ADVENT JOY # 7 – Seeking Consolation and JOY? Join Anna & Simeon at the Presentation

Seeking Consolation and JOY?

Are you seeking consolation or more JOY? Join us today at the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. Anna and Simeon will show us where to look and 10 ways the Holy Spirit can help. #podcast

The Presentation in the Temple, Philippe de Champaigne. 1648

Ann and Simeon Show Us How?

Are you seeking consolation or more JOY? Join us today at the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord where Anna and Simeon show how. They offer us 10 ways the Holy Spirit can help.

Advent JOY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simeon & Anna

Although their lives were different, Simeon and Anna had a lot in common.

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

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

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

Our Response

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

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

Join me for my next Podcast Series, starting soon: Esther & Turn-around JOY.

Also enjoy these LINKs:

WRAPYourselfinJOY.com.

Check out more podcasts here!

Click here to find the books: The Joy of Advent: Journey with the People, Events and Prayers at the First Coming of Jesus Christ.  Or  Esther for Such a Time as This: Prayer, Reversals, and JOY.

Testimony of Fr. Raymond Skonezny

Testimony of Fr. Raymond Skonezny

fr. RaymondFather Raymond Skonezny served in the United States Navy. In 1952, on Dec. 23rd, 1961. Father Ray completed postgraduate studies for degrees in Theology and biblical studies in Rome. After serving many years in parish life, he retired at St. John Newman in Irvine, CA. He exemplifies the beauty of the priesthood through humility, true agape love, and tireless service to Christ’s Church.

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

Magnificat Store

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

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Practical Connection Tips

Practical Connection Tips | We all know that creating and having Practical Connections are harder than we think. No matter your profession, these are some ways you can boost the rapport in your relationships by honoring the dignity of those to whom you’re relating.| #Christianpodcast #CatholicPodcast #WholenessandHoliness #podcast #PracticalConnection #Interpersonal Connection #PracticalTips #ConnectionTips #RelationshipsPractical Connection Tips

We all know that creating and having practical connections are harder than we think. Whether you’re a priest, religious, clergy, teacher, mental health professional, spiritual director, or medical professional, these are some ways you can boost the rapport in your relationships by honoring the dignity of those to whom you’re relating.

The four principles of practical connection are what we all need and for which we long.  These tips can help us be intentional about relating in honoring and even healing ways.

Chosen – directly and intentionally engaging with someone from the foundational principle that all people are made in the image and likeness of God, have inherent value, and are due respect and the same compassion the Lord shows us.

  • Make eye contact
  • Smile
  • Don’t interrupt or entertain distractions
  • If someone else interrupts you or your attention is required elsewhere for a moment, acknowledge the interruption (e.g., Say something like, “I’m sorry for the distraction.”)

Known – recognize the other is sharing who they are, which isn’t a challenge or competition with who you are.

  • Listen attentively, making eye contact.
  • Reflect back on what they are saying so they know you get it.
  • Don’t get defensive or offensive.

Valued – all people have the same extraordinary dignity as children of God.  If a person is not behaving in accord with their value and I treat them poorly because of that, then I’m doing the same thing they are.

  • Don’t relate to people for what you can get from them.
  • Even if you must ask for something, recognize that thing or favor is not their source of worth/value.
  • Express gratitude, and say “thank you.”

Boundaries – there’s a place where I stop, and you start, and the Lord has protective boundaries around each of us.  Because we are body, mind, and spirit, we all need healthy boundaries in each area.  It is a matter of good stewardship of myself.  I need to also respect your steps toward good stewardship of yourself and the Lord’s boundaries for you (Jn 15:4).

  • Ask for what you need clearly and calmly. Clear is kind.
  • My boundaries for me cannot infringe upon your boundaries for you. My boundaries are what I need to provide for me, not requiring you to provide for me in ways you aren’t ethically, morally, or legally obligated.

 

Healing Power of God

Healing Power of God | The healing power of God is not only for past believers, as written in the Bible, but it is for us today. Miracles do happen! In this podcast, Felice shares a personal experience after a phone call a friend shared, telling her of the healing power of God's love and how it changed her life. | #Christianpodcast #Healing #Godheals #healingandfaith #faith #CatholicPodcastHealing Power of God – Episode 239

The healing power of God is not only for past believers, as written in the Bible, but it is for us today. Miracles do happen! In this podcast, Felice shares a personal experience after a phone call a friend shared, telling her of the healing power of God’s love and how it changed her life.

Visit Media Angels, our sponsor, and look for the books One More Child and A Few Minutes with God and the Character Planners for Families.

This past month if you’ve listened to the podcasts in order, the theme was about Christian resolutions and how to avoid anger, overcome guilt, and overcome laziness. We know in our heads that these are all good things to work on but do we realize that the good news, the power of God, is that He is a healing God? But, when we think about healing, we think about spiritual healing, which is important, but sometimes God does the miraculous in healing our body.

As I share this story, I have received permission from my friend. It is a shorter version of our conversation, yet no less powerful.

I received a call from a very good friend who informed me she was diagnosed with cancer; I was shocked and listened as she recounted all the ways the Lord had blessed her and turned her life around. She went on to explain how right before Christmas, she had a pain in her ribs checked out. A blessing is that her husband is an orthopedic surgeon, and she was able to go to his office for the x-ray. Since he was busy, and she was a last-minute addition to the schedule, she prayed and left the office without seeing her husband. She kept checking her phone when she arrived home, expecting a call with the all-clear, but that didn’t happen.

Later that day, as her husband was traveling home, she asked for the results. He didn’t want to tell her on the phone, but she insisted. He said he sent the x-rays to his brother, a Radiologist in another state, and said that it was taken in his office that day, and the person was a patient. He did not tell his brother the patient was his wife (the radiologist’s sister-in-law!). They both came to the same conclusion; the patient had cancer. My friend was floored. Not only that, but cancer had spread, and there was a huge cyst putting pressure on one of the ribs.

My friend explained that she felt a bulge and wondered what it was and meant to mention it to her husband, but in the business of the holiday, she didn’t bring it up. She said she began praying, and when her husband arrived home, they both were upset but continued to pray. What touched me was that she said the Lord gave her a sense of peace and well-being. She shared that she struggled, as we all do from time to time, and the Lord lifted those burdens from her shoulders. She asked for healing but said to the Lord that if she returned to her old way of feeling, she didn’t want to be healed. She also explained that she was happy to spend time preparing for death! She felt that suffering was a gift.

2 Timothy 4:7 says – I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

She was keeping the faith and fighting the good fight. She was keeping her eyes on heaven and not on the things of this world. She said interiorly she was healed of things she had struggled with before and felt it was such a gift!

I was listening in shock. Happy about death? Happy about preparing for death. She was given the gift that surpasses all understanding … peace! I couldn’t believe it and was shocked as I listened to say much. So many thoughts raced through my head. Especially when she said that we never know how we will react at the time of death, but she felt that she would have time to prepare and be at peace. She spent some time calling and talking to her adult children and letting them know the results. Needless to say, they were all very upset.

Wow – Philippians 4:7 says that “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” And in Romans 8:28 we read: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.

She was called to be a witness, and she was not bitter or condemning God or her situation, but saying that at that moment, she felt the Lord’s presence and healing in her spiritual life.  It wasn’t that she didn’t pray for healing but she was at peace either way.

The story continues with an appointment for a CAT scan the next day, and her husband cleared his schedule to attend with her. He told the receptionist that he wanted to talk to the doctor after the scan was completed, and he did. My friend waited in the waiting room at the request of her husband. She said normally, she would have insisted on hearing what the other doctor had to say, but she has such peace over the situation she decided to let her husband handle it. Later her husband said he wanted to talk doctor to doctor and he didn’t want her scared or for him to watch the questions he asked not to worry her.

The results were astounding. The CAT scan showed all was clear, and there was absolutely no sign of cancer. As she told me this, I had trouble grasping what she was saying so I asked, “You don’t have cancer?” she said no and then explained the results showed her ribs and no cyst at all. A CAT scan is much more detailed than an x-ray, which is why her husband requested it, but he had sent the lab the x-ray and had compared the two side-by-side with the other doctor. I asked again for clarification, “So you don’t have cancer?” I was in further shock if that was possible!

The CAT scan showed all was clear, and they went home and shared the good news with their children. The struggle, she said, was that one of her sons wanted more tests to be completed. She and her husband both felt the CAT scan showed reliable results.

I was so surprised she was healed physically. At first, I thought the healing she was talking about was spiritual healing. God can heal us in different ways, and the spiritual element is typically what

She continued to have the pain, but at the time of our conversation, about two weeks later, she said that her pain had minimized but was not totally gone. She asked the Lord why and said she felt Him saying, “So you do not forget what I have done for you.”

Again, wow.

When I shared the story with my children, they said they would want an additional test run if I were in that situation.

2 Chronicles 9:6 – But I did not believe what they said until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half the greatness of your wisdom was told me; you have far exceeded the report I heard.

Can we not take a miracle at face value? Of course, we can. Should she have another test? Maybe. But for those who don’t believe it doesn’t matter how many tests are run, they will still ask for another. She has proof of the first x-ray and the second scan. She has proof of a brother in law in a different state who is a radiologist that came to the same conclusion as her husband, also a doctor. She has the proof of a CAT scan that showed all clear – praise God!

In the book of Acts, we read about the disciples after Jesus rose from the dead and how they reacted to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the living God. Jesus promised He would not leave us but send us His spirit, and he did.

Acts 10:38 – how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

As Christians, we read about the healing of Jesus throughout the Scriptures, such as Matthew 9:35-38

35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

Are we willing to be sent out as workers into his harvest? Miracles happen; when they do, we need to share them with others. This miracle was close to home in the case of a dear friend. We don’t understand why some people are healed and others are not. God does greater work in our life when we are open to Him. The other day we were in a small gathering, and I asked my friend to share her miracle with another friend. She hesitated and became teary-eyed before she gave a very short version, but the essence was the same, her healing was spiritual and physical healing. She said it took her several weeks to process what happened, and she is still processing the information. The same with me; it took me days to process what happened.

We expect miracles, but even greater than that, the biggest miracle is accepting God’s will in our life. I feel my friend did this in a way that I still can’t comprehend and only could be by the power of the Holy Spirit. Only God has the power to heal, but we can ask.

She called to let me know because she had been asked to give her testimony to a local prayer group and didn’t want me to attend without knowing beforehand what had happened. The prayer group was in for a big surprise when they heard her testimony of healing. Many in the audience had cancer or pre-cancer, and she prayed with them.

I praise God and thank Him for the happy ending that my friend had, but he wants us all to see the miracles every day.  This week’s challenge is to see the miracles in our life, to thank God, and to praise Him. Don’t look to the left or the right but keep your eyes on the Lord – Amen!

Testimony of Mary Ann Shields

Testimony of Mary Ann Shields | The testimony of Mary Ann Shields from Orange Co, CA., will inspire you! Listen in to another wonderful Magnificat Ministry presentation. | #Christianpodcast #Catholicpodcast #podcast #Christiantestimony #MaryAnnShields #MagnificatMinistryTestimony of Mary Ann Shields

The testimony of Mary Ann Shields from Orange Co, CA., will inspire you! As you listen to another wonderful Magnificat Ministry presentation, think about who would benefit from hearing this audio.

Mary Ann Shields, also known professionally as Mary Ann Shulte, is a nationally recognized executive, accounting consultant, and humanitarian. She has earned an MBA in Executive Management and a BS in Business Administration and Accounting from USC. She is the recipient of many awards for her involvement in business, community, and church. She and her husband, Denny, are facilitators for the Ignatian exercises. She has lived in a wheelchair since the age of six.

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

Overcoming Laziness

Overcoming Laziness Overcoming Laziness is not for those who do not want change. Laziness can seep into your spiritual life as well. In this show, we go over the causes of laziness and ways to overcome and lead a more productive life! | #ChristianPodcast #Podcast #ChristianFocus #ChristFocused #OvercomeLazinessResolution: Overcoming Laziness – Episode 238

Overcoming laziness is not for those who do not want change. Laziness can seep into your spiritual life as well. This show covers the causes of laziness and ways to overcome it and lead to a more productive life!

Our sponsor is Media Angels. Two featured books are One More Child and A Few Minutes with God and the family favorite Character Planners for Families. 

I love to read, and for many years when I was busy raising my kids and family, I found no time for this pleasurable pastime. Sure I read, but books for my children or books on learning something for my business. The pleasure of escaping into historical fiction, romance, or mystery was something I wanted to do but didn’t. The reason? I had little control once I became immersed in a story, and I knew my weakness, and I knew that I would be prone to laziness if I allowed myself the time to escape.

What causes laziness? It can be procrastination, exhaustion, or just a lack of wanting to try. Did you know that laziness is a sin? Tell that to all of us who love the occasion of being couch potatoes. Or what about vegging out and thinking of nothing in particular?

However, laziness can lead to moral sin and too much time on your hands to get yourself in trouble. Think about the Internet and the access to graphics and video that can lead a person to grave sin. Proverbs 6 is about denying ourselves, working hard, and looking at a mere creature, an ant of all things, as an example of how we should diligently work. Proverb 6 is called “Warnings Against Folly.”

Proverbs 6:6-8 (Read on air)

The Bible tells us how important action is, and laziness is the opposite of doing. We read the following verses:

Read on air:
  1. Proverbs 12:24
  2. Ecclesiastes 10:18
  3. Proverbs 19:15
  4. Proverbs 10:4  ~ “Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.”

As a young mom, I read a self-help book on getting things done. The section on washing dishes said, “Just do them.” Simple, right? Do the dishes when you use them, and do not allow them to pile up. Practical. Later, when I began a business, I soon learned that successful people are often the most productive. I had a podcast where I interviewed people on the topic of writing and publishing. The most successful authors were the ones that quickly gave me a bio, an answer to the outline of the points that were -to cover as well as prompt attention to whatever else I needed.

Successful people, as Proverbs 10:4 states, know how to get things done in a timely fashion.

Laziness brings its own host of problems and leads us to guilt. It also leads us to attitudes that can block our spiritual life with God. It can lead to indifference, suffering, and ignoring those under our care or needing help. It does not allow us to connect with others. It can also lead us to self-centered behavior, the world continues to tell us what we need and how we should be fulfilled, and my pet peeve is “living your best life,” because what? Would we want to live our worse life? (I get it; I still don’t like that saying!) Laziness can also lead to pessimism. It can foster a critical spirit within us and allow us to fall into arguments which will take us further away from peace and a life filled with goodness.

How do we change? We repent, and we ask the Lord for His help. In Hebrews 6:12 we read: (on air)

Do we want to inherit the kingdom? Is it good enough to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and then live any life you want? Some of you may say no. Others may say yes that salvation is not dependent on what we do. This is both true and false.

If we stop with “accepting the Lord” and do nothing else, we are shortchanging our life and becoming spiritually lazy. That is taking the easy way out. Philippians 2:12 states (read on air)

That does not sound like laziness to me. I believe we must make the fundamental option (as my pastor calls it) and choose Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Still, we must go on and lead a life free from sin (as much as humanly possible and repent when we fall) and then make an effort to spend time in prayer and in the works of service. God – family – self is a recipe for success.

Just like the book said to avoid dish pileup, just do it. What is Nike’s saying – that’s right, “Just Do It.” We, too, must make ourselves people of action. In podcasts past, I’ve invited you to read Scripture and spend time with God and His precious word in the Bible. When was the last time you did these things? We often see things as insurmountable, but in these shows, I work hard on small pieces that are attainable by you and me. I join you each week when I give you a challenge, so I know it can be done.

I’m not giving you ten things. You have to accomplish just one. Look at your life. Are you happy with your productivity? Great, then you are done. But if you are like me, you see your life constantly needs improvement. Sure, we can be happy where we are, but we should move forward in our walk with the Lord. I love the Christian bumper sticker, “Christian under Construction.”

Our work is done at the end of our life, and how wonderful that if I am still recording and you are still here listening, we have time. We have time to overcome laziness, we have time to rededicate our lives to the Lord, and we have time to be the amazing, blessed person that was always meant to be!

This week our challenge is to overcome laziness. Look at those areas of your life and make changes. Small to begin with and larger as you go on and share the good news with others. Our God is miraculous. I can’t wait until next week to share a miracle that happened in my friend’s life. May God be blessed!

Testimony of Bonnie Hardey

This week Bonnie Hardey shares her testimony. A story of the love of the crossBack in 1990, Bonnie’s family life was great. Her husband was a physician, they had two children and lived in a lovely home. Bonnie shares a series of events that changed everything and that was just the beginning of her faith journey. Bonnie Hardey’s story is about the love of the cross, about its blessings and the good that God can bring out of the cross.

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

 

The Key to Marriage

This week Margaret Vasquez shares that the lord is the key to marriage, that we are called to union with the Lord first and foremost Would you believe that the key to marriage isn’t your relationship with your spouse?  Do you know that we all have the same primary vocation regardless of our state in life?  The truth is that the key to marriage is that our primary vocation is that of union with the Lord!  It’s true!  Monks, hermits, religious, clergy, and married people all share the same call to holiness!  So, if you are married that means you are called to union with the Lord first and foremost and in the living out of that you receive what you need to live your vocation of marriage with an earthly spouse.

 

Only the Lord is infinite and in Him our needs to be chosen, intimately known, perfectly valued, protected, and provided for are superabundantly fulfilled.  If we aren’t going to Him to receive the fulfilment of those needs, we will be running on empty and turning to our spouse to fill us.  What if they are running on empty, as well?  Then we are setup for frustration, conflict, and failure.  If we look to them to satisfy us instead of the Lord, we are looking to make an idol of them.

 

Where relationships usually breakdown is in our relationship to ourselves.  We read Scripture or spiritual reading, listen to homilies, or talks about the Lord and how He sees us and then we go and relate to ourselves in ways that fly in the face of the fact that we are precious, loved, and have inherent dignity.  Then, our relationships to others become really weighty – much weightier than they ought to be – because we are looking for our spouse to tell us enough truth about ourselves to counterbalance the erroneous ways we treat ourselves.

 

Start each day – even if it’s just taking 5 minutes – turn to the Lord and open those needs of knowing you are chosen by Him, intimately known by Him, that you have more worth in Him than you can begin to imagine, that you are protected and provided for by Him and ask Him to help you relate to yourself in a way that is consistent with those truths.  Starting from a place of fullness, then relate to your spouse and see what changes.

 

May the Lord give you peace!

ADVENT JOY # 6 – Join the Chorus of Angels & Shepherds!

Needing More JOY and Peace?

Do you need a message that brings you MORE JOY and Peace? Join us today for the birth of our Savior. You will meet the Angels and the Shepherds who have a lot to teach us. In fact, united your heart with the Angel’s Gloria and the Shepherd’s praises will help you know more JOY and peace #podcast

The Adoration of the Shepherds by Domenico Zampieri

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

Traveling to Bethlehem

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

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

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

The Good News (Luke 2: 8-11)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Response

Try to prayerfully put yourself in the scenes and ask:

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

Resolution – Overcoming Guilt

Overcoming Guilt | Guilt can be terrible, and we are all plagued by it; however, overcoming guilt is possible, and with it comes the assurance that we are not alone. This podcast explores the meaning of guilt and how we can avoid the near occasion of sin. | #ChristianPodcast #OvercomingAnger #Christian #JesusSaves #Anger Resolution ~ Overcoming Guilt ~  Episode 237

Guilt can be terrible, and we are all plagued by it; however, overcoming guilt is possible, and with it comes the assurance that we are not alone. This podcast explores the meaning of guilt and how we can avoid the near occasion of sin.

Our sponsor is the company Media Angels, featuring the books One More Child and A Few Minutes with God and the Character Planners for Families.

When Adam and Eve sinned against God, what stuck in my mind was that they were embarrassed not because of what they had done but because of what they were not wearing. When I was praying about the topic of this podcast, I did a quick word search on a Bible app, looking for the word guilt. It does not show up until the book of Leviticus, Leviticus 7:1 (Read on air.)

If you remember the books of the Bible, they go like this, Genesis, Exodus, and then Leviticus. It wasn’t until Leviticus that we see the word guilt?

Guilt is what we feel when we have done something wrong. The feeling is powerful because it typically contains some self-recrimination. We are disappointed in ourselves, maybe our lack of charity toward another, our inability to have self-control or the many other reasons we feel guilty. Unfortunately, guilt can drive our lives in a way that is not healthy.

We feel guilty over things we *think* we should do. What would be on your list if I asked you to make one? When I made my list, I found that these items were not sinful. I can share with you that I feel guilty that I no longer send birthday cards to family members. Even when I buy a gift, I do not include a card. I find it difficult to buy a card since it is hard to find one that conveys my feelings. But is that sinful? Is that something I should waste time feeling guilty about? No, not really. It is wonderful to receive a card and feel like someone in the family thinks about you, but it is not a sin that we should feel guilty about.

And that is what I wanted to share with you that we waste so much time feeling guilty over the things that do not matter. Thankfully the Lord Jesus came to pay the price of our sins with His death and His Resurrection that broke the bonds of death for all of us. We no longer need to pay guilt offerings. So why do we feel guilt? Because the Lord has created us so that we realize that when we sin, we should feel remorse. People hide it in all types of ways that are unhealthy such as drinking, drugs, or denial. The issue is discerning what is true guilt and what is false.

When we sin against God or others in a way that breaks one of the commandments, we truly sin and should feel true guilt. When we don’t do something we should not do, like spoiling a child, we might feel a false sense of guilt. Perhaps we are enforcing some type of discipline, taking away a phone, or denying a child time to visit friends. How many parents feel worse when they punish a child than the child actually feels? If you are not a parent yet, believe me–it’s a thing!

Another way we feel guilt is in the example I shared about sending cards. I think I should do it, so it is on me to have a mindset change (and be okay that I don’t) or to resolve to send out cards to express my sincere thoughts to family members. However, that is something only I can decide. It should not take up head space. We should not worry about it and should put this idea in perspective.

Being guilty can be helpful as a way to identify sin. We can then confess it and move on.

But how do you overcome chronic guilt or guilt that is false?

  1. Decide what guilt you are trying to overcome.
  2. If it is true guilt, what can you do to change your ways? Can you confess and “sin no more”?
  3. How can we move on if it is false or chronic guilt for something we believe we should do, but it is NOT sinful?

When we look at the term “guilt” in the New Testament, it is all related to sin. Guilt over sin and judgment for sin. When is guilt warranted? When we are in sin when there is evil that tempts us into sin. We should feel that guilt due to sin. That, my friend, is good. Guilt from sin brings us to repentance! We can ask for forgiveness from a just but loving God and move on.

Identifying the type of guilt is the first step in freeing our minds. Do you realize how much headspace that guilt takes? It can cause people to fall into a deeper sin of a chronic condition like alcoholism or drug addiction. Guilt can eat away at us, and we need to forgive ourselves. This is easier said than done. Many people live lives of self-hatred and guilt, which turns into those chronic conditions and often true physical illnesses. Again, it is a way the enemy gets in, and we need spiritual warfare (Ephesians – read that book!) to overcome this.

