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

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

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

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

Reversals Continue

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

No Plundering (Esther 9: 1-17)

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

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

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

Banquets and Feasts in Esther

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

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

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

The Hero of the Book of Esther is GOD

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

Remembering God’s Goodness

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

Personal Reflection

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

New Podcast Series & Cup of JOY Women™

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

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

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

Esther Reigns as Queen

Creative Solutions for Esther & Her People

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

In this podcast, we will cover the following points.

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

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

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

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

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

Personal Reflection

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

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

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Esther for This Time #8 – Reversals Begin

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

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

God Loves Reversals

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

Three Reversals

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

God’s Intervention

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

A Peripety

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

God Reverses Evil (Esther 7: 1-8)

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

Persian Culture

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

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

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

Personal Reflection

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

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Esther for This Time #7 – God-Designed Comedy

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

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

God-designed Comedy

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

In Between Dinner Parties

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

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

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

God’s Reversals (Esther 6: 12)

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

Haman Humbled (Esther 6: 13-14)

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

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

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

Personal Reflection

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

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

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

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

Pray, Wait & Discern

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

Esther Puts Her Life on the Line

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

The Third Day (Esther 5: 1-8)

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

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

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

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

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

 Haman and His Prized Sons

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

Personal Reflection

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

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

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Your Mission For Such a Time as This

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

A Passover Turned to Weeping

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

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

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

Today, we cover these points:

Sackcloth and Ashes (Esther 4: 1-4)

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

Persian Palace Life (Esther 4: 5-12)

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

National Fasting (Esther 4: 13-17)

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

Planning a Fast

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

Personal Reflection

Today, our story teaches us:

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

Application

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

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

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Unwavering Resolve & the First Edict

Esther for This Time #4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mordecai is Resolute (Esther 3: 1-6)

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

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

The Pur

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

The Plan

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

The Drink

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

Personal Reflection: Unwavering Resolve

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

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Openness & Self-emptying

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Lent – it’s not only about you

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

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

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

3 Pillars of Lent

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

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

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

Our attitude has an effect on others.

 

Connect with me here!

 

Back to Prayer Basics

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

What does the Catechism say about prayer?

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

“For me, prayer is a surge of the heart;
it is a simple look turned toward heaven,
it is a cry of recognition and of love,
embracing both trial and joy.”  St. Therese of Lisieux

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

2024 is a Year of Prayer

Some important points from the press conference:

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

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

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

Sign up for my newsletter to learn more about prayer!

 

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

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

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

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

The Advent JOY Podcast

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

Advent JOY in the Hill Country

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Three Months of Sharing Hearts

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

Advent Application

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

Links

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

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

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

Check out more podcasts here!

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

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

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

God Hear & God Answers

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

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

The Meaning of Advent

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

The People, Prayers, and Events

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

The First of Two Annunciations

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

Gabriel, The Might of God and No Puny Angel

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

Personal Reflection

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

Application and Prayer Points

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links

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

Check out more podcasts here!

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

What does God say is perfect prayer?

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

How are we to pray?

So often, we think, because of the way we were taught, that prayer is “talking to God.” And while that is true, we also need to be silent and listen to him and be with him.

Words to Catherine

God’s words to Catherine of Siena: “You see then, that perfect prayer is not arrived at through many words, but through affection or desire, when the soul raises itself to me, knowing itself and my mercy, seasoned one with the other.  Thus, the soul will practice mental and vocal prayer together, for even as the active and contemplative are one, so are they.”  God further goes on to explain vocal and mental prayer, vocal being the type of prayer we say aloud or in our mind, while mental prayer is prayer without words, for being united with God.  He also explains that “mental prayer is reached by exercise and perseverance”  and that vocal prayer, practiced persistently, will lead to “perfect mental prayer.”

Learn more about different types of prayer when you sign up for my newsletter. 

Advent Season

Advent begins on December 3, 2023, and ends on December 24, 2023. It is a mere 22 days. Instead of trying to fill it with all the things, consider lighting your Advent wreath or a candle, reading the daily Gospel and then sitting in silence for 15 minutes a day. God desires to fill you with his grace and blessings; give him the time to do that for you.

Pray More Advent Retreat

Learn more about the retreat and sign up to join us!

 

 

Wrapped in JOY and Armored in Prayer – Joyful & Battle Ready #8

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Wrapped in JOY & Armored in Prayer

Pray at Every Opportunity (Ephesians 6:18)

Wrapped in JOY and Armored in Prayer

Is there a way to stay wrapped in Joy and Armored in God? This final podcast of the Joyful and Battle-Ready series focuses on the key to living in  JOY and being protected with armor. So join the podcast today and discover how prayer secures your JOY and activates your armor.  Join us today as we cover these points:

True and Lasting JOY

  • As the Scriptures point out, prayer is the key to staying wrapped in joy and armored.
  • Psalm 16 reminds us that God offers the fullness of JOY in his presence.
  • In John 15 11, Jesus says, Abide in my love…  I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.
  • To abide in God’s love means we are always in communication with him in prayer.

Prayer and JOY

  • Essential points covered in the last eight weeks include: 1) receiving JOY from God the Father, Jesus our Savior, and the Holy Spirit our fruit bearer of JOY, 2) asking God to increase your capacity to receive His Joy and Love, 3) Praising and thanking God-two of the five forms of prayer associated with JOY, 4) Using the Prayer and Holy Imagery to defeat Joy Busters, 6) Rejoicing to stop worry, 7) Reading and Praying scripture leads to deep spiritual JOY.
  • Prayer is the path to JOY.

Prayer and The Armor of God

  • After the armor message of Ephesians 6: 17, verse 18 says: With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones (NABRE). The NRSVCE translation says: Pray at all times…
  • Interestingly, PRAYER isn’t called a piece of armor but is connected to the armor.
  • There was not any punctuation or separation of sentences in the original New Testament Greek manuscripts, so the need to pray at all times connects to the armor.
  • We have found that each piece represents Jesus, whom we come to daily, and, in a sense, we “put on Jesus daily.” So we put the armor on with prayer.

Pray at Every Opportunity in the Spirit

  • Prayer to Christians is like oxygen to life- live and breathe with prayer.
  • Many Christians say, “All we can do is pray.” We should say, “We will pray. God will hear, and He will change everything.”
  • When prayer is the atmosphere we breathe, and we keep breathing it, the Holy Spirit is released to work in unimaginable ways, and supernatural graces and gifts are poured out.
  • Heaven will even surprise us when we stay connected with the King of Kings and His Kingdom in prayer!

Pray at all times, Aware of His Presence

  • The Catholic Church defines prayer as a “vital and personal relationship with the living and true God” (CCC 2558). It is “Christian…insofar as it is communion with Jesus Christ” – ” a covenant relationship between God and man in Christ”(CCC 2565, 2564).”
  • Prayer is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. In relationship with a living God, we are continually communing with our Savior. God is with us always. He is for us. He is our Helper in all things.
  • Praying at all times means you are constantly connecting with your closest friend.

Praying at every opportunity

  • Praying at every opportunity, as translated in the NABRE, conveys that opportunities arise at various times of every day and evening. We need to pause momentarily and give that event or situation to Jesus.
  • For example, in Nehemiah 6:9, he prayed, “But now, O God, strengthen my hands.”

Confidence in Prayer

  • Praying at every opportunity establishes a deep personal bond between you and your Heavenly Father in everything you do. It is always heart-to-heart with your heart speaking directly to the Heart of Jesus. He hears you.
  • Pope Francis says, “Prayer is more than just a physical, emotional, or intellectual act; it is an inner desire to encounter God with confidence.   God has revealed Himself to us in His Son, Jesus Christ. So, the prayer of a Christian brings us into a relationship with God without any fear or trepidation. One can establish a relationship built on confidence with Him in prayer” (May 5, 2020).

Personal Reflection

  • Remember all that God taught you in Ephesians 6 about standing strong and firm in battle. Read Ephesians 6 often.
  • Visualize yourself putting on each piece of the armor of God—the Belt of Truth, the Breastplate of Righteousness, Shoes ready to Proclaim the Gospel of Peace, the Shield of Faith, the Helmet of Salvation, the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Lord of God, plus, Praying at every opportunity in the Spirit. Act it out in your mind. Try it!

 Cup of JOY Women or Cup of JOY Gathering

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

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

Links

 

 

 

The JOY of Scripture & Wielding the Sword of the Spirit (Joyful & Battle Ready #7)

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Did you know that JOY is associated with reading and praying with scripture? The Word of God promises a deep spiritual joy in interacting with God via His Word.  Join the podcast today as we cover the pleasures found in the Word of God and how to use the Word as a Sword of the Spirit to protect your mind and emotions from attacks of the evil one.

Join us today as we cover these points:

Deep Spiritual JOY

  • Happy in Psalm 1 (ASRAI in Hebrew) more closely means—a deep spiritual joy (Ross, A. P. (2011).
  • The BENEFIT is the deep, joyous pleasure and satisfaction that will come when you listen to the Lord in verses of Scripture and interact with Him around the verses.

Four Stages of Prayer

  • In The Armchair Mystic, Rev. Mark Thibodeaux describes four stages of prayer, summarized as: Talking at God, Talking to God. Listening to God speak in Scripture daily and Resting in God’s presence,
  • Stage 4 is the goal.

Joy and Healing

  • Another benefit of reading and praying God’s word: HEALING
  • Basil the Great said: “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).

 WRAP – Simplified Lectio Divina for Reading and Praying with Scripture

  • WRAP is an acronym for reading, praying, and reflecting on Scripture, and it works best if you journal what you hear (from WRAP Yourself in Scripture, a book by Karen & Larry Dwyer, Institute of Priestly Formation,
  • WRAP aims to foster a personal encounter with Jesus in the Scriptures so that the words come alive and you hear God speak to YOUR HEART.
  • It’s a form of Lectio Divina— which the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines as reading to hear God speak to you and meditating on His Words so that it becomes your prayer (CCC 1177).

WRAP Method

  • W: Write down the verse that inspires you or seems to arise out of the passage.
  • R: Reflect on the principles/ ideas the verse is inspiring in you & record your thoughts. (Mull Over, Mentally Picture, Mutter, & Memorize.)
  • A: Apply the principles. Write down your response to the Scripture & how it applies to your life today.
  • P: Pray and praise. Talk with Jesus about what the verse opened in your heart.

The Sword of the Spirit

  • In Ephesians 6:17, Paul calls the Word the Sword of the Spirit.
  • The Roman soldier carried his sword in his belt (or girdle).
  • The Romans employed two types of swords: the “rpomphaia” (Revelation 1,2), a large, long, and broad sword that took two hands to wield, and the “makchaira” ( Ephesians 6: 17), a short 6” to 18” sharp and piercing dagger for hand-to-hand combat.

A Formidable and Sure Defense

  • Hebrews 4:12 describes the WORD of God as “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, …able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
  • The Word brings truth where there is falsehood, light where there is darkness, and joy where there is sorrow. Psalm 119: 11, 105
  • Luke 4: 1-13 shows Jesus using the Word of God in defense all three times.
  • We can speak the Scriptures to help us stand firm against temptations, discouragement, fear, or other attack on our faith.

An Offensive Weapon

  • You can hide God’s Word in your heart to help identify and reject sin and strengthen your inner person.
  • When you share the Word with someone—especially a word that deeply moved you—it is a sword that pierces another’s heart.

Personal Reflection: Sword of the Spirit Declarations

  • You can WIELD THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT with these Declarations from God’s Word:
  1. I will love and read God’s Word daily (Psalm 119: 11, NRSVCE).
  2. The Word of God is “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119: 105, NRSVCE).
  3. The Word of God is my defensive weapon as Jesus showed in his fight with the evil one (Matthew 4:10-11, NRSVCE).
  4. When I gently share the Word of God with others, I can be confident that God’s Word is “living and active (Hebrews 4:12, NRSVCE).

  Cup of JOY Women

Consider hosting a weekly one-hour cup of Joy women’s small group study accompanying this podcast.  It’s free! The next opportunity if for Advent JOY.

  • For information, please email karen@wrapyourselfinjoy.com

Links

Stop Worry, Return to JOY and Put on the Helmet of Salvation – Joyful & Battle Ready #6

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Stop Worry, Return to JOY and Put on the Helmet of Salvation

Stop Worry, Return to JOY and Put on the Helmet of Salvation

Stop Worry, Return to JOY and Put on the Helmet of Salvation (Joyful & Battle Ready #6)

Are you ready to stop the worry and return to JOY?  Worry is the big JOY thief that brings on fretting. In only a few dances with fretting, you will be exhausted. Your JOY will be sidelined. Join us today and discover how to stop the worry, return to JOY, and put on the Helmet of Salvation to protect your thoughts and reasoning about what God has done for you.

Join us today as we cover these points:

Do You Worry?

  • You will find that worry is not only a joybuster but also a joy thief.
  • In Matthew 6: 25 34, Jesus talks directly to us about worry.

Worry Defined

  • The Cambridge Dictionary defines –  to give way to anxiety or uneasiness, to allow one’s mind to continually dwell on difficulties and troubles, to think about problems and become distracted.
  • Even Jesus shows the anxiety and distraction connection.
  • Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things, but there is a need for only one thing (Luke 10 41- 42).

Fretting

  • The Hebrew word we translate as fretting includes firing up rage and kindling anger.
  • The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a fret as a worry, an annoyance, a discontentment that gnaws at you.
  • Fretting eats away at your peace.
  • Psalm 37 advises, Do NOT fret.

Actions Advised in Philippians 4: 4-7

  • Rejoice means to return to joy. Actively be glad, actively pursue joy.
  • In prayer and supplication, make your requests known to the Lord.
  • For every need you express in prayer, offer a thanksgiving about something related.
  • Receive peace. The peace of God will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

The Helmet of Salvation

  • Ephesians 6:17 says we must “take the helmet of salvation.
  • Pope Francis says the helmet is “not so much that of acknowledging the Resurrection of Jesus — everyone believes in it — but of believing in the resurrection of the dead.”
  • The helmet of a Roman soldier called a galea, was designed to cover the head with thick leather enclosed in beaten metals of iron and bronze, protecting the head from weapons of warfare causing injury.
  • The helmet of salvation shows that Satan’s flaming arrows target our minds and are directed at our faith in Jesus, who paid the price for our salvation with his passion, death, and resurrection.
  • The devil will try to discourage you and destroy your faith.

Personal Reflection: Helmet of Salvation Declarations

  • Take the Helmet of Salvation in defense against the evil one who pushes doubts to divert you from the truth of eternal life in Jesus Christ.
  • Starting today, say the Apostles Creed often.
  • Remind yourself of the Helmet of Salvation Declarations with the truths from Scripture:
  1. Eternal life is in Jesus, and it’s for me (Romans 8: 12).
  2. I will not be anxious about my salvation (Romans 5: 8-9).
  3. I do not need to worry; I can know I have eternal life (1 John 5: 11-13).

  Cup of JOY Women

Consider hosting a weekly one-hour cup of joy women’s small group study that accompanies this podcast, and you can begin anytime.  It’s free!

  • For information, please email karen@wrapyourselfinjoy.com

Links

 

 

 

Defeat Joy Busters & Take Up the Shield of Faith (JOYFUL & Battle Ready #5)

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

How are you at defeating Joy Busters?  Everyone faces those situations that can steal their JOY. But you can develop a plan to stop their impact on your life. You can become AWARE of the JOY Busters, UNDERSTAND their sources, and TAKE ACTION to stop their influence. Join the podcast today to uncover the actions you can take to defeat JOY Busters and learn how to” take up the shield of faith to quench the flaming arrows” coming at you.

JOY Busters

  • Merriam-Webster defines a buster “as a person or thing that breaks up, overpowers, or eliminates something.”
  • A JOY buster breaks up, overpowers, or steals your joy and includes, for example, interruptions to plans, hurt feelings, discouragements, fear, family quarrels, busyness, complaints, and weariness. Today, we will cover these points:

Joy Busting Responses

  • How do you respond to JOY Busters, called JOYBUSTING?
  • Joybusting happens when our emotions take over, and our responses leave us with more negative feelings and challenging relationships.
  • Joybusting includes, for example, angry outbursts, discouragement, fretting, gossip, negative thoughts, overeating, over partying, over drinking, over shopping, profane talk,  procrastination, promiscuity,  more quarrels, bitterness, and more.

Plan to Reject Troubles of the Heart

  • In Galatians 5: 16-26, St. Paul reminds us that to conquer the JOYbusting, which he calls “works of the flesh,” is to LIVE by the Holy Spirit.
  • Timothy Gallagher says each person needs an action plan to reject troubles of the heart (JOY busters and joy busting): (1) Be aware, (2) Understand, and (3) Take action. (The Discernment of Spirits: An Ignatian Guide for Everyday Living, 2018).

 TIP: Three QUICK Actions to Defeat JOY Busting

  • You can take three simple actions to stop JOY Busting: thanksgiving, imagery, and persistence.

(1) Thanksgiving – immediately turn to Jesus with genuine thanksgiving

(2) Imagination- use holy imagination and picture Jesus with arms outstretched. You give him your joy buster.

(3) Persist – Persist in praising God and remembering the Thanksgiving JOY.

  • Also, consider getting a prayer partner to pray for more JOY for each other and to defeat JOYbusting.

The Shield of Faith

  • Ephesians 6:16. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
  • Pope Francis, when speaking on this verse, tells us how important it is to take the shield of faith: The devil is a liar; he is the father of lies. And as St. Paul says, we must be girded in the truth, armored in justice.Without faith, you cannot go forward; you cannot defend the salvation of Jesus. We need this shield of faith because the devil does not throw flowers at us but “flaming arrows” to kill us (General Audience, October 30, 2014).

