

These seem like no-brainers but on a recent trip to St. Louis outside of a beautiful Catholic Church in what is known as the French Quarter, there were tables set up with people doing these things. It was horrible! People were paying money to have someone tell them about their futures, which are all lies only God knows the future, and no one else. These people were opening the door to evil. Not only that, people were paying tour guides to tell them places where ghosts could be found! People were eating this up … why is it there is a fascination with evil when we should be avoiding it! I believe it is because as the mother was trying to do with her little girl – we are being desensitized.

  1. Many people do not really believe evil exists. Greatest lies of the enemy.
  2. People think even if it does exist it is harmless fun.
  3. Entertainment is filled with evil and the occult.
  4. School libraries contain books with evil chants and stories.
  5. People think that yoga and other exercises rooted in Eastern mysticism are perfectly fine.

I remember someone telling me that they loved a very popular talk show host and this person was rooted in Eastern mysticism, and had at one time been a Christian but abandoned her Christian roots long ago. This friend loved how this person made them feel – and that in itself is a warning. When we place our trust in man over God (not saying she did –but just as a general warning here) we are looking at the wrong place for our assurance.

The media is filled with stories that borderline entertainment with witchcraft or magic and, watching or reading books that can lead us into sin should be avoided. The same with certain exercises that many Christians think is perfectly fine. Yet these are all doors that open us up to eastern cultures that are deep-seated into other beliefs that are not Christian.

Christians fool themselves when they look at what they believe is a cultural trend of mediation and relaxation and put a Christian spin on it saying that the focus is on Christ or God – however, when something is rooted in another culture that leaves out God, then it is truly not something you should participate in, and prayerfully take before the Lord.

Even Jesus was tempted in the desert we read about this in Matthew 4, but what did He use as a rebuttal to the evil one? He used the Word of God that He had memorized in His heart

In the last episode on avoiding sin I recommended a playlist of Christian uplifting songs or scripture verses, and if you have not had time to do this yet this is something you can do that will help you keep on track. Sometimes it is better when we put our own verses together and really take the time to seek the Lord in prayer. If we are concerned or worried about something we can take it to Him.

Read Psalm 12

Let’s Pray –

Lord I want to avoid sin, I want to avoid evil and I want to fill my heart with every good thing that is of you my LORD – please help me as I live each day to give you all the glory and the honor that is due to you! Please, my Lord, I ask that you help me …. I ask also for the following prayers and petitions…. And I pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Does God have footprints?

This post and podcast was done in collaboration with my husband, Deacon John; hope you enjoy it.

God the Father in heaven sent His Son to us here on earth as a manifestation of His merciful love for us. By the Holy Spirit, Jesus was incarnate of the Virgin Mary. He left actual footprints where He walked here on earth because he was a physical being.

God the Father, on the other hand, is our spiritual Father in heaven and does not make footprints. Or does He?

What is a footprint?

An online dictionary has a few definitions of footprint, one of which is: “a unique set of characteristics, actions, etc. that leave a trace and serve as a means of identification.” So this made me think that WE are God’s footprint. All of us. In everything we do or say we leave a trace. And this trace is visible and seen by those we meet in our everyday life. People are watching. People are listening. And I don’t mean in a spy sort of way. But people just can’t help seeing and hearing others as they act and talk.

Be an example

And since people do watch and listen we must be great examples of Christians living the Christian way of life. That is why we are here. We are made in the image and likeness of God and we need to be shining examples of that to everyone. My favorite gospel verse is the quote in John 2:5. The Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus along with many others are at the wedding feast in Cana. Mary notices the wine is running out and suggests Jesus can help. She tells the servers to “do whatever he tells you.” This is great advice to us as to how to live our lives. Do whatever Jesus tells us to do. And Jesus speaks to us the Gospels. He is the greatest example as to how to live for the glory of God.

We do well to live our life as an example to others as Jesus Christ is an example to us. And that will be our challenge this week!

33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time – Bread of Life Bible Study

33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time - Bread of Life Bible Study: Do you know Jesus' words enough to tell others about Him?33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time – Bread of Life Bible Study

The heavens and the earth will pass away but my words will not pass. Do you know Jesus’ words enough to tell others about Him? Are you ready for His return?

“There is a famine today that is raging across this great land of ours. There is a deep hunger and thirst for the healing Word of God … With humility, boldness, and energy, we must personally hear the Word, pray the Word, study the Word, proclaim the Word, and live the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (from Introduction for The Bread of Life Bible Study)

Today’s podcast is based on the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study and presented by the coauthor, Marie Finn. Please visit the website: www.StDismasGuild.org for more information and for supplemental materials.

We pray that today maybe a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast. May the Lord speak to each heart the words He wants us to hear!

Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this sharing will help us better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness, and are called to “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Join with us as we come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me. Holy is His Name!

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

Prayer Partner – Special Replay

One of the biggest blessings that can come in our lives is to have a prayer partner, someone you can go to and pray with for your special needs. In this episode, we will discuss how to use this for the advantage of focused prayer.Prayer Partners – Special Replay

One of the biggest blessings that can come in our lives is to have a prayer partner, someone you can go to and pray with for your special needs. In this episode, we will discuss how to use this for the advantage of focused prayer.

