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So many of us do it. I mean, really, it's the Christian thing, right? A challenge pops up in our lives and we do what we're supposed to do...run to scripture. Jumping into the Divine Word of God, we hope to find an answer to our quandary by selecting a random verse or chapter in the Bible. If all goes well, we will come away with the guidance that we are seeking, knowing God is speaking directly to us in our situation.
I have done this MANY times.
Sometimes I have been left scratching my head.
Other times, I have come away astonished at how perfectly a verse has spoken to me.
There is beauty in knowing that God is always speaking through His word. However, it is important to be aware that there can be danger in "spinning the wheel."
First of all, why are we going to scripture in the first place? It is because we know we are literally taking in the Words of God - and I do mean the plural form of word. We can't go wrong with His word, because it is never wrong. However, interpretation of it can be.
Scott Hahn speaks famously in a way that makes a great case regarding the danger of interpretation:
A person blindly flips through the Bible and points at a passage.
"Then he went away and hanged himself." Matthew 27:5
The person quickly selects another passage, blindly flipping through and finger pointing to another passage:
"Go now and do the same."
I think the point here is clearly made! :)
If we are coming to scripture to get a good idea of what God is saying to us, it would be much better to approach scripture on a more consistent basis, not just on an "I need it now" basis. Coming to scripture consistently means that I am getting to know God. Just as when I can listen to acquaintances and inaccurately take away the meaning of their words because I don't know them well enough to understand, so as it can be with Bible verses.
In fact, it is even more likely that we will find greater meaning and guidance when those immediate situations occur since we will already know Him well enough to be aware of where to look, understanding each word to an even greater and deeper degree. We might never even have to open the Bible; the perfect verse might appear in our mind's eye, all because we have spent time listening to Him.
As always, it is all about developing that relationship with God. As the relationship grows, it will become easier to hear His voice through His word.
So, am I saying that we need to forego spinning the wheel of Bible Roulette? No.
But I do want to encourage others to NOT be discouraged when we land on verses that recommend that we hang ourselves. God is trying to tell us to keep digging. The more verses we land on, the more time we spend with Him. It really could be that He is purposely confounding our minds to that very end: He wants to work on that relationship with us.
Let's go to scripture every day. Let's get to know Him more and more so that when those challenges that require guidance and direction arise, we are better equipped to hear and understand His voice.
This way, when we land on verses like Job 19:17, "My breath is offensive to my wife; I am loathsome to my own brothers," we won't take it too personally. There is so much more that God is really trying to say!!
Photo attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/45378259@N05/6050121954
We couldn't wait to get this song up! Our third installment in the Sacrament Song Series, this song is sure to stick in your head as the kids sing about how the Holy Spirit saved the day 2000 years ago and today in the gifted sacrament of Confirmation! Again, this song is for kids, by kids, and will hopefully become a family favorite!
Enjoy and please pass this on to anyone and everyone! :)
"Ummm....it's a good thing I know your family!"
My friend attempted to hide a smile as she glanced at my eight-year old guy standing next to her in our driveway. She had just dropped him off after a play-date with her son for the day. Her quick look spoke volumes and I knew that my son had put his foot in his mouth...again.
"Uh oh...what did he say?" I asked, nervously.
"Well, we were eating dinner, and for some reason he looked up and said, 'Well, you know we are Nazis.'"
My mouth fell open in horror. "Nazis? What??"
My friend smiled and and chuckled in understanding like only she could.
"I didn't know what to say, so I asked him why he thinks you are Nazis. He said, "Well, we're German, so that means we are Nazis!"
I clapped my hand over my forehead and groaned. "Good grief!" was all I could muster for a minute as I joined in her laughing.
I wasn't expecting to have to explain the differences between evil factions and the history of part of my heritage, but I certainly did that night. I also made sure to cover the Italian and Hungarian side of my husband just to make sure my witty lad wouldn't branch out into these areas someday instead.
Awkwardness aside, our exchange did bring something to mind.
Just because I claim to be Catholic does not really mean that others should assume that I automatically live up to higher Christian moral standards. I may have been baptized into the faith, but if I am not attempting to live it out on a daily basis, I am not setting an example of Christian behavior exemplified by Christ, nor am I being a witness of His great love.
