Speaking the Truth
- Mother Angelica
Monday, October 26, 2009
Blessed be the Lord day by day, God, our salvation, Who carries us. Psalms 68: 29
Day by day... this is the catch phrase for me this morning. Each day brings something new. It could be good things like parties in school, the birth of a baby, a dance class with my youngest, or a raise in my husband's paycheck. It could also bring challenges like a busted furnace, laundry piled up on my couch, a sick child (or myself), or a bad behavior report from one of my kids' teachers. Either way, God is present in all of it.
Day by day, God is here teaching me and guiding me in my life to get closer to Him. But I must be open to it. I must look at those challenges as chances to get closer in my relationship to Him. I can use those good times too! He is right there, in the smile of my baby, and in that pile of laundry. He is there in our celebrations, and in the lessons I will learn from the misbehavior of my child.
Day by day, I am grateful for all the trials, the tribulations, and the outright blessings that occur in my daily life. It all brings me, and all of us, closer to our Lord.
Dear Lord, be with me today, and every day, to help me to see the blessings You bring me in everything that happens in my daily life.
Romans 8:12-17 Psalms 68:2, 4, 6-7, 20-21 Luke 13:10-17
Friday, October 23, 2009
Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? Luke 12:57
What I'm about to post is pretty self-explanatory, but a lot to think about. The readings really come together in an effort to make ourselves better. To make ourselves more righteous according to Him. When we relinquish the control we think we have over our lives and humble ourselves to His will, then and only then are we living a life God intended for us to live. I'm not saying it's easy because I struggle with this everyday of my waking and sleeping life. But I certainly do try and I'm hoping God knows that.
I love the Psalms reading for today, it's a good prayer:
Teach me wisdom and knowledge,
for in Your commands I trust.
You are good and do what is good;
teach me Your laws.
May Your love comfort me
in accord with your promise to Your servant.
Show me compassion that I may live,
for Your teaching is my delight.
I will never forget Your precepts;
through them You give me life.
I am Yours; save me,
for I cherish Your precepts.
I need to start everyday out with this prayer. It may help me to humble myself in order to accept the teachings He presents me with.
Lord, open my mind, my heart, and my soul to You and Your teachings so I might accept them and use them in my life.
Romans 7:18-25 Psalms 119:66, 68, 76-77, 93-94 Luke 12:54-59
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Freed from sin, you have become slaves of righteousness. Romans 6:18
Well, I'm trying this again. I haven't blogged for a couple of months now, and in those months I feel farther from God than I did while I was blogging. I think that having this blog and a daily reading to post, helped me to stay on track. I was reading God's Word every day and reflecting on it. Now I'm lucky to crack my Bible a couple of times a week. I don't like that. I enjoy reading the Bible and learning all I can learn about how to be a good and faithful Christian.
I want to be a slave of righteousness. I want to be so involved with our Lord that that's all I can think about. I want to fully accept all He has in store for me, without reservation. But it's been a struggle. I have begun to think more about myself and what would be good for me. I have a hard time distinguishing between what I want and what He wants for me. But He always lets me know in some way shape or another.
I thought that getting back to my roots of teaching would make both of us happy, but apparently not. Every time I try to get a job that I think would be good for me and my family, something doesn't work out with it. So that has made me a little miserable because I was trying to accept that as part of my life and incorporate a part-time job into my current life. It's so hard right now. I have 3 children, 2 in school, and a lot of volunteer hours to complete. I have a 2-year-old to keep busy, and a family to keep in God's loving arms. If I had a job, where would I have time to pray for all of us? Where would I have time to spend with my kids without worrying about everything I have to do around the house? Having a job is so stressful. And maybe it will get easier as they get older, but for now, I think my place is right where I am. And I just have to accept it.
I want to accept it, with all my heart. I want to be His slave so I can be led to righteousness.
This Scripture for the day also struck me and I realized just how important my job here in my home is, even though I'm not getting a physical paycheck:
Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come. Luke 12:39-40
Romans 6:12-18 Psalm 124:1-8 Luke 12:39-48
Friday, August 7, 2009
Ask now of the days of old, before your time.... Deuteronomy 4:32
OK, I totally stole the title to this post. But I decided yesterday that this would be my last devotional that I put on my blog and send out. The computer and the Internet are taking up too much of my time and I'm not putting the important things first, like documenting and taking care of my family's pictures. Our pictures tell our life stories and we have ours on our computer, (I thought on my external hard drive), and on CD's. We are almost caught up with the pictures on CD's. Then two days ago, the hard drive on our laptop went out. And I'm not sure if we will be able to recover all of our photographs. I may have lost 4 months of my children's, and our family's, memories.
It makes me sad to know that I could have done something about this, but didn't make it a priority. The scrapbooks that I make are our life stories. These are books that my kids are going to be able to show to their kids and their kids and their kids.... They will be passed down from generation to generation. And I want to focus more on that.
So I completely embrace this Scripture passage this morning. I am going to make more of an effort to make our memories a priority. I want my kids to know their past. I want my kids to know where they came from. I also want them to know how faith can have an impact on their life. That is why I want to make a Faithbook. I have wanted to make one for a year now and have not even started it. It makes me sad because there are so many things I want to say. There are so many things that happen in my life with God that I want to share with my children. And I want to make the effort to journal that.
So I have a lot of projects I need to work on. And the Internet is too addicting! I'm going to take the rest of August off to re-prioritize and get everything back on track. After that, we will see how things are going and if I will be coming back to the blogging world.
If you want to read a devotional each day, order some from Living Faith. They are wonderful and extremely affordable. They will come to your home in small booklets. Perfect for the pocket or purse or drawer for easy accessibility. God Bless.
Deuteronomy 4:32-40 Psalm 77:12-16, 21 Matthew 16:24-28
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Transfiguration of the Lord
[Jesus] was transfigured before them, and His clothes became dazzling white... Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them. Mark 9:2-3, 7
I'm a little out of sorts this morning. I'm having a hard time getting something together for this Scripture today. First of all, I'm not really sure what this Transfiguration is all about so instead of researching and putting something out there for you, I'm going to give you the devotional from Living Faith. It's a good one. Then I'm going to continue my research into the Transfiguration of our Lord until the kids won't allow me to any longer. :)
This strange event seems to cover the full range of human experience: the ordinary muddle, the crystal clarity and the downright puzzling. Jesus in His divinity is revealed alongside Moses and Elijah, those iconic representations of the Law and the Prophets. But no sooner does that happen than the cloud descends, obscuring what had just been revealed. Just like that, our certainties elude us the moment we think we've figured it all out.
God, the Transfiguration seems to say, is as present in the dazzling Christ as in the obscuring cloud, in the clarity of understanding as in the confusion of mind.
But revealed in the most dramatic moments of our lives, God is no less present in the ordinary awareness of every single day. Jesus goes down the mountain with the disciples, more than ever convinced that in certainty or confusion and everything in between, He is with them.
Lord, reveal Yourself to me today.
