Esther & Turnaround JOY #10 – Celebrating God’s Goodness & Purim

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Are you looking for encouragement and JOY? Esther will help you celebrate. <yoastmark class=

Are you looking for encouragement and JOY?  Esther will help you celebrate God’s goodness. When you recall and celebrate what God has done,  your faith is strengthened, you are inspired to trust Him more, and you are encouraged with hope. For Esther and all Jewish families, the annual Feast of Purim celebration helps them recall that God delivered them and will continue to deliver them. Join our podcast today and be encouraged to joyously celebrate God’s goodness and faithfulness as we review the many turnarounds in the Book of Esther.

Reversals Continue

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

No Plundering (Esther 9: 1-17)

  • To plunder means to steal goods during a war for your profit.
  • The Jews remembered the violation of God’s commands in their heritage (1 Samuel 15) and acted in holy retribution for self-defense but took no plunder for their profit.

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

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

Banquets and Feasts in Esther

  • The Book of Esther shows us joy; Esther begins with a banquet and ends with a feast.
  • Four pairs of feasts celebrate the turnarounds and triumphs of God.

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

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

The Hero of the Book of Esther is GOD

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

Remembering God’s Goodness

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

Personal Reflection

  1. Do you set aside time to remember, joyously celebrate and thank God for what He has done for you?
  2. Do you call upon God for creative solutions or turnarounds when problems arise?
  3. Are you encouraging others that God intervenes in history when his people seek him with prayer, repentance, and fasting?

New Podcast Series

Join my podcast this summer, Ruth – Finding JOY in Tough Times: God’s Purpose for Every Age. If you would like to host a weekly one-hour “Cup of Joy Women” study on Ruth with your friends, email me: at for free materials that accompany the podcast and get you started.


Esther & Turnaround JOY #9 – Creative Solutions and MORE Turnarounds

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Do you need some creative solutions for your life? Today, the Book of Esther inspires us with more reversals and some creative remedies—all part of God’s answer to prayer. It may look like there is NO way out, but God working behind the scenes can always give a perfect solution. The turnarounds in Esther are uplifting and become so evident through a second edict that many Persians watching Esther and the nation’s deliverance expressed a desire for conversion.

Creative Solutions for Esther & Her People

Do you need some creative solutions for your life? Today, the Book of Esther will inspire you with more reversals and some creative remedies—all part of God’s answer to prayer.  It may look like there is NO way out, but God working behind the scenes can always give a perfect solution. The turnarounds in Esther are uplifting and become so evident through a second edict that many Persians watching Esther and the nation’s deliverance expressed a desire for conversion.

In this podcast, we will cover the following points.

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

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

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

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

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

Personal Reflection

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

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



Esther & Turnaround JOY #8 – Reversals Begin

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Do you need reversals in your life? Let Esther encourage you. God loves reversals! Today in our podcast, we encounter three reversals in Chapter Seven of the Book of Esther. This is God’s providence bringing dramatic changes in circumstances in response to the prayers of His people. Be assured it can happen again and it can happen in your life too.|#podcast #Catholicpodcast #Christianpodcast #BookofEsther #TurnaroundJOY #joy #joypodcast #karendwyer #wrapyourselfinjoypodcast #wrapyourselfinjoy #ForSuchaTimeasThis #ScriptureStudy #prayer #Esther

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

Do you need reversals in your life? Let Esther encourage you. God loves reversals!

Three Reversals

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

God’s Intervention

  • When King Ahasuerus could not sleep, he reads his chronicles and discovers that Mordecai’s service had never been rewarded.
  • The king asks Haman what can be done to the man whom the king delights to honor, Haman replies, the honored person should wear the king’s clothes, ride the king’s horse, and be proclaimed for service throughout the streets.

A Peripety

  • Haman hated Mordecai so he is humiliated when the king tells him to do those very things for Mordecai.
  • It is a peripety – a great reversal of circumstances or turnaround of intentions written in heaven.
  • When Haman told his friends and wife Zeresh about the Mordecai incident, they warned him saying: “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of the Jewish people, you will not prevail against him but will surely fall before him.”

God Reverses Evil (Esther 7: 1-8)

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

Persian Culture

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

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

  • Harbona, one of the king’s chief consultants, appears to know of Haman’s hatred for the Jews and of the gallows he built in his backyard to execute Mordecai. He suggests that Haman be hung on his own gallows.
  • Oh, how the Lord loves reversals! His divine providence reversed three evil events for today.
    • The gallows built in Haman’s backyard for Mordecai were used instead to hang Haman.
    • The king’s signet ring, indicating “a second in charge” position, was removed from Haman and given to Mordecai.
    • Haman’s decree to plunder all the property of the Jews was transposed and the king gave Haman’s property to Queen Esther.
  • What the study of literature calls peripety—an event that suddenly brings a reversal of fortune and dramatic change in circumstances, is what Christians call a miracle.

