Why Are You Afraid – Mark 4:35-41

Daily Reading & Meditation

Saturday (January 31): “Why are you afraid?”
Scripture: Mark 4:35-41

35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great storm of wind arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care if we perish?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” 41 And they were filled with awe, and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?”

Meditation: How can we fight fear with faith? Jesus’ sleeping presence on the storm-tossed sea reveals the sleeping faith of his disciples. They feared for their lives even though their Lord and Master was with them in the boat. They were asleep to Christ while he was present to them in their hour of need. The Lord is ever present to us. And in our time of testing he asks the same question: Why are you afraid? Have you no faith? Do you recognize the Lord’s presence with you, especially when you meet the storms of adversity, sorrow, and temptation? Whenever we encounter trouble, the Lord is there with the same reassuring message: “It is I, do not be afraid.”

What are the characteristics of faith and how can we grow in it? Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to us. Believing is only possible by grace and the help of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and who opens the eyes of the mind to understand and accept the truth which God has revealed to us. Faith enables us to relate to God rightly and confidently, with trust and reliance, by believing and adhering to his word, because he is utterly reliable and trustworthy. If we want to live, grow, and persevere in faith, then it must be nourished with the word of God.
Fear does not need to cripple us from taking right action or rob us of our trust and reliance on God. Courage working with faith enables us to embrace God’s word of truth and love with confidence and to act on it with firm hope in God’s promises. The love of God strengthens us in our faith and trust in him and enables us to act with justice and kindness towards our neighbor even in the face of opposition or harm. Do you allow the love of Christ to rule in your heart and mind, and to move your will to choose what is good in accordance with his will?

“Lord Jesus, increase my faith in your redeeming love and power that I may always recognize your abiding presence with me. And give me courage to do your will in all circumstances.”

Psalm 51:12-17

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth your praise.
16 For you have no delight in sacrifice; were I to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
17 The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Daily Quote from the early church fathers: Awakening the Christ asleep within you, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
“When you have to listen to abuse, that means you are being buffeted by the wind. When your anger is roused, you are being tossed by the waves. So when the winds blow and the waves mount high, the boat is in danger, your heart is imperiled, your heart is taking a battering. On hearing yourself insulted, you long to retaliate; but the joy of revenge brings with it another kind of misfortune – shipwreck. Why is this? Because Christ is asleep in you. What do I mean? I mean you have forgotten his presence. Rouse him, then; remember him, let him keep watch within you, pay heed to him… A temptation arises: it is the wind. It disturbs you: it is the surging of the sea. This is the moment to awaken Christ and let him remind you of those words: ‘Who can this be? Even the winds and the sea obey him.” (excerpt from Sermons 63:1-3)

copyright & source: www.dailyscripture.net
author Don Schwager © 2014 Servants of the Word
Scripture quotations from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Citation references for quotes from the writings of the early church fathers.

 

You Need Endurance to do the Will of God

St. Paul,  says “For you have need of endurance, so that you may do the will of God and receive what is promised” (Hebrews 10:32).

Doing God’s Will is absolutely necessary for us to get to Heaven.   This can be difficult at times because so often we wonder, what is God’s will for us.  There are four basic things that will tell us what God’s will is for each of us.  These four things would be:

 First and foremost it is to follow His commandments.

1. I, the Lord, am your God. You shall not have other gods besides me.

2. You shall not take the name of the Lord God in vain

3. Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day
4. Honor your father and your mother
5. You shall not kill
6. You shall not commit adultery
7. You shall not steal
8. You shall not bear false witness
9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods

Second, we are to do Works of Mercy.

 Jesus said, “And you shall love the Lord, your God with all your heart, and with all your soul strength  The second is this:, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no other commandment greater than these”(Mark 12:31).

So what are works of Mercy:

The Corporal Works of Mercy

Feed the hungry
Give drink to the thirsty
Clothe the naked
Shelter the homeless
Visit the sick
Visit the imprisoned
Bury the dead

The Spiritual Works of Mercy

Admonish the sinner
Instruct the ignorant (This and the next work are extremely pertinent categories today, when so many people are confused by what the Church teaches on contraception, abortion, homosexuality, etc.)
Counsel the doubtful
Comfort the sorrowful
Bear wrongs patiently
Forgive all injuries
Pray for the living and the dead

The Third way of doing God’s will is living out your vocation:

This means fulfilling the duties associated with your vocation.  If you are a wife or husband then you must perform the duties associated with that.  For Instance, As a wife and mother my priorities would be that of taking care of the household.  As Mother Angelica once said, if you run off to every prayer group or church event and ignore your responsibilities at home, then you are NOT in God’s will.  Taking care of your family is first priority.  The Husbands priorities are the same.  Family first.  If you are a religious or a Priest then your primary duties of that office come first.

Often times you see people get involved with a lot of charitable works because they see them as “good”.  But if God isn’t calling you to do that then its not good.  You will not be getting any graces for doing something that God isn’t asking you to do, no matter how good of a thing it is.