Remember, the enemy looks for ways to tell us we are less than! If we believe this lie, it allows the evil one a foothold to torment us and for us to feel bad about ourselves. Our hope is in God, who is the maker of all things. 1 Timothy 4:10 – (Read on air.)

Our self-worth is not dependent on whether or not we mail out birthday cards or whatever is on your list of guilt-ridden issues. Our hope is in the living God. The Savior of all people–and what is the next line? The Savior of all people, and especially those who believe.

Can you join me this week in looking at how you can overcome the guilt that is not from true sin? How can you overcome the guilt that is false and lies from the enemy? Pray about this during the week, and join me in praising God today and always!

 

Testimony of Maria Vadia Oct. 1999

This Week Maria Vadia shares her testimony of Ministry from when she was 10 years old till nowMaria Vadia was born in Cuba. Her family fled to the United States when Maria was 10 yrs. old. She is the founding Coordinator of Jesus is Lord Magnificat Chapter in Miami, FL.  She is member of the Advisory Team of the Magnificat Central Service Team. She has a vast knowledge of sacred scripture and is a vivacious speaker. She brings God’s powerful message of faith, salvation, and healing to many prayer groups.

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

What Is the Baptism in the Holy Spirit?

This week Margret Vasquez shares that the lord promises us power and delivers it through his spiritActs 1:8 “But, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you…”

Do you feel like you need power?  The Lord promises it to us through His Spirit coming upon us!

If you grew up like many of us did without exposure to such language or experience, you might be wondering just what the baptism in the Holy Spirit is and how it differs from the sacrament of Baptism.  We receive the indwelling of the Holy Trinity at our baptism.  I heard an analogy once from Fr. Hal Cohen, S.J. who had a glass of milk and squirted chocolate syrup into the glass – a big, heavy dose of chocolate syrup – which collected at the bottom of the glass.  He said that was like receiving the indwelling of the Blessed Trinity at Baptism.  Then, he stuck a spoon into the glass and stirred it vigorously until the chocolate was thoroughly mixed with the milk.  It was no longer milk with chocolate syrup.  It was now chocolate milk.  He said that mixing/transforming process was like the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

 

The Holy Spirit is such a precious and much needed gift of the Father and the Son.  He is generated by the love between them and sent to us to bring us into Their very life.  It’s the whole point of this life, and all eternity for that matter.  The purpose of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is to equip us with the spiritual gifts we need to live a supernatural life of grace with a deeper experience of the Lord along with gifts for ministry to others, as well.

 

Many times, the experience of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit brings people to a deeper conversion, greater sense of intimacy with the Lord, hunger for prayer, and the Scriptures and the Mass really take on a deeper meaning and brings us into a more profound realization of the fact that this life is passing away and we have a much more beautiful home that awaits us.

 

If you are longing for more in your relationship with the Lord, ask Him to stir up within you the Holy Spirit who came to dwell in you at your baptism.  Perhaps you may want to check out prayer groups in your area or the Encounter school to get plugged into others who are seeking the Lord in the same way.

 

Thank you, Lord, for the great gift of Your Holy Spirt!  Come Holy Spirit!!!

 

May the Lord give you peace!

Resolution – Overcoming Anger

Overcoming Anger | Guilt can be terrible, and we are all plagued by it; however, overcoming guilt is possible, and with it comes the assurance that we are not alone. This podcast explores the meaning of guilt and how we can avoid the near occasion of sin. | #ChristianPodcast #OvercomingAnger #Christian #JesusSaves #AngerResolution – Overcoming Anger 236

In the grand scheme of the Christian life, overcoming anger may seem like one of those unavoidable sins. In this podcast, Felice breaks down simple ways to overcome and sustain the joy of the long in the midst of strife!

Visit Media Angels, our sponsor, and look for the books One More Child and A Few Minutes with God and the Character Planners for Families.

This was not the podcast I wanted to record. I had another one planned, and it had to be shelved for later on; why? I lost my temper with my oldest son, who is an adult. We all get upset from time to time, but have you ever spent the time to narrow down the reason why?

When we get angry, even as Christians we are not called to be doormats or to allow someone to take advantage of our kindness. And that is the crux of my anger. I was being taken advantage of, and when I asked for an apology, I was met with the response, “What did I do?”

In relationships, there is always a give and take, but in families, we sometimes allow our children to take advantage of us, our kindness our willingness to help and then we get upset. Especially when the person has no clue why we are upset. Is there a lack of communication? Absolutely. But how does this translate into our Christian walk with the Lord?

As Christians, we are duty-bound to own up to our mistakes and take charge in regard to asking the Lord for forgiveness. As Christians, we want to be a good example, walk with the Lord, and not allow things to bother us. When I lose my temper, I feel that I am failing God. I am frustrated and want retribution, even if it is in an adult-controlled manner. Where is that joy that surpasses all understanding? That peace? That feeling that God is in control of my life?

How often do I let the Lord down? Often. And how often do I need to forgive? 70 x 7

Read all of Matthew 18:15-30, but in an excerpt where Peter asks Jesus how many times he needs to forgive, we read: Matthew 18:21-22 (read on air).

So, if we are to forgive 490 times, how often do I need to ask the Lord for forgiveness? How often do you need to ask the Lord for forgiveness?

Here is the simplified version of the rambling of my thoughts. Use this exercise to see how you have sinned against the Lord. Think about these questions (they are in the show notes).

  1. Do I take advantage of the Lord’s love?
  2. Do I take advantage of the Lord’s kindness?
  3. Do I take advantage of the Lord’s forgiveness?
  4. Do I allow myself to reflect on how I have sinned against Him?
  5. When was the last time I asked the Lord for forgiveness?

Let’s break this down.

Being taken advantage of hurts us because we feel betrayed and vulnerable. What about our Lord and Savior, who gave so much to us? He gave His life to break the bonds of death so that we could have everlasting life. This is such a hard concept to grasp, but it is the foundation of our Christian faith.

The next time we are angry, we must remember that we have fallen short and sinned. Do we correct the person who is the cause of our anger? Yes. But we do it in a controlled manner, not one where we lose control. I felt like I did this and followed through, but I still felt guilty, which is the topic of next week’s podcast!

Being able to control our anger isn’t always necessary, especially if it is warranted. I’m not talking about screaming, ranting and raving, and having a temper tantrum. I am, however, saying that when needed, we need to express that the issue must be fixed.

We can be angry, but we must be in control. If you feel out of control, and yes, it has happened to me, walk away. Tell the person I am too upset to talk to you right now, and I need a minute (or an hour) to regroup before I can discuss this rationally. And, while we are in our own time-out, we need to pray and ask the Lord for a solution. In my younger parenting days, I asked the Lord what to do with a particular child, and it was amazing when thoughts came to mind that never occurred to me. I believe these are from the Lord and His way of letting us know he is there for us.

I know that anger takes on its own form and can be violent, and this is never acceptable and should never be tolerated.

Anger stems from a sense of being right, and while the Lord loves righteousness — if you search for the word in a Bible app, you will be amazed at how many references there are to the word, especially in the Psalms and the Proverbs. But the Lord also does not like anger. Do a search of that, and the findings are eye-opening, especially this verse, which we should all memorize in Ephesians 4:25-27 – (Read on air).

In your anger, do not sin – and do not let the sun go down angry… which means there should be some form of forgiveness, asking for forgiveness but also an apology. The enemy knows when we are weak, and if you have trouble with “anger,” take it before the Lord because He can help you with this! The Lord cares about each of us, and he knows our struggles! I praise God that I have faith. God cares about the little things.

Yesterday I received an email from a printer I work with who could not deliver a document I needed to have printed on time because her machines were broken, and she was waiting for the repair person. I emailed her, told her I would pray and asked her to keep me informed. Today she said the repairman came, and the document would be ready on Friday. Praise be the Lord! It is always a blessing the Lord provides for us in other ways when we feel down. Praise be to God! It was a small victory and a reminder that God cares.

This week work on your anger if that is an issue, and look at ways we work against the Lord and the ways we offend him! I pray a blessing on you and your family today and always! Amen.

 

Go Against

Get out of your Rut

The first four chapters of Habits of Freedom have us looking inward and being contemplative. The last chapter, 5, is about looking outward, getting out of your rut, and acting on your life experience.

How to become a Contemplative in Action?

  • Experience – what goes on around us through our senses
  • Understand – the experience, what happened
  • Judgment – do I need to do something with this information
  • Act – or not, based on the nature of the judgment

Desolation requires Action

Once we are stuck in a rut, we need to move out of it by going against ourselves. Often when we feel spiritually desolate, we withdraw and turn in on ourselves. Collins suggested we focus outward instead.

As St. Augustine says about sin – an inclination to cave in on ourselves

Scripture: John 21:15-17

Final Quote

“God invites me to stay stil, open, and receptive to how he wants to appraoch me and find me and call me home to ttrue life and freedom.”

Connect with us at our website by clicking on the logo above!

 

 

Testimony of Linda Shubert 2008 Kearney, NE

This week Linda Shubert shares her testimony of travel, writing, and ministry through prayerLinda was member of the Pastoral Advisory Board of the Charismatic Renewal in the Diocese of San Jose, CA. She was active in writing, teaching, and prayer ministry. Widely traveled, Linda has ministered all over the world. Linda was also a member of the Association of Christian Therapist

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

 

Humility: The Path to Freedom and Peace

In Mary’s Magnificat she declares her own lowliness and rejoices in the fact that the Lord raises up the lowly.  She sees and openly acknowledges her own littleness.  That’s not a false humility.  She is in touch with the reality of who she is before God.  She also lays out a stark contrast between how God responds to the lowly as compared with how He responds to the lowly.  She told her cousin Elizabeth and continues to tell us that he looked with favor on her as His lowly servant, has mercy on those who fear Him, scatters the proud, casts down the powerful, while He lifts up the lowly, fills them with good things, comes to their help, and remembers His promises (Luke 1:46-55).

 

When we think that the Lord chose her to form Him as a baby and a child, it is striking to consider.  He must have intentionally wanted the human example of a mother with a humble heart who doesn’t look to be mighty, but to acknowledge the Lord’s power.  We know that humble is how Jesus described His own heart (Matthew 11:29).

 

When we consider that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15), we have no choice but to consider that God is humble.  Can that be?  That concept can give us pause at first, but then we call to mind that Jesus “emptied Himself” (Philippians 2:7) and left His throne and took on our humanity, even becomes Food for us in the Eucharist, and subjected Himself to such a horrific death at the hands of His creatures.  St. Francis of Assisi spoke to his followers about “the humility of God”, particularly in the Eucharist.  He was really moved by it and we saw how he imitated that humility in embracing and ministering to the lepers.

 

In Fr. Rick Martignetti’s book, Perfect Love he references St. Bonaventure telling St Clare and her sisters that patience is the hallmark of humility.  He points out Mary’s patience in not bombarding Gabriel with a thousand questions, even though her life might be on the line by being an unwed mother at that time.  Knowing that God would be the father of Jesus was enough of an answer and she could wait patiently for God to provide in His way and in His time.

 

The angel Gabriel told Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you (Luke 1:35)”.  Are we willing to be overshadowed?  Our humanity can really bristle at that.  How much anxiety can we lose and how much freedom, peace, and joy can we gain when we embrace our lowliness and rely on the Lord to lift us up rather than trying to do it ourselves.

 

May the Lord give you peace!

 

Christian Resolution

Christian Resolution ~ 235

We hear about New Year’s Resolutions, but what about a Christian Resolution…of faith? In this episode, Felice explores the possibility that the gifts God has for us are more than we can imagine if we put on the right mindset.

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, and the entire Ultimate Christian Podcast Network network, where we bring you great Christian content at no cost. Check out the books, One More Child and A Few Minutes with God – these books help defray the costs of bringing you the network for free.

As a Christian, the New Year seems like the perfect time for a Christian Resolution instead of a New Year’s Resolution. Instead of setting yourself up for failure, let’s look at ways to thrive in the new year! So, it is time for a Christian resolution. What is on your list? It may be simple things such as spending Christian Resolution | We hear about New Year's Resolutions, but what about a Christian Resolution...of faith? In this episode, Felice explores the possibility that the gifts God has for us are more than we can imagine if we put on the right mindset. | #podcast #christianpodcast #christianresoltuion #newyearsresoltuiontime with God in prayer or going to church on a regular basis; maybe you’ve added works of service, visiting the elderly, or volunteering at the soup kitchen. These are all great and helpful in our walk with the Lord.

For most of us, this is all we can do at this time in our life, and it serves us well. When I listen to podcasts or YouTube videos that list ten things to do, I am often overwhelmed and shut down. My focus in these podcasts is to provide you with some tools and let you decide what works for you. In saying that, as a Christian, what is your focus? Is it in improving your relationship with God? One of the beautiful benefits of strengthening our relationship with God is that it flows into our relationships with others. It has the added benefit of giving us a sense of joy and peace.

The obstacles to our relationship with God are usually centered on what we perceive the Lord wants for us or expects us to do. As Christians, we should want to be free from sin; after all, isn’t that what He expects? So, what keeps us from this?

The expectations for being a Christian may seem restrictive to some or insurmountable to others. But truthfully, being a Christian is as the scriptures state – the truth will set you free.

Today we don’t know what is true. We don’t know who to trust. We’ve been deceived, and it is a horrible feeling to be lied to. Who can we trust? Only the Lord. John 8:31-32 (Read on air.)

Jesus answered in the following verses and explained (read the entirety of John 8), but the summation of his teaching was this, if you are in sin or commit a sin, you are then the slave to that sin. The draw to sin increases each time. But by turning away from sin we also turn away from slavery or the enticement of sinning. Therefore, there is freedom. Then we read in Chapter 8, verses 42-43

When we make up our list of things we want to accomplish in the new year or each week or whenever we take the time to improve our Spiritual life, we find that there are obstacles in our way, and that obstacle tends to be sin. God is waiting with open arms.

In verses 42-43, the Lord continues to explain…(Read on air).

If we can not believe the Word of God, we need to spend some time analyzing why. To love, we must spend time with the person and get to know them; this is true with our relationship with God. God is love, and as such, He is there waiting with open arms for us to go to Him, but sin keeps us from a true relationship. This wall we put up is self-preservation. We don’t want to be hurt; we don’t want to be lied to – we are protecting ourselves.

We are protective of our feelings, but with God, we can let those protections go, and the first thing we need to do is remove whatever is keeping us from Him.

Jesus goes on in verses 44-47 (Read on air).

The father of lies continues to wreak havoc on the world in which we live, and because of so many things, mainly the way Christians have retreated, we have a world that is heading toward devastation if not already there. Christians must stand up for truth. Christians who are from God hear the words of God. Are we from God? That, my friends, is my Christian Resolution to be with God in word and deed, to ask God before stepping out on my own, and to pray to God for His love, providence, and protection.

Take the time to text a family member or friend in need who asks for prayer or to stop immediately to pray. Ask the Lord to call to mind a friend or family member who needs prayers, and you will find that this is one way that the Lord can use you in a powerful way.

This year I want to challenge you to find a Christian Resolution you can stick to, and I pray you write it down and grow closer to God each day.

 

Testimony of Joan Lococo 2001

This week Joan Lococo shares her testimony of trust, prayer, and service in Magnificat's Mother ChapterJoan is married to Salvador Lococo. She is a mother to six grown children and grandmother to nine grandchildren. Her youngest child, John Paul died at age nine. It was through this experience that Joan learned more about the power of prayer and placing all her trust in the Lord. She was awarded the Regina Matrum award in the Archdiocese of New Orleans, voted the most outstanding mother of the year. She served for many years on the Mother Chapter of Magnificat and for 19 years on the Central Service Team the international governing board of this Ministry. Her favorite scripture is,’ Do whatever He tells you.’ John 2:5

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

Overcoming Blocks to God’s Love

This week Margret Vasquez shares that despite the fact that God loves us infinitely and intimately, sometimes the experience of it is distantGod’s love is key to the spiritual life.  As we’ve discussed in the past couple of shows, He loves us infinitely and intimately and sent Jesus to reveal His love for us, to make it manifest to us in a real way we could see through the incarnation we celebrate at Christmas.  Yet, despite this fact, many times we can struggle to cling to this notion and sometimes the experience of it is distant.

 

In simple terms, we can divide the blocks to God’s love into two categories, internal and external blocks.  Predominately, the external blocks tend to be associated with a lack of human maturity and the internal are related to a lack of spiritual maturity.

 

Examples of external blocks can be things like preoccupation with worldly concerns, and lack of focus on the true purpose of this life.  We can be so consumed with coming and going to and from work and tasks of the day that we forget the goal of this life is really about our relationship with the Lord.  It can be easy to forget Him if we don’t make a concerted effort to keep Him central.  He is invisible and doesn’t often speak audibly, so it requires tuning our senses to a spiritual setting, like switching a radio from one of human transmission to spiritual transmission.  As we learn to see Him in the tasks, relationships, and gifts of the day, to hear Him in the leading of His “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11-13) we grow in human maturity and become more available to the experience of Him being Personally present to us in the day-to-day.

 

Internal blocks can come from woundedness that causes us to doubt His goodness or the fact that He loves us deeply and cares for us intimately.  He wants to touch every area of our lives and our being and draw us into union with Himself.  Hurtful messages we received from painful relationships or situations can leave us doubting this or walled off in a misguided attempt at self-protection.  We may also have a lack of appreciation for God’s love.  We might assume the time where God was involved with people ended after the Acts of the Apostles or is only in the rare exception like in the lives of canonized saints.  The truth is that the Lord’s love is always present to us and He longs to bring us ever more deeply to a place of living in the full joy, and peace of that reality.

 

May the Lord give you peace!

 

Annunciation Luke 1:26-38 By Deacon David Hockwalt

This week Deacon David Hockwalt shares the annunciation of Jesus' birth that fulfilled the prophecies spoken of Christ 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.

The Annunciation.

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

 

Christians After Christmas

Christians After Christmas ~ Episode 234

What should we feel as Christians after Christmas? Should we rejoice and be glad? Similar to our secular counterparts, we often feel like something is missing. In this episode, Felice delves into the gift of Christmas and how we can celebrate all year long.

I’d like to thank our sponsor, the movie 5000 Blankets; this movie was inspired by a true story; 5000 BLANKETS will encourage you to give to others. Find hope this holiday season when you see 5000 BLANKETS which you will now find on streaming channels such as Pureflix – Check out the website at 5000BlanketsMovie.com or on social media 5000blanketsmovie

Do you feel it? That after-Christmas letdown? Many of us have been busy during the weeks leading up to the big day. After all that preparation, the letdown is sometimes overwhelming. In this episode, we’ll discuss keeping the Christmas “feeling” with us all year.

Well, friends, if you are like me, you have prepared foChristians After Christmas | What should we feel as Christians after Christmas? Should we rejoice and be glad? Similar to our secular counterparts, we often feel like something is missing. In this episode, Felice delves into the gift of Christmas and how we can celebrate all year long. | #podcast #ChristianPodcast #AfterChristmasr weeks before the holidays, and now there is nothing to do other than maybe return gifts. Our celebration has just begun if our focus has been on the Almighty, the Word becoming flesh. As Christians, we continue to praise God for one of the greatest miracles of all times, the Birth of Christ…God becoming man. We can focus on the theme of Advent, which is waiting with expectant faith, and now that He has “come” and we’ve remembered the Savior’s birth, the celebration begins.

It is similar to your choice to follow Christ. No one can make you decide this is important; it is a free-will decision. Yet, for some, it is one and done. There is a profession of faith, a proclamation of renouncing sin and following Christ, yet it ends there. Maybe some read the Bible from time to time, or perhaps there is a prayer from time to time. There can even be church attendance, yet that is just the beginning for me.

Each day we should renew our love for God. We should say, Here I am, Lord. I’ve come to do your will. We read in Psalm 40:6-8 …

When we love someone, we are happy to please them and to do things for them without expecting anything in return. As we renew our decision to follow Him, we should seek ways to serve God – in our thoughts and in our actions. How do we seek the Lord? How do we plan our lives? Does it include a prayer to the Lord for direction? Do we seek His will and his direction? Some of you may say you do but don’t hear anything back.

The Lord gives me direction in how things seem to unfold. I don’t sit on my hands and do nothing; I put something out there and pray…then I wait. Sometimes I’ll get an idea or feel like there is a direction I should take, but I do not stress about it; I go on with my life. Then I am attentive and, as we are told during Advent – to stay awake and be aware. How often do you look back in your life and see the hand of God? How often do we realize that God has been there the entire time?

We are meant to serve, not to be perfect. All the other things will follow by allowing our thoughts to focus on the essential parts of our life, faith, family, work, and responsibility. If you are stressed or unsuccessful in putting things into perspective, it might be time to look at what is causing the discomfort in your life.

I’ve shared with you before the importance of putting on the Armor of Christ. Recently I have struggled with many issues that were work-related – I think I’ve talked about this previously! I couldn’t be in business for over twenty-eight years without being able to handle the problems that crop up. Yet, this was doing me in, and I kept thinking … I need to pray a spiritual warfare prayer. But I put it off until I decided to prioritize it. So I knelt down beside my bed and prayed a Spiritual Warfare prayer. I took authority over the things in my life that were an issue, asked the Lord for providence to show me ways I had sinned against Him and rebuked this sin, and then asked the Lord for the grace of the opposite of the struggle. For example, I said, “I take authority in the Name of Jesus Christ over frustration and rebuke it and ask my God for the spirit of peace that surpasses all understanding.” Then I went down the list as I thought of things I should rebuke. I also prayed for an increase in time and had one of the most productive days ever.

We can do this, friends, we have that authority under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and we do nothing without His help and providence. We should not miss the ability or the opportunity to place the things troubling us at the foot of the cross. As I record this, we are heading into a new year and closing out the old. So much emphasis has been put on the nostalgia of thinking about the new year ending sadly (or happily, depending on your situation) and looking forward to a new year of big changes.

As followers of Christ, we have an opportunity to be better, to have a fresh start which I will discuss in my new year’s podcast, and the ability to be the best Christian we can be, which is easy with the love of the Lord has for us.

Instead of the after-Christmas letdown, let’s rejoice that the best is yet to come. We have each other, even from afar or through the audio waves of whatever method you are listening to. We have like-minded friends and a community. You can find that at the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network. If we focus on the love that Christ has for you and how you want to grow this coming year, rejoice because the Savior of the World is with you today and always!

Your challenge this week is to look, to be aware and to rejoice and be glad, to turn that frown upside down and smile, and to say, the Savior loves me, and I love Him. Rejoice and be glad! May God’s blessings be upon you today and always.

 

Advent JOY #5 – Perplexed? Exchange Your Plans for God’s Plans!

Are you perplexed, bewildered, or confused about changes that have come into your life? Mary and Joseph had to change their plans often. Why not ask God to help you lean into these changes? God can give you the best results ever when you willingly exchange your plans for God's plans! #podcasat

Image: The Dream of St. Joseph by Mengs, 1773

Perplexed? Exchange Your Plans for God’s Plans!

Are you perplexed or bewildered over changes that have come into your life? Mary and Joseph had to change their plans often. Why not ask God to help you lean into these changes? God can give you the best results ever when you willingly exchange your plans for God’s plans!

