Tuesday, November 7, 2017

When God Doesn't Answer Our Prayers

"For man it is impossible; but for God all things are possible."
 Matt 19:26, Luke 1:37, Jeremiah 32:27, Genesis 18:14

  If God doesn't answer our prayers in the way we think He should it doesn't mean He can't grant our request; it means that God is saying "No" or "not right now" or perhaps something is blocking the power of God and needs to be removed. It doesn't mean that He doesn't care or that He doesn't want us to be happy.
  The Bible, the Old Testament but especially the New Testament, is filled with illustrations of how much God loves us. When we look at the intricacy and complexity of all of God's creation, from the tiniest molecule to the vast universe, it's kind of silly to even imagine that God, who created all this and keeps it in motion, cannot grant our little request. So that tells us that there's some other reason why our prayer is not being answered as we would like it to be.
  The Book of Job in the Bible is an excellent answer to why God seems not to answer some prayers. Chapters 38-41 are God's response to Job trying to figure out why he has been subjected to such awful suffering. It can be summed up by saying "If you cannot understand God's creation, how can you hope to understand why God doesn't answer our prayers in the way we would like Him to ."
  With God all things are possible. We just have to continue to pray, trust in our all-powerful God and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit for our lives.

Monday, October 30, 2017

On Getting Old

Getting old is like youth in reverse.
  When you are born you are virtually helpless--totally dependent on others for your survival. As you grow you take on more and more responsibility for yourself until you reach adulthood and emancipation. Then you are able to support yourself and take care of your needs. You then work at a job or care for others--children, elderly parents, etc.
  After you retire from either work outside the home or raising children, things start to reverse--albeit slowly. Little by little your body begins wearing out. Then you find there are some things you can no longer do but need help with.
  If you live long enough or are in poor health you eventually need the help of others in more and more areas--just like a child. Often very old people who are near death and bedridden can be seen to go into the fetal position, just as they were inside their mothers uterus so long ago.
  If you are fortunate you will not get to that point. We can do our best to stave off the negative aspects of aging, but we will all eventually loose some of our ability to care for ourselves.
  It is sad, and often depressing, but the happiest people learn to accept and make the best of the inevitable. Life is still worth living. Live it to the fullest. Take joy in the beauty and good things around you--the beauty of nature, the birth of a child, a wedding, the joy a toddler brings, music, a good movie, the love of family and friends. These things never grow old.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Getting to Know Jesus

Sometimes people looking to evangelize will say, "Do you know Jesus?" If you don't "know" Jesus you might be puzzled as to what they mean. Or you might respond, "Yes, I know who Jesus is. He was a great prophet" or "He is the Savior of the world" or "He suffered and died so we could go to Heaven." But all these statements of belief are not "knowing" Jesus; they are knowing about Jesus.
  First you meet Jesus through others. They teach you about Jesus, who He is, why He came to live on earth, why He suffered and died in such a cruel way. They teach you the Bible and perhaps the catechism, if the denomination has one. You grow in faith in Him.
  Then you are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (see Matthew 28:19). It's when you are baptized that you receive the Holy Spirit. And it's the Holy Spirit that enables you to "know" Jesus; to experience His Presence within you; to "hear" Him speaking to you and guiding you.
  Although baptism and receiving the power of the Holy Spirit is a one-time event, the power of the Holy Spirit increases in you over time as you grow in faith and surrender to God. The more you grow in the power of the Holy Spirit, the more clearly you experience Jesus. It's a little like light bulbs. When you are baptized you may receive 25 watts. At the Sacrament of Confirmation it may go up to 50 watts. If Christians pray over you for the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, maybe it will go up to 200 watts. There is no limit to the power of the Holy Spirit. We are the ones who limit Him due to lack of faith, unwillingness to surrender to God or many other reasons.
  So to get back to my original statement, "Do you know Jesus?" If not, then find a church or group of Christians who are living in the power of the Holy Spirit and let them show you how to find Him. First you meet Him through others; then you meet Him for yourself.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

On Marriage--Why Make A Vow

(Before I delve into this I would like to say that when I refer to "marriage" or "couple", I am referring only to normal marriage between one man and one woman. Any other "marriage" may be sanctioned by the state, but is not a real marriage in the eyes of God or rational people.)

Very often couples live together but do not want to commit themselves to each other for life. They say things like "we don't need a piece of paper to prove our love for each other." But a valid marriage is much more than just a piece of paper.
  We make vows when we marry because a stable marriage is better for men, for women, for children and for society. I won't go into the reasons why here since there is a vast amount of information available online or in books to show this is true. So what exactly is a "vow"?
  The dictionary defines "vow" as: "a solemn promise; one by which a person is bound to an act, service, or condition; to bind or consecrate." A couple makes a solemn promise before God and all those witnessing to join their lives together for life. They freely give themselves to each other. They promise to love and cherish each other. They promise to stand with each other in good times and in bad; in sickness and in health; whether wealthy or poor, until the death of either one of them.
  This is a scary thing. To place your life in the hands of another. But it is necessary and the only way to have a good relationship, a good family and stable children.
  When vows are broken, it's not because of the failure of the vows themselves, but because  the weakness and sinfulness of the individuals causes them to break those vows. Not making the vows in the first place only makes it more likely that the relationship will fail, the family will be broken and the children damaged mentally and emotionally.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Faith vs. Works

As you know, there has been much controversy in the centuries since the Reformation about whether our salvation comes solely through faith in Jesus Christ or if good works are necessary as well.

  I think we would all agree that the doors of Heaven were opened through the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The disagreement comes in determining what we have to do to get through those doors.

  Since this is a very extensive subject, for reflection today I would just like to offer some passages from Scripture regarding faith vs. works as well as some of what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say about the subject.