- Mark Neilsen
Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 Psalm 97:1-2, 5-6, 9 2 Peter 1:16-19 Mark 9:2-10
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
O woman, great is your faith! Matthew 15:28
Wouldn't you love to have been this woman?! I would! Well, not literally I suppose because I do love my life, but I would love to be the kind of woman she was. She didn't have RCIA, the Internet, or books to teach her about Jesus. She just had faith. She had faith that He could save her daughter from the demons that possessed her. She pursued Him, begging Him for His help. He even ignored her and denied her, but she didn't stop. She knew, in her heart, that He was it. She was not afraid or embarrassed to show it. It was because of this faith that Jesus said this to her and healed her daughter. I wish I had that same passion and humility.
If we all had this kind of faith, I wonder how different our world would be. I wonder how different our country would be. Wouldn't it be awesome if we all had this undying faith in Jesus and His works? He shows us His power each and every day, but we miss it. We miss it because we're not listening. So we lose faith. We think that because we don't have a perfect life that just flows the way we think it should, that God doesn't exist. Or we think that God won't help us.
He'll help us. He's waiting for our faith. He's waiting for our faith to be like this woman's faith. She may not have known that much in her mind, but she knew in her heart that Jesus could help her. He can help us all. We just have to believe in him with everything we have.
Lord, I believe in you. I have faith. Help me to continue on my path to be closer and closer to You.
Numbers 13:1-2, 25-14:1, 26-29, 34-35 Psalm 106:6-7, 13-14, 21-23 Matthew 15:21-28
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
A clean heart create for me, God;
renew in me a steadfast spirit. Psalm 51:12
This Psalm is the ultimate prayer for repentance. It shows humility and the desire for forgiveness and the ability to do better next time. Isn't that why we go to Confession? We don't go to just get sins off of our chest, feel better about ourselves, and move on with life. No. We go to Confession to seek counseling from the priest. He's not there to make us feel better and tell us, "It's OK, you didn't mean it." He's there to tell us that we are absolved from our sins (because we did, we sinned) and help us to do better next time.
Confession is about God. Going to Confession is about truly feeling sorry for the sin I committed against my God, my God who died for me and my sins so I may spend eternity with Him. I think we look at our sins sometimes and say, "Oh that's not a big deal, God will forgive me." And we move on. Well, to a certain extent that's true. He will forgive us when we express the humility and desire for His forgiveness as the Psalmist did in Psalm 51.
Confession does help me to feel better. Not because I get my sins off my chest, but because I am able to talk to a man of the Church. Being new to all of this, I thought Confession consisted of spilling my guts, a blessing, and that was it. But when I go, the priest always counsels me. He talks to me. He shows me some compassion and helps me to understand what I did, why I might have done it, and how I can do better. Now THAT'S reconciliation! I go there because I truly feel sorry for having offended God, and I have that desire to want to apologize and do better in my life. Granted, this isn't always the case, but I do confess that too. Sometimes I sin but I don't feel sorry about it because I still have anger in my heart. The priest helps me with that too. It's an absolutely wonderful experience.
Today we celebrate the feast day of St. John Mary Vianney. He is the patron saint of priests. Our new pastor wrote an article on him that gave a really good biography on his life. It just so happened that people actually sought him out to be reconciled. Even on his death bed, he reconciled people's sins. They wouldn't let him quit!
So as we examine our consciences today, remember St. John Vianney and ask for his intercession to be with all of our priests to help them remain strong in their faith, just as he did. We need them to tell us the truth when we enter that confessional to receive their blessings and to be able to go out into the world and speak of God's love for us. Our priests have a very big job, and they need our help, as well as the help of all the angels and saints.
God, thank you for your mercy as I repent of my sins.
Numbers 12:1-13 Psalm 51:3-7, 12-13 Matthew 14:22-36
Monday, August 3, 2009
"Why do You treat your servant so badly?" Moses asked the LORD. Numbers 11:11
Moses is starting to feel the pressure. He has done everything the Lord commanded and is now watching his people suffer. They have been eating manna, for I don't know how long, and they long for melon and onion and cucumbers.... Moses is so desperate for a solution to this problem, that he tells the Lord to take his life because he can't bear to watch it anymore.
Moses was asked to do a lot for our Lord. And he did what was asked and wanted some relief. We all feel like that at times. We have a lot of responsibilities as adults, as moms and dads, as sons and daughters, as brothers and sisters. We all have a different role to play. Sometimes I wish someone else could play my role. There are days when my husband has to work long hours, or even go away for the week, and it's so easy to get into the pity way of thinking. "This stinks. Why is it always my responsibility to take care of our kids?" "Why can't he get a different job?" "I wish this was different." And I know my husband doesn't want to be away from us so much, but that's his job. If it wasn't for his job, we wouldn't have what we have and I wouldn't be able to be here with our children to take care of them.
But really, when I look at the big picture, my life isn't so bad. We have a good home, food on the table, healthy, happy children.... God obviously trusts me with our children for long periods of time. And God obviously wants my husband to be able to take care of us. It's a good partnership. We end up helping each other with our household. If I were really doing this alone, I would not only be trying to take care of the kids, but also work to support all of us. That is a responsibility I'm not so sure I could handle.
So when those feelings of pity want to take over my mind, I look to God in prayer and thank Him for what He has blessed my family and me with. That helps to push the devil out of my mind so I can be a good mom and a good wife, the way God intended.
God, thank you so much for all the blessings in my life. Thank you for always being there to help me through those negative thoughts and feelings.
Numbers 11:4-15 Psalm 81:12-17 Matthew 14:13-21
Friday, July 31, 2009
And He did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith. Matthew 13:58
It's hard to watch the news nowadays because of all the evil that is done to others out there. And there are lots of us who pray for an end to the evil in the world. Maybe there are times where we wonder, "When? When are You going to save us?!" But then I look at society today. We are God-less, faithless people. Our decisions are not led by our Lord. Just look at television. What do we see? I'll tell you what I see. I see kids shows that I have to monitor because I'm not sure if it will have sexual undertones or not. I see commercials during kids' shows that are questionable. I see shows for us adults that promote promiscuous behavior and fornication. I see shows that diminish the value of marriage and what marital relations are all about.
So when I wonder why God isn't working His "magic" with mighty deeds in our small little section of the world, I think of these things. Do I have the faith that it takes to make a difference? Do I have enough faith in everything God encompasses to make a change? Do I have enough faith in God to want to follow each and every one of His commandments to the fullest? I would definitely like to think I do. But I also know that I don't have the power to change minds. I can raise my children with a strong faith and the ability to fight the secular world we live in to stay true to that faith. And maybe then God can work His mighty deeds in them.
Lord, I love You with all my heart and strive every day to follow an ultimate faith of You and only You. Help me to take away my thoughts and feelings the devil entices me with.
Leviticus 23:1, 4-11, 15-16, 27, 34-37 Psalm 81:3-6, 10-11 Matthew 13:54-58
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Better one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere.