We  can be deceived.  As Matthew 7:21-23 says “Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord” shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven.  On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?  And then will I declare to them “I never knew you; depart from me you evildoers”.

We can’t drift through life day by day and be lukewarm about our obligations.  This is what he  says about being lukewarm:  ” I know your works:  you are neither cold nor hot.  Would that you were cold or hot!  So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.  For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelations 3:15-17).

God did not make us wimpy, frail human beings. He gave us a spirit of strength and courage. As Timothy 1:7 says, “a spirit of power and love and self-control”.

Life Circumstances:

St. Paul says, We need to rise up and gird our loins and fight the good fight.   The circumstances in our lives would be the fourth way in which we need to obey and accept God’s plan for our lives.  Things happen every day.  It is really these circumstances which would be considered “our crosses”.  We must see the hand of God in all things.  It is either his Divine Will or Permissive Will.

I will quote the following from various Saints along with the Blessed Mother on “our crosses”.

  • “The core of the evangelical message is to trust God by accepting every circumstance of life as being providential. Everything in every particular has been arranged for you by the Providence of God”.
  • In the mystery of God’s love the moment of catastrophe is, in truth, the moment of liberation”.
  • Give way to one another out of reverence for Christ. True Love means living within the will of another, even at the cost of sacrifice.  Seek the lowest place, accept less over more, study to do the will of another and pray God’s will be done.  Do not remain with those who take away your peace.
  • The greatest gift, I (Jesus) can bestow on my chosen ones on earth; his own cross made up of the loss of one’s possessions, humiliations, contempt, sufferings, illnesses and spiritual trials; periods of days or months enduring slander, or suffering from temptations, dryness, desolation, and other interior trials; harsh and bitter circumstances brought about by relatives and friends; hidden trials I shall inflict on him with no comfort from other people; for they also will turn away from him and make him suffer (excerpts from Friends of the Cross by St. Louis de Montfort)
  • What is our cross?  All that goes against self.  All that it costs to reduce self , to act on principle, to submit to authority, to accommodate ourselves to others; to be faithful to irksome duties; to struggle against self indulgence; to be energetic in attention to our weak points; to bear up against failure and the monotony of daily routine; to be resigned when all seems to go wrong.  Whatever goes counter to our liking, in our circumstances, our health, our companions, the way things are done, the way things turn out – all this is our cross.

“I lead you in grace by the inspirations of your heart.  If there is any doubt there is no doubt and you cannot act.  Anxiety is a sure sign that something is amiss in the way you are living.  Pray and then be guided by your soul’s simple inclination.  Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit.  Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever for nothing can do you more harm.”

Whatever you do on the outside must have equal meaning in your heart.  Be true to yourself and Me.  If you follow My Will always, you will not care what others think.  Once you are united to My will, I will give you a peace that nothing will disturb you.  This peace is freedom from fear and worry because it is faith in Me that all will work out for your best interest.  Giving your will to Me is the answer to all your problems.  I will never test you beyond your endurance.  Follow the little way of the child who accepts all and trusts completely in his Father.

You will know what to do by the Peace in your heart.  When the Holy Spirit brings forth the graces of your conversion, He also sheds light on the truth.  In your hearts, you know what the truth is.  If you act on the truth, you feel the great Peace by my Son, Jesus.  If you don’t act on the truth, your spirit remains unsettled.  By this you will know what to do. (Blessed Virgin Mary).

“Be not afraid, just have faith….seek first the kingdom of God and everything else will be given to you”.  Jesus I trust in You.

Authentic Italian Pizza

My Husband, who is Italian, has been asking me to find a real Italian Pizza Crust recipe, and I found it.  Made it twice and it bakes up thin and crispy just the way he likes it.

Authentic Italian Pizza
Authentic Italian Pizza

The trick is in the flour.  European flour is totally different than what we have in the United States.  So I ordered it from Amazon….Caputo 00 flour.

Makes dough for 4 pizzas, each one about 12 inches in diameter.

  • 600 ml of warm water (approx 2 1/2 cups)
  • 7 cups (1 kg) flour, type 00
  • 25 grams yeast (approx. 2.25 teaspoons)
  • 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tsp sugar

*A note on the flour:  In italy, “00” or doppio zero, flour is the most highly-refined and finest ground flour available.  If not available where you are, an all purpose flour should work just as well.

