St. Theresa's Prayer:
May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you....
May you be content knowing you are a child of God....
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love
It is there for each and every one of us.
12/22/05 acts web
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I [Jesus] would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am" (John 14:1-3, NIV)
However, for those who sincerely want an answer there is great evidence to verify that Jesus Christ was and is the Son of God.
Among the best evidence is the fulfillment of more than 300 biblical prophecies concerning his birth, life and death—which accurately predicted his birth in Bethlehem, his being betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, and his dying by crucifixion.
In his book, Science Speaks, Peter Stoner applies the science of probability to just eight of these many prophecies. He states that the chance that any one man might have fulfilled just these eight prophecies would be one in 1016; that is one in 100,000,000,000,000,000, not to mention the chances of fulfilling all 300 prophecies.
Stoner says that if we took 1016 silver dollars and laid them on the face of the state of Texas, they would cover the entire state two feet thick. If one of the coins had a special marking on it and a blindfolded man had to find it, what would his chances be?
Stoner claims that he would have as much chance as the biblical prophets, without God, "would have had of writing those eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man."
Christ also confirmed his deity through his many miracles and especially through his resurrection from the dead. He came to earth specifically to pay the penalty and die for the sins of mankind. In rising from the dead, he not only showed that he was the Son of God, but also conquered sin and death so that all who believe in him would receive the gift of eternal life.
The exciting news about Christmas is that it is not only a reminder of Christ's first coming and all he did for us, but also a reminder that he is coming again to take to heaven all who put their trust in him and to do away with all wars, sorrow and tears forever. Only then will his promise of "peace on earth" be fulfilled. Based on his other promises and biblical prophecy already fulfilled, we can be just as certain of Christ's second coming as we are of his first.
Exactly when that will be nobody knows for sure. However, the signs of the time indicate that Christ's return could be very near—perhaps just around the corner.
What is Real Love?
"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, NIV).
A Daily Encounter reader asks, "What is real love? It seems to me that some people who don't claim to be Christians are more loving and non-judgmental than some Christians I know." Dear Sharon (name changed), unfortunately, just because someone claims to be a Christian doesn't mean that they are a real Christian. It is also true that some non-Christians are more loving and non-judgmental than some Christians. However, it is important not to determine what love is by human standards but by God's standards. The best definition of real love is found in the Bible in 1 Corinthians, chapter 13. It probably would be wise for all of us, including myself, to memorize this entire chapter so it becomes a vital part of our inner belief system. This would definitely help us to act in a loving manner. As God's Word says, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."1 Thus real love is unconditional; that is, it is love without strings attached. It doesn't have hidden motives for loving someone. When one gives love it is always gratifying if that love is returned, but real love loves regardless of the response of the other. It always has the other's best interest at heart—and this sometimes calls for tough love.
The Apostle Paul also noted in this masterpiece on love, "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me."2 In other words, real love is the fruit, perhaps the highest fruit, of both emotional and spiritual maturity. So to grow in love we need to keep growing in both emotional and spiritual maturity.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to keep growing in spiritual and emotional maturity so that my life will always—in all circumstances—reflect the heart of a truly loving person and therein bring glory to your name. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
9/23/06- from Proverbs 31 Ministries
Jesus sends signals offering life-giving water and yet we live thirsty lives. God longs to give you an abundant life and He lays out six keys to finding it in the fourth chapter of John.
The Question: Will you trust Me? The woman responds as we often do, pointing out the improbability of the situation: But You are a Jew, I am a Samaritan. We don’t even use the same dishes and you’re willing to drink from my jar? Jesus broke all the rules. He breaks through the barriers we set up. We are never good enough, but Christ crosses over and reaches us.
The Gift: Ask and you will receive. God longs to give us the gift of eternal life and His Holy Spirit to counsel and guide us. She couldn’t get past the notion that this was too good to be true. We also try to figure it all out;
what it means to truly accept the full range of experiences offered by this free and gracious gift of life in Him.
Get Real! Go get your husband. He gives her the opportunity to be honest. Stop wearing the mask and put down the shield that’s been protecting the truth about your life. Confess it, because He knows it anyway. Experience freedom from your past.
Change! The spring of life, living water, will bubble up inside you and satisfy your desire for a different kind of life. You will never have to search for fulfillment from an outside source again- not in your husband, your job or your kids.
Believe: Believe not in rituals, religion, or the lies of the world, but only in Him. In our culture today it’s hard to know what to believe. Society seems to say, “You believe in your god and I’ll believe in mine. I’ll make my own path.” Christ is compelling her to stop listening to the lies that hold her captive.