Advent JOY

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

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

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

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

  • Jewish lineages at the time of Christ, usually did not contain names of women. But in Matthew’s list of Christ’s ancestry five women are mentioned. Of course, we would expect the  Blessed Virgin Mary to be named. But there were four others listed—Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba who came from foreign ancestry or had a reputation for immorality that could have disqualified them from inclusion in the lineage of Jesus Christ.  All were Gentile women, who turned away from immoralities or idolatries to become faithful to God in their circumstances.
  • Even if your past life or your “family tree” seems dishonorable, Jesus will give you forgiveness, grace, mercy, and a new beginning when you turn to Him for mercy and forgiveness. You are part of the family of God, and every day you can have a new life in Christ. Hebrews 2: 11 reinforces this: “God is not ashamed to call them [or you] brothers and sisters.”
  • Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI writing on the deeper meaning of the genealogies of Jesus says:

“[T]hose who believe in Jesus enter through faith into Jesus’ unique new origin, and they receive this origin as their own…Jesus was not begotten by Joseph but was truly born of the Holy Spirit from the Virgin Mary, so it can now be said of us that our true ‘genealogy’ is faith in Jesus who gives us a new origin  and …to birth ‘from God” (Jesus of Nazareth, p. 12-13).

Found with Child (Matthew 1: 18-25)

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

Our Response

  1. Lean into God’s Plans. Can you picture the perplexity or bewilderment of Joseph when his plans suddenly  changed? He may have been building the house, planning the wedding, or earning extra money for the marriage. Whatever the case, he was not prepared to hear that Mary was with child.  Then God through an angel in a dream gave him more direction.  He leaned in the changes. You can ask yourself: Am I open to changing my plans to fit with God’s plan? Talk to Jesus about how you can stay open to God’s plans? What changes can you lean into?
  2. Accept Your Place in God’s Family. When you feel unworthy or unqualified to be part of our Lords family and an adopted son or daughter of God, remember Tamar, Rahab, Ruth. These women changed direction to follow God with their lives and they joined His family and are listed in lineage of Jesus. Your family is never too far gone or too unworthy.  In prayer, consider asking God to forgive you and your family. Ask him to help you change directions.  Then do what he tells you.
  • You can download a Bookmark of prayer points from the Advent JOY Podcast #5 at my website: WRAPyYourselfinJOY.com

Check out more podcasts here!

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

Testimony of Elyse O’Kane

This week Elyse O'Kane shares her testimony of God preparing her for ministryElyse O’Kane is a wife, mother and teacher and Catholic singer and songwriter. She has used her musical talents to lead liturgical music groups and has been music ministry chairwoman for the Joyful Visitation Mgnificat Chapter in Atlanta, GA.  In 1991 she wrote a joyous melody to Mary’s Magnificat which has become the theme song for the Magnificat Ministry. Her friends encouraged her to record the many songs she composed but because of her fears of inadequacy she was reluctant but with the love and support of her prayer community she received the courage tor record her first CD. Her testimony will tell how God prepared her for this ministry through a number of personal challenges that allowed her to experience the love of Jesus and his healing power. Through it all she learned how God can and will do extraordinary things with ordinary people. All he needs is our ‘Fiat’, our ‘Yes’.

 

God’s Love Incarnate

This week Margaret Vasquez shares how Christmas has become so secularized, but Christmas is really about God’s loveThe Incarnation of Jesus is so crucial.  Jesus is God’s love made manifest to the world!  For this reason, St. Francis of Assisi saw Christmas as the highest of the feast days!  When he made his conversion, God started to work in him in new and beautiful ways and right at the heart of it was Jesus coming as man.  St. Francis was so touched by the humility of Jesus in coming like one of us that he set up the first nativity scene.  He reasoned that it would move people’s hearts to see this with their own eyes.  He set up a live nativity scene.

 

Blessed John Duns Scotus, a 13th century Franciscan philosopher, was convinced that love is central and that even if man had never sinned, God the Father still would have sent Jesus to manifest the Father’s love for us.  So, Jesus coming to reveal the love of the Father is the reason for the season of Christmas.  It’s fundamentally important for us to not just know what we’re doing, but why we’re doing what we’re doing.  Looking at why the Father sent Jesus is just as important.  When we understand God’s purpose in sending Jesus, we gain critical insight into the Father and the Son and who we are to them and who they are to us.

 

Christmas has become so secularized, but Christmas is really about God’s love.  Yes, Jesus came to save us from our sin, but the reason WHY is because of God’s deep and intimate love for each one of us.  All of creation is born out of the love of God!  Jesus does save us from our sin, but the fact that He came out of the depth of His saves us from the attraction to sin…His love is so much more attractive!  Jesus opens up the life of the Father and work of the Spirit and the life of the Holy Trinity.  Out of that intimacy revealed in the Incarnation of Jesus a life of holiness flows and is the transformative power of our lives.  Cooperating with – receiving and responding to His love – is the Kingdom of Heaven that is at hand!

 

Hope-Dec. 2022 CST Newsletter Article by Donna Ross

This week Donna Ross shares a holy boldness in proclaiming the goodness of the LordDonna Ross is the Coordinator of the Central Service Team in the Magnificat Ministry, a Ministry to Catholic Women. This submission was taken from the December CST Newsletter 2022 for the Magnificat Ministry.  Magnificat hosts quarterly Meals where powerful witness stories are shared to touch hearts and change lives. We are called to be people of hope bringing people closer to Jesus. Hope can stand for H-hearing, O-others, P-peoples, E-experiences. It is time to have a holy boldness like never before in proclaiming the goodness of the Lord.

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

 

 

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

Are you needing more calm in your life? Today, we are dropping in on a very special celebration of John the Baptist's birth. You might hold the baby, newly named John, or share with all the neighbour’s your astonishment at the miracle birth. You will hear Zechariah speak for the first time in 9 months. When he does, he teaches us the value of stillness with God. His silent retreat results in the joyous Benedictus blessing. #podcast

 Zechariah writes, His Name is John!

Needing Calm? Seek Stillness with God!

 Are you needing calm in your life? Today, we are dropping in on a very special celebration of John the Baptist’s birth. You might hold the baby, newly named John, or share with all the neighbors your astonishment at the miracle birth.  You will hear Zechariah speak for the first time in 9 months. When he does, he teaches us the value of stillness with God. His silent retreat results in the joyous Benedictus blessing. Stillness with God will do the same for you, giving you more joy and peace!

Advent JOY & the Celebration at Zechariah’s Home

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • When Elizabeth, says no to the name, Zechariah confirms, His name is JOHN.
  • Immediately, Zechariah’s mouth is open and his tongue is freed.
  • St. Ambrose writes, “With good reason was his tongue loosed, because faith untied what had been tied by disbelief.”

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

  • In stillness with God, Zechariah grew in faith, peace and trust.
  • Benedictus means Blessed be..the Lord.
  • Zechariah’s prophecy is called a canticle which means “little song”- a liturgical song from a Biblical text.
  • Zechariah expresses thanks for: (1) The promises that would be fulfilled in the Messiah (Genesis 22: 16-17; Exodus 2: 24; Ezekiel 36: 28) and (2) His Son John, prophet of the Most High, who would go before the Lord to prepare His way, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins.

Responding to the Scripture

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

You can download a Bookmark of prayer points from the Advent JOY Podcast #4 at my website: WRAPyourselfinJOY.com.

Check out more podcasts here!

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

True Faith

True Faith What is true faith? In light of so much counterfeit around us it is difficult for many people to understand truth vs. fiction. Even during Biblical times, those who witnessed the miracles of Jesus still struggled to believe. Well, take heart! In this episode, we will delve into the truth that will set your free. #podcast #christianpodcast #truefaith #christianfaithTrue Faith ~ Episode 233

What is true faith? In light of so much counterfeit around us, it is difficult for many people to understand truth vs. fiction. Even during Biblical times, those who witnessed the miracles of Jesus still struggled to believe. Well, take heart! In this episode, we will delve into the truth that will set your free.

The Ultimate Christian Podcast Network is made up of uplifting shows. Be sure to tune in weekly and visit the show page for new shows that are added. UCPN.com, and be sure to check out the sponsor for today’s episode, the movie 5000 Blankets – This holiday season, be reminded that one of the best ways to make the most out of your hard season is to help someone else in theirs! #5000blanketsmovie.com and if you missed the quick release in theatres, it should come out soon on Pureflix.

The church’s teaching authority gave us the Bible that we have today. This way, we can look to the Word of God to confirm our beliefs. Many of those in authority at the time were eyewitnesses of Jesus Christ and recorded His words for all of us today. We believe the Bible is the inerrant word of guide inspired by the Holy Spirit. We also have recordings of teachings that did not make it into the Bible or books believed not to be inspired.

Many of you know of St. Thomas Aquinas, a theologian known for his clarity in the discussion of faith and morals. He says that true faith does not only agree with what is known because he said that even demons do this – they acknowledge the truth but do not have faith. He says that faith requires an act of our will. Remember, we have free choice, a gift from Almighty God. We have the ability to act with free will, not just with our intelligence or intellect. God is God, and His love for us, as incomprehensible as it might be, does not hinge on whether we choose Him or not. We are the ones that have conditional love – it is easier to love those who love us. With God, He is pure love. He loves because that is His nature.

There is a definitive difference between faith that is true and belief. We submit ourselves to God’s will for our lives, a free choice. It is not one that is forced. We agree because, for some of us, not doing so would be inconceivable. If we have true faith, we believe what is taught; for me, that is contained in full in the Nicene Creed or the shorter Apostles Creed. We recite one of these each time I attend Mass. I agree through my free will.

Just as we submit to the authority of the governing body of our town, state or government, so do we submit to the teaching authority of our church. If we disagree, this is not true faith.

I know it sounds like we are getting deep today – but the point is that understanding helps, but true faith is a free-will action. By growing in faith, we can live a life that is not only fulfilling but one of true peace. The peace that surpasses all understanding.  Let me read the following passage from Philippians 4: 4-10

Read this passage on your own and think about the words that leap out at you. Several of these for me are ones I talk about often; one is to praise God in all things. Verse 4 states to rejoice in the Lord always. The second is to Let your gentleness be known to everyone. As Christians, we are encouraged to love everyone, not only those who love us. In this way, we show the love of Christ to others. Easy right? Probably a struggle for many of us if we are truthful. Only God can give us the grace we need to carry on as we should. This passage also reminds us that the Lord is near. We always have the Holy Spirit with us, and what a powerful reminder to us all that the Lord is always here. Our faith is inspired by those who went before us but to think that the Creator of the universe cares for each one of us is so amazing. But one of the things we all crave is peace. The scripture reminds us that … the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Why does it say it surpasses all understanding? I believe this touches on what we discussed earlier. Understanding or intellect is a part of faith but deciding to live our faith by a free-will offering is what is difficult for many to comprehend, especially today.

Pray about this and allow the Lord to come into your life in a powerful way because while there is head understanding, the heart must be genuinely engaged for true peace. The peace of Christ is something you may feel from time to time. When I’ve had the opportunity and privilege to be in deep prayer, I don’t want to return to this world. I feel such a deep sense of peace, reverence, and awe. It is like the most perfect dream and only to wake up to the reality of life. Our lives are a blessing but let’s face it; the challenges sometimes are overpowering.

The challenge is real, especially for our faith. We struggle with our faith when we think we know better. As people with free will, we know what we want and want now. If you had your choice of an easy life or a life filled with hardship, which would you choose? An easy life, right?

But what is in the fine print of an easy life? An easy life to some may be doing whatever you want, whenever you want, and with whomever you want. As we know, some of us sadly, from experience, this can lead to heartbreak and dysfunction.

True faith is steeped in love, a conscious and free-will decision, and it encompasses and allows the love of God to permeate our lives.

  1. Putting on the armor of God to defeat the wicked one – Ephesians 6:9-11 and verse 10-11 which states: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the devil’s wiles.”
  2. Putting God’s will above our own. He knows best. Believe it as a truth. Meditate on the idea of God’s will.
  3. Be open to spending time with God. For true and good faith, we need to spend time and allow the Lord to touch our hearts.
  4. Remove ourselves from sin and temptation. I think we all know what that means in our own lives.
  5. Attend church regularly, not when we feel like it!

As we strive to balance out the head knowledge with our hearts, I pray that each of your challenges this week focus on what is true and good in your life and see where the stumbling blocks of faith exist and work on those slowly each day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take Time to Talk

In this episode, we talk about Chapter 4, Talk it Out, from the book, Habits of Freedom: 5 Ignatian tools for Clearing your Mind and Resting Daily in the Lord by Fr. Christopher J. Collins, SJ.

Deacon John and I had similar yet different takeaways from this chapter. First, the idea or rather, the reality that as children and young people growing up in our families, Jesus was not mentioned outside of church. We went to Mass and maybe talked a bit about the homily on the walk home and then that was all until next week. A great irony when you think about what John and I both do now!

Jesus is not only an intellectual pursuit or study. Yes, we can learn about Him and talk about Him but we also need to talk to Him!

Consolation/Desolation

Conversation with others can lead us to desolation or consolation. If we are having a “pity party” and our companion adds to it all then we fall deeper into desolation, maybe withdraw a bit more and keep turning inward. This is not a good idea. In these times, allow “Jesus to interrupt you.” I (Deanna) also liked the idea of talking aloud to Jesus.

John had a bit to say about how his thoughts have changed over time about my need to talk, but I think it’s more interesting to listen to him than have me write it!

Ultimately, reaching out to another helps us tremendously in receiving consolation.

Not Lukewarm Challenge

When you begin to feel like you are spending too much in your thoughts or head and it’s leading you down a path you don’t want to go, find one trusted person to talk to; it can help!

Identity Is Key

This week Margaret Vasquez shares how our identity is key in revealing God's love to othersIdentity is at the core of human and spiritual integration.  It’s key to us being able to act from a mature human place and to being spiritually mature.  There are so many things that clamor for our identity and that some gravitate towards – being a member of a certain club, or organization, having wealth or affluence, being a member or fan of a team.  While none of these things are bad, they are NOT where our identity lies and provide no basis for our identity.

 

I was listening to a podcast recently by the founder of the South African Satanic Church who recently converted to Christianity because of a profound experience of Jesus.  He said that one of the things people are told when they join the satanic church is that they were rejected in other experiences in life because they were meant to be satanists.  Ugh!  Can you see the battle for their identity?  We see the same thing in our culture where so many suffer and struggle for their identity from their sexual brokenness.  It’s so heartbreaking because, again, this is not where our identity lies.  St. Paul said, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).  He’s laying out where our foundational identity is – in the Lord!

 

We even see in Jesus’ life how essential His identity was and how at the beginning of His public ministry the Father publicly announced His identity as His Beloved Son in whom He was well pleased.  Jesus’ identity as the Beloved Son of the Father was crucial to His life as both human and Divine.  At the foot of the Cross we see Our Lady, St. John the Beloved, and Mary Magdalene, all of whom had come to know their identity as loved by God in a particular way.

 

When our identity is founded in who we are as God’s children, we gain courage and confidence.  Courage by definition means to take heart.  It’s a big difference if we’re taking our own heart or the Lord’s Heart!  Confidence means acting with faith.  How essential that we act with faith in Him rather than faith in ourselves!  That’s a game changer!

 

Our identity IS in being God’s children!  He who is all good, loving, wise, knowing, powerful and Creator of all that is calls us His own children, His own sons and daughters.  Being His child means there’s a relationship.  It’s not just a role or title, but refers to the relationship He brings us into by His Spirit of Adoption.  Knowing we are chosen, known, valued, protected, and provided for by HIM  – THAT is where our identity lies.

 

Advent JOY #3 – The Blessed Visit & the JOY of Fellowship

God Has JOY for YOU! Join in the Fellowship, Delight and Prayer #Podcast

Mary & Elizabeth – A Visit Filled with JOY

The Blessed Visit – Do you need more JOY in your life? Who doesn’t? Advent is the perfect time to receive more JOY and share it with others! Mary and Elizabeth will show us how.

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

The Advent JOY Podcast

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

Advent JOY in the Hill Country

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Three Months of Sharing Hearts

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

Advent Application

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

Check out more podcasts here!

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

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

Faith Comes In Small Packages

Faith Comes in Small Packages | Many precious gifts are small similar to our faith that comes in small packages. What a blessing and something we often overlook. #faith #ChristianPodcast #faithandblessings #ChristmasFaith Comes In Small Packages ~ Episode 232

Many precious gifts are small similar to our faith. Faith comes in small packages. What a blessing and something we often overlook. Instead, we often look for those “Faith-Grand-Gestures.” What are those small things that make faith so precious in our life? Consider this in light of the often over-the-top celebrations happening all around us. Truly the biggest blessing are gifts we can’t buy and that is the key to faith!

Thanks to our sponsor the movie – 5000 Blankets, this is a quick theatre release in December It’s incredible what can happen when you transform your heart to serve the people around you. Catch 5000 BLANKETS exclusively in theaters for two days only! December 12 & 13. Tickets at https://www.fathomevents.com/events/5000-Blankets and for more information go to https://www.5000blanketsmovie.com/

What are those things that come in small packages that you cherish? Take a minute to think about this. I have a list of about five things I can think of that are small and important to me. When we look at faith in this way we can see that those small things add up to something priceless. The way we practice our faith should not be a burden or a list of things we have to do, it should be a lifestyle that is effortless. As I’ve shared in previous episodes Christians feel that we don’t give up anything for our faith but that our faith gives us so much more than we can ever repay or give back.

The happiest people I know are the ones that do things for others. My brother, through an unfortunate surgery, lost sight in one of his eyes. He went from a high-powered job to staying at home and living with a disability. Yet, I’ve watched him through the years and his recovery process and he is happier than now and has become involved in various charities. One is where he goes to the schools and reads to kids, another is the Beds for Kids program where the charitable organization works with foster parents to obtain new beds for the kids they foster. He is so happy and animated when he talks about these things, even if he can no longer drive because of his eyesight. While it is difficult for his family, they have all learned to cope and appreciate the gift of life.

In giving to others, we are blessed. That is also an underlying theme of the Christian faith which underscores love for others above self. I think we all know people that put themselves first and they are not happy. Or, if they appear happy to others those who know them well can see the underlying hurt.

It is easy to rejoice in all things when everything is going well, but what about when we have those hardships in our lives? The way we react shows us how we truly are in our walk with the Lord. At one time when finances were tight, I remember rejoicing in all of the things I was surrounded with that were free. One thing was the beautiful sky or the wonderful weather. The other was the love of family and friends. Another is the joy of being able to come to you weekly and proclaim the joys of the Christian faith. These are truly simple pleasures but can be part of the overall joy of celebrating God’s love.

It is good to remember that we should be awake and notice the things happening around us and in this way be awakened to the truth of salvation. Romans 13:11-14 states

The weeks leading up to the Christmas season remind us that Christ is the light and as we know the light dispels darkness. When we are in sin we often don’t recognize it, but later when we see it, we realize that we were in a sense in the dark. That is why I make an effort to see the good in things big and small.

The joy of having family near or spending time with my kids when they are visiting home. The time I spend with a dear friend or even an acquaintance at church. I remember hearing that when we smile at a stranger it might be the only smile they get that day. Can you imagine? We get caught up in our own world and our own problems that we often forget the hardships of others.

When we think about faith coming in small packages we can point to the scene in the manager at the birth of Christ. The fear that Mary and Joseph had to overcome to bring the Savior into the world. The confusion when they were visited by the wise men or the Magi, then by the coming of the shepherds who heard the herald or calling of the angels and followed the star. What a miracle and so many things to think about and ponder in their heart. We hear that about Mary in the scriptures that she pondered things in her heart. I may have shared with you that I love the movie The Nativity because it depicts Mary and Joseph in a way that brings home their humble roots and their hardships and makes the birth of Christ so real and heartfelt. One of my favorite scenes is when a poor shepherd allows them to share his fire as they rest for a short time on their journey he says that he is no one, and Mary says that the child is for everyone.

That tiny bundle, that small package was touching the hearts of men and women before he was hours old. If we open our hearts to those small things in our spiritual lives, we will find our faith grow.

The tiny package in our lives can consist of love, joy, and peace. Those three small words pack a punch and can increase our love and our faith. Your challenge this week is to look for those small and often forgotten joys that we often overlook and thank and praise God for this and for all things!

 

Toward the Good or Evil Spirit

Continuing with Habits of Freedom by Christopher S. Collins, SJ

Chapter 3, Reject the Lie

Jesus’ identity was rooted in God the Father. He knew He was God’s beloved Son. We see that right after His baptism, Jesus is tempted in the desert by the evil one.

Let’s not quickly dismiss Jesus’ ability to withstand temptation, as it says on page 42, Jesus is very good at not falling for the tricks and manipulations of the enemy. I think sometimes we say, well, of course, He is Jesus, He can stand up to the evil one.

So can we!

Our identity is rooted in the same place, the love of God the Father; we are His Beloved child.

Life is full of desolation and consolation. And most of us prefer consolation. Yet we can easily fall into desolation, especially when we do this one that Fr. Collins admits he does, and I know I do it. We question God! We don’t accept the good the Father has for us; we “talk back.”

We hear, “You are my beloved, I delight in you. You give so much of yourself to others; thank you.” And instead of saying thanks, God. We say, “but the other day I screwed up and I’m annoyed with my co-worker and snapped, and, well it can be an endless explanation to the Father as to why He ought not to think well of you!

When we stay in the present, not the past or the future, we are less likely to fall into desolation.

 

This week, when you pray, listen to what God has to say to you. How you are good and a delight and the apple of His eye. Whatever the words or sense or image you receive, write it down. And when you find yourself going toward a downward spiral of I’m not good enough, read what God gave you in prayer. And accept it with gratitude and love.

I’m also going to tell you this, I have created a course around this topic of getting rid of the past lies we believe and negative thinking that prevents us from living in the truth of how much we are loved and cherished by God. Take a look here to get a free download or sign up for a free webinar.

Parable of the Lost Sheep by Deacon David Hockwalt 12.6.2022

This week on Magnificat Ministries Podcast Deacon Hockwald shares the parable of the lost sheep showing that God will always be there for youDEACON 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

Testimony of Elizabeth Ficocelli May 2010 Lima, OH

This week Elizabeth Ficocelli shares her testimony of questions, searching, and faith.Elizabeth was born in NY where she was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran faith. By adolescence she grew dissatisfied to her lack of answers to her questions about certain beliefs. Since Elizabeth entered the Catholic Church in 1983 she immersed herself in reading about everything she could about her new faith and with supernatural phenomena such as Eucharistic miracles, stigmata, and apparitions. Then progressed to Church history, the saints and apologetics, the defense of the faith. The more she read the reasons Elizabeth found to love the Catholic faith. Elizabeth resides with her husband and four boys in Ohio where their Catholic faith remains the center of their family life. She has been a guest on the EWTN talk shows for Marcus Grodi, Johnette Benkovich, Fr. Benedict Groeschel and Doug Keck.