  • Sprinkle the yeast into a medium bowl with the warm water.  We don’t mean hot, and we don’t mean cold…we mean warm.  thats the kind the yeast likes best.  Stir until the yeast dissolves.
  • Place almost all of the flour on the table in the shape of a volcano (you can do this in a bowl as well).
  • Pour the yeast and warm water mix, along with the other ingredients, into the crater of the flour
  • Knead everything together for 10 to 15 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic, keeping your surface floured.
  • Grease up a bowl with some olive oil and put the dough inside.  Turn the dough around so the top is slightly oiled.
  • Cover the bowl and put the dough aside to let it rest for at least 4-5 hours.  (I let mine sit for 24 hours).
  • For those who want their pizza really authentic, make a cross on top of the dough with a knife.  An old italian tradition, this is seen as a way of “blessing” the bread.
  • Preheat the oven to about 400 degrees or about 200 cel
  • Dump the dough out of the bowl and back onto the floured surface.  Punch it down, getting rid of any bubbles.
  • Divide the dough in half and let it rest for a few minutes
  • Roll each section into a 12 inch disc.  Now is your chance to decide how thick you want to roll it out, thin or thick.
  • transfer the dough onto an oiled pizza pan or baking sheet  (I put ours on a pizza stone).  However, you must heat the pizza stone for at least 1/2 hour prior to putting the dough on it.
  • Add your tomato sauce and brush the edges of the crust with a little bit of olive oil.
  • add your pepperoni and spices
  • Bake pizza for about 10-15 minutes, then add mozzarella cheese on top, as well as any onions or peppers
  • let the pizza bake until the crust is browned and the cheese is melted.
  • Remove from oven and garnish with a few basil leaves for a real italian touch.
  • enjoy

I found this recipe at walksofitaly.com

 

Lemon Juice benefits for the body and home

lemons
lemons

I started researching lemon Juice because I knew it was extremely high in vitamin C.  and I heard that it was good for digestive issues.   It helped me with my digestive problems but also as a bonus, I no longer had problems with bloating.  The lemon juice acts like a natural diuretic .   I was retaining lots of water but that problem is no longer an issue.  So, I thought if you are having similar problems you may want to try it yourself.

I usually drink a glass of warm water with organic lemon juice first thing in the morning, before I eat anything.

When I was researching the benefits of lemon Juice I came across lots of uses for the lemon.  Medicinal, digestive, and cleaning uses to name a few.

According to WebMD:  Lemon is a plant. The fruit, juice, and peel are used to make medicine.

Lemon is used to treat scurvy, a condition caused by not having enough vitamin C. Lemon is also used for the common cold and flu, H1N1 (swine) flu, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), Meniere’s disease, and kidney stones. It is also used to aid digestion, reduce pain and swelling (inflammation), improve the function of blood vessels, and increase urination to reduce fluid retention.

In foods, lemon is used as a food and flavoring ingredient.

How does it work?
Lemon contains antioxidants called bioflavonoids. Researchers think these bioflavonoids are responsible for the health benefits of lemon. 

3. Prevent Cauliflower From Turning Brown
Cauliflower tend to turn brown with even the slightest cooking. You can make sure the white vegetables stay white by squeezing a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice on them before heating.

4. Mental Health
Lemon water can also prep up your mood and relieve you from depression and stress. Long distance walkers and world travelers as well as explorers look upon the lemon as a Godsend. When fatigue begins, a lemon is sucked through a hole in the top. Quick acting medicine it is, giving almost unbelievable refreshments.

5. Refresh Cutting Boards
No wonder your kitchen cutting board smells! After all, you use it to chop onions, crush garlic, and prepare fish. To get rid of the smell and help sanitize the cutting board, rub it all over with the cut side of half a lemon or wash it in undiluted juice straight from the bottle.

6. Respiratory Problems
Lemon water can reduce phlegm; and can also help you breathe properly and aids a person suffering with asthma.

7. Treating Arthritis and Rheumatism
Lemon is a diuretic – assists in the production of urine which helps you to reduce inflammation by flushing out toxins and bacteria while also giving you relief from arthritis and rheumatism.

8. Prevents Kidney Stones
Regular consumption of the refreshing drink — or even lemon juice mixed with water — may increase the production of urinary citrate, a chemical in the urine that prevents the formation of crystals that may build up into kidney stones.

9. Keep Insects Out of the Kitchen
You don’t need insecticides or ant traps to ant-proof your kitchen. Just give it the lemon treatment. First squirt some lemon juice on door thresholds and windowsills. Then squeeze lemon juice into any holes or cracks where the ants are getting in. Finally, scatter small slices of lemon peel around the outdoor entrance. The ants will get the message that they aren’t welcome. Lemons are also effective against roaches and fleas: Simply mix the juice of 4 lemons (along with the rinds) with 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water and wash your floors with it; then watch the fleas and roaches flee. They hate the smell.

Read More: http://www.trueactivist.com/45-uses-for-lemons-that-will-blow-your-socks-off/

Internal Bleeding: Lemon has antiseptic and coagulant properties, so it can stop internal bleeding. You can apply lemon juice to a small cotton ball and place it inside your nose to stop nose bleeds.

Weight Loss: If a person drinks lemon juice mixed with lukewarm water and honey, it can help reduce body weight. Read more

Respiratory Disorders: Lemon juice assists in relieving respiratory problems and breathing problems, such as its ability to soothe a person suffering from an asthma attack. Lemon, as a rich rich source of vitamin C, helps in dealing with more long-term respiratory disorders.

Cholera: Diseases like cholera and malaria can be treated with lemon juice, because it acts as a blood purifier.

