Sunday, August 13, 2017

Bullying at it's Worst

One thing I have been talking a lot about lately is the importance of knowing our true identity. It is important that we know who we are in Christ and we walk in the knowledge of that. Especially in this day and age, it is so important for Christians to be confident in who they are, who they are becoming and what they are called to do lest you be pulled in every direction.

If you are on social media at all, it doesn't take long to encounter people trying to pit one group against another and bullying others into activism. Even fellow Christians are partaking in this form of bullying.

If you are not confident in who you are in Christ, you could easily succumb to either being a victim of this kind of judgmentalism or join in with this type of judging of others. Somehow, even if you are not a part of either group pitted against each other, it could make you feel guilty for even being human when you read such rants. If you join in the conversation, it can feel like entering a den of vipers.

I don't know if I blogged about this before but the Lord once asked me if I wanted to be a fly on the wall and see the schemes of the enemy. What he ended up showing me was rather horrifying but to sum it up, the three biggest schemes of the enemy that the Lord showed me was to distract, cause anger, and cause division.

Perhaps it is time to step back and engage again in real life. It's time to be present to the ones closest to us.

Mother Theresa said, "If you want to change the world, go home and love your families."

Often, this is the place to start.

There are times in our lives where the Lord might call us to activism. There are other times in our life when we might be called to retreat, be still and grow in our relationship with Christ. And, in both seasons in life, we are called to love our neighbor, those closest to us, and everyone we come in contact with. That is the place to start. We change the world, one person at a time.

When called to action, often times actions speak louder and is more effective than words. Please don't project your own convictions and calling on others by judging them and looking down on them if they are not doing what you think they ought to do. You could actually be having the opposite effect.

It is easy to spout off judgments on Facebook or other forms of social media but it could do more harm than good.  There is a reason Jesus said to take the plank out of our own eye before looking at the speck in someone else's. Maybe we should pause and think about how our words will effect others. Will what we say cause a greater divide and fuel anger or will it bring about unity and peace?

Often we can have a greater impact if we are willing to practically love those around us by making little daily sacrifices than pointing out the sins in everyone else. Especially, if we are pitting one group of people against another, we are not advancing the Kingdom of God. All we are doing is feeding into anger and division.

We need to be discerning. Don't take on the false yoke of others or be bullied into action if the Lord is not calling you to action. Also don't join the mob mentality and attack. It is better to take a step back and respond to God's grace in a situation rather than be reactionary. Often times it is also better to give people the benefit of the doubt instead of being quick to judge.

The body of Christ has many parts. One day, I am sure, we will see the powerful things that happened as a result of cloistered nuns praying with great faith! I think we will be amazed that someone could actually have such an impact when they never even had a smart phone, access to the internet and never left their convent.
James 1:19-20 - Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. for man's anger does not bring about the righteousness that God desires.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Let's Not Be Puffer Fish!

When Tom and I started and pastored a non-denominational church years ago, there was a young, single guy that joined us. When we came back to the Catholic Church, he followed, went through RCIA and became Catholic. 

He is currently in Thailand as a missionary, fighting human trafficking. He works with a Protestant organization but greatly desires to partner with Catholics. Unfortunately, he hasn't had much luck finding Catholic groups over there to partner with. The reason is because most of the Catholic groups in Thailand, working with human trafficking victims are more into social justice and they don't see the need to evangelize; they don't see that the people would be better off if they knew Jesus instead of believing in Buddha, or their Hindu god. It is good that they want to take care of their physical needs, protect their dignity and rescue them from trafficking, but unfortunate that they do not see that true freedom only comes from knowing Jesus and having a relationship with him.

I do not know what the reason for this is, perhaps fear; fear of rocking the boat and offending people. I want to give these Catholic groups the benefit of doubt and think they somewhat know Christ but I seriously question whether they know him intimately. 

Scripture talks about perfect love driving out all fear (1 John 4:8). Perfect love comes through knowing Christ intimately; not just knowing about him or having a superficial relationship where we hold back or hide some areas of our heart from the Lord.

We are called to give it all and open the door of every area of our heart to the Lord's sanctifying grace.