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

Keeping It Real

This week Margret Vasquez shares how to give our Lifes meaning and purpose by "keeping it real" In the last podcast with Coach Kelly Herrmann, there was something she shared about how she has approached coaching over the years that helped her align her actions with her beliefs.  I was really struck by it, and it has been a gift to me to distill those principles out of the arena of athletics (pun intended) and this is something that applies to all of us regardless of if we are athletes, coaches, parents, students, professionals, single, married, religious sisters, brothers, or clergy.

 

What Coach shared was that she realized she had to do was to develop her philosophy of coaching based on the truth and align her goals with those priorities.  These are steps we can all take to help make our lives more meaningful, purposeful, consistent, and integrated.  Without doing so, we can tend to relegate spiritual things to Sunday or Church.  By being conscious and intentional about establishing our priorities so as to lead to our goals which are consistent with our philosophy founded and grounded in the Truth.

 

In doing this, I really see the most foundational truth of life is the TRUTH – who is the person of Jesus.  Blessed John Duns Scotus, a Franciscan philosopher in the 13th century said that Jesus came to manifest the love of God the Father.  He also taught that the greatest thing we can do is to choose to love the good and God is the greatest good.  This being my philosophy lays out the goals 1) receiving God’s love, 2) loving Him as the greatest good, 3) loving what He loves (me and others) and 4) affirming the good.  I’ve found that affirming the good in others, especially when they’re being difficult or challenging is naturally before me because I know in a very thought-out way it aligns with my philosophy and the truth of who God is and who I am in Him.

 

I’ve found this to be a very helpful decision-making tool and helps me keep my behaviors in line with my beliefs.  I challenge you to pray about it and consider doing it.  I hope it blesses you as much as it has blessed me.

 

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

 

Christmas Countdown To Faith

Countdown to Faith | As the Christmas countdown begins the challenge is to keep your faith focused as you navigate the commercialism of the season. In this podcast Felice suggests you count down to a renewal of faith as you approach the commemoration of the birth of our Lord.| #podcast #Christianpodcast #ChristmasCountdown #ChristmasFaithChristmas Countdown To Faith ~ Episode 231

As the Christmas countdown begins the challenge is to keep your faith focused as you navigate the commercialism of the season. In this podcast Felice suggests you count down to a renewal of faith as you approach the commemoration of the birth of our Lord.| As the Christmas countdown begins the challenge is to keep your faith focused as you navigate the commercialism of the season. In this podcast Felice suggests you count down to a renewal of faith as you approach the commemoration of the birth of our Lord.

Thanks to our sponsor the movie – 5000 Blankets, this is a quick theatre release in December It’s incredible what can happen when you transform your heart to serve the people around you. Catch 5000 BLANKETS exclusively in theaters for two days only! December 12 & 13. Tickets are at here and for more information go to https://www.5000blanketsmovie.com/

Well, it is almost Christmas (and the Christmas countdown has begun!) and once again many homes are buzzing but for all the wrong reasons. Raise your hand if you have the decorations up or are getting ready to decorate. I listened to a video presentation on Advent, and it reminded me that decorations for most Christians didn’t start until December 24th the true beginning of the Christmas season. Is it wrong to have the decorations up? No of course not! I had a full house Thanksgiving weekend and I put all my kids to work, they have it down to a science now and each of them has a favorite thing they like to do. One son buys me poinsettia plants early before they run out on sale, and another son plants them for me. My daughter is the expert on decorating the stairs, and another son works on the arrangements above the cabinets in the kitchen. In years past I haven’t even decorated much of the tree, but this year that was my job after they put on all the lights.

Our preparations look different depending on our family and yet I hope that all of you have “preparation,” in mind as we look forward to Christmas Day. We are in a time of expectation, hoping, and wanting. Our family tradition is to light candles on the Advent wreath. We didn’t do this when I was a child, but my own children have grown up with this tradition. We light candles one for each week leading up to Christmas and read a passage of Scripture and pray. It is a wonderful tradition that brings the coming of our Lord closer to our hearts and our mind.

My son shared that his pastor preached about getting closer to God during the Advent season. While Lent is a time of penance and giving up our sins and vices, Advent is a time of preparation as well. I listened to one of my favorite YouTube priests, Fr. Alar and he talked about the messages that are varied from other pastors about what this season means.

For many of us, it is a time of parties and eating those goodies we only see this time of the year. I believe that God knows we live in “this world,” and we must balance our lives with the obligations of family and even friends. That doesn’t mean we can’t keep our faith in the forefront of our minds during this special season, leading up to one of the greatest miracles God coming to us as a child!

There are only two times of the year when there is a countdown if you will remember an event important in the lives of Christians. One is Advent the birth of Christ and the other is Lent a remembrance of the life, death, and resurrection of our Savior. Both times we prepare, and both times we celebrate the day in commemoration of Christ.

I like to prepare for Advent with the small book, “The Season of Light” by Jay Cormier. It contains daily prayers for the lighting of the Advent Wreath as well as time for contemplation and personal prayer. A key element is praising God in all things. I also like to spend time each day being thankful and that helps to put things in perspective.

Lately, I’ve had a rash of techie issues, and usually, I don’t get upset, but this time I was beyond annoyed. So, as I begin complaining I think instead, praise God, praise God, praise God! Otherwise, I’ll spend my time in frustration. These are little things we can do that make life so much better and put the focus off ourselves and onto God giving Him praise.

I love John 1:1:5 and John 1:14

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

This was one of the Scripture verses that hit me hard at one low point in my life. The Word was with God and the Word was God – the Word of God is Christ, and He was there at the beginning of the Creation.

As Christians one thing, we can do is mediate on God’s word, and you will find as I often do that passages you’ve read before take on an entirely different meaning. Sometimes it is because of what is happening in our lives and other times it is as if the Lord gives us a new awareness of the words. My heart just soars with thanksgiving and it is so wonderful to think that God cared for us so much as to send His only Son.

How exciting that we can pray as we await the celebration on Christmas Day and rejoice! Your challenge this week is to place God as the focus of your thoughts and prayers and celebrate Advent the weeks before Christmas in a way that gives all the glory to God.

Where does our True Identity come from?

What is our true identity?

“We cannot be truly happy until we are truly free, and we to know who it is that we truly are if we are to be truly free.”
Habits of Freedom, pg 20

Eve

As in adam and Eve, she engages in a ‘what if ‘ conversation with the snake. She speculates. Wonders. Thinks about what if? Instead of focusing on now and engaging in conversation, aka, prayer, with God.

We do the same thing. Making time for God each day will give us an intimate relationship with him. It keeps us on an even keel and able to handle our lives better.

Jesus’ Baptism

In Luke 3:21-22,

After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened
 and the holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
God the Father is well pleased with Jesus. He is well-pleased with you too!
This week, pray and meditate with Luke 3:21-22. Hear what the Father says to Jesus and listen to what He has to say to you.
If you’d like to read and discuss the Sunday Mass REadings, join us on Wednesday evenings at 7:30 pm (ET). You can sign up here to receive the link. 

Testimony of Olga Myers Atlanta 2007

This week Olga Meyers shares Her desire to help those in need allowed God to use her in doing extraordinary things.Olga began the ministry of evangelization in 1991. Her desire to help those in need allowed God to use her in doing extraordinary things despite her feelings of inadequacy, fear of failure and the unknown. Prayer, God’s Word and Sacraments and the power of the Holy Spirit gave her the courage to say ‘yes’ to all he had called her to do. She confirms Pope John Paul’s words that ‘faith is strengthened when it is shared.’ Through her many challenging experiences, God continues to teach her that nothing is impossible with God. Do not be afraid. God gave her the courage to bring the ministry of Magnificat to Atlanta in 1991 and to serve as the SE Regional Rep Advisory Board of the Central Service Team of Magnificat. Olga is married to Roy, she is the mother of three grown children and grandmother of seven. She has taught elementary school in Florida and Georgia.

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

 

Christians in the Arena

This week Coach Kelly Herrmann explains that the key to integrating faith in sports is to have a clear philosophy based on truth.

Join me for the final episode in this series with Coach Herrmann and I discuss the role sports can play in character formation!

 

Coach Kelly Herrmann – now a wife, mom, grandma, health coach, author, and speaker was a fixture in sports at Franciscan University of Steubenville for decades.  Having given up a full ride to play division one basketball, she attended FUS and was athletic director, head coach of women’s basketball and volleyball and intramural coordinator.  She has refereed, umpired, announced games, coached little league soccer, run sports summer camps, and mentored other coaches.  She’s a wealth of experience and knowledge and comes from a faithfully Catholic perspective.

Coach explains that the key to integrating faith in sports is to have a clear philosophy based on truth.  Then have clear priorities based on that philosophy.  Coach Kelly shares about a time when Franciscan men’s and women’s basketball teams traveled together.  On the bus the two teams sat separated by the coaches in the middle.  One of her players came to her and asked if they could mix in with the men’s team on the way back from the game for the sake of bonding with the men’s team.  She easily denied the request and was able to explain to her player that bonding with the men’s team wasn’t a priority, whereas study, rest, bonding with her fellow teammates were priorities.  She was able to quickly make a good decision and explain it with a solid basis to the player who was able to accept it.  It wasn’t an arbitrary refusal.  There was a purpose behind it.  Priorities serve the goal and move you in the direction of reaching those goals.  Set and stay faithful to your priorities.

As Christians, evangelizing is always a goal – seeking to witness faith everywhere.  There are situations in sports that force a coach and player to be countercultural.  A few examples are things like controlling one’s temper, language, service in relationships, and modesty.  If you know your priorities, you can easily come to the right decision in such situations regardless of the zeitgeist of the day.

Some practical steps you can implement today are to define your philosophy of play and coaching based on St. John Paul II’s injunction to follow the Divine Master in everything. Based on that, define your priorities, then integrate those priorities throughout your approach to sports.  Finally, don’t be afraid to be countercultural!  BE BOLD!

 

To connect with Coach Kelly Herrmann for speaking engagements, she can be reached at kherrmanniam@outlook.com.

 

ADVENT JOY # 2 -The Great Annunciation and Message: “For Nothing Will Be Impossible with the Lord”

Do you feel like your life is barren or unproductive? Don’t give up! You can be sure that if God can supernaturally beget the Son of God in a virgin and give an old woman Elizabeth, past her time of conceiving, a child, God can fix the barrenness in your life too. Join us today as we travel to Nazareth, visit Mary, hear the Great Annunciation of a Savior to be born, and learn of old Elizabeth’s miraculous pregnancy— For nothing is impossible with God.#podcast

Advent JOY in Nazareth

Hello Friends, Welcome to the Advent JOY series, Podcast #2, based on my book The Joy of Advent: Journey with the People, Events and Prayers at the First Coming of Jesus Christ.  Last week we met the Archangel Gabriel who suddenly appeared to the old priest Zechariah while in the temple after 430 years of silence from heaven. The encounter with Gabriel ended up with Zechariah receiving a 9-month silent retreat for his unbelief.  Today, we travel with Luke about 90 miles from the home of Zechariah and Elizabeth north to a small town in Galilee to the hometown of Mary and Joseph to hear the Great Annunciation.  Join the podcast today as we cover these exciting points:

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

 

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

Jesus, Named After His Heavenly Father (Luke 1: 31-33)

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

Mary’s Fiat (Luke 1: 34-38)

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

God’s Power

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

Links

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

Check out more podcasts here!

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

Greatness of God

Greatness of God | The greatness of God is all around us and we see it in the miracles of life.| #Christianpodcast #podcast #miraclesofGod #greatnessofGodGreatness of God ~ Episode 230

The greatness of God is all around us and we see it in the miracles of life.

God’s greatness is nothing we would dispute and a loving God grants favor to us. But what happens when we are overwhelmed or inundated with the holiday sales (yes, Cyber Monday and every day until Christmas is upon us!) How can we be disciples of the One True God and remain faithful in the glitz of the season? By pondering the Greatness of God and His love for us as we approach Christmas. I pray that the Lord is with you and you are filled with the love and peace of Christ.

Little children get it right when it comes to simple faith more times than not. Do you remember that early song you learned or maybe taught your children, “My God is so great, so big and so mighty there is nothing my God can not do?” If you have never heard this song I put a link in the show notes for this episode. (Here)  This last stanza of the song goes like this, “My God is so great, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do, for you!”

This hits home for many young children and along with the catchy tune it sticks in their heads and hearts. It is at times like the holidays that we see the true meaning and share it without family and friends. It is a time to share what we have whether it is little or big (and my favorite gifts are the ones that money can not buy).

We see the greatness of God in big things – the awesomeness of nature or perhaps in works of charity but these tend to be things that we enjoy or we do for ourselves. The greatness of God is in giving of self. That is what God did for us – not only the world He created for us to enjoy but also in giving us our lives. Think about this for a minute. What was in it for Him?

We learn that God created because of love and love by its very nature creates. A simple sentence that packs a punch. Let me say it again. (repeated on air)

For me, love is the essence of the greatness of God. Make a list of what you believe is the essence and greatness of God. I so wish you could share your list then Isaiah 40.

Titus 2: 11 – 15 states – (read on air).

Isaiah 40:12-31 Read on your own, read on air: Isaiah 40:21-23 and Isaiah

Do we, even today with the Bible in virtually every translation a finger click away understand the ramifications and essence of the greatness of God? He is greater than anything we can even imagine. We’ve been told to imagine heaven, and whatever you come up with it is so much better than we can comprehend. I shared in past podcasts something my pastor says, “God I love you as you know yourself to be.” Unpack that! In other words, we can not comprehend the greatness of God which does not mean we should not try to understand so that we can better worship.

Isaiah goes on in verses 25-26 (Read on air.)

We are reminded that God has called us by name. Not only did he create the heavens and the earth the Almighty cared enough to create you and me. You are not an accident. Your life is not for nothing. Your hurts and your worries are not trivial. The Almighty Lord has heard your prayers and your cries. Because … “he is great in strength and mighty in power.”

Then Isaiah does on in verses 29-31 -(Read on air.)

The Lord will never weary even though we do, the Lord does not need to replenish because from Him all things originate. The greatness of God can be comprehended in this way, he is always there for us. He cares, He loves and He is the Almighty. We may think God is not approachable, my husband use to say that praying is bothering God. This is not true. We look up to the heavens but He is here, beside us always. Even when we don’t feel him, even when we feel let down, even when we feel we can not go on. God created and God cares for you and for me.

During this season in your life look at the greatness of God with joy and while trying to comprehend His vastness is not a prerequisite for salvation it does help us put our problems and our life in perspective. We are important yet many of the things we want and crave our not important in the grand scheme of things. Does this mean we don’t live our lives? No, of course, we do – but we live our lives with an eye to heaven and joy in our hearts.

The challenge this week is to look at the greatness of God and place your wants and needs before the Lord and discern what is important in your life. May God be blessed and rejoice today and always!

Habits of Freedom; Holy Indifference

We are continuing our series of Habits of Freedom: 5 Ignatian Tools for Calming Your Mind and Resting in the Lord by Christopher S. Collins, SJ.

God often calls us out of our usual to get our attention. In the scripture, we see him call people to the desert, recall the Israelites in the desert after leaving Egypt and Jesus there for 40 days before he begins his public ministry.

He also uses suffering to draw us closer to him. The desert, suffering – both are ways that we turn and rely more fully on God than in other times.

St. Ignatius teaches us to have a “holy indifference” in that no matter our circumstances, we choose to turn to God.

Discernment

Discernment is an ongoing and daily process. It asks us to look each day at where we have been, what we have done, and where we have encountered God. This is our Examen. A time to reflect on our day, with the help of the Holy Spirit and ask for help for the next day.

Allow your life to be disrupted

Fr. Collins makes this point about how we can be disposed to receive grace: “putting my self into unknown, uncertain, somewhat insecure circumstances has a way of disposing me to receive something greater that I could have expected.” (pg. 10)

It is good to allow our lives to be disrupted for, with and by God. “Allow ourselves to be displaced, decentered. To be opened up to something different. And then to allow the Holy Spirit to move, to act, to allow the Word of God to be spoken and heard by me, by us.” (pg.15)

This week, take some quiet time to think about a time when your life was disrupted. What happened? How was the situation resolved? Where was God in it? What did you learn?

Would you like to banish the lies that hold you back from freedom in Christ? Receive a free guide from me to help!

 

Doing What is Expected Luke 17:7-10 By Deacon David Hockwalt

This Week Deacon David Hockwalt shares verses from Luke 17 to show what is expected of us by God.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 magnificat-ministry.net

 

The Role of Sports in Christian Character Formation

This week Margret and Coach Kelly Herrmann discuss the role sports can play in character formation!Join me as Coach Herrmann and I discuss the role sports can play in character formation!

 

Coach Kelly Herrmann – now a wife, mom, grandma, health coach, author, and speaker was a fixture in sports at Franciscan University of Steubenville for decades.  Having given up a full ride to play division one basketball, she attended FUS and was athletic director, head coach of women’s basketball and volleyball and intramural coordinator.  She has refereed, umpired, announced games, coached little league soccer, run sports summer camps, and mentored other coaches.  She’s a wealth of experience and knowledge and comes from a faithfully Catholic perspective.

 

I asked Coach:

 

  1. Are there specific character/faith lessons you look to teach through the season?

 

Some of the many character and faith lessons we can easily glean from faithfully coached and approached athletics are hard work, personal investment, dedicated commitment, right/honest/and charitable communication, servanthood, humility, unity, and modesty.  Sports are a microcosm of life and so much can be taught through them because they really test the mettle of which a person is made.

 

  1. Can sports be used for character formation even with children?

 

Because of developmental differences associated with age, the lessons that can be taught are different, but sports are quite useful in character formation – even with children.  Some of the many lessons first learned through sports by children are self-control, how to handle disappointment, delaying gratification and celebrating the giftedness and skills of others.

 

  1. If so, are the lessons different depending on the ages of the athletes – little league, middle school, college, etc.?

 

The many lessons learned through sports are the same in type but differ in degree and can really be of great benefit to athletes of any age, especially when coached from an authentic and consistent faith perspective.  It’s essential that a coach know their own priorities as they coach and use the process of practice and play to reinforce the main priority of our lives – growth into the fullness of who we are called to be in Christ.

 

To connect with Coach Kelly Herrmann for speaking engagements, she can be reached at kherrmanniam@outlook.com.

 

Spiritual Reflection 10 Oil Lamps By Fr. Pat Crowley 11.12.2022

Fr. Pat Crowley, SS.CC. Shares a deeper faith experience in the healing love of Jesus Christ.Fr. Pat Crowley, SS.CC., MAS, is a member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in the Western United States Province. Father Crowley is the Spiritual Advisor for the Magnificat North County San Diego Chapter. He is a retreat director and conference speaker who brings a holistic approach to the healing ministry. Since 1972 his healing services have moved Christians into a deeper faith experience in the healing love of Jesus Christ. Father is He resides at the Sacred Hearts House of Prayer, Hemet, CA., 92544

 

Miraculous Prayers

Miraculous Prayers ~ Episode 229

Miraculous prayers are all around us, yet no one but the Lord knows what will be answered and what will not. In this podcast, Felice discusses the prayer that the Lord gave us as well as prayers that are always answered.

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels. Visit the website to learn more about the books and products available and the sales.

There are some prayers that are always answered. Do we believe this? In a past episode 227- Miracles of Faith I shared how God uses miracles to increase our faith. However, it seems that at times our prayers go unanswered.

However, I believe the prayers that are always answered are the ones we ask for a deepening of faith. Don’t you think this prayer will be answered? “Lord I pray that my faith is increased and there is a deepening of love for you!”

Ephesians 2: 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God…

And what a gift! What better gift is there than salvation? To spend this life happily as a Christian knowing that the Lord has redeemed us and living our lives in a way that is pleasing to God—with the benefit of happiness.

A prayer that I pray to the Lord and He often grants is for more time. This prayer has been such a blessing especially when I am stressed or have too much on my to-do list. Recently I needed to attack very unsavory plans that I had put off for months. One was updating a will and our final cemetery preparations. Yes, eww! No one wants to think about death but as Christians, we should consider the end and our eternal rest with God.

What miracles have happened in your life? We all have them. I’d ask you to stop this recording and make a list of miracles if you can. If not, do this later. Here is a short list of some of the miracles in my life.

  1. I’ve witnessed the healing of illness.
  2. I’ve witnessed the healing of chronic issues.
  3. I’ve avoided car accidents (multiple times).
  4. The Lord saved me from a bad relationship in my younger years.
  5. The miracle of healthy births to five children and eight miraculous grandchildren.

And I could go on and on and on. As you listened to this list did you recall miracles in your life? When we pray we give glory to God, but God also blesses us in remarkable ways. In the Lord’s Prayer, given to us by Jesus we read in Matthew 6 so many gems that are hidden in God’s Word. If you have ever wanted a short, quick list of what we are to do according to God’s will and God’s word, read all of Matthew 6 – the synopsis for this would be

  1. Give to the needy
  2. Prayer
  3. Fasting
  4. Treasures in Heaven
  5. Not to worry

I believe prayer is essential for our souls, to keep us on the right path and to be united to the will of God – as I shared in the podcast on the other podcast on miracles, the act of prayer, especially for something we really want is a lesson in patience and fortitude. Patience in that God may or may not answer our prayer – or not yet – and in fortitude to keep praying without ceasing and maybe in the process our hearts will change and be united with God’s.

Jesus himself taught us how to pray in what we call the Lord’s prayer – in Matthew 6:9-14 [Read on Air.]

Before I read this to you I’d like to challenge you to pray it yourself – most of you have a version you pray, meditate on the words, and take them to heart. The Lord said…

  1. We learn the awesomeness of the name of God – Hallowed be your name!
  2. We learn the miracle of true piety
  3. We learn to unite our will to God’s will
  4. We learn to unite our will to God’s will
  5. God knows our prayers before we ask
  6. The Lord will provide for our needs
  7. We are to forgive others
  8. We are to pray to be delivered from temptation
  9. We are to pray to be delivered from the evil one
  10. If we do not forgive the sins done against us – we are praying that our heavenly Father will not forgive yours!

This is SO important and one that is often forgotten in prayer – we must forgive it is imperative and I’ve created several podcasts on the topic.

The Lord’s prayer is truly a miraculous prayer and one we always pray in Church, but I pray this prayer daily. It reminds me that my first obligation is to God and not self.

Another important point concerning prayer is in Matthew 6:5-7 but before the Lord gave us His prayer…[Read on Air.]

Interesting – we are to pray but not so we can boast about how great we are… I believe that works go hand in hand with faith. But works by themselves are hollow. I think that at many services instead of prayer it becomes a social hour. I am all for socializing but before the service – outside and after the service – outside! Last week my husband and I were early because he had foot surgery and he needed to get into the church before it got crowded so he didn’t have to hurry. The people behind us were so loud and talking about making spaghetti and meatballs, and all kinds of things. I had a hard time focusing and praying to the Lord! I love time to pray before the Mass begins. We need to be careful of those around us.

Many times, our prayers take fasting. This is for us, not for the Lord…but it takes our eyes off of our temporal needs and places them squarely on the prayers and on our Lord. Matthew 6 addresses this as well.

Concerning Fasting – And with fasting, we are to… (Matthew 6:16-18) Read on air.

