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

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 2005

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.

Episode #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.

Episode #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.

Episode #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.

Episode #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

Episode #6 – 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.

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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.

Episode #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.

 Check out more podcasts here!

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.

 

Podcast #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.

Thank You to our Network Sponsor – CTC Math!

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.

Episode #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.

Find more shows from Wrap Yourself with Joy by clicking here!
Find the WRAP Yourself in JOY book by clicking here.

The Boat by Mary Wilson

Jesus saves and rescues us with the analogy of a boat. Stories from scripture are shared with lessons our Lord is trying to teach us in his faithfulness to us.Jesus saves and rescues us with the analogy of a boat. Stories from scripture are shared with lessons our Lord is trying to teach us in his faithfulness to us.

Mary Wilson is Secretary of the Magnificat (CST) Central Service Team, a Ministry to Catholic Women.


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/

Transformed Family

AFMWG Family Transformed

Family Transformed – Episode 217

Are you ready for a transformation within your own family? How about a challenge for a transformed family? This is a follow-up to the last episode of Heart Transformed 

Thanks to our sponsor, CTC Math a wonderful math curriculum for kids K-12

Why is it we can see the faults in other people so much easier than we can see the faults in ourselves? Did you know when we focus on ourselves first (the opposite of what we have been taught), and get our own spiritual house in order, the rest of the family will see the change and want to be a part of what you have? If you didn’t catch the last episode, Heart Transformed  be sure to check it out.

St. Paul reminds us in Colossians 3:1-4 [ Read on air]

When our family is at peace, when we are serving the Lord as a group, we will all get along so much better. I taught my children that God put us together as a family on purpose. There are no mistakes in Lord’s plan for family life. Each person was selected to be together because of what they could learn from each other. It is a beautiful thing when it works the way God designed. If we focus on the things above we are so much happier.

The best teacher is the example we set If we want our family to read the Bible, we need to read the Bible. If we want our family to pray, we need to lead in prayer. Years ago I wanted my husband to be the spiritual leader of our home, and he is in so many ways, but not in the way I wanted him to be. I wanted him to lead the Bible studies and the prayer sessions we had as a family and while he contributed to these, he is not a leader. So we became co-leaders, I would initiate the studies and he and I would contribute to the discussion. We can become upset or bitter because things do not go our way rather than take on the leadership ourselves if that is what God leads us to do. Don’t box yourself in with your own ideas, but rather what works best for your family. Never, never compare your family to other families. That will surely set you up for failure. Many people put up a good front when everything is falling apart. So don’t judge by exteriors.

Here are some simple things to do, for yourself if you do not have a young family and with a family, if you do:

  1. Start each day by giving thanks. By doing this we are giving God all the glory (Colossians 4:4 – When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you will also be revealed with him in glory.”) That is enough for us to rejoice daily.
  2. Family prayer. Begin each meal with thanks to God. Keep it brief. Have a nighttime routine that includes prayer.
  3. Encourage each member of the family to have their own time to pray.
  4. Participate in helping. Whether it is each other or contributing to the family needs. Meals, cleaning up, helping when needed.
  5. Participate in ministry outside of the home. Volunteering, visiting the elderly (neighbor), etc.

Talk to your family members and add to this list. As the children grew and left home we had a big gap in our lives, and my husband and I found we were no longer praying together because our nightly routine was changed. Even when our children were younger, the two of us would pray each evening together. This habit changed as our lives became busier. For anyone who has children, you always think you will have so much time when the kids grow older, but soon find that our lives just change and often become even busier. We must make the time to pray together.

If you are alone in your home and have a good prayer life, that is wonderful, now invite a friend. I pray with my friends often. Sometimes it is in church, sometimes it is a friend in need. I am part of several email prayer groups that send out prayer requests. I set up a Facebook group – A Few Minutes with God years ago for prayer requests. It was used to help people who needed prayers and also to post their praise reports.

And that is really the crux of the transformed family, and that is you will have so many praise reports! A praise report is where we thank God for the blessings in our lives. My son was hit by a falling object that was large and metal off of a single-story roof. The injury could have been so bad, but it turned out that while it bled profusely, the damage was minimal and mostly a scrape. That was a miracle. No swelling, no concussion, no brain damage, or worse! So thank you Lord for your blessings. If you think about it each day you can come up with so many things to thank the Lord for and to praise His Name. But, it takes time to stop and think.

What do you do when you enter a church? Is it a time to be social, or is it a time to listen and pray? Can we pray and be social? Of course! But I feel that often church is used as a social outlet rather than a time of worship. Going to church for me is a time to get on my knees, for as long as I am able, and begin by thanking and praising God, asking His forgiveness for the ways I have offended Him, and petitioning Him in prayer. However, you serve to worship it is an individual choice.

This week I challenge you to work within your own family no matter how big or how small and make positive changes. Small to begin with and grow as your family grows and adapts to a time of prayer, worship, and growing closer to the Lord. I pray this is a blessing to you and your family.

Thank You to our Network Sponsor – CTC Math!

What to do

What to do when you don’t know what to do

Often times our inclination is to do something. And that may be the wrong answer. We may be doing something that is not within our scope of influence or concern. We may be getting in God’s way! So what is the answer?

The LORD will fight for you; you have only to keep still. Exodus 14:14

Surrender, turn it over to Him. He will take care of you. It is not always easy to remember this, but it is necessary for our spiritual life.

How do I know this?

God sent us His Son, Jesus. We have salvation and we have hope. Why?

For in him dwells the whole fullness of the deity bodily, and you share in this fullness in him, who is the head of every principality and power. Collosians 2:9-10

This week’s Not Lukewarm Challenge

Be still! That’s it. When life is overwhelming, be still and turn it all over to God. He’s got this.

Study the Book of Exodus!

Why? 2 reasons: learn what it means to go from living in Exile to living in Freedom and see what sacraments are pre-figured in Exodus! Click here to learn more!

 

Episode #2 – Defining JOY & 4 Tips for Increasing JOY

Defining JOY

Episode #2: Would you like to have a Niagara Falls of JOY in your life?  Have ever wondered if lasting Joy is attainable?  Today we will discuss a definition for true and lasting JOY plus 4 Tips for increasing JOY in your life. You will discover how to launch yourself in prayer with the 5-Minute More Joy Prayer Guide. You can experience more JOY and you will radiate God’s JOY everywhere you go. Please join the podcast today.

A Niagara Falls of Love & JOY

Today we will discover that God has a Niagara Falls of Love & JOY for each of us. Msgr. John Esseff of Scranton, PA often develops this “Niagara Falls of Love” principle while teaching and leading retreats. He says that sometimes we come to our Heavenly Father— a Niagara Falls of Love, and we hold out only a teaspoon to catch it. When in fact, God desires to give us great waterfalls of His Love and JOY. So what does this mean you? We must increase our capacity to receive MORE JOY.

Join me today as we throw away our spoons and instead, stretch our arms to receive more Love and JOY from our generous God.  

Many Ways to Define JOY

There are many ways to define JOY. We started with the following:

  • Pope John Paul II said, “People are made for happiness. Christ has the answer But he asks us to trust him. True joy is a victory- Christ holds the secret of this victory” (World Youth Day, Opening Address, 2002).
  • Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI defined JOY as being aware of God’s presence and friendship every day: “Seek joy in the Lord: for joy is the fruit of faith. It is being aware of his presence and friendship every day: ‘the Lord is near!’ (Phil 4:5). Turn your eyes to him often. He gave his life for you on the cross because HE LOVES YOU” (World Youth Day, 2012).
  • Pope Francis has defined Joy often. He says: “Is it to be happy? No, it’s not the same. To be happy is good. Joy is something more, something which does not depend on external motivations or on passing issues. It’s a gift from the Lord. Joy fills us from within. And this joy is the certainty that Jesus is with us, the Father is with us, and it’s to be searched for and shared continuously… It’s the joy that even in the crosses and the sufferings of this life, when it might be expressed in a different way, it’s having peace and the certainty that Jesus accompanies us. He is with us” (Homily, 2013-5-10, Casa Santa Marta).
  • Billy Graham wrote: “You can receive Christ into your heart, and he can bring joy and a thrill and glory such as you have never known if you give your life to Him” (Breakfast with Billy Graham: 120 Daily Readings, 2003).

After covering other definitions, I offer you what I consider to be a true and lasting definition for joy based on recommendations from these and many others. Most importantly, you will see that true JOY  involves mind, body, soul and spirit AND is Trinitarian.

The More JOY Prayer Guide

Finally, you will learn The More JOY Prayer Guide which includes Four Tips for Increasing JOY.  What if you knew that 5 minutes per day could change your JOY levels? There is help for you and it is called the More JOY Prayer Guide. You can start with just five minutes of personal prayer daily and easily remember the prayer with these four words: 1) ASK, 2) RECEIVE, 3) THANK & 4) SCRIPTURE (WRAP Yourself in JOY, 2022, Dwyer).

You can download the guide as The More JOY Prayer Guide Bookmark from podcast #2 at wrapyourselfinjoy.com.

Find more shows from Wrap Yourself with Joy by clicking here!

Find the WRAP Yourself in JOY book by clicking here.

Personal Integration and Charity Toward Others

It’s essential for lives of wholeness and holiness that we grow in communion with the Lord, personal integration, and charity toward others.  We like to encapsulate all these concepts with the simple term ‘connection’.  The principles are the same in all of these relationships, being chosen, known, valued, protected and provided for.

 

Today’s conversation focuses on peace, freedom, and grIt’s essential for lives of wholeness and holiness that we grow in communion with the Lord, personal integration, and charity toward others.eat relationships particularly through personal integration and charity toward others.  This is particularly done through having mercy toward ourselves and toward others, which has been a continual theme of the last few popes.  It’s really essential to our holiness and well-being.

 

Ironically, we need to make sure we are charitable toward ourselves before we can have the charity to extend toward others.  We can tend to skip over this concept, falsely viewing it as selfish, but it’s Scriptural.  “Love your neighbor as yourself”(Mark 12:31).  That becomes our mode of operation.  If we have a mode of charity and love, that is the mode through which we relate to the Lord and by which we reach out to others.

 

Charity toward ourselves requires us to be patient and intentional in our relationship to ourselves.  We need to intentionally choose to relate to ourselves from the basis that we are ‘very good’ based on our dignity as children of God.  This allows us the sense of safety by which to operate out of a deep sense of safety and peace.  It sets us in a place of being able to really conceive that the Lord loves us deeply and then to be able to truly receive His love.  Relating to ourselves out of a contrary attitude sets us up to be lied to by the evil one and to fall into discouragement.  Self-talk is so crucial because it reveals those attitudes we have toward ourselves.  We need to respect our own boundaries in our self-talk, not overextending ourselves, running ourselves ragged, and stressing ourselves out beyond what is healthy.