Better the threshold of the house of my God
than a home in the tents of the wicked. Psalm 84:11
Television has a lot of new shows these days. I say new here because they still feel new to me. One in particular sticks out in my head, The Housewives of Orange County. This show is about women who are either married to a very wealthy man, or are out there making the millions themselves. Either way, their houses are multi-million dollar houses with the best of the best inside. Their cars are the same way. They live a very relaxed (except for the drama they create for themselves), seemingly fairly happy life.
Sometimes I think about what it would be like to have all of that, but then I look at what I have. I have a husband who comes home every night to his family. I have three children who are happy and healthy. I have family and friends that are close to me who I can call on if I ever need anything. We have food on the table every night (and all day long). I have access to the Internet every day!
While my house may not have an HD compatible flat screen in every room (including the bathroom). It may not have a kitchen that could fit an army. It may not have wide open spaces. But this house is our home. God is here. And I would rather be here, living happily by his rules, than in Orange County where God may or may not be.
Lord I am happy spending my days with You, wherever You are.
Exodus 40:16-21, 34-38 Psalm 84:3-6, 8, 11 Matthew 13:47-53
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
She said to Him, "Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that You are the Messiah, the Son of God, the One who is coming into the world." John 11:27
Today we celebrate St. Martha. She is the patron saint of servants and cooks. She was such a believer in hospitality that she neglected to focus on what was truly important in the presence of our Lord, listening to Him. She finally got it today in Scripture when she left her house full of mourners over her brother's death, to go meet Jesus.
Do we do that? Do we leave our worries and schedules and activities behind to meet with God? I know I don't do it as often as I should. I'm talking about prayer here. I'm trying so hard to keep up with my house and the kids that it can get in the way of spending time with our Lord if I let it. And I let it. But when I put all of my priorities aside to pray, to talk with God, I feel better. I feel rejuvinated. I feel ready to face the day again. Jesus demands our attention. How can we expect Him to give us His attention when we don't do the same?
I didn't know much about God or Jesus or Mary or Joseph for the majority of my life. I have always wondered about the story though. I wondered who Jesus really was. I knew He was the Son of God, but that was about it. I always believed He existed, and God too of course, but that was about it. I never knew what the commandments were all about, but I wanted to.
As an adult, after having three children, I decided to take action. I went to RCIA and became confirmed. I felt good about that, but I still felt like something was missing. There was something in my heart that just wasn't all there yet. Something happened in the fall of 2008 when all the buzz was happening around the election. All the talk about abortion and Obama... something hit me. It all began to make sense and I finally truly believed that Jesus was the Messiah.
I finally believed, in my heart, that everything I had was from Him. I finally believed, in my heart, that everything I did was because He allowed me to do it. I finally believed, in my heart, that He needed to let negative things happen in my life to get the good from it. I think that was the hardest one to come to terms with. It was so freeing to finally be able to say that I truly and honestly believed in God and everything about Him!! Are there times that I have doubt? Yes. And I feel terrible about that when it happens. But I always look to God in prayer for answers in those tough times. Today, I am going to make that my priority, put down my worries and schedule, and talk with God.
Lord, I believe You and You alone are the Messiah. Help me to continue to listen to You.
Exodus 34:29-35 Psalm 99:5-7, 9 John 11:19-27
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him... Psalm 103:13
My husband and I took the kids up to the Church and School to get some exercise last night. I put the baby in the stroller, and hubby took the kids in the parking lot where they rode their bikes around. I walked about a mile and the little one wanted to be with her daddy and brother and sister, so that's what we did. My oldest also had a jump rope with her and was practicing that. As I stood there watching my family, flashbacks of my own childhood started seeping in.
My parents used to take us out on bike rides together as a family (I have 2 brothers), we played sports every season and my parents were at every game (don't know how they did that, but they did), I took piano lessons, my brother and I rode horses and eventually my mom did too and we ended up with some horses in our backyard (thanks to dad and a lot of help from friends and family who built our barn), my mom was always home to get us on the bus and off, we weren't allowed to make fun of or talk badly about anyone else, and we also got everything we ever asked for at Christmastime.
While my parents didn't talk a lot about God, it's apparent to me that my parents had a Christian attitude when raising us. There were things they didn't want for us kids based on their upbringing, and I would venture to say they were very successful.
As parents, we all want what's best for our children. We look to our own parents for examples to follow, or not to follow. We all do it. We take what we like and leave what we don't and try to change it to suit the way we want to raise our children. That's compassion isn't it? It's compassion for our children and the outcome we want for them.
God sent His only Son to save us poor, lost souls. He endured ridicule, torture, doubt, all the while knowing it was His Father who created us and could easily take our lives away. But He did it. He endured all of this for His children. We as parents endure certain crosses for our kids, don't we? That's compassion. We would love to be able to take their pain for ourselves if it would only make their lives better.
God, thank you so much for the compassion you have showed me through the sufferings of Your Son. I will always be grateful.
Exodus 33:7-11; 34:5-9, 28 Psalm 103:6-13 Matthew 13:36-43
Monday, July 27, 2009
At Horeb they fashioned a calf,
worshiped a metal statue.
They exchanged their glorious God
for the image of a grass-eating bull. Psalm 106:19-20
I was talking to my husband last night about my vision I used to have of myself. It started when I was about 10 years old I guess. I knew then that I wanted to be a teacher. I used to spend time in my room pretending to be my teacher and "correcting" my papers. My workbook looked like a 2-year-old's coloring book it had so many marks in it! So I got my degree in teaching the little ones. I just love that age group. I got married and acquired a job with special education children which was also something that was in my heart. So I was definitely happy with that. I began working on my Master's.
Then life happened. My husband and I had our first child, then our second, and I decided to "take some time off" until our second went into school. I was still taking classes for a Master's in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment. I was home, but I was still restless. I felt like I had to do "more." I felt like I had to be making money for my efforts to be worth anything. In my effort to do so, my children became burdens. They were "in my way" of the happiness and success I had developed in my head. I was working from home with a wonderful company and doing quite well, but my home was a disaster. I define home here as my relationship with my husband, my children, and the general condition of my house.
I was still going for my Master's. I had these visions of being a Curriculum Specialist and helping teachers implement what they needed in their classrooms. I had these visions of helping them accommodate the special needs children, as well as the gifted. I was going to make a difference. God apparently had other plans for me. We have 3 children now and I am still staying home. I'm making a difference in my home now.
Through His grace I have come to see how important my role is as a mom. I have come to see my children as true blessings from Heaven above and am very grateful God allowed my husband and I to raise them. My metal statue was of myself. It involved my dreams and my idea of what my life would be. And who knows, maybe it will still happen. But for now, I'm content and happy with my life that God has opened my eyes to. I'm no longer willing to exchange my God for my own image I have of myself.
Lord, thank you for the blessings you have given my family and me. Please continue to bless us with Your truth and Your light.