Fasting is important but I will admit this is very hard to do – when I was younger I tried to pray with bread and water one day a week, then I increased it to two days! It was very difficult. I still try to do this on occasion, and I try to abstain from meat on Friday – especially during the Lenten season. It is a way to keep our focus on God.

The miraculous prayer that will be answered today is for the Lord to give you more faith and to give you a greater love for Him! That is your challenge this week, to say the Lord’s prayer daily and to pray for additional faith!

 

Habits of Freedom, Introduction

Normal

We want our life to go back to normal. And what exactly does normal mean? I think, instead, let’s consider grounding ourselves in Christ. When we are with him, life will be on a more even keel. When we begin with him, Jesus helps us get through life.

A Series

The next few episodes will be focused on discussing the book, Habits of Freedom: 5 Ignatian Tools for Clearing your Mind and Resting Daily in the Lord by Fr. Christopher J. Collins, SJ.

The book is short and each chapter gives you a way to pray and process life from Ignatian prayer. There are prayer prompts and scripture to guide you as you develop your own prayer practice.

Introduction

There are 14 Rules for Discernment from St. Ignatius; this book reviews the first 7 and then uses them throughout the text.

 

Here is a brief summary: (I explain more in the podcast)

  1. When a person is moving away from God, meaning they are in sin, there is a sting of conscience.
  2. A person who is moving toward or is with God, the enemy tries to unsettle the person. Here though, the Good Spirit gives consolation.
  3. Consolation is when we feel the love of God, and have an increase in faith, hope and love..
  4. Desolation is a feeling of being low, unhappiness, separated from God
  5. When a person is in desolation, no change should be made; stick to your plan.
  6. When a person is stuck in desolation, go against your natural inclination, don’t give in to the enemy.
  7. Be patient; consolation will return.  (from Collins, xi-xii)

 

Interested in the guide? Click here.

 

 

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I’m Going to Follow Jesus By Mary Wilson 11.10.22

Mary Wilson shares parables and practical applications of life that can help answer questions about what it means to follow Jesus. #podcast #christianpodcastJesus says, “Come follow, me!“ But to where, how and to what? What do I have to do, what do I have to change to leave everything behind to follow Jesus? These questions are contemplated by Mary as she shares parables and practical applications of life, then and now, in ways the devil tempts us and what we must do to resist. Listening to insights of Jesus helps us to give our ‘yes’ with the definitive response, “I have decided to follow Jesus!

 

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.

 

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

 

 

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

Lessons from Zechariah, Elizabeth, and Gabriel

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

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

Advent JOY

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

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

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

The People, Prayers and Events

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

The First of Two Annunciations

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

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

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

Gabriel, The Might of God and No Puny Angel

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

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

Personal Reflection

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

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

 Prayer Points

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links

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

Check out more podcasts here!

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

Testimony of Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa Oct. 2008

Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa Shares his testimony as a preacher of the Gospel and as a Bishop proclaimed by Pope Francis #podcast #christianpodcastFr. Raniero Cantalamessa was born in Colli de Tronto, Italy. He was ordained a Franciscan Capuchin priest in 1958. In 1980, Fr. Cantalamessa was appointed by Pope John Paul II as preacher to the Papal household in the capacity he still serves. His official duties include preaching retreats to Pope Benedict 16th, Pope Francis, members of the Papal household and Vatican officials. He was a member of the International Theological Commission from 1975-81. In 1979, he resigned his full-time preacher of the Gospel and has written several books. He is the considered one of the greatest spiritual educators of our time. Fr. Cantalamessa was proclaimed Bishop by Pope Francis in November, 2020.

 

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

 

Faith Formation in Athletics

Margret Vasquez shares how focusing on doing rather than being is a trap we can all fall into but keeping the Lord the priority is essential to developing a faithfully Catholic athletic environment. #podcast #christianpodcastMeet Coach Kelly Herrmann – Faith Formation in Athletics

 

Today, I’m joined by Kelly who I’ve known for about 30 years.  She’s coached, refereed, umpired for decades in sports of all types and is now a wife, mother, grandmother, and health coach, author and speaker. Kelly has a passion for forming athletes in faith and spirituality and really integrating the two. She grew up on a dairy farm in Michigan and played basketball in the upstairs of their hay barn through the winter. She was living the student athlete life, doing the scorebook, coaching junior high leagues, announcing games even in high school and was truly involved in every aspect of sports year-round.

 

Kelly gave up a full ride to play division one sports to attend Franciscan University of Steubenville back in the 1980s for the sake of being in a place of faith formation.  She had three older siblings who attended FUS and having visited many times.  She had visited a lot and felt a certain fulfillment at the university in the people, the atmosphere, and the faith culture.  Even though early on she had protested coming to Franciscan, she realized it was the place where she could become more of who the Lord created her to be.  While it was difficult to give up the dream of being a college basketball player, Kelly got deeply involved in intramurals and never regretted making that choice.

 

Focusing on doing rather than being is a trap we can all fall into but keeping the Lord the priority is essential to developing a faithfully Catholic athletic environment.  What is the most important thing? Is winning everything?  No.  What we want to be saying to our kids is “how was your game?”  How did you do?  How did you play?”.  We play to win because the virtue of magnanimity calls us to do our very best! God wants us to strive and do our best, but that doesn’t always result in winning.  The process of day-to-day dedication and growth is the real core.

 

We discuss forming faith through athletics – the topic addressed in a chapter Kelly authored in the book Coach Them Well with St. Mary’s Press.

Worship and Thanksgiving

Worship and Thanksgiving | What do worship and thanksgiving mean to you? Your definition may be similar to many Christians, yet where is the challenge? | #CHRISTIANpodcast #worship #christianworship #givingthanks #thankstoGod #podcastWorship and Thanksgiving ~ Episode 228

What do worship and thanksgiving mean to you? Your definition may be similar to many Christians, yet where is the challenge? The challenge is living lives that show that we worship the One True God and, in that way, our faith is permeated in all that we do. Listen to the challenge this week, by your host, Felice Gerwitz.

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, and the wonderful books and products such as A Few Minutes with God.

As we discuss worship and thanksgiving today remember that the key to everything we do is to make it workable for us. What works for me may not work for you and that is important. I’ve read blogs over the years that list things that are so not doable in my life. This is why I try to simplify things for myself and for you! Which reminds me.

Have you heard the saying, “Do as I say, not as I do?” At times when I record podcasts, I feel a nudge from the Lord with the thought, “Are you living your life in the way you are challenging your listeners to live theirs’s?” Unfortunately, the answer is not always, “Yes!” Yet, podcasting on topics that point to the Lord also challenges me as well.

As we head into the months of Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations the theme of thanksgiving resounds in my mind. I ask myself the following questions:

  1. How am I worshipping God daily?
  2. How am I giving Him all the praise and thanks He deserves?
  3. How am I living my Christian life to the fullest?
  4. Am I allowing myself to be used by the Lord (those gentle nudges).
  5. Am I giving myself time to pray?

Giving ourselves time is the biggest obstacle in our life, so in this busy season, we need to cut ourselves some slack while placing a focus on the most important things. What have you learned from past mistakes and how are you leading a life that does not parallel the old? Think about this and consider ways you over-commit.

Years ago I found that if I quit one ministry or volunteer position to make more time for my family, I soon found I was volunteering for another position somewhere else that might not take as much time, or perhaps was for a better cause. This is great to give in some type of ministry but look at your life, your family, and your time commitment. Be sure you are not sacrificing your family.

Worship is an important facet of giving praise to the Lord. If you have a smartphone it is worthwhile to set up a praise and worship album. At one time I had about five songs and my kids would tease me because I had so few, yet these songs spoke to me. They filled my heart with love for the Lord. Today I have a mix of faster-paced songs with some contemplative tunes. I have new favorites depending on what is going on in my life. I shared with you the song “The Motions,” by Matthew West in a previous podcast and for the longest time that was my song, it was an important one to me because I felt like I was becoming complacent, and I wanted to change. Then my song was, “Joy,” by For King and Country. I wanted to be sure I was choosing Joy, and that was my focus. My next favorite was “He Reigns,” by Newsboys. Of course, I love many other gospel hymns and I go to a traditional church where we often sing songs like “Amazing Grace.”  I believe you can tell your spiritual mood by looking at the songs you like to play frequently.

Take time to do this, and create a song playlist. What songs speak to you and what songs lead you into worship? Currently, my new favorite is “Blessed Be Your Name.” It makes me consider God’s precious Name and how we should worship Him not only in song but in our lives.

Music is a huge part of helping to set the mood which is why many churches begin with praise and worship. This opens our hearts to the Word of God spoken to teach us and challenge us. If you do not have a playlist make one, either on your phone or on a computer. It is not that difficult to do, and if you do not know how, ask someone to help.

I’m not sure who began the saying when we sing we pray twice. But I believe there is truth to those words. Singing allows us to rejoice and music lowers our inhibitions in a good way and the roadblocks we often put up keeping the Lord out. We can use music in a way that enhances our prayer time and allows the deeper meaning of the words to speak to us in a way that just saying or even reading the words can accomplish. God knew what he was doing when he created music!

I believe that worship music allows us to live our lives more fully. The scriptures are filled with references to music, we read in 1 Chronicles 6:31 “there are the men David put in charge of the music in the house of the Lord after the ark came to rest there.” And we know the Psalm is a sacred song or poem used in worship such as the book of Psalms.

In what ways do you like to worship? Think about this and then when you do, make a point to make this part of your life. Worship can be serious and there is a time for this, but it can also be lighthearted. I think laughter is great and I believe with all of my heart that the Lord has a sense of humor. If He is truly Lord of Lords and created all things he created humor (the good kind) as well. Remember anything good can be perverted by the evil one.

I think one of the reasons I like music that I play in the car is because it fits my lifestyle when I am on the go. It puts me in a good frame of mind when I get to my destination. We use the tools at our disposal to make things work for us! In this way, we can more easily add worship and thanksgiving into our lives, daily.

The challenge for you is to look for a way to implement worship and thanksgiving not only during the holiday season but daily in your own life.

 

 

Pray for Yourself

Do you pray for yourself?

I have met many people who don’t think to pray for themselves. Some think it is selfish; others, maybe a bit burdensome to God, who already has enough to concern himself with. But I think we are to pray for ourselves.

Jesus prayed for Himself

In scripture, we see many times Jesus goes off either before the day or at the end, certainly in preparation for big decisions, by himself to spend time with the Father.

In Mathew 26:39, Mark 14:36 and Luke 22:42 we see him in the Garden of Gethsemane praying very specifically for his needs as he faces the cross.

It is in the Gospel of John that we hear Jesus pray for himself,

When Jesus had said this, he raised his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you, just as you gave him authority over all people, so that he may give eternal life to all you gave him. Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do. Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began. John 17:1-5
Jesus prays for glory, so the Father is glorified. And that is key! When you pray for yourself, do it with the heart and mind that says you are at the service of the will of God. You want to glorify God, not have your prayers answered out of selfishness.
  This week, pray for yourself. Go to God with all that is in your soul and allow him to give you whatever you need. Strength, healing, comfort, peace, to know that you are loved – ask in humility and trust.
If you are interested in being better prepared for Mass each Sunday, join us to discuss the readings in the Live Not Lukewarm Community.

Mustard Seed & Yeast Lk.13:18-21 By Deacon David Hockwalt

Kathleen Beckman shares her testimony of how her life was changed when the merciful love of the Savior touched her family, and He became the Lord of her life. #podcast #christianpodcastDEACON 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

Magnificat Testimony of Kathleen Beckman 2007

Kathleen Beckman shares her testimony of how her life was changed when the merciful love of the Savior touched her family, and He became the Lord of her life. #podcast #christianpodcastSpiritual conversion changed Kathleen Beckman’s life. The more successful and materialistic she became the more she pushed God out of her life. Wife for 47 years,  mother of two grown sons, medical assistant for 11 years and business owner with her husband since 1984. Kathleen was in for a surprise she did not realize her God was a jealous God and He managed to get her attention in 1989. The merciful love of the Savior chattered my comfortable worldly existence by allowing the cross to touch my family and He would become the Lord of my life. Since 1989 her life dramatically changed. Kathleen became a daily communicant, Coordinator of the Orange County Magnificat Chapter, and a lady of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem. Kathleen shared that suffering compelled me to pray, contemplation led me to worship, praise, and service. I found solace in Holy Mother Church. You will hear about the graces that led to her conversion.

For twenty-five years, and in thirteen countries, Kathleen Beckman has served in the Church’s ministry of evangelization through Catholic radio and television, writing, speaking and as  a certified Retreat Director. Sophia Institute Press has published her four best-selling books including, “Praying for Priests”, “God’s Healing Mercy”, “When Women Pray” and the newest, “A Family Guide to Spiritual Warfare”.

At the invitation of the clergy, Kathleen has served in the Church’s ministry of exorcism and deliverance for sixteen years. She was on faculty for the Pope Leo XIII Institute at Mundelein Seminary for six years. She presently serves as the lay administrator of the exorcism and deliverance ministry and is a member of the exorcist’s team. In 2013, with encouragement from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy, Kathleen co-founded the “Foundation of Prayer for Priests” a ministry of intercessory prayer for the holiness and protection of clergy.

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

The Sacrament of Reconciliation

The Sacrament of Reconciliation, commonly referred to as Confession, is a great and powerful occasion for grace and is a beautiful gift of healing that brings about an immediate change. This week Margaret discusses the sacrament with Fr. David, a priest of over 55 years. #podcast #christianpodcastThe Sacrament of Reconciliation, what we as Catholics commonly refer to as Confession, is a great and powerful occasion for grace and yet sometimes we hesitate to go out of fear, shame, and embarrassment.  Margaret discusses the sacrament with Fr. David in his role as a priest of over 55 years.

 

Confession is a beautiful gift of healing that brings about an immediate change.  Because we have an ongoing relationship with the Lord, we have immediate access to healing and forgiveness right away by turning to the Lord in repentance, even before we go to the sacrament of confession.  This sacrament has a bigger dimension to it because we are in relationship with ourselves, the Lord, and others.  Confession is an occasion of personal healing, forgiveness, transformation, and mercy.  It makes amends and restores us to right relationship with ourselves and the community because we don’t just sin against ourselves, but others, as well.  We receive from the Lord through the power of His death and resurrection, healing, mercy, and compassion.

 

Question:  Does the priest think poorly of us when we confess our sins to him?

 

Answer:  Priests go to confession themselves and have to deal with the same human experience of sinfulness, guilt, and shame.  They understand that sense of apprehension.

 

Question:  How is it for you, Fr. David, as a priest?  Do you think those confessing their sins are horrible?

 

Answer:  No.  As priests we are to put people at ease and create a context of mercy.  The priest is not the judge, he is the pastor.  God is the judge, forgiver, and healer.  As priests, we are always to help people get over their fears, and hesitation.  The priest should be able to help you set that aside and open to the healing mercy of God.  If priests don’t do so they are violating who they are as ministers.

 

Question:  What is the seal of confession?

 

Answer:  The priest, under no condition, can reveal what is shared in confession and that is absolute.  He can’t even say anything to that person themselves about what he confessed without getting his permission.

 

Question:  When you see the penitent again do you think about their sins?

 

Answer:  There is often a divine grace of forgetfulness so that priests many times don’t even remember what was told to them.

 

Miracles of Faith

Miracles of Faith | What miracles of faith have you considered at length? Do you recall various scripture verses that discuss God's healing power? | #christianpodcast #miraclesoffaith #christianfaith #miracles #faithandmiracles #podcastMiracles of Faith ~ Episode 227

What miracles of faith have you considered at length? Do you recall various scripture verses that discuss God’s healing power? Or the ability of Jesus not only to heal the physical body but more importantly the spiritual, the soul. In this podcast, join Felice Gerwitz and the challenge of the week to delve into the mystery and miracles that will change your life.

Thanks to our sponsor  Media Angels to find out more information visit the website here.

Gosh, where do I begin? There have been so many miracles in my own life that I could take hours recounting story after story of healing, answered prayers, and events that would strengthen your faith and have definitely strengthened mine. In a few minutes, I will share a few with you. But first, let’s address what miracles of faith mean to you.

Meaning – Miracles of Faith

When we discuss miracles of faith it can mean many different things. The miracle of having faith to the more extreme. What do miracles of faith” mean to you, what comes to mind? Is it something spiritual; such as a deepening of faith or even a willingness to be open to faith such as a faith proclamation, (“Accepting Jesus as your personal Savior), or miraculous in the sense of healing?

I actually consider it to be both. Miracles of our faith happen when we least expect them and when we are open to seeing them in our daily life. Having a prayer journal that I’ve talked about before and a praise journal (even better) helps us to see with not only our eyes but with our hearts and give credit where it is due.

When I consider the miracle of my faith, it happened as a child, seeds planted by my parents, it floundered and then grew deeper when tested by fire. It could have withered and died but instead, it became stronger because I prayed the prayer of Peter, “Lord to who can we go?” But before I read Peter 6:60-69 it comes on the heels of the discourse Jesus gave when he told the twelve they must eat his flesh and blood – John 6:57-58- (Read on air.)

Can we truly say to the Lord, “Lord to who can we go? You have the words of eternal life – we have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” If that is true and you can say those words you will definitely see miracles in your life and attribute them to faith in God.

We should no doubt in our minds that God is who he says He is – but what about when prayer does not appear to be answered? We are told we should be confident in our faith and pray, but when it seems to have no effect then what? Read all of Luke 18 but in the parable of the Just Judge Jesus took us to task (and I say us because the Scriptures are for each one of us, not just the people at the time!) Here is Luke 18:1-8 (Read on air)

Wow, if the judge would grant mercy how much more will God? God cares about our suffering but God wants us to persist in prayer. Does this mean He wants us to work for it? Not at all – it means the more we pray the more our hearts will change and our desires will become more closely aligned with his over time. He may lead us to pray in a different way or to see that His ways are the best. I did a podcast sometime back about prayer and one of the ways the Lord answers is Yes, No, or not right now. Sometimes the healing we crave is deeper down in layers that need to be healed before what we ask for can be achieved. It’s the big picture we don’t see.

A better way to understand is to think of this as a parent to a child. We know how kids can ask for things or demand things that are not good for them, the most obvious is being with friends who will steer them in the wrong direction, such as toward drugs. Our child may consider us cruel, and unjust or a “punishment” for keeping them apart. Yet, after time maybe many years later they may see the benefit of the punishment and thank you. The same for our Lord. What looks like the most wonderful thing may be wrong for our eternal soul.

We know we can ask anything of the Father yet the Lord teaches in John 5:19-24. (Read on air.)

I think this Scripture is one to ponder and it makes me consider how amazing and awe-inspiring is our God!  God can do anything. The prayer, “Please Lord make me a billionaire.” can be answered immediately but what would that do to our eternal soul?

Miracles happen I believe to increase our faith. I prayed once as I heard a tornado very close to my home (those thankfully are rare in my area), and as I did I received a sense of peace and it passed my home without any damage. Recently I shared about how our area was impacted by Hurricane Ian, and every time we prayed through that seemingly never-ending storm, individually and as a group I felt a sense of peace (and we did share in the destruction to our home and surrounding property) but we were all safe.

If I had to select one miracle in my life that really astounded me to the healing of God it would be a young man we prayed for that was struggling in his life. He had left a life of sin and was making an effort to include young adults to minister to the homeless by buying food and distributing it while sharing the gospel message. He was a friend of my daughter’s and she was always so encouraged when a group of her friends did this. And as a  parent, I was rejoicing that my prayer, “Please Lord, let her find good Christian friends,” in college was answered. Yet, he was in pain, and one time while at my home on a Friday or Saturday evening, he really looked uncomfortable and asked for some over-the-counter pain medication. I supplied some, but on a whim, I asked if my husband and I could pray for him. He agreed. About a week later he called and asked if he could come to our home. He shared a miracle that happened. Apparently, he had some torn ligaments in his shoulder and was waiting to have surgery at some point. He was given shots for the pain and it had worn off, which was evidenced by the pain he exhibited when he was at my home. Well, he said later after he left our home the pain was excruciating so much so that he asked a friend to drive him to the hospital. Of course, we were in shock! Our prayers caused pain – oh, no!! But he quickly explained that while in the hospital they gave him a warm blanket but basically said they could not do anything for him because they did not have his records on his last cortisone shot and they didn’t know if they could safely give him another and he had to go to his primary care physician. So he did it first thing Monday and they were puzzled at his pain level and took exrays – it showed that the ligament in his shoulder was regrowing and that was why he was in such pain! His shoulder had miraculously healed. We began praising and thanking God! Nothing like that has ever happened in my life since then! But wow – what a miracle and how much so that this young man went to his young adults’ group and witnessed to what God had done in His life.

Friends I was hesitant to ask him if I could pray for him – and afraid that he might reject my offer. Have you done that, asked people if they want you to pray and they say no? I am so happy that I listened to that prompting of the Holy Spirit!

This week the challenge is to see the ways you can be used by God to pray for others and to document the miracles of faith you see in your own life and in others!

Add your own miracles of faith here for us to read and rejoice in God with you!

 

Psalms and Gratitude

Gratitude is an Answer

Often times we don’t think about our blessings and daily life as gifts, but they are. It’s not good luck or being in the right place at the right time. When we feel mired down in problems, turn to gratitude. Shift your focus.

Praying the Psalms

Here is a list of the Thanksgiving Psalms

  • 18
  • 30
  • 32
  • 34
  • 40
  • 65
  • 66
  • 67
  • 75
  • 92
  • 107
  • 116
  • 118
  • 124
  • 136
  • 138

 

Scripture

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
and your faithfulness by night,
to the music of the lute and the harp,
to the melody of the lyre.
For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
at the works of your hands I sing for joy. Psalm 92:2-5

St. Teresa of Avila

In all created things, discern the providence and wisdom of God and in all things, give Him thanks.

Keep a gratitude list or even better, share your gratitude each day with another person!

Pray the Our Lady of Good Help Novena with Marge Fenelon and me on Instagram beginning Nov 14. Sign up for my newsletter for more details.

Testimony of Kimberly Hahn Oct 1996

The testimony of Kimberly Hahn, a Presbyterian whose road to Catholicism led her through difficult struggles and trials before she entered the Catholic Church. #podcast #christianpodcastA Presbyterian with strong anti-Catholic convictions, her road to Catholicism led her through difficult struggles and trials before entering the Catholic Church in 1990, 4 years after her husband’s conversion.

Kimberly Hahn is married to Scott Hahn. She enjoys the speaking ministry with Scott,  but family commitments take top priority with her. She earned an MA in Theology from Gordon Cromwell Theological Seminary.

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

 

The Importance of Self-Forgiveness

Self-forgiveness is highly important to mental health and spiritual growth. When we see sin as coming from pain, we are able to look at it, acknowledge it, repent of it, and receive the great gift of forgiveness. #podcast #christianpodcastSelf-forgiveness is highly important to mental health and spiritual growth.  If we don’t have it, we can stay stymied and even spiral downwards in our relationships to ourselves, God, and others.  Sometimes, we are hard on ourselves out of fear of failing even worse if we ‘let ourselves off the hook’.  However, it has the opposite effect and leads us away from a healthy and holy future.