The Roman Soldier’s Shield

  • In Roman history, at the time of Paul, a military soldier held a body shield to about 2.5 x 4 feet to protect himself from an enemy who hurled flaming arrows (dipped in pitch and set on fire) called “plumbata.”
  • Often, the soldiers interlocked shields in a “tortoise” formation – they raised their shields together overhead and in front so it looked like a tortoise.

Faith Defined

  • The word for faith used in New Testament Greek is “pistis,” which means to agree with, trust in, and live out what you believe.
  • Translated belief or faith, it appears at least 200 times in the New Testament
  • Hebrews 11: 1 defines faith, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” and then gives examples, including Noah, Abraham, and Moses.

Jesus is Our Shield

  • The Lord God says he is our shield. See Psalm 28:7, Psalm 33:20.
  • Proverbs 30:5. Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

Take Up Our Shield of Faith

1) Read the Word of God every day and keep the Scriptures in your mind and heart. Romans 10:17.

2) Pray that moment. Hebrews 2:2 says.

3) Turn to a Prayer Partner or prayer group – In Tortoise Formation, you lock shields with others.

Personal Reflection –Shield of Faith Declarations

You can take up a shield of Faith against temptations, fear, and doubt.” Call on the name of Jesus and repeat these truths aloud and often.

  • When the devil sends the flaming arrow of fear, you say Psalm 56:3. O Lord God, when I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” or Isaiah 41: 10. [the Lord says] … I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
  • When the devil sends the flaming arrow of temptation and doubts, you say Romans 8: 33-34. Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. He forgives us.
  • When the devil sends a flaming arrow saying you are getting old or God no longer cares and cannot use you, you say in Isaiah 46:4, The Lord says, even to your old age I am he, even when you turn gray I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save. Or Psalm 92: 13-14. The Lord says They are planted in the house of the Lord…In old age, they still produce fruit; they are always green and full of sap…

Finally, thank the Lord daily for your joys and for helping you defeat the JOY Busters.

  Cup of JOY Women

Consider hosting a weekly one-hour Cup of Joy Women’s small group study that accompanies this podcast, and you can begin anytime.  It’s free!

Links

Singing for JOY & Slipping on Gospel Shoes – Joyful & Battle Ready #4

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Singing for JOY & Slipping on Gospel Shoes

Singing for JOY & Slipping on Gospel Shoes

Singing for JOY &  Slipping on Gospel Shoes (#4 JOYFUL & Battle Ready)

Are you singing for JOY? Did you know there is a connection between praising God and experiencing more JOY and Peace? Join our podcast today as we cover singing for JOY and slipping on shoes, ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.

JOY and PEACE

When we praise 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. Even in hardships, we can sing praises to the Lord, and he will comfort us with deep, calming JOY. In addition, we can put on shoes of Gospel peace as part of the armor we wear everywhere we go.  In our  JOYFUL & Battle Ready series, Podcast #4 will cover these points:

The Praise-Joy Connection

  • Are your prayers primarily prayers of petition?
  • The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) #2644 encourages us to use all five forms of prayer: blessing/adoration, petition with contrition, intercession, thanksgiving, and praise.
  • There is a particular link of JOY with praise or thanksgiving prayers.

Enter God’s Courts with Praise

  • Psalm 100:3 says: Enter God’s gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise…
  • Pope Francis tells us to “NOT be formal Christians, prisoners of formality” (January 28, 2020).

A Garment of Praise

  • In Luke 4, Jesus said he was the fulfillment of Isaiah 61: 3- “to provide the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of discouragement.”
  • Jesus can give you a garment of praise, and it comes with the oil of JOY.

Paul and Silas Praise in a Desperate Situation, Miracles Happen

  • In Acts 16, at midnight and in the wretchedness of a Philippian jail, imprisoned Paul and Silas praised God as chains fell off and prison doors were opened.
  • CCC #2639 says, “Praise is the form of prayer…it gives God glory for his own sake, quite beyond what he has done, but simply for who he is.”

A Garment of Praise

  • Praise God with the psalms, instruments, singing, shouting, and clapping hands (Psalm 150, 100).
  • Praise does not have to be complicated. You can tell Jesus you love Him and praise Him …
  • Spend just one minute of praise this week, and it will be life-changing.

The Armor of God – The Battle Shoes

  • Ephesians 6: 15: As shoes for your feet, put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.
  • Roman soldiers wore shoes to avoid the battlefield’s rocks, sticks, and debris.
  • Shoes were a combination of heavy sandals and boots with soles of layered leather clenched together with metal studs that could grip the ground for traction.

Peace

  • Isaiah 52: 7 says: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
  • Peace means harmony and tranquility, without inner conflict, even amid chaos and upheaval.
  • In John 16: 33, Jesus said: I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

Proclaim

  • In Mark 16:15, [Jesus] said, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
  • The best way to start sharing your faith is to share your relationship with Jesus, including His answers to your prayers and your thanksgiving.

St. Pope John Paul II

  • Pope John Paul II in Catechesis in Our Time (1979) said the faithful must proclaim the Gospel message. The Gospel kerygma: – “ the initial ardent proclamation by which a person is brought to the decision to entrust himself to Jesus Christ by faith — is gradually deepened, developed,”  and “channeled towards Christian practice in the Church and the world” (CT 25).
  • Remind your friend how much God loves her and wants her to experience His love and presence.
  • Invite her to entrust her life to Jesus, to give Him their baggage and shame, and to ask for forgiveness.
  • You can prepare yourself with a few words of Scripture about God’s love and how Jesus is the sacrifice for all sin. Invite the person to trust Jesus now.
  • Then, of course, invite your friends to church and keep helping them along the Christian journey.

Personal Reflection – Shoes of Peace Declarations

  • These Shoes of Peace Declarations from Scripture can help you stand firm in peace so that you are “ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.”
  • When the devil tries to make you afraid to proclaim, you can proclaim: The Prince of Peace lives in me. (John 14:23). I have his peace. I will not let my heart be troubled or afraid. I will stand firm in Jesus, my Lord, and my strength, my God in whom I trust.  Repeat John 14:27.
  • When the devil whispers, you are NOT ready to proclaim the Gospel. You say: In Jesus, I am prepared and willing to share the Gospel with anyone. It is what Jesus calls me to do. I am not ashamed to talk about Jesus and my faith with family, friends, or others. Repeat Romans 1: 16.  I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…”
  • Finally, remember to praise and thank the Lord -just one minute of praising the Name of Jesus every day can be life-changing and joy-filling. You can find a free bookmark on my website to help you with ways to praise the Lord.

 Cup of JOY Women

Consider hosting a weekly one-hour Cup of Joy Women’s small group study that accompanies this podcast, and you can begin anytime.  It’s free!

  • Pray about accepting this opportunity to engage others and gently evangelize a small group of friends over coffee or tea.
  • For information, email me or go to Cup of Joy Women.

Links

Give in to God

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

A Saint and A Prayer

St. Charles de Foucauld may be a new saint to you. He was to me. Here is some information about his life and work.  He lived and served as a priest, hermit, and missionary in France and Algeria.

Here is the Prayer of Abandon

Father, I abandon myself into your hands, do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you: I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord. Into your hands, I commend my soul;
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart;
For I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself:
To surrender myself into your hands without reserve and with boundless confidence. For you are my Father.

When You Cannot Find the Words to Pray

Life can wear us down, and our prayer life can suffer.  If you can’t find the words to pray, use the words of others!

This prayer, in particular, will help you know and understand God’s will for your life. The line that stands out for me is, “I love you, Lord, and need to give myself, to surrender myself not your hands, without reserve and with boundless confidence, for you are my Father.”

Give your all to the One who gave you all!

 

Pray the Prayer of Abandon every day this week.

If you’d like to invite me to speak at your parish or organization, let’s start the conversation!

Heaven Rejoices & We Put on the Breastplate of Righteousness (JOYFUL & Battle Ready #3)

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Heaven Rejoices & We Put on the Breastplate of Righteousness

Heaven Rejoices & the Breastplate of Righteousness

Heaven Rejoices and We Put on Righteousness

Did you know you serve a joy-filled God who rejoices over you?  Join us today as we cover the rejoicing of heaven and the songs God sings over you. You will discover how to put on the Breastplate of Righteousness to protect your heart, keep the JOY, and stand firm against the devil’s lies of your unworthiness.

Heavenly JOY

Last week, we defined true and lasting joy, and with that in mind, we prayed with the More JOY Prayer Guide. We pursue JOY,  invite JOY, and pray for more JOY! This week, we start with Heaven’s JOY. Today, we cover these points:

The JOY of the Lord

  • “The joy of the Lord is my strength” is the source of our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
  • God and all of heaven are joyful and want to share it with us.
  • Some think God is a grump; if we follow him, we are destined for a life lacking any fun. That is NOT the truth.

Heavenly JOY

  • The Scriptures call our attention to God’s joyful creation (e.g., Psalm 61: 12-13).
  • The Lord takes pleasure in you and even sings over you (e.g., Zephaniah 3: 17).
  • God is a celebrating God (e.g., Luke 15: 20-24).
  • The angels rejoice when one sinner repents (e.g., Luke 15: 8-10)

Put on the Breastplate of Righteousness Over Your Heart

  • We put on the “breastplate of righteousness ” to protect our hearts (Ephesians 6: 14).
  • In spiritual language, the heart “refers to our inner orientation, the core of our being,” including our “thoughts, feelings, and desires.” (Fr. John Horn, S.J., Heart Speaks to Heart, IPF Publications).
  • Jesus is concerned for your heart (Matthew 15:19).
  • So is the devil, so you must guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23).

What is Righteousness?

  • The Catholic Dictionary of the Bible defines righteousness as “communion in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ through which we begin a new life in the spirit –a life in which we live in Christ and Christ lives in us”( p. 743).
  • Righteousness can be summarized as the Right Relationship and Right Living (e.g., 2 Corinthians 5:15).

Jesus Christ, the Righteous One

  • The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains Righteousness: “Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ. It was granted us through Baptism. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who justifies us. …It is the most excellent work of God’s mercy” (CCC, 2020).
  •  The Scriptures tell us we do not have to produce righteousness on our own; we can look to “Jesus Christ” (Romans 5: 17).

Personal Reflection: Breastplate of Righteousness Declarations

  • Lies: The devil will whisper lies to attack your thoughts, feelings, and desires, especially saying you are unworthy.
  1. You cannot expect God to keep loving you and helping you.
  2. You should be discouraged and fearful. You do not deserve His help.
  3. You can never be holy; it’s too difficult to follow God and be righteous.
  • Truths: When faced with spiritual warfare, put on the breastplate of righteousness. In the mighty power of Jesus Christ, speak these Breastplate Declarations (inserting your own name in the verse).
  1. In Jesus, I am the righteousness of God. (Repeat 2 Corinthians 5: 21).
  2. I live in Jesus Christ. I am forgiven and free. I refuse to feel discouraged, downcast, or fearful. (Repeat Galatians 2: 20).
  3. I will follow the ways of the Lord because they will bring JOY, not hardship. (Repeat Psalm 19: 9 and 14 aloud.)

 Cup of JOY Women

Consider hosting a weekly one-hour Cup of Joy Women’s small group study that accompanies this podcast, and you can begin anytime.  It’s free!

  • Pray about accepting this opportunity to engage others and gently evangelize a small group of friends over coffee or tea.
  • For information, email me or go to Cup of Joy Women.

Links

 

Drenched with JOY & Armored in Truth (JOYFUL & Battle Ready #2)

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Drenched with JOY & Armored in Truth

Drenched with JOY

Would you like to be drenched in JOY and armored in truth?  Are you willing to put on the armor of God to stand firm to keep the joy, to stand strong against fear, and to put on the armor of God to protect yourself from lies?  Join us today as we cover how to define JOY, receive more joy, and put on the belt of truth.

Heavenly JOY

Last week, we learned that Jesus has complete JOY for you, God the Father has JOY and pleasures for you, and the Holy Spirit produces JOY in your life. So, how do we get more of this JOY?

Today, we cover these points:

A Niagara Falls of God’s Love & JOY

  • Many times, we come to our Heavenly Father—who is a Niagara Falls of Love, and we hold out only a teaspoon to catch it.
  • We must increase our capacity to receive more great love and joy.

Defining JOY

  • After searching many definitions of Joy and primarily based on the teachings of our last three popes, we find a definition of true JOY.
  • We cover the quote from my book, Wrap Yourself in JOY.
  • The definition involves mind, soul, body, and spirit and its Trinitarian.

 

The More JOY Prayer Guide

  • We ask God to increase our capacity for JOY.
  • We receive His Love and Joy daily.
  • We thank Jesus for the JOY Rays.
  • We praise Him with Scripture.

It’s Warfare

  • Ephesians 6 was written when Roman soldiers and guards surrounded Paul in prison.
  • The Holy Spirit likely inspired him as he observed the Roman soldier’s armor.

The Belt of Truth

  • The BELT for a soldier served as a girdle to support his core or loins and stabilize his weapons.
  • Pilate answered Jesus, “What is truth?”
  • In John 14:6, Jesus defined truth: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
  • Run to Jesus, our truth. Let him lead you.

Put on Truth

  • The devil’s favorite lies are targeted at your JOY, happiness, and identity as a Christian.
  • Do not give into deception, diversion, discouragement, or division.
  • In John 17: 17, Jesus prayed, “Consecrate them in the truth. Your [God’s]word is truth.”
  • Fill your mind with the truths of God and His word. Don’t let a day go by without reading Scripture, even for just 5 minutes.

Personal Reflection: Biblical Belt of Truth Declarations

Girdle UP!! Make Jesus your Core.  Do not give into deception, diversion, discouragement, or division. Declare and remind yourself of these truths:

1.     For Deception (Identity), the Truth: I am the daughter [or son] of God. God knows me and loves me. Romans 8:15.“

2.     For Diversion (God doesn’t hear my prayers), the Truth:  My prayers are powerful and effective, and nothing can separate me from the love of God. He listens, and He is answering.  James 5: 16.

3.     For Discouragement (You are fearful- God can’t meet your needs), the Truth: The Lord has not given me a spirit of fear but one of power, love, and a sound mind.  With the help of the Holy Spirit, I can understand His Word and reserve time to pray and read Scripture daily. 2 Timothy 1:7.

 Cup of JOY Women

Consider hosting a weekly one-hour Cup of Joy Women’s small group study for seven weeks.  It accompanies this podcast, and you can begin anytime.  It’s free!

  • Pray about accepting this opportunity to engage others and gently evangelize by hosting a small group of friends over coffee or tea.
  • For information, email me or go to Cup of Joy Women.

Links

 

Embrace the JOY and Stand FIRM! JOYFUL & Battle Ready #1

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Do you find it difficult to embrace JOY and at the same time stand firm in life’s battles? You are not alone. Daily, we all face challenges and fears. Join us today as we discuss embracing true JOY, standing firm, and being strong in the Lord when facing fears and struggles.

Happiness and Joy are Not the Same

About 45% of 12,000 people surveyed say they have not felt true happiness since before the pandemic. Around 25% surveyed say they don’t know, or have forgotten, what it means to feel truly happy (Oracle).  The natural question is this: Are JOY and happiness the same thing? We will find that happiness depends on external circumstances, while true joy is “a gift that fills us from within” and “is to be searched for and shared continuously (Pope Francis. May 10, 2013).   Today, we cover these points:

You Are Made for JOY

  • If you allow God to give you His JOY, it will change your life.
  • It can even change the atmosphere around you!
  • Three Scriptures help you get started in your search for more JOY: John 15: 9-11, Psalm 16: 9-11, and Galatians 5: 22-23. JOY and LOVE are fruits of the HOLY Spirit, the result of the presence of the Holy Spirit living within YOU.
  • Jesus died for your sins and mine. When he arose from the dead, as promised (e.g., John 14: 15-26; John 16: 7), God sent the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit wants to produce deep, lasting JOY in your life.

JOY and Love From the Trinity Declarations

  • Jesus, my Savior. You love me like the Heavenly Father loves You, and You want to give me your JOY—complete JOY. Thank YOU, Jesus, I embrace it. (John 15: 9-11)
  • Heavenly Father. You LOVE me and offer me gladness and fullness of JOY in Your presence.  Thank YOU, Father, I receive it. (Psalm 16: 9-11)
  • Holy Spirit. You love me and produce the fruit of JOY in & through me. Thank YOU, Holy Spirit, fill me afresh today. (Galatians 5: 22-25)

It’s a Battle!

  • Now, we move to Ephesians 6: 10-14, where we are told by St. Paul we must be prepared for battle.
  • Therefore, when Paul wrote Ephesians 6, he was imprisoned “in chains” (v. 20) and knew hardships, challenges, and struggles.
  • Paul tells us to be strong in the Lord and stand firm.

Stand Firm, Stand Strong

  • To stand is a military term meaning “to hold a position” and “to resist an impending attack” (Collins).
  • To stand firm as Christians means we are prepared to resist an attack, and we look to our commander, Jesus Christ.
  • “To be strong in the Lord means to rely on God’s strength, God’s power, and God’s courage.

Wiles

  • Paul calls the attacks we face the devil’s wiles (cunning strategies and ensnarement).
  • In the book The Devil You Don’t Know, Fr. Louis Cameli says there are many common wiles of the devil with which you will struggle, including Deception, Division, Diversion, and Discouragement.
  • The Catechism of the Catholic Church (409) clearly speaks: This dramatic situation of “the whole world is in the power of the evil one” [1 John 5: 19] makes man’s life a battle.