Matthew 7:21:  None of those who cry out, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of God but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. (works) 

Matthew 5:16:  In the same way, your light must shine before men so that they may see goodness in your acts and give praise to your heavenly Father. (works)

Mark 16:15-16:  Go into the whole world and proclaim the good news to all creation. The man who believes in it and accepts baptism will be saved; the man who refuses to believe in it will be condemned. (faith)

Acts 16:30,31:  “Men, what must I do to be saved?” Their answer was, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved and all your household.” (faith)

Romans 2:5-8:  In spite of this, your hard and impenitent heart is storing up retribution for the day of wrath when the just judgment of God will be revealed, when He will repay every man for what he has done: eternal life to those who strive for glory, honor, and immortality by patiently doing right; wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth and obey wickedness. (works)

Romans 3:23-28: All men have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God. All men are now undeservedly justified by the gift of God, through the redemption wrought in Christ Jesus. Through his blood, God made Him the means of expiation for all who believe. He did so…to manifest his justice in the present, …so that he might be just and might justify those who believe in Jesus. What occasion is there then for boasting? It is ruled out. By what law, the law of works? Not at all! By the law of faith. For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from observance of the law. (faith)

Romans 14:12:  Every one of us will have to give an account of himself before God. (works)

2 Corinthians 5:10:  The lives of all of us are to be revealed before the tribunal of Christ so that each one may receive his recompense, good or bad, according to his life in the body. (works)

Galatians 2:16:  Nevertheless, knowing that a man is not justified by legal observance but by faith in Jesus Christ, we too have believed in Him in order to be justified by faith in Christ, not by observance of the law; for by works of the law no one will be justified. (faith)

Galatians 2:21:  If justice is available through the law, then Christ died to no purpose! (faith)

James 2:14-26:  My brothers, what good is it to profess faith without practicing it? Such faith has no power to save one, has it? … So it is with the faith that does nothing in practice. It is thoroughly lifeless. To such a person one might say, “You have faith and I have works—is that it?” Show me your faith without works, and I will show you the faith that underlies my works! Do you believe that God is one? You are quite right. The demons believe that, and shudder. … You must perceive that a person is justified by his works and not by faith alone. Be assured, then that faith without works is as dead as a body without breath. (works)

CCC 161:  Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent Him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation. (faith)

So we see that some passages from Scripture seem to say we are saved by works, others seem to say we are saved by faith alone. Good Bible exegesis involves comparing all Scripture passages on a particular subject, not interpreting one passage alone.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


You can’t make yourself holy.  Holiness is a gift.  You walk with God, and holiness is the result.
  For our sakes God made Him (Jesus) who did not know sin to be sin, so that in Him we might become the very holiness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21.
  Scripture tells us that God wants us to grow in holiness: It is God's Will that you grow in holiness: 1 Thessalonians 4:3.
  God tells us in His Word: Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy.
Leviticus 19:2; 1 Peter 1:16
  Jesus said: In a word, you must be made perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:48.
  As we surrender ourselves to God and follow Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit, They cause us to grow in holiness.
  Strive for peace with all men, and for that holiness without which no one can see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Sword of the Spirit

God wants us to use Scripture passages, His Word, not just to claim His promises to us, but to fight against the evil spirits in the world. In Ephesians 6:10-17 St. Paul gives us the tools for Christian warfare, for waging the battle against the temptations and attacks of the devil. One of them is the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.
  It's important that we all read something from the Bible every day. This fills the data base of our mind with Scriptures. Then, when the need arises, the particular Scripture passage or passages we need to pray will come to our mind. If we don't remember where we read them in the Bible, a few words or a phrase in a search engine will show us where they are. I write these passages on index cards and use them during my prayer time when praying for myself or interceding for others.
  The following are just a few Scripture passages I have prayed:
For healing: I will give you back your health and heal your wounds, says the Lord. Jeremiah 30:17.
For those experiencing a tragedy in their lives: He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3.
For someone experiencing seizures: No evil shall befall you, nor shall affliction come near your tent. Psalm 91:9-10.
For childlessness: He establishes in her home the barren wife as the joyful mother of children. Psalm 113:9.
For physical or emotional weakness: The Lord will give you strength. Psalm 29:11.
For fear: Fear is useless; what is needed is trust... Luke 8:50.
  If you are praying for a particular situation and no Scripture passages come to mind, you can always look up an individual word in a concordance, online or in book form. That will show you passages that deal with that subject. Then you can choose one or more to pray.
  Praying the Word of God is very a powerful spiritual weapon. Use it often.

May the mercy of the Father, the peace of the Holy Spirit and the love of Jesus be yours in abundance.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Sexuality Confusion

In the Beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth,...
God created man in his image; in the divine image He created him;
male and female He created them.  God blessed them, saying: "Be fertile and multiply;...
Genesis 1:1, 27-28.

  It could not have been clearer. God created men and women.  They were to join together to procreate and form a family. He did not create homosexuals or transgender people. He did not create many genders.

  The thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy,
I [Jesus] came that they might have life and have it to the full. John 10-10

  Where there is destruction and distortion we see the work of the devil.

  Much has been written in the last decade on this subject, both good and bad. I recently came across two blog posts that I thought were particularly interesting. The first is a Matt Walsh blog on how far to go to protect your children from being indoctrinated by the Left. The second is the experience of a man who felt led by the Holy Spirit to attend the recent Gay Pride parade in San Francisco. For someone who has never attended a Gay Pride event, it's good to hear about what "Gay Pride" really stands for.
  I think it's worth your time to read both.


http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/ "Boots-on-the-ground reflections from today's San Francisco (LGBT) Pride event"; posted June 25.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Dinner With Jesus

  What would you wear if you were invited to have dinner with Jesus?  Actually, each time you gather at church that’s exactly what you’re doing, having dinner with Jesus.  Just think—the bread, the wine, the table, the tablecloth, the candles—you sitting across from Jesus on the altar.

  When we go out to dinner at a fine restaurant, we dress in our better clothes.  Shouldn’t we dress just as nicely when we come to have dinner with Jesus?  We also dress in nicer clothes when we attend special occasions such as graduations, weddings, parties, proms.  Did you ever wonder why?  It’s because our dress reflects that the occasion is special.  To attend a wedding in sneakers and sweatpants would be an insult to the bride and groom.  The way we dress shows respect for the people we are honoring.