Exodus 32:15-24, 30-34 Psalm 106:19-23 Matthew 13:31-35
Friday, July 24, 2009
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul. Psalms 19:8
I recently had this period of time when I missed Church, two weekends in a row. We went on vacation and I did not make the effort to get to Church that Sunday. We got back on a Saturday and again, I did not go to Church the next morning. I was feeling badly about that. I made sure I got to confession and all, and went to Church the following Sunday. I never thought I would say this, but it felt good to be back in Church!
When I go to Church, I get to participate in the Eucharist. When I go to Church, I hear God's Word and am able to experience it through Mass. I listen to the Scriptures being read and pray with my fellow Catholics. I listen to my pastor's homily and reflect on that so I can hopefully get closer to the holiness I desire. He explains to me God's law. He refreshes my mind and my spirit with His Word that will enable me to go out into the world and evangelize.
I received Communion that Sunday with a clear mind and a resolve to make sure I don't miss Church again. It felt like a big weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I was renewed with His Word and His Grace and was ready to face the world. Without His help, following the Commandments can be more of a challenge.
Lord, I know Your law is the only law to follow. Help me to follow it with all my heart.
Exodus 20:1-17 Psalms 19:8-11 Matthew 13:18-23
Thursday, July 23, 2009
As I was perusing the information on the USCCB site, I found this site, For Your Marriage. I also never knew this one existed! I love finding new information! It looks like a good one to be following.
I just wanted to make sure I got this info out there to my online friends! Make sure you talk about NFP and the dangers of the Pill and how contraception use can destroy marriages.
Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it. Matthew 13:17
I think sometimes of how amazing it would have been to be one of Jesus' disciples. To be one of those chosen to carry on His teachings would be, well, awesome. What would it take to live up to that kind of discipleship? Complete trust. Complete faith. A complete openness in my heart to Him and all of His works and teachings. I think I have a long way to go.
I do try to be open to everything, but it's not easy. It's not easy in the society we have created. We live in a world where telling someone the truth about our faith can be seen as judgmental. We live in a world where we are supposed to be "understanding" about everything, including homosexuality. Being understanding of someone's lifestyle does not mean I have to agree with it, nor does it mean I have to teach my children it's right just so they can feel better about themselves.
Having complete faith and complete trust in God is a good starting point for becoming holy. We must also have the courage to evangelize the truths God has set forth for His children. That is a big job. I would venture to say that is probably the biggest job anyone could ever have, and it doesn't pay a thing, at least monetarily. Just think of how it pays off in Heaven, in our Father's eyes.
God, I strive to have complete faith and trust in You, both in my mind and in my heart. Send the holy spirit to be with me and with all so we may spread Your truth, just as Your disciples did.
Exodus 19:1-2, 9-11, 16-20 Daniel 3:52-56 Matthew 13:10-17
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I WAS A WINNER!!!
I never ever win anything in my LIFE and it turns out that a good online friend, Laura over at Our House of Joyful Noise, was doing a give-away. And a random search of emails determined me to be the winner. ME!! I was just excited that I won. She could have sent me a notepad of paper and I would have been happier than a pig in... well, I will let you finish that. No bad words on this site! :)
What I won was much, much better than I could have ever expected. Laura is a Catholic homeschooling mom of 4 beauties. She also runs a photography business. Her husband also works a truck lettering and sign business from home. I think they are very blessed to both be able to be home to watch their children grow.
Laura sent me a wonderful book called Work in Progress: An Unfinished Woman's Guide to Grace by Kristin Armstrong, and a beautiful mug to go with it. Who doesn't like to cuddle up with a cup of coffee or tea while reading a good book?? I DO! I DO! (Can you tell I was excited??)
Here are some awesome pictures that Laura took of the items (she's a wonderful photographer):
Here's another fabulous photo:
How cute is THAT?!
And it gets better...
So every time I take a sip, I'm reminded of our Lord. LOVELY!!
And here's a pic of the two together:
A perfect pair...
OK, so I couldn't wait to start reading the book, but as soon as I did, life hit. I was immediately called to motherhood and had to put it down. But I took a few minutes this morning after checking email and read the first couple of pages. I am REALLY going to like this book! It looks and feels real. It's something I'm going to be able to relate to in order to become a woman of more grace in my strife to become more holy. It's not something I have always pictured myself with, but hey, I can change.
Anyway, as I read, I will be posting my thoughts on it. I often like to do that with the things I read. Some things just jump out and I have to share.
So I want to say a great big THANK YOU to Laura and her wonderful family over at Our House of Joyful Noise. I am just so EXCITED!!
Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned to Him and said in Hebrew, "Rabbouni," which means Teacher. John 20:16
Sometimes when my kids are fooling around and playing together, I get highly irritated. Yes, the hormones kick in and I don't find their antics very funny. I become a stiff, rather strict, mommy. I try to tell them to stop, and am just not amused by their funny faces and noises and laughs. I'm in a mood.
Then I think about all the parents out there who don't get to see their child's funny faces, hear their silly noises, or listen to their unending laughter, even when I have repeatedly told them to stop. And I start to feel guilty. Because of my mood, I have failed to recognize Jesus in my children. I failed to recognize Him in those annoying noises that they make, the goofy expressions they are competing with, and their beautiful, happy laughter. I let my mood get in the way of seeing Jesus in those moments.
I'm sure there are many other moments where I'm looking for Jesus and He's right under my nose. He's there in everything I do, everything my kids do, and everything my husband does.
Lord, thank you for helping me to recognize my errors and finding you in my life when I don't even know it.
Exodus 16:1-5, 9-15 Psalm 78:18-19, 23-28 John 20:1-2, 11-18
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
As the water flowed back, it covered the chariots and the charioteers of Pharaoh's whole army which had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not a single one of them escaped. Exodus 14:28
My husband turned on a movie the other night called "Meteor." I didn't see the beginning, nor did I stay awake to see the end, but I do know what the story line was. Apparently there was this meteor shower headed right for Earth and we were trying to figure out how to stop it. A few meteors had already hit, and some were still hitting. But there was the mother of all of these "little" meteors still out there. In order to fight this, they had to find a scientist that specialized in these kinds of things. Well on his way to the base in the states (he was in Mexico), a car hit him and he died.
In the meantime, the coordinates of the mother meteor were off. Our military and scientists were teaming up to try to figure out how to handle this. Of course they were on a time line because if they waited too long, the pieces from the meteor could kill us all. I don't know how it ended, but I'm sure we all survived. That's how it goes in Hollywood, doesn't it?
I thought about this movie in terms of God. I always think about how He's going to pick and destroy those who are faithful and those who are not. Is it going to be a meteor shower? Is He going to make things right by destroying the opposition with a meteor shower? It's most definitely possible! And it was funny because, if you think of the movie in terms of God, here we are, measly little humans, trying to fight this massive meteor shower with our measly human power. All the human power in the world is not enough to fight the awesome power of our God. And no matter what we do, He will triumph.