Recognizing Spiritual Warfare

  • Recognize if you are in spiritual warfare and facing some arrows or wiles.
  • You may be facing what the Bible calls the devil, tempter, murderer, accuser, liar, stumbling block, and adversary.

Personal Reflection – The Rs to Stand Firm and Stand Strong

  • You can “strengthen yourself in the Lord” and not depend on your own strength to fight against the wiles, using the “3 R’s” to combat the devil in any of your struggles:
  1. REMEMBER and Receive God’s Love and JOY. Daily, declare the JOY and Love from the Trinity declarations.
  2. RESIST the devil, his wiles, and temptations. Don’t let the accuser win. Participate in the sacrament of reconciliation and go forward.
  3. RENEW your mind with Scripture. God’s Word will give you strength to stand firm and resist the wiles and lies. See Romans 12:2.
  • Finally, be strong in the Lord (Ephesians 6: 10). Weakness is no excuse to lay down and be spiritually slaughtered. The Lord wants to be your strength in weakness. Call upon the Name of Jesus. Try to memorize and declare every day this week: Ephesians 6: 10-14. Put your name in the words so you pray with Scripture.

 Cup of JOY Women

Consider hosting a weekly one-hour Cup of Joy Women’s small group study for seven weeks.  It accompanies this podcast, and you can begin anytime.  It’s free!

  • Pray about accepting this opportunity to engage others and gently evangelize by hosting a small group of friends over coffee or tea.
  • For information, email me or go to Cup of Joy Women.

Links

What is Grace?

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

St. Francis

We celebrate St. Francis on October 4. He was the founder of the Franciscan Order and embraced the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. The prayer below is a favorite of mine!

Prayer before the Crucifix

Most High, glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me true faith, certain hope, and perfect charity, sense and knowledge, Lord, that I may carry out
Your holy and true command. Amen.

Grace

  • underserved gift or help freely and lovingly provided by God, but above all the utterly basic gift of being saved in Christ through faith, a grace that God wishes to give all human beings
  • Brings us new birth and gift of the Holy Spirit
  • Makes us a new creation
  • Transforms human nature
  • Anticipates a future in heaven

from A Concise Dictionary of Theology, O’Collins and Farrugia, S.J.

What does a parking lot have to do with grace? Listen and you’ll find out!

Types of Grace

  • Sacramental – the graces we receive through the sacraments
  • Efficacious – Grace offered by God and freely accepted
  • Sanctifying or Habitual – being made holy by the Holy Spirit, always with us; God sharing his divine life with us
  • Actual – a specific grace supplied for a particular need or reason
  • Special – also called charisms, which we are given to help build up the Church

Why do we need Grace?

  • it helps us respond to God’s call to be his
  • It gives us an awareness of sin and the ability to avoid it
  • to live out our daily life, as each of us is individually called to do
  • Takes our natural gifts, makes them more usable and to the service of God and others

What are the effects of Grace?

HOLINESS! And we all want to be a bit holier, right?

This week, pray St. Francis’ prayer above.

Interested in having me speak to your group? Let me know; I’d love to come in person or virtually!

 

God Reaching Out & Breaking Through

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Glimmer or God?

I’ve been hearing about ‘glimmers’ on social media lately. I’ve seen a few memes. And while I liked the thought of a glimmer as opposed to a trigger, I wasn’t happy with the advice to look for the glimmer.

You see, to me, a glimmer is not about looking for something good, but it is God breaking through, reaching out to offer us hope, grace, a bit of pat on the back that says, “I’ ‘m here for ya!” from the Lord.

Finding and Seeing God

What the world and pop culture call glimmers, I say, they are from God. God loves us so much that he does reach out to us. But we ran around in a noisy, fast-paced world where we don’t pause often enough to say thanks for the good things that come our way.

  • No red lights on the way to work.
  • Your favorite song on the radio.
  • A call from a friend.
  • What’s on your list?

 

This notion of looking for God each day comes from St. Ignatius of Loyola. I may have mentioned him a time or two before.  This week, our Not Lukewarm challenge is to answer the question, “Where did I see God today?”, every night.

And if you are interested in learning more about Ignatius and prayer, sign up for my newsletter to receive 4 Ways to Pray with Scripture and learn about a new offering on the Spiritual Exercises coming up soon.

 

 

 

NEHEMIAH & Rebuilding HOPE  #11 – Nehemiah Recaps, “The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength.”

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Nehemiah Finale & Recap: “The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength.”

Nehemiah Finale & Recap, “The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength”

Consider Nehemiah. Do you need more HOPE and JOY in your life? Nehemiah recaps: The JOY of the Lord is Your Strength.” God is waiting for you to come to Him.  Join us today for the finale of Nehemiah where you will be reminded the Joy of the Lord is Your strength.

Moving Day, Dedication & Praises

In our last podcast, covering Nehemiah Chapters 10 – 12, we joined moving day as many Israelites moved back to Jerusalem. Then they signed a Curse and Oath agreement, promising to support the temple, honor the Sabbath Day, uphold a religious marriage, and serve God in everything. After the priests purified the people, the gates, and the walls, they implored God’s presence at the dedication ceremony. Nehemiah appointed two praise processions on the walls. They praised and worshipped with thanksgiving, singing, rejoicing, and trumpeting so loud that all in neighboring towns heard them!

Twelve Years Later

Things change.  After serving as Governor of Jerusalem for 12 years, from 444 to 432 BC, Nehemiah returned to Babylon to serve King Artaxerxes. Sometime later, he “returned to Jerusalem.”  What a shock!  Nehemiah found the people had fallen away from their commitment to God and covenant promises. Today, we cover these points in Nehemiah 13 and the finale of the Book of Nehemiah:

The Falling Away (Nehemiah 13: 6-9, 15, 22, 30)

  • What caused the people to fall away so quickly? They were not reminded daily of God and His ways.
  • When the high priest fell away from God, so did the people.
  • The Bible warns often about forgetting God (see Deuteronomy 8: 13-16)

Nehemiah Addressed Breaking God’s Commands (Nehemiah 13: 1-5, 22-30)

  • The Israelites gave their children in marriage to pagans who did not use the sacred Hebrew language.
  • They stopped obeying the commandments of keeping the Sabbath Day holy and paying tithe.
  • The high priest Eliashib allowed Tobiah to move into the temple storeroom, where the offerings were kept.

Remembrance

  • Remembrance was a theme throughout the book of Nehemiah: The people forgot God again and again, but Nehemiah kept calling them to remember God, his faithfulness, and his promises.
  • Nehemiah prayed: Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not wipe out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God and for his service (a common prayer, from Psalm 106: 4-5.)

The Finale

  • It is sorrowful to know that after all the building and recommitment, the people fell away from God.
  • It is good to remember Romans 15:4: For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by endurance and by the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. God is faithful and we all must return to him again and again. He offers us His strength, His JOY and His hope.

Nehemiah and Hope

  • The Book of Nehemiah has reassured us that prayer changes everything, that every obstacle can be overcome, and that every false accusation can lead to persistence, more prayer, and joyous victory.
  • Declare with Nehemiah: God is with us!  God is for us! God is at work! God has a plan that changes everything!
  • With confidence, we can exclaim: The JOY of the LORD is my strength! (Nehemiah 8: 14).

Personal Reflection on the Book of Nehemiah

Let’s close with some reflection on the principles you can apply from the book of Nehemiah.

(1) Call on your LOVING GOD in the MESSY SITUATIONS (Chapter 1).

(2) SUPPLICATE (Chapter 1).  You can use Nehemiah’s ACTS Model: 1) Adore God 2) Confess sins, 3) Thank God, and 4) Supplicate.

(3) Pray for FAVOR & depend on God to open doors. (Chapters 2-3).

(4) Become a Perfumer; All Vocations are Needed (Chapter 3).  Become a perfumer and help build. Bring the sweetness of God’s spirit and a sweet aroma of prayer to every stinky situation.

(5) Face Opposition & Stand FIRM Against Insults (Chapters 4,  7). Nehemiah showed a 3-pronged approach to defeating opposition: 1) pray, 2) declare the truth instead of believing lies and 3) work together with others.

(6) When angered, step back first (Chapter 5) & Face Slander (Chapter 6): Pray, Speak the Truth, and Persevere. eep the sword of the spirit- the Word of God in one hand and your work tool or skill in the other.

(7) Declare the Joy of the Lord is My Strength (Chapter 8).

(8) Create a personal Prayer BOOTH! in your home (Chapter 8). Your corner of a room is like a spiritual booth where the Israelites celebrated the Feast of Booths to offer praise, and thanksgiving and read His Word.

(9) Remember God Will Never Forsake You (Chapters 9 & 13). After experiencing God’s great faithfulness, the people fell away into sin into the rebellion-revival cycle.

(10) Become a “Praiser” and Read God’s Word (Chapters 10-12). Nehemiah called the people to worship, to praise and to offer thanksgiving to God.

Personal Prayer Response

So, what will you do NEXT? How can you start building now? Nehemiah models personal intercession with the ACTS model.

  • Adore God and praise His greatness and faithfulness.
  • Confess your sins and those of your nation and families with a contrite spirit.
  • Thank God for His blessings and promises.
  • Supplicate or pray with a passionate heart for what you need and for others. Incorporate Scripture, when possible.

Remember: The JOY of the LORD is YOUR Strength!

Cup of JOY Women

  • Why not invite a few friends for coffee or tea every week for just one hour to discuss a one-page study guide accompanying every podcast in each series?
  • It’s called a Cup of Joy Women’s group and is a fantastic way to gently evangelize and encourage others. I will provide all the free resources and even Zoom meetings for facilitators.
  • In September, I start my fifth series called JOYFUL and Battle-ready. It’s a perfect time to form a Cup of JOY women’s group for the 8-week series.
  • For more information, go to my website com, and click under Cup of Joy Women on the menu, or email me: Karen@WrapYourselfinJoy.com

Links

NEHEMIAH & Rebuilding HOPE #10 – Do You Need an Uplift? Nehemiah Calls All Praisers!

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Do You Need an Uplift? Nehemiah Calls All Praisers! Adding praise and thanksgiving to your prayer can increase your faith, lift your spirit, help you recall God’s goodness, encourage you in hard tasks, and add much more joy to your life.

Nehemiah Calls Praisers & JOY Fills Their Hearts

Do you need an uplift? Becoming a praiser could change your life. Adding praise and thanksgiving to your prayer can increase your faith, lift your spirit, help you recall God’s goodness, encourage you in hard tasks, and add much more joy to your life. Join us today as Nehemiah calls all praisers and demonstrates the impact of praise.

Rebellion-revival Cycle

In our last podcast, we joined the Israelites as Ezra read God’s Word aloud and they realized how disobedient they had been to God and his commandments, falling into a rebellion-revival cycle: (1) Rebellion against God and His law; (2) Warnings from the prophets and teachers, but to no avail, (3) Repentance from sinfulness and calling out to God; and (4) Intervention when God rescues them from the enemy oppressors. Today, in Nehemiah Chapters 10 -12, we follow the people as they sign a new covenant with God rededicating their lives and the walls and gates to Him. Today we cover these points:

An Oath to Follow God (Nehemiah 10: 29-35)

  • The curse and oath agreement meant “they could expect a blessing for obedience, or a correction from God if they did not follow through on obeying His Law.
  • They signed a public agreement promising to pay their tithes to support the temple, to honor the Sabbath by not buying or selling, and to uphold a religious marriage, not uniting with those who worship other gods or idols.

Moving into Jerusalem (Nehemiah 11: 3-35)

  • Nehemiah shares a long list of the people and the vocations of those who moved into Jerusalem, including leaders, warriors, Levites, temple gatekeepers, overseers, and singers.
  • Repopulating Jerusalem was essential because it would mean the more who lived there, the safer the city would be.
  • There was a special stipend for the singers who sang praises daily and led worship in the temple.

Dedication Joy (Nehemiah 12)

  • Chapter 12 opens with more names – but this time the names are those of priests and Levites who returned with Zerubbabel.
  • Nehemiah is recalling the history and heroes in public record who sacrificed much in returning to Jerusalem.
  • He wanted all to remember these good men as part of their heritage.
  • Nehemiah lists the Levites who were heads of households plus the singers who led praise and thanksgiving with cymbals, harps, and lyres.

Purification JOY (Nehemiah 12: 27-30)

  • It was time to dedicate the walls once they moved into Jerusalem and returned to worship and obey God’s laws.
  • They would seek God’s presence and blessings.
  • The Levites purified themselves, the people, and the walls. See Psalm 24: 3-6

Praising JOY (Nehemiah 12: 30-43)

  • Next, the praisers joined the dedication ceremony.
  • He sent one company of praisers in one direction singing and giving thanks (v. 35). They included the leaders and the young priests playing trumpets while others played and praised with all kinds of musical instruments.
  • Then the other company made up of Nehemiah and half of the people processed in the opposite direction on the walls singing, giving thanks, and playing trumpets too. Finally, they all met at the house of God and sang their hearts out to him. “They offered great sacrifices that day and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and children also rejoiced. The joy of Jerusalem was heard far away” (v. 43).

Offering JOY

  • The last activity of the dedication ceremony involved joyfully offering tithe to God – to support the temple, the priests, and those who led worship.
  • All of Israel gave the daily portions and tithe for the singers, the gatekeepers, and the Levites. The Levites even paid tithe to the priests.

Personal Reflection – Become a Praiser

  1. Have you considered becoming a praiser? So how can you add more praise and thanksgiving to God in your life?
    1. Become a singer of praises to God. Even if you can’t carry a tune, sing with online or CD worship music. Join others in singing praises. As you sing the words from your heart, they become your prayer.
    2. Read Psalms of Praise. You can start with Psalms 145, 146, or 150 traditionally known as praise psalms.
    3. Begin all prayer with thanksgiving and words of praise. Psalm 100:4 tells us to “Enter God’s gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise.  Give thanks to him, bless his name.” So the way to come into God’s presence, the king of the Universe and the Savior of the World is to come with thanksgiving and praise. For example, you can say, I praise you, Jesus or  I love you, Lord. Bookmarks for praise are available on my website.

One final point to remember is this.

  1. Don’t forget the power of praise to defeat enemies and negative situations (e.g., see Nehemiah 2 and 3). Remember  2 Chronicles 20:21 when King Jehoshaphat followed the Lord’s counsel and appointed singers to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy splendor. They lead the army into battle. As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the …enemies.., who had come against Judah, so they were routed. .. they all helped destroy one another. The Lord won a fabulous victory as the enemies were defeated and the army never even used their swords.  If you are discouraged, or fearful and have pressing needs, consider praising God often. God will fight battles for you and lift you up when you turn your attention to him.

Cup of JOY Women

  • Why not invite a few friends for coffee or tea every week for just one hour to discuss the one-page study guide accompanying this podcast or others in my last few series?
  • You would be forming a Cup of Joy Women’s group, and it’s a great way to gently evangelize and encourage others. I will provide you with all the free resources. In September, I will be starting my fifth series called JOYFUL and Battle-ready--It’s a perfect time to form a cup of JOY women’s group with that 8-week series.
  • For more information, go to my website WRAPYOURSELFINJOY.com, and click under Cup of Joy Women on the menu or email me: Karen@WrapYourselfinJoy.com

Links

 

NEHEMIAH & Rebuilding HOPE #9 – Nehemiah Says, God Will Never Forsake You!

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
National Confession & Nehemiah Says, God Will Never Forsake You!

National Confession & Nehemiah Says, God Will Never Forsake You!

Consider Nehemiah Chapter 9. Do you feel forsaken by God ever? Always remember this: God is ready to forgive. He is gracious, merciful, slow to anger, and abounds in steadfast love.  Join us today as Nehemiah says, God will never forsake you.

Celebrating God’s Goodness

In our last podcast, we joined the Israelites on Rosh Hashanah and the Feast of Trumpets. Many had stopped celebrating the feast days and gave up their faith because of the brokenness of their homeland, families, and lives. In Nehemiah 8, when Ezra read the Word of God aloud, the people wept loudly, mourning for their sins. Nehemiah and Ezra told them: “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Next, they celebrated the Feast of Booths when each family spent seven days in a   booth remembering God’s goodness, reading the Word of God, praying, praising, and thanking Him to commemorate how God had delivered them from Egypt by parting the Red Sea, and cared for them in the desert for 40 years where they lived in simple huts.  In Chapter 9, two days after the weeklong celebration of the Feast of Booths, the people are together again for a day of national confession. Today, we cover these points:

National Confession (Nehemiah 9: 1-3)

  • The people gather for 6 hours – three hours reading the words of the Torah and 3 hours confessing sin.
  • They were reminded of how far they had fallen from God and His commandments.
  • As Hebrews 4: 12 tells us, the Word of God had pierced their hearts and revealed their sins.

Remembering God’s Care and Praising Him (Nehemiah 9: 5-26)

  • Ezra called them to worship God and recall the ways that God cared for them since Abraham.
  • God gave them the Ten Commandments.
  • For 40 years in the wilderness, God cared for them so they lacked nothing; their clothes did not wear out, and their feet did not swell.

Fasting, Dressed in Sackcloth, Dirt on their Heads (Nehemiah 9: 3, 26- 38)

  • The people stood in fasting – an act of penance to show remorse in skin-tearing sackcloth with dirt on their heads –all painful acts showing deep sorrow for their sins before God.
  • They cried out for ” stiffening their necks “and “not obeying the commandments.”

The Four-Stage Rebellion-Revival Cycle

  • After experiencing God’s great faithfulness of God, they fell away again and again.
  • The Rebellion, Warnings, Repentance, and Intervention cycle could be called the rebellion-revival cycle.
  • But before long the Cycle repeated, and the Israelites became “slaves to this day.”

God Did Not Forsake Them (Nehemiah 9: 17)

Verse 17 seems to be a turning point in the chapter: “But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and you did not forsake them. God will forgive us when we confess the sins of our generations and commit to changing directions.

Personal Reflection on Nehemiah 9

  • How will you respond to these verses of Scripture?
    • Confess your sins. Nehemiah shows us where to begin when you want to be renewed in your spiritual life: Remember what God has done, confess your sin and the areas where you have fallen away, and praise and worship our glorious God again.
    • Make a Change. True repentance and sorrow for your sins mean you want to change direction. Nehemiah 9:38 says the people made a firm agreement in writing to promise to change direction. What change in direction are you willing to make at this time?
    • Read Scripture. All the chapters in the Book of Nehemiah remind us how essential it is to hear, read, and take the Word of God to heart. How will you find more time to read and pray Scripture? If you do, it will revive your spiritual life and the lives of those around you. Start today with just 5 minutes of scripture and form a prayer from your heart to God that responds to what you read.

Cup of JOY Women

  • Consider hosting a weekly one-hour Cup of Joy Women’s small group study. It accompanies this podcast and you can begin anytime.
  • Pray about accepting this opportunity to engage others and gently evangelize by hosting a small group of friends over coffee or tea. It’s free, and I will help you get started. Go to Cup of Joy Women or email me at Karen@WRAPYourselfinJOY.com for information.

Links

 

NEHEMIAH & Rebuilding HOPE #8 – Need Joy in Your Life? Nehemiah Points to a Prayer Booth!

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Nehemiah and Ezra tell the people: "The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength."Consider Nehemiah Chapter 8. Do you need more JOY in your life? Are you seeking a revival in your faith? Nehemiah will show you the way. Join us today as we cover creating a spiritual “prayer booth” for rejoicing, reading Scripture, recalling what God has done for us, and receiving new JOY.

Wall Completed

  • Nehemiah and the Israelites completed the walls and gates in 52 days (Nehemiah 6).
  • Now Nehemiah begins restoring his beloved people’s faith (Nehemiah 7 & 8).

Fortification and Worship (Nehemiah 7: 1-5)

  • Nehemiah assigned gatekeepers to keep the city free from enemies so the people could worship without threats.
  • He appointed singers to praise the Lord day and night and to lead worship. It nurtured a close relationship with God.
  • He appointed the Levites to watch over all things holy.

Historic Memory

  • God put it into Nehemiah’s heart to register every person.
  • Historic memory is crucial to the survival of any nation or culture.
  • Nehemiah had to remind the people of their heritage and that God was with them as the returning remnant.

The Gathering – New Year’s Day (Nehemiah 8: 1)

  • It’s October 444 B.C., New Year’s Day, called Rosh Hashanah on the Hebrew Civil calendar.
  • The Feast of Trumpets on the Hebrew religious calendar calls for the people to prepare for the holy days to come (Leviticus 23: 23-24).

Hunger for God’s Word and Joy (Nehemiah 8: 2-8)

  • The people gathered to hear Ezra read from the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy).
  • The people stood up the entire time from morning to midday, starved and thirsty for the Word of God.
  • It takes only a few fallen-away generations to leave the next ones destitute and ignorant about God.
  • Ezra blessed the Lord. All the people responded, “Amen, Amen.” Thus, they (1) thanked God with their “Amen”, (2) praised God by lifting up their hands, and 3) bowed down in adoration and submission to God.

Weeping & JOY (Nehemiah 8: 9-12)

  • It took hearing and understanding God’s Word to begin the healing of broken hearts and dreams.
  • The Word of God revealed their sin, they were grieved, and they confessed their sins before God.
  • Nehemiah and Ezra told the people: “Don’t be grieved, for the JOY of the LORD is your strength”(v. 10).

The Feast of  Booths – 444 BC (Nehemiah 8: 13-18)

  • The Feast of Booths, also called the Feast of Tabernacles (or Sukkot) was celebrated for seven days.
  • God called the Israelites to recall how they wandered the desert and lived in booths or huts while God provided for them.
  • The Feast of Booths commemorates God’s provision and guidance, and the Israelites must live in booths to celebrate it.
  • They read the Word of God, rejoiced, offered thanksgiving, and worshipped God with their families in huts/booths.
  • God’s Word led them to repent; God’s Word changed everything, and they were filled with much joy.

Personal Reflection – The Feast of Booths Application

  • How will you respond to these verses of Scripture? You Could
    • Prayer Booth. Set up a Holy Place (call it a booth or secret place) in your home where you can pray, praise, read Scripture, and write in your prayer journal. Your booth is your secret place – it’s like a spiritual booth/or hut/where the people celebrate the Feast of Booths. It’s a place to put yourself in God’s presence in your home. You offer praise thanksgiving and worship.
    • Listen. Take time daily to read Scripture and allow God to speak to you. You can ask the Holy Spirit to set the Words afire in your heart and help you understand as you read. Try to record a few sentences in your journal of how the Lord speaks to you.
    • Receive the JOY of the Lord. “For the Joy of the Lord is your strength.” Ask Jesus for JOY as you read His word. (See John 15: 11 & Psalm 1.)

Cup of JOY Women

  • Consider hosting a weekly one-hour Cup of Joy Women’s small group study. It accompanies this podcast and you can begin anytime or choose another of my podcast series (e.g. Finding More JOY).
  • Pray about accepting this opportunity to engage others and gently evangelize by hosting a small group of friends over coffee or tea. It’s free and I will help you get started. For information, contact me, or go to Cup of Joy Women.

Links

 

Nehemiah – Rebuilding Hope #7 – Facing Slander? Nehemiah Responds, Pray, Speak the Truth & Persevere

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Nehemiah - Rebuilding Hope #7 - Facing Slander? Nehemiah Responds, Pray, Speak the Truth & Persevere!

Nehemiah reads slanderous letters from Sanballet

Pray, Speak the Truth & Persevere Always

Look to Nehemiah. Are you facing slander?  Have mistruths been spoken about you? You can overcome the discouragement and discern the lies, deception, and diversion around you! Nehemiah will show you how. Join the podcast today as he shows us to always pray, speak the truth, and persevere. Today we cover the following points:

The Outcry of the People

  • In Nehemiah 5, the immoral and unlawful practices of the Jewish nobles and officials brought many families to poverty.
  • After he stood back in anger, Nehemiah demanded that nobles and officials follow God’s laws, or as a consequence, they would lose their possessions in God’s justice. The Jewish officials made an oath to do this and responded, “Amen,” and “praised the Lord.”

Three Attacks from the Opposition

  • In Nehemiah 6, the enemies from surrounding countries become fearful about losing authority and moneymaking practices.
  • They conspired to stop the building with a 1) Fake Meeting, 2) Slander Campaign, and 3) False Prophecy.

Diversion – The Fake Meeting Scheme (Nehemiah 6: 1-4)

  • They invited Nehemiah to a “fake meeting” in the hills of Ono, a day’s journey away (near Tel Aviv today).
  • It sounded like a neutral place, but he discerned it was a scheme to do him harm.

Division- Lies & The Smear Campaign (Nehemiah 6: 5-9)

  • In an unsealed letter, Sanballat accused Nehemiah of a treasonous plot to revolt and overthrow the king.
  • Sanballat knew that others would read the lies and slander would be spread everywhere.
  • The scheme had worked twenty years prior when the King of Persia shut down the rebuilding (Ezra 4).
  • Nehemiah declared the truth to confront the lies and prayed: But now, O God, strengthen my hands.”

Deception –False Prophecy Trap (Nehemiah 6: 10-14)

  • Tobiah and Sanballat hired Shemaiah, likely a priest and prophet, to mislead Nehemiah.
  • He prophesied that he should seek refuge in the temple and make an offering.
  • Shemaiah tried to use tales of terror and “religious speak, saying the enemies planned to kill Nehemiah.
  • Nehemiah knew entering the temple would be a sin that the enemies would use to discredit him.

The  Completed Wall

  • God blessed Nehemiah, answered his prayers, and helped the Israelites complete the wall in only 52 days.
  • This was a great victory for the people because of opposition from the same enemies over twenty years.

Personal Reflection

  • Today, Nehemiah reminds us how to respond to life’s assaults: Pray, Declare the Truth, and Persevere.
  1. When you are facing discouragement, especially from diversion, division, or deception, pray like Nehemiah, Lord, strengthen my hands! and thus, ask God to help you discern the truth and persevere.
  2. Declare the truth. Don’t be distracted by rumors or slanderous accusations. This is the devil’s way of making you compromise with evil. Instead, speak the truth in love. Declare the Scriptures. For example:
    • Romans 8:15: For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!”  Declare: I am a daughter of God!
    • Timothy 1:7: [F]or God did not give us a spirit of fear, but rather a spirit of power and of love and a sound mind. Declare: I don’t have a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and a sound mind.
  3. Commit your work to the Lord and stay focused.

Cup of JOY Women

  • Consider hosting a weekly one-hour Cup of Joy Women’s small group study on It accompanies this podcast and you can begin anytime or choose any podcast series (e.g. Finding More JOY).
  • Pray about accepting this fantastic opportunity to engage others and gently evangelize by hosting a small group of friends over coffee or tea. It’s free and I will help you get started. For information, contact me, go to Cup of Joy Women.

Links

 

Nehemiah – Rebuilding Hope #6 – Angry? Nehemiah Says Step Back First!

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Angered While Rebuilding? Nehemiah Says Step Back First!

Consider Nehemiah. Do you get angry easily?  Do you get riled up? Nehemiah shows us to step back before acting. It never works to respond with emotions. In Chapter 5, during their rebuilding, the people face opposition from within their ranks. It seems that if the opposition doesn’t hit us from without, it comes from within. Join the podcast today as Nehemiah reminds us to step back, then stand up and keep focus when facing opposition. Today we cover the following points:

Fight for Your Families

  • In Nehemiah Chapter 4, the people were making progress when more persecution made them fearful.
  • Nehemiah prayed and encouraged the people saying: “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome and fight for your kin, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes” (Nehemiah 4: 14).

Outcry and Poverty (Nehemiah 5: 1-5)

  • Many were in poverty: inflation had become rampant and taxes were unbearable.
  • In order to pay the taxes, the families borrowed money from others using their own children as collateral.
  • If loans could not be repaid, their children, and even the wives and men, would be sold as slaves..

Step Back & Take Time to Think (Nehemiah 5: 6-7)

  • Nehemiah was very angry with the nobles and officials who took advantage of their kin.
  • Leviticus 25: 35-38 and Deuteronomy 23: 20 instruct them not to charge interest if they lend to the poor.
  • Nehemiah did not show his angst. He stepped back and collected his thoughts.
  • He gives us the first step in resolving conflict from within – step back.

The Symbolism of the Oath & Gesture (Nehemiah 5: 6-13)

  • Nehemiah confronted the nobles who were enslaving their own brethren and children.
  • He implored the officials to 1) repent of their sins and respect the Lord by following His Law, 2) stop charging interest, and 3) restore everything they took.
  • Using the Word of God (Torah at the time) and a conciliatory manner, he spoke the truth.
  • In one dramatic prophetic act symbolizing the solemnity of their oath, Nehemiah shook out the fold of his garment … In this, he emphasized that judgment would come to those who did not keep their oath before God. The assembly confirmed it with a passionate “Amen.” They “praised the Lord … and did as they had promised.

The Governor

  • Nehemiah kept his focus on building the wall.
  • He used his money earned as a cupbearer to support Jerusalem’s poor and suffering people. He worked more for God’s approval.
  • Nehemiah prayed: Remember for my good, O my God, all that I have done for this people.
  • He was asking God for continued grace in the work and most importantly, for the Lord to remember him when it comes to eternal life and rewards. We can pray with the same words.
  • The Lord promises He will remember you. Hebrews 6: 10—11 says this: God is not unfair. He will not forget the work you did or the love you showed for him in the help you gave and are still giving to other Christians. (Good News).

Personal Reflection

  • Please reflect on the principles that Nehemiah models and we can apply:
  1. Step back. Do not be led by anger. Collect your thoughts. It never works to respond with emotions. Ephesians 4: 26. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.
  2. Stand up. In love, confront Christians with the Word of God when they are sinning against Him. Forgive always. 1 Timothy 5: 20 reminds us:  As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest also may stand in fear.
  3. Focus. Keep your focus on what God has called you to do. Keep building, pray always, and never give up. (Luke 18: 1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to teach them that they should always pray and never become discouraged [give])
  4. Remember the poor. Do not take advantage of the less fortunate. Instead, help them. Psalm 15: 5, Do not lend money at interest, and do not take a bribe against the innocent.
  5. Pray with Scripture. Remember me O my God, all that I have done for your people. In this prayer, we also remind ourselves that our rewards are eternal when we choose to follow Jesus and as His disciple, we build up others in Christ.

Cup of JOY Women

  • Consider hosting a weekly one-hour Cup of Joy Women’s small group study on It accompanies this podcast and you can begin anytime or choose any podcast series (e.g. Finding More JOY).
  • Pray about accepting this fantastic opportunity to engage others and gently evangelize by hosting a small group of friends over coffee or tea. I will even join you via Zoom.
  • For information or to contact me, go to Cup of Joy Women.

Links

Nehemiah & Rebuilding Hope #5 – Facing Opposition? Nehemiah Shows the Best Approach for Success!

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Nehemiah 4 | Facing Opposition? Nehemiah 4 Shows the Best Approach for Success! #podcast #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #nehemiah4

Work with the Sword of God in one hand and a trowel in the other.

Nehemiah 4 Shows the Best Approach for Success!

Have you looked at Nehemiah 4? Do you ever face opposition in the midst of a daunting task? How do you respond to insults or ridicule? In Nehemiah Chapter 4, the people face criticism, ridicule, name-calling, and insults as they try to repair the burned-down walls and broken gates. Opposition happens to all of us. Join the podcast today as Nehemiah shows us the best approach for success to overcome opposition and discouragement.

Family by Family, Brick by Brick,

In our last episode, family-by-family and household-by-household and brick-by-brick the people started to repair the walls and rebuild the gates. The builders worked side-by-side, beyond their own giftedness or vocations to do God’s work and repair the walls and gates of their holy city. Of course, their enemies came to stop the progress.  They face criticism, ridicule, name-calling, and a constant barrage of insults. This can happen to any of us. Today we cover these points as Nehemiah shows us the best approach to overcome opposition:

Anger Turns to Criticism (Nehemiah 4: 1-6)

  • Sanballat and Tobiah mocked the people: “Will they sacrifice” or “finish in a day?” (They are asking, will they call upon their God or how could their God help build anything in a short time?)
  • Criticism and ridicule only added to the discouragement. This sounds just like the devil, doesn’t it?
  • The people were doing God’s work and they did not need the troubling criticism. See John 14: 27.

Nehemiah Responds to Insults with Prayer (Nehemiah 4: 1-6)

  • Nehemiah did not return their insults with insults.
  • He responded with a prayer, likely aloud, as he went into the midst of opposition.
  • Based on Jeremiah 18:23,  Nehemiah prayed aloud- they will face God and what they say will come back on them.

A Guard of Protection (Nehemiah 4: 7-9)

  • The people responded to the opponent’s increased anger with prayer.
  • Then, they set up a guard of protection around the clock to keep the enemy’s efforts from succeeding.

 Nehemiah’s Three-Pronged Approach (Nehemiah 4: 9-20)

  • Nehemiah models how to face the opposition: (1) Pray first, (2) Declare God’s truth, (3) Work heartily.
  • Together with a sword in one hand and a tool in the other hand, they continued to build.

Join Together and Keep Working (Nehemiah 4: 21-23)

  • For Christians, we must join together by praying together, declaring God’s truth to each other, and working together.
  • God can use cracked, worn-out, old tools when we commit our work to Him.

Personal Reflection

Ask God where the broken gates are in your life—spiritual or otherwise. and what weapons you can use to rebuild the brokenness. You can follow Nehemiah’s model in overcoming the opposition.  1) pray, 2) declare the truth of God’s word instead of believing the lies and 3) work together with a sword of the spirit, the Word of God, in one hand and your work in the other hand. Use your prayer journal to record your action response:

  1. For example, pray Nehemiah 4: 14. Simply insert your name for the “I” and “my.” AND Insert the names of your friends and family members in the places of kin, sons, daughters, etc.
  2. For example, declare “God will fight for my family members, my community, my friends and my country.” Speak aloud with the truth of God’s Word (e.g., Romans 8:31. and Isaiah 41:10).
  3. Work together with other Christians. Ask a friend to pray for your needs and for MORE JOY, and you pray the same for them. Use the ACTS acronym to intercede for the needs. *End your prayer time by sitting in silence and receiving God’s love and joy for you.

Cup of JOY Women

Consider hosting a weekly one-hour Cup of Joy Women’s small group study on Nehemiah. It accompanies this podcast and you can begin anytime or choose another podcast (e.g. Finding More JOY).

  • Pray about accepting this wonderful opportunity to engage others and gently evangelize by hosting a small group of friends over coffee or tea.
  • For information or to contact me, go to Cup of Joy Women.

Links

Nehemiah – Rebuilding Hope #4 – Perfumers Needed! Nehemiah Calls for Your Help!