If I am not careful, my little world will stay that way - confined to my own life.
Truly living a Catholic life literally transforms the world, whether I realize it or not. This is true for the young mom raising children at home, the man balancing prayer and service to others in-between corporate meetings, and the elderly senior praying unceasingly for the world as he/she prepares to enter the heavenly kingdom.
Being Catholic Christians requires authenticity.
Let's not just say we are Catholic. Let's live our lives in ways that do not hide the candle of our faith under a bushel. In a time in history when we are often told to "own who we are," let us do just that.
May we constantly strive to be who God made us to be - His head, arms, and feet - to a world longing to be loved and set free.
So what really goes on in the minds of kids when they hear or read Bible passages? Check out our first stop-motion video in our new "Bible Brainstorms" series: I Can Fly!
Cute, short and whimsical, we hope that kids will come away learning a new scripture passage each time.
Enjoy and feel free to send us ideas for more in the series (perhaps based on the ideas of children in your own lives?).
Have a truly blessed day!
There is no doubt about it: I'm a Martha. This fact is apparently so obvious that I was even given the role of Martha of Bethany years ago when I was involved with a Passion musical. Partly attributed to ADHD, I have an innate desire to move, plan, talk, etc. In other words, I am like so many who have a brain that never seems to stop when it should. I operate on setting and fulfilling goals, am a certified list maker, and live by a calendar - usually.
Does this mean I am organized? Sadly, I still leave much to be desired in that area. Does it mean that I don't desire to stop moving? No.
The truth is, I have no problem picturing working beside Martha as she planned, cooked and served dinner for Jesus and her guests. Deep down, I would have greatly desired to listen to all He had to say, but something inside would have driven me to make sure that all of the physical needs were met before I ever would have taken the time to sit at His feet.
One would only need to ask one of my kids to know that I would have probably beat Martha to the punch when she insisted that Jesus command Mary to serve instead of recline to listen to His words, and it has taken maturity into adulthood to truly understand how wrong that would have been.
As a teen, I remember feeling stung personally by Jesus' admonishment towards Martha. I could NOT understand why He claimed that Mary was making the better choice. I really, truly, just couldn't get it. I think that knowing I would have behaved so similarly to Martha made it very personal, almost as if He were speaking directly to me.
He was, of course.
Little did I know just how much I would struggle in my Martha role as I journeyed forward into the future!
As my family has grown, I have been beyond blessed to get know moms who have managed to figure out how to become both Mary and Martha. They've taught me how incredibly important prayer is during daily life. They have taught me that sometimes you have to throw the schedule out the window to take advantage of an unexpected opportunity for quality family time. They have taught me to recognize the "Godincidents" in my life which show that God is guiding me and reminding me of His great love.
They have also taught me a word that my brain doesn't seem to want to acknowledge: STOP.
STOP to pray.
STOP to listen.
STOP to see, hear, and touch.
Mary understood this word well.
Are you a Mary or a Martha? Are you a combination of both? As the Church celebrates St. Martha's feast day, it would be a great time to reflect on these questions.
We are all a work in progress. For those of us who incline to be more like Martha, perhaps we can whisper the word STOP to ourselves once in a while throughout the day. It just may send a message to the brain to transport us, even if for just a moment, to the feet of Jesus.
He can hardly wait to meet us there.
Photo attribution: https://pixabay.com/en/feet-man-feet-foot-male-barefoot-2429438/
So, what do you get when you have 97 Catholic YouTubers register for a first-ever hangout? A recipe for success!
This past Saturday, many Catholic YouTubers from around the globe joined together to listen to talks, enjoy break-out sessions and pray. It was a little like an online mini-retreat/conference for YouTubers!
The session was the brainchild of YouTubers "That Catholic Couple," "Steve the Missionary" and Maria Mitchell, producer of the channel "Ascension Presents." YouTubers from "New Catholic Generation" and others assisted in leading the live break-out sessions as well.