  Is the way we dress for church the most important thing?  No, the most important thing is that we have come to worship and thank God.  Does Jesus care what we wear to church?  Jesus cares that we show Him the same honor and respect that we would show to the President of the United States or any other important person.  What would you wear if you were invited to dinner with the President?  What do you wear when you come to have dinner with Jesus?
 Bring gifts, and enter His courts; worship the Lord in holy attire.  Psalm 96:8b

A Pause In Reflections

If anyone was wondering whether I'd given up this blog, I haven't. Had an injury. Between that and summer company (I live near the beach), have found it difficult to find time to write. Hopefully by September I can get back to my regular weekly schedule.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

On Values and Principles

Every adult has values and principles which have developed in us through what we have been taught and what we have experienced. Values are those things which we hold in high esteem and are important to us. Principles, as defined by the dictionary, are "a rule or code of conduct"; "a comprehensive and fundamental law, doctrine or assumption."  Although our fundamental values and principles are formed in childhood, they continue to grow and change as long as we live.
  We usually don't sit down and think about what our values and principles are, but it's a good idea to do that from time to time. Recently I came across a listing of the foundational principles of an organization I have been following since the 70's, Focus on the Family, based in Colorado Springs, CO. Upon reading them, I found that they were an accurate description of the principles I have come to accept as valuable, and so I thought I would share them here. I have found that following these principles leads not only to peace, which is the defining theme of my blog, but to fulfillment in life.

The Value of Children
Children are a heritage from God and a blessing from His hand. Parents are therefore accountable to Him for raising, shaping and preparing children for a life of service to His kingdom and to humanity.

The Permanence of Marriage
The institution of marriage is a sacred covenant designed by God to model the love of Christ for His people and to serve both the public and private good as the basic building block of human civilization. Marriage is intended by God to be a thriving, lifelong relationship between a man and a woman through trials, sickness, financial crises and emotional stresses. Therefore, Christians are called to defend and protect God's marriage design and to minister in Christ's name to those who suffer the consequences of broken marriages.

The Pre-Eminence of Evangelism
The ultimate purpose of life is to know and glorify God and to attain eternal life through Jesus Christ, beginning within our own families and then reaching out to a suffering humanity that needs to embrace His love and sacrifice.

The Sanctity of Human Life
We believe that human life is created by God in His image. It is of inestimable worth and significance in all its dimensions, including the preborn, the aged, the mentally disabled, those deemed unattractive, the physically challenged, and every other condition in which humanness is expressed from the single-cell stage of development to natural death. Christians are therefore called to defend, protect and value all human life.

The Importance of Social Responsibility
God has ordained the social institutions of family, church and government for the benefit of mankind and as a reflection of His divine nature. Therefore, Christians are called to support these institutions, according to God's design and purpose, and to protect them against destructive social influences. Such involvement is in obedience to Christ's lordship over all creation and is required by His command to care for the well-being of all people.

The Value of Male and Female
God created humans in His image, intentionally and immutably male and female, each bringing unique and complementary qualities to sexuality and relationships. Sexuality is a glorious gift from God to be offered back to Him either in marriage for procreation, union and mutual delight, or in celibacy for undivided devotion to Christ. Christians are called to proclaim the truth and beauty of God's design and the redemption of sexual brokenness in our lives and culture through Jesus Christ.

One thing that I would add is the importance of accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, being baptized, and filled with the Holy Spirit. This is actually the first and foremost principle because the others flow from it. It's the power of the Holy Spirit within us which enables us to live according to the other principles.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Price You Pay for the Good Life

A young woman posted a video on Facebook of her little daughter taking her first steps. But the mother wasn't there to see it. She was at work and the video was taken by the babysitter.
  How sad--to miss your child's first steps; or first word; or all the many firsts in your little one's life. To miss the cute ways preschoolers say words. To not be there to kiss the bumps and bruises or to take them to the doctor when they're injured. To not be there when they get home from school or to read and sing to them before bed. To not be there for their games and special events.
  I'm sorry if you have to work outside the home; or if you are a divorced or single parent; if you have no choice. But there are so many who do have a choice and choose work or a career over raising their children.
  I had a day care business for many years. I would estimate that about 65% of my clients did not have to work outside the home for financial reasons. They worked for a large home (of course each child must have their own room), nice cars, adult "toys", and a yearly vacation to Disney World. Those are all nice things, and we are blessed if we can afford them. But they often come with a price not paid with money -- time with our children; time with our families; time to build and nurture a good marriage.
  My husband and I raised four children. For most of that time I was able to be home when the children were home. I had the day care business in my home. Most of our cars during that time were used and we continued to use them until they were no longer worth repairing. We lived in a small three-bedroom ranch with one bath. We rarely spent vacations away from home. I clipped coupons, looked for sales, and cooked economical meals. My children's birthday parties were small house parties I planned myself with as many guests as the age of the child.
  Today most young couples would not be willing to live the way my husband and I did while raising our children. But it was worth the sacrifice. All four of our children graduated college and are good, productive citizens. All four married and three of them have children (so far). My husband and I have been complimented many times on what nice people our children are. I wouldn't trade that for anything the world has to offer.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Do Good Parents Produce Good Children?