I believe St. Peter had a fear of intimacy with the Lord at first and that is what led to him denying Jesus three times during his passion as Peter succumbed to fear.

There are several things we see in scripture that would indicate that Peter may have had a fear of intimacy.

At the transfiguration, Peter tried to change the subject, suggesting they build tents, possibly because he wasn't willing to enter into the intimacy of the moment and fully receive what he was being shown (Matthew 17). 

When Jesus was preparing to wash the disciples feet, Peter didn't want Jesus to wash his feet (John 13).

When Jesus appeared on the shore after his Resurrection, Peter clothed himself before jumping in the water to see Jesus (John 21). Could this represent trying to hide his soul and not letting Jesus see all of him?

After Jesus' death and Resurrection and before his Ascension, Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him. By the third time, I think Peter finally got it, had an ah-ha moment and realized the Lord sees all things and nothing can be hidden from him. He then understood that what is most important is an intimate relationship with God and it is only out of this intimate relationship that we can perfectly love others.

Since Peter originally had a fear of intimacy and wouldn't let Jesus see everything about him and allow his perfect love to drive out all fear in his heart, he didn't have the fortitude to resist the temptation of denying Jesus when the pressure was on.

If we fail to have an intimate relationship with the Lord; hiding parts of our souls from him, we could actually do more harm than good. If we don't allow the Lord to love us perfectly, we will cave to fear when the pressure is intense; fear of man, fear of failure, fear of rejection, etc. This fear will make it nearly impossible to make ourselves vulnerable and love others. Instead we will try to defend ourselves and lash out at people.

That is what puffer fish do; when they become afraid and feel threatened, they puff up and can injure if you get too close.

As Catholics, we especially have an amazing opportunity through the Eucharist to enter into deeper intimacy with the Lord but we need to open our hearts to the graces that are available. 

The Church needs people who will radically abandon themselves and allow Christ to thoroughly love them. When we are willing to enter into an intimate relationship with Christ, allowing the fire of his love to penetrate our hearts, we will be compelled to go out and share this love with others; radically loving them into the Kingdom even if it means dying for our faith!

Monday, July 24, 2017

The View of Self that Does Not Lead to Pride

Especially as Catholics, many of us have been taught not to think too highly of ourselves or we will fall into pride. I myself have fallen into spiritual pride.

You see, when I first started following Jesus at the age of 19, I ran way ahead of him. A lot of what I was doing however ended up being in my own effort and strength. This led to spiritual pride.

The next 10 to 15 years, I went through the wringer of life which felt like tumbling around in a washing machine trying to catch my breath. Through these life circumstances however, the Lord taught me how to surrender, lean back in him, rest and just be; finding my worth in being a child of God and not worth in the things I was doing for him.

After a time of purification however, I was afraid of thinking too highly of myself, falling back into spiritual pride and going forward.

In my last blog post I talked about the importance of having the right perception; the right perception when it comes to other people and our circumstances.

It is also important that we have the right perception about our self.

Lately, the Lord has been impressing on me how important it is to know our true identity in him. It is also important that we know how the Lord sees us.

Our true identity can only be found in Christ but it is this identity that is imperative for us to know. When it is rooted in Christ, it doesn't lead to pride but is important to know if we are going to advance the Kingdom; do the things Christ has destined since the beginning for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10 - "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works that he has prepared in advance for us to do."
Now, I'm not talking about the Barney or Arthur mentality that was taught to our kids about just believing in yourself and we are all special and should all get trophies. This kind of mindset leads to self-absorption and egotism.

I'm talking about identity rooted in the truth of who we are in Christ and whom he is calling us to be. Scripture is full of examples of God calling people higher by revealing their true identity and calling. Take the examples of David, Gideon, Peter, Paul, and Philip to name a few.

Many of us go through life not really giving much thought about how the Lord views us or who we are. I wonder if that is what the scripture from Proverbs 29:18 is talking about when it says, "The people perish for lack of vision."

We just kind of wonder around aimlessly with no real purpose.

Did you know it is okay to ask the Lord questions?  I think he actually loves it when we ask him question!