Thanks to our sponsor Media Angels, and the books A Few Minutes with God and One More Child

Prayer Partner Defined

So, what is a prayer partner? As you can imagine it is a person you can pray with from time to time or even daily for the needs of those closest to you or for the needs of others. Typically it is one person instead of a group of people. This can be someone you know from church or a friend. It can even be your spouse. This person should be someone who is close to God or who wants to grow closer to God.

Why should you have a prayer partner? It isn’t necessary but it is nice to have someone to lean on and help you through a rough spot. Matthew 18: 19-20: “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

What a wonderful promise! God created us as social beings and he even honors and gives grace to us when we partner in prayers.

A prayer partner is someone who:

  1. Is available to pray via the phone or in person.
  2. Is not a gossip
  3. Is not judgmental
  4. Is someone who can keep a confidence
  5. Is someone who is faithful and follows God

While there are no rules to praying with a prayer partner for me the outline below helps tremendously since it is not a time for visiting with a friend, which can actually come later after prayer. Some people don’t want a spouse as a prayer partner and would rather have a friend. It is whatever you feel comfortable with as well as the other person.

  1. A place that is quiet and you won’t be interrupted.
  2. Reverence, going before the Lord takes a time of praise and worship, praying something like this, “Please Lord help to clear my mind of the busyness of the day and help me to focus on you.” I also begin to pray in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Trinity.
  3. Thank the Lord and praise Him. In worship, we can be in the presence of Almighty God.
  4. Sometimes I pray Matthew 18: 19-20 – and then each person takes a turn in lifting a need or petition. It may be a prayer for someone else or yourself. Let your needs be known. At this point you do not need a bunch of details – God knows. You can ask specific, like for a healing or a general, “Please Lord I pray a blessing on ___ as she graduates please provide a job and help her in her new journey.”
  5. Does something come to mind that might be helpful in this situation or is God leading you to another way to pray – speak it out and ask, “Lord I’m not sure if this is from you but please provide…” Or you might feel the Lord is prompting you to pray a specific way.
  6. End with thanksgiving and praise once again.

This is a thumbnail or a brief outline and you can pray in any way you want to – sometimes there is not time to go through each stage and it might be a quick text to your prayer partner asking for a specific prayer request. Many of us are on prayer chains where we get requests from people in need and many times we get so many emails we are unable to pray for each and every one. We pray a generalized prayer for those needs daily – and that makes having a specific person to pray with so important.

Your prayer life will grow as well. And, your prayer partner may change over time. I’ve had various prayer partners over the years and some close friends that I can text for prayers. I have a Facebook Page, A Few Minutes with God with the intent of those in need of prayers. I get notifications and pray!

Prayer, in general, keeps us grounded and it gives us the hope that is in Christ to overcome the evils of this world. Let’s pray!

Dear Lord Jesus, I thank you for reminding us that where two or more are gathered in your Name, you are here in our midst. I praise you and thank you for being here always for us. Thank you for providing for our needs and helping me to grow in my love for you. I see that through prayer I feel closer to you and I thank you for this. I also ask specifically for the following needs: Thank you, my God, for your provision for your Divine Will and for the grace you give me each and every day. And I pray this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

 

 

Awakening at Lourdes: How an Unanswered Prayer Healed our Family and Restored our Faith

Meet Christy Wilkens

She is a wife and mother of six, is a speaker and writer who lives outside Austin, TX. She blogs at FaithfulNotSuccessful.com about disability, faith, doubt, suffering, community, and good reads. Her first book, Awakening at Lourdes: How an Unanswered Prayer Healed Our Family and Restored Our Faith, a memoir about a pilgrimage with her husband and son, was just published by Ave Maria Press. She’s a Dame of Magistral Grace in the Order of Malta and just started pursuing a second career in nursing.

Control for Vulnerability

Christy spent hours in prayer, trying to “wrestle a healing from God” for her son Oscar. What mother wouldn’t do the same when medical doctors have no answers to help your son. Going to the baths at Lourdes was a gift and place of healing not only for Oscar but for Christy and Todd and the whole family. It was in the surrender that, that listening to God’s whispers, that she was able to see the small yet powerful changes in Oscar. And, then, she was able to “trade control for vulnerability” (pg 174) and receive what God was offering.

A full life

6 children, a husband and going to nursing school full time is more than a full life. However, those facts don’t capture all of life; the death of parents, illness, school and the usual happenings that go on with children, special needs or not. It is a full life, and one that Christy lives each day and when the days or moments are difficult and answers not forthcoming, she prays these words, “Whatever you want, Jesus, ” similar to Blessed Chiara Badano. 

Where does this leave us?

As I see Christy on social media, she inspires me. She is quick to point out, that it is God who works through her. It is all for his glory.

Christy is on Instagram, 

Here’s her website!

This week, when life seems overly full, pray this prayer: “Whatever you want, Jesus.”