Sometimes, people are stuck because of a lack of self-worth.  First, we need to receive the gift of forgiveness from God, our Father.  By receiving that from the Lord, then we need to internalize that stance and the mind of Christ toward ourselves.  Without this, we can stay blocked and stuck in our lives.

Many times, we can be shocked by how we fell. It can seem like we’re trying to hold ourselves to a higher standard, but it’s fundamentally a mindset of pride.  We might be surprised by our behavior, but the Lord who is all-knowing is not surprised.  It can be helpful to recall times of experiencing the Lord’s closeness prior to falling and recognizing that He foreknew that we were going to fail.

At its root unforgiveness toward ourselves changes our mode of operation to one of not being lovable and then we relate to others out of that mode – be it to the Lord, to ourselves, or to others.  We tend to project our own estimation of ourselves onto the Lord and others.  That can really skew our perception of others and put us in an impenetrable fortress of self-hatred.  Rather than achieving the goal of holding ourselves to a higher standard, we can so thoroughly discourage ourselves that we don’t even want to engage with the Lord in a relationship.  It can set us up for failure.  When we open to the grace of the Lord and receive His forgiveness, we can gain spiritual freedom.

In Matthew 7:1 and again Luke 6, the Lord tells us not to judge.  He doesn’t say not to judge others, but not to judge.  Judging is beyond our wisdom and insight.  We don’t understand what makes us tick the way the Lord does and He alone has the ability to do so rightly.  Blessed Julian of Norwich said, “God sees sin as pain in us.”  When we see sin as coming from pain, we are able to look at it, acknowledge it, repent of it, and receive the great gift of forgiveness.

 

 

 

God First

God First | When was the last time you put God first? The first thought in the morning, noon, and night? The struggle is real especially when life is overwhelming and seems to get in the way.| When was the last time you put God first? The first thought in the morning, noon, and night? The struggle is real especially when life is overwhelming and seems to get in the way.|#podcast #christianpodcast #puttingGodFirst #GodFirstGod First – Episode 226

When was the last time you put God first? Is God in your first thought of the day? No? How about the last thought? The struggle is real especially when life is overwhelming and seems to get in the way. Join Felice Gerwitz as she shares how she puts God first and the way she accomplishes this daily.

Our wonderful sponsor who helps bring this network to you for free, visit CTCMath.com for a great math curriculum for grades K-12

An elderly friend once shared that as she grew older, her understanding and awareness of her sinfulness increased. This self-awareness should not be limited to age, but due to the nature of most of our lifestyles, this unfortunately is the norm.

If we take time to reflect we will all realize we fall short. Yes, it is difficult to admit but true. We all have shortcomings but the way we handle them is the difference between living a life for God or against Him because somewhere in the middle does not count. The Scriptures remind us that G0d will spew us out of his mouth! In fact Revelations, 3 verses 15-22 will give you so much to unpack. There are five main themes that we hear in entire sermons based on this scripture. First let me share it with you. (Read on air.)

Unpacking Revelations 3 -A Few Points

  1. Lukewarm faith
  2. Don’t need God – own ability
  3. Refined by fire
  4. Repent
  5. God knocking at the door
  6. Ability to hear God’s Word

Let me read the verses in  Revelations 3:15-22 (Read on air.)

Lukewarm faith – going through the motions. There is a song that really resonated with me for some time, the song’s title is The Motions by Matthew West. This was a song that hit hard because one of the lines says: (read onair.)

Matthew West was quoted as saying  “The song is about complacency and a desire to “break free from the average, ordinary, lukewarm Christian life”  – and that is what we need to do, break free of complacency. The thought is there is always tomorrow to pray, to read the Bible to attend church. But the saying goes that today is the “first day” of the rest of your life. We should look at each day as an opportunity not only to grow closer to God but to ask the Lord how to best serve Him.

Is this true of you? Don’t need God – own ability. There is a popular saying, “we make our own luck,” and I think I have always hated that phrase because to me it means I don’t need God. Yes, we should work hard, strive to do the best we can, get up and get going and not wait for handouts. However, we need God in the same way that we need air to breathe. That too is a Christian song, you may know it by its title “Breathe” (The Air I Breathe), and the original author Marie Barnett didn’t even mean to sing the lyrics (as a song leader) but was led to sing it spontaneously in church one Sunday. *You can read here story here.  It made it to a Vinyard’s album and later was recorded by many artists such as Michael W. Smith. The words go like this (read on air). (Lyrics here.) Without God we would not even have air to breathe, so all the glory and honor go to Him! (Read Onair.)

Refined by fire – Interesting the Scripture states – counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich – we are refined by fire but usually, that is a painful process and if we do not learn anything from the pain we will suffer again and again. In order to be rich we must learn from this refinement and praise God in all things, even those hardships.

Repent – The obvious here is to ask the Lord for forgiveness, but I want to take it one step further… we stay away from deepening our relationship with the Lord and putting God first when we are in sin. Like Adam and Eve were afraid to show their faces to the Lord, because of their sinfulness and their lack of repentance at that point, so too we are afraid of the justification for our sins. For every sin, there must be a payment. And sin, unfortunately, affects us all not only the person in sin.

God knocking at the door – We have discussed this in many other podcasts and it calls to mind a photo I have of the Lord knocking at the door, but the handle is on my side. God is the Almighty and can do anything, but God wants our hearts only when we give it to Him willingly. Unbelievers will say that religion is forced and there are all these rules and hoops to jump through — however, God has given us free will for a reason and a choice to follow Him, to let Him, to put God first or not.

Ability to hear God’s Word – recently in a prayer ministry meeting a friend recounted a story and said over and over again, “But I told this person specifically…” and she said this more than one time. It is interesting that we can talk to people and they do not hear or comprehend what we say even when we think it is crystal clear. The same with God’s word. It is crystal clear if we have our minds and hearts open to putting Him first.

There is so much more to unpack in those few lines of Scripture and I urge you and challenge you this week to meditate upon the words and make a plan, today to put God first in your life and to get yourself out of complacency and fire for the Lord, the Creator of Heaven and Earth! May God bless us today and always.

Testimony of Johnette Benkovic Williams 2005

Johnette Benkovic Williams' testimony that in today’s world, to be a Catholic woman means we are called to emulate the spiritual motherhood of Mary. #podcast #christianpodcastMagnificat Testimony of Johnette Benkovic Williams

Photo of Johnette Benkovic Williams #podcast #christianpodcast

What does it mean to be a Catholic woman in today’s world, to Johnette the answer is clear, when we look to the mission of the Catholic woman we are called to emulate the spiritual motherhood of Mary. After years of being a non-practicing Catholic, Johnette experienced a deep conversion back to her Catholic faith in 1981 and discerned a call to share the gospel message through the media. Founder of Living His Life Abundantly International and Executive Producer of Women of Grace Live, Johnette has been a consistent presence in Catholic radio since 1987 and Catholic television since 1988.

 

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

America’s Mary: The Story of Our Lady of Good Help

New Book about Our Blessed Mother

I have always known we have a generous and loving Mother in Heaven. But Mary also comes to people here on earth to guide and give a message of hope or words of exhortation when needed. In 1859, this is what happened in Door County, Wisconsin to a girl named Adele Brise.

Marge Steinhage Fenelon has written America’s Mary: The Story of Our Lady of Good Help to tell the story of this apparition of Mary to Adele and calls it America’s best-kept secret. Why? Because this is the only recognized and approved apparition to take place in America.

How does the message help us today?

Mary told Adele to gather and teach the children in this wild country. She was referring to the land as being wild, but today, we live in a society and culture that is wild. This is a reminder to us that we need to evangelize and catechize. This story tells us that we have work to do and with Mary’s help, it can be accomplished!

When did interest in this apparition begin in our times?

In 2010, Bishop David L. Ricken of the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin, approved this apparition on December 8. There is a copy of this in the book. He also wrote the prayer below.

O Dear Lady of Good Help, you revealed yourself as the Queen of Heaven to your servant Adele. You gave her a mission to pray for the conversion of sinners, to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to others, and to prepare the children for the reception of the sacraments. I trust that as you called Adele to holiness, you are calling me, in my station in life, to live a holy life, devoted to Jesus Christ with the help of your maternal love. I bring before you now my worries and anxieties. I abandon my attachments to them and place them at your feet. I ask you to hear the deepest longings of my heart as I pray most earnestly for (your intention). Dear Lady, you told Adele and you say to all of us, “Do not be afraid; I will help you.” Help me now as I place this intention with complete confidence and trust. Amen.Our Father…, Hail Mary…, Glory Be… Our Lady of Good Help, pray for us.

For the next 9 days, use the prayer above along with the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be as a novena for your most difficult intentions. I know I will be praying it!

The book is available from Our Sunday Visitor and on Amazon. (If you purchase on Amazon, I receive a small tip.) You can follow Marge on Facebook and Instagram and be sure to check out her website!

 

 

Prayers versus Prayer

Most people don’t receive formation in prayer.  We don’t get taught how to pray and so it can be difficult to pray unless it is a structured activity.  So, we can tend to look to fill the time with formal prayers and journaling.  What is the difference between prayers and prayer?Most people don’t receive formation in prayer.  We don’t get taught how to pray and so it can be difficult to pray unless it is a structured activity.  So, we can tend to look to fill the time with formal prayers and journaling.  What is the difference between prayers and prayer?

Prayer isn’t just ‘caught’ it needs to be ‘taught’.  Prayer is based on the Lord’s grace and so it is a gift.  People can have a difficulty with a prayer time because we’re used to projects and don’t know how to sit still.  We can default to prayers someone else made.  Prayer is our relationship with the Lord and communicating heart to Heart with Him.

How do we do that?  A good place to start is simply being available to the Lord.  We don’t have to generate holy feelings or thoughts.  Simply being present to He who is present to us.  Being available means being ready and not preoccupied with other things.  It’s simply holding space for the Lord.

From there, we surrender our ideas and agendas, understanding the Lord wants prayer more than we do because He longs for relationship with us.  What does surrender mean?  It’s giving up our plans and our preconceived ideas of what needs to happen. He is the initiator and is all-wise and all-loving.

In His presence, we converse with Him which entails sharing with Him and listening to Him.  He can speak to our hearts by bringing certain thoughts and senses to us.  He is alive and well and is a good communicator!  We can ask Him for what He wants us to know and to lead us.  This communion leads us to union with Him.

Practically, that can look like using the Scripture or spiritual reading as jumping off points if we stop at the points where we find our spirit particularly touched and open ourselves to more of His work of grace in those areas.

So, we start by being available to the Lord, surrendering our agendas, and then moving from the words of prayers into being attentive to grace when our hearts are moved by particular notions, concepts, and images.

Ephesians 3:14 and following.

 

 

 

Evil Tactic

Evil Tactics | What is an evil tactic? It is something employed by the evil one to take souls to hell. Harsh? Maybe. But, this is something that few of us want to talk about or consider. | #podcast #ChristianPodcast #combattingevilEvil Tactic  – Combatting Evil ~ Episode 225

What is an evil tactic? It is something employed by the evil one to take souls to hell. Harsh? Maybe. But, this is something that few of us want to talk about or consider. In this podcast, Felice will explore the tactics used and how to prevent being led to the dark side.

Visit this month’s wonderful sponsor who helps bring this network to you for free, visit CTCMath.com for a great math curriculum for grades K-12

Few people realize the greatest tool of evil is to convince people that evil does not exist. Everything is fine, it’s good, there is nothing to worry about. Everyone gets a free pass to go to heaven. Don’t worry, proclaim God once, claim Him and go on and live your life in whatever way you see fit. I realize we all come from different faith walks. Some are non-denominational and others adhere to a specific denomination. Some teach it is faith alone and others that it is faith and works.

In the previous podcast, I cited James 2:14-26, Faith without works is dead. With this thought, we must look at the ways that evil sets to destroy not only others but specifically our lives.

I see evil glorified everywhere I look during the month of October, whether I am in the grocery store or at a restaurant. Some people celebrate fall with leaves and such, but many, enjoy what they believe is making light of darkness with evil-looking and scary decorations. While spoofs are fine, being surrounded by evil-looking decorations is not something I enjoy. Walking into a hair salon while hearing an evil cackling voice is not my idea of fun, and believe me, I soon went to another hair salon.

Here is a short list of things that are considered evil tactics:

  1. Not believing evil or satan exists. John 8:44 (read)
  2. Fearfulness (in a minute I’ll read from Matthew 10 which helps us to combat fear)
  3. Deception and lies, Confusion, Twisting of words – reproductive freedom, no big deal, not for us to judge
  4. Division – because when we are divided we are weak. John 17:20-24 (read)
  5. Diversion – an overload of information, social media, anxiety, and distractions of everyday life Matt 10:26-32 (read)
  6. Discouragement and depression – personal setbacks, always wanting more, if “this” happens, I’ll be happy. (humility)

There is so much packed into these verses, first, we have nothing to fear, the next is that we should not fear the body because what is most important is our soul, and the only person to fear is what can destroy us -that is giving into evil tactics and ultimately hell. Then there is the wonderful verse about the Father’s intimate knowledge about each one of us because he even knows the number of hair on our heads. We have value to God, my friends more than we know! We must also acknowledge God, we must not be afraid of our Christian faith or deny him unless we want to be denied before the Father in heaven. Powerful words!

5. Humility – the key to discouragement and depression is humility. Realizing we can do nothing without God. This is not a way to push off blame or alleviate our guilt, it is a way however to realize that when we do things under our own steam we are setting up ourselves for failure. Have you ever wondered when your life falls apart, and you can’t seem to handle anymore that you are “doing” it yourself and without God? Sure, we are all gifted in some way, but those gifts should be attributed to the Almighty.

In our humility we ask the Lord for help, to come into our lives in a deeper way (I know – I must sound like I repeat myself over and over) but it is a truth that when we grow closer to God we find things that are so important in our life or that we think are important fall way. All the people who suffer loss realize in the end that these are things they can not take with them when they die. That is why we are taught to look to the end, to look at our lives and when we do, when we grow closer to God we can see the areas where we have sinned.

Evil tactics are lost on those who are grounded, who surround themselves with like-minded Christians, and who immerse themselves in all that is good and holy, beginning with your relationship with Christ and the Scriptures. This week make a list of the evil tactics aimed at you and work at ways (with God, Scripture, and prayer) that you can combat the evils.

 

Ask the Holy Spirit for Help

Decisions to be made

How often do we wonder, is this what I should do? What will be the best decision? We think and pray and ask a few or twenty-five, people, what they think, instead of going to the Holy Spirit. Or maybe you do go to the Holy Spirit but still, ask questions.

Is there a way to figure it out?

Turn to prayer and wait. Ask for the answer. Try not to tell God what you’d like to have happen. And then wait with hopeful expectation. When you have peace, which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, you will know you have your decision. Go with it.

Scripture

Romans 8:26a “The Spirit helps us in our weakness”

Jesus call the Spirit…

The Paraclete, the one who is called to one’s side.” I think we can stand strong, knowing the Holy Spirit is beside us. Call on him and he will come.

This week, before you make any important decision, take it to prayer.

Do you need a speaker for your ministry or parish event? I’d be honored to work with you!

 

 

Conversion 2.0: God in My Life vs Me in God’s Life

Fr. David shares about how he experienced the Lord telling him he was running his own life and asked him to let the Lord Himself run his life.Romans 14:7 says that we don’t live or die for ourselves, whether we live or die we are the Lord’s.  The Scriptures dismantle the illusion that life is our own.  The language can be used, “have you accepted God into your life” and yet it isn’t my life.  When we zoom out and really look at the whole person, we realize this is God’s life we participate in.  He is the initiator and orchestrator.  Keeping in mind that this life is the Lord’s gives us the proper perspective.

We can come up with our own plans and ask the Lord to bless them or we can submit ourselves to Him surrendering to His activity within us and His leading.  When we are baptized in Him, we are baptized into His life.  This is all a process of deeper conversion and transformation.  Fundamentally, we can seek a position of control, or surrender to the Lord’s omnipotence and give ourselves over to His will.

Fr. David shares about how he experienced the Lord telling him he was running his own life and asked him to let the Lord Himself run his life.  The repentance and conversion thus led Fr. David to drastically changed his life.

When we realize this is really the Lord’s life in which we participate it really calls us on beyond not doing the things on the naughty list to an ever-deeper experience of surrender.  In this way, we radically realize there is always more of God, deeper union into which we are called, and we no longer have the tendency to evaluate ourselves as better than our neighbor because we aren’t drinking, having illicit relationships, acting out of anger, and the like.  Rather, we are continually called on to continual growth in intimacy with the Lord.  This keeps life fresh because there is always more and He makes all things new.

Living as though the Lord is in our lives rather than us in His life, we can tend to compartmentalize spirituality.  Recognizing that we are in God’s life disposes us to incarnate Him to the world.

Spiritual Light

Spiritual Light | Does your spiritual light shine through to others so that there is no doubt you are a Christian? | #podcast #christianpodcast #spirituallight #christianspirituallightSpiritual Light – Episode 224

Does your spiritual light shine through to others so that there is no doubt you are a Christian? Join Felice Gerwitz as she explores how we can point people to the light that is goodness and truth which is only found in Christ.

Visit this month’s wonderful sponsor who helps bring this network to you for free, visit CTCMath.com for a great math curriculum for grades K-12

Darkness is dispelled by the light of Christ in our lives and in the lives of others. We are reminded of this in John 1:5 “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Light refers to God and darkness to the enemy. We see proof of this darkness all around us but especially when it comes to confusion.

Without being specific we all know there is confusion in this world. We hear it and we are amazed that no one seems to push back. The best way we can push back is by increasing our dedication to the Lord. Throughout history, we are aware of times of persecution. We’ve seen evidence of the persecution today. Innocent people are being harassed and fear is the one factor that controls them better than anything else.

Perfect Love Casts Our Fear – 1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.

There is no room for fear if we trust the Lord. Recently, as I mentioned in a previous podcast, we faced a category 4 hurricane. The predictions had it passing close by but no one predicted until it was too late to leave how close it would pass. The eye itself we heard was 30 miles wide. We looked at storm and weather maps before we lost power and what they showed was devastating. The eye was so, so close and the side of the storm that hit us was the side with the most winds. Yes, we have Flood Insurance we have Home Insurance and we even have Life Insurance, but all of those protections don’t keep you from fearing and worrying.

Once this realization that it was hitting nearby (landfall would be miles from our home), we knew the best insurance was prayer. We prayed as a group and miraculously the fear dissipated. When we were the most fearful, we prayed again. We could see the storm through our hurricane (impact glass) windows and that in itself was not reassuring. The blessing to me was that it was during the day and not at night. This was the longest storm I’ve been through. It began at about 11 am and we lost power around 1 pm (and for five days afterward). The storm raged until at least 7 pm when the worse was past but rain and wind gusts still blew.

By praying that light of Christ that dispels darkness, that perfect love that casts out fear came into play in our lives in a real and powerful way.

How do we keep ourselves in the light? By reading Scripture, attending church, joining in Bible studies, and reading good Christian books. When we surround ourselves with a focus on God our lives become richer. This became real for me several months ago, when my husband had surgery on his foot, and I became his caregiver. He had a three-month recovery and is at the end of it at this point in time. I was depressed because I realized, I was not attending daily Mass, nor praying as I did before. My routine had been shaken. I asked if he’d pray with me daily and he readily agreed. My outlook improved dramatically.

Identifying the reason, we are in the dark rather than light is half of our problem. I pray you can identify the darkness in your life and eradicate it with prayer. How are you praying? We typically petition when we pray. “Please Lord, I need this – or I need that.” Remember that praying is two-way, we pray and we listen. Even if we don’t think we hear the Lord, we can if we open our Bibles, these words are for each and every one of us. Not just for random people years ago, but for you and for me, today!

After the storm, while we had no power or internet (as I share this with you we are two weeks after the storm and still have no internet other than hot-spotting our phones), we could not see the pictures of the devastation on Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel Island or Captiva. But once we did tap in and look we felt hopeless and distraught. We did not know how we could possibly help our friends, even though we were able to help a few right after the storm. Our pastor’s home was flooded.  So once again, we prayed, asked the Lord how we could help, and proceeded again. And, once again the darkness was dispelled.

What are the Bible verses that have an impact on you? What are the words that resonate and help to dispel darkness? Do you have a journal where you can list these? Sure, we can use a topical list but the verses that have the most impact are those that you read and seem to leap off the page.

One of my favorite Bible verses or the verse that really had a great impact upon me early on when I began to read the Bible regularly is John 1 – 5. I love it!

The answer is to allow that light to penetrate our hearts. Another verse I love along the same theme is Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

Most of us do not realize how important our works are in regard to sharing the light of Christ in our hearts with others but as it pertains to our salvation and our faith. We must have faith, in Christ and understand the ramifications of salvation but we also must realize that works are important. Without our works, glorified through Christ so we do not boast or brag but give GLORY to our Father in heaven, and without works faith is dead.

We read this in James 2:14-26  (Read online.)

The idea here is to put action behind our faith. Peace be with you is wonderful, but without following through, the light of Christ in us will remain dormant. Lastly, in Phillippians 2:12-13 (Read online.)

These verses show me time and again that I don’t have to do things on my own. I can have the light of Christ within me if I just allow it to penetrate my heart. Which in turn brings me such joy, just talking about this is giving me joy right now! The Lord dispels darkness and for that, I am eternally grateful!

May God be glorified and this week, please gather those scriptures that touch you about God’s light and share them with others. Amen!

 

Called by God

What is my purpose?

“Each one of us has been called from all eternity to fulfil a divine vocation. God the Father brought us into life (no one has been born by accident). He created our soul. He drew us into his intimate life through the Sacrament of Baptism. By means of this sacrament God has commissioned us; He has put his seal upon us and given us his Spirit in our hears as a gurantee. He has given us a specific work to accomplish in this life and has prepared a plcae for us in heaven.”  In Conversation with God, Volume 5, Father Francis Fernandez

Who created us?

God created us and calls us to a divine vocation. It may not always look the same as we move through life, but that is not the point. The point is to do the small, daily things that help us move forward in our vocation.

He created our souls. And that means we ought to nurture them with love.  Soul care is a means of honoring who we are in relation to God and thanking him for our souls.

 

 

No challenge this week. I’d like to hear your thoughts on the weekly challenges; yes or no?

 

 

 

Testimony of Jan Tate 2005 Baton Rouge, LA

Jan Tate worked in the Ministry of Marriage Preparation with her husband, Lloyd. They published their in-home marriage preparation manual in conjunction with the Diocese of Baton Rouge.Jan Tate worked in the Ministry of Marriage Preparation with her husband, Lloyd. They published their in-home marriage preparation manual in conjunction with the Diocese of Baton Rouge. For 12 years, Jan worked with mother-daughter, father-son programs sponsored by the Family Life Apostolate for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. She is a trained Spiritual Director and serves on the staff of Archdiocese Spirituality Center.