 

Boundary setting with others is important because it helps to establish rules of engagement so we can give each other the opportunity to love and respect each other.  They are a gift by which we can work towards common ground for relating in freedom and mutual respect for each other’s needs.  They can free us up and help us avoid undue and unspoken expectations, resentment, and conflict.  Peaceful and healthy relating doesn’t have to be complicated.

 

Listen to more episodes here!

Heart Transformed

AFMWG - Heart TransformedHeart Transformed In The Lord ~ Episode 216

Is your heart transformed in Christ? In the past few episodes, we’ve looked at ways to grow closer to the Lord, with an at-home Christian retreat, looking at nature and seeing the hand of God, serving the Lord, and renewing our faith. But how do you have a heart transformation?

Thanks to our sponsor CTC Math – for all your math curriculum needs.

The heart knows what the heart wants and sometimes that isn’t for our spiritual well-being. In the past months on this network, I noticed that many of the podcasts are focusing on renewal and getting closer to the Lord. I think we all feel that our hearts need to be focused on above and not within. Definitely by turning off the television and turning to your Bible and prayer.

Do you have a list of go-to Scriptures that are helpful when you want your heart transformed?

Psalm 109:26 Help me, O Lord my God! Save me according to your steadfast love.

and Mark 9:23-25 – [ Read on air] Help me in my unbelief – this is the scripture about the Lord casting out the demon from a child.

Psalm 23 – The Lord is my shepherd – that is a wonderful joyous scripture. This is one to have memorized. [ Read on air]

When we want a perspective of not sweating over the small stuff look no further than 1 Corinthians 15:45-49 – [ Read on air]

We are made for heaven, what a wonderful truth we can hold onto, and yet we hold on to the things of this world. Even when they like us will turn to dust!

What is it that you need? Do you need to be uplifted? Do you need to rely on the Lord for all things? Do you need to feel that you are not alone? Turn to the Bible. Our Bibles are the best resource we have to be filled with each and every day. In our lives, we often have things upside down. Man (in general, not you) strives for power and control, greatness and notoriety, and love of self above all others. And does that them happy? No. Money as we know can not buy happiness.

Think about a time when you were the happiest. For most of us, it is when we are surrounded by family and friends. Sure we can be happy when we have a sense of accomplishment in completing a goal or reaching a level that we thought we’d never reach. But it is not the same. One fills our hearts with love that is overflowing while the other is satisfying but different. Even the children’s stories got it right, think about the fictional character the Grinch. He stole Christmas and he realized that the people still sang and were happy. He realized the truth, that the real gift is not the tree and the gifts, it is faith, family, and friends. So, the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes that day. Of course, then he returned everything.

Oh for our hearts to grow to be transformed in Christ. We can be a new creation 2 Corinthians 5:17 – So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! Giving our lives to Christ one time is great, but giving our hearts to God daily is that transformation we all need. Anger can’t stay with us, disappointment can’t stay with us, and judging others can’t stay. Not if our hearts are aligned with God. Acts 8:10 – All of them, from the least to the greatest, listened to him eagerly, saying, ‘This man is the power of God that is called Great.’ and Luke 9:48 – and said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.’

So, friends putting others first is wonderful but if our hearts are not filled to overflowing with the love of God we can’t serve others. If we are a dry well and there is nothing how can we give? I know there are tons of blogs and articles about self-care, and that has unfortunately created an entitled society. But where there is some truth in taking care of yourself in your walk with the Lord in order to serve others. For me going to church daily is the way I fill up.

Let’s face it, some of those God-called saw amazing things. Moses with the burning bush, Elisah, and Elisha with the chariots of fire being taken up to heaven, and the apostles after the death of Christ seeing Him walk among them in the flesh. And, while they were fearful they were not afraid of God. I think sometimes we fear what we don’t know. We are afraid to lean on the Lord because if we do we fear what He will ask of us. The fear of the Lord means awe and reverence for God’s power and might. So, when we are overwhelmed we can lean on the Almighty and hold on to the joy that comes from knowing, loving, and serving Him. We need to pray daily for the Lord to fill us up with fear and awe for Him!

This world needs more reverence for God. It needs more humility. And the wonderful news is we can begin with ourselves! This week fill yourself up with the words of God in the Bible and make your own go-to list of Scriptures that will encourage you in those times when you need it the most!

 

Thank you to our Sponsor

 

The Mother of Jesus is Wonderfully Real

How did this book come about?

One day, Isabel went to camp and was made fun of for wearing a medal of Mary, Our Blessed Mother. She was broken-hearted, and neither her mother or aunt (Alyssa Bormes) could console her. She she and her aunt wrote a letter to a priest friend, Fr. Paul Murray. This book is his answer to her.

How did it come together?

For 9 years, Alyssa asked Fr. Paul if his letter could be made into a book. And one day, he said yes! Then an illustrator needed to be found. Alyssa, asked Jesus and then found Bernadette Gockowski’s business card on her desk. Once she saw her work, Alyssa knew she had found the illustrator!

The Mother of Jesus is Wonderfully Real is published by WINE – Women in the NEw Evangelization and is available on their website.

Story Time

If you would like to use this book for story time, take a look at the ideas WINE created for you to use to help children learn about Mary and how real she is!

More about Alyssa Bormes

You can follow Alyssa on Facebook. And read the story about he24 years of gratitude here.

My niece was devastated when the girls teased her that Mary wasn’t real – but today there is tremendous fruit from her suffering. 24 years ago – I was devastated – but said to God – I’ll give you one shot — and He has spent 24 years making me say “Thank you!” What sufferings have you had that now bear fruit? Can you see that your sufferings today may one-day bear fruit? Prayer: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, please show me the fruit from my suffering. Please show me how to allow the fruit to come to be.

 

The Importance of Human and Spiritual Integration

Wholeness and Holiness Podcast: The Importance of Human and Spiritual IntegrationEpisode #4 – The Importance of Human and Spiritual Integration

As Christians we can tend to over spiritualize, and secular society tends to under spiritualize.

We need a paradigm by which to understand how to build a firm foundation that includes both human and spiritual maturity.

A healthy human maturity helps us break down and apply the spiritual information we take in.  It helps us be refreshed by the Living Waters of the Lord and allows them to flow out of our lives in a way where they become part of who we are and how we live in relationship to others.  To the truths of our faith, we ought to ask, “What does this have to do with me and how does it apply in my life?”  We are called to let them pierce our hearts, renew our minds, and get applied in our lives.

We can see the pillars of wholeness and holiness in ‘connection’, that is: communion with the Lord, personal integration, and charity and compassion toward others.  There are common principles across each of these relationships – chosen, known, valued, boundaries, and openness is a byproduct of those factors.

Oftentimes our relationship to ourselves gets overlooked and yet it’s really the hinge point.  We need to really receive the infinite love of the Lord and imitate that love in how we relate to ourselves because that same mode of relating becomes how we relate to our neighbor, as Scripture tells us to love our neighbor the way we love ourselves (Mk 12:31).  We operate out of fear when we lack a healthy sense of connection, and we operate out of love when we have that healthy connection.

The fruit of knowing we are chosen by the Lord is a sense of belonging, being known perfectly by Him provides us with the most profound intimacy, being established in the fact that our value is inherent in our dignity as children of God we have the fruit of humility, the Lord’s boundaries (His protection and provision for us) bears the fruit of gratitude, and the openness that is a byproduct of those four principles leads to the fruit of authenticity.

CLICK HERE to download the notes for this podcast

 

 

 

 

 

 

Episode #1 – Searching for JOY

Do you need more JOY in your life? The advertisers think you do! JOY has become the focus of many ad campaigns -- from vacuum cleaners to automobiles to chewing gum. But there is more to JOY than the fleeting nature of acquiring things with transitory happiness. Join us today as we search for how to be filled with true and lasting JOY every day. #podcast

Searching for JOY

Are you searching for more JOY in your life? The advertisers think you do!  JOY has become the focus of many ad campaigns — from vacuum cleaners to automobiles to chewing gum. But there is more to JOY than the fleeting nature of acquiring things with transitory happiness. Join us today as we search for how to be filled with true and lasting JOY every day.

Let’s begin by asking ourselves what comes to mind when we think of JOY? Why do we need more JOY? The world is searching for JOY. So why are YOU searching for JOY?

We are made to search for JOY.

  • John Paul II said, God made us for JOY.
  • Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said, a yearning for JOY lurks within the heart of every man and woman…our hearts seek for a perfect, full, and lasting JOY.
  • Pope Francis even tells us we should seek for JOY. But he warns, not in a selfish way that leaves us old and wrinkled, with faces like pickled peppers, unable to transmit the JOY of a beautiful life. Instead, he said we must seek for JOY because it’s a gift from the Lord, it fills us from within. And this JOY is the certainty that Jesus is with us, the Father is with us, and it’s to be searched for and shared continuously.

What does JOY mean to you?

How would you describe it? If I asked you to list a few words about JOY, would you say giggles, gladness, eating delicious food, watching a basketball game or a volleyball game, especially where your team is winning, hugging babies, eating wonderful food or having coffee with a friend? How you experience JOY is unique to your life, because JOY can be experienced in many ways. Your JOYs are perfect for you. When it comes to JOY, all of us have one thing in common we want and need more JOY in our lives. So let’s start with the Bible and see what the Bible says about JOY.

  • In John 15: 9-11, Jesus says he wants to share his JOY with YOU, As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love. Just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my JOY may be in you and that your JOY may be complete. (NRSVCE ).
  • In Psalm 16: 11, God the Father wants to give YOU His Joy too:  You (Lord God) show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of JOY; in your right hand (at his strength and power) are pleasures forevermore. (NRSVCE )
  • In Galatians 5: 22-25, the third member of the Trinity–The Holy Spirit wants more joy for YOU:   The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control… If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. 

Prayer Declarations

The prayer declarations with these verses that I shared in this podcast are available as free bookmarks on my website: Wrapyourselfinjoy.com.  Why not download a bookmark with the scriptures and take it with you everywhere you go? You can speak these words aloud and thank God (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) with each one. On my website, you can also learn more about my books and connect with me.

Final Prayer

God, our Father, we love you. Thank you for bestowing such great love on each of us and giving us joy in your presence. I pray they receive more of the fullness your joy today….

Come back next week as we journey to find joy in life. It’s more than simply finding happiness.

Find more shows from WRAP Yourself in JOY by clicking here!

Buy the book WRAP Yourself in JOY by clicking here.

Find more books by Karen on JOY by clicking here.

Serving the Lord

AFMWG _ Serving the LordServing The Lord ~ Episode 215

Serving the Lord is something we are all called to do yet so few answer His call. Surprisingly most don’t realize it begins at home. Are you blessed with a servant’s heart? Are you ready to spend time in witness to others by God’s love for them? Join Felice Gerwitz as she explores this topic in today’s podcast.

Thanks to our sponsor CTC Math – for all your math curriculum needs.

When I realized all that the Lord had done for me I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. I was ready to hit the road and begin evangelizing to anyone who would listen. There was one major issue, and that was I was a mom with small kids. There was no way I could do this and not neglect my family. There is a season for every ministry and I realized (by God’s grace) that my first ministry was to begin at home.