Personal Reflection

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


Esther & Turnaround JOY #7 – God-Designed Comedy

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Esther| A God-designed comedy reverses calamity in Esther! Don’t you wish every tragedy turned into a good laugh instead? Sometimes, we think God doesn’t have a sense of humor. Today in our podcast on Esther, we cannot help but see the comedy from the hand of God that reverses a tragedy. |#podcast #Catholicpodcast #Christianpodcast #BookofEsther #TurnaroundJOY #joy #joypodcast #karendwyer #wrapyourselfinjoypodcast #wrapyourselfinjoy #ForSuchaTimeasThis #ScriptureStudy #prayer #Esther

Image: Mordecai led through the city by Haman, Azor masters ca., 1430

God-designed Comedy

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

In Between Dinner Parties

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

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

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

God’s Reversals and Turnarounds (Esther 6: 12)

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

Haman Humbled (Esther 6: 13-14)

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

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

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

Personal Reflection

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


Esther & Turnaround JOY #4 – Unwavering Resolve & the First Edict

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Do you ever have unwavering resolve? Have you pondered when to be resolute or when to compromise? In relationships, compromise is used for cooperation and keeping the peace, so we need to negotiate our desires with the positions of others. Nonetheless, there are some situations where we must stand firm, determined, and unshakable.  Join us today in the Book of Esther where we learn unwavering resolve in difficult times.

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

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

Now, the providential hand of God becomes more evident as we see why God put Esther in a position of influence—even before the Jewish people faced the prospect of annihilation.  Now it’s 474 BC  we join Mordecai as he stands near the palace gate and overhears a plot to kill the king. I hope you enjoy these points:

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

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

Mordecai is Resolute (Esther 3: 1-6)

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

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

The Pur

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

The Plan

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

The Drink

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

Personal Reflection: Unwavering Resolve

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



Esther & Turnaround JOY # 1 – The Backdrop & the Party: Turnarounds for Your Life

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Esther | Do You Need Turnarounds in Your Life? Are you struggling to find faith and courage? Esther will show you how. Join me in our new series based on the Book of Esther starting today. | #podcast #Catholicpodcast #Christianpodcast #BookofEsther #EstherandTurnaround #joy #joypodcast #karendwyer #wrapyourselfinjoypodcast #wrapyourselfinjoy

Turnarounds for Your Life

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

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

This is the Time

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

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

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

The Lavish Party (Esther 1: 4-8)

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

Personal Reflection.

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

Prayer Response

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



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

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Seeking Consolation and JOY This Advent?

Advent Joy | Are you seeking consolation or more JOY? Join us today at the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. Anna and Simeon will show us where to look and 10 ways the Holy Spirit can help. | #podcast #Catholicpodcast #Christianpodcast #joy #joypodcast #karendwyer #wrapyourselfinjoypodcast #wrapyourselfinjoy

The Presentation in the Temple, Philippe de Champaigne. 1648

Ann and Simeon Show Us How?

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

Advent JOY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simeon & Anna

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

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

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

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

Our Response

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

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

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

Also enjoy these LINKs:

Check out more podcasts here!

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

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

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

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

Perplexed? Exchange Your Plans for God’s Plans!

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

Advent JOY

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

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

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

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

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

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

Found with Child (Matthew 1: 18-25)

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

Our Response

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

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.

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

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

 Zechariah writes, His Name is John!

Needing Calm? Seek Stillness with God!

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

Advent JOY & the Celebration at Zechariah’s Home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Responding to the Scripture

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

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

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.

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

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
God Has JOY for YOU! Join in the Fellowship, Delight and Prayer #Podcast

Mary & Elizabeth – A Visit Filled with JOY

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

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

The Advent JOY Podcast

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

Advent JOY in the Hill Country

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Three Months of Sharing Hearts

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

Advent Application

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

Check out more podcasts here!

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

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

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

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

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

Advent JOY in Nazareth

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

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


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

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

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

Mary’s Fiat (Luke 1: 34-38)

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

God’s Power

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


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

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.

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

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Lessons from Zechariah, Elizabeth, and Gabriel

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

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

Advent JOY

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

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

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

The People, Prayers and Events

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

The First of Two Annunciations

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

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

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

Gabriel, The Might of God and No Puny Angel

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

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

Personal Reflection

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

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

 Prayer Points

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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.