Do good mothers and fathers produce good children? Yes and no.
  Some children who have gone astray came from very good families. I remember reading about Franklin Graham, one of the sons of the famous Rev. Bill Graham. He rebelled against his good and decent parents and went astray for some time. He later repented, turned back to God, and is now the head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
  Then there are some children whose parents were absent or neglectful who turned out to be good, responsible citizens. Jim Daly, President of the Focus On the Family ministry, grew up in foster homes. Dr. Ben Carson grew up poor, in a single parent home, but became a renowned neurosurgeon due to the love and nurturing of his mother and the grace of God.
  So I think that although it's more likely that good mothers and fathers will  produce good children, it's not guaranteed.  After all, we are all created by our Heavenly Father, who is perfect in every way, and yet we rebel against Him and His Will for us.
  People compliment parents when they have polite, well-behaved children, and rightly so. But it's good to remember that when children go astray, it's not necessarily the fault of their parents. And children can't blame their poor upbringing for the problems in their lives. We all have been given the gift of free will and with God's grace can become good, responsible adults despite our upbringing.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Answer to the Problem of Terrorism

People hope and pray for peace in the world. The Sandra Bullock movie "Miss Congeniality" poked fun at the Miss America pageant contestants always saying what they most wanted was "world peace." But as we see day after day in the news reports, our world is far from peaceful.
  The scourge of terrorism throughout the world has caused people to focus even more on the problem of evil in our world. Most people look to our governments to protect us and solve the problem. But governments don't have the answer because it's a spiritual problem. The remedy for terrorism in the world is for people to turn back to God, return to church and pray for peace.
  Yes, we need to disarm and defeat those who commit these heinous acts against innocent men, women and children. But that has to be combined with turning back to God.
  It's not that God is punishing us for our lack of faith by allowing terrorism to reign. It's that the lack of faith throughout the world has removed us from God's blessing and protection. That fact was aptly illustrated by the author Jonathan Cahn in his riveting book The Harbinger where he showed how the Islamic terrorist attack on the United States on September 11, 2001 was the result of so many Americans turning away from faith in God.
  The answer to the problem of terrorism is we have to fight for peace, work for peace, but most of all turn back to God and pray for peace. May all our churches be filled, as they were after 9-11 in the U.S., not just after a terrorist attack but each and every day.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Wisdom of Fr. Benedict Groeschel

The following is one of my favorite teachings from Fr. Benedict Groeschel and very appropriate after celebrating Pentecost:
“Realize more and more that the spiritual life is essentially the work of the Holy Spirit.
Our participation, although it may appear to be a very active struggle to do good—to ‘press on,’ in the words of St. Paul—is ultimately a cooperation with the Holy Spirit.
Our essential task is not to do things for God, but rather not to resist God’s trying to do good things for us.
Holiness is his work. Our task is to avoid resisting Him.
Many people waste a great deal of time and effort doing what they want on the spiritual road instead of letting the Holy Spirit lead:  they must do this, they must be there, they must learn some other things.
This is not really following Christ; it is walking beside Him and making suggestions.”
Fr. Benedict Groeschel
Priest, psychology professor, speaker, writer, servant of the poor

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Commitment to Christ

This Sunday the Church will celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, remembering the day the Apostles, the disciples of Jesus and the Blessed Mother were baptized in the Holy Spirit.
It's also a day to recommit ourselves to Christ and ask for the Baptism in the Holy Spirit or more of the power of the Holy Spirit for ourselves.
  The following is a prayer from the Life In the Spirit Seminar guidebook to help us prepare for Pentecost.
Do you renounce Satan and all wrongdoing?
Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God,
that He died to free us from our sins, and that He rose to bring us new life?
Will you follow Jesus as your Lord?
Lord Jesus Christ, I want to belong to you from now on.
I want to be freed from the dominion of darkness and the rule of Satan, and I want to enter into Your Kingdom and be part of your people.
I will turn away from all wrongdoing, and I will avoid everything that lead me to wrongdoing.
I ask you to forgive all the sins that I have committed.
I offer my life to you, and I promise to obey you as my Lord.
I ask you to baptize me in the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Can You Be Good Without God?

I was watching a news show where they were talking about a recent poll about the decline of morality in the United States. It showed that morality was at an all time low. Two of the commentators thought the cause was the decline in church attendance with the subsequent lack of training in morality. But one commentator thought that you could be a good, moral person without God.
  I have read about this trend, especially in the rising numbers of atheists and agnostics. I listened to a talk given by Jennifer Fulwiler, a popular blogger and former atheist who said that many atheists are very good, moral people.
  So where do we learn what is good and moral behavior. Is it common knowledge?  That can't be true because people disagree in many areas of morality. Is it built into our DNA?  That can't be true because if it were there would be no people who do harm to others. Our knowledge of what is good and moral, at least in western society, actually comes from our Judeo-Christian heritage.
 The United States was founded by Christians and our laws are based on Christian principles. The laws governing Europe, Canada and South America all had their source in Christianity and Judaism. It was Christianity that civilized the world; and Christianity came out of Judaism since Jesus was a Jew.  So even though a person may not have faith, or may have just some sort of "spirituality", their sense of right and wrong come from the Judeo-Christian heritage of their country.  Because of this, I think the two commentators who thought the cause was the decline in church attendance were correct.
  Everyone thinks children are innocent, which they are in so much as they are not old enough to sin. But every person is born into this world with the seeds of sin in their soul. Those seeds are going to sprout because no man or woman is perfect. What keeps those seeds of sin from growing and spreading and destroying the man or woman is the grace of God. Without God's grace we are doomed to be slaves to our sinful tendencies. Oh yes; we can sometimes resist some sin. We can do some good. But without God our sinful natures tend to take over. Without God the temptations of the evil one defeat us. Without God our innate selfishness overcomes our thinking and we rationalize our behavior.
  Without God, our ideas of what is right and what is wrong are just our ideas. We don't know for sure whether they are right or wrong for everyone. Only God can tell us what is the real truth. If it were not for God revealing Himself in the Judeo-Christian heritage and showing us what is truly right and wrong, good and bad, we would all still be uncivilized barbarians like the radical Islamists.
  So let no one say they can be good and moral without God. It is an impossibility.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Is Jesus the Conductor of Your Life?