How did my children view me? How did I show them godliness and how did I parent? These few things are important in regard to how my children see Christ represented in me. If we hope to have a family that follows the Lord we have to be the example and oh, how hard this is during different seasons of our lives. It was during such a time that I prayed for a family scripture one that I could hang on the wall and point to and look at for strength. The scripture I loved was found in the book of Joshua.

Joshua 25:15 is a verse many of us have memorized, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” This is one of my life verses and I even have a wooden plaque prominently displayed in my home with the verse. But, what does it mean? To me, it means that nothing entering my home is going to be against what the Bible teaches. And, one step further we will not pollute our minds with the filth that is passed off as television programming. Long ago my husband and I decided if our kids couldn’t watch it we couldn’t either. What we put into our minds can help or hinder our spiritual walk.

It also is a scripture that points to being service minded. How are we to serve others? Not all of us can go to soup kitchens to feed the poor but we can participate in food drives and donate to these causes. Our church has a bin right near the front doors where we can bring in canned and packaged foods to donate. There are poor boxes set up as well for our donations that go to a specific charity set up for the poor in our town. Our church is also known to help people from time to time with their bills, everything from utilities to mortgage payments and more.  We are blessed to have a large parish that is service minded, and best of all the message is solidly Biblical and faithful to the teachings. [More on audio]

The success of the removal of God from the schools was the first step to a pagan culture – the culture that you and I live in today. So, we are called to pick up our cross and follow Him. The road is narrow, it is treacherous and it is not for the fainthearted. How will we share the good news with the unbelievers? Well, let’s start by asking the Lord how He wants to use us.

Years ago I had all of these ideas on how I wanted to serve the Lord, and then I’d meet other people who were already serving the Lord in that capacity way better than I ever could! I would pray to the Lord and thank Him for having such capable people at the helm, but I would also lament, “Lord you don’t need me.” I soon fell into a pity party and felt unneeded by the Lord, until He reminded me that I was telling Him how I wanted to serve instead of asking Him. And here we are today, with a podcast network that spreads the good news, not only for this podcast but for others.

One of our pastors gave a teaching beginning with the words, “Can you imagine being called by God on your worse day?” He was referring to the book of Isaiah and in particular Isaiah 6 where the prophet sees a vision and realizes his sinfulness. 6:3 “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.’” This is known as the “holiness, sinfulness, grace and service,” chapter. Only after we recognized the Kingship of God can we recognize our unworthiness and then in humility God can use us. God uses the humble of heart not those who think they know all the answers, and for me, this is a wonderful thought because there is hope for me! We see this with the apostles that Jesus called to follow him. Andrew, James, and John were given the experience of the multiplication of the loaves and fish. They realized their limitations and even around the Lord and witnessed miracles they still doubted.

Only after we have acknowledged our own sin, our own unworthiness, can we follow God’s call. We as Christians have a vocation, first to serve in our capacity in our job. Are you a mother, a father, are you a son or daughter, are you a single sister or brother? It is our duty to discern our vocation and to follow as we are led. Where is your gifting? Remember we all begin small and grow as the Lord asks us to grow. Your ministry can begin at home, at church, with a neighbor or friend, at a soup kitchen, or volunteering in some other capacity.

Maybe someday you will have your own podcast (Fill out a form to apply for a podcast here).

One thing I want to warn you about, the enemy always wants to remind us that we are not worthy and can not do it and that we are undeserving. Rebuke this and remember that we are all of those things without God’s calling and grace. If God calls us he will give us the strength the fortitude and the charge to continue on, and hopefully we will persevere. When I began this podcast I had a steady eight downloads, and I think at least half were one of my friends (thank you, Gerry!) But now some episodes are in the hundreds and thousands and thousands over the years. Can you imagine if I had stopped with one? Not too long ago, I was praying about the number of times to release new episodes, I had started with one a week and then dropped back to replays and two new ones a month. I started feeling less than, and why would anyone listen to this show, and I truly felt I was dried up there was nothing else to say. I prayed and prayed and within the span of a week or two I received two different emails that were so encouraging. I showed that yes, the Lord was touching people’s lives through the words He gave me.

Think of the Bible and we are in good company, we are in with the unworthy, the sinners, and those who were humbled by life. Yet we too are given this commission to make disciples of all nations, and in this day we are needed more than ever. You are never too young or too old to share the good news.

And I pray that you too want to serve the Lord in all that you do. And I ask that this week you pray for the Lord to lead you in some way. I pray that you are transformed by faith and do not be afraid! God is with us.

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Correcting a Brother by Deacon David Hockwalt

Correcting a Brother Matt. 18:15-20 by Deacon David Hockwalt 8.10.22A Moment in Scripture- ‘Correcting a Brother’ Matt. 18: 15-20 By Deacon David Hockwalt

DEACON DAVID HOCKWALT was ordained a Permanent Deacon in the Diocese of San Bernardino in 2012. He continues in active ministry today and is the spiritual advisor to the vicariate Life in the Spirit team.

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

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

 

 

 

We can trust God!

What does trust mean?

What does the word trust mean? “A firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something.”

We have belief in God.  He is reliable. He is truth. His ability is above all, as is His strength. We can trust Him. Yet we falter at times.

The Word

Look at this verse from Sirach 2:10:

“Study the generations long past and understand; has anyone hoped in the LORD and been disappointed? Has anyone persevered in his fear and been forsaken? Has anyone called upon him and been rebuffed?”

Where has God been in your past?

Look at your own life, not past generations, and see where God has been there for you. Often we don’t see it at the time, but when we look back, we see how He protected us or saved us from making a mistake.

For our challenge, look back on your life and think about all the times and situations where you see God. If you are so inclined, write them down. It is your personal story of salvation, your spiritual adventure!

 

Digging into the Biology of Trauma

Continuing in our understanding of the biology of trauma, trauma is anything that overwhelms the person’s normal ability to cope. Continuing in our understanding of the biology of trauma, trauma is anything that overwhelms the person’s normal ability to cope.  Inherent in that definition is the fact that you and I are different people with different pasts and perspectives.  I might be traumatized by a situation that you may not feel strongly effected by.  That doesn’t make one of us right and the other wrong.  It’s actually due to a variety of factors having to do with what we perceive as threat.

When we are traumatized, the brain can encode any of the sensory stimuli (sights, sounds, smells, emotions, even our own body sensations) as signs of life-or-death threat because it associates those experiences with the trauma in which we felt so significantly in danger.  Sometimes we are aware of those associations when they are reexperienced, but we may very well be unaware of them because the limbic system (the emotional center of the brain) sits deep inside the brain and right on top of the brain stem.  The same way we are unaware of our respiration, digestion, heartbeat and the like we can be just as unaware of our emotions turning from joyous to anger due to encountering a reminder of a past trauma.  When this happens, we can respond with a vehemence and intensity that disturbs even ourselves and, if this happens often, can leave us feeling broken, vulnerable and very different from others.

With this background, we can see that we are not our emotions, rather we have emotions.  Therefore, we can respond to our emotions rather than responding out of emotions because emotions are information.  So, we can take that information into account and yet we aren’t bound to respond as though it is Gospel truth.   Rather, we can account for the fact that it may be skewed.  We have emotions.  We are not our emotions.  They are important information, but only one source of information.  We can prudently pay attention to the information and take into account other information, as well.  The greatest information we have is that we are dearly beloved children of the Omnipotent, Omniscient, All-Loving God who is madly and passionately in love with us personally.  No matter what others have done to us and no matter what we have done He will us it – Scripture tells us He uses “ALL THINGS” for our good.

May the Lord give YOU peace!

 

Key words:  trauma, information, misinformation, emotions, limbic system

 

God In Nature

AFMWG - God in Nature

God In Nature ~ Episode 214

Have you ever looked outdoors and thought about God in nature? When we take the time to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation we are astounded at what we see. In fact, on most cable networks there are several shows that feature nature and the workings of our world and the creatures God created. When was the last time you watched the birds in your yard or took the time to study the clouds? Our Almighty God shows us each day that He loves us and has created a vast universe to show his handiwork!

Thanks to our sponsor CTC Math – for all of your math curriculum needs.

One of my pastors, a family friend use to go on and on about how he saw God in nature. He would explain sitting on his back porch and just feeling the presence of God. He would watch as the birds nested in the trees, or the wind blew through the leaves. And the look on his face was one that is difficult to describe. Suffice it to say that he looked like he was in the presence of the Almighty.

I thought I would try it myself, but I’m often distracted by what is happening around me. Does your mind race when you are trying to be still and pray to God? I decided to start with something simple, a prayer as I walked around my backyard, and then I sat in the quiet. It was not successful and I felt that I was trying too hard.

I believe that when we try to force our faith or copy what someone else does, it sometimes falls flat. Instead, I decided to appreciate the beauty of God’s creation and ask the Lord to help me to see Him in the beauty of the outdoors. As I’ve shared with you many other times, when I find myself stuck I ask the Lord for help and He never fails me. All of a sudden it was as if the glory of God’s handiwork was revealed.

As I was driving I saw the most amazing cloud formations in the sky, or flocks of birds swarming and re-swarming on the highwires of the traffic lights. [More on audio.]

We become so complacent in our lives that we ignore the signs of an amazing God that is all around us. We get bogged down with the events of the day and wonder why we feel a heaviness we can not discard. In Ephesians 2:10 we read, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” But, first friends before the good Lord can use us we need to let go, and allow the Lord to use us.

The point I am trying to make is that the way we perceive the world shows us a microcosm of our own outlook. We can either see the beauty in God’s creation or dwell on the ugliness. we have this choice each day, and in our lives. We can focus on the beauty of the sky, even when a storm and lightning is flashing. The area in which is prone to hurricanes from time to time. Have you ever looked at the vastness of a hurricane, especially over land? It is awe-inspiring as well as deadly. It is a time to take shelter, and carefully prepare. We see the danger coming and can make provisions for our life. It is a warning.

Just as we prepare for a hurricane or lightning storm, we prepare for our spiritual wellness. In 2 Corinthians 5 we read, “…for we walk by faith, not by sight.” Our faith is in God and in God we see the greatness of his creation in the world He gave us. The new movement has made a god out of creation and the elements, with talk of forces and auras and other counterfeits. Yet, we need to take back authority to speak of creation as seeing it as His handiwork. The creation is good, not bad. Man has turned his back on God and therefore sin entered the world. How do we know that the world is created good? We read it in the book of Genesis as we read about the creation of the world. Genesis 1:31 sums up God’s creation, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.” God said it was good – very good. Why wouldn’t it be good if it was God who created it?

The vastness of the universe is also a sign of God’s immense greatness. Have you ever stargazed on a clear night? Another awe-inspiring look at nature. The universe makes us appear like a micro-speck or insignificant. Psalms 8:1-4 [Read on air.]

God created us in His image and learned men throughout time have tried to understand exactly what that means. We can again see God’s handiwork in the marvel of the human body, a single-celled organism is not simple at all it is highly complex. And think of the human body with trillions of cells.

