Friday, December 8, 2017

The Way to Perfection

Happy feast of the Immaculate Conception! When we look at Mary, we can see a real contrast with that of the world. She is an example of what we are capable of becoming through Christ. With the World, we are getting a full on view of what happens when people don't know or follow Christ. So much is coming to light these days! It is  God alone who makes us more fully human and when we don't follow him, we become less human and make others less human by objectifying them.

When we choose to follow Jesus and receive his life in us, we have an advocate. He is extremely patient and kind and transforms us little by little, chiseling away the rough edges like a sculptor sculpting a beautiful piece of artwork out of marble.

I was not always aware of God's transforming power. I used to be very performance driven. I thought when I decided to follow him almost 30 years ago that I had to be perfect right away. I would beat myself up and fall into despair if I would mess up and do something wrong.

Over the years, I have learned to lean back in him, let him do a work in me and try not to tell the potter he is taking too long.

Last week I even had a dream that shows how far I have come in my way of thinking. In my dream, another woman and I were put in charge of cleaning a swimming pool. The swimming pool was a real mess! The water was a putrid green and filled with debris. I knew if I just worked on it a little bit each day and put a jug of chlorine in it each day, eventually it would be crystal clear. The other woman however was very irritated and impatient. She felt it needed to be completely clean right away.

In the spiritual life, we can often become impatient with ourselves, thinking we need to be perfect right away. However, Christ is the only one capable of making us clean from the inside out. When we entrust ourselves to him, we need to trust in what he is doing and his perfect timing.

In fact he is so patient and kind, he doesn't even want to dwell on the negative stuff we are often focused on. What I have come to realize, is that if I focus on his majesty and greatness instead of my imperfections and sins, that other stuff will work itself out.

Just yesterday I was talking to the Lord about some struggles I was having. It was good I was bringing it to him but he wasn't really interested in focusing on that. Instead he was so kind and began to give me some practical advice regarding the future. 

When I was a kid, my dad had a 25 ft. sailboat. We would always go sailing on Lake of the Ozarks when we lived in Missouri or Lake Pontchartrain when we lived in Louisiana. I loved sailing! We would also anchor the boat in a cove in the Lake and sleep on the boat at night. When we were done sailing and it was time to dock the boat, it was very important to secure the ropes connected to the boat to the horn cleats that were on the dock. If you didn't secure it just right, your boat could drift away.

This is what came to my mind yesterday. The Lord was letting me know that he is like the horn cleat that we need to secure ourselves tightly to. This way, even if things get terrifying in the world, we won't drift out to sea. 

The Lord kindly keeps telling me not to be afraid of things that are to come. These things are going to be necessary in order for people to recognize their need for him and these things will lead to a harvest of souls.

I think it has become very obvious in our world, that what people need most is Jesus!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

What is God's Justice?

We hear a lot about God's mercy but what is God's justice? Many Christians cringe when Pat Robertson talks about God's justice and tells us that it is God's justice and his judgement when natural disasters happen.

A friend of mine and fellow blogger, Sarah Babbs recently wrote an excellent, well written blog about God's justice here. Sarah and I don't always see eye to eye on things but I agree with her in this article. She quotes Amos 5:24 about God's justice being like mighty waters and an ever-flowing stream. 

What I have come to realize however is God's justice doesn't always look the way I think it should look. Those "mighty waters" can bring conversion of heart for those who do not resist.

One experience that helped me see God's justice differently is a time I was on a retreat. There was a woman there who was not very kind. She was rude to me and I felt belittled by her. At one point I went into the chapel and cried out to the Lord. I heard him say, "Don't worry about Jane (not her real name). She's a Martha. I will take care of her!"

That evening, we had a time of praise and worship. The Holy Spirit ended up falling on this woman and struck her like lightning, sending her to the floor. She was on the floor for hours, wailing and she literally could not get up. I think God was sitting on her.

That wasn't necessarily my idea of what God's justice should look like toward that woman but it is exactly what needed to happen for her to have a change of heart. The Lord needed to get to the inner places of her heart and bring healing and that is what he sovereignly did.

Joel 2:31 talks about the great and terrible day of the Lord. It will be great for those who call on the Lord's name but terrible for those who resist him.

The Lord's mercy and justice are two sides of the same coin and you can't have one without the other. For those who open their heart to the Lord, his magnificence is merciful and cleansing. For those who resist, his magnificence is very frightening and painful.

Rosaries

My Etsy shop is up and running! You can check it out here. I have full 5 decade Rosaries and Rosary bracelets. I even have essential oil diffuser Rosaries and bracelets using lava beads that absorb the oils! 

These are premium Rosaries using natural beads and flexible wire. They could make the perfect gift for Christmas, Confirmation, First Communion or Birthdays!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Would Jesus Eat with Harvey Weinstein?

I know I am a little late weighing in on this discussion. Instead of blogging, I've been focusing on my health. I took a LEAP test recently which is a blood test to find out what foods one might be sensitive to. I found out my body is highly sensitive to Cow's milk, sugar, buckwheat, cheddar, turkey, beef, coffee, most preservatives, and a host of other foods. I am working at cutting one food item our at a time in order to feel better and have more energy. I now understand why the Lord was telling me HE is my banquet. I am noticing however a difference after cutting out just a few of these items. I am also starting to be a connoisseur of hot tea. It's actually quite good!