Many years ago I came upon a statue of Jesus with his arms outstretched. It reminded me of a conductor of an orchestra. Since then I keep it on my dresser to remind me every day to look to Jesus as the conductor of my life.
  Each of the musicians in an orchestra plays an instrument. They are each trained in how to play their instrument. Although each musician is skilled in playing their own instrument, they need a conductor to play a particular musical composition together in harmony.
  So it is with each of us. We each have gifts, natural and supernatural, and talents, given to us by God. We could each decide how and where to use these gifts and talents, but then we would be the conductor of our lives, not God. Our part in God's great orchestra would not be fulfilled.
  In order to do God's Will, we must pray and seek His guidance each and every day; and then follow where He leads. Let Jesus be the conductor of your life. (see God's Will or My Will, January 12, 2016)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

God Reveals Himself in Nature

 God’s Word is often revealed in the natural world.  The Bible says:  “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims His handiwork.”  Psalm 19:2 NAB.
  Even people who cannot read or who are uneducated can understand some truths about God by examining nature.

  Take a seed.  Contained in even the tiniest seed is the fullness of the plant that seed will become.  All the seed needs is air, food, water and sunlight to grow to fulfillment.

  In the same way, even before science discovered genetics and the DNA of each cell, God was showing us through the seeds in nature that the seed of human life, the embryo, contained the fullness of the person.  Not just a hope or a promise, but the whole person contained in that little seed. Those who believe that it's morally acceptable to abort a child deny this truth. It's a child, not a choice. It's a person.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Raising Children Is Like Gardening

Such gorgeous tulips! Did you ever think that someone planted each one individually, then fertilized and watered them. Also the weeds had to be pulled. The flowers did not just grow that beautifully in that garden by themselves.
  Raising children is similar. If you want to have good, responsible children, you have to put in the time and effort. There are no shortcuts.
  I have raised four children. Very often people will compliment me on the way my children turned out. I'm not sure they realize that it didn't happen by accident; that I wasn't just "blessed" with good children. My husband and I invested much prayer, time, effort and sacrifice in raising good children. We didn't rely on having "quality time" with them after pursuing our careers.
 In growing gardens and raising children--you reap what you sow.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

On Aging

You know you’re old when you’re no longer in a hurry to get things done. Old people are never in a hurry—they don’t have enough to do to fill their days, so they take their time in what little they have to do. Old people would do well to remember what it was like when they were younger and never seemed to have enough time to get things done!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Trouble With Families

There are many authorities and pundits who analyze society and give reasons for the breakdown of the family in Western society. But I think they miss the main reason. The trouble with families today is that nobody's home. Mom and Dad both work outside the home, leaving the children to be raised by schools, day care centers and sometimes grandparents. When everyone returns home there is dinner to cook, clothes to wash, homework to be done, shopping or other errands. There is no time left in the day for anything other than chores and those things that have to be done. Weekends are the time for cleaning, grocery shopping and preparing for the week ahead. And Sundays are never the day of worship, rest and recreation they were meant to be.
  Not too long ago, most mothers were homemakers. They raised the children, read to them and taught them faith, values and good morals. They cooked healthy meals, chauffeured the children to their outside activities, monitored "screen" time, and prepared for holidays. They were also there so children could play outside during the day or after school. They were home to see that teens (the foolish years) did not smoke, drink or spend time alone with members of the opposite sex.
  God has a design for families. It is written in our bodies, in our minds and in our DNA. No matter what manipulations science tries, men will never get pregnant and carry a child within them. No matter how much the average woman works out, she will never be as strong as most men. The design was for women to conceive and nurture the children and for men to provide, protect and care for the family.
  People have forgotten that raising good families takes work, and time and sacrifice; not money, material possessions and vacations. Yes, there are other reasons for the breakdown of the family. But I think the fact that no one is home is the primary reason.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


One of my favorite songs is “Imagine” by John Lennon. It’s not my favorite because I think it’s true but because it’s so poignant. He looked in the Christian churches, but did not see Jesus because the image of Jesus was obscured by the sins of the people of God.  But the truth is in Jesus, the foundation of the Gospel.  There is a Heaven and a Hell.
  If John Lennon was given the wisdom to see that truth, he would have changed the words of the song to “Imagine if all Christians lived according to the teachings of Christ.”  Then the world would be more as he imagined.

Praise Litany For Holy Week

Praise You, Jesus, You are the Christ.
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Lamb of God.
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Lion of Judah.
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Messiah.
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Savior of the World.
Praise You, Jesus, You are our Salvation.
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Lamb that was slain.
Praise You, Jesus, You are the Resurrection and the Life.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Go and Sin No More

God is merciful and forgiving but we have to remember that forgiveness carries with it the necessity to try our very best not to commit the same sin again. This means praying for God's grace to help us, worshipping God with others at church and avoiding temptation.
  In the Gospel of John 8:1-11, Jesus is confronted with a woman caught in the act of adultery. The scribes and Pharisees say she should be put to death for her sin. Jesus is merciful and says: "Nor do I condemn you. You may go. But from now on, avoid this sin."
  In John 5:1-15, Jesus heals a man who had been sick for thirty-eight years. Jesus says to him: "Remember, now, you have been cured. Give up your sins so that something worse may not overtake you." Apparently there are times when sickness is caused by a person's sins. So going back to a sinful way of life may bring on something worse.
  I think the part that people neglect the most is avoiding temptation. I often think of the modern dating culture. A young couple may desire to avoid having sex before marriage. But they spend time alone, in situations where no one else is around. Of course, nature takes it's course and they end up giving into the temptation to have sex.
  Or a single man or woman may be having trouble avoiding pornography. But they have no filters on their internet connections or watch movies or TV shows with sexually stimulating scenes. A person can't deliberately expose themselves to temptation and then expect God to give them the grace to resist it!
  When we go before God to ask for forgiveness, let's also remember to look back to see what led us into temptation in the first place. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Power of Prayer

"More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of." Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Before I had my conversion experience, I doubted the power of prayer. Because I was taught that God was all powerful, I thought that He was going to do what He was going to do regardless of the prayers of people. But I learned that although God knows what will happen in the future, in some strange way our prayers can affect that future.
  Jesus Himself prayed and taught us how to pray. He gave us The Lord's Prayer, the Our Father, as an example of how we should pray. Jesus prayed in the Temple during the Jewish prayer services and often went off by Himself to pray (see Mark 1:35, Matthew 14:23, Luke 6:12).
  Regarding the power of prayer Jesus said:
Ask, and you will receive. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened to you. For the one who asks, receives. The one who seeks, finds. The one who knocks, enters."