Foot Relaxation: Lemon is an aromatic and antiseptic agent and is useful in foot relaxation. Add some lemon juice to warm water and dip your feet in the mixture for instant relief and muscle relaxation.

Rheumatism: Lemon is also a diuretic and can treat rheumatism and arthritis. It helps to flush out bacteria and toxins from the body.

Corns: Lemon juice can dissolve lumps on the skin, so it can be applied at the places where the skin has hardened up, like the soles of feet and the palms of your hands. Drinking lemon juice with water can help patients reduce gall stones for the same reasons.

Throat Infections: Lemon is an excellent fruit that fights against problems related to throat infections, due to its well-known antibacterial properties.

High Blood Pressure: Drinking lemon juice is helpful for people suffering from heart problems, because it contains potassium. It controls high blood pressure, dizziness, and nausea, because it provides a calming sensation to both the mind and body. It is commonly employed to reduce mental stress and depression.

Lemon: Lemon has proved to be nature’s boon to everyone who uses it. It provides many valuable solutions to health-related problems, because it contains its own set of antiseptic and natural medications. In case of malaria, lemon will not cure it, but aids in the treatment. A good practice is to eat anywhere from a quarter to a half of a lemon per day to get the maximum benefits from this powerful little fruit!

References: American Urological Association and Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases

More Here
 

The Miraculous Icon

Thousands of favors, blessings, gifts and graces and 97 incredible alleged miracles were attributed to this Sacred Icon in 13 years.

Our Lady Mediatrix of All Graces- A Doctrine of the Catholic Church

Our Lady Mediatrix of All Graces
Our Lady Mediatrix of All Graces

 

To Receive Healings, Miracles, Many Graces:

1.  Pray a very sorrowful, very sincere, heartfelt “Act of Perfect Contrition” -this will give us the correct disposition to pray.  The best way to present your petitions is with less sin on your soul.

2.  Pray the 3 “All Healing Prayers” slowly and wholeheartedly!  Perseveringly and Vocally to hear and to emphasize your prayers!.  By praying this way, you are praying as perfectly as you can, praying the way Jesus taught us.

3.  Pray the following Mary Mediatrix, proven “All Healing Prayers”.  When you pray, hold out your right hand to Mary’s hand, in the Miraculous Icon and she will spiritually hold your hand in prayer.  By praying this way, you are praying most lovingly, most reverently, most humbly with deep faith, deep trust, like a small child, tenderly holding our Dearest, Most Loving Mother’s comforting hand!

 

The Three Prayers:

1.  Pray a sincere, heartfelt “Act of Perfect Contrition”

Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended thee, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven, and the pains of Hell, but most of all because they offend thee, my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love!  I firmly resolve, with the help of thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, to amend my life, to try to sin no more, and to avoid the near occasions of sin.  Amen

2.  Pray Act of Consecration to Jesus and Mary Mediatrix”

O Most Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of God, Mother and Protectress of All Peoples!  I (say your name) most unworthy though I am to be your (son or daughter), yet so moved by your maternal mediation, and motherly care for me, and longing to serve you, do, in the presence of all in heaven, choose you this day to be my Advocate, my Mediatrix, and my Mother!  I firmly resolve to follow your way to Jesus, to keep my baptismal promises, to renounce Satan and all his works, and to do all I can, that I may render faithful service to Jesus, through you!

Dearest Mother!  Mediatrix and Dispenser of All Graces.  For the saake of the Most Precious Blood of your Divine Son, shed at Calvary for me, I beg you, I beseech you, with all my heart, to receie me as your (daughter or son)!  Aid me in my every action!  Beg for me he grace never, by thought or word or deed to b)e displeasing in your sight.  Keep your beautiful, loving eyes continually fixed on me, always watching over me, from your throne in heaven!  Pray for me, each day, Dearest Mother!  And hold me close in your most loving arms, at the hour of my death.  Amen

image3.  Pray “Pray the most powerful Petition Prayer”

O Most Powerful “Mediatrix of All Graces”…” despise not my petitions!  Keep your penetrating, merciful eyes continually fixed on me – always watching over me!  Direct that cascading stream of Jesus’ blessings to me from your throne in Heaven!  O Purest, Most Loving Virgin, Glorious Mother of God, intercede and mediate, on my behalf!  Save me from every danger, spiritual and physical!  I fly to your patronage Holy Mother of God, Dispenser of All Graces, my salvation is in your hands.

(here passionately present your petition directly to Mary, the Mother of God, who is now present before you)

Dearest Mother, I beg you!  I beseech you with all my heart!  Mediate for Me!  Mercifully obtain, Mercifully fulfill my urgent petitions!

O Lord, Jesus Christ, graciously grant that I quickly obtan the petitions I ask of Thee, through Our Mother’s Mediation; and rejoice in receiving them undiminished through her.  Amen.