Anyway, if you want to get inside my head, my title question is the type of stuff I think about. I don't really know for sure the answer. Even though Weinstein's actions were deplorable, it does seem like he has become a type of scapegoat. I say this even though I could easily say, "Me Too!" because I have also been the recipient of sexual harassment. Once, I even reported it at the job I was at and nothing was done about it. I remember the way it made me feel...completely belittled and ashamed. I remember not wanting to wear skirts anymore to work...but I digress.

To me, it is understandable why Jesus would have eaten and hung out with prostitutes; after all, they are hurting mainly themselves and often a victim. Jesus also hung out with tax collectors though, who were considered the ultimate scum at that time because they were also robbing and hurting other people. Even so, this doesn't seem as deplorable as someone like Weinstein or how about even a child molester!? 

You can see that having an encounter with Jesus caused the prostitutes and the tax collectors  to have a conversion of heart. Just look at Mary Magdalene and Zachhaeus. 

Are there some people however who are without hope for redemption? Are there sins that are just too deplorable to be forgiven?

I don't think so. As stated in Zachariah's beautiful prophecy in Luke 1:78 which we also call the Benedictus and is prayed by Catholic's through morning prayer, the mercy of God is bottomless! There isn't anyone or any sins that are so deplorable that God won't forgive if they turn to him.

Let's get back to the original question though..."Would Jesus eat with someone like Harvey Weinstein?" I think he would have if his Father put it on his heart to do so. You see, Jesus did what he saw the Father doing. I also know he didn't just eat and hang out with "safe" people. He hung out with people like Judas who even after hanging out with Jesus did not have a conversion of heart and ended up betraying Jesus.

When I first started following the Lord at the age of nineteen, I was filled with the Holy Spirit and my spiritual senses were heightened. I suddenly became very aware of what was in the hearts of those around me. I suddenly became aware of those involved in witchcraft, Satanism, pedophilia, etc... It was a little overwhelming at the time. I also think I misunderstood why the Lord was showing me these things. I thought he was just trying to warn me and keep me safe. The more I am becoming aware of the Lord's great mercy however, I am starting to realize these people are not beyond God's mercy or redemption. The Lord's love for them is no different than his love for me. If the Lord highlights these people to me, there is hope for them and instead of trying to stay away from such people, I am asking the Lord, what he loves about them and how I can reach them.

If you think about it, the ultimate justice would be for someone like that to turn to the Lord and have a conversion of heart and no longer want to hurt people anymore. Often, the victim is the one we focus on, understandably, but what if the people doing the victimizing could have a change of heart? All I'm saying is, Church, let's be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. He just may call us to reach out with the heart of Christ to someone we would have otherwise considered beyond hope and redemption. Look at the story of Jonah. Jonah didn't see that there was hope for the Ninevites or that they were worthy of redemption. However, in the end, he obeyed God, brought the word of the Lord to them and they repented.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Finally Getting Answers

Back when I was in college I remember experiencing debilitating fatigue and muscle weakness. I thought I was just being lazy.

After I had my second kid, it got worse. Again, I thought I was just being lazy. 


There were days I couldn't even pull myself off the couch. One day that was particularly awful, I heard the Lord tell me that I had a physical illness. He also showed me some other stuff which you can read about here.

That began the long road to getting answers.

I started going to doctors, which was difficult because I don't like to complain. Some thought I was crazy, some thought I was just depressed, and none were able to find anything wrong with me.

Finally after my 4th kid, about 9 years ago, I saw a Rheumatologist who did the right blood work and it showed I had some kind of connective tissue autoimmune condition but it was non specific. He said I also had Fibromyalgia.

At least I had some answers.

Several years later, that Rheumatologist retired and I started going to someone else. He did my blood work and found nothing.

Meanwhile, my symptoms have been getting worse. I now experience pain in most of my muscles and joints along with the debilitating fatigue. It is also strange, because it is not everyday. It can also vary from the morning to the evening and the days I have flare-ups, I also experience a low-grade fever.

Not knowing how I am going to feel from day to day or even hour to hour, has at times made me nervous to make plans. I never know how I am going to feel. I usually have to remind myself that God always gives me the grace when I need it.

Sometimes I catch myself worrying what people will think. I look healthy, so I wonder if people just think I am lazy or passive because I am not involved in more. I've really had to learn to not worry what people think. I know I need to pace myself and only do the things the Lord is leading me to do. That is the only way I will have the grace and strength I need.

I started going to a new doctor here in Indiana. I told her everything I was experiencing. She really listened, seemed to care and ordered a massive amount of blood work.

I'm finally getting answers!

It turns out, I have multiple conditions that could be causing my fatigue: Hypothyroidism, low iron, low vitamin D, and yes, an autoimmune, connective tissue disorder. She also ordered some more tests to see if we can find out a more specific connective tissue disorder.