Try asking him how he sees you. Ask him who you are in him. Ask him what he has destined for you.
If you ask him, I am confident that he will show you. Once he shows you, write it down, declare it, stand in confidence, and walk in that knowledge!

Also, it is only when we come into the knowledge of who we are in Christ that we will be able to see the majesty and goodness of who God really is.

1 Corinthians 13:12 -  "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I am fully known." 
Let me know what the Lord shows you. I would love to hear!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Perception is Everything!

What we focus on in life makes all the difference in the world! What we focus on can either invite God's blessing into a situation or hinder his blessing.

Do we look at a situation and see the majesty of God or adversity? Do we look at the world and see darkness or see opportunities for God's light to break through.

Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more (Romans 5:20).

Yesterday, I took my children to the pediatric dentist. My kids had been called back and I was sitting in the waiting room, waiting. A teenage girl walked in by herself. She had several facial piercings, a black shirt with curse words and vulgarities all over it, and an expression that said, "Leave me alone! I hate you and I hate life." Understandably, I think most of the mamas in that room were shielding their kid's eyes.

This girl ended up sitting near me. I felt the Lord's presence. I began praying for her. For a long time she would not look at me. Finally she looked at me and I was able to strike up a conversation with her. I smiled at her and said, "Interesting shirt." She replied, "Um, it's my friends." I said, "I bet your friend has had a hard life!"

I then got called back so I couldn't talk to her anymore but hopefully through those few words, I was able to show her the Lord's kindness and understanding.

Now, I could have looked at this girl as trouble, stayed away from her and kept to myself but I would have missed out on an opportunity and a "God" moment.

The right mindset doesn't just apply to people we come into contact with in life, but even difficult situations we find ourselves in.

A few years ago we went on a retreat as a family. The retreat grounds were beautiful! At first my kids were enjoying the beauty of  nature all around us but then started noticing the bugs and started complaining. I told them not to focus on the bugs but God's beautiful creation. In that moment, God spoke to me that I have a tendency to do the same thing. I can often focus on the negative and fail to see what God is doing in a certain situation and see the opportunities that are available.

Also take a lady bug for example. Some people will see the lady bug and see a pesky bug. The lady bug is a also called a lady bird. Some people will see this creature as something beautiful.

Recently, the Lord gave me a word for a friend but I do not think it was just for this person but for anyone who is trying to follow Christ. The word was:

"You have heard it said, 'When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.' but I say 'When life gives you lemons, don't see the lemons as adversity, but see them as opportunity. Opportunity to encounter an aspect of my nature that you wouldn't otherwise have been able to discover."

The majesty of God is bigger than any situation or circumstance we find our self in! As we allow ourselves to be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2), we can find rest for our weary souls in his sovereign majesty!


Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Prayer That Makes ALL the Difference!

Well, I made it through last week! Last week was VBS (Vacation Bible School) at our church. I was asked to lead the craft area. I said "yes" even though I wasn't sure what all it entailed and I was nervous because my mornings are usually rough. Especially after having the flu a couple months ago sent me into a flare-up with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and bursitis in all my joints. The Lord was faithful however and like always gave me the grace and strength I needed. Sometimes I forget that he will do that but he always does!

On a different note, I want to talk about intercessory prayer; what it is and what it is not. It seems there is a great need for prayer. Social media especially is providing a means for people to make known their desperate prayer requests. Intercessory prayer is a great way to grow in empathy for one another and help carry one another's burdens.

When interceding for our self and others however, it is important to have a correct view of God and proper mindset. How do we see God? Do we see him as a loving Father who has our best interest at heart or do we see him as a distant god, withholding his grace and gifts unless we jump through certain hoops?

We do not need to beg him to act! His mercy and gifts are abundant!

Scripture talks about Jesus interceding for us before the throne of the Father (Romans 8:34). That tells me his heart is for us and he has our best interest at heart. In light of this, I have been asking the Lord to show me how he is praying for me and for others.  Once I receive a revelation of this, I partner with him and pray in agreement. It's amazing how quickly prayers are answered when praying this way!