The Four Women Church Doctors

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Who are they?

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

Why are they called Doctors?

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

To learn more…

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

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

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

10 Reasons to Study Scripture

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Begin with Scripture

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

10 Reasons

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

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

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

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

What’s your passion?

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

What kind of passion am I talking about?

I’m talking about the kind of passion that propels your life in a positive direction, and ideally, of course, toward God and for his glory.

5 things I’m passionate about

  • My faith:
    • specifically Scripture,
    • Sacraments and
    • most especially the Eucharist
  • My family
  • People – getting to know them, serving them, teaching them, being with them

What’s your passion?

What propels you forward? What are the things in your life that drive you and that without, you would be bereft? Do these draw you to or away from God? Others? Yourself?

Find or rediscover your passion. It’s in you, let it out. If we live out the passion God poured into us, we will give him glory.

And if scripture is your passion or you’d like to discover if it could be your passion, join me to learn about the Gospel of Mark. You can join the group at any time. It is a no pressure group of supportive people who love God’s word.

Make Every Day Blessed – A new Stay Connected Journal

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

I recently spoke with Jen Frost, a sewist and fabric designer who wrote a book on living out the liturgical year. I didn’t mention it to Jen, but this is one of my favorite topics! How we can incorporate the Church seasons into our daily life is something I think is so important. It truly helps us to live out our faith every day. I also loved the way Jen said it, it helps her make “my faith my own.” If you want more specific information on the Church seasons, I have an episode for you.

A little about Jen

Creating has always been a part of her life; she learned to hand sew at a very young age, and remembers her mom sewing Halloween each year. Jen’s mother-in-law quilts. She introduced Jen to it and she fell in love with it – and that Christmas, after not being able to find an Advent quilt pattern available on the market, Jen taught herself how to write quilt patterns and published her first pattern: Advent Wreaths.

For Jen, creating Christian patterns is a beautiful way to share faith through gorgeous quilts and fabrics! She fills a niche in the quilt pattern market that wasn’t being filled before. Jen appreciates the inclusion that offering faith-filled patterns brings and being able to connect with so many different denominations.

From sewing to writing

Back in 2015, Jen met Allison Gingras on a podcast interview for Catholic Creatives. The pair stayed in touch and when Allison put together a group of women to write the Stay Connected Journals she asked Jen to write the one on liturgical living.

What’s in the book?

The book, published by Our Sunday Visitor,  has 7 chapters, each focusing on a different Chruch season. Advent, Lent, Easter, Christmas and Ordinary Time are discussed. There are scripture references and questions to ponder to help make a connection between the word and everyday life. And while it can read cover to cover, Jen suggests reading it just before the next season, so you’re not reading about Christmas in July! In fact, she has a book club set up on her website that does just that. Take a look at it and consider joining in!

Not Lukewarm Challenge

This week, Jen invites you to consider your family and faith traditions and find out a little more about it. Where does it come from? Why do you do it?  So maybe you’ll ask a family member or maybe it requires a bit of internet research, but either way, find out a bit more!

Jen’s website, Faith and Fabric. 

Buy her new book!



Essential Oils of the Scriptures Part 1

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Podcast #30

Essential Oils of the Scriptures

Part 1

It All Started at the Beginning of Creation…

It all started in Genesis! From the very beginning of the creation story, plants and herbs are mentioned. Plants are not only fundamental for our planet, but they are also intimately tied to the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of people. This has been noted since the beginning of time.

These passages support that notion.

  • Ezekiel 47:12
  • Revelation 22:2

Herbs, Oils and Essential Oils Used for Incense and Prayer

Oils were essential to daily living back in Biblical times. In fact, the word “oil” appears in the Bible 190 times which is more than the words believe, grace and joy!

There are mixed opinions on whether fragranced oils (early versions of essential oils) were truly essential oils or if they were just olive oil that was heavily infused with different herbs and plants. As early as 3500 B.C. distillation pots have been found.

Biblical References to Incense

In Exodus 30:34-35, the Lord actually gives Moses a Holy Incense recipe. They then use that recipe later when a plague came through in the book of Numbers 17: 11-13.

Anointing & Oils in Ancient Times

Oils were used for both anointing and healing in the Bible. God also gives Moses a Holy Anointing Oil Recipe in Exodus. How cool is it that God is giving out recipes 🙂

Fun facts

500 Shekels is about 12.5 lbs, and a hin is 1 gallon. So this recipe made up about 24 quarts of oil! You can imagine the value of this oil blend! This blend was also put on wafers and unleavened bread and eaten, which shows that essential oils were used topically and internally.