I am very encouraged! Not because I am sick, but because I am finally getting answers to why I often feel the way I do and I can start doing things that will help me feel better.

I know the Lord's heart for me is to be whole and healthy. I know he wants me to  live life to the fullest. I also know for every year I've had to live with all this, he is going to give me a double portion of his Spirit. He is going to restore the years the locusts have eaten. I rejoice in him for who he is and what he is doing! He will have the final say!

At the same time, the lessons I have learned from all this has been invaluable! I have learned to be tenacious and to persevere. I have learned to cling to and be dependent on the Lord in all humility. I have also grown in an intimacy with him that I don't think I would have experienced any other way.

Recently the Lord brought back to my mind something I heard when I took my daughters horse back riding. Before we got on our horse, we had an instructor teaching us how to ride. She saw that many of us had tennis shoes on instead of cowboy boots. She said we would have to be extra careful because the benefits of cowboy boots was it had a heal. The groove of the heal could help you stay more securely in the stirrups.

The Lord has called me to ride with him. Where he is taking me, I am going to have to make sure my feet are securely in the stirrups. He might go fast. I believe the Lord showed me the following:  The crook of the heal keeping the boot in the stirrup on one side is faith joined with humility. On the other, it is love joined with prayer.

We are coming into some amazing times! We are going to see some amazing things! Many are going to be called to participate. In order to keep up, and not fall off the horse, we are going to need to be firmly grounded and rooted in Christ. Now is the time to prepare and get ready by surrendering to the Lord's transformative work. He knows what he is doing! 

Let us rejoice in the process that makes us feel weak but in actuality, makes us stronger!
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 - And he has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my grace is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Eye of the Storm

Whenever I intercede, I first ask the Lord how he is interceding regarding a situation. Jesus intercedes for us at the right hand of the Father (Romans 8:34). When Jesus was on earth, he also only did what he saw the Father doing (John 5:19). In the same way, I want to seek what he is doing and partner with him instead of getting in the way and praying the opposite of what he is doing. I also ask Jesus to show me where he is at in a given situation.

 As we see from the Gospel reading last Sunday in Matthew 16, Peter tried to stand in the way of what God was doing when he told Jesus he didn't need to die. Jesus told him, "Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do (Matthew 16:23)."


It is important to get in touch with God's heart and the mind of Christ.


I have been praying and seeking the Lord's wisdom regarding Hurricane Harvey, the wild fires in Montana and now Hurricane Irma. What the Lord showed me is he is not going to let the people affected, "hang out to dry". I looked up the meaning to that idiom and the first definition that came up was "not abandon to danger".


I also asked him to show me where he was at regarding these situations. 


With the fires, he is in the midst of the fire like he was with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in Daniel 3.


With the flooding in Houston, he is reaching out his hand, pulling people up. We even see this happening through other people because we are his hands and his feet. 


With Hurricane Irma, he is in the eye of the storm where there is peace and rest. Even if the storm passes over, refuge and protection can be found in the Lord. He can be found right in the center where there is a sense of calm.


Several years ago the Lord gave me an image of duct tape on a window along with an impression. What came to me is that some people put duct tape on their windows when a hurricane is coming. The duct tape doesn't prevent the window from breaking but it can keep the window from shattering. In the same way, God doesn't always promise that bad things won't happen and we won't become broken in the process but when we put our trust in him, he does prevent our lives from shattering and he is with us in the storm.



Romans 8:28 - All things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose.

Let us pray:


Heavenly Father, we thank you that you are a good and loving Father! Thank you that you are with us even in the midst of the storms of life and you will not abandon your people in times of danger! We pray for the people in Houston and surrounding areas, that you would continue to rescue anyone that is in need of rescuing and you would provide for all their immediate and long term needs. Help them to rebuild, with you as their sure foundation. We pray for the people affected by the fires...be with them, protect them and provide for them. We pray for the people in the path of Hurricane Irma. Help them to seek refuge under your shelter and protection. Give them a sense of peace and calm even in the midst of the storm. Help them to place their trust in your majesty and loving kindness!


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Arrows in the Lord's Quiver

Right now, some of you are experiencing the Lord drawing you to himself. You have been like an arrow hidden in the Lord's quiver as you respond to the call, "Come away with me, my Beloved!" You have been called to a place of intimacy. Like an arrow being drawn back in a bow, you are being drawn back into the heart of Jesus. You are called to stay there and drink from his life giving waters until the right moment when he releases you.

Like the scene from the movie, "Brave Heart", where the enemy is coming closer and closer, but Mel Gibson's character, William Wallace shouts, "HOLD!" as everyone draws back their arrows, you are being drawn back into the Lord. 

Because they waited before acting, they had a much bigger impact and gained victory when they finally released their arrows.

In the same way, if we draw back into the Lord's heart, getting in touch with his heartbeat, we will have a much greater effect and will be able to hit the mark or bulls-eye more effectively when the Lord finally let's go.

When finally released, the fiery arrows of God's love will consume all those they come in contact with!

Isaiah 49: 1- 7 -  Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother's womb he has spoken my name. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver. He said to me, "You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor."