Word of the Week

Free–

Freedom is put into the wrong category these days. It is a selfish attempt to get what we want and be the center of our own little world. This week is a call beyond selfish ambition to step into the freedom of God. He calls us to four things to reflect on from His perspective.

1. Free from anxiety–There are so many things which constantly catch and grab our attention. A lot of them are vain trifles. In reference to an earlier post, a flea, versus what really matters most. Which is the will of God and seeking only what He wants and desires. Doing all things for His pleasure and not our own.

2. Free from the Devil’s power–He does exist. C.S. Lewis has this important quote. “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.” C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (originally 1942; this edition: Harper Collins, 1996) ix. He is simple to deal with because he is subject to the authority of Jesus Christ and has already lost the battle. The next is the harder to deal with.

3. Free from hardness of heart–That means letting go of our own ideas and embracing God’s. It means detaching from our way and sin to choosing to do good. It means repentance. It means opening our hands to what God has for us and receiving both blessing and suffering. Jesus cast out many demons but He encountered far more thousands of hardened hearts. Those who just wanted to be fed physically instead of spiritually, cured physically but not transformed wholly. He met many that would not obey His commands and amend their lives to follow His Way and let go of their own. Here is the challenge: can I let go of my own way and ideas to embrace God’s?

4. Free to Love–God is so wondrous we cannot even stand His Glory without death. The Israelites call out, “Let us not again hear the voice of the LORD, our God, nor see this great fire any more, lest we die.” So God has compassion on us and sends us an intermediary. He sends us Jesus Christ like us in all things but sin. He is our very brother. We must listen to His Word and follow in the way He marks out for us. This way of life is one lived in love, putting the needs of others first before our own. This does not mean we don’t take care of our own needs because Jesus also calls us to love ourselves. To put into context what Jesus wants (His ultimate love was the cross,) think of this acronym; JOY. Jesus Others You. It means free to love and be in a relationship with Jesus and others.

(Deuteronomy 18:15-20 Psalm 95:1-2,6-9 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 Mark 1:21-28)

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God Sows

“This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow,he knows not how.” God works on the heart and plants His Word. The soil of our heart is varied. We can only receive what we can at a time but that does not mean God isn’t working. Four things we must remember.

1. Abandonment–We give all that we have without shame. This is God we are talking about. David danced before the arc in a linen apron with everything he had without being ashamed or thinking of what others thought. It was just him and God. He spared no effort.

2. AnointingGod gives the grace we need to perform the acts He calls us to. He guides us and lays out the path for us. Does this mean it will be easy? No. But we will not be alone. He does have a call for us. We just have to follow His command.

3. Clear Conscience–We need to learn to let go of the guilt of past sins and mistakes and not let it steal from the joy and contentment of the present moment. How? First name the guilt. Then tell yourself the truth objectively. Give to God the pain and ask Him to show you the way out. He will grant insight and lead you out of the maze into the light of truth. This will happen little by little as our hearts are ready for the next step.

4. Promise–God builds the house. What He says and promises will happen. He is faithful. Our hearts are molded and shaped and changed daily. God’s work is being accomplished. We have in our hearts the faith He planted. Our job is to stir into flame what is given to us. We can be confident that His power is working for good in us. We have to Trust that He is continually at work and what He wants will sink in. It just takes time. We cannot be saints over night. Holiness is not a fast process. If we want the true answer we wait. All will become clear. In reality we can do nothing accept embrace what is handed to us and let God change and move.

So what if I am stuck in a root? Reach out to God. Reach out to your brothers and sisters and do not be afraid to seek counseling from a faithful licensed provider seeking the Lord. Choose to be aware of who you are and what you are thinking. It is possible to change. It is possible to walk close to the Lord. It is possible to re-wire your brain and heal wounds and shape your future by making a positive fruitful choice to not stay in the old mentality. We are our own brain surgeons and what we think becomes reality. You have the choice to switch on your brain and renew your mind. You have the choice to pass on biologically a predisposition of grace. Pass on what you have received and be Holy. Do not be ashamed to give to others what God has given to you.