In Scripture today, we see yet another incident with water that destroys people who anger God, the Egyptians. They do not believe in Him. They doubt Him, and so they died. This does not sound like the loving God we know, but really, it is definitely a story of love. He saved those that were faithful to Him, the Israelites. That is love. Just like He has the power to create us all, He has the power to take it all away.
Lord, help me get through the water before the sea flows back. Lord, help me to find the shelter I need to get to You when you come again to judge us.
Exodus 14:21-15:1 Exodus 15:8-10, 12, 17 Matthew 12:46-50
Monday, July 20, 2009
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, "Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you." He said to them in reply, "An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet." Matthew 12:38-39
It's always amazing to me when I compare how I act towards God and how I act towards my fellow humans. I used to have no problem offending God if it meant I would fit in in this world. I still do it to a certain extent, just not as bad. I recognize when I do it now and try to make it better. It seems so easy to ask God, "OK, what is going on here? Why can't you send us a sign that you really exist? Wouldn't all of these problems just go away?" This kind of question is insulting for Him. But then I can turn around and be afraid of asking my friend a question that might insult him/her. Why is it that we find it so much easier to offend God than our neighbor? Why is it that we doubt God so much, but can take a strangers word for it?
Jesus denies the scribes and Pharisees the sign they were seeking because He knew they saw Him as a sign of Satan. There was nothing He was going to be able to do to convince them. He knew what was in their hearts. Do we see God as our Father, as our friend we can talk to and have faith in? Or do we see Him, not as a sign of Satan (because I don't think anyone reading this blog really thinks that), but do we see Him as unfair or unjust and are asking Him to prove himself? I think we do that, whether we know it or not. Would you do that to your boss? If your boss said, "Joe, I want you to join Team A and work on their project with them (a project you secretly think isn't going to work)." Would you question him/her? You might. And depending on your boss' personality, he/she might get mad for your doubt about whether or not that was the right decision, right? Well, how do you think God feels when we do that to Him?
I used to think about why God doesn't come down from the Heavens and show Himself to us. But you know what? He does it all the time. He is always giving us signs that He is with us. For me, I see Him in my children. I see Him in my children's smiles and the way they talk and love each other (when that happens). I see Him in my home when I think, "I hope we're going to have enough money for that," and I get a surprise check in the mail from one of my businesses. I see Him in my husband and his ability to support a family of 5, 2 dogs, and private Catholic school for my kids. I see Him in the flowers and the bugs and the wildlife we have in our fields (even though we may not want them there). God made all of these things possible. He created us and everything around us, and it just makes them all the more beautiful to me.
So a sign? I don't want to insult God with questions of a sign of His existence in my life. I get them each and every day. I just have to open my eyes, my ears, and my heart to them.
Lord, thank you for the signs you give me every day so I know you are always with us. Help me to keep my mind and heart open to You so I can continue to see You in each and every thing I do.
Exodus 14:5-18 Exodus 15:1-6 Matthew 12:38-42
Friday, July 17, 2009
If you knew what this mean, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice," you would not have condemned these innocent men. Matthew 12:7
Thank goodness, right?! Thank goodness our Lord is merciful. Thank goodness we have confession to go to and confess all of our sins and be forgiven by a merciful Lord. Although I have to admit that sometimes I feel that my penance is not enough for the sins I have committed. Sometimes I feel like there should be something more that I should have to endure, or suffer. But He is merciful!
Because our God is merciful, He expects us to be merciful towards each other. Our earthly, human views are nothing in God's world. What we think is right and wrong here on earth may not be what God had in mind.
I came across an article the other day sent to me by a friend. It's subtitle is Why Barack Obama represents American Catholics better than the Pope does. At first, I thought it was going to be a sarcastic article by a Catholic. I was wrong. This article was written by none other than liberal Democrat, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. She points out several percentages of Catholics who agree with Obama on several important issues, and is suggesting that the Catholic Church needs to open their eyes to what the majority is saying and change the Church's ways! Can you believe that?!
This article is wrong on so many levels, but I'm going to try to stick to Scripture today. The Pharisees had rules that Jesus "broke" and consequently, they thought he was a fake. Jesus points out that it is not our rules that we should be following, for He has supreme authority over the law. The Pharisees were human. Americans are human. Just because we say it is OK to have an abortion, does not make it so in the eyes of God. Just because most Catholics say it is OK to use birth control, does not make it so in the eyes of God. Just because most Catholics say it is OK to have sex before we get married, does not make it so in the eyes of God. Majority doesn't rule in God's Kingdom. Who says these things are OK? Humans? HAH! Who are we to make those rules? God created us and gave us everything we have. And the day is coming where He can take it all away.
God doesn't follow us. He did not create a democracy. He doesn't take a poll and change His rules to accomodate us. It's when we let our own selfish, human wants and needs get in the way, that we get in trouble. And then we take it upon ourselves to condemn those that follow God, just because they are the minority in following Him in every way. In God's Kingdom, we are far from the minority.
Lord, please help me to see You in everything I do and be merciful to all the way you are.
Exodus 11:10-12:14 Psalms 116:12-13, 15-18 Matthew 12:1-8
Thursday, July 16, 2009
I am meek and humble of heart. Matthew 11:29
I am going to post a devotional by Fr. James Stephen Behrens this morning. He wrote this for Living Faith, where I get to read my devotional every day. He just wrote it so beautifully that I had to pass it on to you:
Prayer involves listening with the "ears of the heart." It is a listening that invites humility in order to be attuned to voices other than one's own and learn from them. Jesus asks that we learn from Him, that we be meek and humble of heart. From the time we are very young, we first learn by listening. Words that deeply touch us we take to heart. We keep words of love and remember them.
We are asked by Jesus to be like Him, and in prayer, as we listen to the loved stillness of our lives, the peace that kind of prayer brings becomes a part of us. We should rest a bit every day and take that time to hear what is good and gentle around us. The more we listen, the more humble we become- and the more we become what we are longing to hear.
Listening is not one of my strong suits, but I practice every day. It's actually easier with adults than it is with my own children. I have to make a conscious effort not to interrupt them, look them in the eye when they talk to me, and listen, really listen to what they have to say. Sometimes I get so caught up in the dishes and other housework that I'm not fully listening to them. And they can say the darndest things! They have a way of putting the truth out there, even when I don't want to hear it!
Lord, help me to be humble enough to hear what You have to say so I can live my life with You.
Exodus 3:13-20 Psalms 105:1, 5, 8-9, 24-27 Matthew 11:28-30
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
At that time Jesus said in reply, "I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although You have hidden these things from the wise and the learned You have revealed them to the childlike." Matthew 11:25
My oldest daughter is 7 years old. Right before she goes to bed each night, we have started praying for her guardian angel to be with her to ward off bad thoughts and nightmares. We pray that he (or she) help her to think of all the good things God blesses us with. Well, last night after we did that, she had some questions for me. She said, "Mom, God can't be with me all the time to make sure I don't have a bad dream." I said, "Yes He can honey." She says, "How can he be in all these different places all the time?" I told her that He's not like a person, He's a being and He can be wherever He wants to be in as many different places. And He uses our guardian angels to help protect and guide us. She looked at me kind of funny and still didn't understand. I told her that we don't have to understand God, just believe in Him and trust Him. She said OK, gave me a hug and went off to go to sleep.
