Archive for February, 2011

REFLECTION: Free will…

Monday, February 28th, 2011

In my waking hours one morning as I was transitoning in and out of sleep, I must have been praying for someone because suddenly I sat up, fully alert, and exclaimed to the Father, “Ìf I prayed about that, wouldn`t I be praying against her free will?” I immediately pondered over that exclamatiion and I wondered how I managed to think that way while I was practically still asleep! I had pondered over that for a while and had shared it with two (Eva and Andrea) who helped me see that the enemy managed to plant a lie into my mind.

God the Father, Jesus the redeeming Son, and the ever so loving Holy Spirit…the three persons in One God,  are each great respectors of our free will.  In fact, it was God who gave us the gift of free will at the time of creation.  He chose not to create us as robots, programmed to instinctly choose His will.  Instead, God gave man/woman the free choice to love Him because they recognized that they needed their Creator and they recognized the joy and freedom they had because of that choice.  Even God’s ministering angels are not allowed to interfere with our free will.  They can merely point us towards God but the decision still remains ours.  Unfortunately, the only beings that don’t seem to understand the liberty of free will is man.  I believe each of us can recall a time when we forced another to do things our way “Just because.”.

When we pray for another, we intercede.  We stand in the gap between the other and God, pleading for graces and blessings which the other fails to and/or refuses to pray for on his/her own or we add on to their prayers for themselves.  We ask the Father to open their spiritual eyes, ears and heart so that perhaps, they will recognize and see for themselves that they need God’s grace to make it through.

In Matthew 5:43-48, Jesus teaches us to love our enemies…“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.  He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others?  Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”  That’s a pretty tall order!  And yet Jesus expands on it and very clearly says…”If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?… And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others?”  You didn’t try to skip through that, did you?  I used to, but I didn’t get far.  Anger and resentment kept tripping me and I fell on my face one time too often.  Eventually, I tried God’s way and would you believe, it worked!

Praying for another does not involve asking God to ruin the other’s life.  That is a curse and God does NOT put curses on another.  Instead God wants us to pray for goodness and blessings to come into the life of the other who has harmed us.  Perhaps by doing this, God is teaching us to turn our focus away from the pain and anguish the other has inflicted and to focus, instead, on the good that can come their way.  BUT if by chance the other refuses to receive the blessings and good we have prayed for them, the blessings and good come back to us!  In essence, nothing is wasted and we become stronger individuals.

Is praying for our enemy against our free will?  I don’t think so since the decision to pray for another is ours.  There is no doubt there are consequences in doing things our way, but common sense and experience will normally bring us back to where we started (hopefully sooner than later) and eventually we realize the need to pray for another.

Is praying for our enemy against their free will?  I don’t think so, because like any gift that is given, it needs to be received and opened in order to enjoy what is within.  Similarly, the blessings that we pray for another needs to be received and opened.  Even as we pray for their spiritual eyes, ears and hearts to be opened, they still have the free will to reject what God has revealed to them.

Would you exercise your free will and pray for another?  I hope so.

God bless,

Melissa – February 27, 2011

REFLECTION: The truth shall set you free…

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

The truth shall set you free. Have you heard this before?  I have and I always  thought it meant that if you told the truth, it would set you free.  It does sound logical, doesn’t it?  By telling the truth, you would be free from guilt.  It makes sense to me…

The entire scripture is actually…
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. and it comes from John 8:32.

As I listened to a CD that continues to remain stuck in my car’s CD drive for several weeks now, the speaker (Ann Stevens) had quoted this verse and continued to expand on it.  Suddenly the light bulb that has been waiting to be lit finally came on and I believe I have grasped a deeper understanding of what the scripture is really saying!  (On a side note, take a look at this! “Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. 2 Tim 2:7 – Man, this is so, totally cool!  Imagine what reflecting on scripture can do!)

I believe there are two deeper parts to this scripture.  By capitalizing Truth, the verse becomes…Then you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.”  Jesus is the TruthJesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 In essense, if you know Jesus (by accepting Him as your Lord and Savior), He will set you free from ALL your sins and short comings.

And then there is the second truth… the truth of who you are.  The truth that God made you a beautiful, loving creature who He loves so deeply and so passionately for that He chose to send Jesus to die for your sins so that you would have a way back into His heart.