Worship in Spirit & Truth: Worship takes place in the heart, in your spirit. The Greek word for spirit is pneuma or to breathe. Every breath is a gift of life from our Father. Let’s give it back to Him in worship.
Do you have a dehydrated heart? Jesus invites you to drink from His living water and experience the abundant life He longs to give you.
My Prayer for Today:
Lord, I don’t want to be thirsty anymore. Fill me with Your life-giving Spirit for I long to worship You with every breath I take. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
James 4:8, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” (NIV)
1 Corinthians 12:13, “Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain – his spirit – where we all come to drink.” (The Message)
Revelation 22:17, “The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” (NIV)
"A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."
Fear: a very positive feeling of awe or reverence for God.
To fear the Lord means we must know him in a personal way, not to merely know about Him
Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (NLT)
Ephesians 4:16, “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (NIV)
Romans 12:4-5, “Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5so it is with Christ's body. We are all parts of his one body, and each of us has different work to do. And since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others.” (NLT)
Romans 12:6-8, “God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out when you have faith that God is speaking through you. If your gift is that of serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, do a good job of teaching. If your gift is to encourage others, do it! If you have money, share it generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.” (NLT)
6/20/06 - from Actsweb.org
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it
Train yourself to Abide. Abiding means to remain in Christ; to stay connected to Him throughout the day. When you and I cut ourselves off from Christ, we become powerless to avoid temptations and sin. It’s only when the branch stays connected to the vine that the sap, the life-giving substance, flows freely through the tree. Likewise, when we abide in Christ, we no longer have to struggle to live for Him; He is free to live His life through us. Read the Bible to learn how to abide in Him. There you will find guidelines for successful daily living.
Philippians 2:13, “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” (NIV)
Proverbs 24:14, “Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” (NIV) Proverbs 16:3, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” (NIV) Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (NIV)
Psalm 138:8, “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever – do not abandon the works of your hands.” (NIV)
John 15:4, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful apart from me.” (NLT)
Ecclesiastes 7:12, "Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: that wisdom preserves the life of its possessor.” (NIV)
"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you"
(Ephesians 4:32, NIV).
Ephesians 5:8-10, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.” (NIV)
Give Me a Thankful Heart, O God
2 Peter 1:3-11, "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self- control; and to self-control; perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins."
While our physical bodies are to be valued and cared for as part of God's creation and the temple of the Holy Sprit, they are temporal, not eternal; mortal, not immortal. Flesh and blood will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:50). It is our spirit that receives the grace of Christ (Galatians 6:18).
Reality is that God isn't concerned with our method of worship be it contemporary, traditional or whatever, but with the spirit of our worship—the attitude of our hearts. As Jesus said to the woman at the well when she mentioned the "proper" place to worship, "God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."2 Like the brass serpent, when "traditions" become the focus of our worship, we may be going through the motions, but totally missing the point—and missing out on God!
"I made you, I created you." (Psalm 119:73)
1 Samuel 16:7b, "...The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (NIV)
3/9/2006 acts web
As the Bible says, "Let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily trips and entangles us, so we are free to run the race that is before us." 1 "But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." 2
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to find my wings and learn to fly with the eagles to the heights you have planned for me to reach. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
Encouragement for today
When Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment, He answered, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as your self. There is no greater commandment." (Mark 12:30-31 NIV)
Monday, March 6, 2006 actsweb
1. To Be or Not to Be
God is not into religion. He's into relationships. That is, his goal for you and me is that we be in healthy relationships both with him and with one another.
Please don't ask me to explain it, but God himself is in relationship as the Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. And being created in the image of God we, too, were created for relationships. Furthermore, Christianity began in a relationship when at the beginning of his earthly ministry Jesus chose the twelve disciples "that they might be with him."
As another has said, "To be is to be in relationship" without which we limp along in the shadows of life with an empty hole in our heart. It may not be most desirable but we can live a fulfilling life without being in a romantic relationship, but we cannot fully live, let alone fully love, unless we have a healthy relationship with at least one other loving person ... preferably with more than one. To be in relationship is to be open, vulnerable, and known as we really are, for we can only ever be loved and truly relate to others to the degree that we are known. As long as we hide behind a mask we can never feel loved. Masks can't relate.
In his book, The Transparent Self, Sydney Jourard said, "Every maladjusted person is someone who has not made himself known to another human being and in consequence he does not know himself. Nor can he be himself. More than that, he struggles actively to avoid becoming known by another human being. He works ceaselessly at it day and night. And it is work!"
True relationship begins with being ruthlessly honest with one's self and with God—and then with at least one other honest, loving and trustworthy friend.
"Then He [Jesus] appointed twelve, that they might be with Him" (Mark 3:14, NKJV).