She has conducted numerous retreats for men, women and couples and days of reflection. Jan is also a trained facilitator for At-Home Retreat Program. She is on the circuit of speakers for the Supper and Substance program for married couples. Jan and Lloyd were married in 1972 and have 5 children and 10 grandchildren. She is a native New Orleanian and graduated from Loyola University in Communications.

Her favorite scripture verse is Hosea 11:4 I drew them with human cords with bands of love. I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks, yet though I stoop to feed my child, they did not know that I was their healer.

Journey From the False Self to the True Self

How do we make that journey?  It’s a process of grace and coming to understand more and more who God is and what He asks of us.The true self is who we really are – made in the image and likeness of God as His sons and daughters.  We’re in this place when we’re calm, compassionate and confident.  The true self responds out of love and is immutable.  The false self, by contrast responds from a place of fear.  In many places the Scriptures talk about putting off the old man and putting on the new man.  The false self is the old man, and the true self is the new man.

How do we do that?  How do we make that journey?  It’s a process of grace and coming to understand more and more who God is and what He asks of us.  We come to realize how powerless we are.  How we relate to our powerlessness is a process of conversion in relationship to God, ourselves, and others.  By receiving from the Lord and relating to ourselves as He does, we grow in our ability to reach out to others in compassion.  It’s a wonderful and challenging process.

Experiencing powerlessness is the moment of testing where we make the choice to respond in a sinful way or in a courageous way.  Powerlessness is scary and we can either be sent on a negative cycle toward disconnection or a positive cycle toward intimacy with the Lord.  When we see that there’s a positive direction we can move, it can really be a game changer that turns the painful bitterness to sweetness.  The same way sugar is the enemy when we’re on a diet, fear is the enemy in the spiritual life.  How do we handle the fear?

Powerlessness can lead us to pride, self-reliance, an eventual sense of inadequacy (because we aren’t all powerful), and shame which then leads to isolation and disconnection and an even deeper sense of powerlessness.  Conversely, when we encounter powerlessness, we can respond out of humility, relying on God because He is all-good, omnipotent and He is FOR US.  This then leads to a change in our heart giving us hearts of gratitude, love and trust in the Lord, and a sense of intimacy with Him.

JOY Series #9 –Stop the Worry & Grab the Plunger

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

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

Grab the Plunger

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

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

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

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

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

Tool #3 – Four Biblical Affirmations

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

Tool #4 -The WRAP Method for JOY

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

Tool #5 – Praise God with His Attributes from Scripture

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

Tool #6 -The Plan and TIP

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

Tool #7 – BEGIN AGAIN

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

Tool #8 – The Philippians 4 Plan to Stop Worry

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

 Tool #9 – Keep a JOY Journal

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

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

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

ADVENT JOY

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

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

Check out more JOY podcasts here!

Find the WRAP Yourself in JOY book by clicking here.

Christian Harvest

Christian Harvest | What is a Christian Harvest? It is a time for a harvest of souls for Christ. #podcast #christianpodcast #harvesting #faith #ChristianityChristian Harvest and Faith – Episode 223

What is a Christian Harvest? It is a time for a harvest of souls for Christ. We can only plant seeds, and the Lord reaps the harvest. So what is our duty as Christians and are we even obligated? That will be our focus in today’s episode.

Thanks to our sponsor, CTCMath.com a wonderful math curriculum for grades K-12. Sponsors help keep this network going, and we appreciate our sponsors!

I love fall and where I live there is green-green-green all around me. Yet, I can still celebrate the fall season with decorations around my home. Fall is a time for harvesting after the hard work of planting seeds, nurturing, and caring for them. We celebrate harvest time in many ways, maybe you decorate as I do, or you can look out your window and see the glory of the changing leaves and the beautiful scenery that God has given you. Another way we celebrate is with food, especially pumpkin. Is it just me, or is there “pumpkin” everything now?

How do we look at harvest in the spiritual world? When we think of harvest, we think of it in terms of the harvesting of souls. Souls for Christ. As a young Christian, I focused on sharing the good news, but I also want to see the results or the “fruits” of conversion. You can imagine how that worked out. It was not my job to plant and reap, only the Lord can reap the harvest. But it is our job to share the wonderful works of the Lord and in our hurting world, the people are hungry for good news.

I recall a sermon that taught “faith is not faith until it is tested,” and so too our faith is tested daily. We are given a chance in our lives to plant the seeds of faith so that others too may be saved.

As a follower of Christ, you are a disciple and you are tasked to share the good news. So what do disciples do? We receive instructions from Scripture. In Luke 10:1-5 we read (on air).

Is it possible in this current time to leave everything, go two by two and visit homes to share the good news? No. But, there are other ways that we can serve the Lord as laborers. One is to pray! I know there are many of you listening that would love to be used by the Lord to spread the good news. As I’ve shared in the past, if we ask the Lord to use us there will be opportunities that come to us. I’ve had repair people that have shared their struggle with faith and how they either left a church or left their belief altogether. I could listen and instead of sharing a bunch of what I thought were good solutions, I asked if I could pray with them. In my prayer, I asked the Lord to intercede, to heal the hurt of their heart, to open their eyes to sin in their life in need of repentance and I asked them if they wanted to rededicate their life to God. Some said yes and others, not right now. All I can do is plant the seeds.

One thing I could share with people I’ve met who are hurting because of wrong against them is to share that the greatest evil was the unjust crucifixion of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and out of that horrible, evil tragedy and sacrifice was the greatest gift given to mankind, our salvation. Some people accept that as truth and others do not.

Some time ago I read a book written by an atheist turned Christian and she gave the clearest reason she remained an atheist for many years. She was forced at around the age of 10 to become a Christian and accept Jesus as her Savior. She had no idea what this meant. All she could see were angry, judgemental people who were upset she would not accept Christ. She was scared and had questions but she was afraid to ask. The lady asked said, “If you do not accept Jesus you will not be like us – you will go to hell and you will not be a Christian.” All this young girl could think was… “okay I won’t be like you who I find scary and hateful and I will be like my parents who are not believers? I chose them over you.”

It took her many years to understand they were well-meaning but their approach was all wrong. They used threats, fear and intimidation instead of openness, love, and invitation.

We are all refined in this life – in Malachi 3:1-3 we read (on air).

As the Lord uses us to help as laborers for the Kingdom of God we are open to learning, and understand that we should not be afraid, that God will provide for us, and that God will give us the tools we need when we need them. Our journey is one we do not take alone but with the Almighty beside us.

When we personally encounter Jesus, we can’t help but want to live our lives in a way that is pleasing. We are filled with the Holy Spirit and that overflowing of God’s love is too hard to contain! We are called to love and to have compassion, we are called to be there for others. If you can just listen. Being a good listener is a gift. We don’t need to come up with solutions we need to be open to hearing and discerning. Maybe something that is said will spark an idea that might be helpful. We are called to be faithful and to be bold! We are witnesses to the faith.

In Scripture, we find the times of harvest were usually when things were going badly for the people and they turned their “hardened hearts” back to God.  Now is a time for people to turn back to God. People are sad, they are afraid, they are confused.

 

 

 

 

 

Gift of the Holy Spirit experienced through the Sacred Heart of Jesus By Fr. Thomas Cebula

The gift of the Holy Spirit experienced through the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the consummation of the marriage.A teaching on the gift of the Holy Spirit experienced through the Sacred Heart of Jesus
given by Fr. Thomas Cebula in June of 2022. Three reasons why Fr. Cebula gave this
teaching in June, first, it is the month devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, second, we
celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, the grand celebration of the Lords gift of the Holy
Spirit to the whole Church, third, June is traditionally known as the month of the bride.
Salvation history is often described as an expression of God’s desire to marry us, the
human race. The gift of the Holy Spirit experienced through the Sacred Heart of Jesus
is the consummation of the marriage.

Fr. Thomas Cebula is the Spiritual Advisor for the Magnificat Stark County Ohio
Chapter. He is currently the Senior Chaplain of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel,
Walsh University, North Canton, OH.

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

Testimony of Aggie Neck Nov2006

Aggie Neck is Chairman of the National Service Committee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of the United States. She is Co-Director of Service House and Catholic House of Prayer, a place of prayer, seminars, spiritual direction, bible studies, prison ministry, food for those in need. She has devoted her life to the ministry and takes seriously Jesus command to feed the hungry, visit the imprisoned and set the captives free. She is a member of CENLA, a Magnificat Chapter in central Louisiana.

Jesus has led me to discover who I am in him. He has opened my to see and understand that I have value and ability in and through him.

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

 

Suffering and Healing

God intends great things for our lives, but when we look at our personal sufferings, that can be hard to hold onto.  What are we to do with suffering when we don’t experience healing? God intends great things for our lives, but when we look at our personal sufferings, that can be hard to hold onto.  What are we to do with suffering when we don’t experience healing?  There can even be a misconception that there is a certain point in time at which I am finished with my healing journey or that there are people who don’t experience suffering.  Neither of these are true.  We all go through sufferings to one degree or another in this life and healing is an ongoing process.

Since suffering is an ongoing process, healing ought to be, as well.  The Lord’s mercies are renewed each day and He always has greater freedom, joy, and peace for us.  They can be a regular part of our daily prayer times.  If we normalize the concept of suffering, we can be alleviated of the pressure and burden that we aren’t good enough if we still have areas of woundedness.

Life is a process and there’s always something that is going to come forward where the Lord wants to bring us into greater wholeness and deeper relationship with Himself.  Healing is certainly a good thing and something to be open to and seek.  However, there is time.  Life is a process.  The Lord is ever present to us and can even surprise us with healing.  If the Lord is permitting us to suffer, it can be a great challenge for us to trust in God’s love and goodness, but we know that He is all good, all loving, and all wise.

As Catholics, we are privileged to have access to the Lord in His Real Presence.  We don’t have to wait for a healing Mass because every Mass is a healing Mass.  We don’t have to fear pain and suffering when they come, and the Lord hasn’t yet healed it because He is working an even greater healing in us in the waiting.  We don’t suffer alone.  When we unite our sufferings to the Lord’s and suffer them with Him knowing He is suffering them with us, they become an occasion for intimacy.  This is the notion of atonement.  At-one-ment…being at one with Jesus.

JOY Series #8: Arresting the Big JOY Thief – WORRY

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

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

Can your worry and rejoice at the same time?

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

God Can Give You His JOY

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

Do Not be Overcome with Worry

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

Worry Skips Ahead of God’s Provision

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

Fretting

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

Physical Impact on Your Body

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

Actions

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

Walk in Gentleness

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

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

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

Check out more podcasts here!

Find the WRAP Yourself in JOY book by clicking here.

 

Special Replay: Being Present In Prayer

What does being present in prayer have to do with your spiritual life? Well, this is an amazing insight into getting closer to God that was recently shared with me during a sermon, and it really hit home. I hope you are blessed as well.Being Present In Prayer – Episode 176

What does being present in prayer have to do with your spiritual life? Well, this is an amazing insight into getting closer to God that was recently shared with me during a sermon, and it really hit home. I hope you are blessed as well.

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

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

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

Being present sounds like it could be some type of new agey hype, and before you pull the plug on this podcast, here me out. I shared a podcast on this similar topic with parents recently on my other network for moms (VintageHomeschoolMoms.com) and discussed how it would change the relationship parents have with their children, and it will! Being present is an amazing concept that is not new but so important now because we are so wired and plugged in! Examples of out to dinner, etc.

We know that we were born to love and serve the Lord. The things of this world will not fill us up, and so when we do not spend time with the Lord we feel lost. The things of this world are like dust – when we pray to the Lord do we want Him to hear us, are we expecting he’ll be busy with someone else or something else, that are problems are too trival. Let me read Exodus 12-15 and poor Moses is having a time with the Israelites that God placed him in charge of leading through the desert- when you think your life is hard think about what Moses had to endure!

Exodus 12-15

We know that the presence of the Lord leads them in the day and in the night – God was there. He is omnipresent – he is with us always and He is everywhere. So, how do we as mere creates become present to God? It is actually very easy – in prayer and in quiet. (Hint: A Few Minutes with God!)

Our pastor told us a story of a holy man who saw someone in the chapel just sitting there with the Lord in prayer but his lips were not moving (longer explanation on the podcast). The pastor realized this was the highest form of prayer, just being there for and with God. Does God need us? No of course not but we need Him! Look around you – this world we currently live in is a world that is without God – they took God out of the schools, out of many churches even – pastors have lead their sheep astray. How do you know the truth? Well, through discernment a gift was freely given by the Holy Spirit. Be present with God and watch your life change!

Let’s pray. Dear Lord, I ask that you help me to be present to you. increase my time so that is not an obstacle, help me to identify the ways that I am avoiding prayer or putting up obstacles so that I can’t hear your voice. I realize Lord you talk to us in different ways, through others, in your most Holy Word in the Bible, and in our hearts. Thank you, Lord, for always being present to me and I pray for the following needs – in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Thank you to our Sponsor: CTCMath

A New Book: Encountering Signs of Faith

A New Book

It is always a pleasure when I talk with an author and doubly so when she is a friend! You’ve met Allison Gingras before, but today it’s all about her own new book, Encountering SIgns of Faith: My Unexpected Journey with Sacramentals, the Saints and the Abundant Grace of God.

What’s it all about?

Allison masterfully weaves the story of her daughter’s adoption story with sacramentals and saints, prayers and novenas. Sounds like too much? It’s not at all. You will learn how God used the tangible, physical reminders of our faith – sacramentals – to point to the abundant and intangible graces and truths of our faith.

Book Features

10 chapters, close to 20 saint stories, sacramentals, and the prayers and devotions that accompany them, and activities to uncover and build grace so that you to can understand why sacramentals help us grow in faith.

Favorite quote from our conversation

From Allison, “God’s grace is unfathomable.” Follow Allison on Instagram, Facebook and her website.

This week’s Not Lukewarm Challenge – learn about a new devotion or sacramental and incorporate it into your prayer life.

Want to learn more about living not lukewarm? Sign up for my email newsletter.

The New Family of Jesus Lk.8:19-21 by Deacon David Hockwalt

A Moment in Scripture- The New Family of Jesus LK:19-21 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!

Magnificat ® is dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God, an image of the Church, and model for all Christians, especially women.

Two hundred Catholic women from all walks of life crowded into a Knights of Columbus hall on October 7, 1981, to have breakfast and to hear a woman’s personal
witness to the power of God in her life.

The women who left that hall were filled with a joy that only the Holy Spirit can give; that is, a deeper awareness of God’s loving presence in their lives and a burning desire to share this wonderful experience with more and more of their sisters in Christ.

The modest breakfast held on October 7, 1981, is today, a ministry to Catholic women known as “Magnificat” with Chapters in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa.

While the Magnificat Meal is the main function of the ministry, Magnificat is much more than “putting on a meal.” It is a time of praise and worship, fellowship, and prayer.
Magnificat is a private association of the Christian faithful under the vigilance and jurisdiction of the local ordinary. The ministry is consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The essence of Magnificat is the encounter between Mary and Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-56). Magnificat is a woman-to-woman ministry which calls forth a lively faith in God and His actions in daily life, a love for Mary and for the Church, and deep holiness. The words of Our Lady’s canticle in Luke’s gospel take on a personal significance for Magnificat women as they seek to magnify the Lord in their own lives and lead others to know His great love and goodness.

We encourage you to join us as we pray, learn, and experience what God can do in our lives if we let Him!

Visit our website at https://magnificat-ministry.net/

Testimony of Paulette Renaudin 2008 New Orleans, LA

Paulette Renaudin is a devoted wife and mother of three children. She is a master gardener and experienced photographer. How does a painfully shy person shout the works of the Lord? How does one who has a career in glamour and high fashion become a humble servant of the Lord? Paulette shares how the Lord turned her life around 180 degrees through a kaleidoscope of events.Paulette Renaudin is a devoted wife and mother of three children. She is a master gardener and experienced photographer. How does a painfully shy person shout the works of the Lord? How does one who has a career in glamour and high fashion become a humble servant of the Lord? Paulette shares how the Lord turned her life around 180 degrees through a kaleidoscope of events.

Magnificat ® is dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God, an image of the Church, and model for all Christians, especially women.

Two hundred Catholic women from all walks of life crowded into a Knights of Columbus hall on October 7, 1981, to have breakfast and to hear a woman’s personal
witness to the power of God in her life.

The women who left that hall were filled with a joy that only the Holy Spirit can give; that is, a deeper awareness of God’s loving presence in their lives and a burning desire to share this wonderful experience with more and more of their sisters in Christ.

The modest breakfast held on October 7, 1981, is today, a ministry to Catholic women known as “Magnificat” with Chapters in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa.

While the Magnificat Meal is the main function of the ministry, Magnificat is much more than “putting on a meal.” It is a time of praise and worship, fellowship, and prayer.
Magnificat is a private association of the Christian faithful under the vigilance and jurisdiction of the local ordinary. The ministry is consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The essence of Magnificat is the encounter between Mary and Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-56). Magnificat is a woman-to-woman ministry which calls forth a lively faith in God and His actions in daily life, a love for Mary and for the Church, and deep holiness. The words of Our Lady’s canticle in Luke’s gospel take on a personal significance for Magnificat women as they seek to magnify the Lord in their own lives and lead others to know His great love and goodness.

We encourage you to join us as we pray, learn, and experience what God can do in our lives if we let Him!

Visit our website at https://magnificat-ministry.net/

What the Lord Taught Me When I Lived with a Serial Killer

In 1997, I ended up in a roommate situation that turned out to be one of the most dramatic experiences of my life, but the Lord actually used it to teach me tremendous lessons about His wisdom, goodness, power, provision, and desire to be intimately involved in the details of our lives.  In 1997, I ended up in a roommate situation that turned out to be one of the most dramatic experiences of my life, but the Lord actually used it to teach me tremendous lessons about His wisdom, goodness, power, provision, and desire to be intimately involved in the details of our lives.

I was living in Tampa, FL and with little resources needed to find an inexpensive housing option.  I responded to a classified add where two people were looking for a third roommate.  Shortly after moving in, one of them relocated because of business and we needed another roommate.  The man who moved in turned out to have a long history of violent crimes against women and began murdering women he did not know.

Without any knowledge of his past, the Holy Spirit enlightened me as to the danger I was in and led me, despite my reluctant cooperation, to the information by which we were able to undo his alibi and get a murderer off the streets.  The Lord is certainly able to do anything and uses us in His plan when we cooperate with His grace and direction.

Many years later, the Lord asked me to offer Mass for the same person’s conversion and he confessed to one of the murders he had denied for 25 years.  Finally, that victim’s family was able to gain closure and did not have to withstand a retrial when Florida law changed that called the sentencing into question.

God’s goodness knows no bounds, his power knows no limits, and His desire for the conversion of every single one of us reveals the depth of His love and relentless commitment to us no matter what we’ve done.

JOY Series #7 – Begin Again and Defeat JOY Busters

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

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

JOYbusting

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

The Plan to Stop JOYbusting

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

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

Begin Again and Defeating Joy Busters

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

Remembering Graces and St. Teresa of Avila

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

JOY Journal

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

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

Check out more podcasts here!

Find the WRAP Yourself in JOY book by clicking here.

Integrity and Faith

Integrity and Faith ~ Episode 221

How can we pray in an effective manner? And where did integrity and faith go? So few people have both! Listen in to learn more about how we can pray for our family, our pastors, our church, and those in the world in a powerful way.

Thanks to our sponsor CTC Math – for a math curriculum that is geared to teaching children K-12 visit CTCMath.com our sponsors help keep this show and our network on the air.

What has happened to truth, justice, integrity, and faith? The core issue is that God is removed as much as possible from our lives beginning with our children. The long game by the evil one required the abolition of God from the schools. What better way to change a generation? Begin with the children. Even Christian schools that take government dollars find that they have a specific way they must teach and act, because – you know, you don’t want to offend the non-believers who attend Christian schools.

Why are children disrespectful to authority? It would take me an entire podcast to share my take on this as a past educator, with a degree in Elementary Ed and Early Childhood, but let me share that it is a multi-generational issue. For one thing, parents don’t follow through and teach children that obedience is required or there will be consequences, the second is that children don’t trust authority figures because they have been hurt. If we want to have respect it must be earned. It is not, “do as I say but not as I do.” And that is a major problem.

Christian children don’t know their faith, they are not taught the Bible and they do not know how to pray. If they pray it is often, “please God give me the following”, rather than beginning with praise and thanksgiving for what the Creator, the Almighty, has done for us.

Once we took God out, secular humanism crept in with all that entailed which was a skewed look at humanity with all its depravity. The job of faith was then left to the parents, where it should be. However, parents were overwhelmed with work, home, and raising kids. Many mothers were forced to go to work to help provide for their families.

Then this job of teaching the faith was left at the door of the church, which often was not attended by the very people who needed faith the most. And, let’s face it our pastors and hierarchy of the church have let us down. I was sharing with my son the other day that the evil we see unleashed on this world would not be happening if the clergy stood up in force and united against the push from evil men who want money and power. It use to be the Catholic church that stood up against evil in so many instances throughout history. And with the revision and rewriting of history, we see blame rather than praise where it was due. I don’t normally go on about the evil in this world, because I like to focus on the good and the graces that God gives, but I feel we are at a tipping point. I believe there is more good than evil in the world, but that saying about good people doing nothing rings true today due to fear tactics by the enemy. Think red background, need I say more?

As my son asked, “So what are we supposed to do, pray and do nothing?” My answer? “Absolutely not.” Sure, we could throw up our hands in defeat with the thought that there is nothing we can do but that is not true. Just as I shared in the last podcast on planting the seeds of faith, it is with prayer that we can be led forward and encouraged in what we should do.  What does that mean? It means the connection to our Lord and our prayer life is so important more than in days past.

If I could make a wish list of what I would like to see happen in Catholic, Christian, and other faith communities it would be the following:

  1. Band together in prayer for the end of this hostile takeover of the good in humanity.
  2. Prayer for those who are confused about their own worth in the eyes of God and fall into what the scriptures call Sodom and Gomorrah.
  3. Focus on our own sinfulness and not point figures toward others.
  4. The motto, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord,” throw out anything that is contrary to a strengthing of your soul toward good.
  5. Live a life of integrity and faith. Do not allow the love of money and it’s lure of evil. Money in and of itself is not evil, it is the love of money that is the root of evil.

By living an example each day for others even if it is for your own family, people at church, your neighbor, and the checkout person at the grocery store, you are doing your part. Some years ago a friend was visiting and asked me to bring her to the local variety store to get a few things she forgot. We decided to get coffee when we arrived at the coffee shop and since we only needed a few things, we decided not to get a cart. Well, a few things turned into more things and both of us had full hands by the end. So, she stuck a small container of deodorant in her pocket. Yes, that’s right, she forgot to remove it to pay until we got home. So, in the next day or so, we headed back to the store to pay for the deodorant, and it took forever. First, she had to explain to the returns that the receipt with her purchase did not include the deodorant (and yes this girl was shocked) then the girl had to call her supervisor – same story, same shock. Finally, it was all sorted out and my friend made the payment and we left. It was an ordeal but one that I believe blessed people’s lives, because yeah, that just does not happen. That is integrity that goes hand in hand with faith.