“If you are a Christian, then the statements below are true of you. (http://www.ficm.org/newsite/index.php?command=textwhoamiinchrist)


I am accepted…
John 1:12 I am God’s child.
John 15:15 As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1 I have been justified.
1Corinthians 6:17 I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 I have been bought with a price and I belong to God.
1 Corinthians 12:27 I am a member of Christ’s body.
Ephesians 1:3-8 I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child.
Colossians 1:13-14 I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.
Col 2:9-10 I am complete in Christ.
Heb 4:14-16 I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ.
I am secure…
Rom 8:1-2 I am free from condemnation.
Rom 8:28 I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances.
Rom 8:31-39 I am free from any condemnation brought against me and I cannot be separated from the love of God.
2 Cor 1:21-22 I have been established, anointed and sealed by God.
Col 3:1-4 I am hidden with Christ in God.
Phil 1:6 I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me.
Phil 3:20 I am a citizen of heaven.
2 Tim1:7 I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.
1 John 5:18 I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.
I am significant…
John 15:5 I am a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life.
John 15:16 I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.
1 Cor3:16 I am God’s temple.
2 Cor 5:17-21 I am a minister of reconciliation for God.
Eph 2:6 I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm.
Eph 2:10 I am God’s workmanship.
Eph 3:12 I may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Phil 4:13 I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”

The speaker (affiliated with Neale Lazano) had said that the truth of who you are will set you free from all of the lies the enemy has shackled you with.  Neale Lazano says…“You are NOT a victim, you ARE a VICTOR in Christ!” You are NOT an outcast.  You are NOT stupid.  You are NOT useless or worthless.  Those are lies and you need to recognize them, renounce them and command them to go to the foot of the Cross in Jesus’ name. And that freedom gives you the liberty to grow and become the beautiful being you deserve to be. Jesus said…” I have come that they may have life,  and have it to the full.” John 10:10 Claim the full life that is rightfully yours!

May the truth set you free!

God bless,

Melissa

p.s. –

“Dear Lord Jesus, I want to know You personally.  Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins and for rising from the dead.  I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord.  I trust You now to forgive my sins and give me eternal life.  Please make me the kind of person You want me to be.”  Please visit (http://www.ficm.org/newsite/index.php?command=receivec) for more information.

REFLECTION: Fear factor….

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011


Boo!

I didn’t scare you, did I?  I didn’t think so.  It normally would take a lot to scare someone.  And yet, why would one want to engage in fear?  Unfortunately many in our time enjoy the adrenaline rush.  Just take a “boo” at the following YouTube clip on the program Fear Factor Australia… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tm7yRovr6G8

I worry about these contestants.  I wonder if it really is worth a go at $50,000 to be tormented by fear?  I wonder how many have had to go through extensive therapy afterwards to overcome post traumatic stress?

Are there things that you are afraid of?  What do you feel about lingering spirits and the unknown?

Scripture teaches…

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ” Phil 4:6

Many seek help to be set free from fear and yet there is another school of thought that moves towards it.  Ironic isn’t it?  With your permission, I would like to visit J.K. Rowling and her Harry Potter Novels once again.  (First Harry Potter Reflection: Gotcha- http://www.inhistime.ca/?p=1138)

I believe most would agree that there shouldn’t be a connection between fear and the Harry Potter Novels.  And yet, should there be?

In the structure and genre subsection of Harry Potter in Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Potter), Rowling is quoted saying… My books are largely about death. They open with the death of Harry’s parents. There is Voldemort’s obsession with conquering death and his quest for immortality at any price, the goal of anyone with magic. I so understand why Voldemort wants to conquer death.  We’re all frightened of it.”

Talking about death with adults is often difficult to do.  Have you noticed how often adults shun away from discussing wills and estates and even the possibility of acquiring a life insurance plan?  It is evident that Rowling is aware that people are afraid of death and yet why does she consciously choose such a theme for children, teens and young adults?  By subjecting them to this theme, is she attempting to slowly desensitise our next generations so that eventually they will embrace a culture of death?

What does “the quest for immortality at any price” mean to you?  Based on films or novels which I have encountered, I believe it would require selling one’s soul to the devil.  Have you actually considered that?  Perhaps the suspense and the thrill of J.K. Rowling’s novels are so captivating that these thoughts no longer stand out and are disregarded.  Adults are normally equipped with protective screening processes and dangerous thoughts are automatically blocked from entering our minds.  And yet, there is a possibility that some of these thoughts escape the screening process and they manage to enter into our minds unconsciously.  And what about our young ones?  Have our very young  developed any of these skills to protect themselves?  I don’t think so.  Are we doing all we can to protect our children from the dangers of the world and yet we readily allow them to read books which embrace selling one’s soul to the devil?  I pray I am not alone in recognizing that there is something terribly wrong here?

Michael O’Brien’s mentions several excellent and crucial points in his article Harry Potter and the Paganization of Children’s Culture (http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/arts/al0088.html. I share some of them…

“What constitutes healthy nourishment of the imagination and what degrades it (?)… The primal desire at the heart of such imagining, he says, is the “realization of wonder.” If our eyes are opened to see existence as wonder-full, then we become more capable of reverential awe before the Source of it all. “Fairy stories may invent monsters that fly the air or dwell in the deep,” he wrote, “but at least they do not try to escape from heaven or the sea.” However fantastic the sub-created world may be, if it is a product of the “baptized imagination” it will be faithful to the moral order of the universe.”

“In the late 19th century there appeared in children’s fiction a trickle of books that began the process of redefining Christian symbols and the presentation of occult themes in a favorable light.  Until then, witches and sorcerers, an important element of traditional fables and fairy tales, were consistently portrayed as evil. With the advent of the occult revival (which entered the West primarily through certain British writers involved in esoteric religion) more and more material appeared that attempted to shift the line between good and evil.”

“With the advent of television another quantum leap occurred. Flooded with powerful stimuli that bypassed the mind’s normal faculties for filtering and interpretation, both the rational and the imaginative aspects of our minds became increasingly passive. As a result, Postman warns, our ways of perceiving reality itself are becoming fundamentally distorted. We now imbibe a massive amount of impressions in small bites that demand of us neither sustained attention nor truly critical thinking, thus rendering us vulnerable to manipulation. We are dangerously close, he says, to that condition described by Aldous Huxley in Brave New World — no longer conscious of our bondage we are soothed by endless entertainments. For in the end he [Huxley] was trying to tell us that what afflicted the people in Brave New World was not that they were laughing instead of thinking, but that they did not know what they were laughing about and why they had stopped thinking.” (Amusing Ourselves to Death, Viking Penguin, New York, 1985, p.163)”

“If the fragmenting and leveling of consciousness distorts how we perceive the world, it will necessarily distort our assessment of cultural material…  The (Harry Potter) series presents the world of witchcraft and sorcery in a positive light… Some critics say the books are flawed but essentially harmless fantasy, filling a real need; others decry them as the next stage in the ongoing degeneration of culture. In either case the books invite an appraisal, for they are going to be a major influence in the values and perceptions of the coming generation. ”

In the Harry Potter novels…”The wizard world coexists with the world of the Muggles (the wizard term for ordinary humans who have no magic powers) but it is so enchanted that ordinary humans are blinded to its existence. When occasionally the lines are crossed through the “misuse of magic”, the Ministry of Magic steps in to cover it up and to erase the memories of Muggles who happen to discover the great secret.”

Did you get that?  The wizard world is so enchanted (to cast a spell over; bewitched) that ordinary humans are blinded to its existence!  Perhaps many of you are not aware that many witches and warlocks gather not too far from our homes.  Check http://witches.meetup.com/cities/ca/bc/victoria/ The first item on the chart reveals that 219 witches meet up in the vicinity of Seattle, Washington!  You didn’t know that, did you?  Have you wondered why?

I sense I don’t need to go any further.  I’m sure by now you get my drift.  There ARE a lot of things going on around us and yet we’ve assumed they are harmless.

My prayer is that each of us will educate ourselves sufficiently so that we can make informed decisions.  Your free will is still there, but it is worth pondering what the likelihood is that many of our children, the next generation, will become the witches and warlocks of the future.

God bless,

Melissa – February 21, 2011

p.s. – On her recorded CD, Moira Noonan (http://www.spiritbattleforsouls.org/) mentions that many parents purchase Harry Potter paraphernalia on-line or even through airline magazines.  She points out that often times, the name of the crafter is indicated.  She cautions us that in these situations, the crafter is not one who engages in a arts and craft, but is a a practising witch or warlock.  She warns that spells are casted on these items before they are sold.

The Spiritual Warfare Prayer ( http://www.spiritbattleforsouls.org/spiritual_warfare_prayer.html)

Heavenly father, I thank you for sending your son Jesus, who won victory over sin and death for my salvation. I thank you for sending your Holy Spirit, who empowers me, quides me, and leads me to fullness of life.

Lord Jesus Christ, I place myself at the foot of Your cross and ask you to cover me with Your Precious Blood which pours forth from Your Most Sacred Heart and Your Most Holy Wounds. Cleanse me, my Jesus, in the living water that flows from Heart. I ask you to surround me, Lord Jesus, with you Holy Light.

Heavenly Father, let the healing waters of my baptism now flow back through the maternal and paternal generations to purify my family line of satan and sin. I come before You, Father, and ask forgiveness for myself, my relatives, and my ancestors, for any calling upon powers that set themselves up in oppossition to you or that do not offer true honor to Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ Holy Name, I now reclaim any territory that has handed over to Satan and place it under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

By the power of Your Holy Spirit, reveal to me, Father, any people I need to forgive and any areas of unconfessed sin. Reveal aspects of my life that are not pleasing to You, Father, ways that have given or could give satan a foothold in my life. Father, I give to You any unforgiveness; I give to You my sins; and I give to You all ways satan has hold of my life. Thank You, Father, for these revelations. Thank You for Your forgiveness and Your love.