Lately, I've been praying for a little boy from my daughter's first grade class. He recently had a brain aneurysm.  I've been asking Jesus how he is praying for him. Two things have come to my mind. One was that a heavenly blanket of healing, love and protection would cover the boy. The other thing I saw was a cactus that has water in the center and praying that the family would discover the Living water and sweetness of God's Spirit that can be found even in the midst of suffering. Well, the grandmother keeps reporting updates with how God is blanketing this boy with his love and protection and how God is healing him. She is also reporting the many consolations she is receiving and ways she is seeing God move in this situation. Pretty cool!!!

Now, getting in touch with Jesus' prayers for us and partnering with him is different than praying, "Lord, if it be your will, please grant my request." That type of prayer is praying out of hope instead of praying with faith. We are called to pray with expectant faith! What father would give his son a stone when he asks for a fish (Luke 11:11)? 

One example that comes to my mind of someone using expectant faith is the Loboda's story. Their toddler daughter, Joy drowned in a pool and wasn't responsive when her father found her. He immediately started praying for her with the gift of faith. I believe he was in touch with God's heart. In one interview, he even talks about an experience he had: In the ambulance he found himself before the throne of God. He was bold and told God, "Yes, she is yours but she is also mine and it is not her time!!!" She ended up being miraculously healed!

That took boldness and courage! God likes it when we feel free enough to approach his throne of grace with all confidence, trusting in his mercy and goodness and our relationship with him (Hebrews 4:16)!

The Church also gives us many tools to use for prayer. When used properly, these tools are powerful. Two powerful tools are the Rosary and Divine Mercy chaplet. The proper way to use these tools is to enter into the life of Christ, recognizing the Holy Spirit within us and pray with Him; getting in touch with His heartbeat. An improper way to use these tools is to view God as distant, praying toward him and striving to say as many prayers as we can so he will possibly hear and answer us.

Do you see the difference? When interceding properly, our relationship with Christ is also deepened. Then intercession isn't just intercession. It becomes a devotion and way to gain a better understanding of God's heart and way to grow in our love toward him and one another. What a wonderful gift that we are able to partner with the Living God!

Now, if you haven't always viewed God correctly or prayed the right way, don't beat yourself up! We are on a journey. We are learning! God makes up for where we are lacking and he can redeem anything! He still performs the miraculous in spite of our lack of faith and let's face it, sometimes things just don't turn out the way we think it should. God's ways are higher! What is important is what we do with the knowledge we have now and how we move forward from here on out!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

All Hands on Deck!

"It is coming! It is coming! It is coming! A great harvest of souls is coming! Now is the time to get ready!"
That was a very intense and powerful word the Lord gave me through an angel a few years ago.

It was coming back to me this morning as I was praying, along with a few other things I am supposed to share.

I can be shy about sharing prophetic words the Lord gives me but He gave me 1 Tim. 4:14 this morning, about not neglecting the gift within. So, out obedience I will share:

As storms pick up in the world, worldly people who don't know the Lord are going to be looking to Christians for answers. 

We have a choice to make as God's people.  We can coward and go back to our old ways of thinking and doing things or we can stand, walk in the knowledge of who we are in Christ and share with people the hope that lies within us.

Perhaps you have been discouraged, wondering if God is going to use you.  You see others doing and stepping out in the things you have always desired to do. Believe me, he is going to need all hands on deck! This could be your finest hour and you were made for such a time as this!

If you have been spending time resting in the Lord, growing in Him and allowing him to do a work in you, the time has not been in vain! If you have neglected this, it is not too late! Ask the Lord to multiply and make up for lost time!

Like a caterpillar in a chrysalis, you may be dormant now but He is saving the best wine for last! You are about to be released as a beautiful butterfly, full of His glory!

Did you know there is such thing as an arctic butterfly. These butterflies can endure and survive through extreme temperatures and circumstances. These are the kind of butterflies the Lord has been creating in us. No act of suffering and difficulty, joined to the heart of Christ has gone unseen or has been wasted!

