Top 5 Reasons to Step Aside

   “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10  Every day, through God’s unprecedented mercy and kindness, He provides grace generously for those who seek Him with all their heart. He provides for every need abundantly, as we try our level best to trust in Him. Sure, it takes both humility and holy boldness to turn to God and ask for what we need, but no request is too great or too small; He answers each plea for help in His own special time and way. It is important that we pray specifically for all that we and our loved ones need. This calls for praying throughout the day whenever possible, asking for whatever we need as needs arise, lest we try to depend fully on our own devices, with mixed or even mediocre results. Yes, we all need to do our part. Yet, praying to God with confidence, in the name of Jesus, can reap awe-inspiring outcomes because of the enduring, unwavering Love God has for each of us, without exception. Top 5 Reasons to Pray then Step Aside 1) Step aside Confident prayer enables us to step aside so God can step in to intervene, thereby realizing His abundant gifts of grace. There is great relief when we are able to focus on the blessings God has already bestowed upon us with a grateful heart, rather than complaining or worrying about whatever is going on. The ability to recognize God’s past graces, blessings already received, is a great indicator for greater things to come. 2) Break free from the...

Beware: Fake News

Fake news is the lowest form of journalism known today. Yet print, internet, and broadcast media bombards us every hour of every day, building tension and hatred among people. At best, it divides people, leaving them steaming angry and baffled, as the truth they do know is tested beyond measure, forcing them to settle for what they want to believe. With all that said, who can say they have a handle on any worldly events, or that “my news is better than yours?” Who can possibly form any opinions based on ‘media truth,’ when the news is so tainted, and we are living through what I often call, ‘The Truth Famine?’ It is foolishness to think that anyone really knows the truth these days based on news which is nothing more than hearsay-gossip on a national and global scale. Clearly. There is no room for sanctimony or indignation when truth stands in the balance.   The very existence and prevalence of fake news provokes doubt, disharmony, confusion and rigorous, misguided, unnecessary arguments in the hearts and minds of people around the world. Made up of believable half-truths, frequently laced with bold lies, it sometimes seems impossible to find even a kernel of verifiable truth in all the chaos. Beyond differences in opinion, fake news is actually designed to divide and conquer all who hear, watch or read it. But consider this:   “I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.” Romans 16:17 New International Version (NIV)...

Bless It or Block It

‘The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.’ James 5:16 Sometimes we can go it alone, yet other times we need God’s help to face or meet the many challenges that arise in our every daily lives. It is the trusting belief that ‘God’s got this,’ that can make the difference between failure and success, sinking in times of difficulty or tragedy or staying afloat, or just being able to cope. In essence, life happens as it will, but how we respond to every circumstance is a choice…   I think many of us wait until times are dire before eliciting God’s help. Yet, turning to Him in anticipation of trials, great and small, reaps great benefits, and awe-inspiring outcomes. When we pray fervently, and with confidence, placing our cares in God’s hands trusting that all will go well, we are far more prepared for whatever is to come. We are able to hold God’s hand through turbulent storm, turning to Him as the living God who is with us in every circumstance.   Though we are all unworthy sinners, God loves each of us profoundly beyond our comprehension. Striving souls—those who choose to try to follow God’s ways and lead—are the greatest recipients of God’s promises. For God is a generous, loving God of surprises for those who seek Him with all their hearts. He can and will turn every situation for the good for those who seek Him in earnest. An “If and then God,’ He is there for us even and especially when we falter or are hurting and broken. In Holy Scripture He often says if...

The Love of God for You

“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.”                             Ephesians 3:18-20   The Love of God—There is nothing like it. Some say God’s love is only for some people. But in reality, God’s Love is available for us all if we but turn to Him. The truth is, in our humanness, we love Him because He loved us first—Sending His Sone, Jesus, to deliver us all from our sins and into His loving embrace. Today’s Scripture reveals the unsurpassed, unconditional Love that God has for each of us. If only we could fathom His love, how different our lives would be!   All other love we experience pales in comparison to God’s Love. Who else could possibly love us consistently through all of our failings, mistakes and mishaps? Who else could love us fervently when all seems lost and we are broken, bogged down in the muck and mire of daily life?   In actuality, God stands in wait to hear our pleas for His help, even and especially in our darkest times. And He delights when we turn to Him in prayer to offer praise and thanksgiving for all the blessings He showers upon us at every turn in the road, this journey, we call life. He is the Great Healer. The one who provides relief from our infirmities. He is the one who...

Not All About Us

“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.”  Psalm 145:17-18 Jesus stands in wait to help those who call upon His holy name–especially when we are in most need. He never imposes His Divine Will upon us, but waits for our anguished pleas for help. Reach out to the Lord when you need comfort, guidance, discernment, healing and protection. It is during those times of need that He will stand up on your behalf to defend you, heal you, and walk with you. He will pave the way for you and fight your battles with and for you, if you will just give it all to Him and step aside so He can do His finest work on your behalf. It is during these times that God remains as close as the gentle breeze that surrounds you. Sometimes we all try too hard to attempt to make relationships and things right in our lives, just the way we want them. In a way, when we interfere with God’s plan for us, his working things out as only He can, we impede and delay the progress and blessings He sends our way. Rather, we need to step aside. For given the chance. God will go before us and behind us, and walk shoulder to shoulder with us, as we turn to Him.  He can change the hearts of those who hurt us–even our enemies–ease tensions, and will work all things for the good. In the face of adversity, no weapon against you shall prosper, when you are nestled in the loving arms of Jesus Christ,...