Now kiss Jesus’ and Mary’s “Kissing lips” on the Miraculous Icon” in thanksgiving for their soon granting your petitions!

pope John Paul II Blessing the Icon
pope John Paul II Blessing the Icon

 for more information:

Email:  info@marysway.net

phone: 1-732-892-7400

www.marysway.net

Mary’s Way, P.O. Box 33, Point Pleasaant, NJ  08742 USA

Atheist Pilot Found God when he ran out of Fuel

Atheist pilot mocked God, until he ran out of fuel in a snowstorm — Raised in the secular Seventies, completely un-churched, he had no room for God until he ran out of fuel in an Alaskan storm, miles from his destination.

“I was a God mocker,” says Mark Rose, founder of Genesis Alive, and the author of Last of the Long Hunters, a story of the pilots who fly the Alaskan Arctic.

Rose learned to fly at 16, and by age 22 had become a bush pilot who helped to take care of a fleet of helicopters that worked on the Alaska pipeline. “My ego meter was on 101,” he admits.

One day he flew some hunters to the upper part of a large river on the Arctic. But on his return flight, carrying one passenger, several things went wrong. First, herds of caribou had moved in, covering his first and second choices for a landing spot. Then he began to run low on fuel, so he called ahead for a weather check at the small airport near Kotzebue, on the Baldwin Peninsula.

“Come on in, the weather’s fine,” the FAA flight service operator told him.

He decided to take the chance his fuel would hold out, but then weather conditions changed dramatically. “I ran into a snowstorm at night, and I couldn’t see the terrain, so I had to follow the gray ribbon of river below.” In the days before satellite weather imaging, the man had given him bad advice.
“All my options were evaporating as fast as I could fly.”

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The Lord will fight for you!

Ok, I will try again here.  My apologies to all those who received the draft, which wasn’t suppose to go out.

This is supposed to be a post which will provide instruction on how to cope and deal with any adversity you may be facing…whether it is an illness, tragic accident, loss of work, financial situations, trials in relationships, etc.

We all have them and we all know of someone who is currently going through some trial, big and small.

“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be still” (Exodus 14:14).

This means before you become overly anxious about your situation you need to STOP and be still.  All anxiety is from the devil and that will only make your situation feel worse than it is.   He will try to instill fear within you and begin putting fearful thoughts into your mind and heart.  This is not from God.

There are many reasons why we all must suffer to some degree.  God knows exactly what we can handle and He knows the solution to each and every problem that we encounter in our lives.  I don’t want to get into all of that here, but let me just say this:  If we want to come out of it with a blessing, we all need to go to God.  God is the only one who can open doors and close doors.

Therefore, the second thing that we all must do when we are faced with a crisis, is to go to God with a repentant heart and confess our sins.    This opens the door to God and shuts the door on satan.  When we are in grave sin we have gravitated into satans territory where he now has power over us.  We have totally tied Gods hands and we are no longer under His Divine Protection.

Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear…”Isaiah 59:1-2)

Do not invite death by the error of  your life, nor bring on destruction by the works of your hands; because God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living.  For he created all things that they might exist and the creatures of the world are wholesome, and there is no destructive poison in them; and the domain of Hades is not on earth.  For righteousness is immortal. (Wisdom 1:12-15).

Third, we need to shut out all the noise in our lives.  Turn off the TV, radio, and anything else that is keeping us from hearing God.  He speaks in the silence of our Hearts.  “In quietness and in trust shall be your strength” Isaiah 30-15.

The Lord says, ““Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). It is in this silence that we will experience God and get to know God.  We will begin to Trust and have Faith in the God that we now experience first hand.  We will know when we feel the warmth of His presence upon us  because a deep peace will fill us and we will experience Joy.  A joy that satan cannot counterfeit.  He can counterfeit many things, including giving you a false peace, but never joy.

“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your father who is in secret; and your father who sees in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:6)

It is in the silence where we will be able to discern what the Holy Spirit is saying to us.  He will give us direction and show us the way.  “For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear Not”, I will help you” (Isaiah 41:13)

Fourth, surrender the entire situation and all people concerned to Jesus.  Give him everything and say as He did in the Garden of Gethsemane “Father, if you are willing, remove this chalice from me; nevertheless not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 39:42).

It is in this surrender that beautiful things begin to happen.   Trust, faith and hope  will begin to increase and the negative and harmful thoughts from satan will have to go.    Peace overshadows you and nothing can disturb you anymore.  You will see clearly and hear clearly.  You will know what to do.  You will believe that all things are possible with God and you will believe that He loves you and wants nothing but the best for you.  You will begin to understand why this is happening and what God is doing.

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes “(Jeremiah 29:11-14)

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11)

Words of Wisdom:  Set your heart right and be steadfast, incline your ear, and receive words of understanding, and do not be hasty in time of calamity.  Await God’s patience, cling to him and do not depart, that you may be wise in all your ways.  Accept whatever is brought upon you, and endure it in sorrow; in changes that humble you be patient.  For gold and silver are tested in the fire and acceptable men in the furnace of humiliation.  Trust in God, and he will help you; hope in him, and he will make your ways straight.  Stay in fear of him, and grow old in him (Sirach 2:2-6)

I will close with the following words from Jesus in  “Whispers of the Cross”.