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be an authentic person—honest with myself, with you and with at least one other trustworthy friend so that I will learn to be the person you envisioned for me to be and therein discover how to fully live and fully love. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV).
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
– Author Unknown
When divisions threaten a home, the family is more vulnerable to spiritual attack and to worldly influences that draw us away from the Lord. Pray for unity! How important that we learn to forgive and be reconciled with each other.
Actsweb According to an article in Restore magazine, Edward Gibbon in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire said that there were five major attributes that marked the closing days of the great Roman Empire. 1. There was an increasing love of show and luxury; that is, affluence. 2. There was a widening gap between the very rich and the very poor. 3. There was an obsession with sex. 4. There was a freakishness in the arts masquerading as originality and creativity. 5. There was an increased desire to live off the state.
Where do we begin to turn our nation back to God? We do so one person at a time. We do this in our heart, our manner of life, our dedication to genuine worship of God, in serving God by helping others, in our giving, and in prayer. I don't know any other way.
1 Corinthians 7 WAU
But every day he has words he wants to say and tasks that require a response from us. We may never see the results in this life, but our faithfulness does have eternal results.
A friend can help raise our eyes beyond our own narrow way of looking at thing; they can be like a breath of fresh air when we feel burdened by the routines of daily life.
Actsweb When we carry hurts, grudges, resentments, guilt, grief or any unresolved issues from the past and fail to let go of them, we contaminate our present relationships with them. As another said, "Every unshed tear [and unresolved negative emotion] is a prism through which all of life's hurts are distorted."
If we’re not careful, jealousy, fears, and worries about the future can dominate us and lead us to erratic behaviors. …God is eager to help us when we turn to him. Our weaknesses, temptations, and failings can all fall away as we allow him to work in our lives.
What your son doesn't realize (and this is always difficult for each of us to accept) is that all of us are as sick (or as healthy) as the people we are attracted to. So whatever his friend's problem is, he has a matching problem.
We want things to stay the same forever. Sometimes we are trapped by unfulfilled dreams… We try to figure out what we did wrong and are weighed down with guilt. But we are so busy looking back that we miss God’s invitation to move on with him.
The interesting thing, however, about Daniel being thrown into the den of lions is that God didn't deliver him out of the den before Daniel first found deliverance in it.
Imagine if Daniel had fought against being thrown into the den (which he would have been justified in doing) and gone into the den fighting against it every inch of the way, chances are the lions would have torn him to shreds before he hit the bottom. But Daniel didn't. He accepted his lot and trusted his life to God who shut the lion's mouths. On more than one occasion I have asked God that if I am not going to be delivered out of my "lion's den" (naming the frustrating situation I'm in), would he please help me to find deliverance in it.
Mark 2:18-22. That new wine is the Spirit. … He wants us to turn to him, to ask him to come in. And that is the new wineskin. He is waiting for each of us to put aside all that is “old” and separated from Him so that we can embrace the new.
1/13/06 acts web
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven" (Luke 6:37, NIV).
I am convinced that at least for many, it is a lack of love that drives people into self-destructive acts of sin in their desperate search for love and acceptance—and only love—God's love through you and me will ever take them out again.
"Dear God, please help me to understand every person you bring into my life and communicate your divine love, forgiveness, and acceptance to them at their point of deepest need. In doing so may they find your love, forgiveness and acceptance for themselves. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
And even when He doesn't’t answer our prayers as we would like, he still works in our hearts and grants us even greater gifts.
Every day do something you don't want to do. Pick up someone else's trash. Surrender your parking place. Call the long-winded relative. Doesn't have to be a big thing. Don't be too big to do something small. "Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort" (I Cor. 15:58 MSG).
"Dear God, please help me to be sensitive to people's needs, and be 'as Jesus' to them by meeting them at their point of felt need. And grant that they seeing Jesus in me will want you for themselves. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
The first people to recognize Jesus as the Messiah were pagans from the East… We are also “works in progress.” So let’s ask the Holy Spirit to fill us with his compassion, a compassion which puts no limits on love.
The goal of anyone taking up intercessory prayer is to unite themselves wit the needs of those they are praying for – and to unite themselves to God at the same time.
Authority flows from an inner conviction… We can make the same profession of faith and the same witness to the love of God that Jesus made ( John 14:12) He has given to us the same commission that Jesus gave the disciples – to heal the sick, cast out demons, preach the gospel, make disciples of all nations ( Luke 9:1-6, 10:1-17)
We are all children of God and coheirs with Christ ( Romans 8:16-17)
Ask the Spirit to reveal the dignity you have in Christ.