So, friends, this week let’s join together and pray for all humanity that the shining light of Christ is renewed in each person’s heart. We will do our part in our own corner of the world to make it a better place, to vote responsibly, and to be silent no more. May you be blessed by the love of God today and always.

Stop Worrying; Focus on Now

We all do it

Or at least it seems so to me. Worry that is, looking forward or back, wondering what we could have or should have or ought to do better or differently. The preoccupation with the possibilities instead of what is does not help us.

Scripture

“I am the God of your faither, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.” Exodus 3:6

“God replied, “I am who am.”” Exodus 3:14

Padre Pio Quotes

Pray, hope, and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.

Do not worry over things that generate preoccupation, derangement and anxiety. One thing only is necessary: to lift up your spirit and love God.

What can we do?

Remember that God is the God of the present moment. Yes, we must act prudently and plan and prepare, but once that is done, we must focus on what is in front of us. Constant worry is not helpful.  As Padre Pio says, worry is useless. During those times of worry, turn to God and say, “I love you.” He will respond and be right there with you in whatever you are facing.

This week, when you feel overcome with worry, pause and say, I love you, God.

Need a speaker for Advent or other events? Let’s discuss. 

 

Testimony of Joy Pinto 2007 Birmingham, AL

Joy Pinto lived this perfect and happy life as a Protestant Pastor’s wife until her husband Jim felt called to return to the Catholic Church.Joy Pinto is married to Jim Pinto and they have four children. Joy lived this perfect and happy life as a Protestant Pastor’s wife until Jim felt called to return to the Catholic Church. They traveled this conversion journey together along with three of their four children. Joy yearned for the real presence of the Eucharist and when she received the sacrament of Communion, it with a tearful celebration of gratitude to have the body, blood, soul, and divinity possess her. Their lives changed dramatically but their heart for God did not.

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

St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Margaret and Fr. David discuss The Context of Holiness by Fr. Marc Foley, OCD as he examined human and spiritual integration in the life of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Margaret and Fr. David discuss The Context of Holiness by Fr. Marc Foley, OCD as he examined human and spiritual integration in the life of St. Thérèse of Lisieux.  Her motto of doing little things with great love leaves us a wonderful example of bringing spiritual principles to life.

She experienced a great number of sufferings thru her childhood that became places of insecurity that she overcame thru choosing to make the heroic choices.  She deepened in her sense of security through her identity in the Lord.  This gave her great growth in maturity and bore pure fruit of love, even as she was suffering tremendously with tuberculosis.

Erik Erikson talks about stages of psycho-social development and how we can become stuck at earlier stages when there is wounding that happens.  Yet, her devout life afforded her another parent – God the Father – who she could draw strength from when her earthly parents failed in different ways.  This gives each of us great hope since none of us (other than Jesus) has had perfect parents.  We can follow her example, too.  Our identity is informed by who we are in the Lord.  As we become conformed to this who we are becomes reformed.

Through making choices to exercise great love, she received healing and excelled as novice mistress and in heroic charity that led to her being a saint and doctor of the Church.  She integrated her piety and the principles of our faith in her daily life and relationships. Thérèse chose the gifts of Divine Love and manifest that to her sisters in how she dealt with even the most difficult members of her community.

The Way of Imperfection by André Daigneault is a wonderful little paperback book that fleshes out some core concepts of Thérèse’s ‘little way’.  This fantastic work can plug us into some great helps in becoming conduits of the Lord’s grace.

JOY Series #6 – Defeating JOY Busters

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

Defeating JOY Busters

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

A JOY Buster

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

Flash Prayer

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

Responses to Joy Busters

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

Develop an Action Plan

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

 TIP: Three QUICK Actions to Defeat JOY Busting

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

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

Check out more podcasts here!

Find the WRAP Yourself in JOY book by clicking here.

God’s Word Revealed

God's Word Revealed | We often read the Bible and are left unmoved, but through the words of scripture, God's word is revealed. | #christianpodcast | #podcast | God's WordGod’s Word Revealed – Episode 220

We often read the Bible and are left unmoved, but through the words of scripture, God’s word is revealed. Why is that? What are the tools you need to get you into the right frame of mind before praying and delving into the scriptures? Stay tuned and find out.

We are so appreciative of this wonderful company and our sponsor CTC Math – for a math curriculum that is geared to teaching children K-12 visit CTCMath.com our sponsors help keep this show and our network on the air.

When was the last time you read the Bible or listened to the Bible read to you in church and found your mind wandering or the words had less of an impact than you hoped? God’s word teaches and instructs us and it can reveal truths to us that will help us in our daily lives and we are taught are good for our eternal soul. What is revealed in God’s word is more than can we usually unpack on our own and that is where the commentaries are helpful.

A quick guide to reading scripture.

  1. Pray to the Lord for the forgiveness of past sins.
  2. Ask the Holy Spirit for a blessing upon you to open your mind to the words the Lord wants you to hear.
  3. Close your eyes and pray thanksgiving for all the Lord has done for you.
  4. Put on the “mind of Christ,” and pray for understanding.
  5. Open your Bible and read!

As I was preparing this podcast I thought about some of the highlights of which there are many but these were earth-shattering revelations about the sovereignty of God.

God revealed His name in Exodus to Moses in the burning bush – we learn that it was a miraculous event, the bush was not consumed in fire and by the power of God, he sustained it, and revealed Himself with the promise of liberating the oppressed people.

Exodus 3: 1-8 [Read on air] The bush was sustained by the power of God and in this passage, God revealed His name. I AM. What a miracle and one that we wish was happening today – a miracle to set His people free those of us who are believers who are crying out to the Lord for help. Not as I want my God but as you want for me. That too is takes a miracle of faith to trust in God and His insight and knowing what is best for us.

The Lord revealed His plan of a Savior through his prophetic word, and even through Mary. We may not consider the Mother of Christ sharing a prophetic word but she did and we know this because we read her prophetic word in what is known as the Magnificat, in some translations I read Mary’s song but I feel that falls short of the magnitude of her words: Luke 1:46-56 Please read those words and think about them, friends.  My goodness, when I read … my soul magnifies the Lord we should pray for that blessing and grace. To trust as Mary trusted what a gift! Sure, she was visited by an angel of God, but we all know that the punishment for an unwed woman in those days was death. I’m sure she was afraid but still, she went to tend to her cousin, Elizabeth and we further read the baby in Elizabeth’s womb lept for joy. That baby was the future John the Baptist.

I think that is why so many of us feel so strongly about abortion that we never know who the future child that will be born is, and all are gifts from God and created in God’s image. Again, we have to suspend our thoughts and put on the mind of Christ as the scriptures teach.

And another prophetic word by Zechariah – the father of John the Baptist. Because he did not believe the word he received from the Lord when he was in the temple offering the sacrifice of the people, he was struck mute. Yet once his wife Elizabeth argued about the name that should be given to their child, the Lord gave him his voice back. Luke 1:67-80 (this was soon after Mary’s words).  His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied that his son would be a prophet called by God the Most High. The miracle next to that of Elizabeth being barren, and old and still giving birth to a healthy child.

Those prophetic words and the many that the Bible contains are not just for your neighbor, your friend, or the people down the street, no. These words are for you and for me! There are prophets of today some are sound and teach truth and others I believe want to sow fear in our hearts. We do not need to have a spirit of fear but we must be of sound mind and that comes from putting on the armor of Christ!

Your challenge this week is to pray to discern God’s Word in the scripture and to pray to only hear the truth and discern when it is not of the Lord. May you be blessed today and always.

 

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You are Enough

Fine Line

There is a fine line between true, good, and holy desires and grasping for more. Our world tells us that we are not enough or maybe too much; that we need to do more, be more, and have more. Always striving for an ideal that is beyond reach. That is not of God.

Scripture

The righteous have enough to satisfy their appetite,
but the belly of the wicked is empty. Proverbs 13:25

The righteous have enough to satisfy their appetite,
but the belly of the wicked is empty. Proverbs 23:4

Though he was in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Phillipians 2:6

What do we need to live?

Most of us have enough. We may not realize it because we have bought into the world telling us we don’t have enough. More is better. Not really; more stuff means more time spent caring for things rather than caring for others.

This week spend some time making a list of all that God has given you. Your gifts and talents, family, friends, all that is enough in your life, both personally and materially. Let me know how it goes.

Interested in talking about your spiritual life? Take a look here for more information.

Testimony of Dr. Cyndi Peterson

Dr. Cyndi Peterson has experienced amazing grace in raising a family and knows that if one seeks God you will find him. Dr. Cyndi Peterson is married to Dr. Drew Allen Peterson an Orthopedic surgeon. She has five children. Cyndi graduated with Magna cum laude honors from Creighton University and  was awarded ‘Woman of the Year’ from Creighton in 1984.  She is a Staff Dermatologist and Dermatological surgeon. Cyndi has experienced amazing grace in raising a family and knows that if one seeks God you will find him. She received the best from what the world has to offer and was offered the best of what the Lord has to give.

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

Baptism in Fire!

Margaret Vasquez, LPCC and Fr. David Tickerhoof, TOR discuss the notion of the baptism in fire that was foretold by St. John the Baptist. Margaret Vasquez, LPCC and Fr. David Tickerhoof, TOR discuss the notion of the baptism in fire that was foretold by St. John the Baptist.

 

There were graces of renewal flowing from Vatican Council II that brought a deepening of life, power, spiritual gifts, and in particular intimacy of relationship with the Trinity.  This is known as the charismatic renewal or baptism in the Holy Spirit.  Today, we see a resurgence of renewal from the Encounter movement out of Brighton, Michigan.  There is a focus on understanding and practicing the spiritual gifts flowing from the relationship with the Lord.

 

There’s another dimension known as the baptism in fire (Mt 3:11-12) John the Baptist spoke of when he said the Lord would baptize us in the Holy Spirit and fire.  What is that fire?  In Scripture fire represents the Lord’s presence, purification, and sometimes punishment.  In particular, fire seems to represent power.  That fire becomes transforming power!  We ought not to ignore, but instead be aware of it, open to, and pray for that deeper transformation.

 

Margaret shares her story of being prayed with for the baptism in fire and how astounding that grace was and was so other than anything she had ever experienced.  The power of God’s love took away every fear, even the fear of death and kept Margaret tethered to the lordship of Jesus even in years of wandering and brokenness where she ended up questioning her faith.

 

The revelations St. Catherine of Genoa received regarding purgatory essentially saw what is at times consolation, sometimes suffering, even the purifying fires of purgatory to be one fire – the fire of His love!  That can ground us, fill us with gratitude, and help us remember that the Lord is always loving us through whatever He allows in our lives, even if it seems very difficult at the time.

JOY Series #5 – Praising and Thanking for JOY

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

Podcast #5 – Praising and Thanking for JOY

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

Praising and Glorifying God Completes Your JOY

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

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

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

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

Jesus Wants You Give You a Life of Praise and JOY

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

Surrender: He is God, and You are NOT

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

Praise and Thanksgiving are Different Forms of Prayer

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

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

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Find the WRAP Yourself in JOY book by clicking here.

Plant Seeds of Faith

AFMW - Planting Seeds of FaithPlant Seeds of Faith ~ Episode 219

Do you plant seeds of faith or do you keep all those wonderful blessings for yourself? It is easier than you think and the good news is that not the Lord harvests and not us! In this podcast, Felice Gerwitz shares the joys of faith planting.

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When I became on fire for the Lord, Christian I was so good at sharing about the Lord, yet I also wanted to see the fruits. I had to learn early on we plant, God reaps! I’m not a very patient person and that was a hard lesson to learn, but learn I did. How many times are we are asked to pray and never hear the end of the story? But, that is okay for one reason it encourages us to remember the people and pray for their intentions.

We are called to pray for each other and to share the good news: Mark 16:15-20

15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

The Lord gives us the gifts we need when we need them. Sometimes it is that friend who picks us up when we are down, other times it is the person we least expect, and other times it is the Lord who speaks to us through His word. I think that is why when you are filled with the graces that God gives you, you want to share the good news with the world. But what happens when you are rejected? What if you are so filled with the love of God that you want to share it with someone who is close to you and then learn that they don’t want any part of what you have to say? How does that make you feel? We can’t take this as a personal rejection although I am sure that is hard to do, it is not a rejection of us, it is a rejection of God.

The issue is that when we are excited we want others to be excited, but that too is a grace from God. It is freely given but some refuse to accept this gift and would rather rely on their own understanding and their own ability. Because let’s face it, to an unbeliever faith is considered a weakness. They may believe that a Christian can do anything by asking God for help or intercession. But little do they know that calling out to the Almighty is a recognition of that which is greater than us and in humility, we cry out to God in an act of thanksgiving, love, and hope. Faith by its very nature is hope.

When we think about the Lord and how he planted the seeds of faith, we recall Mark 4 – The Parable of the Sower. I will read a portion to you, Mark 4:3-8 and Jesus said:

“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”

Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

But when reading further we find that the apostles were puzzled.

13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

And that, dear friends, is how we are as well. We as Christians can be so excited when things are working out for us, and other times we fall short because things are hard. Once we received the word with joy we hear, but the roots were too shallow. Maybe we have heard the prosperity gospel that teaches among other things that if you are a believer only good and blessings will come to you. Yet, we know that is a shallow root because what happens when bad things happen to “good” people? We blame God, we shake our fists and say things like, “God, I’ve always followed you and this is how you treat your servant?” I know this first hand because sadly I’ve said that more times than I care to admit. The good news? We can repent and start again, each day is a new day with God. God does not hold grudges, and God is in the present moment as are we, however, we think about the past and it still has a hold on us.

What about the seeds that fall upon the thorns? The Lord teaches that they fall on those whose lives are filled with the goal of wealth and the desires for other things that don’t allow that person to grow in faith, that “choke the word” and become “unfruitful”. Look up the word fruit on any Bible app and you will find many, many references. In Matthew 21:43 we read: “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.

The production of good fruit is through the grace of God, again freely given but not accepted by some. Lastly, we learn there are those seeds sown on good soil, and those who hear the word accept it and produce crops. The crops are as Matthew declares the fruit of faith. This fruit must be shared. But I want to caution you to wait upon the Lord.

As I shared earlier in this podcast, I was ready to share the good news with everyone and yet it was met with resistance. I think I was at fault in that I was doing this under my own power, my own idea of what the person should hear, and without the grace of God. Because we can plant seeds the best by the way we live our life. And where do you begin? With your family and then with a nudge from the Lord. We know when we should say something and we don’t. You have that feeling that you should say something and you let the moment slip away.

One of our pastors shared that when people would share jokes that were inappropriate, he would say he didn’t want to hear it or walk away. His example to others that as a man of God he was held to a higher standard, but he also shared that often it made a difference and the joke teller would apologize. How we stand up for our faith is a way that we plant seeds. A car weaving in and out of traffic or speeding with a Christian bumper sticker that says, “God Saves,” or “Christian on Board,” or something similar, needless to say, would not be a good example.

Pray about what the Lord wants you to do, and the best thing is to listen in the quiet without the distractions of the world. I know, my mind wanders too, start by reading the Bible, and allow the words to fill your heart. I challenge you this week to pray and seek the Lord and ask Him to bring you people so that you can share the Good News, as he leads you to share. May you be blessed this week and always.


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Applying the Principles of Human and Spiritual Integration

As we develop in these areas we grow in both human and spiritual maturity.  These principles help us to focus on being rather than doing.Peace, freedom, and joy are available to us in this life when we live the principles of chosen, known, valued, boundaries and openness in our relationships with the Lord, ourselves, and others!

 

The Lord has chosen each one of us personally, knows us intimately, values us completely, and protects and provides for us.  We are likewise called to respond to Him by choosing Him, growing in union with Him, valuing Him for who He is, and receiving His boundaries as gift!  These becoming guiding principles for our lives to lead us toward the abundance He has for us.

As we develop in these areas we grow in both human and spiritual maturity.  These principles help us to focus on being rather than doing.  We can focus on how we are being and, in that way, prevent so many problems.  When we get the being right, the doing takes care of itself.

 

We are called to make a conscious and intentional choice to take on the mind of Christ.  He is the epitome of love and compassion and it’s essential that we imitate Him in how He sees us.  By collaborating with Him we preserve the gift of peace that was His first gift to us.  We can examine our consciences by these same principles.  Our life of communion with the Lord manifests itself in our relationships.  The connection with the Lord leads to connection with others if we are connected to ourselves.  Focusing on the Lord’s deep love for us changes everything!  It is the power for transformation for our lives.

 

The Lord has intimately connected how we treat our neighbor with our love for Him.  So, charity is the hallmark virtue that puts it all together.  St. Thérèse of Lisieux lived this in her own life by the deep life of charity she lived even while she was so young and suffering terribly from the symptoms of tuberculosis.

 

Challenge:  As you read the Mass readings, look to see how the readings fall into the categories of being chosen, known, valued, and/or boundaries.  All of Scripture is about relationship and so you’ll see these themes throughout all of Scripture.

 

JOY Series #4 – WRAP-ing JOY

WRAP-ing JOY

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

WRAP NOT RAP

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

The JOY Benefit of Reading and Praying with Scripture

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

 

Are You Listening?

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

 

When You Read the Bible, God Speaks to You

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

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

 

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

 

WRAP Yourself in Scripture

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

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

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

Find the WRAP Yourself in JOY book by clicking here.

Word of God

AFMWG - Word of GodWord of God ~ God Speaking To Us – Episode 218

When we think about the Word of God we consider The Holy Bible as the source, as we should. But what about internal thoughts or feelings that God is with you? In this podcast, we will delve into the Word of God not only

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The Great Commission ~ Word of God

Does God talk to you? Think about this. He promised not to leave us orphans, He promised to be with us always until the end of time, and he asked his disciples in what is known as the great commission to make disciples of all nations. Matthew 28:16-20

Many of us go to church weekly at the minimum, and some daily. We hear sermons and we listen to the Word of God read to us as well as reading the Scriptures in our own quiet time. Yet, how often do we stop and reflect on the words we are reading? Do we consider our life a journey? That we are just passing through. When we look at our life as Christians we are elevated to a place that is beyond this world. And having this perspective puts us in the frame of mind to believe.

What do you believe? I believe that God does talk to us. To begin with, we start with His Word and go from there. As we read the Bible and a specific passage, what are the words that resonate with you?

There are so many glimpses of God’s love for humanity, first with the creation of the world, then with the trials of humanity when in opposition to God. I read something that said quit trying to find out God’s will for you and just live your life as a godly Christian. That is a nice meme on social media, but God’s will for our life happens whether or not we are in tune with it, everything in our lives happens not only because of our free will but because God allows it. That is hard to take in, especially because of our own sinful nature and that is why we turn to faith in times of great need and turn our backs when all is going well.

In learning to obey the Word of God we are taking that first step, that action to do God’s will by learning and loving God as He loves us. We can never compare with the love of the Father, Son, or Spirit for us.

Jesus spoke to God the Father and we read about it in John 17:20-26. It is a moving passage and it gives us an example of how we should pray.

Jesus Prays for All Believers ~ Word of God

What resonates with you? Which of those words touches your heart? Write down those words in your own journal and underline phrases that have an impact on you. I love the words, “I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

What more can we ask for in our life than to have the love of God within us?

Some Bibles have the words of Jesus highlighted or in red. He spoke so clearly in many places and in parables or stories in others. Write down the verses that touch your heart and meditate on them.  You will be filling pages and pages in your journal because you can not help but be touched and changed by His Word.

The Bible is filled with Salvation history but it is also filled with a call to action and to change for the better.

In the book of Hebrews verse 4:12, we read For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

God’s word changes us. It makes us strive to be the best we can be. When I read the Old Testament I am heartbroken by the choices that many of our ancestors made. Think about the Garden of Eden, think about Moses, think about the Israelites, and think about the call of Jeremiah for change. Now, fast forward to the New Testament and we see that evil man are in power and that the people are crying out to God for relief.

Now, look at today. Evil men still try to rule the world and still try to bend the will of the people. Yet, we know the outcome because of the difference between us and those who lived within the Old Testament time is we have a Savior and His name is Jesus Christ!

We must repent, believe and change for the better, but we must do it with a Christian foundation. We have all been chosen to serve and it is no accident that you are tuned in today. God is not going to leave us stranded and we have His Word. Let me leave you with this thought, Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

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Trust in the Slow Work of God

Learning to Wait

Not my strong suit. Same as being still, not always easy, as I said in the last episode!

But there is beauty in stillness; it builds trust, trust in God. And God will always come through for you.

Trust in the Slow Work of God

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.

We are, quite naturally, impatient in everything to reach the end Without delay.

We should like to skip the intermediate stages.

We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown,

Something new, and yet it is the law of all progress

That it is made by passing through Some stages of instability — And that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you.

Your ideas mature gradually — Let them grow, let them shape themselves, without undue haste.

Don’t try to force them on, as though you could be today what time will make you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be.

Give Our Lord the benefit of believing That his hand is leading you,

And accept the anxiety of Feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.

Above all, trust in the slow work of God,

Our loving vine-dresser.  Amen.

-Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.

Take some time in stillness and pray this prayer.

And remember, if you’d like a copy of the prayer to print out, drop me a comment on this post, and I’ll email it to you!

Charity Toward Others and Healthy Relating

Compassion, mercy, and forgiveness are essential for healthy relationships.  We become the hands and feet of the Lord by relating to others the way He relates to us. Compassion, mercy, and forgiveness are essential for healthy relationships.  We have to start from receiving the compassion of the Lord and in order to really do so I have to be compassionate toward myself.  If not, I’ll just deflect the Lord’s love.  That’s not selfish or narcissistic.  It’s taking on the mind of Christ who is compassion itself!  It’s authenticity and honesty, but fully embracing His stance of compassion toward ourselves.

We can learn to express compassion in our daily interactions.  It doesn’t need to be complex or complicated.  It just requires really acknowledging the other person by paying attention to them as individuals and giving those extra couple of seconds to treat them as humans with dignity for even a moment or two.  These things are very evangelistic or ‘pre-evangelistic’.

When we start from such a place, we’ll see the profoundly healing effects in what would otherwise be complicated circumstances.  To operate out of compassion for others we need to have the freedom that comes from not operating out of our own concern for ourselves because our needs have first been satisfied to overflowing by the Lord.

Understanding the principles we all need to have – being valued as individuals, known as good, and our boundaries respected – we can operate very fluidly and confidently.  We start without fear because we understand what is needed and so we don’t have inordinate fear. Changing how we relate to ourselves changes our mode of operation to one of compassion that naturally overflows.  In this way, the Lord’s love can flow not just into us, but through us.  We become the hands and feet of the Lord by relating to others the way He relates to us.

All of this is a process!  It’s a beautiful, life-giving flow of receiving His love, internalizing that and relating to myself with greater compassion and then allowing that to flow out to those I meet each day.  We are able to relate out of love rather than fear.

JOY Series #3 – Awakening JOY & Telling Yourself the Truth

Awakening JOY

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

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

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

The Truth about God

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

God’s Takes Pleasure in Creation and Sings Over You

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

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

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

God Celebrates

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

Heaven Rejoices

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

JOY Declarations & Truths

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

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

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

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Find the WRAP Yourself in JOY book by clicking here.