He is especially going to need those who know his heartbeat through entering his rest. Those who know they are beloved by no merit of their own but because of God's goodness, love and His mercy! The joy that comes with knowing the Father's love and mercy will be contagious and will be a magnet for those who don't yet believe!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Revert's Perspective

It is no secret that my husband has struggled with deep regret over us leaving the Catholic Church and being away for 10 years. He has since worked through it and has forgiven himself, especially now that the Lord has restored him and he is doing what he is passionate and gifted in. I on the other hand have not dealt with the same regret. I can honestly see how the Lord used our time away and coming back to give us a deeper appreciation for what we had. The Lord can work good out of anything! Also, sometimes, you have to go to the other side to realize the grass isn't always greener. 

I hope I don't offend my Protestant friends. I did gain some valuable friendships during the time we were in a non-denominational church. There were also some things I really appreciated. I appreciated the often passionate worship, sense of community and the openness to hearing God speak. 
 Also, I often enjoyed bridging the gap and dispelling myths Protestants have toward Catholics.

My list however for what I appreciate now that we are back is longer. I share this with you because there are many Cradle Catholics who don't realize what they have and is why converts often make the best Catholics.


I appreciate that when we go to Mass, the focus is not on socializing, but on prayer and preparing ourselves to encounter the Living God!


I love and appreciate the Mystery that is there!

I appreciate the sense of the Sacred and the visible signs that point to the invisible. 


I appreciate the beauty, the statues, the incense... These things magnify God and they draw my attention upward, helping to open my heart to the things of Heaven.


I appreciate that Catholic worship isn't just about the music. There are many ways to worship God. The highest form of worship for Catholics is the sacrifice of Mass.

I have a deeper appreciation for the Eucharist and the depth of intimacy that is available through receiving Jesus in the Eucharist. The Eucharist also helps me have a deeper awareness of the habitation of God within me at all times.


I appreciate, that surprisingly, I am more accepted now with the ways I hear from God than I was when we were in a church that is supposed to accept those things. I guess that shouldn't surprise me. Many of the Catholic Saints had dreams, visions, prophetic words, etc. 


I appreciate that Catholics recognize the Communion of Saints. There are some Saints that I feel very close to and that's not considered weird. I know they are praying for me and helping me draw closer to God.

I appreciate the authority of the Church. I appreciate that, when it comes to doctrine and moral issues, it's not just left up to my own interpretation of scripture, especially because there are many modern issues that aren't even addressed specifically in scripture. 

I appreciate that there are boundaries and a correct understanding of grace; A cheapened form of grace goes around the cross instead of through it. It makes allowance for every kind of sin instead of offering people redemption and freedom. 

I appreciate the safety and protection that comes with the covering of the Catholic Church. I never experienced so much spiritual warfare as I did when we were Protestant. 

I appreciate that I no longer have to defend certain doctrines and morality. The Church does that for me so I can just focus on loving people.

Just like natural seasons, I appreciate the liturgical seasons. There is always something to look forward to. There is a rhythm but it is never the same.

I appreciate that before Christmas and Easter, we recognize the season of Advent and Lent as a time to prepare our hearts.

I have a deeper appreciation for Mary. Catholics do not worship her like some Protestants suspect but in honoring her and recognizing her beauty, I think Catholics have a better appreciation and respect for women, their role and their femininity.

Now I do recognize, sadly that much of the Catholic Church got away from Orthodox Catholicism in the 70's. Like St. Pope John Paul II predicted however, we are coming into a new spring time in the Church. The Church even looks different than it did twenty years ago. I guess, people are realizing that throwing out the baby with the bathwater wasn't such a good idea. The Holy Spirit is definitely at work! There is a new desire and longing, especially among young people for the Sacred, Holiness, and Truth. 

As I am writing this and reflecting on the things I love about being Catholic, I feel a deep anticipation especially for Mass in a couple weeks.  

This year, Sunday, June 4th is the feast of Pentecost. Pentecost is the day the Church was born. Tom and I were here, in Indiana last Pentecost for his interview. We got to attend Mass at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel last Pentecost. It was definitely recognized as a high feast day! They had lots of incense, chanting, and beautiful music! It was very beautiful and you definitely could feel the presence of the Lord!

I also am very hopeful for the future of the Catholic Church and anticipate what the Holy Spirit still has in store!


Matthew 16:18 - ...And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it!

*I had to edit because I originally thought this Sunday was Pentecost Sunday because last year it was the middle of May :).