Dear Lord, I have a confession to make. Through ignorance, stupiditiy or willfulness, I have sought supernatural experience apart from you. I ask you to help me as I renounce all these things. Cleanse me in body, mind, soul, and spirit.

In the name Jesus I renounce all contact with witchcraft, magic, ouija boards, tea leaf, and other occult games. I renounce all kinds of fortune telling, palm reading, tea leaf readings, crystals balls, tarot and other card laying. I renounce all astrology, birth signs, and horoscopes. I renounce the heresy of reincarnation and all healing groups involved in metaphycics and spiritualism. I renounce all transcendental meditation, yoga, zen and all eastern cults, and religious idol worship. I renounce all water witching or dowsing, levitation, table tipping, body lifting, psychometry (divination through objects), automatic writing, and handwriting analysis. I renounce all literature I have ever read and studied in any of these fields that promote the New Age and occult, and I vow to destroy such books and any New Age/ occult objects. I renounce astral projection, soul and out-of-body travel and other demonic skills. I renounce in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, all psychic herdity  that I may have and I break any demonic hold on my family line back to seven generations on both sides of the family. I do now renounce and forsake every psychic, New Age, and occult contact that I know about and those which I do not know about. I renounce every cult that denies the blood of Jesus Christ and every philosophy which denies the diety of the Lord Jesus.
Lord reveal to me anything else I need to renounce.

In the name of Jesus I am closing any door which I may have opened to Satan through contact with the New Age and occult.   Help me to live, to love, and to serve from this day forward.  Amen

Other Spiritual Warfare Prayer


Prayer for Freedom from Curses

I place myself in the presence of Jesus Christ and submit to his lordship.
I “Put you on the armour of god that I may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil.(Ephesians 6: 11)
I “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth and having on the breastplate of justice.(Ephesians 6: 14)
I carry  “In all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one.(Ephesians 6: 16)
I will take unto you the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit (which is the word of god).(Ephesians 6: 17).
(Chapter and verse from Douay Rheims Holy Bible)

In the name of Jesus Christ crucified, died and risen, I ask you father in heaven to bind all spirits of the air, the atmosphere, the water, the fire, the wind, the ground, the underground and the netherworld. I also ask Father that you bind the influence of any lost or fallen soul who may be present and all emissaries of the satanic headquarters or coven of witches or warlock or satn worshippers who may be present in some preter-natural way. I claim the blood of Jesus on the air and
atmosphere, the water, the fire, the wind, the gound, and their fruits all around us, the undergound and the netherworld.

In the name of Jesus Christ I ask your Father to forbid every adversary mentined to communicate with or help one
another in any way, or to communicate with me, or to do anything at all except what I command in Jesus’ name.

In the name of Jesus Christ I seal this place and all present and all family and associates of those present
and their places and possesions and sources of supply in the blood of Jesus.
(Repeat three times)

In the name of Jesus Christ I ask you Father to forbid any lost spirits, covens, satanic groups or emissaries or any of
their associates, subjects or superiors to harm or take revenge on me, my family and my associates or cause harm
associates or cause harm or damage to anything we have.

In the name of Jesus Christ and by the merits of His precious blood, I ask you Father to break and dissolve every curse, hex, seal, spell, sorcery, bond, snare, trap, device, lie, stumbling block, deception, diversion or distraction, spiritual chain or spiritual influence, also every disease of body, soul, mind or spirit placed upon
us or in this place or on any of the persons places and things mentioned by any agent or brought on us by our own mistakes or sins.
(Repeat three times)

I place the cross of Jesus Christ between myself and all generations in my family tree. I say in the name of
Jesus Christ that there will be direct communication between the generations. All communication will be filtered through the Precious Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Mary Immaculate and little Luisa, clothe me in the light, power and energy of your faith. Father please assign the angels and Saint Michael and all the saints to assist me.Thank you Lord Jesus for being my wisdom, my justice, my Sanctification, my Redemption. I surrender to the ministry of your Holy Spirit and receive Your truth concerning intergenerational healing through the intercession of the Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta the little daughter of the Divine Will.

Glory to the father Son and Holy Spirit. As it was the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen

REFLECTION: A teachable moment…

Sunday, February 20th, 2011


Have you noticed that as you learn, you realize that there is so much more that you don’t know?  I have and although I didn’t really enjoy attending classes when I couldn’t see how I could apply the curriculum to my life, the lessons I have learned lately have been many and oh so powerful.

In response to the Reflection:  Answered prayer, I have had two who questioned about it.  As I prayed this morning, I sensed the Father prompting me on to expand on it in hopes that others can learn from it too.  And so I share.

