Friday, January 13, 2017

The Power of God

It never fails. When things seem to be going smoothly, evil will, in all likelihood, cause a hiccup! And the hiccup always has to do with another's behavior in opposition of my core beliefs. There is appropriate behavior which I may not be in agreement with, but I respect because we are all individuals with our own way of doing things. Then there is inappropriate behavior . . . behaviors I avoid at all costs. When they are demonstrated right before my eyes, my immediate thought is "SERIOUSLY?" But then the Good Lord steps in to calm me down. All I have to do is start writing my blog post for the day and He always sends the calm I need. There will always be those demonstrating inappropriate behavior as in the parable from the Gospel today (Mark 12:1-12). Jesus can only do so much with me . . . it's my free will I am in control of and in need of remembering to focus on Him when others try to disrupt my peace:

Jesus began to speak to the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and left on a journey. At the proper time he sent a servant to the tenants to obtain from them some of the produce of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent them another servant. And that one they beat over the head and treated shamefully. He sent yet another whom they killed. So, too, many others; some they beat, others they killed. He had one other to send, a beloved son. He sent him to them last of all, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they seized him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come, put the tenants to death, and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this Scripture passage:

The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes?”

They were seeking to arrest him, but they feared the crowd, for they realized that he had addressed the parable to them. So they left him and went away.

In Anne a lay apostle's book The Mist of Mercy, her point is eloquently made . . . there is always going to be disruption in our lives . . . it's how we handle it that matters:

"During periods of duress, it is important that we be very gentle with ourselves. We must not condemn ourselves or judge ourselves more harshly than the Lord judges us. The enemy delights when we think, poor me. I’m not holy enough. Surely the Lord should cast me out of the family. Surely the Lord can do without the service of one who fails as I have just failed. We will all fail. We will at times lose patience with others. We will also, at times, mistakenly take the bait from the enemy and be drawn into upset and disorder. There are times when we will be the cause of the upset and disorder. But to beat ourselves up over failures is to prolong the enemy’s influence. Jesus has no need of perfect apostles or He would have created some. He needs us, in all of our imperfection. And He needs us to be humble so we must rejoice when we experience our humanity. If nothing else, mistakes remind us that Christ is King and we are not. Remember, too, that Jesus allows attacks. The devil has no power that Christ does not allow him. Jesus allows us to experience spiritual warfare so that we can grow in holiness and trust. With regard to spiritual warfare, my spiritual director often says, “Expect it. Count on it. See it coming.” We must expect resistance and become adept at weathering storms. It is terrifically helpful to have humility. Ask God for humility each day as without it you will be vulnerable. It is a standing joke in our family that a request to heaven for humility is usually answered within minutes. If you lack humility, my friends, you will inevitably land on your backside. In fairness, we all land like that at times. Our humanity guarantees it. Be assured though, that a lack of humility insures a far more painful

Lay apostles, spiritual warfare is all around us. Today, take it for what it is . . . evil trying to disrupt our peace. Focus on Christ and His Will. Please Him in every reaction, every word coming from your mouth. When I practice this way of thinking (and I am far from perfect in doing this!), things seem to blow over much quicker! The power of God and His Mercy are abundant!

Thank you, Lord, for all the comfort and protection You give me in times of angst.

God bless,

Friday, January 6, 2017

God's Love Flows Through Us

Happy New Year 2017! Hard to believe so much time has elapsed since my last post. Life has been busy, wonderful, challenging, miraculous and a list of many other adjectives I could formulate in my head! If you follow me on Twitter (@bonnieyoung22), you know my joy and excitement for the results of the presidential election (#MAGA!!!). For me, it was all about pro-life agendas, retaining our religious liberties, the appointment of conservative Supreme Court Justices to uphold the law, and a president who is pro-America. I truly believe there were so many people praying for President-elect Donald J. Trump to win, the Good Lord decided to give us a miracle! The power of prayer hopefully has been restored in many who have put it on the back burner. God IS mightier than those who oppose Him . . . we must never forget that. God's Love flows through us if we allow it to. And, we must give it freely . . . even to those who allow evil to reign in their lives. If we stop the flow of God's love and replace it with revenge, hatred, or bitterness, how will the recipient ever see the beauty of faith in our Mighty God? Let it begin with me!

Today's Gospel (Mark 1:7-11) makes one thing clear . . . God is in control:

This is what John the Baptist proclaimed: "One mightier than I is coming after me.  I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.  I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John.  On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him.  And a voice came from the heavens, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."

In Anne a lay apostle's book Whispers From the Cross, she beautifully illustrates God's power within each of us:

"There are days when the work we do for God is so steady that we do not look around. We serve without interruption, giving little thought to the bigger canvas on which God uses us to paint His story of renewal.

Sometimes we work very hard for long periods and during these periods God gives us all that we need to persist in His service. We have, during these periods of intensive service, little time to examine why we are serving God or what else we could be doing. We simply work. All is well. During these periods, God often withholds temptations of the more sublime variety, the “Do I really want to remain on this current course?” temptations. We barrel through the work, and God flows through us mightily even though we can be largely unaware of this. After a time, we get tired. Then comes a natural break. This can come in the form of an in-between period, or it is a time-off period. Perhaps we suffer with illness or a transition of service occurs. At those times, the floodgates can open.

God then allows us to struggle with the temptations necessary to secure our future service. The story with holiness, while written in the present, is concluded in the future. In other words, the end of the story is directly correlated to the action of the present. What will the end look like? That depends on what we choose today. The struggle we all experience of revulsion for the work that God wills for us is part of the work."

Lay apostles, what are you going to do differently in 2017? For me, I will, to the best of my ability, write more; love unconditionally (yes, I really try to pray for HRC!); be a better wife, mother, Mimi, sister, aunt and friend. I am so imperfect. But if I allow God to flow through me to others, His Divine Plan can continue to move forward in my life and the lives of those I love and come in contact with.

Thank you, Lord, for the reminder of the power of prayer. Help me to come to You first always!

God bless,