What an amazing God we serve! So, friends, rejoice. When you are down look outside, look at the beautiful world that surrounds you. This week, look at the creation of the universe and praise God in everything! I pray the Lord blesses you and infills you with joy and the peace that surpasses understanding.

 

Simple & Ordinary

A few weeks ago I interviewed Rachel Balducci about her new book, No Such Thing as Ordinary and we talked about how oftentimes, we are waiting to do something big and important for God and miss what is in front of us.

Reminder from God

I have lots of insomnia lately and so the middle of the night is time for prayer and deep conversation with God. He reminded me of a few things, in particular, that he uses the ordinary things of life to help and sustain us.

As an example, there is Elijah, beaten down and afraid after his encounter with Jezebel. He wanders off, whining and complaining. God sends an angel to him and encourages him to sleep and when he wakes up gives him food and drink. Then he sleeps again to prepare himself for the next journey. He goes to the mountain of Horeb and there meets God.

Again, God was not in the dramatic weather but in the quiet.

“He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake;  and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. ” 1 Kings 19:11-12

In the Ordinary

It is a reminder, isn’t it? Stop looking out there and look inside. Yourself. Your home. Look to what is reasonable, a nap, a snack, time with God.

Living Not Lukewarm is not about setting out each day to accomplish a great list of tasks that bring hundreds to Jesus. It is about doing what is in front of us, relying on Jesus to lead us and fully entering into the task at hand.

Whatever your tasks are this week, do them with the same zealousness as Elijah did what the LORD asked him to do!

Introduction to Trauma Series: Avoiding Spiritual Identity Theft

Introduction to Trauma Series: Avoiding Spiritual Identity TheftEpisode #2 – Introduction to Trauma Series (Avoiding Spiritual Identity Theft!)

Have you or someone you love endured sufferings in which you continue to feel stuck?  Does this leave you feeling confused or even fearful, perhaps even rejected or abandoned by God?  Unfortunately, there are so many types of trauma and such experiences are so prevalent that it’s difficult to imagine someone who hasn’t been traumatized at one time or another.

 

Have you ever been told or thought that if you only had greater faith you’d be able to overcome feelings of abandonment, rejection or insecurity?  In this series Margaret will help unpack how the neurophysiology of trauma can leave us trapped in the emotions from traumatic experiences regardless of how great our faith is.  Come to a deeper understanding of what happens in the person during traumatic experiences and deepen in your sense of God’s love.  Grow in compassion for yourself and others.

 

Due to a very specific biological reaction during trauma, even decades later we can default to a mode of fear leading to cortisol (a stress hormone) and shutting off oxytocin (a feel-good hormone associated with love, trust, and friendship) when we encounter reminders of those traumatic experiences.  Knowing the body responds in this way can help us to cling to the truth and not give into a skewed perspective that is fear-based.

 

The evil one wants to divide you off within yourself, disconnect you off from others, and even give you a sense of separation from God by spiritual identity theft!  He wants you to think that your symptoms of feeling fearful and rejected are really who you are.  The truth is they aren’t who you are.  They are only how you are doing in a moment.  Understanding where those feelings come from can help unmask the lies we can take on and operate out of and even more it can help us stay grounded in the truth of our identity as God’s beloved children!

 

My first book, More Than Words:  The Freedom to Thrive After Trauma, is available on Amazon.com and will provide you with more information about how traumatic experiences can impact us even decades later.

 

 

Christian Retreat

Christian Retreat ~ At Home – Episode 213

It is time to fill up your spiritual tank with a Christian retreat. No matter what time of the year a refilling is good and that begins with a good Bible Study, or you, the Holy Spirit, and a pad and paper. Have you ever tried to listen to God and then had a sense of something you wanted to write down? In this way, we can communicate (in our own fallen way) with the Almighty. While it is not the same as face-to-face, we’ll have to wait for that time at the end of our lives, it is still a way to have a Christian retreat in our own homes.

– and if you missed my podcast on Renewing Your Faith you can catch it here.

Not all of us can leave to go on a weekend retreat, but if you have ever had the opportunity to go on a really good one, you know the blessings are unsurpassed. In the past, we’ve talked about spending time with God, the entire purpose or theme of this podcast, but this takes it one step further. Prayer is a communication of some sort, many times we feel it is one-sided. We talk, we listen and we hear silence. Or we look for a particular feeling, one of joy, thanksgiving, or peace. When we try to find these things and don’t we feel that we’ve failed in some way, or perhaps given up.

If you could go on a retreat what are your goals? What is it that you would want to get out of it? Is it getting closer to God? Growing in your relationship? Is it learning, listening, or perhaps making a point to rely upon the Lord? Or, is it to rest in the Lord, to become infilled and empowered by the Holy Spirit?

Recently I read something that really caused me to analyze my own relationship with the Lord. It said that if we are short-tempered, finding ourselves quickly annoyed, or unable to deal with the detours of life, we need to look at our relationship with the Lord. The people who are on track, who have a good relationship with God, and who feel that they spend time in meaningful prayer, learning, sharing their faith, and giving of themselves in service to others are the ones that can handle most things calmly.

Wow, that was eye-opening. In fact, I had just shared with my husband shortly before that the opposite. I asked him why I was unable to deal with all of the minor issues, many of them computer related that normally didn’t cause me to become upset. In the space of two weeks, my husband’s website was hacked, junk emails were created and sent from his account, and we had to move our server to a more secure one including this podcast network and the other one I owned, and website. Not only that, but the accounting software my husband’s business uses was giving me issues! And, I had no patience at all.

Sure, we all have things that happen in our lives and sometimes we handle them better than others, but this type of thing never bothered me. I was attributing my irritations to getting older! But, the Lord set me straight. If I truly believe, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my savior, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2 then I have to live my life in this way. And, the best way to begin is by filling back up and renewing my relationship with God.

And, today we will discuss a customized retreat just for you!

First, if you have been on a retreat, think about some of the things you enjoyed. I’m going to share my list with you, be sure to add to this or subtract things that don’t interest you. You may need to tweak or adjust it to fit your schedule.

My favorite aspects of the retreat are the following?

  1. Quiet.
  2. Time for prayer.
  3. Praise and Worship.
  4. Solitude.
  5. Time for confession.

Retreats usually contain some type of guest speaker who gets us started on the journey of turning our hearts toward God. This may be several talks or one key talk. I spent the weekend at a retreat that started with a keynote on a Friday evening, then the silent part of the retreat. We were asked to go back to our rooms, and if we had a roommate to still remain silent. We could break our silence the next day at breakfast. The focus was on giving our thoughts to God and reading, praying or spending time in that quiet thinking about what the speaker said that was impactful but more importantly to train our busy minds to slow down. When you take communication out of the equation and are forced into quiet it is amazing. It allows you a chance to breathe and relax.

When you are in the car, can you just drive in silence? If the answer is always no, maybe it is time to begin your car trip with prayer. I plan to do another podcast on this very topic at some point soon. I use my car trips always the very beginning of one to pray. Once I am finished with my prayers, then I can flip on the radio or podcasts. But first I must have time with God.

The point of a retreat is relationship and communication only with the Lord. It can be a time of prayer and petition for yourself, wait another time to pray for others, unless you are really led to do it during this time.

So, your dream retreat what would it look like? Here is a thumbnail outline to start you off.

  1.  First, ask the Lord to fill you to overflowing with His love joy, and peace or whatever the goals are for your retreat.
  2. Find a quiet place. Somewhere you will not be interrupted.
  3. Have a journal, a pen, your Bible, and something to drink.
  4.  Praise God – either in word or song. If you can sing, do it! Have a favorite playlist? Play it.
  5. Wait until you feel the joy or the sense of peace and allow that to fill you in the quiet. Remain in this way as long as you’d like or time permits.
  6. Write down any thoughts or words. Don’t be in a hurry with this. Close your eyes and just wait upon the Lord.
  7. Read scripture if you are led to a particular scripture. Again, write down the words that touch you, and in the quiet and listen. Mediate on what they mean in your life.
  8. Ask the Lord, in prayer to strengthen your faith (or whatever it is you want to ask the Lord).
  9. Write down any thoughts or goals you want for this day or the future. Make these goals reachable!
  10. Praise God and thank Him for this time with Him.

Create your own retreat and you will be blessed.

 

A Prayer of Surrender

Suscipe or Surrender Prayer

Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my will, all that I have and cherish you have given to me; I surrender it all to be guided by your will. Your grace and strength are wealth enough for me. I ask for this and nothing more. St. Ignatius of Loyola

 

What else besides God?

What do we need besides God? Nothing. If I give, willingly, all that God has given me, back to God can you imagine what will happen in your life? Our surrender –  of material goods, worry, the desire to control – all that can be given to Him and then we allow ourselves to be guided by God’s will.

God only wants our good. Surrender though is a daily process. We sometimes forget to pray, “thy will be done” or we give our concerns to God and take them back. We don’t want to wait on His answer, convinced we know better.

Pray this prayer when you are worried or have a problem or make it a part of your morning prayer time. Pray it this week and watch what happens.

 

 

Join the Live Not Lukewarm community and receive the video series, 4 Ways to Pray with Scripture!

 

 

The Ambition of James & John Matt.20:20-28 Deacon David Hockwalt

A Moment in Scripture- ‘The Ambition of James & John Matt. 20:20-28  By Deacon David Hockwalt

DEACON DAVID HOCKWALT was ordained a Permanent Deacon in the Diocese of San Bernardino in 2012. He continues in active ministry today and is the spiritual advisor to the vicariate Life in the Spirit team.

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

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

 

What is Wholeness and Holiness Podcast?

What is Wholeness and Holiness Podcast?Episode #1 – What is Wholeness and Holiness Podcast?

Have you ever wondered how our natural human lives and the spiritual life are connected?  Would you believe that the study of psychology and counseling can actually serve to illuminate and deepen our relationship with the Lord?  It’s true!  He made us in such a way that our human and spiritual lives are intertwined.  The more we live lives of human and spiritual integration the more we will deepen in the sense of peace and fulfillment He has for us.

In this podcast, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and Certified Trauma Therapist Margaret Vasquez shares with you many of the insights she has gained through over 16 years of providing intensive trauma therapy to clients of all ages and seeing the world through the lens of her degree in Theology.  Author, TV and radio guest, trainer and retreat master, Margaret is passionate about bringing people to a deeper participation in the intimacy the Lord has for them.

Tune in weekly for a greater understanding of the spiritual life, religion, Church, and what it all has to do with giving your everyday life greater peace, joy, and purpose.

 

Wholeness and Holiness Podcast

Join professional counselor and certified trauma therapist Margaret Vasquez for an inspiring and practical look at human and spiritual integration from a Catholic perspective.  Gain practical understanding, tips, and tools for personal integration and healthy relationships for lives of wholeness and holiness.

