Jesus Didn’t Give Up

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From Unsplash.com

From Unsplash.com

Here is a question for the class: How much faith do you put into God healing you when you are sick? I am not saying to not go to a doctor, or refuse treatment, but do you you think having faith in God helps you beat your illness?

As you may or may not know I have fibromyalgia and I am in the process of writing a book about it. I have done a lot of research on it, including visiting various fibro forums where I learn that many people with fibro are a lot worse off than I am. For that I am thankful. But I also wonder how many of these people may have given up and just except the fact that they are going to be miserable.

I always remember something my way older sister told me when I asked her how she deals with her rheumatoid arthritis, a disease that can be crippling and she told me “I just get up every day and don’t let it get to me.” Now that might not be a completely accurate quote, but it is close enough. She told me no matter how bad she feels, she gets up, moves around, goes to work and eventually she “forgets” the pain. This is what I try to do each day as well. There are days, especially lately because of issues with my insurance changing my meds, when I hurt or am exceptionally tired, but I still get up and start my day. Believe me there is nothing I would like better than to stay in bed, but if I did that, I would feel worse because I didn’t do anything all day.

Did you ever stop to think what would have happened if Jesus just gave up and stayed in bed every day? He must have been pretty tired, walking everywhere, teaching, healing and praying, yet he kept going to save us. He could have did what Pilate asked, he could have not gone to Jerusalem, he knew what was going to happen. But he went anyway.

He suffered a lot more than I ever will and if he could do it, so can I. Here is a passage from my book, coming soon to an eBook seller near you:

When you wake up every day you have a choice to make. You can choose to get out of bed or you can choose not to get out of bed. You can choose to be thankful for you still have or you can choose to commiserate about what you don’t have. You can choose to have a good and near normal quality of life or you can choose to be miserable. It really is your choice.

Comments, questions, criticisms? Feel free to enter them below.

“…and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” – James 5:15

Thy Will Be Done

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We all know that line from “The Lord’s Prayer”. “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” How do we know what God’s will is? We often hear that instead of asking God what he can do for us, we should ask Him what we could do for Him, what is His will, what does He want from us. But how do we know?

“Everything happens for a reason”, “God has a plan for all of us”, these are other things we hear but we are never told what the plan or the reason is. How do we discern what God wants us to do? We pray, but nothing seems to happen, nothing seems to change, we never receive a sign telling us what we should be doing. Or do we?

Do we get “signs” from God and just don’t realize it? Do we take the time to listen when He speaks? The last couple of weeks have been tough here at the little house on the lake. I still haven’t found a new job, my better half was out of work for a month, we’re behind on all of or bills, my insurance company made me change my meds for my fibromyalgia and they aren’t working and we appear to be in a winter that just refuses to end. Needless to say I am more than just a little depressed. Is this part of God’s plan for me – to make me suffer? What did I ever do? Wait, it’s best I don’t go there.

Then I realize a few things. First, I am still here and that’s a plus. I also realize that losing my job was really God’s way of telling me maybe it was time for me to stop working 14 hours a day, driving 700 miles and constantly being in pain from the lifting I did every day. I also have more time to write, something I always have wanted to do although right now it isn’t paying the bills. And despite the problem with the med change, most of me feels better, at least I can stand up straight again. I also realize the fibromyalgia was impairing my driving somewhat (combined with the long hours and lifting), so maybe God was giving me a sign.

We might not always know what God wants from us, we might not always know what He is trying to tell us, but you can bet He is there. We only need to listen.

Pray then like this:

Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread;  And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors; 13 And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.  For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. – Matthew 6: 9 – 14

Growing in Faith: A Bible Study Guide for Catholics Including Reflections on Faith by Pope Francis

You Can Understand The Bible: A Practical And Illuminating Guide To Each Book In The Bible

The Gospel According to Matthew (2nd Ed.) (The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible)

Is God Testing Us?

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Courtesy of Unsplkash

Courtesy of Unsplash

Have you ever been told that God is testing you? For example when there is some temptation in front of you, do you think it might be God trying to trick you into sinning to see how strong you are? I have to admit I used to think that at times, at least those few times I even gave sin any thought.

One of my favorite passages from scripture is the one that is at the top of my blog:

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13

When you first read this it almost sounds like God does indeed tempt you. He just doesn’t tempt you beyond what you can handle. But really what he is saying is He won’t let someone else tempt you beyond what you can handle. That someone else is Satan and his helpers. I guess this is where the saying “God only gives us as much as we can handle comes from.

I think back over my past, something I do way too much of I know, and I think of all the times I sinned and succumbed to temptation and I realize each time it was my choice. No one held a gun to my head, not even Satan, I sinned of my own free will. I also learned that God never let me go so far down where I couldn’t get back up.