“My beloved one, if you are suffering, be assured that I have chosen you to accompany Me as a close companion.  Only in suffering is it possible for Me to visit you with certain heavenly graces.  These graces are distinguishable from other graces by the impact they leave on a soul.  This impact alters permanently the viewpoint of one who has experienced suffering.  Some reject my presence in the cross and become bitter.  Poor, poor children of God, who do not see God in their cross.  You must pray for them and rejoice if you are one who suffers and understands that your Savior is asking you to accompany Him on the walk to Calvary.  Could I abandon you with your sufferings?  Would such a thing be possible when I, Myself have chosen you to be My closest companion?  If you experience the cross, My beloved apostle, you will experience Me, but you must desire My companionship as I desire yours. 

Consider that suffering is learning.  What do I teach in suffering?  There are so many advantages and revelations possible in suffering that if you are suffering you should say, “Truly, I have embarked upon a course of study.  I am studying Jesus in the Cross….carrying a cross of suffering requires exertion.  You must exert yourself to remain faithful and recollected when you are carrying a cross.  This is wearisome at times.  But the fact that one is tired does not mean that one is finished.  If the cross has not diminished then you must carry it for a time longer.  I am the personal instructor of those carrying crosses.  Do you listen carefully to your instructor?  Do you seek to remain close to Me?  If you do, I will teach you how to carry the cross in the way that benefits you most, and by benefitting you, remember that heaven benefits all around you and that is close to your heart.  Just as the Father blessed many through My Passion, He will bless many through yours.  You are not alone, I am with you.

 

 

The Kingdom of God is at hand

Sunday (January 25): “The kingdom of God is at hand”

Scripture: Mark 1:14-20 (alternate readings for Feast of the conversion of Paul the Apostle: Mark 16:15-18)

14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.” 16 And passing along by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him.19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and followed him.

Meditation:What is the Gospel of God which Jesus came to preach? The word “gospel” literally means “good news”. When a king had good news to deliver to his subjects he sent messengers or heralds throughout the land to make a public announcement – such as the birth of a newborn king or the victory over an invading army or occupied force. God sent his prophets to announce the coming of God’s anointed King and Messiah. After Jesus was baptized in the River Jordan and anointed by the Spirit he begins his ministry of preaching the Gospel – the good news that the kingdom of God was now at hand for all who were ready to receive it.

God rules over all
What is the kingdom of God? The word “kingdom” means something more than a territory or an area of land. It literally means “sovereignty” or “reign” and the power to “rule” and exercise authority. The prophets announced that God would establish a kingdom not just for one nation or people but for the whole world. The Scriptures tell us that God’s throne is in heaven and his rule is over all (Psalm 103:19). His kingdom is bigger and more powerful than anything we can imagine because it is universal and everlasting (Daniel 4:3). His kingdom is full of glory, power, and splendor (Psalm 145:11-13).
In the Book of Daniel we are told that this kingdom is given to the Son of Man (Daniel 7:14,18,22,27). The Son of Man is a Messianic title for God’s anointed King. The New Testament word for “Messiah” is “Christ” which literally means the “Anointed One” or the “Anointed King”. God sent us his Son not to establish an earthly kingdom but to bring us into his heavenly kingdom – a kingdom ruled by truth, justice, peace, and holiness. The kingdom of God is the central theme of Jesus’ mission. It’s the core of his gospel message.

As soon as John the Baptist had finished his testimony, Jesus began his in Galilee, his home district. John’s enemies had sought to silence him, but the gospel cannot be silenced. Jesus proclaimed that the time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand. Jesus takes up John’s message of repentance and calls disciples to believe in the gospel – the good news he has come to deliver. What is the good news which Jesus delivers? It is the good news of peace (restoration of relationship with God – Ephesians 6:15), of hope (the hope of heaven and everlasting life – Colossians 1:23 ), of truth (God’s word is true and reliable – Colossians 1:5), of promise (he rewards those who seek him – Ephesians 3:6)), of immortality (God gives everlasting life – 2 Timothy 1:10), and the good news of salvation (liberty from sin and freedom to live as sons and daughters of God – Ephesians 1:13).