Without intending to, I scared someone.  NO, I didn’t prank her, I SCARED her while I was sharing during an Alpha discussion group.  I was sharing about how a friend had looked deep into my eyes and asked me “HOW ARE YOU inside?” during one of my earlier bouts of depression.  I guess I shouldn’t have dramatized it and I suppose my look was more intense than the poor woman could handle… considering she didn’t even know me.  I wonder if my two hugs after she said I was scaring her traumatized her even more?   (Sigh, poor lady, she didn’t know what hit her!  Lord forgive me and HELP HER!)

As the Father and I continued “talking” about this, I heard Jim Murphy’s voice prompting a group of us that we have to be sensitive to the needs of those we are ministering to. He shared that a man who was part of the prayer meeting welcoming committee had welcomed a new comer with a warm hug.  Later on, he was told by the Priest that the woman would not be returning.  The woman was recently sexually abused and it just so happened that the woman had to walk through a long dark hallway to get to the prayer meeting and at the end of that hallway was a big man who gave her a burly hug.  To some, this would be such a warm welcome.  To another who had recently come through a traumatic experience, it was a nightmare added to a previous nightmare.

As to my desire to move on, I believe I have to share my reason for being there. My intent on attending the Alpha program was not to assist, but to intercede while the mother of the young girl who died when she leaped from her mom’s car was attending. I had already made contact with her and had passed on some of my reflections on the death of her daughter (http://www.inhistime.ca/?p=365) and the death of her best friend (http://www.inhistime.ca/?p=294) 2 weeks before that. I had sensed that it was important for her to see that there were others outside her close circle of friends that cared. I was also able to tell her about those who continued to pass by the place where her daughter had died and I had also shared that I was sensing that her daughter was sad that she is still holding on. I actually took a picture of the the photo that was displayed on the sidewalk and there was a water droplet that remained on the daughter’s cheek for at least half an hour. I was also able to show that to her. It looked as if her daughter was crying.

And so as the Father and I had our regular chat that morning, I had asked Him if I could now move on.  At times, my restless nature makes it difficult for me to stay put when I begin to loose interest in what is going on and my mind had already started wandering on to other things in the previous week.  SO… I believe you can now understand my sense of relief when Msgr. “dismissed” me from attending.  Msgr said that I didn’t do anything wrong.  He just mentioned that my enthusiasm may scare some people and I knew exactly what he was talking about.  Isn’t God so…good?

God bless,

Melissa – February 20, 2011


REFLECTION: Answered prayer….

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Have you lifted a prayer to the Father and had a Priest bring the answer directly to you 2 hours later?  I have and it took place this morning!

As I was sitting on the front pew before Mass this morning, Msgr. Greg tapped me on the shoulder and asked if he could speak to me for a few minutes.  I followed him to the confessional area and he shut the door.  One could only imagine that the conversation would be serious since the door was shut.

Msgr. began with words of edification (instructing in such a way as to improve, enlighten, or uplift morally, spiritually, or intellectually ) and he then gently said that he didn’t think I should continue assisting with a Parish program.  As he continued to speak, I was already saying “thank you” while I tried to stop him as he rambled on.  The poor man must have wrestled with this for an extended period of time and he must have asked for the Father’s guidance on how to break this news without offending me.  After he finished his speel, I told him that I was just praying about it this morning and I was asking the Father if He still wanted me to attend the program.  In all honesty, I had already begun to hesitate about attending and I was asking the Father if I really had to go.  Msgr’s mouth literally dropped open as I shared this with him.

As we left the room, I said “Isn’t it amazing how the Father answers our prayers?”  We both left the room ecstatic because we had just shared and witnessed the amazing way our Father answered our prayers!  And now I am free to do other things!  Thank YOU LORD!

God bless,

Melissa – February 18, 2011

p.s. – 1) Did you notice that Msgr. began his conversation with words of edification?

“This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority–the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.” 2 Corin 13:10

2) Msgr. had shared that when he went to speak to his spiritual advisor yesterday, he did the same thing I did.  Msgr. told him that he knew exactly what he was talking about and his advisor didn’t have to say anything further.  Thought I’d share this to point out that it is not only the lay folk that  are required to go for the Sacrament of Confession.  Our Priests and the Pope also go for the Sacrament of Confession.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

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REFLECTION: Will you smile?

Friday, February 18th, 2011
.
An interesting article popped up yesterday that triggered my thoughts on the search for love. I don’t think the young man clearly understood what he was looking for, but he recognized there was something missing in his life and he went out into the world in search for it.