There is another passage from James:

Blessed is the man who endures the trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one; but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death. – James 1:12 – 15

This is where we learn God doesn’t tempt us. Each of us is “lured and enticed” by our own desire. Take a look at the seven deadly sins:

  • Pride
  • Avarice
  • Envy
  • Wrath
  • Lust
  • Gluttony
  • Sloth

Each of these are related to some type of desire we have. Our pride will lead us to perhaps do things we wouldn’t to get ahead in our jobs. Avarice is our desire to get more “stuff”. Envy is when we desire someone else’s “stuff”. Wrath is when we get angry because we can’t have “stuff”. Lust is when we really want “stuff “and will do anything to get it. Gluttony is when we have too much “stuff” but won’t give it up. And sloth is when we are too lazy to earn the “stuff” we want. All based on our desires. The word “stuff” can mean a lot of things, it could be a bigger house, a new car, or a “trophy” wife or husband. (Is there such a thing as a trophy husband?) We are tempted by the desire for any or all of these things.

As it says in James. Desire leads to sin which leads to death. Just don’t blame it on God.

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Pope Paul VI – Prophet

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In my last post I talked about how some people are trying to play God instead of letting God be God. I took some time today to read Humanae Vitae, an encyclical written by Pope Paul VI in 1968. There are two paragraphs that in reading them now were so prophetic.

I don’t remember what was talked about when this came out, I was only 12 and what the Pope had to say about anything was the furthest thing from my mind. I understand now that it was pretty controversial. I am guessing this was probably the beginning of when many began to leave the Catholic Church, or at least the start of Catholics thinking they knew better than the Church. This encyclical was a result of the rise of birth control use in our society and why the Church believed it to be wrong.

Let’s take a look at the two paragraphs I think were the most prophetic. All three are in the section entitled “”Grave Consequences of Methods of Artificial Birth Control”.

Upright men can even better convince themselves of the solid grounds on which the teaching of the Church in this field is based, if they care to reflect upon the consequences of methods of artificial birth control. Let them consider, first of all, how wide and easy a road would thus be opened up towards conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality. Not much experience is needed in order to know human weakness, and to understand that men — especially the young, who are so vulnerable on this point — have need of encouragement to be faithful to the moral law, so that they must not be offered some easy means of eluding its observance. It is also to be feared that the man, growing used to the employment of anti-conceptive practices, may finally lose respect for the woman and, no longer caring for her physical and psychological equilibrium, may come to the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer his respected and beloved companion.- On Human Life: Humanae Vitae

I think we can all agree that there is a serious problem in the world today with the road having been “opened up towards conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality”. Watch daytime television, shows like Jerry Springer, Maury and Bill Cunningham to get a birds eye view of what has happened.  Look around and it isn’t too hard to see how man has lost respect for women and has “come to the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer his respected and beloved companion”.

Let it be considered also that a dangerous weapon would thus be placed in the hands of those public authorities who take no heed of moral exigencies. Who could blame a government for applying to the solution of the problems of the community those means acknowledged to be licit for married couples in the solution of a family problem? Who will stop rulers from favoring, from even imposing upon their peoples, if they were to consider it necessary, the method of contraception which they judge to be more efficacious? In such a way men, wishing to avoid individual, family, or social difficulties encountered in the observance of the divine law, would reach the point of placing at the mercy of the intervention of public authorities the most personal and most reserved sector of conjugal intimacy.

Pope Paul predicted exactly what is happening around the world where governments are imposing restrictions on how many children one couple can have. Even the United States government, through the United Nations advocates population control for developing nations.

Take a hard look around and see if we as a society are any better off now then we were before 1968. We have unwed mothers, deadbeat dads, abortions that are through the roof, poverty, pornography, all of these things are the real war on woman.

And somewhere, looking out from whatever hole he happens to be hiding in, Satan is laughing at all of us.

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Only God Should Play God

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While I don’t have a problem with donating my organs after I am done with them, although if anyone would like my prostrate now they are welcome to it, I want to be the one to decide if I will or not, not the state. As those who know me from my political side already can attest, I am not one who likes the government interfering with my life, contrary to what they might believe, they do not know better than I do.

But it seems that the legislature up there in Vermont has decided that they have the right to tell you what you can do with any of the pieces that are left after you die. They are assuming you want to donate them unless you tell them you don’t, unlike the other 49 states who assume you don’t want to donate your organs unless you explicitly say you do. Do we really want to go there?

Again I don’t have a problem with organ donation, but what I am afraid of is this: Who decides on the value of your organs? Is a potential recipient’s life more valuable than the donor’s? This tags on quite nicely with Vermont’s assisted suicide law doesn’t it?

There is a definite morality problem here. Let me give you an example. Recently my sister died. She was 60 years old. As far as we know most of her organs were healthy, but for all intents and purposes she was disabled due to mental illness. We could argue whether or not she was capable of making informed decisions or not, but for this discussion, let’s assume she wasn’t. Let’s say someone found out she had a healthy heart that matched a 15 year old who desperately needed a new one. Whose life is worth more? My sister, who some would say was not contributing to society, in fact, some would say was actually a drain on society, or the 15 year old who hasn’t even begun living their life? Would it have been wrong to trade one life for the other? This isn’t as far fetched as it might sound.

Similar decisions are made every day by those who work for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. How many women do they persuade to abort their babies because there might be a chance the baby might be unproductive due to autism or some other birth defect? How many women do they convince to get rid of their babies because they won’t be able to afford them and therefore their quality of life just won’t be any good?