The goal was to bring a variety of content creators on YouTube together to join as a community to support and encourage the Catholic presence online. One of the neat features of the hangout was its focus. A YouTuber's channel didn't need to be specifically Catholic in its delivery. As Daniel Glaze from "That Catholic Couple" explained, even if a channel taught viewers about laundry baskets without saying anything necessarily Catholic, this hangout community was the place for them. Encouraging Catholic channels to provide clean and moral content in whatever area they are called to deliver is the point.
One topic that piqued my interest during the live break-out sessions was the acknowledgement of the very prominent Mormon presence of clean content found on YouTube. My family and I have often discussed this reality, wishing that there was a way to increase the Catholic presence online in a similar way. It would be impossible to deny the appealing affect that the Mormon content has had online, and it seems that trying to attain a similar goal as Catholic Christians would be a huge asset to the Church. As Steve the Missionary stated, "Where people are, so should the Gospel be."
Soooo....if you have a Catholic YouTube Channel, check out this quick video that called all of the YouTubers to join the hangout! It will give you some idea of how the next hangout will be and you can send them a message to sign up (which hasn't been scheduled yet as an FYI).
And...if you don't have a channel, check out the comments on the video below from tons of different Catholic YouTubers who would love to have you check out their channels and support the Catholic Christian presence online!
Sometimes, doing what Jesus asks of us isn't always as clear as it might seem in today's world. Join in our newest video that gives some over-the-top examples - (some obvious and some not!) that remind us that our everyday behavior makes a difference in our lives as followers of Christ!
We would love it if you would like it and subscribe to our channel if you haven't already...we are excited at an upcoming opportunity to join other Catholic YouTubers to create a more prominent Catholic presence online!
Have an amazingly blessed day!
Josh Gates' Expedition Truth would have no need to run an episode on one monster that is purported to exist. There is ample evidence to prove its existence. This well-known beast's green eyes reflect a contagious light that afflicts its unsuspecting victims with pain, unhappiness, and even fear. Known throughout the world as the Green-Eyed Jealousy Monster, this lurking friend of the devil makes its way into every culture of every nation. Few are completely immune to it, but there are many who have learned to protect themselves against its influence.
As followers of Christ, we are called to arm ourselves against it. The poison that it leaks into our souls can easily spread with a life expectancy of a one hundred-plus years if not stopped.
So...how can we protect ourselves from this monster? For some it is not easy. There are so many different reasons why jealousy appears in our lives, and some personalities and temperaments have a harder time fighting it than others.
There are some tips, however, to help us protect ourselves. Here are some things we can do to give us the upper hand on the effect that those green eyes have upon our souls.
1. Recognize and validate that our feelings are real.
Just the very act of acknowledging our jealousy can take away some of its power.
2. Assess the root causes.
Be sure to include your upbringing and any influences in your life that may be contributing to your feelings. (i.e.: Are there feelings of self-worth that were affected in the past? Are my present feelings of jealousy stemming from a lack of self worth now?)
3. Approach God for help.
Jealousy has the power to consume us, and in some cases it can become almost impossible to overcome. But, the Green-Eyed Monster is powerless against God. True to form in the battle between good and evil, the Holy Spirit can sometimes be the only difference between a win and a loss. We need Him to fight it with us, and perhaps even for us. Don't try it alone!!
4. Learn from it.
Am I jealous of someone because someone is doing something that I really want to do? If so, could I try to make arrangements to do this myself? (Like signing up for piano lessons or the gym.) If I am unable to fulfill this specific desire right now (or ever), then I need to approach God for help to accept it. As we know, some of our desires don't always line up with God's timing or even with God's plan for us. When this happens, we can find much solace in realigning our life focus with His, remembering that His plan is bigger and better than ours could ever be in the grand plan of eternity.
5. Pick out some positives regarding the situation.
Even if you aren't the glass-half-full type, attempt to name at least one good thing that can be found, whether it be the ability to spend more time on another relationship (i.e.: spending more time with an aging parent or ill child when you feel pulled in other directions) or even acknowledging that an act of offering up the painful feelings of jealousy can help another's soul.