Two conditions for the kingdom – repent and believe
How do we enter the kingdom of God? In announcing the good news, Jesus gave two explicit things each of us must do to in order to receive the kingdom of God: repent and believe. When we submit to Christ’s rule in our lives and believe the gospel message the Lord Jesus gives us the grace and power to live a new way of life as citizens of his kingdom. He gives us grace to renounce the kingdom of darkness ruled by sin and Satan, the father of lies (John 8:44) and the ruler of this present world (John 12:31). That is why repentance is the first step.
Repentance means to change – to change my way of thinking, my attitude, disposition, and life choices so that Christ can be the Lord and Master of my heart rather than sin, selfishness, and greed. If we are only sorry for the consequences of our sins, we will very likely keep repeating the sin that is mastering us. True repentance requires a contrite heart (Psalm 51:17) and sorrow for sin and a firm resolution to avoid it in the future. The Lord Jesus gives us grace to see sin for what it really is – a rejection of his love and wisdom for our lives and a refusal to do what is good and in accord with his will. His grace brings pardon and help for turning away from everything that would keep us from his love and truth.
To believe is to take Jesus at his word and to recognize that God loved us so much that he sent his only begotten Son to free us from bondage to sin and harmful desires. God made the supreme sacrifice of his Son on the cross to bring us back to a relationship of peace and friendship with himself. He is our Father and he wants us to live as his sons and daughters. God loved us first and he invites us in love to surrender our lives to him. Do you believe that the gospel -the good news of Jesus – has power to free you from bondage to sin and fear?

Like fishermen – we are called to gather in people for the kingdom of Christ
When Jesus preached the gospel message he called others to follow as his disciples and he gave them a mission – “to catch people for the kingdom of God.” What kind of disciples did he choose? Smelly fishermen! In the choice of the first apostles we see a characteristic feature of Jesus’ work: he chose very ordinary people. They were non-professionals, had no wealth or position. They were chosen from the common people who did ordinary things, had no special education, and no social advantages. Jesus wanted ordinary people who could take an assignment and do it extraordinarily well. He chose these individuals, not for what they were, but for what they would be capable of becoming under his direction and power.
When the Lord calls us to serve, we must not think we have nothing to offer. The Lord takes what ordinary people, like us, can offer and uses it for greatness in his kingdom. Do you believe that God wants to work in and through you for his glory?

Jesus speaks the same message to us today: we will “catch people” for the kingdom of God if we allow the light of Jesus Christ to shine through us. God wants others to see the light of Christ in us in the way we live, speak, and witness the joy of the gospel. Paul the Apostles says, But thanks be to God, who in Christ Jesus always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing (2 Corinthians 2:15). Do you witness to those around you the joy of the Gospel and do you pray for your neighbors, co-workers, and relatives that they may come to know the Lord Jesus Christ and grow in the knowledge of his love?

“Lord Jesus, you have called me personally by name, just as you called your first disciples, Simon, Andrew, James, and John. Help me to believe your word and follow you faithfully. Fill me with the joy of the gospel that your light may shine through me to many others.”

Psalm 116:12-19

12 What shall I render to the LORD for all his bounty to me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD,
14 I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.
15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
16 O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your handmaid. You have loosed my bonds.
17 I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.
18 I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people,
19 in the courts of the house of the LORD, in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Daily Quote from the early church fathers: Common people on an uncommon mission, by Eusebius of Caesarea (260/263-340 AD)
“Reflect on the nature and grandeur of the one Almighty God who could associate himself with the poor of the lowly fisherman’s class. To use them to carry out God’s mission baffles all rationality. For having conceived the intention, which no one ever before had done, of spreading his own commands and teachings to all nations, and of revealing himself as the teacher of the religion of the one Almighty God to all humanity, he thought good to use the most unsophisticated and common people as ministers of his own design. Maybe God just wanted to work in the most unlikely way. For how could inarticulate folk be made able to teach, even if they were appointed teachers to only one person, much less to a multitude? How should those who were themselves without education instruct the nations?… When he had thus called them as his followers, he breathed into them his divine power, and filled them with strength and courage. As God himself he spoke God’s true word to them in his own way, enabling them to do great wonders, and made them pursuers of rational and thinking souls, by empowering them to come after him, saying: ‘Come, follow me, and I will make you fish for people’ (Mark 1:17, Matthew 4:19). With this empowerment God sent them forth to be workers and teachers of holiness to all the nations, declaring them heralds of his own teaching.” (excerpt from PROOF OF THE GOSPEL 3.7)

Cite copyright & source: www.dailyscripture.net
author Don Schwager © 2015 Servants of the Word

The Devil Hates Holy Water

I can’t remember when I first learned about the great gift of Holy Water.  Perhaps it was when I was reading about St. Theresa of Avila, the Dr. of the Church.

“I have found by experience that there is nothing from which the devils fly more quickly than from Holy Water. They also fly from the Cross, but they return almost immediately. Certainly, the power of Holy Water must be great; for my part, my soul feels particular comfort in taking it, and very generally a refreshment and interior delight which I cannot express.” 

The Power of Holy Water..a story from Spain (from the Autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila)-

From long experience I have learned that there is nothing like holy water to put devils to flight and prevent them from coming back again. They also flee from the Cross, but return; so holy water must have great virtue. For my own part, whenever I take it, my soul feels a particular and most notable consolation.

One night, too, about this time, I thought the devils were stifling me; and when the nuns had sprinkled a great deal of holy water about I saw a huge crowd of them running away as quickly as though they were about to fling themselves down a steep place.