I'm not sure that she trusted me with this conversation. She was trying to use her mind to understand how God could help her, when really, it's our trust and love we have in our hearts for Him and our complete faith that gives us the understanding we need. So often we use our intellect to try to understand God. Good luck with that. Our measly human minds can't even begin to comprehend the kind of being God is and understand everything about Him. Being childlike is having a simple, innocent trust in God without all the intellectual thinking. It's not our job to try to understand Him.
Sometimes when we try to make sense of God with our minds, it leads us down a path of selfishness and disbelief, such as the scribes and the Pharisees. The reasoning and intellect we have here in this world, here on Earth, is not what gets us into Heaven. It's the childlike, undying belief we should have in God.
Lord, I want to love you completely with all my heart. Please send my guardian angel to protect me against the thoughts of disbelief.
Exodus 3:1-6, 9-12 Psalms 103:1-4, 6-7 Matthew 11:25-27
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
But I am afflicted and in pain;
let your saving help protect me, God. Psalms 69:30
Wow, how many times do we ask for God to protect us? I have asked Him a lot, but do I mean it? I say that because I will ask for His help, but then still try to take matters into my own hands, even when it looks like He has found a solution.
For example, when our pastor resigned this year, I was extremely upset. I was upset because I felt like he was being pushed out, and I was upset because I thought I had found someone I could confide in. He was helping me with a situation in my life that I needed some spiritual guidance with. Two days after we established this relationship, he announced he was resigning. My heart sank. My heart sank big time. I felt so deceived and I was angry. I wasn't angry at him, but at the situation. So I started digging and probing and trying to figure things out in my little human mind. And while I found answers to my questions, it didn't make anything better. I asked God a couple of times to take it for me and give me some resolution, but I didn't realize that He already had.
As we lose a wonderful pastor that renewed my Catholic faith, along with hundreds of others in my parish, we are getting a new one. And I don't know this new guy, but I have been told from several different sources that we are getting one of the best.
So while I may have thought that our pastor was it. I thought he was the solution to our problem in our parish, I think God has other plans for him. He started the ball rolling, and now God is sending in someone to finish the job and I just have to trust that this is the right thing to happen. It's so very hard to let go of myself and what I want, but it has to happen. And time has truly been a blessing for me to come to terms with that.
Thank you Lord for providing me with the answers I need.
Exodus 2:1-15 Psalms 69:3, 14, 30-31, 33-34 Matthew 11:20-24
Monday, July 13, 2009
Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. Matthew 10:34
When I first read this, I must admit, I was a little bit confused. Even the next couple of sentences were confusing because He tells us that we will be set against members of our family. But as I continued reading the passage, I understood. Because He wants us to love Him more than our earthly treasures, including members of our family.
While I was away with my family this week at Disney, I felt very far away from God. I looked at my Bible and devotions right before we left and decided to leave them because I probably wouldn't have time for that. "Time for that?" No time for God? I guess I figured we would be so busy running around, I wouldn't have time for my prayers. Looking back, I feel so awful about that. I could feel it though. I could feel the distance that I created. I still thought about Him a lot, but it didn't feel the same. It didn't feel the same as spending time in Scripture each morning and thinking about my behavior according to Him. And it was harder to act like I should have and I could feel the secular perspective of the world seeping into my mind.
I put myself and my family ahead of God last week. And while it wasn't a terrible trip (we had a lot of fun together as a family and feel truly blessed to have been able to do this), I feel guilty about being selfish. This one attribute can really get in the way of having that undying faith in God that makes us holy. And I had a week of selfishness. But it feels good to be back at home, back in my routine.
So back to Scripture here. Love God more than my own parents? Love God more than my own brothers? Love God more than my husband? Love God more than my own children? Yes. Because our life on earth isn't about us. It's not about what we want and living a life we think we should live. It's about God. He put us here for a reason and we are to live our lives the way He envisioned for us.
This passage reminds me of the quote I have on my blog from Mother Angelica:
We don’t like to speak the truth about evil because we’re going to hurt somebody. Let me tell you, you are going to hurt somebody, but that Somebody is God. If you would rather hurt God than your neighbor, there is something wrong with your spirituality. It’s your obligation to speak the truth and everyone can either take it or leave it. But truth must be in us. We live in such poverty of the truth today.
I just love that quote. It puts all of this in perspective. God comes first. Period.
Exodus 1:8-14, 22 Psalm 124:1-8 Matthew 10:34-11:1
Saturday, July 4, 2009
As you are reading this, we are probably driving on our way to DISNEY WORLD! We will be there all week. So unfortunately, I will not be writing any devotionals this week. We will see about any other blog posts. I probably won't have a chance.
So please send some prayers our way that we have a safe trip down and back!
Thank you and will miss you all!
Friday, July 3, 2009
So here is what I did:
First, I took the ends off the beans of course, then washed them off. I then stuck them in rapidly boiling water for about 3 minutes. You really don't need to do any more than that:
Then I took them out and immediately put them in ice cold water for another 3 minutes:
I actually put them in a strainer after that to make sure most of the moisture was off before I stuck them in the freezer bags. I got out as much air as possible before sealing the bag completely. And that was it!!
Then this morning I realized I hadn't been out there for a couple of days and we probably had beans ready to be picked... AGAIN. And lo and behold, I was right (we also had weeds ready to be picked again!!). I picked about another gallon-bag full of green beans and blanched those this morning too.
I thought my blanching job was done when my husband told me we had some broccoli and cauliflower that needed to be picked and blanched too! So I started blanching the cauliflower, and I'm waiting for more ice. So I thought I would share my story with you all.
Doesn't it look yummy?!?
I'm actually having fun with this! I love that we are producing our own food, saving money, and eating things that don't have any harmful chemicals on them.
Now I'm going to have to go make some food for our trip to Disney next week!
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed. John 20:29
Long before I met my husband, I worked in a small-town corner store. And a guy I knew used to visit me often and ask me on dates. I wasn't really that interested in him so I would always say no. One day, he was visiting and mentioned that his wife was going to stay home and take care of his house and his kids. Now it could have been the way he said it, his house, his kids, but that really rubbed me the wrong way back then. I stood there, looked at him and said, "There is no way that I will be stuck home taking care of the house and the kids. I will work!" I thought it was so demeaning for this guy to sit there in all of his arrogance and expect a woman to take care of him and his kids! How dare he?!
So how do I feel now? Well, staying home and taking care of my kids and my house and anything my husband needs, is something I enjoy. Granted, there are days when I wish I had something else to do, but I like being here to meet the needs of my family. How did I get to this frame of mind? My faith. Because I have a secure faith in God, I was able to understand how important a mom's role is in the home. In God's eyes, it's not demeaning at all. It's one of the most important jobs I could have.