  There are many, many passages in Scripture showing us the power of prayer. In Acts 12:5 it says: Peter was thus detained in prison, while the church prayed fervently to God on his behalf."  In response to that prayer, God sent and angel to set Peter free. In Acts 8:15-17, Peter and John prayed over people to receive the Holy Spirit and they did. In Acts 28:8-9, Paul prays for healing for many people and they all are healed.
  In Luke 11:5-13 and 18:1-8 Jesus uses parables to illustrate the need for persistence in prayer.
  There are several passages telling us that all prayers are answered.
...whatever you ask in my name (Jesus) I will do, if you love me and obey the commands I give you,... John 14:13-15.
  I (Jesus) give you my assurance, whatever you ask the Father, He will give you in My name....Ask and you shall receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:23-24.
  If you live in Me (Jesus), and My Words stay part of you, you may ask what you will--it will be done for you. John 15:7.
  One of the most powerful ways to pray is to pray the Words of Scripture for a particular person or intention. I keep a list of Scripture passages that I pray or send to people on their birthdays. One of my favorites is:

May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, grant you a spirit of wisdom and insight to know Him clearly. May He enlighten your innermost vision that you may know the great hope to which He has called you, the wealth of His glorious heritage to be distributed among the members of the church, and the immeasurable scope of His power in us who believe. Ephesians 1:17-19.
  Another way to pray Scripture is to pray specific passages that address whatever you are praying for such as fear, anxiety, love, hope, healing. For this you will need a concordance to look up Scripture passages on a particular subject. You can write the passage on index cards or in your phone or tablet and pray those passages during your prayer time. Or you can post them at your desk, in the bathroom or on the refrigerator and pray them each time you see them.
  The promises of God in His Word can be applied to us today. There are many passages in Scripture where God makes promises to His people. Even if the promises were made to the Israelites, they still apply to us as Christians since we are descendants of them through Jesus death and resurrection. In 2 Chronicles 7:14 God tells us that our prayers for our country can effect change:

…if my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced, humble themselves and pray, and seek my presence and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land.

  These are only a few of the many other Scripture passages on the power of prayer.  You can easily find more by researching "prayer" or "praying" in your concordance. There is power in prayer. Lets tap into that power every day.

The fervent petition of a holy man is powerful indeed. James 5:16b

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Adolescence is like setting out on a long voyage on an often turbulent and stormy sea—for both the teenager and the parents.  It’s kind of like a long labor.
  Keep your eye on Jesus and on the vision of the strong, self-confident man or woman that will emerge at the end of this voyage—for if you do that, they will.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Meditation on the Our Father

Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name

“OUR Father”; not MY but OUR—God is our Father as well as Jesus father.
Father, Abba, Daddy.
No longer the idea of a remote thunderbolt-throwing deity.
We raise arms in an attitude of surrender.
Praise be to Your Holy Name.
  We will respect His name and who He is.

May Your Kingdom come

We want Your Kingdom to come on earth.
We represent You here on earth.
As we do so we begin to become part now of Your eternal Kingdom.

Your Will be done

May your perfect Will be done.
Your guidance is what we need.
We will spend time in silence, listening and looking.

On earth as it is in Heaven

The responsibility of seeing His will done falls on us. We carry it on our own shoulders. We have free will here to choose the path we take—to help others to choose, to show His way to others.
And we model this on our concept of Heaven—joy, peace, light, warmth, and above all, love.

Give us this day our daily bread

Please provide for all our needs—food, clothing, shelter.
His provision is there for all our needs; for health and healing too.

Forgive us the wrong we have done

Forgive us our sins and our faults.
Forgiveness—no longer to be earned but accepted—a gift from God, through His last and final sacrifice; the shedding of the innocent blood of His beloved Son.

As we forgive those who do us wrong

As we forgive the sins and faults of others.
Here is a new factor, totally unexpected.  The idea that we should forgive others, even our enemies, those who would hurt or destroy us or those we love.
This is what Jesus did.
Only as we forgive can we be forgiven.
Jesus, help us to forgive.

And subject us not to trials

Be with us when we are tempted.
He does not tempt us—He is exactly the opposite.
So we are saying “remind us of Your presence when we are tempted and give us the strength to turn from it.”

But deliver us from all evil.

We have no power to deliver ourselves.
It is His to deliver us from evil, not only in ourselves, but also from the evil one himself.
Satan cannot stand in Jesus’ presence.
We have free will.
We can live in bondage, or we can choose to live in the power of the Holy Spirit, in light, love and freedom.

So be it.

(based on Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4 NAB

Who's Opinion Do You Respect

In society today, people who are older and more experienced are not valued or respected—youth and fame are.  It annoys me when magazines interview famous people or entertainers and ask their opinions on child-rearing or politics as if being famous makes a person an authority.  Being famous doesn’t make them any more knowledgeable than the person next door.
  Or when older employees are booted out the door in favor of the latest college graduate with his or her MBA.  The older employee’s years of experience on the job are far more valuable than someone fresh out of college, even with the best educational background.  Ask any college graduate in a new job—there are many, many things that college just doesn’t prepare you for.  Companies should value veteran employees as they can help train new employees and pass on to them the knowledge they have gained through experience.
  When you are looking for advice or help in any area, ignore the words of those pundits on the internet and in the media. Look for those who are respected, mature and wise; those with experience and good credentials.
For it is by wise guidance that you wage your war,
  and the victory is due to a wealth of counselors.  Proverbs 24:6 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

On Tithing

  For those who may not know, tithing is giving a tenth of your income. Christian denominations and people of the Jewish faith have many different teachings on tithing. For our purposes, I will not go into that area. I will focus instead on why we should tithe and what God’s Word says about tithing.