I will only describe something that happened to me one night of All Souls. I was in an oratory: I had said one nocturne and was repeating some very devotional prayers which follow it — they are extremely devotional: we have them in our office-book — when actually the devil himself alighted on the book, to prevent me from finishing the prayer. I made the sign of the Cross and he went away. I then began again and he came back. I think I began that prayer three times and not until I had sprinkled some holy water on him could I finish it. At the same moment I saw several souls coming out of purgatory: their time there must have been nearly up and I thought that perhaps the devil was trying to impede their deliverance.

Holy Water is a sacramental in the church.  In Biblical Times, water was a symbol of purification.

THESE ARE SOME OF THE PETITIONS THE PRIEST MAKES TO GOD
WHEN HE BLESSES WATER

May this, your creature, become an agent of divine grace in the service of your mysteries, to drive away evil spirits and dispel sickness, so that everything in the homes and other places where your faithful gather that are sprinkled with this water may be freed of all uncleanness and delivered from every harm (Let no breath of infection, no disease bearing air remain in these places). May the wiles of the lurking enemy prove of no avail. Let whatever might menace the safety and peace of those who live here be put to flight by the sprinkling of this water so that the health obtained by calling on your Holy Name may be made secure against all attack. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

DISPELS THE DEVIL

The devil hates Holy Water because of its power over him. He cannot long abide in a place or near a person that is often sprinkled with this blessed water.
In case after case of possession, both exorcist and onlookers are in complete agreement on this particular point: it is impossible to sprinkle Holy Water on any man or woman in a state of possession without deadly effect on the possessing spirit. “You are burning me, you are burning me!” he cries. There is thus an active power in the Holy Water which cancels out hidden demonic activities.

Blessing ourselves with holy water we should say “ By this holy water and by thy precious blood, wash away all my sins, O Lord”.  We can bless those from afar with holy water, by invoking our lord.  We merely sprinkle holy water in their direction and ask Jesus to protect them.

I was searching for the scriptural basis of Holy Water and I happened upon this site.  They did my work for me,  and which I reprinted here.

In Scripture, Water is Used to Cleanse, Purify, and Heal Human Beings.

1) Water that has been blessed:

Exodus 23:25 You shall serve the LORD your God, and I will bless your bread and your water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of you.

2) Priest using “holy water”:
Numbers 5:17 and the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel, and take some of the dust that is on the floor of the tabernacle and put it into the water.

3) The unclean remain so until the “water for impurity” is sprinkled upon them:
Numbers 19:9,13-20 And a man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and deposit them outside the camp in a clean place; and they shall be kept for the congregation of the people of Israel for the water for impurity, for the removal of sin. . . . Whoever touches a dead person, the body of any man who has died, and does not cleanse himself, defiles the tabernacle of the LORD, and that person shall be cut off from Israel; because the water for impurity was not thrown upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is still on him. “This is the law when a man dies in a tent: every one who comes into the tent, and every one who is in the tent, shall be unclean seven days. And every open vessel, which has no cover fastened upon it, is unclean.

Whoever in the open field touches one who is slain with a sword, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days. For the unclean they shall take some ashes of the burnt sin offering, and running water shall be added in a vessel; then a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the furnishings, and upon the persons who were there, and upon him who touched the bone, or the slain, or the dead, or the grave; and the clean person shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day; thus on the seventh day he shall cleanse him, and he shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water, and at evening he shall be clean. “But the man who is unclean and does not cleanse himself, that person shall be cut off from the midst of the assembly, since he has defiled the sanctuary of the LORD; because the water for impurity has not been thrown upon him, he is unclean.

4) Elisha makes the water “healed” (KJV) or “purified” (NASB) or “wholesome” (RSV):
2 Kings 2:19-22 (KJV) And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water is naught, and the ground barren. And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein. And they brought it to him. And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the LORD, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land. So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake.

So, the idea of “holy water” and its use is not foreign to Scripture. Notice from the third passage that a person remained unclean until water was sprinkled upon him. This points to an important 3-fold purpose for water in Scripture:
Cleansing: cf. Lev 14:8-9,50-52; 15:5-27; 17:15; Num 8:7; 19:12,18-19; 2 Ki 5:12; Psa 51:7; Ezek 16:4; 36:25; Eph 5:26; Heb 10:22

Purifying: cf. Exo 29:4; 40:12,30-32; Lev 11:32; 16:4,24,26,28; 22:6; Num 19:7-8; 31:23; Deut 23:10-11; 1 Ki 18:33-34; Jn 2:6; Heb 9:19

Healing: cf. 2 Ki 5:14; Isa 35:5-7; Jn 5:4 (KJV); 9:6-7.
This is very significant, considering that demons were considered “unclean spirits” (cf. Mt 10:1; 12:43; Mk 1:23,26-27; 3:11,30; 5:2,8,13; 6:7; 7:25; 9:25; Lk 4:33,36; 6:18; 8:29; 9:42; 11:24; Acts 5:16; 8:7) and any person was unclean if possessed by one. It only makes sense that something that cleanses, purifies, and heals can be put to good use against something as unclean as a demon.
Posted by Dave Armstrong at 4:14 PM