But what triggered his search? I’ll let Thabiti Anyabwile tell you his story ( http://www.christianity.com/home/christian)

” I grew up in a nominally Christian home and community in North Carolina. From time to time we’d attend church, but I don’t remember that the gospel was clearly preached. And I certainly didn’t have ears to hear it if it was. After being allowed to join the church and being “baptized” with no understanding of the gospel or testimony of conversion, I came to believe that Christianity was “pie in the sky” myth. My father left the family when I was about 14. Between his leaving, the anger that ensued, and my experience with nominal Christianity, I was quite primed to harden my heart toward the Lord.”

I wonder if a smile or two from his parish community and a little bit of love and/or interest for his well-being would have convinced him to stay rather than search elsewhere.  I’ve often wondered whether those who are hurting within our own parishes are receiving the encouragement, prayer and emotional support and the love they so desperately need.

Perhaps because of our own lack of discipline and our hurried lifestyle, we often find ourselves running into Church just as Mass begins and then we find ourselves sprinting out again the moment the Priest leaves the sanctuary.  That in itself isn’t healthy for ourselves, but if we stop for a moment to think about it, it isn’t healthy for those around us either.  Our hurried lifestyle prevents us from being quiet for a moment to spend some time with the Father before Mass begins, but it also prevents us from taking a moment to acknowledge the presence of those around us.  Have you ever considered that you may be the first person your “neighbour” is in contact with AFTER the loss of a loved one, be it from death or from the family setting?  There are so many within our community that are hurting and yet, our hurried lifestyle prevents us from looking into the eyes of another and recognizing the hurt that is within.

The article continues on… in “my freshman year in college, I met a number of men on campus who were clean cut, upright, spoke boldly about loving your families and contributing to community, and the need to submit to God. It was the first time I’d seen that many strong African-American men.  I was drawn to them like a moth to flame. I recognized I needed the discipline and commitment they were describing. Long story short… these were Muslim men. I began to study Islam with some of them and my sophomore year converted to Islam. For the couple years that followed, I was zealous for Islam, leading some students to embrace the faith. I was something of the campus Saul, opposing the gospel and anything having to do with the biblical Jesus.”

I’m sure you’ve heard similar stories where many have turned away from the Church in search for love elsewhere… be it in another faith walk such as the New Age and/or the Occult or even in drugs, alcoholism and other addictions?  Isn’t it so tragic that the Good News Jesus wants us to share with the world is that He loves each one, just the way we are and yet we, His people, who are supposed to be like Him, fail to extend this love to our neighbours?  We have to admit there is something terribly wrong here.  Has God failed us?  I don’t think so.  I believe it is we who have failed.  Didn’t Jesus say love your neighbour as yourself?  (Lev 19:18/Matt 19:19/Matt 22:37-39/Mark 12:30-31/Luke 10:27/Rom 13:9/Gal 5:14/James 2:8)

Perhaps the problem is that we don’t know how to love ourselves.  I must admit that was one problem I faced for a while.  I knew Jesus and I loved Him with all of my heart and I knew He loved me ever so deeply.  The problem was that I didn’t feel that I deserved to be loved.  Somewhere along the way, I picked up a lie which the devil had helped me embrace so intensely that it became my truth.  It took a lot of intercessory prayers from many others and for one to challenge me with the following…”Do you know that God created you?  Do you know that part of God is in you?  Could
you love that part of God that is in you?”  She then said “Let that be the start…”  (Thanks Jacqueline!)  Could I challenge you with the same?

Father God, thank You for loving us so much that You didn’t want to leave us in our fallen state.  Thank You for being so willing to send Jesus, your Son, to die for us.  And dear Jesus, thank You so much for saying “yes” to the Father even when You knew how much You would have to suffer to die for our sins.  And dear Holy Spirit, thank You for filling us with the same power You used to resurrect Jesus from the dead so that we can be free from the lies of the enemy.  Thank You for showing us that we ALL deserve to be loved just as we are.  And Father, as you begin to heal us, would you give us the grace to share a smile with another?  We thank you for the victories that have already begun and we pray for all these in Jesus’ healing name, AMEN!

Will you smile?

God bless,

Melissa – February 17, 2011

p.s. – 1) Thabiti Anyabwile has returned to his Christian faith and is now a Pastor.  In his book

The Gospel for Muslims: An Encouragement to Share Christ with Confidence [Moody, 2010]
he devotes an entire chapter to hospitality…”The Scripture commands us to “be hospitable.”  The active practice of hospitality has several spiritual benefits. When we move out toward others in hospitality, we make our love concrete and real. Hospitality helps us conquer the tendency to privatize our faith, fear of man, passivity, and even xenophobia. When we practice hospitality, we’re able to show kindness to strangers (Exod. 22:21; 23:9; Heb. 13:2), to build meaningful relationships,and in a certain sense to render service to Jesus himself (Matt. 25:34-40).” “In our failure to be inviting and to care for “the strangers in our gates,” we end up forfeiting precious opportunities to help them settle into the community, cross cultural bridges, and alter stereotypes of Christians. Hospitality brings us close to people in intimate settings. And that both commends the gospel and creates gospel opportunity.”