Furthermore, I can only be fully loved to the degree that I am known. Thus, the way we grow in and learn to love is by becoming vulnerable and allowing at least one or two safe, accepting and non-judgmental persons see and know us as we really are—warts and all. And as they love and accept us as we are, little by little we learn to love and accept ourselves. And as we learn to love and accept ourselves we are freed both to give and receive love. But as long as we hide our inner or secret self (our dark side) behind any kind of a mask (no matter how sophisticated that mask may be) we will never feel fully loved nor will we be able to fully love.
1/5/06 acts web
Feelings in and of themselves are amoral; that is, they are neither right nor wrong. Jesus never told us how to feel, only how to act. It's what we do with feelings and how we handle them that matters.
"Dear God, help me to handle my emotions as Jesus did. When he was sad, he wept. When he was angry at evil, he expressed his anger to bring about change. So help me to do likewise but to always speak the truth in love. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
As we surrender to the Spirit, our new identity- our new name- will begin to shine forth.
True religion is not only to "walk with God" but to understand people's immediate needs and to minister to them at that point of need—just as Jesus always did.
True religion is not only to "walk with God" but to understand people's immediate needs and to minister to them at that point of need—just as Jesus always did.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing" (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV).
It has been said that if you pay attention to what occupies your mind during the course of a day, you will be able to tell what is important in your life… Other concerns will give way as the Holy Spirit fills our minds with new insights into God’s love. … As we persist in our goal of treasuring and pondering God’s generous kindness, we will feel impelled to live in a way that keeps us connected to his love.
“Father, help me this year as I dedicate myself to treasuring and pondering your love and your power. Let 2006 be a year in which my life becomes a brighter reflection of who you are.”
As we start a fresh New Year, let us remember all the riches we have in Christ Jesus, and all the blessings from God that we do have and not overlook these because of all the things we don't have—many of which for many of us we don't even need in order to live a contented and happy life.
Contentment and happiness come from within and not from circumstances without. They come from changing the things we can and need to change, from accepting and learning to live with the things we cannot change—and having the wisdom to know the difference. They come from the attitude of one's heart and mind, and learning to trust God in everything
"Dear God, thank you for what I can do. I want to use whatever I have to be a part of what you are doing in the world today. I want to be involved in your plan. That way I know I will also get in on your blessings. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
Father, I ask You to bless my friends, relatives and those that I care deeply for, who are reading this right now. Show them a new revelation of Your love and power. Holy Spirit, I ask You to minister to their spirit at this very moment. Where there is pain, give them Your peace and mercy. Where there is self-doubt, release a renewed confidence through Your grace. Where there is need, I ask you to fulfill their needs. Bless their homes, families, finances, their goings and their comings. In Jesus' precious name. Amen.
Dear Lord, I thank You for this day. I thank You for my being able to see and to hear this morning. I'm blessed because You are a forgiving God and an understanding God. You have done so much for me and You keep on blessing me. Forgive me this day for everything I have done, said or thought that was not pleasing to you.
I ask now for Your forgiveness. Please keep me safe from all danger and harm. Help me to start this day with a new attitude and plenty of gratitude. Let me make the best of each and every day to clear my mind so that I can hear from You. Please broaden my mind that I can accept all things. Let me not whine and whimper about things over which I have no control.
But I thank you that I believe. I believe that God changes people and God changes things. I pray for all my sisters and brothers; For each and every family member in their households. I pray for peace, love and joy in their homes, that they are out of debt and all their needs are met. I pray that every eye that reads this knows there is no problem, circumstance, or situation greater than God. Every battle is in Your hands for You to fight.
quotes from The Path to Love by Deepak Chopra
When you perceive yourself as spirit, you will not simply feel love-- you will be love.
When you feel love, act on it. Speak your heart. Be truthful. Remain open.
You are the secret of God's secret. You are the mirror of divine beauty.
The goal of the path is to transform your awareness from separation to unity. In unity we perceive only love, express only love, are only love.
Romance is a temporary state of the sacred. Relationship makes it permanent.
Everytime you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future. The past is closed and limited: the future is open and free.
Instead of resisting any emotion, the best way to dispel it is to enter it fully, embrace it, and see through your resistance.
Black holes are healed by filling them with spirit. Despite their terror, black holes are just lack of love.
Signals from spirit all serve the same purpose: to give you back your life as a creator.
Spirit is your chief and only ally in your quest for unity. The tactics of non-love will never get you to love.
Every second is a door to eternity. The door is opened by perception.
Pierce through all you illusions and you will discover that you are only love.
Love is like water. If it doesn't flow, it stagnates.
Mother Angelica's Writings EWTN Daily Mass Readings