Margaret is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, Certified Trauma Therapist, Certified Intensive Trauma Therapy Instructor, both a Certified Traumatologist and Field Traumatologist and is Certified in Myers-Briggs.  After over 15+ years treating trauma clients of all ages, presenting to a wide variety of groups in-person and through guest appearances on EWTN, radio shows, and podcasts, Margaret Vasquez founded Sacred Heart Healing Ministries which provides intensive trauma therapy, healing retreats, and trauma-informed care certification training.  She began serving as a consultant for Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Institute for Diaconal renewal, and presenting workshops and retreats to religious, priests, deacons, and lay people.  She now makes these same retreats and workshops available to you in her new book Fearless and through in person and online retreats and workshops.

Margaret suffered for many years as a traumatized person before finding healing and freedom through a variation of the therapy she has honed over the years.  Due to this experience coupled with a degree in Theology from Franciscan University, she sees the challenges of life from a perspective of human and spiritual integration.  Understanding that wholeness and holiness are inextricable interwoven, Margaret has a passion for helping you live in the freedom and peace the Lord has for you.

Visit Margaret’s Website at: https://sacredhearthealingministries.com/ for more information on intensive trauma therapy, healing retreats, and trauma-informed care certification.

Father David Tickerhoof is a retired priest living at the Holy Spirit Friary at the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio.

Reviews for Margaret’s Books

Fearless: Abundant Life Through Infinite Love

If prayer and meditation are a means for developing a relationship with God, this book will not only help you to do that, but it will also challenge you to connect with Him with all of your being. Margaret is eloquent and yet writes in a clear easy to understand down to earth manner. Many of us find ourselves struggling in our prayer or we may find ourselves feeling alone even when we are surrounded by people and engaged. Others of us live in an inner world of anxiety and chaos because we are disconnected from our true selves. Each of these issues are addressed in Margaret’s book, FEARLESS. As you seek out wholeness and connection, Margaret challenges us to live beyond our fears towards a deeper ability to give and receive love through a deeper connection to God, others and ourselves.

More Than Words: the Freedom to Thrive After Trauma

Great resource for parents, teachers and others who work closely with people struggling with the effects of trauma on their lives. Full of inspirational stories and hope that there is a way to move on from trauma. I cannot wait for follow up books!

 

 

Christian Journey

Christian Journey ~ Life’s Journey With Christ – Episode 212

Have you heard the saying if life hands you lemons make lemonade? Sometimes that is what our Christian journey feels like, a constant struggle to make that lemonade when all we want is to sit with a sour face. In this podcast, I talk about how we can make our journey better, one step at a time.

Visit MediaAngels.com for books and curriculum to aid you on your Christian Journey.

When was the last time you picked up your cross and followed Christ? For some of us, it is every day. Or, just when you think you have a break in your life it begins all over again! Our Christian journey is one that is filled with love, and laughter but also with the cross. Yet, our cross is not so heavy if we allow the Lord to help us carry it. More on the podcast.

With a plan such as reading the Bible, taking time to pray, journaling, and spending some time in quiet with God, we will be prepared for those arrows from the wicked one. God is a God of blessings!

Ephesians 1:3-6 (Read on air)

Wow – to the praise and the glory of His grace! If that doesn’t make you smile nothing will. Our faith journey is littered with hardships, yes but it is filled with praise, we are the adopted sons and daughters through Jesus Christ what else could we possibly desire? Jesus himself showed us how to be a true servant, the master served the disciples. He taught them and he lifted them up. He shared the food He had and He spoke to them of a time when there would no longer be tears. The disciples truly walked with the Lord and yet after he died, they did not recognize Him. The walk to Emmaus is an example of this. Our walk to Emmaus is our daily journey of faith. You can read about this in Luke 24:35-48 but here is an excerpt – Luke 24:44-48 (read on air)

Because of what Jesus said, the repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed and in His Name, all the nations would witness this, because of what Jesus did for us there is this Divine power, this is the power of God that turns horrible things into something wonderful. The tears of sorrow become the tears of joy. Without hardships, we can not appreciate the wonderful things that happen.

We need to remember this on our walk that as Jesus kept coming back to his apostles to teach them, He comes to us through His Holy Spirit, holy men and women that God puts in our path and in our churches, and the Holy Word of God. In this way, the Lord keeps coming to us on our faith journey and we should thank the Lord for opening our eyes and sharing in that journey in the breaking of the bread. Each meal should begin with a prayer of thanksgiving. Each day should begin in the same way. This relationship of ours with Jesus Christ, true God, and true man is such a gift and one we should cherish.

Fill in the blank of the following sentence: “As we travel on the road of faith, I will continually seek:__________

What would be on your list? Think about this, and create a list of five to ten things (or more). This will help you to see where you are and it will help you to make a plan. Light, true light dispels the darkness of the soul but in order for this light to penetrate, we must be willing to open our hearts to God. Lying is one of the ways that keeps the light out and sometimes people fall into the trap of lies because they want to say what is pleasing to others without thinking about the truth.

The light of Christ breaks down the barriers of selfishness and pride, it breaks down greed and sin, it opens us up to what needs cleaning and it gives us a chance to do it before it is too late. Today at Mass the pastor urged us to think about our final day on earth as one of the things we do each day. If it was our final day how would we live? This puts our life into perspective and hopefully leads to our transformation.

Our faith journey should include a conversion and a transformation but also growth and conformity into the life that God has for us, a life that is far more splendid than anything we can imagine. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. That is what we pray in the Lord’s prayer and that is the challenge for you this week. As you travel the road of faith, pick up a friend or two and proceed toward Him, who is there with open arms. May God be blessed, now and forever.

 

The Kingdom of Heaven by Deacon David Hockwalt

A Moment in Scripture- ‘The Kingdom of Heaven’ Matt. 13:44-46 by Deacon David HockwaltA Moment in Scripture- ‘The Kingdom of Heaven’ Matt. 13:44-46 by Deacon David Hockwalt

DEACON DAVID HOCKWALT was ordained a Permanent Deacon in the Diocese of San Bernardino in 2012. He continues in active ministry today and is the spiritual advisor to the vicariate Life in the Spirit team.

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

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

Renew Your Faith

It is time to renew your faith in God. Today. There are so many things we renew but often our faith is left behind.Renew Your Faith ~ Episode 211

It is time to renew your faith in God. Today. There are so many things we renew but often our faith is not one of those things that we think about in that way. In this podcast, we will discuss ways to recharge your faith and how to do this in a way that makes sense for your life.

Visit MediaAngels.com for books, curriculum, and other offerings, just for you. Check out the books One More Child and A Few Minutes with God there as well. Available in print or digital.

When we renew things such as our auto, health or life insurance, it causes us to pause in our lives to do something that is sometimes painful. Shopping for insurance is no fun. What about our faith? Does your faith need renewal or a recharge? When we stop and look at our faith we may see places that need shoring up or other places where we spend much time but maybe do not see as much fruit in the way of change.

Many times we have not matured into our faith. Our years move on but our faith remains stagnant. I can see the evidence of this when I go into a church and see few people in attendance. Sure, you can watch many different services online, but it is different than participating in purpose, especially if there is no physical reason that you can’t. And, on the other hand just because you go to church doesn’t mean you believe. It can be an obligation you fulfill or you go to make someone else happy.

We go and we worship because it is one of the commandments of  God, “Keep Holy the Sabbath,” and the wisdom of God trumps anything else, or it should.

In Christian homes, a child may believe because of their parents, and their faith is their parent’s faith. Faith is a personal decision, it is a fundamental option to choose God, follow God, and live a life that is holy. What does this mean to you?

Take a look at your daily walk with the Lord and ask yourself the following:

  1. Do you wake up praising God or in some way thinking about the Lord?
  2. Do you pray?
  3. Do you spend time in God’s Word, at church or with the Bible, or another app?
  4. Do you spend time in quiet with God?
  5. Do you journal or are you in a Bible study?

If you find yourself falling a bit short, don’t worry. We can look back to see where we want to improve, but then move forward in how we want our lives to look. All of us want joy, peace, and love in our lives, and these come directly from the source of all love, and that is God. Renewing our faith means renewing our dedication to doing God’s will.

Renewing Your Faith ~ A New Beginning

Where do we begin? With a profession of faith. We can start with a prayer such as the Nicene Creed or the Apostles Creed, but I would invite you to take it a step further. Write the Lord your own love letter, a pledge to love, honor, and follow Him. It can look something like this:

“I praise you and I thank you my Lord for all you have done in my life. I want to dedicate my life to you in a new way, in a deeper way, and in a way that is pleasing to You, my Lord. Come into my heart Lord and fill it to overflowing with your love. Jesus, I trust in You. Help me to place You before all else. Help to keep me on the straight path, do not allow me to stray, and keep me from sin, my God. I dedicate all that I do and say to You and ask that You help make it pleasing. And I pray this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

You can add or take away anything you want, but make it a heartfelt prayer that tells the Lord you trust in Him and His divine will. When we fill ourselves with thoughts about God the darkness is dispelled. We can not live in fear and faith at the same time. God has already overcome the enemy and we need to place our lives under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

We can easily look at examples in the Bible of people who turned their back on God, the Israelites come to mind. God’s people suffered in exile and yet they continued to be unfaithful. If we trust in God we can not serve two masters.

Examine your life and look at the way that you spend your time. Is there anything you can do to place God first? Is there something you can avoid, or move in your schedule to make more time to learn more about your faith? What can you do to surrender your time to God?

I learned that to be more productive during the week I needed time to recharge. Renewing your faith is like a “recharge” of your faith battery. Keeping holy the sabbath is a way to enjoy the world that God has given to you, to enjoy your life in some small way. Enjoying a beautiful day or finding beauty in a storm with the lightning flashing in the distance. Basically praising God in all things.

While we live in a time of darkness this weariness with the world can get us down to a point that we can not see the light that is God through the sin in the world. We can’t help anyone else if we do not help ourselves first. 2 Corinthians 5:17 “If then any be in Christ a new creature, the old things are passed away, behold all things are made new.”

God can make us new, each and every day. You can renew your faith daily with a quick prayer and ask the Lord to give you the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome the trials that come with each day. Faith or religion without a relationship is hollow. Jesus wants a relationship with us, we know this, but we don’t seem to have the time. We make time for all things except this most important element in our lives.

God loves us with a love that is nothing something we can understand or grasp. Our human love by way of comparison is so inadequate. It falls short of the glory and wonder of God. We look to others for this love and find ourselves disappointed. People will disappoint us, this is one of those things we can count on. Each of our lives has some type of sorrow, tragedy, or hardship. Some of us have harder lives than others. Yet our Father who is in heaven looks to us with open arms.

Read 2 Thessalonians 12 – the entire chapter. It is a teaching to those who suffered, but this verse stands out for me, verse 13: “We also unceasingly give thanks to God because, when we handed on the word of God to you, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it truly is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.”

Accepting faith, accepting the Word of God as truth, and accepting the truth that belief in God will help us in our lives is just the start of our faith journey, not the end. You see our struggles become insurmountable when we put our trust in others or in ourselves over God. We can do nothing without God. Philippians 4:13 I can do all things in him who strengthens me.”

