In our hyper divided nation where people get so angry at their opponents or even people on the street or grocery line, the below daily reflection, really struck a chord with me. The human reaction to our enemies or opponents is to get even, or to destroy them in some way, but God’s way is to heal, and forgive, to bring our enemies into the fold. The apostles were not so different from us. When they wanted to pass through a Samaritan town, and the Samaritans refused to give the disciples entrance to pass through, one of Jesus’ disciples wanted to call down fire from heaven to smite the Samaritans. Jesus told them to hold off. Jesus had a different plan in mind for them.
The story made me thing of today’s culture. How often do we react this same way? I could easily see myself reacting the same way as the disciples did. How quickly we react with our human instincts to rebel, fight back, or try to “get even” with those who oppose us. Rather God calls us to pray for our enemies and treat them as we would a fellow Christian or family member. No one is lost in God’s eyes, even though from our perspective our enemies seem like a lost cause.
The scripture below comes to mind.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55: 8-9)
The below story CLEARLY demonstrates this and it gives me pause to consider how quickly we can all be to act with our human instincts rather than to operate by God’s grace and in the power of the Holy Spirit to be God’s hands and feet in this divided world.
Are you too busy? Are you overwhelmed with life’s demands? If so, God has a better way for you. In talking with a priest one day who had completely burned out at one point in his ministry told me something I will never forget regarding his ministry workload, he said, “The Lord is not a slave driver, the devil is.” He went on to explain, that the Lord called him to minister to his flock, but it was the devil who was whispering lies in his ear, and mentally using a whip to get him to work faster, and faster, to take on more and more than he could handle. One day the priest realized the Lord was not pushing him like this, it was the devil. And he stopped operating like that. He needed REST. And the Lord was calling him to Rest in Him. The below reflection from Presentation Ministry’s One Bread, One Body struck me as many of us try to serve the Lord, and meet all the demands of work and family, but it was a good reminder that we need to know the Lord is not a slave driver, the devil is.
Messy Family Project-Cana 90 Lenten Program – Alicia Hernon joins Jim Ganley and Brigid Ayer to talk about The Messy Family Project, and she offers tips on how you can improve your marriage & family life during the season of Lent with a program called Cana 90. The Messy Family Project webpage is www.messyfamilyproject.org
Discipleship in the new millennium brings many opportunities and challenges. We have really awesome technology we can harness to share our experience of Jesus and the truth we have been given.
A question I hear a lot in my various roles is “Should I be using YouTube, or another video sharing platform?” As a longtime Catholic Christian who has worked in evangelization and as a professional communications consultant, I get questions about video use, particularly YouTube, all the time from those who want to up their discipleship efforts. In fact, I feel so strongly about using digital media (including video) to evangelize, I wrote a book on the topic called “Breaking New Ground: Discipleship Using New Media, Evangelization in the Third Millennium” In that work, I encourage followers of Jesus to use all that is at our technological fingertips to share our personal encounters with Christ, and advance what we have been given as it relates to Jesus and our Christian faith. Yet, I do not go into great detail about the how’s or why’s to use specific platforms. I’ll do that here with regard to YouTube. I get this question so often, especially the “How“, I created a 3-part video class on things to consider when starting a YouTube channel.
In those days John the Baptist appeared preaching in the desert of Judea (and) saying, “Repent, for the kingdom if heaven is at hand!” –Matthew 3:1-2
John the Baptist first appeared in a unique place; the desert wilderness. There were few people in the desert, but he began preaching there anyway. There is a great symbolism in this. It shows that the preaching in the Temple and synagogues was ineffective. God had to send someone outside of the religious establishment to prepare the way for his Son.
The austere place of the wilderness stood as a sign of John’s radical service to God. He lived without any comforts. Throughout the scriptures, the wilderness is a place that God accomplishes his greatest work in people and prepares them to make a great impact.
In the desert, John the Baptist had a very specific message to help point people toward the light: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” Repent means a change of thinking that leads to a change of heart that results in a change of action or direction. John challenges people to change their direction and turn back to God because he is near.
God has placed you in a specific location to bring his message to a certain group of people. Your life can be the light that helps someone change direction back toward God. Pray for God to give you the names of people he wants you to be a light for and move in his direction.
(Excerpt from Messages of Light for Advent and Christmas – Three-minute Devotions By: Father Michael White and Tom Corcoran)
Faith That Makes You Think – Faith In Action co-hosts, Brigid Ayer and Jim Ganley talk with Dr. Gerard Verschuuren, human geneticist, with a Ph.D. the Philosophy of Science, talks about his recent book “Faith that Makes You Think” and how the topic how the Catholic Faith gives us the tools to get at authentic truth through faith and reason. The book demonstrates that Faith and Science are complementary. Dr. Verschuuren’s book is available where books are sold and on Amazon, click here
A Surfer’s Guide to the Soul with Bear Woznick – Faith In Action co-hosts, Brigid Ayer and Jim Ganley talk with their guest veteran surfer author, Bear Woznick about his new book, “A Surfer’s Guide to The Soul” about ways he learned the lessons of connecting with God by surfing. He draws share his many adventures surfing and also provides insights on famous saints, like St. John of The Cross and St. Teresa of Avila to help others connect with God. To learn more or get a copy of his book, check out sophiainstitutepress.com or another website to connect with Bear is www.bearswave.com or www.deepadventure.com