2) http://www.cbn.com/media/player/index.aspx?s=/vod/AL32v1_WS – A Muslim meets Christ

REFLECTION: A call to holiness?

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

“I didn’t know you were so holy.”  I believe those were the words Joan, my gorgeous new friend, said to me one day.  I asked why she thought I was “holy”, but I didn’t really listen to her answer because I was already deep in my thoughts, trying to discern whether I wanted to be considered “holy”.   The term “holy”and who I am just don’t seem to jive.  I see myself as a “nut”, a prankster and a “work in progress”.  If you asked my husband and kids if I was “holy”, I believe they would immediately say ‘NO!”.  NOPE, definitely not holy…but definitely “trying to be”.  I believe the last three words are the best description of who I am and who I want to be…”TRYING TO BE” HOLY.  Now those are words I can readily embrace.

As I ponder further, I begin to wonder why I don’t feel comfortable being called holy.  Perhaps it is because only God is fitting to deserve that title.  I believe I will always fall short of that title and I also believe that the very moment I am able to claim it, God will immediately take me Home to His bosom.  I know He knows it’ll take a life time and a whole lot of graces to get me there and when I finally hit the bull’s eye, I think He would prefer to snatch me at that very moment rather than watch me fall and start all over again.  I think one life time of me on planet earth is enough testing for Him. (Hey Pat, my other beautiful new friend…didn’t we agree God broke the mold after he made me?  Boing boing Pennie, I guess I haven’t told you yet, but Pat and I agreed that the 3 of us were made from the same mold!  Funny how we figured that out after only knowing each other for an hour and even before we’ve met you!  I promise, we weren’t high on anything.  Eva was there and she can vouch for things!)

In my mind’s eye, I don’t think the Father would consider having anyone hold on to that title too long because our very human nature prevents us from attaining and/or maintaining that title.  It is only through God’s ongoing grace that we can even consider achieving that goal.  And yet, that is the goal the Father wants us to attain.  It is far fetched in human terms, but in God’s eyes and in God’s economy, it is within our reach…

But what does it mean to be holy?  Does it mean that we can no longer have fun and goof around?  Does it mean we have to sit prim and proper and watch from the sidelines as others have fun?  Far from it!  I strongly believe these are the very lies the devil wants us to believe to keep us from knowing the love of our Creator.

To be holy is to be like God.  Note the word “like”.  Our aim is to be LIKE God, but NOT to BE God.  I believe the despicable term “holier than though” arises when one thinks he/she is god.  But why does God want us to be like Him?  I believe it is because He wants to bring us back to the way it was when He first created Adam and Eve.  Although sin came into the world because of their fall, God provided us Another (Jesus) who brings us back to Him…if we but BELIEVE.  God wants us to enjoy His love and to enjoy the freedom of being His adopted children and to be co-heirs with Jesus.

YES, there is freedom in being a child of God.  With His grace, we can break free from the lies of the enemy which we have accepted as our truths.  Have you told yourself that you are dumb, unlovable, unworthy of recognition and/or love, worthless, useless, good for nothing and so on? I’m sure everyone has entertained those thoughts one time or another.  The enemy loves to throw those lies into our minds and he relishes as we replay those thoughts over and over in our mind while we slowly break down with defeat.  That is what the devil wants of us.  He wants to kill, steal and destroy us. (John 10:10)  The devil didn’t want to submit to God and he wants us to do the same.  He will do whatever he can to keep us from knowing and receiving God’s love and grace.

“For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God…” (Romans 8:14-16)

What is the first step to holiness?  It is to believe that everyone has sinned and we all fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)  And the next step is to believe that…”God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Father God, thank you for clarifying that being holy does not mean that we can no longer enjoy our lives here on earth.  Thank you for letting us understand that being holy is to be like You and it is receiving the freedom that You want so much for us so we can live our life to the full. (John 10:10)  Father, please send strong Christians our way to teach us more about You and help us to remember that You have given them the authority to build us up, rather than to tear us down. (2 Cor. 13:10) In Jesus’ name we pray, AMEN.

God bless,

Melissa – February 15, 2011

REFLECTION: Gotcha!

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

YourDictionary.com defines “gotcha” as “that one has caught, captured, or gained power over someone or something.”  I wonder if “gotcha” is what J.K. Rowling feels as the world embraces her Harry Potter novels.

As I skim through her official website (http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/), I search for historic and/or current evidence indicating her involvement with the New Age and/or the occult.  No information is provided.  And yet, I imagine she either has volumes of material and/or is, herself, involved in witchcraft and sorcery to enable her to skillfully knit intriguing page turning stories around these practices.