 

 

 

 

A Reflection on ‘All Souls Day’ by Deacon David Hockwalt

A Reflection on 'All Souls Day' by Deacon David HockwaltA reflection on ‘All Souls Day’ by Deacon David Hockwalt

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.

We pray that today may be a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this reflection. Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this reflection will help us all better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness. We want to come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me and holy is His Name!

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

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Bread of Life Bible Study

The followers of Christ are not distinguished by showy talents or acts. Reading the bible, praying in public, or following church rituals can be phony if the motive for doing them is to be noticed or honored.32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time – Bread of Life Bible Study

The followers of Christ are not distinguished by showy talents or acts. Reading the bible, praying in public, or following church rituals can be phony if the motive for doing them is to be noticed or honored.

“There is a famine today that is raging across this great land of ours. There is a deep hunger and thirst for the healing Word of God … With humility, boldness, and energy, we must personally hear the Word, pray the Word, study the Word, proclaim the Word, and live the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (from Introduction for The Bread of Life Bible Study)

Today’s podcast is based on the Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study and presented by the coauthor, Marie Finn. Please visit the website: www.StDismasGuild.org for more information and for supplemental materials.

We pray that today maybe a special day in your life as you experience the presence of Jesus Christ among us through this podcast. May the Lord speak to each heart the words He wants us to hear!

Magnificat, taken from Luke: 1, is the great hymn of praise that Mary prayed while visiting her cousin, Elizabeth. We trust that this sharing will help us better understand that we are truly children of God, made in His image and likeness, and are called to “go and bear fruit, fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Join with us as we come together in God’s presence and proclaim that the Almighty has done great things for you and me. Holy is His Name!

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

Avoiding Sin

Avoiding sin (even those small ones) is something we try to do as a Christian and for some it is easier than others.Avoiding Sin – Episode 189

Avoiding sin (even those small ones) is something we try to do as a Christian and for some it is easier than others. There is a secret weapon to avoiding sin and it begins with the idea that God’s grace is key.

Reminder to check out my books at MediaAngels.com  – if you have not picked up a copy of A Few Minutes with God you may want to check this out as well as One More Child.

Sin – it is something we shudder to think about, honestly no one wants to be in a state of sin! We use different tools at our disposal whether it is reading God’s word in the Holy Bible, or praying daily. We can do an examination of conscience https://ultimatechristianpo I created a podcast (the link is in the show notes) some time ago that helps us to look at our lives and really ask the Lord to reveal areas where we need to repent and ask forgiveness. And, even in the Holy Gospel of Luke – 11:1-4 we read…

This is the prayer we know as the Lord’s prayer and I know many of you pray this daily. Yet, the main part of this prayer is one we gloss over and that is – Forgive us as we forgive those who trespass against us – We are forgiven in the same measure we forgive.

Wow – it reminds us each and every day that only by the grace of God can we ever forgive in the same measure, only with God’s help. And, that is the purpose of today’s podcast. If we are not going to the Lord daily and asking Him for His help in our daily struggles there is no way we can succeed. Oh, sure – we can succeed for a while with small attempts or heroic virtue thrown in to help us out, but often after a daily struggle especially in an area where we are weak we will find ourselves falling down that slippery slope.

What are these sins we should avoid?

  1. Lying – even small lies. Many times we lie to ourselves – watch this.
  2. Gossip – this can hurt not only ourselves but those we are sharing the information with. (Warning as Christians saying: I am not gossiping I am only telling you this so you can pray is a co out unless someone has asked you specifically to share a prayer request.)
  3. Putting others down – negativity. Using words in a harmful way.
  4. Failing to forgive or ask for forgiveness.

This is a shortlist of five things but. If you take the time to pray and ask the Lord I’m sure your list will have items that are specific to you and your needs.

Take time to put together a list of scripture verses that will help you in a time when you are down. Recently I was filled with a heaviness I could not explain, I was coming off of weeks of not feeling well and just as I was getting better I had another two setbacks. I was feeling down and ready to get out of the house, but instead found myself still struggling. It wasn’t until I was able to play some praise and worship music and sing to the Lord that this heaviness left.

What are your favorite songs, be sure to put them in a playlist for a time when you need to be joyful or uplifted. What about a list of scripture verses?

John 14:15 – “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” I always love to remind my children they are not suggestions, they are commandments.

Deuteronomy 28:1-68 is a beautiful passage… here is an expert 28:1-9 but please read the entire passage it is beautiful!

And there are the warnings – James 4:17 “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. “

We have been warned and we do not want to be in SIN –

It is those little insidious things that cause us to fall and if we are right with the Lord, we pray daily for HIS will, not ours, that our will is united to His – then and only then will be free!

Let’s Pray

My Lord, I ask as I pray the Lord’s prayer to deliver me from evil, to protect me and my loved ones, and to watch over us daily. Help me to avoid sin, my God, and to focus on all that is good and pleasing to You. Help me to watch shows that are good, and read books that are good as well, help me to make time daily for Your Word. Dear Lord I pray for the following people and intentions …. And if it within your Holy Will I ask for you to grand these desires of my heart, and I pray this in Jesus Name. Amen.