  As you will see, most of the teaching on tithing comes from the Old Testament. But this does not mean that tithing was one of the laws we no longer needed after Jesus came. Not much is said about it in the New Testament because it was one of those laws that was just part of the Jewish culture.

  I think God also wants us to give to the poor and to support those who help others or work for justice in the world. I believe that if everyone in the world gave part of their income to the poor, it would alleviate a good portion of all hunger and poverty.

  “Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine, and being a priest of God Most High, he blessed Abram with these words: “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, who delivered your foes into your hand.”  Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.” Genesis 14:18-20.

This Scripture is one of those that teaches that we should financially support those who minister to us in our churches—priests, ministers, pastors, elders. Another is Matthew 10: 9-10 where Jesus sends the apostles out to minister:

 “Provide yourselves with neither gold nor silver nor copper in your belts; no traveling bag, no change of shirt, no sandals, no walking staff. The workman after all, is worth his keep.”

  The law of tithing was introduced in the Old Testament as part of the law of Moses. In the Old Testament, the people gave their tithe for the support of the Temple and the priests that ministered there.

  Leviticus 27:30 says: “All tithes of the land, whether in grain from the fields or in fruit from the trees, belong to the Lord, as sacred to him.”  This means that the first 10% of our income is not ours; it belongs to God.

  Some people decide to give more than 10% of their income. Others can easily afford to give more than ten percent. The Bible says: “The willingness to give should accord with one’s means, not go beyond them. The relief of others ought not to impoverish you; there should be a certain equality.” 2 Corinthians 8:12. This is a very important passage because God does not want us to become poor or needy by giving to others. But I have learned, through listening to the stories of many people, that even if you have a very small income, if you tithe 10% of that, the Lord will provide for your needs.

  God wants us to give not only because it’s His Law, but out of compassion for others. Yet God blesses us in return. In Luke 6:38-38 Jesus says: “Give, and it shall be given to you. Good measure pressed down, shaken together, running over, will they pour into the fold of your garment. For the measure you measure with will be measured back to you.”

  Proverbs 3:9-10 says: “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with first fruits of all your produce: then will your barns be filled with grain, with new wine your vats will overflow.”

  In Malachi 3: 8-10 God scolds the Israelites for not tithing fully: “Dare a man rob God? Yet you are robbing me! And you say, ‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings! You are indeed accursed, for you, the whole nation, rob me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and try me in this, says the Lord of hosts:  Shall I not open for you the floodgates of heaven, to pour down blessing upon you without measure?”

  In Isaiah 58: 10-11 God says: “If you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday; then the Lord will guide you always and give you plenty even on the parched land. He will renew your strength, and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails.”

  My husband and I have been tithing for many years. During that time, I have seen these Scriptures of God’s blessing on those who tithe fulfilled many, many times. The blessings are sometimes financial, but often material or in other ways.

  So I encourage you, if you do not already tithe, to “try the Lord” as they say, and see if He does not bless you as well.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

God Wants Us to Look Our Best

I believe that God wants us to look our best. When we are baptized in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we become sons and daughters of God. Therefore, we are princes and princesses in God's Kingdom. As such, we should look the part.
  I don't believe there is anything ugly in God's Kingdom. Every witness I've read of people who have had near-death experiences and gone to Heaven witness to a place of beauty and light, filled with flowers and trees. In the beginning of the world, God created all things beautiful and good. It was only after sin entered the world through the disobedience of man that ugliness began to invade. So ugliness is not of God but from the evil one.
  One of the responsibilities given to God's children is to work to help make the world the Kingdom of God. Jesus said that we should pray "Thy Kingdom come" (Matthew 6:10). We, as individuals, are God's ambassadors. We should look the part.
  I like to think of females as flowers and males as trees in God's garden. For flowers or trees to thrive, they must have sun, water and good soil. They also must be protected from pests and diseases. For us to look our best we need to spend time tending our bodies. Now I'm not advocating spending hours and hours exercising, fixing our hair, putting on makeup. Or spending tons of money getting Botox treatments, face lifts or hair replacement. But there's nothing wrong or vain about keeping our body fit, having a nice hairstyle, wearing makeup or dressing nicely. If we are not handsome or beautiful, it's not because God created us that way; it's because we are born into a fallen world. So it's a good thing to help ourselves look closer to how we were meant to look.
  Our personal appearance also reflects how we are on the inside. Very often people with poor self-esteem reflect that in their appearance. They dress in dull, drab colors; their clothing is disheveled; hair unwashed or uncombed; no makeup. Think of the homeless people you have seen. I remember a wedding I attended as a child. The bride was pregnant and had very poor self-esteem. She was dressed in a lovely gown, but her hair was short and chopped and she wore no makeup. It was such a contrast to the lovely gown.
  We are the "Bride of Christ". We are His Knights in shining armor. Let's reflect that on the outside as well as inside.

My lover is radiant and ruddy; he stands out among thousands. His head is pure gold; his locks are palm fronds, black as the raven....Who is this that comes forth like the dawn, as beautiful as the moon, as resplendent as the sun,... Songs 5:10; 6:10