We can no longer allow people to think they are God and make decisions only God can make. Eugenics is alive in well.

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The Definition of Evil

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I bet you thought I was dead, didn’t you? Nope, still here, just been dealing with all kinds of issues, but I am hanging in there.

Today I am thinking about evil. You know the opposite of good. Today as I was listening to one of my favorite Catholic talk shows, “The Patrick Madrid Show“, he made the statement that the purpose of evil is to make people believe evil doesn’t exist. That may not be the exact quote, but it is close enough. This can be said about evil or the Evil One. Think about it, if we can be convinced there is no evil then we assume it doesn’t exist and there isn’t a problem.

We have seen this and continue to see this every day. We have a president and an administration that refuses to call terrorists, terrorists, radical Islamists, radical Islamists, and on and on. We have people and organizations, including educators, who refuse to call killing living human beings murder, whether through abortion or through so called “Death with Dignity” or “Right to Die” laws. Advocates of these causes want us to believe we are doing good by committing evil. Because someone is no longer productive due to health issues, old age, or may potentially be born with something like autism, they have convinced us it is the “right” thing to do to eliminate them. Because someone is no longer wanted, or is not “expected”, or not useful, it is okay to throw them away. This is evil being disguised as good.

What can we do? How about not allowing those who continue to do this, who attack those of us who speak the truth, who attack those of us who refuse to accept evil as anything other than what it is, evil, to do it?

If you want to pretend evil is good, then fine, go on believing it, but as for me, I call it as I see it.

Thoughts?

Dream a little dream

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Courtesy Unsplash.com

Courtesy Unsplash.com

With all this time on my hands now, I have a whole bunch of it to think about all kinds of things. The latest is dreams,more accurately whether or not dreams come from anywhere, specifically from God. Obviously we know God has spoken to people through dreams, there are plenty of examples throughout the Bible, but what about to us not so saintly ones? Does God speak to us through dreams?

Everyone has dreams, and I know I certainly have my share of them. Some I know come from maybe having had one beer to many before going to bed, and some might come from something I ate, but then there are others I really wonder about, especially the ones that repeat themselves.

We all have dreams and in doing some research I have learned there seems to be two different schools of thought on whether they mean anything or not. Freud believed that all dreams were the result of some secret wish. When he first started discussing dreams he claimed they all had to do with sex, however after his book The Interpretation of Dreams: The Complete and Definitive Text came out, he did modify this some. Others believe that certain dreams mean certain things, symbolism. or example if you dream about oranges it means you will have good health. There is even something out there called the Dreamer’s Dictionary which will help you interpret them. So who do you believe? Like it seems is true with everything these days, there is no right answer, it all depends on your interpretation of what is written.

I can only go with my experience with dreams. As I began this post, I have all this free time to analyze everything, including my dreams and I have found some interesting patterns. One thing I have noticed, in fact I noticed this many years ago, is that I have dreams that constantly repeat themselves. They are not always the same, sometimes there are varying details, but 99% of the time they are similar enough to say they are the same. I believe these dreams are trying to send me a message. I will discuss why I believe some of these dreams come from God in a minute. I have also noticed that when I determine what the message is supposed to be, I no longer have the same dream. I had one recurring dream that started about 1984 and finally about two years ago I figured out what it was about, what it was telling me. When I took care of business, I stopped having the dream. Interestingly enough, my father had once told me he had pretty much the same dream.

Okay, so are dreams, whether all or some, messages from God? Does God try to send us messages, warnings, or prophecy? Again there are two schools of thought here as well, depending on whether you believe in God or your don’t. Obviously I do believe in God, so I do believe He speaks to us. Obviously in the Bible there are references to God speaking to people in dreams, and I believe he still does. However, we need to be very careful on this, because just like God can speak to us through dreams, so can Satan.

How can you tell the difference? Simply by reviewing the dream, the whole dream and nothing but the dream to see what the true message is. This isn’t always easy to do, like with the dream I mentioned above. If the message of the dream follows what God and Jesus teach us, then it is from God, if it contradicts what they teach us, then it isn’t from God, but from someone else.

I had another recurring dream, nightmare really, where I would enter into a deserted building and would be attacked by some unseen evil (Satan?). I would wake up feeling like I was suffocating and screaming for help, usually waking the dog, the cats and even once in awhile Tonya. I had this dream several times over several years. I finally realized after I fell off of that darn truck, that it was from God and He was sending me a very clear message. The very night I realized what He was trying to tell me, I had the dream, I made a conscious choice in the dream to not go into that building, indeed I walked down a completely different street. Not only did I not wake up in fear, I have not had the dream since.

Do I think every dream I have comes from above? No, only the ones that repeat themselves, and that I can’t seem to forget throughout the day. I believe God speaks to us in many ways. I know I didn’t always realize it, nor did I listen, but I think He is always speaking to us. Whether it is from God directly or from your guardian angel (another concept I have been pondering lately) He does guide us. So dream on and take the time to look at your dreams, you don’t need books or help from others, just think about the dream, what it might mean and go from there. Maybe it is God Calling.

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