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Nehemiah Rebuilding Hope ~ Perfume-makers needed- Nehemiah calls for your help! This is a podcast of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network and talks about Nehemiah Rebuilding Hope. podcast, christian podcast network, catholic podcast network, Nehemiah

Become a Perfume-maker

Nehemiah Calls Perfumers

Nehemiah calls the Perfumers. All teams need workers from all walks of life with a heartfelt desire to build—even beyond their known skills.  Most importantly, the “perfume makers” provide sweet-smelling assistance, even though their hands are soft and they are not seasoned builders.  Join us today as Nehemiah reveals team-making skills and appoints the perfumers.

Let Us Start Building

In our last podcast, we joined Nehemiah as he secretly inspected Jerusalem at night time. He saw the many ruins but was inspired that God was leading the rebuilding. Although the ruins had accumulated over many years, he inspired the people, and they replied, Let us start building! Today we cover the following points:

Nehemiah Rebuilding Hope ~ Broken Places

  • We all have broken places in the lives of our families, our communities, and our nation.
  • These areas of shame or ruin, physical or spiritual, need rebuilding so Nehemiah will encourage us.
  • In ancient cities, like Jerusalem, the gates were essential to the existence of a people. Gates were entrances to the city and provided military protection. The walls represented strength and defense.

The Gates

  • Outside the gates were stalls like farmer’s markets, where traders sold goods of all kinds.
  • Inside the gates, the leaders met and held court for those seeking justice.
  • If the walls or gates were broken, the loss of protection, commerce, justice, and meeting spaces would be devastating.

Meet the Workers (Nehemiah 3: 1 -8)

  • The high priest Elisheba with his fellow priests rebuilt the Sheep Gate. They started the example for repair plus they consecrated the doors and an entire area to God.
  • The men of Jericho came a long way to build and were included with everyone living nearby.
  • The Tekoites made repairs, but their nobles with status and pride refused. Keep building!!
  • The perfumers [perfume-makers] made repairs but had no building skill; they likely brought some sweet-smelling perfume. Making life smell good is an important skill too. Sweetness or perfume in attitude, speech, and effort is an essential contribution in itself.

More Workers (Nehemiah 3: 12-32)

  • Hallohesh, the ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, made repairs with his daughters offering an example of involving the family in rebuilding.
  • Anaiah and others made repairs beside their homes as they wanted their neighborhoods to be safe.
  • Merchants rebuilt the walls and gates, likely taking days off from their own work to build the community.
  • Nehemiah Chapter 3 lists those who answered the call to rebuild the brokenness. One by one they tackled all the gates in the city, repairing doors and adding bolts and bars.

Teamwork: Everyone’s Effort Needed  ~ Nehemiah Rebuilding Hope

  • Teamwork was essential.  The builders worked for the glory of God—for the place of worship, for the people of God and not for pay.
  • Hebrews 6: 10-11.  For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love you have demonstrated for his name by having served and continuing to serve the holy ones- his people. We earnestly desire each of you to demonstrate the same eagerness for the fulfillment of hope until the end, NABRE

Gates

  • Nehemiah mentions the names of each of the gates that were repaired.
  • There is symbolism for Christians in the Sheep Gate, Fish Gate, Dung Gate, Fountain Gate, and most other gates too. (See bookmark on my website for more meaning of the gates and symbolism.)

Personal Reflection

You can reflect on the principles that apply to your life. In prayer, using your prayer journal, consider these questions:

  1. Where do you have burned gates or broken walls in your life (or family or nation) that need restoration?
  2. For example, burned gates are open portals of darkness into our lives. They can include addictions, uncontrolled imaginations, extreme fears, emotional hurts, lack of forgiveness, unholy media, pornography, unrestrained tongue, or other sinful habits. God wants to heal you and help you rebuild gates or walls that need rebuilding. Ask Him.
  3. Where does God want to strengthen you and give you joy? Ask Jesus to help you change hopelessness, discouragement, or procrastination attitudes into hopefulness and joy.
  4. Become a perfume maker! If you feel you lack giftings, become a perfumer and set your mind to building anyway. Bring the sweetness of God’s spirit and a sweet attitude of prayer to every stinky situation. 2 Corinthians 2: 14-15: God uses us to make the knowledge about Christ spread everywhere like a sweet fragrance. For we are like a sweet-smelling incense offered by Christ to God, which spreads among those who are being saved and those who are being lost…

 Cup of JOY Women

Consider hosting a weekly one-hour Cup of Joy Women’s small group study on Nehemiah.  It accompanies this podcast and you can begin anytime.  It’s free!

  • Pray about accepting this opportunity to engage others and gently evangelize by hosting a small group of friends over coffee or tea.
  • For information or to contact me, go to Cup of Joy Women.

Links

A Daily Examen

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

End your day with prayer

Echo the psalmist as he says,

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.
See if there is any wicked way in me,and lead me in the way everlasting.
                                                                                                   Psalm 139:23-24

With these verses in mind we settle ourselves in for prayer and begin the 5 steps or movements:

5 Steps to the Examen

  1. Thank God for all the graces and goodness you have received today, giving gratitude for his greatness.
  2. Ask God to reveal your sins to you, both those you did and things which you did not do that were possible.
  3. Look back on your day and notice where you saw God and consider where you may have missed noticing him.
  4. Ask for forgiveness, express your sorrow, and allow God’s mercy, love, forgiveness, and grace into your soul.
  5. Ask God for help and grace to improve. If you are facing a challenge, tell him.

End with a prayer of thanks or an Our Father.

Other Options

Here is a link to a variety of daily examen prayers from Ignatian Spirituality.

This week, spend 5-15 minutes praying a daily examen. Think about writing it at least once, taking a bit more time with the prayer.

 

 

4,000 Miles to Say Thank You

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Road Trip

In some ways, I can’t believe we really did it; 4000 miles in 9 days. But then again, we are about living NOT lukewarm!!!!!

I’m glad we went. We rested, we talked, and we drank great beers.

We spent time in prayer before, during, and after. At the Shrine, we were able to go to confession and then Mass, as well as pray a rosary with other pilgrims.

I lit candles, prayed in thanksgiving for answered prayers, and interceded for others.

We prayed before we left, during the drive, and while at the Shrine, of course. It was amazing. The priests were excellent; the grounds were peaceful.

Gratitude

I’d never offered thanks like this before, but that answered prayer was life-changing. So going there made sense to me.

Prayer

Here is a link to the prayer of Our Lady of Good Help.

 

Pray the novena for a special intention, adding an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be at the end of the prayer. After the nine days, give thanks, no matter the outcome, since we do not know God’s timing!

 

Nehemiah & Rebuilding Hope #3 – Need Favor? Let Nehemiah Encourage You!

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Nehemiah Inspects the Rubble in Jerusalem at night

At Night, Nehemiah Inspects the Rubble in Jerusalem, James J. Tissot (1896-1903)

Need Favor?

If you need favor, let Nehemiah encourage you.  When you pray for favor, you are asking God to give a powerful person sympathy or judgment supportive of your needs or for help to turn a bad situation around. After Nehemiah prayed, God gave him favor with the king, and the king gave him everything he asked for.  Join us today to discover how to trust God more and ask for favor when approaching challenges.

From Susa to Jerusalem

It’s about two to five months after Nehemiah left the king’s presence, due to the time it took him to make the 500-mile journey from Susa to Jerusalem. King Artaxerxes of Persia granted his request to return to Judah and rebuild his city. Nehemiah said, [T]he king granted me what I asked, for the gracious hand of my God was upon me [also translated as “the favor of my God was upon me.” Today we cover these points:

Governors Displeased (Nehemiah 2: 8-16)

  • The land surrounding Judah was controlled by enemies of the Jewish people.
  • Sanballat the Horonite was governor of the province of Samaria and a native of Horonaim, a city of Moab.
  • Tobiah the Ammonite was the governor of the province of Ammon in Transjordan. Both were positions under Persian rule.

God Gave Him Favor (Nehemiah 1: 11, 2: 12)

  • God put the desire in Nehemiah’s heart to rebuild Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2: 12).
  • God gave him wisdom and discernment as he went into the midst of opposition.
  • He prayed: Give success to your servant today and grant him mercy in the sight of this man! (Nehemiah 1:11). This man was the KING, and God gave him mercy and favor with the king.
  • Psalm 84: 11-12 encourages us to pray for favor: For the Lord God is a sun and shield; he bestows favor and honor. No good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly. 

Encouragement (Nehemiah 2: 17-20)

  • Nehemiah first had to encourage his discouraged people and inspire them to rebuild.
  • The joy was infectious, and the people said, “Let us start building!” So they committed themselves to the common good.
  • Sharing what God had done in his own life motivates others to trust Him too. Calling others to come alongside you in partnership inspires them to work together and do God’s work.
  • The people had lost their identity as a people of God. We must remember our identity as children of God.

Obstacles & Opposition (Nehemiah 2: 17-20)

  • Sanballat, Tobiah, and later Geshem opposed a restored Jewish province, for it threatened their trade and authority.
  • The enemies confronted the people with lies, but Nehemiah refused to answer the lies. He stood his ground.
  • We too must stand our ground. We must seek the Lord first, pray, and do his work. God is with us. Romans 8: 31 says: If God is for us, who is against us?

Personal Reflection

Be inspired to ask God for these requests that Nehemiah has demonstrated. Write the answers in your prayer journal.

  1. Ask God to put His desires into your heart as he did for Nehemiah.
  2. Ask God for favor this week for a needed solution to your needs. God gave Nehemiah favor with the king and the king gave him more than he could imagine.
  3. Ask God whom you can inspire with hope and joy this week. Nehemiah shared his testimony of how God was with Him, helped Him, and called him and his people to this work.
  4. Use the ACTS acronym to aid in the elements for personal intercessions as Nehemiah displays.

Cup of JOY Women

Consider hosting a weekly one-hour Cup of Joy Women’s small group study on Nehemiah.  It accompanies this podcast and you can begin anytime.

  • Pray about accepting this wonderful opportunity to engage others and evangelize by hosting a small group of friends over coffee or tea.You can choose from among my four podcasts (The Joy Series, Advent JOY, Esther & Turn-around JOY or Nehemiah: Rebuilding Hope and JOY).
  • For information or to contact me, go to Cup of Joy Women.

Links

NEHEMIAH & Rebuilding HOPE #2 – Procrastinate or Supplicate? Nehemiah Teaches Intercession!

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
Nehemiah - Rebuilding Hope & JOY: Procrastinate or Supplicate? Nehemiah Demonstrates Intercession!

Nehemiah Demonstrates Intercession (St. Takla.Org)

Procrastinate or Supplicate?

Do you procrastinate or supplicate when you face a broken situation or difficult task? To procrastinate means you put off doing something often because you don’t know where to begin. Do you feel stymied because something beloved to you seems shattered and you don’t know what to do or where to begin? Join us today as Nehemiah shows us how to supplicate to our God for restoration and new hope.

Intercessory Prayer

Nehemiah teaches about interceding for a people and a nation. Nehemiah demonstrates powerful intercession. The prayer of Nehemiah starts the process of bringing great solutions to great difficulties and a broken nation. Today, we cover the following points.

Five Forms of Prayer

  • There are at least FIVE forms of prayer. “The Holy Spirit is the one who teaches the Church and recalls to her all that Jesus instructs in the life of prayer, inspiring new expressions of the same basic 5 forms of prayer:” 1) blessing, 2) petition, 3) intercession, 4) thanksgiving, and 5) praise” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2644).
  • Intercession is simply “asking on behalf of another—it knows no boundaries and even extends to our enemies” (CCC #2647).
  • Nehemiah’s prayer in Chapter 1 is foremost intercession, but it also brings in the other 4 forms of prayer.

The Themes of Intercessory Prayer

  • The four themes of Nehemiah’s prayer teach supplication.
  • The themes model personal intercessory and fit the ACTS acronym.

The ACTS Guide for Intercession (Nehemiah 1: 5-11)

  • A = Adoration. Nehemiah praises and adores God first (v. 5). Praise God’s greatness. Begin prayer with adoration. (Psalm 100: 4: Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!)
  •  C = Confession. Nehemiah deeply loves and is devoted to God, yet he confesses his sins. He confesses his nation’s and his family’s sins as if they were his own (v. 7).
  • T = Thanksgiving. Nehemiah prays with gratitude for God’s mercy and promises (v. 8-9). (Philippians 4: 6: Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.)
  •  S = Supplication. Nehemiah asks God for his needs and for the needs of his nation and family (v. 11). In the process, he is changed.

Nehemiah’s Supplication to God is Answered (Nehemiah 2: 1-8)

  • Nehemiah’s four months of prayer, fasting, and waiting on God paved the way for God to make a way.
  • No procrastination. By grace via intercession, Nehemiah courageously made requests to the king.
  • The king was sympathetic because the King of Kings had opened his heart. King Artaxerxes gave Nehemiah favor, granted his request to rebuild the brokenness, and even gave him supplies and assistance.

Personal Reflection

Consider the following aids for increasing personal intercession.

  1. Keep a prayer journal (e.g., a small, inexpensive notebook with lined paper).
  2. Prepare to intercede: WRITE concerns, LISTEN to God’s desires, and include SCRIPTURE.
  3. Use the ACTS guide with your prayer journal to record your personal intercession and answers.

Cup of JOY Women

  • Consider hosting a weekly one-hour Cup of Joy Women small group study. It accompanies this podcast and you can begin anytime. Contact me for free materials and help to get started.
  • Pray about accepting this wonderful opportunity to engage others and share your faith by hosting a small group of friends over coffee or tea. For information, go to Cup of Joy Women.

Links

Nehemiah & Rebuilding Hope #1 – Messy Situations? Studying Nehemiah can help!

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Messy Situations?

Do you have messy situations in your life? The Book Nehemiah will remind you of God’s presence and power to transform brokenness and disappointment. You can overcome the fear and discouragement. Join our podcast today and allow Nehemiah to teach you to walk with God in new hope and joy.

Inspires Our Faith Today

I hope you were able to listen to my last podcast series – Esther and Turnaround JOY. If you enjoyed the book of Esther, I know you are going to love Nehemiah.  The Book of Nehemiah speaks to our faith today, even though it was written almost 2500 years ago. It will inspire you and your family in times of discouragement, trouble or worry in the face of life’s difficulties.  Nehemiah reminds us all how God’s presence and power are with us and can transform lives. Today we cover the following points.

History

  • The Book of Nehemiah is considered a historical book in Scripture meaning it is part of recorded history. It details the third return of God’s people from the Babylonian captivity, that occurred around 605 BC.
  • In 478 BC, during the reign of King Ahasuerus, Esther, and Mordecai, through God’s providential hand, helped save the nation of Israel from annihilation. The Book of Nehemiah follows the time after Esther.

 Meet Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1: 1-3, 11)

  • Nehemiah lives and works in Suza, the winter home of the Persian kings. He was the cupbearer, who tasted every drop of wine and morsel before the king could consume it. We might call him a professional wine taster and food connoisseur in our culture. However, this position is much more. If the cupbearer dropped dead or would not eat in fear of poisoning by the king’s enemies, the king would know not to eat it either!

Talk to God First (Nehemiah 1: 4-6)

  • Our lesson here is that Nehemiah talked to God. The first thing he did in great emotional pain over the destruction back home was to turn to God. He took his emotional pain and heartbreak to God in prayer. He did not immediately try to fix the problems.
  • Nehemiah knew only GOD could bring solutions to such devastation so he worshipped the creator, the great and awesome One, the Holy One, and the loving faithful One. Nehemiah knew the situation was the result of the nation’s sin – it was not God’s fault.
  • In verse 5, Nehemiah gives us this example: Adore and Worship God before you intercede for a problem. Jesus taught us the same. When the disciples asked him to teach them to pray, he said, to pray like this, Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be the NAME.

Four Names for Praising God

  •  “O LORD (v. 5) is the first name.” In the Hebrew, the word is “Yahweh.” Yahweh is the divine personal name that God gave in love for the people of Israel to use. Yahweh is the Lord God, the self-existent one who is always present. You can say:  O Lord you are with ME. O God, You love me and never leave ME.
  • “O Lord of Heaven (v. 5).” In Hebrew, of Heaven is “Elohim” which refers to God, the creator of the heavens and earth and the judge of the universe. He reigns throughout all eternity and is unlimited in strength and time. You can say: O Lord of Heaven, the Mighty One, you are MY Creator.
  • Great and awesome God (v. 5).” In Hebrew, the word translated great is “Hadol” which refers to the magnitude and importance of God. Psalm 48:1 uses this word in praise: Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised.  The word ” Hael ” translates as ” awesome” in Hebrew, meaning awesome and holy reverence expressed to God, whose deeds are Magnificent.  You can say: God is MY great and awesome God.
  • God who keeps covenant and steadfast love (v. 5). In Hebrew, the word used is “Chesedh” and it means the God who guards His covenant relationship by keeping His promises of steadfast love and unchanging devotion to His people.  “Chesedh” is used in Psalm 40: 11: Your steadfast love and faithfulness keep me safe forever! You can say the Lord God keeps ME safe forever. He is MY loving, devoted God. (Note: Hebrew words are from Zodhiates Word Study Dictionary, 1992, #3069, #430, #410, #2617).

Personal Reflection

  1. Which of the names for God that Nehemiah uses would you like to use more in your prayer?
  2. How will you spend a few minutes adoring God with these praises?

Cup of JOY Women

       If you would like to host a weekly one-hour “Cup of Joy Women” study on Nehemiah with your friends that accompanies this podcast, email me: WRAPYourselfinJOY7@gmail.com.  I will send free materials and get you started.