The best news is that each day is a new day and we can look to the Father for a faith recharge anytime we want or need it. We grow in our faith in the same way as we mature in body. Our faith grows deeper if and when we invite the Lord in, and pray more of you Lord, and less of me.

Read the scriptures and see which verses jump out at you and write them down. Think about them and see what it is that you can learn or what you feel the Lord is telling you.

The challenge this week is to take the time to renew your faith in a meaningful way. Whether it is to purpose to read the Bible each day or spend time with the Lord. What is a way that you can be open to the blessings that can come into your life? This week the focus is on you, not someone else (yes, I know that is hard). Recharge you first and watch the worries and cares fall away! May God be blessed, Amen and Alleluiah!

The Value of Friendship as We Age

How to Be Happy as You Age

There are 7 indicators, based on a Harvard Study that indicate how happy and well you will be later in life. A full explanation is here.

Briefly, the 7 are:

  1. Don’t smoke
  2. Do not abuse alcohol
  3. Maintain healthy body weight
  4. Exercise
  5. Adaptive coping style
  6. Education
  7. Stable, long-term relationships

Focus on Friendships

“With three things I am delighted, for they are pleasing to the Lord and to human beings: Harmony among relatives, friendship among neighbors, and a wife and a husband living happily together.” Sirach 25:1
“The people most satisfied in thoier relationships at age fifty ere the healthieest at age eighty.” Robert Waldinger
Here is Waldinger’s TED talk on this topic.
Call a friend and make plans to spend time with them this week!
Join us in the Live Not Lukewarm Community for this 10-day challenge! Registration and information are here. 

Personal Journey – Holy Spirit

Personal Journey: The Holy SpiritPersonal Journey ~ Episode 210

I had a podcast I wanted to create on my personal journey closer to the Holy Spirit and deeper faith. Yet, it was scheduled to play a few months ago. But I postponed it. Truthfully, I was stuck. I didn’t know what I wanted to say. However, I prayed and felt that the time was right. So, I’ll share with you a bit about my journey.

Please check out my books, A Few Minutes with God and One More Child as well as the Truth Seekers Mystery Series (for tweens). Visit my website at MediaAngels.com

The Third Person of the Trinity  – Holy Spirit

My personal journey closer to the third person of the Trinity happened when I least expected it and during a very busy season of my life. I wasn’t looking for a closer relationship with God, but as always the Lord seeks us with open arms. When we talk about the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit we are referring to one God and three persons. Yeah, don’t ask me to explain it. That is one of the mysteries of the Christian faith. Nowhere does the word Trinity appear in the Bible, but it was a truth that was taught throughout the ages? Just like Jesus asked his disciples to go out and preach to the nations, he left us with a teaching body, the Church to explain those complicated truths.

The Holy Spirit Invites Us

My personal journey began at the library when I saw a friend of mine with a pile of books ready to check out. The children and I made frequent trips to the library and often ran into friends. However, my friend was alone without her children and she also was checking out books with religious titles. Puzzled, I asked her what she was doing and she explained she was prepping for an upcoming talk at church and invited me to come. It was a strange request and how could I say, “No thank you I don’t want to hear you speak at church.” So of course I politely agreed.

I went because I felt an obligation to support my friend, nothing else, so you can imagine my surprise when I arrived at what was called a “Life in the Spirit, Seminar.” I had no idea that this group of men and women were on fire with the love of God and the songs before the talk my friend gave was all spirit-filled and enthusiastically sang, complete with accompanying guitar, and tambourines.

For those of you listening who are Evangelical Christians, this is very common to your gathering, but for me, I was pretty much taken aback but was interested in learning more. My friend proceeded to speak and to this day I can’t tell you the content of the talk, but whatever it was pierced my heart with a hunger for more of God.

Hebrews 4:12 (read on air)

I was invited back the next day for an all-day session. … So once again I went solo and wow, was I blown away. The talks were anointed with the power of God, and I felt that many of the speakers were talking to me in such a clear manner. I wanted what they had, a love of the Lord and a willingness to put aside the ways of this world and join them on the road, that narrow path. Matthew 7:13-14 (read on air)

Before I left, two people prayed over me for an anointing of the Holy Spirit – they lead me through a prayer of asking the Lord for forgiveness, and an opening of my heart to whatever gifts the Lord had for me. We learned about the gifts of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12 – and some of the talks I’d heard that weekend spoke about these gifts. I wanted select gifts, for example, the gift of healing or prophesy, or the word of knowledge. Yet, I knew I should be open, and so I kept silent and just opened up myself for God’s power, and received my prayer language or the gift of tongues. Believe me when I tell you that was not the gift I wanted and it is considered one of the lesser gifts.

Some people gauge their spirituality on whether or not they have the gift of tongues (again you can read about it in 1 Corinthians 12), yet that is not a test to see if you have the Holy Spirit or not.  Obviously, that is not how the Almighty works and I can’t tell you why some people have the gift and others don’t. God is willing to give us the gift, but we must be open to receiving it. All I know is that I entered with expectant faith, and God gave me a wonderful anniversary present.

I couldn’t wait to tell my husband (more on air)

I was challenged through this infiling of God’s love to read the Bible every day and spend time with the Lord in prayer and quiet. You could say it was the preparation I needed. Many years later I would have a Christian ministry, I would begin to write books with a Biblical foundation and this podcast network is dedicated to spreading the good news, that Jesus Christ is Lord! I felt led by the Lord and this experience helped me to be open to what God had in store for me.

1 Peter 4:11 (read on air)

in a deeper way, ask the Lord and watch Him provide for you. To begin with, it may just be reading the Bible more often, journaling, and opening yourself up to the power of the Holy Spirit.  In retrospect, it should have come as no surprise to me that it was not that long before this “chance encounter” with my friend at the library that I had been told all I needed to do was kneel down beside my bed and ask God to give me the gift of tongues. I was talking to several friends who attended the Assembly of God church, and her suggestion surprised me. Really, I could just kneel down and ask God for this gift? Truthfully I was a little concerned that God wouldn’t give me this gift. I believed I was unworthy.
Friend, the Lord loves us where we are and I have no doubt now that He knew I needed an entire weekend seminar/retreat to be open to first learning more about the Holy Spirit, but also be surrounded by believers who were willing to pray for me.
I have a challenge for you and it may be something you work on for some time to come. The first is if you are open to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, ask the Lord in prayer to gift you with this infilling of His grace. The second is to write down your own story of your encounter with God, your testimony, or your growth in your faith. We each have stories and God continues to write our stories each day that we walk with Him. You never know when you might share your personal testimony with a friend or on a podcast someday! I pray a blessing on you and your faith journey.

Meet Rachel Balducci, Author of No Such Thing As Ordinary

A New Book

It’s always a treat to interview authors whose books I’ve read. Rachel Balducci is a speaker, writer and co-host of The Gist on Catholic TV. She teaches journalism at Augusta University and is married to Paul. They have five sons and one daughter. Her latest book, No Such Thing as Ordinary: Unlocking Your Extraordinary Life Through Everyday Encounters With Jesus, is published by Ave Maria Press.

Rachel chooses the story of the Woman at the Well from the Gospel of John, chapter 4 as the guiding scripture to discuss what means to have an extraordinary life through your encounters with Jesus.

Rachel reminds us that we don’t need to wait to do the great, important life-changing work for God. Simple living each day with the knowledge that we are doing what God asks of us at this moment is a response to Jesus’ invitation and is extraordinary.

Some Important Mentions

Rachel talks about Catherine Doherty and the Duty of the Moment.

The Cloud of Unknowing is the book Rachel read that helped her learn about contemplative prayer. That link takes you to a site where you can download a free copy. Please keep in mind that I cannot vouch for the translation.

Notes from the Conversation

We all want a deep union with God and a longing to do something great for HIm. We cannot wait for the opportunity to do the one, big thing, but do what is in front of you. That’s what God asks of us.

“Holiness is the best gift you can give your family,” a priest told Rachel this many years ago, and it took her some time, but she fully believes this to be true.

Outside the will of God, you will never be happy.

Your identity comes from God.

Spend 10 minutes a day in quiet with God. Simply open your soul to hear what He has for you.

Here is her website and be sure to follow Rachel on Instagram, @rachelbalducci 

 

Supernatural Faith

Supernatural Faith - What is supernatural faith? It is faith that surpasses all understanding. Join me as we delve into the topic of faith.Supernatural Faith ~ Episode 209

What is supernatural faith? It is faith that surpasses all understanding. Join me as we delve into the topic of faith especially when times get hard. We are called to live in the hope that is in Christ, but in our humanness, we often fail.

Please visit my website at MediaAngels.com for books and products for Christians as well as homeschooling.

Have you heard is a tragic story and then the person who lived through the trauma thanks God in some way? This should give us more faith but do you feel like you are not enough, or don’t believe enough? Do you doubt and think, “I am not sure I could have gone through the trauma and come out ahead with my faith intact?” What you may not realize or remember is that when God allows these things to happen in our lives, He equips us to handle them, especially if we pray.

Supernatural faith is following when the times get tough. In the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7) we learn what it takes to be a follower of Christ. Once we commit there is no going back, and if we do turn back there are consequences. Think about what happened to the Israelites who were freed from slavery in Egypt. They saw miracles, for heaven’s sake the parting of the Red Sea should have been eye-opening, and then the ten commandments, and the manna in the desert. But many turned their backs on God and worshipped false gods. All the time that these people were in Egypt, they saw the worshipping of false gods and pharaohs treated as gods. Did they leave it behind when they left? No. And what happened to the people in the desert? Only their ancestors were able to go to the promised land. They all died beforehand.

Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

We can not have one foot in both worlds because God’s world is a supernatural world. The gospels reveal the truth and the way of holiness. What is at stake? Only the entrance into the Kingdom of God…heaven. God is calling us, each and every one of us to give 100% and for any of us as Christians, we know that the other side is pulling for our demise.

It is seeing the hand of God in all of the places in our lives that need help and restoration, and it is in knowing that God wants redemption for our world and the hope that comes in that belief. We should not be surprised when we see the evil in the world. The Lord tells us He will save us from evil. The mercy of God is for everyone even those who have done evil if they will repent.

Friends the way ahead for us is very treacherous with the overturning of the law that finally, finally stated that abortion was not a constitutional right. Can killing your child ever be a right? The pagans long ago used child sacrifice to their gods and that was what abortion was, a child sacrifice on the altar of a mother’s right over their child’s right. Should we help those who struggle and are less fortunate? Of course, but the church already does so much for those in need. Sadly, many not connected to churches are the ones who struggle.

Whenever we struggle and look for that supernatural faith, think about the apostles on that boat with Jesus in the midst of a storm. I love that story of Jesus telling them not to be afraid, and he ordered the seas to be calm. This is a wonderful picture of what would we think about when are lives are unsettled, or there is turmoil in our life. We should remember to be calm. The faith we crave takes a connection to Christ. It is a personal encounter with Jesus that will help us in our time of need.