When the Jealousy Monster strikes, take a breath and count 5 things that you are grateful for in your life at that moment. Unrelated or not, this brings us back in touch with humility, reminding us that God is in charge. And, since the Bible says, "In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18, I would even go so far as to challenge you to thank God for your moment of attack. I can guarantee you that the Devil will NOT be happy, turning more control back over to you!
7. Count again.
Count at least three things that you like about yourself. If you struggle in this area, picture things that someone you love might say about you. So often jealousy strikes at a time when we are vulnerable to feeling a lack of self-worth in some area. Although you may be tempted to pass this tip up, think again. It can have measurable effects on our abilities to control jealousy.
The Green-Eyed Jealousy Monster is very real. While some perpetrators prey only on the most vulnerable among us, this monster can find weakness in even the strongest of individuals. One of the reasons it has such power is due to the fact that our souls long for fairness. However, if we find ourselves holding out for perfect fairness, we will find ourselves sorely disappointed in this lifetime.
Just ask Jesus. No one could better understand the concept of the unfairness of life more than He. However, He also understands well the fulfillment of fairness that is waiting for us when we come home to Him. We would do well to remember this ourselves!
I truly hope that some of these tips can aid and support you when jealousy strikes. God loves us with all of His heart and He longs to help us become the people we were meant to be.
Let's remember that we are never alone on this trip back to Him!!
Photo Attribution: https://pixabay.com/en/cat-eye-grass-view-lauer-position-1367000/
"Junebug! Come here now!"
Our Mini-Australian Shepherd froze for a second, her eyes dancing back and forth between a tiny kitten and me in torn confusion.
Although annoyed with Junebug, I sympathized with her plight. She was born to herd, a job she took seriously when we operated a rare-breed pig farm years ago. Since the pig farm folded, she and her daughter found themselves needing to be content with herding our free-range chickens, ducks and barn cats. So, when an area cat showed up on our front porch recently and delivered 5 kittens, the opportunity to keep the kittens within their "porch territory" was too much to pass up.
The problem with this opportunity is that although these kittens are not ours, we do need to find homes for them, and exploring the yard and its surroundings is a part of normal maturity. Another issue is that in preparation for other families, the kittens seemed to have become too comfortable with the dogs, losing a bit of awareness in regards to their natural survival instincts.
So, as I watched Junebug chasing the kitten who had gone "outside" the comfort zone of her territory, I knew that her desire to obey me and her strong herding instincts would clash dramatically, and there was little I could do but let her make her decision.
Isn't life like that for us? We hear God's voice calling us daily to follow His plan for our lives. Deep down, we really do want to obey, but sometimes the effect of concupiscence is rooted so deeply that we can find ourselves torn and confused as to which decision to make.
And God will never force His hand in our decision-making process.
For the good of our own souls, He waits, allowing us to respond in love to the unfathomable gift of His love that He breathes on us in every moment that comes to pass.
Each day we may find many of these "torn" moments. Today, let's try to recognize when they come our way, choosing to say no to our earthly baggage and yes to the God Who loves us beyond imagining!
It's time for our new challenge! I spent some time going through the month of July looking for a basic theme but kept coming up short. There are so many feast days of such incredible saints like St. Ignatious, St. Mary Magdalene, St. Bonaventure, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, St. Veronica, St. Maria Goretti, St. Thomas More...and the list goes on!
So, after much deliberation, we've decided to make this summer month's challenge based on all of these incredible saints. Considering that there are so many to choose from, one could easily do a challenge every week, making it simple to get those creative juices flowing! We can't wait to see what you've created!
Please don't forget to take a picture and send it in with our submission form. We can't wait to see it!
Looking for our videos? Check out the Teen Take and Kid Korner tabs above!!
Be With Us, Holy Spirit!
Enjoy some songs to help us become closer to the Third Person in the Trinity!
If a song's title includes (family recording), please refer to the blog entry on 3/8/16 for info...
Hi! I'm a Catholic mom who loves to encourage and support others in their journey to live the beauty of our Catholic faith in a modern world. It can be a struggle, no doubt, but God has given us the tools we need! Join my family (both immediate and extended!) and me as we take on this incredible journey of our path to holiness.
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