Links

 

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 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 Jew people remembered the violation of God’s commands in their heritage (1 Samuel 15) and acted in holy retribution for self-defense but took no plunder for their profit.

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

  • Mordecai and Esther 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 WRAPYourselfinJOY.com 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, Nehemiah-Rebuiding HOPE.  If you would like to host a weekly one-hour “Cup of Joy Women” study on Nehemiah with your friends, go to:  https://wrapyourselfinjoy.com/ or email me: WRAPYourselfinJOY7@gmail.com.  I will send free materials to help you get started.

Links

What is Hope?

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

The Theological Virtues

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church

The theological virtues are the foundation of Christian moral activity; they animate it and give it its special character. They inform and give life to all the moral virtues. They are infused by God into the souls of the faithful to make them capable of acting as his children and of meriting eternal life. They are the pledge of the presence and action of the Holy Spirit in the faculties of the human being. There are three theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity (love.) #1813

These virtues are gifts from God!

The Virtue of Hope

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church

Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” #1817

3 Points About Hope

  • We hope for what we don’t have and can’t see
  • Sometimes it is difficult to hope
  • we can have hope by relying on God’s undeniable power

Act of Hope

My God, I hope with a firm confidence that you will give me, by the merits of Jesus Christ, your grace in this world, and, if I observe your commandments, your glory in the next, because you have promised it to me, and because you are supremely faithful in your promises. (Charles Peguy)

 

 

Pray the Act of Hope Prayer each day as a reminder to rely on God.

Consider praying with Mark 4:26-32.

Contact Deanna.

Fruits of Prayer

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

The fruits of prayer |The fruits of prayer are all around us. This is a challenge to not only enjoy the fruits of your prayer life, but ways to pray for others| #prayer #fruitofprayer #christianpodcast #christianliving #afewminuteswithgodpodcastFruits of Prayer ~ Episode 247

The fruits of prayer are all around us, and we should be encouraged, right? Yet we walk around carrying the burdens of the world on our shoulders. No more! This is a challenge to not only enjoy the fruits of your prayer life, but ways to pray for others.

Check out A Few Minutes with God, a novel sure to bring your tweens and teens closer to God.

In the Holy Bible, fruit is the symbol of many things. It is the symbol of good faith; it is the symbol of avoiding (such as the tree of life and the tree of good and evil), it was the apple that symbolized temptation because of what it represented.

Good fruit is also a sign that we are on the right path. Matthew 7: 17-20 (read on air).

This is important because in Salvation history and throughout Scripture we are shown again and again the sinfulness of mankind. Bad choices are made, even those selected by God, fall into sin. Yes, we should accept the Lord as our God and Savior, as my pastor calls it, and I love it, the “Fundamental Option.” Yes, Lord I repent, I believe, I will sin no more and follow you. But… there is always a but! We must show our decision by our fruits our decisions, and constantly be in prayer.

I love learning new things, and I appreciate this because it is the only way I can grow in faith. I was talking to one of our pastors after church and asked him some specific questions. Finally, he said to me, when you pray think of the Holy of Holies. I knew what he meant, the Bible refers to this place, as I remembered in the Old Testament.  We read in Leviticus 16:12 (Read on air.)

There are other references in Scripture, but the point is envisioning this place, the Holy of Holies… can you picture it? It is a quiet place that is filled with goodness, light, and grace. It is where the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit reside.

Then, he asked me to think about bringing God into my problems instead of bringing my problems to God. Wow – think about this. It is such a beautiful analogy of allowing the Lord into our hearts, and that is truly a blessing. Do you see the difference? Bring our prayers to God, or bring our God into our lives and thus into our prayers!

When we think about the fruits of prayer, we consider how God has answered what we want, our prayers, and our petitions. Our happiness often hinges on what God has done for us. When you think about it in this way, it sounds awfully selfish! But it does not have to be, especially when we begin to thank and praise God for our past blessings and what he has done for us.

Can you make a list? What has God done for you in the last year? The last few months? The last few weeks? How about today? Stop this recording, or come back to this question later. The fruits of prayer are, in essence, our life. Our ability to live each and every day, for some it is difficult, especially if you are ill or caring for someone in need. We all have something to be thankful for, and early on in this podcast, I shared the idea of a journal that was filled with thankfulness for what the Lord has done for you.

The fruit of prayer is thankfulness and awe, and wonder. The Creator of the Universe cares for you and for me in a powerful way! Even in our darkest times, we can be thankful for the sun that rises and warms the earth, the glistening of the raindrops, or the gentle breeze that cools us off on a hot day. The fruit of prayer is contentment. That joy that surpasses all understanding, as I paraphrase Philippians 4:7 – one of my favorite scripture verses: And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The Fruit of Prayer Joy – Peace – Contentment – Satisfaction – Understanding

No matter what is on your list of feelings you may have when your prayers are answered, it truly gives us a sense that God is with us, but not only that, it is a sense of hope. 2 Corinthians 5-7 – For we live by faith, not by sight. Or “We walk by faith and not by sight.” helps us when we do not feel his presence. Out of obedience, we say, “Yes, Lord,” daily.

The hope that God gives us is the understanding that no matter what, He is with us—a personal story on the air.

This is the fruit of prayer, a turnaround, and a change of heart. We want our hearts to be on fire for God, but often we can only consider our needs or those of the people we pray for daily. Instead, consider how you fall short, and make a turnaround. A turnaround to do better, to try harder, or to do something differently. When something does not work out well, why do the same thing expecting a better outcome?

Peace, joy, and contentment are wonderful, but a change of heart is even better. It helps us on our journey, and we can consider the prayer, “Thank you, Lord, for all the blessings you give me; I need nothing but you.” If we can truly say that with conviction, we are on the road to healing of mind, heart, and will. Our will is being given to God the Almighty!

This week I would love you to join me in prayer and acknowledge the fruit of our prayers. Consider what God has done for you, the good fruit in your life, and praise Him in all things.

 

 

Overcoming Blocks to God’s Love

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Overcoming Blocks to God's Love: This week Margret Vasquez shares that despite the fact that God loves us infinitely and intimately, sometimes the experience of it is distant. #cahtolicpodcast #catholictherapist #faith #catholicpodcast #christianpodcast #God's love #overcoming

Overcoming Blocks to God’s Love

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

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

Overcoming External Blocks

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

 

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

 

May the Lord give you peace!

 

Habits of Freedom, Introduction

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

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.

 

 

If you make a purchase via a link on this page, I may receive a small commission. There will be no added cost to you. Thank you!

Special Replay: Being Present In Prayer

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

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

Is Spiritual Direction for you?

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

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.

A Eucharistic Revival

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

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.

 

 

5 ways to Care for your Soul

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

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

Five Ways

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

Why do this?

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

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

Need a speaker

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

 

 

The Courage of St. Catherine of Siena

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

About Catherine

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

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

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

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

Bold and Courageous

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

Her Writings

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

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

 

 

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

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Teaching Prayer

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

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

Don’t skip

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

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

Learn more

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

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

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

 

Asceticism

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Asceticism – not a word you use every day

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

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

And Lent…

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

The steps to a plan

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

 

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

 

 

 

365 Dates to Renew your Christian Marriage

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Let’s talk

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

Why this book?

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

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

Who is this for?

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

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

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

All in with your spiritual life

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

What does ‘not lukewarm’ mean?

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

Scripture points

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

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

A plan helps

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

Not Lukewarm Challenge

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

 

 

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

The Best Episodes of 2021

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Quite a year

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

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

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

 

Prayer Episodes

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

And the books!

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

Don’t forget

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Prayers of Gratitude & Surrender

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Praying

What does it mean to pray? And is there a right or wrong way to pray? Simply put, prayer is talking to God. It is sitting with the One who made you and listening to what he has to say as well as telling him your thoughts. Often though, we forget to say thanks or think there is one ‘right way to pray.

Practice Gratitude

When we focus on what we have been given, it helps us realize the gifts in our lives.

Surrender

Let God be God. Allow him to be in charge.

Chaplet of Gratitude and Surrender

Erin came up with this prayer at Mass one weekend. A group of us come together Thursday mornings at 8am (EST) on Clubhouse to pray. It is a wonderful way to pray with others and offer our thanks to God. Follow Erin and me on Clubhouse.

More information

Erin on Instagram

Her website, where you can learn about her book!

My previous podcast with Erin McCole Cupp on her book, All Things New: Breaking the Cycyle & Raising a Joyful Family

 


 

A Special Thank You to Our Network Sponsor:  Courageous Movie

 

From the Kendrick Brothers, creators of the No. 1 box-office movie WAR ROOM and OVERCOMER, comes the remastered re-release of COURAGEOUS Legacy, in theaters September 24. Celebrating 10 years of impact on families and fathers, this updated version of the film includes new scenes and an enhanced look and sound.

Filled with action-packed drama, COURAGEOUS Legacy will once again have viewers laughing, crying, and cheering as they are challenged and inspired by everyday heroes who long to be the kinds of dads that make a lifelong impact on their children. Protecting the streets is second nature to these men. Raising their children in a God-honoring way? That’s courageous.

Check out the trailer here!


Rhythm, Routine & Habits

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Sounds a bit boring?

Rhythm, routines and habits sound a bit boring, isn’t the fun in life unplanned and spontaneous. Yes and no.  I like having a rhythm and routine in my life and habits make life easier, so you make fewer decisions all day long.

 

Plan my day

I find when I plan my day I get more done, have more energy, feel more creative and have more time for fun. But lately, I’ve not been doing it and life has been a jumble, not flowing very smoothly at all.

Some people who’ve helped me

I like James Clear, author of Atomic Habits; Gretchen Rubin, an NYT best-selling author and podcaster; Gary Keller and Jay Patapan, authors of The One Thing.

Create some routines for your day that will help you live a notlukewarm life more easily. It can be to start a new habit, plan your day to include some fun or add prayer time. Do something that will be of benefit to your life as it is right now!

Join me on September 20-23 for 4 ways to pray with scripture! You can sign up here.

 

 


A Special Thank You to Our Network Sponsor:  Show Me The Father Movie

The Kendrick Brothers, creators of WAR ROOM and FIREPROOF, have some exciting news to share: they have TWO films coming to theaters this fall—SHOW ME THE FATHER on September 10 and COURAGEOUS Legacy on September 24.

Featuring a variety of amazing, true stories, the Kendrick Brothers’ new feature film SHOW ME THE FATHER takes audiences on an inspiring and emotional cinematic journey. Their first documentary film has something for everyone and invites you to think differently about how you view your earthly father story and also how you personally relate to God.

Check out the trailer here!


 

4 ways to pray with your spouse

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Why pray with your spouse?

Jesus tells us in Matthew 18:19-20, Again, [amen,] I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Praying with your spouse leads to greater unity, that is communion, which is what Jesus calls us to, with each and him.

4 ways to pray with your spouse

  1. You can pray rote prayers of the Church; the Rosary, Novenas for a special intention, go to Mass together
  2. Short prayers of gratitude and intercessions
  3. pray with the scriptures
  4. pray specifically for each other’s needs before you leave for the day

Some links for more information

This week I encourage you to pray with your spouse or a close friend in one of the ways suggested!

Special Replay: Prayer Time – Overcoming Distractions

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Overcoming Distractions

Prayer Time – Overcoming Distractions

Spend Time with God

Prayer time and overcoming distractions isn’t easy. Do you want to spend time with God and find yourself overcome by distractions? We all have and we can end our time frustrated and angry or take charge. In this podcast Felice suggests ways to turn that distraction into a praise report.

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

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

a few minutes with God

Show Notes: Overcoming Prayer Time Overcoming Distractions

  1. Feel left behind
  2. Not enough time
  3. Speed of life is sometimes unmanageable
  4. How do you slow down enough so that you can focus on God?
  5. How do you combat distractions?

Categorize Distractions:

  1. Personal
    1. Something that has been bothering you
    2. Something you struggle with
    3. Something you feel guilt over
  2. Duty
    1. Kids or spouse
    2. Household
    3. Work
    4. Meeting or appt.

 

Set up your prayer time with a methodology – like any of these ways where you feel the most comfortable…

  1. Praise and worship
  2. Proclaiming and glorifying God in words
  3. Singing
  4. Prayer

 

Answering God’s Call

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Hits all the high points!

Talking with Barbara Lee reminded me why Ignatian Spirituality is so important. It is relatable, easy to approach and helpful as you go through life, no matter what age or stage you are in.

A Way to Pray

Answering God’s Call: A Scripture Based Journey for Older Adults by Barbara Lee, published by Loyola PRess is for all of us who want to pray with scripture and have had life experiences that have pushed us out in=to the deep. Maybe we’ve wondered where God is in the difficulties, trials and changes of life? Wonder no more, pick up this book that contains the scripture passages to read and ponder, prayer starters and a reflection. It is truly an all-in-one book in that whatever you’ll need for your prayer time is right there.

 

A New Women’s Devotional, Called by Name

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

What’s different?

Let’s be honest, there are so many devotionals that it can be hard to choose.

 

What makes this new devotional, Called by Name from Women in the New Evangelization edited by Kelly M. Wahlquist, Allison Gingras and Alyssa Bormes different? First, there are new voices; second, the daily devotions are brief yet powerful; third, it suggests do-able ways to take what you have reflected on and bring it to the world.

Each Day

Each daily page, yes, one page for each day, includes a scripture verse or two, a 300-word reflection, a prayer and a response. You are invited to journal on your scripture with the companion journal which guides you through Lectio Divina, a timeless way to engage with scripture. The journal is not dated, so if you miss a day or two months, it’s okay, you won’t have empty pages staring at you between the times you journal.

What is in the bundle and where can I get it?

The Called by Name bundle includes the book of 366 daily devotionals, a journal, journal stickers, prayer bookmark, and a Called by Name sticker at Women in the New Evangelization.

Allison has a great love of scripture, journaling and books! You can follow her on her website,  Reconciled to You, where you’ll find out all about the wonderful work she is doing.

Her challenge is this, spend 5 minutes a day journaling after reading scripture. You may find it a big help in your spiritual life.

 

 

Embrace Uncomfortable?

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Do you like being comfortable?

I do. In the spiritual life though, comfortable can mean stagnant. Or stuck. Not moving toward greatness.

Two quotes

“The world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.”  Pope Benedict XVI

“If you are always comfortable, nothing really happens, nothing changes. Embrace uncomfortable.” Me, as in, I said that!

Why be uncomfortable?

I think sometimes we need to be uncomfortable so we can grow and change. God really does call us to greatness, not mediocrity.  If you feel a tug toward change because you have become complacent or want to grow closer to God, pay attention.

This week, if you sense a pull from the Holy Spirit, pray this prayer each day, The Litany of Trust.

Sign up in May for the Live Not Lukewarm newsletter and you will have a chance to win one month’s memberhsip free!

 

The Prayer of Silence

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

What is prayer?

Prayer is time with God. A conversation. A lifting of our mind and heart to him.

There are different types of prayer

We can pray with others or by ourselves. There are vocal prayers, often those we have memorized. We can pray those aloud or inside our mind, but there are words involved either way.

Contemplative prayer is quiet. There are not many words.

How to pray in silence?

Put yourself in a quiet place, free of distractions.

Close your eyes and ask the Lord to be present with you.

Breathe. In your mind, picture God looking at you or open your eyes and look at an image that focuses you.

Tell God briefly what is on your mind.

And then sit quietly, if thoughts come to mind, let them go.

When you are done, thank God for his presence.

You may come away with answers or a sense of peace. Answers may come at another time. Try not to worry if you are doing it right, know that any time we give to God like this helps us become the person he created.

Try contemplative prayer this week. Start with 10 minutes a day and see what happens.

 

Is Lent a time of sacrifice or action?

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

What is Lent?

Lent is 40 days before Easter, it begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on the Wednesday before Holy Thursday. It is a time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving; a way to prepare ourselves for the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Sacrifice or Action?

I say both! Give up something and then do something. But it’s not only me saying this, God does too! Check out Isaiah 58:1-9a.

 

Yes, Lent has already started but it’s never too late to enter into the season. For this week, choose a sacrifice and an action for the rest of Lent.

FYI: I have a playlist for Lent on Spotify.

Sign up for the Live Notlukewarm Newsletter here and get a sample of my bible study on the Fruit of the Spirit.

Unlocking Freedom with Jesus

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

We live in a fallen world. No news there. We long for something to help us. We often look in many places before coming to the One who can help us. Unbound is a prayer process that can help us rid ourselves of past sins and hurts by others. Even those of us who receive the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation often hold onto our sins, refusing to forgive ourselves though God has done so.

If after listening to this episode you are interested in learning more, go to the Heart of the Father website. 

There are 5 Keys to Unbound:

  1. Repentance & Faith
  2. Forgiveness
  3. Renunciation
  4. Authority
  5. The Father’s Blessing

All of this is done in the name of Jesus. It is gentle, though it can be emotional. The prayer is driven by the needs of the person coming for prayer. The person leading the prayer and the intercessor are conduits of God’s mercy and healing.

I encourage everyone to look into this prayer, especially if you feel weary and weighed down by life.  Many times, by surrendering past hurts and lies we have believed about ourselves, that burden is lifted. This process is not a substitute for counseling or medical help, rather, it si of help for our soul.

Another good resource is the book, Unbound by Neal Lozano.

Do you have unresolved burdens or sins in your life? Pray. Thank God for all He has already done for you in these areas and then ask if Unbound is something for you. If it is, go to the website to find a group in your area who can pray with you. If you have nay questions or can’t find someone to pray with you, please email me dgbartalini(at)gmail(dot)com.