When we have this personal encounter we hope that our lives will be easier. But that is not the promise of a Christian. The promise is that there is hope in our salvation and everlasting life. But, this is not heaven. The last four things are death, judgment, heaven or hell.

Matthew 16:23-28

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. 28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

The reward my friends is worth it. The reward is life everlasting. When we look for that faith that surpasses all understanding we must remember that the words, “Be not afraid,” are in the Bible over 365 times. We can’t fear and have faith at the same time. We will be tempted and the evil one is really good at making us second guess and overthink.

So, here are a few tips for you to practice this week as we all work toward that supernatural faith that surpasses all understanding.

  1. Every day pray the words, “Jesus I trust in You.”
  2. When we are overwhelmed we thank the Lord for being there with us. (He will not leave us orphaned!)
  3. Take a few minutes daily to rest in God. This means closing our eyes, thinking about the Lord, and allowing our minds to focus on the beauty of God and the hope that is in Christ.
  4. Journal. If you are not keeping a daily journal consider doing one, if not daily then often. Start with what you are thankful for and end with a prayer request. Be sure to thank the Lord for answered prayer.
  5. Remember Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

May God be praised today and always!

15th Sunday of Ordinary Time-C-Bread of Life Bible Study

15th Sunday of Ordinary Time-C-Bread of Life Bible Study

15th Sunday of Ordinary Time-C   July 10, 2022 –Bread of Life Bible Study

The question Jesus puts to the lawyer, “Who do you think was neighbor to the man?” Is the same question that is being asked of you and me. God’s love is so great that anyone who is in need is eligible for his help.

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

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

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

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

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

Are you participating in your faith life?

Scripture

He entered a boat, made the crossing, and came into his own town. And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.” At that, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, “Why do you harbor evil thoughts which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic, “Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” Matthew 9:1-6

Do you accept what is offered?

Do ever feel as if you are not participating in your own spiritual or faith life? Maybe waiting for Jesus to do it all? In the passage, we can see that yes, Jesus is forgiving but the man accepts what Jesus does for him and acts on Jesus’ words. (I’m saying man, but it could be a woman.)

Do we ever sit there with a great idea, thinking, not me, nope, it’s for someone else? Let’s stop thinking Jesus isn’t offering us the best or the forgiveness or healing or a gift. Why can’t it be you?

Faith and Action

We can do both. And if our action seems daunting, pray this prayer, “Lord, I believe you have asked me to do what I am about to do, but if it is not what you want me to, please stop me.”

This week, pray to put fully participate in your faith life. If you get a direction from God, do it!

And, please, drop me a comment about how it goes or suggest a topic for discussion! I love to hear from listeners.

 

14th Sunday of Ordinary Time-C Bread of Life Bible Study

14th Sunday of Ordinary Time-C. The disciples were not trained in any special categories, nor did they have any unique qualifications.14th Sunday of Ordinary Time-C   July 3, 2022 –Bread of Life Bible Study

The disciples were not trained in any special categories, nor did they have any unique qualifications. What made them different was their awareness of Jesus’ power and their vision to reach all the people through him. There is no unemployment in Christian service. The Lord Jesus has work for everyone.

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Memorize Scripture

When was the last time you attempted to memorize scripture? This is worthwhile and beneficial to our spiritual growth.Memorize Scripture

When was the last time you attempted to memorize scripture? This is worthwhile and beneficial to our spiritual growth. By memorizing the verses we can ingrain them into our hearts and call them to mind in times when we struggle. Here are some tips for memorizing with ease.

Visit Media Angels and the books and services provided for Christian Families. Books such as the Truth Seekers Mystery Series, A Few Minutes with God, One More Child as well as the 24 different Character Planners for the entire family.

When the children were younger I would assign them scriptures to memorize. Most of the time they were a verse or two, often nothing longer. I had friends whose children could quote sections of the Bible and I was amazed! And while memorization is great for children, it is important that we as adults also spend time on memorization. In fact, it can really help us as we get older.

I have a list that I call life verses, such as Joshua 24:15 – but the entire verse is not what I quote. Here is the entire verse:

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
When I think of the verse, it is this part… As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.
Another is John 1:1-5 –
What I will quote having memorized it is this part, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him, nothing was made that has been made.”
I love that verse because it is one of those mind-blowing verses – in those words I can see the Almighty God, Father, and Son. The Word is Jesus, God is God the Father and nothing is done without the Spirit. For some reason, that verse makes me very happy!
It is almost like I have a tiny glimpse of the creation of the world.
Then there is what we call the Magnificat – Luke146-55 when Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth and the baby in Elizabeth’s womb lept for joy. Here we read Mary’s answer to Elizabeth: And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, …

Another version says, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.

and another the King James – My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

I love all of those versions, but my favorite is My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…

You can look up various scripture verses on a website such as BibleGateway.com or your own Bible translation.

I’m making a point to memorize some new verses, do you want to join me in the challenge? Let’s get started with some simple techniques for memorization.

Memorize Scripture The Easy Way

  1. Scriptures that are important to you.  The first step is to look at the Bible and find the verses that are important to you. You can begin by listing some of your favorites, even if you have already memorized these verses. I shared some with you.
  2. Write them down. Reinforces the words. Using seeing, hearing, and writing helps us in remembering. While typing is tactile it really is beneficial to write the scriptures out and say them out loud. Seeing them in print helps as well.
  3. Read them often. Put the scriptures you are using in one spot. Several of my children used flashcards to help them when studying for a test. You can do this with the scripture verses. Put the words on the lined side of the card, and the verse number on the back. By looking at the verse such as John 1:1 – you should be able to recite,  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
  4. Create a sign or banner. This is one of my favorite things and I love receiving gifts that are plaques with Scripture verses on them, in fact, I have many throughout my home. I also hang them from the bedroom doors, I use those sticky plastic hook things. Okay, so sometimes it does bang on the door when you open or close it, but it is so worth it to see those verses and it reminds me to live them!
  5. Test yourself. How are you doing? You can set simple goals like one new verse a week. Just think in a year you can memorize 52 new verses! Wouldn’t that be great?

Will you join me? That is this week’s challenge, one verse! Be blessed and in the Name of Jesus I ask for an infilling of the Holy Spirit to be upon your family today and always. Amen.

 

Is Spiritual Direction for you?

What is Spiritual Direction?

“It is the guidance of a person into a life truly under the dominion of the Holy Sprit, who is the primary director.”
from Seeking Spiritual Direction by Thomas Dubay, S.J.

“Spiritual direction is concerned with helping a person directly with his or her realtionship with God…the most fundamental issue is that relationship and its underlying questions: “Who is God for me, and who am I for him?”
from The Practice of Spritual Direction by William A. Barry & William J. Connolly

What is the purpose?

Just as we seek help in other areas of our lives, why not do the same for our spiritual life? Direction provides a time and space to learn how we can know, love, and serve God more fully and deeply in our life.

What happens in spiritual direction?

Listening to the directee (the person seeking direction), prayer, quiet, deep conversation, being open to the Holy Spirit, spiritual growth, affirmation, and transformation all occur during both the prayer time before a spiritual direction appointment and during the time the director and directee are together.

Of course, they don’t necessarily happen all at once but occur over time as people grow in their relationship with God.

Links and Books for More Information

Live NotLukewarm Spiritual Direction Page

Cenacle School of Our Lady of Divine Providence School of Spiritual Direction, A Ministry of the Marian Servants of Divine Providence, and in association with the Franciscan University of Steubenville. This is where I went to school.

  • Seeking Spiritual Direction by Thomas Dubay, S.J.
  • Navigation the Interior Life by Daniel Burke

Discern if you would benefit from spiritual direction and please contact me if you’d like to discuss this further or want help finding a director.  Use this form to start a conversation.

13th Sunday of Ordinary Time-C

13th Sunday of Ordinary Time-C : Today's gospel gives us an example concerning the vocation to follow Christ. Vocation entails a "totality."13th Sunday of Ordinary Time-C   June 26, 2022 –Bread of Life Bible Study

Today’s gospel gives us a third example concerning the vocation to follow Christ. Vocation entails a “totality.” By this I mean that once we set out to follow Christ we do so wholeheartedly,  no half-way measures. We cannot chase after other pursuits; we should not be distracted so as other pursuits gradually become more and more important at the expense of the vocation to follow Christ.

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

Godly Dependence

We pride ourselves with be independent and able to handle life on our own. But for Christians, we soon realize...Godly Dependence and Choice ~ Episode 207

We pride ourselves with be independent and able to handle life on our own. But for Christians, we realize that Godly dependence is the most important thing in our lives. How can we depend on God and allow ourselves to grow in faith? Listen in to find out.

Enjoy all of the books and products on MediaAngels.com such as the Truth Seekers Mystery Series, A Few Minutes with God, One More Child, the Character Planners for Kids, and much more.

We are independent self-sufficient people. We enjoy the ability to pick and choose where we live, shop, and what we do with our time and resources. Being independent sometimes holds us back when it comes to faith. In fact, we look for God only when we need Him, placing him on the proverbial shelf when we don’t. If you told someone you were dependent on God you might receive a strange look, or criticism that God made you, so stand up for yourself. Dependence is not a cross, it is a necessity.

We should be dependent on God, we should make choices that focus on not only what is best for us physically but what is best for us spiritually. Making good choices starts with a good foundation, and it does not happen overnight. Once God was removed from the public schools and education took a turn for the worse, it also robbed our children of the foundation that is so important to the well-being of a civilization. When man looks upon itself for salvation, then the civilization devolves, dissolved, and becomes no more.

We can look to the scriptures as an example of the power and might of God. Just like the burning bush that burned in an extraordinary way, it was not consumed, yet the flames were real. We read this account in Exodus 3:18

Even Moses Had Godly Dependence

The bush was sustained by the power of God and in this passage, God revealed His name. I AM. I am who exists in everything, God was showing His power and might with the promise of saving the people who were crying out to Him. God heard their prayers. Moses had Godly dependence. Moses was fearful of God but in this fear, there was something greater. There was reverence. There was obedience. There was a Godly dependence and a choice to believe and follow the one true God. This power and might overwhelmed Moses and humbled him.

When was the last time that the power, the might, and the overwhelming significance of what Almighty God has done for us has put us in a place where we fear but we revere God? I think fear comes from a place of guilt when we think we should do something for God. Have you felt that way? Look, God, I’m going to church. Look, God, I’m praying to You. What we do when we go to church or pray is not for God, it is for us. Think about this.

Fear in the case of Moses meant awe and reverence. Fear is of the Lord and is a gift of the Holy Spirit, which translates into awe. Moses becomes the face of God to the Israelites and was able to lead them, they respected him because they saw his face and it was radiant. Later they would learn to depend on God for their food and as we know they grumbled and complained and still worshipped false idols even after being given the 10-Commandments. We can learn from the scriptures to hold ourselves to a higher standard and to learn from the mistakes of others.