The Advantages of Being Single

I was a very independent-minded strong-willed child. I couldn't wait to grow up so I could do things and have things the way I wanted. Then I got married.
  Of course, it's not good to be a selfish, self-centered person. Being married certainly helps you to grow in unselfishness and in many other areas. But it is frustrating sometimes to always have to consider the likes and dislikes of your spouse, or how it will affect him or her, in making decisions.
  If you are single, you can cook what you like for dinner or go to restaurants you like. When my husband and I were first married, he was very fussy about what he liked and didn't like. After cooking meal after meal that he didn't like, I finally sat down with him and compiled a list of the dinner choices he liked. It was very limited, but at least I was not cooking in vain.
  When you are single you can furnish and decorate your home or apartment according to your taste. I always loved Colonial style in furnishings. My husband did not. So when we first went shopping to furnish our new apartment we walked through the store each pointing out what we liked until we came upon an item we could agree upon. Surprisingly, we did manage to furnish our apartment eventually.
  There are many couples I would like to be closer friends with; perhaps have them over for dinner. But if my husband doesn't feel the same way (especially if he dislikes one of them) I can't pursue the friendship.
  As a Christian, one of the most important advantages of being single is that you are free to attend the church you like. You are free to minister wherever the Holy Spirit leads you. When you are married, your response to the Holy Spirit is limited because your spouse has to be in agreement with how you think the Holy Spirit is leading you--or at least be willing to let you do those things you feel led to do that don't affect your life as a couple. For instance, if you think the Holy Spirit is asking you to go you go to Africa to minister and your spouse doesn't want to, you can't go. Or perhaps you have a heart for the poor, and want to tithe 10% of your income. But your spouse doesn't believe in tithing. Well, you can't tithe then.
  Getting back to the secular level, when you're single you are free to plan your career according to what you would like to do. Perhaps you would like to move to another state or country. When you're married, you just can't pick up and move. Your life is tied up with another person and that person has to be in agreement with whatever changes you might like to make.
  I know many single or divorced people. Sometimes I think they look with envy upon me because I have a husband. The grass is always greener on the other side. There are many advantages to being married and I think the majority of people are meant to be married. But there are disadvantages too. Those called to be single or those single by default would be more content if they kept that in mind.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Importance of Daily Prayer

On our daily list of things to do, prayer should be the first priority. Not "if I have time" or "after I get everything done that has to be done today".
  Why should you make prayer a priority? Why do we make eating or sleeping a priority? Why do we exercise our bodies? Prayer is to the spirit what eating, sleeping and exercise are to the body. God gives us grace through prayer. He feeds us through His Word in Scripture and in His words to us through the Holy Spirit.  When we pray, God renews and revives us. In prayer God strengthens and tunes our spirit.
  It's easier to make prayer a priority if you're a morning person and don't have small children to care for. It's more difficult when you have to schedule it for afternoon, evening or before bed because the temptation always arises to do something else instead. The most important thing is to keep it in your mind as a priority for the day.
  But, if at all possible, have your prayer time in the morning. One saying I like is "A day begun with prayer is less likely to unravel." Prayer gives you guidance, grace and strength for the day. I find that when I pray in the morning the Holy Spirit often changes one or more of my plans for the day.
  If you can't pray in the morning, you can at least offer your day to God, ask His blessing on you and your family, and pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit; and then have a more extended time for prayer later in the day. You could also read a passage from a daily devotional while eating breakfast or listen to a devotional podcast or CD while driving to work.
  Putting God first in our lives is always the best choice. If we do that, everything else will fall into place.

I am the Lord, your God. You shall not (put anything before Me).
Exodus 20:2

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The "Feel Good" Gospel

There are many churches and preachers out there promoting the "feel good" gospel. Some of them are even mega-churches. They shy away from controversial issues such as abortion, homosexuality, morality, etc . It reminds me of the "I'm OK, You're OK" book and movement in the 70's. The lines between right and wrong are blurry; I'm a good person and you're a good person and the way we live our lives matters little. What matters is that we believe in Jesus. Jesus wants us to be happy and prosperous.
  These preachers gather large crowds not because they are preaching the truth, but because they are preaching what people want to hear. People don't want to hear about repentance and sacrifice; about changing their lives; about following Jesus words in the revealed Word of God, the Bible. In other words, they don't want the cross, only the Resurrection. And they think that everyone except the very, very evil people like Osama Binladen, is going to Heaven because God loves us. They don't want the truth.
  But St. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 1:17:  "For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel--not with wordy "wisdom," however, lest the cross of Christ be rendered void of its meaning!"
  Jesus said "He who will not take up his cross and come after me is not worthy of Me. He who seeks only himself brings himself to ruin, whereas he who brings himself to nought for me discovers who he is." (Matthew 10:38-39)  "If a man wishes to come after Me, he must deny his very self, take up his cross, and begin to follow in my footsteps. Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." (Matthew 16:24-25)  "Anyone who does not take up his cross and follow Me cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:27)  This doesn't sound like a "feel good" gospel to me!
  Belief in Jesus is not enough; we are called by Him to follow Him. So beware of those preachers, churches and authors of best sellers who promote the "feel good" gospel. If we examine the lives of the apostles and the early disciples in the Bible or the lives of Christian saints and holy people throughout the ages we will see that their lives were anything but easy.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Career Vs. Motherhood--Can You Do Both?

There is an ongoing debate in the United States about whether a woman can be a "good" mother as well as having a full-time career. I heard on the news recently a statement by Kellyanne Conway, President-elect's campaign manager, who reportedly was being considered for a position in the new administration. She said that "her children will always come first." She has twins, age 12, an eight year old and a seven year old. How can she possibly be there to raise and nurture four children and also serve full-time in the new administration? It's a physical impossibility! If her children come first, then she will not be able to do her best at her job. One person can't do both well. I know this to be true because I have raised four children myself and have observed the lives of many families for many years.
  Radio personality Dennis Prager once had a show titled "Does a Full-Time Homemaker Swap Her Mind For a Mop?" (www.DennisPrager.com). In it he logically pointed out the truth that a woman can't have a career and be a mother and do both well. There are no Super Moms!
  For those women who have to work outside the home for financial reasons, and for single moms, this should help them feel less guilty about not being able to give their all to their jobs and not being able to do everything necessary to manage a home and family well. If a woman has to work outside the home she can just do the best she can to do both jobs as well as she can manage and then let go of the rest.
  For those who don't have to work outside the home, they can be thankful that they are able raise their own children, maintain a nice home for their husband and family and have time to contribute to the well-being of society.
  For those women who choose to have a career, be aware that your choice limits the time and energy you can devote to your marriage, your children, your home and society in general. Don't think you can do both well. You will have to rely on others, either paid or unpaid, to help you raise your children, clean your house, provide healthy meals and chauffeur your children.
  This is the age of "choice" for women. Choose wisely.