Get a sample of my Bible study book when you sign up for my emails.

 

Faith in difficult times

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Why Vn. Pierre Toussaint?

I find his story compelling and an excellent example for our times. In the face of many obstacles he lived a life of holiness and virtue. His faith guided his life.

A  bit about his life

He was born a slave in what is now Haiti in 1766. His master allowed him to be educated by the family tutor which was extremely rare. In 1787 part of the family was sent to New York City due to political unrest. Pierre and his sister were among the slaves who went with the family. In, NYC Pierre trained as a hairdresser and was allowed to keep the money earned. His master died and his family was left almost desittiue. Pierre supoprted the widow for mnay years, until her death. It was then that she finally gave Pierre his freedom. ONce freed, he purcahse his sister’s freedom and his future wife’s.

Once free

Pierre and Juliette married. They had no children of their own but did adopt Pierre’s sister’s daughter when his sister died. Sadly, she died at 14. Faith and discipline is what kept Pierre going. He moved forward, every day, praying and serving those in need, as well as working. He worked long many years, not for himself, but so that he could use his money to  help others.

Charitable works

Juliette and Pierre opened their home to orphans and those on need. Pierre helped St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in her work. He also donated substantial funds towards the building of the first St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC.

There’s so much more about this great man to learn, this episode just scratches the surface but I hope you’ll listen to hear more!

This week consider emulating Vn. Pierre Toussaint’s charity. Choose a charity to help, with your time, resources or prayer and plan a way to help them.

 

The desire to please God

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Why Pray

I pray to keep focused. I pray to remind myself that I am not alone. I pray to ask for guidance. And sometimes I pray for direction. Who am I kidding, I pray for that reason lots!

This prayer from Thomas Merton has been in my prayer box for quite some time. Some call it the Prayer of Surrender others of Abandonment. Either way, it is about the idea that while we want very much to do God’s will we don;t always know we are and it’s okay. Our desire, our intention matters. And God knows our intention always.

The Prayer

My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going
I do not see the road ahead of me
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think that I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you
and I hope I have that desire in all I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this, you will lead me on the right road
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore, will I trust you always.
Though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death,
I will not fear, for you are ever with me
and you will never leave me to face my struggles alone. Amen.

(Thomas Merton-Trappist Monk)

the not lukewarm challenge

 

This week, pray this prayer as you begin each day. Allow it to comfort and guide you.

 

 

I’d love to have you join me in the LIve NOt LUkewarm with the Sunday Scriptures group. Join my email list or read more about it.

Joy in Difficult Times

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

A Prayer

O holy St. Philip Neri, patron saint of joy,
you who trusted scripture’s promise that the Lord is always at hand 
and that we need not have anxiety about anything,
in your compassion heal our worries and sorrows
and lift the burdens from our hearts.
We come to you as one whose heart swells
with abundant love for God and all creation.
Hear us, we pray, especially in this need (make your request here).

Keep us safe through your loving intercession and may the joy of the Holy Spirit which filled your heart, St. Philip, transform our lives and bring us peace. Amen

Joy is not happiness

Joy is something deeper and more lasting. Even when an activity is over when you feel contentment or consolation, that is joy, as St. Ignatius points out.  Focusing on the long term goal of heaven and not on the little things that annoy us can help us have joy. Yes, there are difficulties in life, but if we allow ourselves to focus only on those, we will sink into the muck of our emotions.

Where to look

Look to the cross. It is an example of focusing on the joy that is to come. But remember because of Christ’s death and resurrection we can have that joy now, in this life. I’m certain our joy in heaven will be far greater than any we experience here on earth, but we can still have joy. That is the gift we have from God.

When you are feeling less than full of joy, pray the prayer of St. Philip Neri and ask him to intercede for you.

 

 

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or Free registration.

St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Facts about Teresa of Avila

  • born in Avila, Spain on March 28, 1515
  • entered the Carmelites on 1535
  • began reforming the order and founded her first convent, St. Joesph, in 1562
  • in 1575 she was told to stop and made to retire to Costile due to a dispute between the two different Carmelite groups
  • in 1579 King Philip II of Spain found a solution to the dispute, Pope Gregory XIII confirmed it in 1580
  • for two years Teresa traveled and continued working on reforming the Carmelites
  • she died in 1582
  • she was canonized in 1622
  • made a Doctor of the Chruch in 1970by Pope Paul VI
  • she is the patron saint of headaches
  • her feast day is Oct 15

What was she reforming?

Teresa wanted her order, the Carmelites, to go back to convents existing on public offerings and poverty rather than relying on personal endowments of the wealthy. This caused a conflict between the two Carmelite groups, the Primitive and Mitigated. The Primitive was what Teresa was espousing. However, in the conflict, she was told to retire and stop working. Eventually, she was able to return to her life’s work with help from the King and Pope Gregory XIII.

Her prayer that will serve us well at this time

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

St. Teresa of Avila

 

When you feel troubled, pray the prayer above and remember that you have God.

Don’t forget, register for the Catholic Moms Summit Nov 13, 14, 15. All Access Pass

or Free registration.

Magnify the Lord

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

What does it mean to magnify?

It means to make something appear larger, to enlarge, increase, enhance. The archaic meaning is a bit different and more in line with what we think of in relation to God. It means, to extol, glorify, praise, bless, worship, venerate and adore.

Scripture

PS 34:2-4 I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall always be in my mouth. My soul will glory in the LORD, let the poor hear and be glad. Magnify the LORD with me and let us exalt his name together.
Luke 1:46-55   is Mary telling all that God has done for her and her ancestors. It is her response to what God has given her.

How do we magnify God and how does God magnify us?

The above verses remind us that we have much to thank God for and when we do, we are magnifying what he has done so that others can see it. It is one way we share the Good News. But God also takes our work and prayers, small or large, and magnifies them. In the same way as a small bit of yeast leavens all the dough (Matthew 13:33) he takes what we offer him and makes it bigger. God can use all we do for his glory if we put it at his disposal.

As Christians, that is our call – to both magnify the Lord and let him magnify us.

Spend some time praying about this: How can you magnify the Lord? And how does he magnify you?

 

Learn more about the Catholic Moms Summit and register here!

Fly to Mary

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Mary is our Mother who loves us and wants to help us. Ever since I was a little girl I have prayed this very special prayer asking for Mary to intercede, The Memorare. The image of prayers flying up to her in heaven where she then offers them to Jesus for me is very hopeful.

It is a prayer of trust in a mother who will never let us down, always listening to us and helping us.

St. Teresa of Calcutta had a special devotion to Mary and prayed this same prayer often, calling it her “Flying Novena.” She would pray 9 Memorares and then 1 more in thanksgiving for the answer. The Missionaries of Charity use it often. I have as well and by the end, either I have an answer, I am calm or the situation has resolved itself. All great outcomes!

I encourage you to pray this prayer and go to Mary and ask for her help.

And that’s the Not Lukewarm Challenge for the week.

 

If you have a chance, leave a review wherever you listen to this podcast. Then, drop me a comment and I’ll send you some encouraging scripture images. You can also sign up for my newsletter and I’ll do the same.

Faith Overcomes Fear

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Faith is a gift from God that we can use to overcome our fears. It isn’t always easy, but we have many examples of faith around us and in scripture. Right in the beginning of Genesis, Abram is an example of faith in God, indeed it says in Gen 15:6, “Abram put his faith in the LORD, who attributed it to him as an act of righteousness.” We too can put our faith in God no matter what is happening around us.

When we have struggles and concerns, do we try to solve them, or do we worry instead? God gave us the mental capacity to think and find solutions to our problems. Sometimes though, we give in to our fear that we can’t solve the problem, or we think we are not capable. Call on God, turn to scripture, listen to praise music – give in to your faith. And when you do, God will see and give you more faith!

In Matthew 8, the apostles are at sea and a storm comes up while Jesus is sleeping. When they wake him up, he has stern words for them before he solves the problem, “He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm.” (Mt 8:26) Jesus is right beside us, even if it seems as if he is sleeping. By keeping our focus on him fear cannot take hold of us.

Like the sign in my friend’s house said, “Faith and Fear cannot live in the same house.” Let faith overcome fear, not the other way around. Hold onto the faith God has given to you, ask for more, rely on it and you will grow stronger in your faith, better able to withstand the storms of life.

 

the not lukewarm challenge  This week, spend some quiet time asking God what your fears are and to replace them with faith!

 

 

 

Here is your download for today’s episode and don’t forget, please leave a review wherever you listen to this podcast, it’s greatly appreciated!

 

Self-care for the Working Woman

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Self-care for working womenEpisode 15–Self-care for the Working Woman

The issue of self-care for the working woman is an important topic for today’s woman.  With our many responsibilities and duties, self-care can sometimes go by the wayside.

As a mom who worked part-time, I learned early on that my life was no longer your own, and I know that many of you can relate to this. When the kids were little, it was difficult to find time to do anything for myself without them being underfoot. Sometimes that even included finding time to go to the bathroom. 

Even as they got older, the driving force of most days still centered around their needs and activities. Add to all of this, the responsibility of trying to earn enough money to live, and honoring commitments to my church and community, sometimes it felt that I barely had time to think.

Because I was making all of these sacrifices, I expected affirmation and gratitude from my family and others, but many times my work went unnoticed and unappreciated. This left me feeling very disappointed, angry, and depressed which further complicated things.

I was in a downward spiral, and I realized that I had to make some changes. I started giving myself permission to nourish my own body and soul. At first, it was a struggle for me, but now that my children have grown up and three of them have left home, it’s a little easier and I’m finally learning how to take good care of me. 

The funny thing is that the more I talk about this experience with others, the more I discovered that many women are dealing with the same struggles. We’ve given so much of ourselves and we’re burnt out. We need to learn or relearn self-care. 

Now, let me clarify what I mean when I say ‘self-care’, ladies. Self-care is more than just going to the nail salon to get a manicure or a pedicure. It’s more than getting your hair done or going away for a weekend with the girls. All of those things are nice to do, but it’s not enough. Real self-care is much deeper than those things. It requires that we address our spiritual, emotional, and physical needs.  

So I’ve decided to dedicate today’s podcast to the subject of nourishing our bodies and souls and talk about eight ways, we as women, can make that happen, in the new year. 

Helpful Resources:

Trim Healthy Mama

Image result for trim healthy mama

This plan encourages you to learn to put meals together that will suit your own needs, challenges and food preferences. Since Trim Healthy Mama is geared as a lifelong plan, you learn as you go, but after a while it becomes second nature for most people.

5 Surprising Dehydration Facts You May Not Know

Hydration Foundation

Dehydration is defined as the condition in which the body’s loss of water exceeds its water intake. We need water for our bodies to function normally.

Arrow Home Products for Hydration

Interior-Headers-Hydration

The Arrow Company is dedicated to developing high-quality hydration products made right here in the USA, as the market leader in Hydration Dispensers. Their products are BPA-free and designed to fit your lifestyle whether at home or on-the-go. Satisfy your hydration needs with our convenient and portable line of hydration products.

 

Praying with ACTS

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

It is all well and good to tell people to pray. But sometimes, because of lack of experience, tiredness, or maybe even a spiritual dryness, you don’t know what to say. That’s where ACTS comes in; it is a way to pray, a little formula you can use to get on track and stay focused.

How to pray

right-click on the image to save and then print if you’d like

ACTS stands for Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving and Supplication. Let’s look briefly at each of these.

A: we adore God, praising his holy name and letting him know that we know that he is God.

C: we say we are sorry and ask forgiveness for the wrongs we have done. Not to beat ourselves up but to be honest. And yes, of course, God knows what we have done but with humility, it’s good to admit it to him. This way we can get it out in the open and takes steps to correct our behavior.

T: God has given us everything! So we thank him for the problem resolved easily, the quick trip to work, our children’s success, our health, whatever comes to mind. Thank him for whatever comes to mind.

S: and now we get to the asking for what we need. Just as it’s a bit rude or presumptuous to start a conversation with a friend without asking them if they have time to talk and are well, it’s really the same with God. Wait to ask for your needs and the needs of those you love and those for whom you’ve promised to pray.

As I say in my audio, I didn’t make this up and could not find the origin of it. A priest taught it to me years ago and I pass it on to you.  I hope this process is helpful to you!

the not lukewarm challenge

 

 

And for our Not Lukewarm Challenge this week, go ahead and use ACTS to pray. You can download the image above as a reminder if you like.

Praying to the One who loves us

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

St. Therese on prayerPrayer helps us stay grounded, reminding us that we need God and that he is there, waiting to listen.

A few quotes on prayer

Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Phil 4:6

For me, prayer is an aspiration of the heart, it is a simple glance directed to heaven, it is a cry of gratitude and love in the midst of trial as well as joy; finally, it is something great, supernatural, which expands my soul and unites me to Jesus. St. Therese of Lisieux

What a gift prayer is! It is the real treasure of our soul, our being able to give to God the worship of perfect adoration. St. Frances Cabrini

My secret is simple–I pray. St. Teresa of Calcutta

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

How to Pray

There are many ways to different ways to pray and each has a benefit. Common ways include praying rote prayers; praying with your faith community at Mass or a service; using scripture or music; praying in silence. Often we pray because we are restless or have a problem that needs solving. Many times, when you have many burdens, the best prayer is sitting in silence. God knows our needs before we say them. He does not want us to live in worry, confusion or discouragement. When you are overwhelmed and on input and noise overload, find a quiet spot, ask God to enter into it and sit, hands open, doing nothing. I say, “Come, Holy Spirit” and let all my thoughts go up to him. Even 5 minutes will give you peace and rest.

Pause during the day as well, whenever a decision needs to be made, and ask God what’s next. The more we approach God, the more peace we will have. As  Soren Kierkegaard said, “prayer does  not change God,  but changes him who prays.”  And what else can the point of prayer be, but to change and become more like the person God created us to be, living a life of abundance and sharing it with others.

the not lukewarm challengeOur challenge this week is to learn a new prayer. Or at least choose a new one to use regularly. I have a few links to prayer sites as well as a “Prayer” playlist on Spotify for you. I’d love to hear what new prayer you’ve used this week so leave a comment!

Prayer Sites

23 Powerful Prayers 
Catholic Prayers

 

 

The Communion of Saints

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us.” Hebrews 12:1

What is the communion of saints?

It is made up of all the people who are part of the Church, whether in heaven, waiting to enter heaven or on earth. It is a communion of people, meant to remind us that:

-God wants us to share in his divine life,

-we are called to pursue a common goal, holiness,

-mutual love is the bond; we are made one through the gift of Jesus’ life,

-our unity gives us strength, helps us grow in our faith, hope and love,

-we cannot obtain heaven isolated from each other,

-if one suffers, we all suffer; if one gains, we all benefit,

-The Holy Spirit leads us to share spiritual goods and material goods to a sacrificial degree.

The communion of saints is God’s holy human family. Death does not break this bond of love and sharing. The communion of saints connects us all as one body. The Church of this world is joined to the Church of the next in one Body of Christ.  We are never alone; we are united with each other in the mystical body of Christ. One way to act on that unity is to pray for we, the living, to pray for the dead, especially those who are in purgatory. We can also ask for prayer from those in heaven. This includes not only named or canonized saints, but our family and friends who are no longer with us. These souls are much closer to God, they are with him in heaven. Ask for them to intercede for you.

It is no different than asking a friend to pray for you.

Who are Saints?

In the broadest way, a saint is someone who is in a state of grace and united to God. There are also those who have led lives of exemplary example who have been declared saints by the Church. Those are canonized saints. These men and women show us that God can use each of us to point to His glory.

All have us have the potential to one day be saints. That is the goal of the Christian life, to be in heaven with God, at the eternal banquet, united with all those who love him.

the not lukewarm challenge

 

Find a saint to intercede for you. It can be someone you know and love who has died or a canonized saint. Look for a saint you can relate to You can use this site to find a saint based your name, a special date, a special interest or need, even your profession! Leave a comment and tell us who you found.

 

God the Holy Spirit

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity.  He is made known to us from the beginning of the Old Testament, in Genesis 1:2, “and the earth was without form or shape, with darkness over the abyss and a mighty wind sweeping over the waters” that wind is the Holy Spirit. Then we see again, in Exodus, God is with the Israelites as they flee from Egypt, “The LORD preceded them, in the daytime by means of a column of cloud to show them the way, and at night by means of a column of fire to give them light. Thus they could travel both day and night. Neither the column of cloud by day nor the column of fire by night ever left its place in front of the people (Ex: 13:21-22). God was with them and he is with us as well.

In the New Testament, we see the action of the Holy Spirit when Mary conceives Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35) and again, when Jesus is baptized, the Spirit, in the form of a dove rests above Jesus as he comes up out of the water (Luke 3:22).

The Holy Spirit completes the Father’s plan; he sent Jesus to save us and Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit will come and be with us always. The Holy Spirit was poured out onto the apostles at Pentecost and enabled them to go out and preach the Good News. The Spirit guides,  protects and sanctifies (makes holy) the Church.

He calls all people to Christ and completes his saving mission. The Holy Spirit is with us always, drawing us closer to Christ, both consoling and convicting us of our sin. He is the source of our hope.

In Baptism we receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord (Is 11:1-2). They are sealed in us at Confirmation. As we live and grow as Christians, we grow in the fruits of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control (Gal 5: 22-23).

The Holy Spirit as many titles, which give an idea of how he acts in our lives: consoler, creator spirit, giver of life, paraclete, source of goodness, and spirit of truth.