Love Is Patient, Love Is Kind

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” I Corinthians 13:4-8 __________________________________________________________________ Patience and kindness. These 2 virtues highlight the Christian experience, which is, above all, about love. Love of God, love of others, and yes, even love of oneself. For when we embrace the Christian life, that is what others hopefully see in us, that helps them know, definitively, that we are Christians. You see, Christianity is far beyond a multitude of rules and traditions. Simply put, really is all about love… Nothing can take the place of love in a relationship. Absolutely nothing! For to love others generously and with complete abandon is to share our very best with them. In as much as God is love, we pour out on those in our lives the very best we have to offer, and, in turn, the Lord replenishes our supply matching, and even exceeding, what we have shared. How blest are those who are able to love others freely and return to Jesus in prayer to replenish their supply! In a way, the Lord fills your cup, then you pass it on. Love was never meant to be kept to ourselves. For to love and be loved is a basic human function; and with that said, people need people to give and...

Do You Have a Thorn?

  Have you ever cried out to God to remove a ‘thorn’ from your life? Even St. Paul experienced ongoing some human weakness, which Scripture calls ‘a thorn.’ Though we don’t know the nature of his condition, it may have been depression, anxiety, a relationship, infirmity, disability, etc…, Scripture tells us that St. Paul reportedly prayed to God 3 times to remove it, but God’s answer to him was this: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”   2 Corinthians 12:9 Be strong. Avoid weakness… The world tells us in so many ways that showing human weakness is not an option, especially to succeed in any area of life. Yet, the Bible has a completely different take on weakness and vulnerability. Sure, we all have times in our lives when we experience various forms of weakness due to medical infirmity, disability, mental health issues, grief, loneliness, relationship issues, financial challenges, or other adverse circumstances. The truth is, we all experience times of weakness, which is just part and parcel of our being human.   Certainly we all have thorns at times that annoy us, distract us, and derail us, from our life-mission to serve God with all our being. A thorn can affect your comfort zone and even leave you feeling alone and devoid of God’s love—even abandoned. Yet most of the challenges we face can bring us closer to God if we let them. Obstacles can enable us to choose between becoming bitter or better. Make no mistake about it, perspective is a conscious choice. We get to choose what we think about, and...

An Extraordinary Opportunity

  As Christians, we have the extraordinary opportunity to strive to live a good life in Jesus Christ. We are called to focus on what is good and right and true. We try our level best to avoid occasions of sin, but in our humanness, we fall time and again through our words, deeds, thoughts and even bad habits. I say ‘strive’ because we are all sinners to some degree. For we all fall short of the glory of God, the Divine plan He has for each of us. Yet the operative word here is strive.  As a striving people, trying to emulate Jesus, we are called to radical faith. The kind of faith that focuses first on getting our own houses in order, figuratively speaking. Secondly, we are called to be fishers of men—that is, in word and deed, to love as many people as possible to help them follow Jesus, ultimately, into eternal life. ‘Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” ‘ Mark 1:17 The example this Scripture gives us is one of becoming gatherers. We are called to gently, through love, not coercion, bring others to Christ while being careful to avoid sin in our own lives. Those who get to Heaven will not be there because of how many rosaries said, church attendance, self-righteousness, eloquent prayers, or works. In actuality, no one deserves to go to Heaven. Since we are all sinners, it is only through God’s generous grace that it is possible for anyone to go to Heaven, as none of us are worthy.  No one will...

If God Is for Us

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) This Scripture serves as a powerful reminder that when God is on our side, when we have given Him control over the details of our lives, we are truly empowered like never before. Empowered to pray with confidence for all that we and our loved ones need, knowing those needs will be met. Prepared to take on the challenges of this world, regardless of circumstances. We are more able to love others, even our enemies and those that are difficult to love.   When you strive to live a faith-filled life, you are in a position to step out with holy boldness, move away from your own worldly desires and needs, to reach for all that is good and right and true. You are no better than anyone else, but your primary focus is on doing God’s Divine Will in your life. That is, doing as much good as you possibly can with complete and utter abandon. You are able to throw caution to the wind and harness the ordinary in an extraordinary way—with patience, courage and love.   Recently I saw a podcast of Joyce Meyer advising her listeners to ‘do it afraid.’ Like the disciples did so many times throughout their ministries, we too, are often afraid to serve God and others with boldness. But remember–faith and holy boldness are gifts of the Holy Spirt who dwells inside of each of us. To be able to proclaim God’s love to others, especially to the unworthy—and aren’t we all?–is one of the greatest privileges we have...

PART II: The Trifecta: Depression, PTSD and Autoimmune

Untreated childhood trauma may play a major role in depression of unknown origin, as people struggle to find the cause for depression and seek relief from it. It is not uncommon for people living with untreated childhood trauma to be undiagnosed, and also have depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD, and/or seemingly unrelated physical symptoms such as auto-immune and/or a neurological condition concurrently. Depression is a most unwelcome visitor, one that can easily wreak havoc in the lives of those within its reach. As with physical illness, it is important to understand mental health issues as they arise, so a person can address them, and get the timely, effective help they need to move on with their life. There are many well understood reasons for clinical depression: Chemical imbalance Difficult circumstances Emotional trauma Strained relationships Unforgiveness Medical and disability challenges Nutritional deficiencies Medication side effects Aging, and even genetics When the mind is overwhelmed by too much stress, including childhood trauma, the body can become sick. This frequently occurs by the stress of untreated childhood trauma entering the body, and damaging the immune system, sometimes causing the trifecta: depression, PTSD, painful and/or unrelenting, debilitating autoimmune conditions such as arthritis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, ALS, myasthenia gravis, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, some cancers, and/or a host of other autoimmune conditions. For some, the auto-immune system reacts to overwhelming stress and trauma by going on to damage the neurological system. Understanding the untoward effects of untreated childhood trauma can enhance maximal mental and physical health and wellness, leading to a better life. Recognizing untreated childhood trauma can help individuals to seek...