Scripture: "Preach the Word, be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching." (2 Timothy 4:2)
Scripture: "Therefore see that you walk carefully (living a life with honor, purpose, and courage; shunning those who tolerate and enable evil), not as the unwise, but as wise (sensible, intelligent, discerning people), making the most of your time (on earth, recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence), because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish and thoughtless, but understand and firmly grasp what the will of the Lord is." (Ephesians 5:15-17)
Scripture: "So until I come, be diligent in devouring the Word of God, be faithful in prayer, and in teaching the believers. Don't minimize the powerful gift that operates in your life, for it was imparted to you by the laying on of hands of the elders and was activated through the prophetic words they spoke over you. Make all of this your constant meditation and make it real with your life so that everyone can see that you are moving forward. Give attention to your spiritual life and every cherished truth you teach, for living what you preach will then release even more abundant life inside you and to all those who listen to you. " (1 Timothy 4:13-16)
May the grace and peace of the Holy Spirit be with you always. I pray for you daily, asking the Lord to multiply every gift of grace He has for you. If you've even casually glanced at the news lately you know that our world seems to be moving more and more quickly into division, chaos and darkness. I've thought much about the first century Church of the apostles. In many ways, perhaps we've reverted back to that level of paganism that the apostles and new disciples of Jesus encountered. What's a Christian to do? There's an astounding level of hopelessness and helplessness out there, but Christians are the ones feeling it as much as non-believers. Should that be? Where is the hope of the Gospel? Where is the power of the Holy Spirit? Where is the inspired teaching so the Body of Christ is equipped and prepared for the spiritual war we are in? Who even recognizes that we are IN a war? Where is the hunger for the Word? Where are the people of God before the Tabernacle longing to worship and be with the Lord of Hosts, to hear Him, be filled with Him, be led by Him, wherever He leads?
Recently, I've begun to do more retreats again. The consistently asked for theme is HOPE. Many people of God are tired, discouraged, hopeless, looking for ways to encounter God, knowing that information ABOUT Him is no longer enough. The stakes are higher, the battles more fierce. People are starving for an encounter with Jesus. And though there is clearly a veil over many, people unable or unwilling to hear from the Lord, there are many with such a hunger that they are running toward anything that promises a power to break them out of their anxieties, fears, hopelessness and helplessness. The danger, of course, is that there are many other sources of power, not from the Kingdom of God, waiting in the wings to scoop up anyone who doesn't have the discernment or understanding to differentiate between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of darkness. How can that be, that Christians can be so easily deceived? There are many answers to that. I will name just a few. Fear, generational openings (including family members' involvement in secret societies like Freemasonry), that block an ability to see, an unbelief in the devil and his realm, (currently 83% of Catholics, including some of our priests and bishops, believe that satan is a myth), unconfessed sin, a history of severe hurt, abuse, trauma and neglect, pride, a history of dabbling in occult practices (even seemingly harmless ones), ignorance of the Word of God and Jesus' own teachings, unforgiveness, just to name a few.
Now if you're reading this blog, I know that your heart is to serve the Lord and bring His Kingdom to earth. So, I speak to you, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, and say that we are living in an Esther 4:14 moment. For such a time as this, we have been allowed to live. There is no accident here. The Lord could have chosen others, but He did not. He chose us, and He promises to equip us with everything we need to carry out our commission while we live. "We must carry out the works of Him who sent us while it is still day; night is coming when no one can work." (John 9:4)
There seems to be an urgency to fulfill our own commission in this time we are living in. Let me explain. This is not a time to make a covenant with fear and do anything in a frenzy, losing our peace. We can only carry out His plan by staying in His peace. It's time to take seriously the call of God, especially during this Lenten season, to heed Jesus' words in Mark 1:15. He had just returned from 40 days of fasting and being harassed by satan in the desert. He entered the desert - a man newly baptized in the Spirit. He came out of the desert, having defeated the devil, totally filled and flooded and empowered by the Spirit to carry out His mission in not only saving us and returning us to relationship with the Father, but also to destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8) His words in Mark 1:15 are still being spoken to us today. The Kingdom of God is accessible, here NOW. You don't have to wait until heaven to touch it. It's here-at hand. So repent, change the way you think. What's keeping you from believing that, and believing that God is giving that to YOU? Where in your thinking or actions are you partnering with a lie? A fear? Where in your heart, mind or soul do you need to change your thinking to bring it into alignment with His Word? Who does Jesus say you are? Who do you say HE is?
What you think about God is THE most important thing in your spiritual journey. And right now, the invitation is not to give up chocolate or wine for Lent, (although those may also be good!) but rather to give up our "stinking thinking" that is keeping us from experiencing the fullness that God has for us. We have to do our own work so that we can bring the Kingdom, bring Jesus to others. And finally, Mark 1:15 says, "Repent and believe the Gospel." That is the crux of the whole thing. Jesus needs His people on the ground who've been willing to do their own healing work so that they can be free to help others do theirs. We need to break the chains binding us so we can help others break theirs. Until that happens, we have Churches full of Christians living on crumbs, like beggars, believing lies, not knowing their true identity in Christ, not knowing they are cherished sons and daughters of the King of Kings, and co-heirs with Jesus to everything in the Kingdom. So often we are sure that this call is for some "special" people, but Jesus is saying that this call is for YOU. He's excited! Time to sit on those thoughts swimming in your head saying "no, not me!" He's not intending to let you off the hook unless you choose to shut Him down. But I KNOW you don't want to. So, fight fears and let's take it up a notch!