The Holy Spirit is the fullness of love between the Father and the Son, reminding us that something always comes from love.

the not lukewarm challenge

 

This week, pray St. Augustine’s Prayer to the Holy Spirit and see what happens when you invite him into your life.

You can right-click on the image of the prayer to “save image as” and then print it if you’d like.

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

 

 

The Origin of All: God the Father

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Origin of AllGod the Father is the first person of the Most Holy Trinity. God the Son, Jesus and God the Holy Spirit are the second and third persons of the Trinity. He is the origin of all life. Life begins with the Father. He created us out of and because of love.

God loves us so much that he reveals himself to us in all of creation, in scripture, and of course, in his Son, Jesus. St. Augustine says, “You have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” We all long for God and a way to express our love to him for all that he has given us.

God the Father is almighty, all-powerful, all-loving and merciful. He desires us to be in relationship with him. He has given us faith and if we think we are lacking or desire more, we can ask him. God wants our good because we are his adopted sons and daughters. He wants us to participate in his life and will never leave us

However, we have free will. This means that what we return to God, to be authentic, must be freely given. We can choose to turn to him or away from him. Sometimes, we do what we are told out of a sense of obligation or fear, that is not what God wants from us. He wants us to love him as freely as he loves us.

I think of God the Father as my father. He is always ready to listen to me, he is patient, forgiving and present. I picture myself crawling up into his lap, head on his chest, listening to his heartbeat.

Some scripture verses to ponder:

Then God said: Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the tame animals, all the wild animals, and all the creatures that crawl on the earth. God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27

Thus says the LORD who made the earth, giving it shape and stability, LORD is his name: Call to me, and I will answer you; I will tell you great things beyond the reach of your knowledge. Jeremiah 33:2-3

Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me. I made known to them your name and I will make it known that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.” John 17:25-26

the not lukewarm challenge

 End each day thanking God for all that he has done for you today.

Podcast #29 Frequency

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Podcast #29

Frequency

 

Research has shown that essential oils vibrate on the highest frequency levels known and can result in environments where disease, bacteria, and viruses cannot survive.

What is frequency?

Frequency is a measurable rate of electrical energy that passes a fixed place in a set amount of time. It is constant between any two points.

Frequency is measured in hertz (Hz) and megahertz (MHz).  The hertz measurement is the number of waves that pass by per second. If the time it takes for an energy wave to pass is 1/2 second, the frequency is 2 per second. If it takes 1/100 of an hour, the frequency is 100 per hour.

Every living thing has a natural resonant electrical frequency—your dog, the sunflowers in your garden, the bugs outside your window, your food—you get it.

So are there crazy radio waves in my body?

Not the same thing exactly. You have something called somatides in your body. A somid is a sub-microscopic electrically charged particle found in every matter–plants, people, rocks, fruits. They cannot be destroyed. Researchers have tried to torch and cut them with diamond blades but could not. Somatides transmit frequencies from the cells in your body to the outside of the body. This is how what you feel inside goes out to the universe and interacts with others.

If everything has an energy frequency and essential oils come from plants–they have a frequency too!

Essential oils contain frequencies that are seven times or more, greater than the frequencies of food and herbs. This means that essential oils have more life-giving energy than any other substance. They are the lifeblood of the plant, so of course, they would have more energy!

Frequencies of common things in our lives:

*Disease begins at 58 MHz
*Colds invade at 58 MHz
*Flu symptoms at 57 MHz
*Cancer at 42 MHz

The frequency range of Young Living Essential Oils start at 42 MHz and go as high as 580 MHz.

*Canned/Processed Foods-zero MHz
*Fresh Foods-20 to 27 MHz
*Dry Herbs-15 to 22 MHz
*Fresh Herbs-20 to 27 MHz

*Coffee– holding a cup of coffee can lower your body frequency by 8
MHz. Drinking coffee lowers it by 14 MHz.
*Holding a cigarette can decrease our frequency by 14 MHz. Smoking a cigarette
can decrease your frequency by 24 MHz.
*Negative thoughts decrease our frequency by up to 12 MHz
*A positive thought can increase our frequency by 10 MHz
*Prayer increases our frequency by 15 MHz

When essential oils are inhaled following exposure to coffee, the bodily frequencies restore themselves in less than a minute. If no oils are used, it can take up to 3 days for the body to recover from even one drink of coffee.

Using oils of a high-frequency can:

* lower stress

*calm the nervous system

*restore damaged cells

*raise our wellness levels

Check out the chart to learn the frequencies of oils!

The level of frequency inside of you is measured by how quickly your building block cells are moving and repairing themselves in your body. The more movement, the more available your body is to repair and heal damage and stop free radicals. The lower the frequency the more prone you are to disease, blockages in your system and poor mental health.

How do I know this is real?

You can’t see frequencies but they are there. You believe in God but you haven’t seen him. When you listen to the radio but cannot see the emissions but you still hear a sound. If I told you about my soul and my feelings, you wouldn’t say they were made up, would you?

They aren’t. Neither are frequencies. They can be measured with science and that is the best part!

Now that you understand frequency more, what are you going to do differently?

Start your day right:

  • Get up and start your day with prayer
  • Open up your essential oil and smell it, diffuse it, or apply it (grab yours here)
  • Create a new scent memory
  • Be aware of your negative thoughts and change them
  • What are you feeding your body?

“Everything is energy.”
-Albert Einstein

As always, be grateful and have faith!

God Bless!

 

Power Focused Prayer

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

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

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power focused prayerPower Focused Prayer

Episode 14

Part One — podcast here

Power focused prayer brings everything in relationship to forgiveness to complete freedom. I want to repeat the summary of this approach which was in The Fire of Forgiveness One. This process leads to complete freedom in relation to forgiveness:

1) A sincere and honest decision and appropriate action to exercise heartfelt forgiveness, 2) Willing to receive the necessary ministry that surfaces surrounding the forgiveness situation

3) Letting go and surrendering all the negative elements involved in the forgiveness itself, and those things that have surfaced around the forgiveness

4) power prayer for the individual(s) who caused the problem. All four of these aspects need to be pursued in order to allow forgiveness let us experience complete freedom.

Some things to think about generated by the content of what I just presented: After going through each step of the process check to see if the negative attitudes and hurts are gone. The memories may still be there, but they have lost the power to hurt or wound. The memories may gradually fade naturally away over time. Be open to understanding that the forgiveness process may need more than one episode of forgiving prayer. Also, consider that the process may happen by uncovering subsequent levels.

This could be the case in long-standing abuse or hurts by others. In some situations, the thought of betrayal or of the wounds “triggers” unhealed hurts, attitudes, and wounds in other areas of the person. For example, the thought of the current event brings up other deep negative feelings; say of self-pity. Self-pity is a subtle form of self-hatred or self- rejection. The feelings of self-pity anesthetizes our pain and it makes us feel good so we indulge in self-pity. Maybe we have a problem with anger that makes us feel vengeful or victimized, so we compulsively want to get back at the one who hurt us. These real issues may not necessarily be directly related to forgiveness.

Therefore, we may need some simple deliverance or healing in adjacent areas so that our freedom from forgiveness can take hold. And power focused prayer for those who have hurt us can bring freedom in our heart by some self-healing prayer. Also, some of us by our upbringing and training may have a struggle with anxious perfectionism, for which there may be a need for some spiritual ministry or pastoral attention beyond the forgiveness process because these painful issues are deeply rooted in our human personhood, they may automatically surface significant other areas which need healing.

If you want God to know that you are hungry, know that another is hungry. If you hope for mercy, show mercy. If you look for kindness, show kindness. If you want to receive, give. Let this be the pattern for all when they practice mercy: show mercy to others in the same way, with the same generosity, with the same promptness, as you want others to show mercy to you. Therefore, let prayer, penitential sacrifice, and mercy be one single plea to God on our behalf, one speech in our defense, a threefold united prayer in our favor. With this offering of sacrifice, the Lord will receive it as an offering, for this kind of a sacrifice to God is a broken wounded spirit; God does not despise a bruised and humbled heart. (St. Peter Chrysologus, Liturgical Prayer, Vol. 2, pgs. 231-232; penitential sacrifice replaces the word fasting.)

Offer yourself to God, make him an oblation of your penitential sacrifice, so that you may be a pure offering, a holy sacrifice, a living victim, remaining your own and at the same time made over to God, “I urge you brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Rom. 12: 1-3)

A suggested approach for complete freedom through forgiveness:  I mentioned above four steps necessary in order for a person to experience complete spiritual freedom in relation to significant forgiveness. I would like to present a suggestion which would be connected to the fourth step, which is, power-focused prayer for individuals I have forgiven. This approach can easily be used for praying for others for atonement, forgiveness, reparation, intercession. I use the term “power focused” because it has remarkable results in bringing about change in the lives of those we pray for. It is a procedure for cleansing, healing, mercy, and conversion. I am going to present a simple formula, and then I will give further commentary on the specifics.

First, we place ourselves in the presence of the Divine Merciful Love of God. Then we picture the person or group we want to pray or do intercession for. Even though I am praying for a particular person we directly address this formula to the presence of the Divine in my prayer for a particular person or group.  And we say, I am very sorry for all the hard, painful, and difficult things that have happened to you in this particular situation and in your whole life. At this point you have just stepped up into CELP, the compassionate evoking love power of the Divine, thus God’s love becomes the primary and proactive power in this process of forgiveness. I take complete concern and total responsibility for everything you have experienced   

This doesn’t mean that you take on any guilt or negative experiences of the person you are praying for; it simply means that you have become one with the Divine power of the prayer. I sincerely ask you to please forgive me!  This action brings the healing power of the Lord to the recipient of the prayer, and secondarily, but really to you as well. I love you very much, and I thank you for everything.

When you pray this prayer, you become a conduit for the Divine power of the Father, Son, and Spirit to act in the recipient’s life, and yours as well. This procedure should be a Spirit-led experience done with your heart, primarily open for inspiration, rather than your mind. You have placed yourself in the Divine Connection so now the powerful love of the Father, Son, and  Holy Spirit is intimately and proactively present to the person or group you are praying for. When you say “I love you” you are bringing and sharing the infinite love of God for the person you are praying for. When you pray “Thank You” you are grateful for the unique and special person that God has created them to be in this new creation.

MAY WE PRAY!

O Lord spur us on to desire and possess a more abundant life through the healing gift of mercy, and being rich in mercy you constantly offer pardon and call we sinners on to trust in your forgiveness alone. You have never turned away from us, and though time and time again we have broken your covenant, you have bound the human family to yourself through Jesus your Son, our Savior, and Redeemer, with a new bond of love so tight that it can never be undone.

Even now, in “the Grace of the Present Moment,” this time of grace and reconciliation, and as each one of us turns back to your, you grant us hope and freedom in Christ Jesus, and a desire to be of service to all, as we entrust ourselves more fully to the Holy Spirit, and so filled with love and wonder, we extol the power of you merciful and healing love, and proclaim to others the joy of salvation which comes from you!. We pray this prayer in the power of the Cross and the glory of the Resurrection in Jesus name. Amen.

The Struggles of Being a Mom

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

Podcast #19

The Struggles of Being a Mom

 

Being a Mom

 

Motherhood is not easy. Motherhood has its seasons and each one has its struggles. Looking around in life, at the grocery store or on social media, we as moms are struggling and it is normal, but we don’t have to be alone.

 

Everywhere we look there are mom’s struggling with postpartum depression, anxiety, loneliness, and so much more…

 

How can we do this “Mom” thing?

 

As we go through the day to day. Knowing the struggles we have and seeing the struggles of those around us, how do we do it? What “thing” can help us? God. As cliché as this sounds, it is something that one honestly can’t go without. Look at your day, start a day with prayer and gratitude and then start a day without. Which one goes better?

 

How do we add this element to our day?

 

Find a friend, a church group, message me. Know that we are all struggling but through prayer and fellowship, we honestly have some of the best examples in our Christian faith- Our Blessed Mother and Jesus. Reach up to them and out to your friends in Christ.

 

There is no better way to do this Mom thing than with Mary as an example and Christ Jesus at our side.

 

As always,

Be grateful & have faith!
God Bless!

 

 

Blueprint for Making Decisions

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

blueprint making decisionsA Blueprint for Making Decisions

Episode #13

Do you have a blueprint for making decisions? You should, because all of us make decisions 24/7 – but how often do we take our decisions – even if they are small to the Lord in prayer? In this podcast, I discuss a blueprint for making decisions with prayer.

Thanks to our sponsor – Media Angels, Inc. 

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

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

a few minutes with God

Decision making is always tough, but sometimes, for the little things, in particular, we often put God in a box, and don’t want to “bother Him” with the little things or we feel it is too silly to ask. Nothing is too little or too big for our God – He is the Almighty One – ready to hear the prayers from the hearts of His children. How many of you pray for a parking spot? I know I did and even had my children join in prayer. What a wonderful example of the power of prayer and the power of asking God for everything, every decision.

Today we will discuss those prayers that involve making a decision. I believe this is a blueprint that will help you tremendously. I will share in podcast 14 a more in-depth prayer blueprint for making major decisions through prayer.

Blueprint For Making Decisions

  1. Pray specifically for a need.
    • Of course, God already knows but it helps us to fine-tune our ask
    • Shows us whether a decision is necessary or not
  2. Give it to the Lord – and do not dwell on it further.
    • Allowing God to be God of every aspect of our lives
    • Giving it to the Lord allows us to release our needs into His hands
    • Accepting God’s will in our life
  3. Read Scripture –
    • Daily, and when in prayer for a decision more often
    • Listen after you pray
  4. Pray specifically for your needs and ask the Lord to give you the gift of knowledge about what to do.
    • Gifts of the Holy Spirit are many, ask for specific gifts
  5. Our subconscious listens and often when we are in tune with God
    •  Ideas will come into our minds, miraculously
    • We can pray and think about those ideas.
  6. Write anything down that comes to you.
    • Journal ideas as they come
    • Write down pertinent scripture verses
  7. Look into your options
    • Being informed is important.
    • Research your options
  8. Pray about any thoughts that come to mind and ask the Lord to confirm these.
  9. Do you have peace of mind?
    • Peace about a decision is a sign from the Lord that it is right.
    • If you are stressed or agitated keep praying!
  10. Make a decision.
  11. If you can’t make a decision… wait!
    • Pray and continue to read scripture.
  12. Once you make a decision trust in the Lord and give it to Him.
  13. Ask the Lord to go ahead of you and prepare the way.
  14. Give all the glory and praise to God!

Remember, this is only a blueprint – you can never put God in a box, He is worthy of all the glory, honor and praise – we are only His instruments. Use this blueprint to help you in your decision making and often it will just come naturally. Reaching out in prayer is a sign that you are open to God’s will in your life. I pray the Lord blesses you in your decision making and helps guide you on your path!

 

Mini Retreat

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

A Mini Retreat To Refresh Your Soul with Felice GerwitzA Mini-Retreat To Refresh Your Soul with Felice Gerwitz

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

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

a few minutes with God

Are you weary with the burdens of everyday life? A mini-retreat might be just what you need in order to become refreshed. In less than five minutes a day you can become renewed and ready to continue onward. In this episode, Felice shares how she breaks up an hour into a time of praise, prayer, Scripture and praying for others. In addition, she shares her unique way to set up a prayer journal, keeping in mind praise and thanksgiving before prayer petition.

 

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Thanks to our sponsor – Media Angels, Inc.

Check out the book – A Few Minutes With God

Show Notes: Mini-Retreat

  1. What is a retreat?
  2. What is the perfect retreat for you?
  3. What is one thing that is holding you back?
  4. The power of concentrated prayer.
  5. Listening is the key to finding the answer.
  6. Give it time.

Do you have an hour? This is how I divide one hour of prayer time into a mini-retreat with the Lord.

First fifteen minutes: spend time in praising God, whether it is in prayer or singing, rejoice in the Lord. He is worthy of all our prayers!

Second fifteen minutes: listen… journal your thoughts, jot down scriptures to look up–but not yet! Just be with the Lord… He will lead you.

Third fifteen minutes: Read Scripture. Look up the verses that came to mind during your quiet time. Slowly allow the words to sink in – close your eyes and think about what you read.

Last fifteen minutes: Prayers of petition. Are you praying for something specific? Is there a concentrated prayer request that you bring to the Lord daily? Focus on this prayer and seek the Lord’s wisdom.

End with praising God – praise is important to begin with and end with. In praising God we are thankful for all He has given us and we can begin our day (if our retreat is first thing) or continue our day with happy thoughts about His love and goodness…no matter what is happening in our lives.

Prayer Time – Overcoming Distractions

A Production of the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.

overcoming distractions

Prayer Time – Overcoming Distractions

Spend Time with God

Podcast #5

Prayer time and overcoming distractions isn’t easy. Do you want to spend time with God and find yourself overcome by distractions? We all have and we can end our time frustrated and angry or take charge. In this podcast Felice suggests ways to turn that distraction into a praise report.

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

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

a few minutes with God

Show Notes: Overcoming Prayer Time Overcoming Distractions

  1. Feel left behind
  2. Not enough time
  3. Speed of life is sometimes unmanageable
  4. How do you slow down enough so that you can focus on God?
  5. How do you combat distractions?

Categorize Distractions:

  1. Personal
    1. Something that has been bothering you
    2. Something you struggle with
    3. Something you feel guilt over
  2. Duty
    1. Kids or spouse
    2. Household
    3. Work
    4. Meeting or appt.

 

Set up your prayer time with a methodology – like any of these ways where you feel the most comfortable…

  1. Praise and worship
  2. Proclaiming and glorifying God in words
  3. Singing
  4. Prayer