Dead Dog or Flea

In our search for righteousness in our life we are presented with a choice to help us weigh in on what is driving us. Are you pursuing a dead dog or a flea? This has a grand scale significance that puts things in perspective. We attach a lot of importance to small things that perhaps are more of a flea versus a dead dog. The danger also is to say certain things are fleas that in truth are serious occurrences that are dead dogs. How are we to know the difference? By questioning our motives and acknowledging them to ourselves. Is there any speck of pride or selfishness that is driving me to pursue something that in reality is not as big of a deal as it seems? Or is there presumption to minimize or hide something that in reality is quite horrible that I would be better off just admitting in humility? We can fall on either side of ultra perfectionism that is on the letter of the law versus the heart of the matter or letting ourselves off the hook when we should be cracking down on a grave matter. God has made us to be deep reservoirs of His love and Mercy. In order to do that, we have to let Him fill us to overflowing so that others can experience His grace. How can we do that if we are pursuing issues versus just sitting with God letting Him work and move us through either correcting our faults or generously filling us with abundance. It is a relationship that we seek. Is it really all that bad for Him to point out a failure when all He has in mind is our betterment?

1 Sm 24:3-21 Ps 57:2-4 6, 11 Mk 3:13-19

Special Interview

Hello dear friends! With me is a special friend from my community that has been struggling with infertility. Molly Huber has shared with us her struggle. Here’s our conversation.

How do you see God’s hand in your your plea for children?

In the past two years. God has always placed someone into my life at what I would now call my lowest points in dealing with infertility. The month I got married, not knowing yet that we would have trouble getting pregnant, one of my first close friends since moving to Dickinson had a baby boy. I loved on that baby with the hopes of being nine months away from having a sweet babe all of my own. I got to watch milestones with her, got to watch the excitement and exhaustion of being a new mom, got to see her pain as certain circumstances made reality the fact that this may be her only child. As I witnessed all this, I thought surely God would bless with me with several kids so her son could grow up and be a “big brother” to my own. A year into married life brought me to an appointment with a PA who had gone through difficulty in having her own child, and so gave me someone in the medical world to sympathize with and do everything she possibly could to figure out why I hadn’t become pregnant in the last year. In this past year, I’ve gained the friendship of a young woman who had been waiting for three years for a child of her own, only to recently learn that she can’t have children and God’s plan for her is adoption. I’ve watched her pain, her hope, her perseverance. Not any of these women or situations are me or mine, but God knew that I needed to see these women and their lives in order to better prepare my heart for the plans He has for me.

What is a word you would give to a young woman who wants children and is having difficulty?

I don’t have a single word for the young woman wanting children and having difficulty, I have an entire phrase for them. “It’s ok to be sad.” For six months in 2017, I was on medication to hopefully correct some of the hormone issues I’m dealing with. A combination of doubt, worry, hormones, waiting, and fear put me in a place of confused emotions. At work, in social situations, even with my husband, I felt like I was in this alone and had to put on a brave face for everyone. After talking with a close friend, however, she reassured me that it’s ok to be sad. I don’t have to have my feelings in control for everyone else. Once I figured that out, my emotional state improved dramatically. I didn’t feel on edge around others, knowing that I could be honest in saying that I wasn’t ok. And the important thing is, I didn’t stay sad. Yes, I have ups and downs still, but my overall sense of sadness has lessened by sharing that sadness with others.

How do you see God using you as a spiritual mother?

This time of waiting has given me an opportunity to be a better wife and friend to those in my life. I don’t always see those opportunities and capitalize on them, but God puts them in my path and I’m learning to love in those moments.

What do you feel the Lord asking as you journey?

God’s been asking me to draw closer to Him, which I’ve found can be difficult. It’s easy for me to blame God for putting me in this situation, for thinking I did something to cause my situation. It seemed like I couldn’t make it through Mass without hearing something in the readings that caused my heart to ache, though now I see that was God appealing to that very heart. There were times in our prayers at night when my husband was the only one that could vocalize our prayers for a child, as it was too hard for me to ask God for the thing I wanted most. I hate to admit I turned my heart away from God as much as I did, but there was always something to turn me back.

How have you grown through this experience?

In a conversation recently with a friend, I confessed that I was that person who would secretly (and sometimes not so secretly) wonder when my married friends would have their first child, then their second….and so on. My experience has given me a new perspective on family dynamics. Infertility is much more common than I ever realized, taking its toll on more women in my life than I ever dreamed. With perspective comes compassion. Femininity is a beautiful thing, but for many, it can bring a burden that can be scrutinized by even those closest to us. A little compassion towards the women in our lives can impact farther than we may know. Compassion shown towards me has brought about friendships with women who have suffered like me, and those women give me hope and beautiful examples of steadfast faith in those times of suffering.

Offering

Make of me a holy offering,

One bent to your holy will.

For obedience is better than sacrifice,

And offers you a sacrifice of praise.