The Importance of Anointing

Now, let’s back up for a minute and talk about the practice of anointing which was big in Biblical times and unfortunately has become lost over the years. The origin of anointing was from the shepherds of the day. Lice and other insects would often get into the wool of sheep. From this, anointing became symbolic of blessing, protection, and empowerment.

The New Testament Greek words for “anoint” are:

  • chrio which means “to smear or rub with oil” and, by implication, “to consecrate for office or religious service”
  • aleipho which means “to anoint

During Biblical times, people were anointed with oil to signify God’s blessing. They were also used to call that person to role or position in their life.

We see this in the following passages:

  • The Anointing of Aaron: Leviticus 8:10-12
  • The Anointing of Saul: 1 Samuel 10:1
  • The Anointing of David: 1 Samuel 16:12-13
  • The Anointing of Jesus: John 12:3
  • Jesus and the Disciples Anointed People: Mark 6:12-13
  • God the Father anoints Jesus: Hebrews 1:8-9

This is just the beginning of Essential Oils and the Bible.

Learn more next week about:

  • 12 of the Essential oils of the Bible
  • ancient uses for them
  • how we can use them today

You want to grab your oils now, you can find them here.

As always, be grateful & have faith!

God Bless!

Mom to Mom Radio Show

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

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Mom-to-Mom Radio Show with Cindy Rushton

Welcome to Mom-to-Mom Radio Show! Your time of encouragement mom-to-mom! Join Cindy Rushton, your show hostess, as she joins you weekly for YOUR show—mom-to-mom.

Mom-to-Mom Radio Show covers it all for godly women! Imagine! You can retreat with us as often as you would like (and forever!) as we take you from home to homeschool to home business to homemaking… ALL IN OUR AWESOME ONLINE RADIO SHOW!!

Cindy Rushton unashamedly confesses that nothing invigorates her quite like getting out there WITH you. BUT…this is the next best thing! These podcasts are recorded mom-to-mom, on teleseminars and online workshop, and during our workshops on the road. You are going to LOVE these whether you join us right there at YOUR computer or you take us along on your Mp3 player! Ready?

We are so excited to be able to bring to you regular recordings that should meet you wherever you are in your journey. Just take a look at the potpourri of topics you can expect to see Cindy cover here:

  • Restoring balance to overloaded lives
  • Building a godly legacy
  • Stepping up the call
  • Defeat busyness
  • Dare to dream
  • Getting the “good” things done
  • Setting and reaching your goals, to-do’s, dreams, and life purpose
  • Living victoriously when tough times come
  • Building a godly home and godly family
  • Becoming a godly womanhood
  • Holidays
  • Homeschooling
  • Getting fit and healthy—spirit, soul, and body!
  • Let’s Make a Memory
  • Living out your life purpose
  • Make sweet memories
  • Building a happier and happier ever after marriage
  • Mentoring and ministry
  • Mothering
  • Organization for the Messy Mom
  • Positioned for Your Purpose
  • Pressing toward the mark
  • Secrets to ultimate productivity
  • Pursuing Proverbs 31
  • Developing your quiet time
  • Establishing disciplines, routines and schedules
  • Taking Care of Mom to-do’s
  • Getting unstuck
  • Victorious living
  • Developing and pursuing God’s vision

Connect with us today! Listen online. Follow our RSS feed. Sign up for our updates. Follow Cindy at her website. This show is YOUR show. Don’t miss even one episode! For now, pour a BIG cup of tea and dig in! It is YOUR time mom-to-mom! Enjoy!

About Cindy Rushton…

Cindy2015Cindy Rushton is a Christian author, speaker and minister who currently lives in Greater Nashville Area. She is the mother of Matthew (31) and Elisabeth (28) and Mimi to Joshua (7), Achilles (5) and Oliver  (2). Cindy is the author of almost 150 books, Bible studies, Action Guides and homeschool resources. She has produced thousands of audio workshops and online classes/conferences/podcasts. If that is not enough, she also manages her own website found at and her own blog: Cindy’s Desk(Top!) and she hosts and produces the popular online radio show, Iron-Sharpening-Iron Podcast (another featured podcast here at UCPN). Cindy can be found online on social media (see links at her website to connect with her). Cindy also enjoys working as a background actress for shows like ABC’s Nashville and various movies/videos.

Go check her out today and get to know Cindy and all that she has going on. You will find a friend who will come alongside you during your journey. She will be there to encourage, inspire, empower, and share practical ideas that are sure to help you step up to the call.