I didn't come to this understanding on my own. I didn't come to understand this and then say, "Oh yeah, thanks God for that." No, I developed a faith in God like I have never had before and from that faith came an understanding and a belief that nothing will be able to take away from me. It's amazing.
You hear people say all the time, "Seeing is believing." But that's not true. I believe and then I see. From my faith comes understanding. That's what St. Thomas Aquinas says. And it makes perfect sense. Once we have a belief in God, we see Jesus all around us. He's in the homeless person on the side of the road. He's in the tears of a mom and a dad who just lost their unborn child. He is in the laughter of my children as they play in the next room. And He is in my husband when he works hard to provide for our family.
I'm so grateful I have my faith so I may understand the world around me, through the eyes of God.
Lord, I believe in You and everything You have created. Thank you for always being around me.
Ephesians 2:19-22 Psalm 117:1-2 John 20:24-29
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home. Matthew 9:6
When Jesus said this, He was speaking to a paralytic. And He first told him "Courage, child, your sins are forgiven." (Matthew 9:2) He saw the faith in this man, and forgave him his sins. The scribes thought He was fake, but Jesus told them that it was better to say that than "Rise and walk." (Matthew 9:5)
So cleansing us of our sins is like releasing us from our paralyzed state. For me, when I have a sin that I have not confessed, it consumes me. It's all I think about until I get to confession and get it off my chest. Phew! That weight has been lifted off my shoulders and it's like I can breathe again! Talking to God about my sins and allowing Him to forgive me is very freeing. It breaks me from my paralyzed state of mind so I can move on and take care of business. I'm a wife and a mom of three. I have work to do. We all have jobs to do.
It's really about allowing God to forgive me. Sometimes I feel like my punishment should have been worse. God knows the faith that I have in my heart. He knows whether or not I am truly sorry for the sin I committed against Him. And He forgives me, and allows me to get up, pick up my stretcher, and go home.
Is there a sin that you have committed that is weighing heavy on your heart?
Lord, thank you for Your love and willingness to forgive.
Genesis 22:1-19 Psalms 115:1-6, 8-9 Matthew 9:1-8
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Who among you loves life,
takes delight in prosperous days? Psalms 34:13
One of my favorite websites, Faith and Family Live!, started a special blog each Thursday to honor the Small Successes we achieve as moms each week (yes guys, it could apply to you too- but this site is mainly geared towards women). Essentially, we type up 3 things that we have accomplished that might not seem like a big deal to the naked eye. But as moms, we know how those small things can really add up, and to get those done, is a big feat for us.
I posted a few things for last week, and it's those little things that get done that can make me feel like I had a prosperous day. A prosperous day for me could be taking time out to nurse a boo-boo, dance to a favorite song with my kids, read books to them, take them outside and let them eat raw green beans from the garden, pray the rosary with my daughter... the list could go on and on. I don't have any money of my own coming in (except the checks I get occasionally from my businesses), so to feel prosperous can be a challenge because I don't have a paycheck to measure my work by.
I have come to love life through those "small" successes in my day. After all, my family's happiness is very important. If I can learn to love life through these prosperous moments, I imagine God would be pleased with my work for that day.
Lord, I am grateful for the opportunity to prosper and be with my family each and every day.
Genesis 21:5, 8-20 Psalms 34:7-8, 10-13 Matthew 8:28-34
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Here lately, I have felt this need, this urge to GET OUTSIDE! And it feels so good! I think all that Vitamin D from the sun might just be a good thing for me. It also gave me a chance to think about all that God has blessed me with. A wonderful husband, a good home, three happy and healthy children. And I stood in our garden and thanked Him. It was an awesome experience.
Anyway, my husband loves being outside (that's an understatement actually). And he has planted a garden for us the past few years. This year, it really looks wonderful. He built an electric fence to keep out the deer this year (it has also kept out the dogs!). We had one rabbit that I know of. There are so many beans, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, and ripening tomatoes! It's so exciting! And we are going to get to EAT it all!
So Sunday night I took my two oldest children out to the garden with me to see what was out there. They were excited to see all the green beans, but their "help" didn't last long. And before I knew it, the little one was coming outside too. But look at all those green bean plants! They needed weeding bad, and that's what I've been doing, but It's so awesome to look outside and see our little harvest. This is the way they used to do it! Back in the day....
Last night, I cooked up some of those green beans and we had them with dinner. Can you say DELICIOUS?! And it's almost like they tasted even better, just because I knew they came from our own land. I think the kids thought I was kind of nuts when I started moaning and groaning about how good they were. But there was just something about growing it ourselves and being able to eat our own food that just made the whole experience even sweeter.
Next on the list... HORSES!
Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but He was asleep. Matthew 9:24
Metaphorically speaking, I can say that there have been many storms in my life! Most of them I "got through" without asking for God's help. I can't say I got through them without Him, because I was not aware of His presence then. I have been in fights with family and with friends, and that's not fun. Most of them were about pride. I can really let my pride get in the way of my relationships. "How dare you do that to me?" "How can you think that way? What I think is so much better!"
This past Sunday, Father told us that Jesus is the ultimate image of humility. He ignored snickers and ignorance of His power, and just let it "roll off His back." The key here is to not only let it roll off my back, but to let it go. I can let things roll off my back, but I hang on to them. I'm still trying to practice giving my pride to God and letting Him take care of my storms.
In the Scripture for today, Jesus was asleep in a boat with His apostles while they were battling a storm "by themselves." They were frustrated because He was sleeping, they woke Him up and He proceeded to calm the storm. Mother Angelica comments on this passage in Mother Angelica's Private and Pithy Lessons from the Scriptures:
It's amazing to me how the Lord took care of the storm first-but it always makes me think: God does answer my prayers, but I sometimes wonder if He is disappointed in me when He answers them. This is a sure case of God answering the apostles' prayers, but He was also rather disappointed in them. Because after He rebuked the wind and said, "QUIET NOW. BE CALM!" and the wind dropped, and all of that, He looked at them and said, "WHY ARE YOU SO FRIGHTENED. HOW IS IT THAT YOU HAVE NO FAITH?" (Mark 4:40). He didn't say, "How is it that you have little faith?" It's "How is it you have NO faith?"
...I think if they would have just kept bucketing and working hard to get the water out, even though it may have been a couple of coffee cans, they would have been fine. Jesus never sleeps, even when you think otherwise.
"Jesus never sleeps...." I hang on to that from Mother. Because there are those storms in our lives where we think, "Come on God! Can't you see I'm suffering here?" He sees. But it's important to remember that He doesn't create that suffering. He uses it to teach us. He uses it to help someone else. It's not our business to know what it is for, just to be able to deal with it with His help, because He never sleeps.
Genesis 19:15-29 Psalm 26:2-3, 9-12 Matthew 8:23-27
Monday, June 29, 2009
I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7
We were all playing the Wii last night as a family, as much as possible anyway. My husband was playing with our two oldest. Whoever was the "loser," the one who was already not playing would take his/her spot and play the winner. You know how that is done. I'm all for a little healthy competition, but sometimes it can be a little too much. Sometimes they can get into name-calling and considering each other a "loser."