If I disdain your discipline,

What am I?

You bring before my eyes the fault I hold on to.

Daily you offer new wine,

It depends on my response,

A new effort to cast away the old man,

And accept the new.

Belief in your purpose drives me on,

To relate to respond to to act,

On Thy most Holy Word.

How can you reject a clean heart, O God,

Of one who turns to you in righteousness?

Who keeps his way ever before you?

It is to the disobedient that your wrath falls.

But Mercy to those who follow Thy invitation and whom trusts in Thy works.

1 Sam 15:16-03 Ps 50: 8-9, 16-17, 21, 23 Mk 2:18-22

Word of the Week

Obedience–noun and action

1 the state or quality of being obedient.

2 the act or practice of obeying; dutiful or submissive compliance:

3 a sphere of authority or jurisdiction,

4 Chiefly Ecclesiastical.

a conformity to a monastic rule or the authority of a religious superior, especially on the part of one who has vowed such conformance.

b the rule or authority that exacts such conformance.

We live in a world that is solely focused on furthering its own aim. Yet we are not our own. We belong to Christ and are purchased at a price. That means that what I do must be for others, freely giving without a cost. Does that mean my needs go by the wayside? No God richly provides for you but you have to give yourself and sometimes this hurts. In doing right away what God asks we will find fulfillment, peace, and purpose. Our life gains meaning and we sail as one staying with the flagship. Here is where trust comes in. God will reveal Himself to you. In that moment He asks you a question, “What are you looking for?” Answer this question. You will find these things in Christ and He will fill the deepest longing of your heart.

1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19 Ps 40:2,4,7-10 1 Cor 6:13-15a, 17-20 John 1:35-42

He Reveals Himself

We must draw close to the Lord. In His company we will discover everything. But how will I know Him? Jesus himself will reveal His presence to you. We must open our eyes and look for how He gives himself to us. Most days there will be at least one rose and one thorn. The important thing is to record them. From there more can open up to us. God will and does reveal Himself. It is a matter of letting go and trusting Him to be right beside you and that in His time He will reveal His presence. It is a matter of opening our heart to say, “Speak Lord your servant heareth.”

Today’s Readings

Remain

We have been speaking about the presence and assistance of God in our life. Now comes the time of putting what we have learned to the safekeeping of Almighty God. What do I mean by that? Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you then you will remain in the Son and the Father. And this is the promise: eternal life. There comes a point where no further word is necessary. We just have to trust that we have what we need in Christ. That we will receive from Him what we need when we need it. This calls for the highest level of trust and abandonment. What is there to fear? We have His grace. As for you, the anointing that you have received from him remains in you. This word is true. It will save you and will take root in your life. This anointing will teach you. That does not make us infallible. We still need the safeguards of the Church and of the body of Christ. But it means we are not alone and that we will learn from it.

Entrust yourself to the Hands of Divine Providence and leave yourself there. Do not go back and forth but steadily grow and allow the Word of God to be implanted in you. The danger lies in when we lean on our own estimation and stubbornly persist in a habit of not trusting. God has capable hands if only we would let Him work.

1 Jn 2:22-28 Ps 98:1-4 Jn 1:19-28

Word of the Week

Home:

A place where one dwells.

Not a house that has no heart.

Mini Church called domestic,

Family headquarters,

A place to always come back to,

Love and support.

If not our experience one must find,

In heart a home to dwell.

God the Father watches out,

Mary our mother does too.

We have a holy family to follow,

Real not hidy high,

Loving yet struggling to come to life.

What would would free them from the struggles we have now?

An example for us to follow.

Holy not perfect.

Walking

It is no wonder that we have a disconnect sometimes with our emotions and what we live. The litmus test is if we are following the command of God. We say that we want unity and that we want to be close to Him, yet what are we doing to truly be in that state? We know we are in unity with Christ when we walk and are willing to walk the same walk of faith. What is this walk? To answer this question we have to meditate on the life of Christ. We cannot walk or even be intimate unless we do this. We cannot have knowledge of Him unless we stay with Him and spend time with Him.

What are some basics to know if we are on the right path? Abandonment to what God has for us. That flexibility to receive life’s blows or blessings. Are we following what is commanded of us? Grace and kindness compassion. Do we have the fruits of the Spirit with His gifts? Embracing suffering as well as joy and keeping steady progress. Am I living a life of up and down or I am at least striving for consistency? We will be be handed many things and some days will be better than others. The secret is walking with God.