One of the things that I am doing is taking Him seriously that unless we come as little children, we will not inherit the Kingdom. The world is big and complicated. The Gospel is not. The world grows darker and darker. We can't turn down the darkness, but we can turn up Kingdom light! There's an old adage, "God said it, I believe it, that settles it." This is where I am standing. I also feel an urgency to get the Word in me deeply. I have always felt it important to commit Scripture to memory. I feel it now more than ever. If you tend to go to a place of fear, we need to replace our default thinking with HIS thinking. By committing His Word to memory, it really will become our new "go to" thinking. In this season it is imperative to stand on His Word, His truth, not what we are hearing or even seeing in the natural. It's also important to stay close to the true magisterium, the Catechism and the Sacraments. Over and over, we have heard from Marian apparitions, Scripture, popes, etc. that apostasy and confusion will enter the Church. We are seeing some of that now. Don't be surprised. And don't fear. Darkness will not overcome the light, only magnify it. We are called to be the candle in the darkness. We are called to be a city on a hill.
We don't need to search for Jesus, He is living in us! And all of His light is growing in each of us who are standing with Him and seeking Him daily. Jesus is not sleeping, but He IS allowing us to see what happens when a Church sleeps. Evil grows. The enemy flourishes. But the King of Kings, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, is alive and ready to usher in the Kingdom! He is not concerned about the enemy. Psalm 37:12-2 "The wicked make evil plans against good people. But the Lord laughs at the plans of the wicked. He sees their day is coming...The Lord supports those who do right. He watches over the plans of the enemy...The Lord's enemies will be like flowers in a field. They will disappear like smoke."
Revival, restoration and renewal is coming. We are to stay the course. We have the teachings of the Church. These are not negotiable. Mary has consistently said that her rosary is a weapon. This is the time to engage every weapon the Lord has given, including humility and a life lived in forgiveness and repentance and JOY! We serve the God of HOPE, and our God reigns!
Jesus is looking for people who will live YES and answer the call to be supernatural people. People who look the current culture in the eye and don't cower from it but run toward it with the saving message of the Gospel, like David ran toward Goliath. OF course we can't do this in our own strength. But as we yield to Him, He is more than happy to fill us with every supernatural gift and grace we need. He promises that He will be with us always. We will never be alone.
We "get" to be this generation's saints, people who won't settle, who want ALL that Jesus died to give them. He wants people who want to burn with the Heart of Jesus. He's longing to do that work in us. (Phil 1:6) He wants to fill this generation's disciples with such love, such fire power, that we cannot, WILL not be stopped by any and all arrows of the enemy. We know the Ephesians 6 weapons of our warfare, and we know the God who fills us, equips us, and guides our every step. And we, as Catholics, know the power of the saints and angels praying for us, the precious gift of His presence, the power of the rosary, sacramentals and the gift of Godly community with whom we are walking toward heaven.
Present day saints carry the love of Jesus. His miracles are the flipside of that kind of love. "The Kingdom of God is not just talk, but power." (1 Corinthians 4:20) This world needs to see proof of God's presence and power just as the first century world did. Words are not enough, even inspiring words. People need to SEE the display of God's miracle power NOW. They are seeing power in so many other arenas, but often, not in the Church or in His people. This kind of faith takes risk. Jesus commissioned His apostles, then disciples, then promised His Holy Spirit to all who would come. (Joel 2:28 "In the last days I will pour out My Spirit on all people...") (Mark 16: 17-18 "These signs will follow those who believe: in My name they will drive out demons...they will place their hands on the sick and they will recover.") Will you allow Him to make you a visual aid for the Kingdom?!
People of God, there is no way to carry out a supernatural mission with only natural means. Pray, pray, pray for a new Pentecost. Pray that we have a new depth of hunger for all the Lord has for us, and new awe for who He is, and our need to repent and worship Him. Pray for supernatural wisdom to know what to do, and supernatural courage to do it. Quiet your soul more and more. Seek alone time with Jesus. Grow your prayer life. Learn to wait on Him. He knows what you want. Ask Him what He wants, how you may serve Him, and how He wants to be worshipped. Right now, THIS is the major call...to learn to sit at His feet, grow more and more accustomed to His voice, to soak in His love for you, and be fortified and equipped for His next step for you. EVERYWHERE there is need. And the Lord is saying that WE are the answer to the prayers being prayed. Are you ready to know His life, His love and His power pulsating through you at a new level? This is our moment. What will your answer be?
"I pray that you may come to know practically, through experience for yourself, the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere head knowledge. I pray that you may be filled up throughout your being with the fullness of God, so that you may have the richest experience of His presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself. Now to Him who is able to carry out His purpose and do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think, infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes or dreams, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the Church, and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen
All glory and honor to our Triune God now and forever.