Do you fear the Lord? What does it mean to us? We are in danger when we do not hold God in awe and when we lose that fear of God, the fear of retribution. God is not vindictive but He is just. He will not be mocked. The danger we have as sinners is when we repeat the sin and lose that fear of God and in doing so we put our souls in danger. Sinning is a choice, it is a willful act.

We are dependent on God for the air that we breathe, for holding our earth at the perfect distance from the sun, not too close and not too far, and for keeping us alive each and every day. We are dependent on God for our daily bread, for the roof over our head, for the transportation we take, and for the blessings, He has given us small and large. We are dependent and if we try to go through life independent from God we will find ourselves in dire straits fighting depression and worse.

Ask God every day to give us the fear that leads to awe and to reverence for Him. The great I Am. Are we standing on Holy Ground? Do we treat our church as a sanctuary, a place of prayer, or are we looking around to see how people are dressed and if we know anyone nearby and visit, instead of focussing on Him. Jesus asked the apostles in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Could you not stay with me an hour?” Many church services are just an hour, can we not give Him that time?

I believe as a Catholic that while I am in church God is present (yes, God is everywhere and present always), but in a sense when I am in church and I have time in the quiet, I can sense the Almighty in a deeper way. We must pray for more of God and less of us, we need more reverence which is lacking in us as a Christian people. Friends that is the challenge for the week. Can you seek God in the quiet of your heart? Can you ask the Lord to give you more of Him? Can you ask the Lord for an increase of reverence and respect for the three persons of the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? We can’t change the entire world, but we can change ourselves and it is a choice. It starts with one person, will you join me on this journey?

I pray a blessing on you and your family today and always.

 

A Eucharistic Revival

Catholics having a revival

Yes, we are, starting on June 19, 2022, until July 17, 2024. That is two years to unpack the riches of the Eucharist, grow individually in your personal relationship with the Lord, and change the world!

Take a look here at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ National Eucharistic Revival website to keep up-to-date and informed as to the why and how of the next two years.

Scripture

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
(John 6:51)

Jesus is present in the Eucharist

In the Gospel of John, chapter 6, when many people left because they could not accept what Jesus was telling them and offering them, he does not correct them or soften the truth. Jesus can only speak truth because he is the Truth!

Three ways to get Close to Jesus in the Eucharist

  • Go to Mass and receive Communion. You can do this every day, not only on Sundays.
  • Spend time with Jesus in a church or chapel, where he is present in the Tabernacle.
  • Go to Adoration.

This week, do one of the three suggestions as to how to get closer to Jesus. I encourage you to do this in person, not virtually. There is something you receive from being physically present with Jesus. Ask him what he wants for you. Ask him what he wants from you. Spend time in his prescence and your relationship with him will greatly benefit.

 

 

Fruits of Human and Spiritual Integration

When we live lives of personal and relational peace, there is abundant fruit on both a human level and in our spiritual lives. Fruits of Human and Spiritual Integration

When we live lives of personal and relational peace, there is abundant fruit on both a human level and in our spiritual lives.  We are actually able to live the “abundant life” in the “peace the world cannot give”.  The overflow of the calm and stillness we experience removes the distractions that vie for our attention and enable us to foster the attraction our souls have for God.  There is more we all naturally long for and the more is the person of Jesus.

Living in the More, we begin to move from the initial conversion of removing big, glaring sin from our lives into living in loving Communion with the Indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit who came to make His home in us at our baptisms.  The freedom to respond more deeply avails us of even greater experiences of joy and freedom.  We move from a downward spiral of confusion, hurt, and brokenness to an upward spiral of freedom, peace, joy, and gratitude.  No longer fearing our powerlessness we are able to be embraced by the loving arms of our infinitely Loving Father in the kingdom of Heaven that is at hand.

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

Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

In the Catholic Church we believe in the real presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. This worship service is called "The Mass," and it is a celebration of Word and Sacrament.In the Catholic Church we believe in the real presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. This worship service is called “The Mass,” and it is a celebration of Word and Sacrament. It is also an act of fellowship among all Catholic believers. Our faith is strengthened through fellowship with Christ and with all other believers.

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

Spiritual Realm

We don't know much about the spiritual realm in the sense of Christianity, other than what we've read in the Bible, learned in Church...Spiritual Realm ~ Anchor Yourself to God ~ Episode 206

We don’t know much about the spiritual realm in the sense of Christianity, other than what we’ve read in the Bible, learned in Church, or studied on our own. Yet there is so much more to learn!

Visit my website at MediaAngels.com for more information about my books, A Few Minutes with God, One More Child as well as the Character Planners for kids.

When you search for the spiritual realm (don’t!) you will find lots of new-age half-truths out there and some outright lies. Even evil gets it right some of the time, and when it comes to spirituality everyone wants in, they want to have the answers.

1 John 4:1 -Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Well, true spirituality comes from God. We are given a body and a soul. The Holy Spirit is what was sent at the time of Pentecost after Christ rose up into heaven. This is a way for us to experience the true God.

The true sense of God is in what you experience and what is demonstrated in your lives. How many times do we miss seeing God in our everyday lives? It calls to mind the rejection of Christ as recounted in the Gospel of Mark when the people in His hometown rejected him. They saw Him perform miracles and yet they doubted it was truly the Almighty because they were not expecting a simple (in their minds) man. Jesus came to preach the good news to the poor and today many of us are poor in spirit.

People are thirsty for God yet do not know it, and they look in all of the wrong places. That satisfaction is fleeting and causes guilt, depression, and more. Jesus came to set us free from sin and God knows that we are a people who are enslaved. What is the one thing you have trouble avoiding? Is it eating a particular snack or treat? Is it staying away from the daily consumption of social media, or television? Is it playing games on your cell phones? What is it that pulls your attention daily that keeps you from living the life that God wants you to live?

The spiritual realm is filled with the hosts of the heavenly as well as those who wish us harm.

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

If each person would anchor themselves in God we would be unified and allow Him to enrich our body, mind, and spirit. Every person’s body plays an amazing role in our lives. In the next podcast, I’m going to discuss Godly Dependence and Choice. We have the choice to look at ourselves and ask ourselves, “What am I enslaved to?” and the answer is one only you can give.

The truth is that the only one who can set us free is Christ. Jesus has to do that for you, but the only way is to be repentant and ask for forgiveness. A simple prayer, “Lord, I want to be free and serve you, only you!”

God sent the prophets to tell the people what was to come and to warn them. In the early church, Christianity was strong, yet over time Christianity became and is today very weak. People say they are Christians yet live a life that is far different than any true Christian should. As a society, we have become so evil but it does not have to be that way.

Hebrews 9:28-so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

God is waiting. Are we anchored to Him? Are we seeking the Lord each day? Do we place ourselves under the Lordship of Jesus Christ before all others? Another simple prayer is, “Dear Lord, come into my heart in a deeper way. I give you my YES, please lead me toward the work you want me to do. I praise you and thank you and I pray this in the Name of Jesus, the Christ. Amen!”

Dear friends, it is a journey, isn’t it? Understanding that we are not alone and God has called each one of us by name. We do not have to live life on an island, yet you may feel that way. Even those who are surrounded by friends and are still lonely. But we as Christians should be too busy for self-dwelling. We have a vocation, a mission from God! It is our duty to discern our vocation and many won’t take the time to do it. We feel unworthy or that others are so much more skilled than we are. That last statement applies to me. Who am I to take on this podcast? Who am I to start a Christian podcast network? Who would come and listen?

Well, guess what? I decided if God was in it the work would continue and if not, it would fail. And, we are still here after five years. Podcasters come and go, some are here just for a season. Yet, God does not ask us to succeed He asks us to try.

I challenge you to seek God and anchor yourself to Him. Search for Him each and every day, it is a choice and it is a decision. May God continue to bless you and your family.

 

The Trinity-A Mystery to Embrace

Thoughts from St. Hildegard

“But the Father is revealed through the Son, the Son through the beginning of created things, and the Holy Spirit through the incarnate Son. How is this? It is the Father who before time engendered the Son; it is the Son through whom all things were created by the Father at the beginning of creation; and it is the Holy Spirit who appeared in the form of a dove at the baptism of the Son of God towards the end of all time.”

A Mystery, but we can still think about it

We look at the Trinity through the lens of our faith. Do we fully understand it? Most likely not, but through the eyes of faith, we can embrace it and grow in our understanding as we grow in our faith.

In John 16: 12-15, we see the line of God the Father to the Son to the Holy Spirit.

Pray the Glory Be this week to ask for the intercession of the Trinity:

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Wrap Yourself in Joy Podcast

SUBSCRIBE HERE:

Join award winning speaker, teacher and author, Karen Dwyer as we search for joy together. We will explore how to find true JOY, how to awaken JOY, how to defeat JOY Busters and how to create a JOY-filled prayer life – from a Christian perspective, a Biblical Perspective, a Catholic perspective. We will especially focus on God‘s love and God‘s truth, and what we can do to be filled with more JOY.

Do you need more joy in your life? Who doesn’t?  It seems everyone is seeking more joy, yet it is often elusive. Every day we face challenges to our joy, but they can be overcome. WRAP Yourself in JOY will help you live a life filled with abundant joy and tackle the challenges we all face in a changing world.

Join our journey and discover how to:

* Receive a greater capacity to accept the joy and the love of God.
*Awaken to joy from our joy-filled God who wants to share His joy with you.
*Develop a plan to resist the joy busters of fear, worry, anxiety, discouragement, anger, busyness and more.
*Stand strong in adversity.

In your quest for true joy, you will not be disappointed!

Karen’s Website: https://wrapyourselfinjoy.com/

Get a copy of Karen’s Books here

About Karen:

Karen Dwyer is an inspirational speaker and has been an award-winning college teacher, specializing in helping students and adults of all ages conquer their public speaking anxiety.

Karen is the author of 10 books including WRAP Yourself in JOY: Find the JOY & Fight the Fear, WRAP Yourself in Scripture,  Esther for Such a Time as This: Prayer, Reversals & Joy, Nehemiah—Rebuilding Hope & Joy in Your Life, The Joy of Advent—Journey with the People, Events &, Prayers at the First Coming of Jesus Christ, and iConquer Speech Anxiety.

Karen has been a guest on EWTN’s The Choices We Face and on several Catholic radio programs, including programs on Spirit Catholic Radio. She is the Coordinator for Magnificat-Omaha, founder of the Heart of Jesus Prayer Groups, a Council Member of USA Pentecost Today and has served on the Board of Directors for KVSS Spirit Catholic Radio and the national Mission Advisory Council for the Institute of Priestly Formation (IPF).

Karen says, “The Lord Jesus Christ wants to share His joy with you (John 15: 11).  He is the One who sustained me through great tragedy and gave me His JOY.  Our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, our Savior, and the Holy Spirit want to give YOU more JOY. “

Karen and her husband Larry are active members of St. Robert Bellarmine Parish, Omaha, NE.