So I was thinking about this this morning in relation to the above Scripture. In the life we are living, I suppose there are losers and winners. The losers go to Hell, and the winners go to Heaven. Right? I mean, when you speak figuratively, that's what happens. But when we meet our Lord, we are not competing with each other. When we stand before God on our Judgment Day, He does not compare us to anyone else. He is looking at each of us as individuals. How did I live my life according to Him? Did I live up to His expectations? Did I do as He commanded?
We cannot compare ourselves to each other to determine a loser and a winner when it comes to the Kingdom of Heaven. We must compete with the devil and make it to the finish line with our faith in tact. We must make sure that we, as individuals, have done our best to follow the laws God has set forth.
Lord, thank you for the faith You have given me. Please stay with me as I continue to compete with the devil's temptations and follow Your will.
Acts 12:1-11 Psalms 34:2-9 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 17-18 Matthew 16:13-19
Friday, June 26, 2009
Like a fruitful vine
your wife within your home,
Like olive plants
your children around your table. Psalms 128:3
A mental image popped into my mind of a family way back when times were simpler. I'm talking way, way back. I picture the wife/mom serving dinner while her husband sits at the head of the table, and their four, maybe five, little blessings sit around the table waiting for their meal. As this image is coming together in my mind, I remembered something my daughter said to me last night. She told me that I was the best mom. I'm not really sure where that came from, but it made me happy. I gave her a hug and a kiss on her nose and I told her I couldn't do what I do without daddy. She asked me why. I told her that I wouldn't be able to be with them all the time if daddy didn't work to provide our home and our food and money to do fun things. She took that in and said, "Oh, oh yeah!"
It's true isn't it? I wouldn't be able to be fruitful without my husband. And my husband wouldn't be able to focus on his job and do a good job if I didn't do my part here at home. And our children. Well, they are the little blessings that God has given to us that complete our home.
So I go back to my mental image I had when I read this Scripture. If all the pieces of the family are playing their part, our home is a happy home.
Lord, send the Holy Spirit to always guide me in the direction you want me to go. Stay with me and help me do Your will.
Genesis 17:1, 9-10, 15-22 Psalms 128:1-5 Matthew 8:1-4
Thursday, June 25, 2009
It's that time again! I know that you guys have some small successes to report this week! Leave us a comment and let us know what they are!
Here are mine for this week:
1. We had a wonderful Father's Day cook-out and a successful, smoothe birthday party for my 2-year-old.
2. I got the kids to the park to feed the ducks. We even got to get up close to them!
3. We got their pictures taken! My son is 5 and my daughter is 2. We also did some pics of all three! They came out wonderful!
OK, your turn!
Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Matthew 7:21
I was online yesterday looking at the blogs I follow and a title caught my eye, Episcopal Priest: God Rejoices in Abortion. So of course I had to click on it and find out what in the world that was all about. I was simply appalled as I read that blog post. Rev. Nina Churchman is an Episcopalian Priest in Denver, Colorado who believes that "women shouldn't have to ask for forgiveness for aborting a child." She wrote a letter to Episcopal Life Online stating that "God, unlike what the liturgy states, also rejoices that women facing unplanned pregnancies have the freedom to carefully choose the best option- birth, adoption or abortion- for themselves and their families."
I will let you soak that one in for a minute. I don't think I have to go into detail about how wrong this is. My point in raising awareness of this is that there are many false prophets out there, and they don't have to take the form of a priest or pastor. Satan likes to disguise himself with just enough good and just enough truth, to make his lies and deceit look like the truth. Satan whispers things like, "It's OK, you don't have to go to Church today, God understands you need your sleep." He whispers, "It's OK, God will understand..., It's OK, God will understand..., It's OK God will understand...."
God will NOT understand. It is clear, here in this Scripture from today, that God expects us to follow His rules or we will not enter into His kingdom. We do not get to pick and choose what we want to follow and what we don't. That's not how this works. He is clear about how we are to live and we must be aware of people like Rev. Churchman, that whispers, "It's OK, God will understand."
Lord, answer the door when the devil comes knocking. I want to live in Your goodness and do Your Will.
Genesis 16:12, 15-16 Psalms 106:1-5 Matthew 7:21-29
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
You formed my inmost being;
You knit me in my mother's womb. Psalms 139:13
I burned my finger pretty bad while I was fixing dinner last night and I was nursing it on some ice. My daughter got up and whispered in my ear, "Offer it up to God Mommy." Oh my gosh. If I could only explain the joy I felt when I heard those words of wisdom coming from my seven-year-old's mouth. I smiled, tears welled up in my eyes, and I said, "Yes, honey, you're right. I will definitely do that." So I did.
We continued to eat and soon after I took my finger off the ice, it would start to burn again, fiercely. So my daughter says, "Mommy, offer it up to God!" I told her that I had already done it in my head. I told her I said a prayer in my mind to God. She kind of looked at me. I told her that God knows what is in our hearts and our minds. She and my son liked that and they started talking about it. It developed into a conversation about babies. I told them that God knew them before anyone and that He knows everything about them. He knew what color hair they were going to have, and He even knows how they will live their lives. He knows everything about us, and it is His plan we follow.
This passage reminded me of this. The first time I heard it was when I was going through my conversion to being pro-life. The ever-conflicting definition of when life actually begins continues on and on and on. It not only begins at conception, but actually before. God begins developing us before we're actually formed. To imagine that is just mind boggling. But it's so comforting to know that God loved me before He even formed my being. We feel like that when we're trying to conceive, don't we? We love our children even before we even know them. The anticipation of being able to carry my child in my womb, and then care for them outside of, is a blessing in and of itself. Imagine the live God must have for us. It is because of that love that I want to do His Will at every moment I can.
Lord, thank you for the love you have given me. Help me to do Your Will with the life you have blessed me with.
Isaiah 49:1-6 Psalms 139:1-3, 13-15 Acts 13:22-26 Luke 1:57-66, 80
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few. Matthew 7:14
Wow, what a wake-up call this was this morning. When I stand in Church and think of my venial sins that I committed the previous week, I know they are not as big as mortal sins, but I can't help but think that an over accumulation of my venial sins weighs heavy on my soul. Every act against the Lord affects my chances of getting into Heaven.
I then begin comparing my behavior to others who may not yell at their kids as much as me, think bad thoughts about other people, judge others, do more volunteer time than I.... I compare myself to these people and think they are better at being good than I am and will surely get to Heaven.
But I also know that we all have our own struggles with the Commandments. We all have areas of our lives that we would like to improve to better our relationship with God. So I will keep making improvements in my life to hopefully gain a spot on that narrow road to life, and avoid the easier and more accessible "broad road that leads to destruction" (Matthew 7:13).
Lord, please send my Guardian Angel to help guide me to a life with You.
Genesis 13:2, 5-18 Psalm 15:2-5 Matthew 7:6, 12-14