The Harry Potter novels have undoubtedly captured the world’s interest.  Wikepedia discloses that “as of June 2008, the book series has sold more than 400 million copies and has been translated into 67 languages.”  The article,  Harry Potter – Who Benefits? Lasting Effects of a Mega Franchise, reveals that this “single series of novels has turned on two entire generations (and their parents) to reading” (http://www.buzzle.com/articles/harry-potter-who-benefits-lasting-effects-mega-franchise.html) while the article Harry Potter and the Positive Impact indicates that “more than half of kids ages 5-17 say they did not read books for fun before the Harry Potter series came along, according to the report, which surveyed 500 children and 500 parents nationwide. Among parents, 76 percent say reading the series has helped their child perform better in school, while 65 percent of children agree.”  (http://www.allbusiness.com/retail-trade/miscellaneous-retail-miscellaneous/4404323-1.html)

Yes. a lot of good has come out of the Harry Potter novels, but are there other effects that come along with it?  Sadly, I believe so.  As I research on the spin off games that have been birthed by this intense interest, I begin to notice things that, to me, are more disturbing than the positve effects of the novels.

The Harry Potter Quidditch Game’s link (www.surfnetkids.com/games/broomsticks/) invites children to “fly your broomstick and play Quidditch with Harry Potter”.  Undoubtedly the immediate response of all would be “Come on now.  No one can fly on a broomstick!”  But what if the term “flying” doesn’t take place in the visible world, but instead in the invisible?

Scripture clearly says that “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” Ephesians 6:12

In truth, what we are fighting against is mostly in the invisible world.  What if those who play the Quidditch game are actually flying in the invisible world?  I’m shivering now, are you?

As I looked at another site (www.gamequarium.com/harrypotter.html), I came across a Harry Potter Pronunciation Guide.  I found it again on another site http://www.littlekidsgamesonline.com/harry-potter-online-games.html under the sub-title of Scholastics with the following caption…”There’s also a useful pronunciation guide of names and words from the Harry Potter books – kids click on each word or phrase and listen.”  Although I have not read any of the books, I become suspicious as to why a pronunciation guide is necessary.  Are there chants and/or spells written out for the readers to recite out loud?  I hope not.

My thoughts now wander off to subliminal messages. Are there any imbedded in the music scores of the movies and/or in the online games?

I have also come across a Crystal Ball Game at www.surfnetkids.com/games/Harry_Potter/. Once again, on the surface, there doesn’t seem to be any harm in this, but do we really understand what crystals are used for in the occult world? A simple google search has brought me across Paranormal Site (http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art14449.asp) She shares…”Most people have heard of the crystal ball that is used for divination. (Divination is the art or practice that seeks to foresee or foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge usually by the interpretation of omens or by the aid of supernatural powers.)  When you mention a crystal ball, it is easy to imagine someone staring into the sphere.  The type of sphere that most people imagine is a clear transparent ball.  Using a crystal ball is the most familiar way of scrying. (Scrying is the occult practice of using a reflective surface such as a black glass, crystal ball, or a bowl of water to aid believed psychic abilities such as clairvoyance.) Different types of crystals are used for crystallomancy.  Crystal balls have been used around the world in different cultures for occult purposes.  Clear crystal balls are used but are not the only types of spheres for occult purposes.”  Are you having second thoughts now about having your child engaged in looking into a crystal ball even if it is merely in play?

And yet, we haven’t even touched the novels.  Are you ready to delve in further and discover what we may find?  Perhaps we could just remain here and not go any further?  And yet, it is so easy to scoff warnings that others give when we merely look at the surface of situations.  Unfortunately, without digging further, what we see is only the tip of the iceberg.

On second thought, perhaps we have uncovered enough for today.

May the Father open our spiritual eyes so we may clearly see what is truly going on in the supernatural world and may we freely choose to invite Jesus into our lives and to ask Him to protect us from the evil one.

God bless,

Melissa

REFLECTION: What happened in the garden?

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Although the warmth radiating through the windows and the appealing bright glow of the afternoon sun beconed me outdoors today, a nippy 8*c (46.5*F) greeted me as I walked out the door.  Things don’t often appear to be what they look like, do they?  Marketing experts know that the key to an increased level of sales is to appeal to the senses of the consumer.  Convincing them that they want and need more, even if they have no use for it, is the general scheme.  This is the same scheme the devil used on Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden.

The first man and the first woman had the very best of the best…

“God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.  Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”  Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it.  They will be yours for food.” (Gen 1:28-29)

They even enjoyed the company of God as He walked in the garden in the cool of the day. (Gen 3:8)  So what was it that convinced Adam and Eve to turn away from God?

‘Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.

For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom,she took some and ate it.   She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.’ Gen 3:1-7

The devil could not make Adam and Eve doubt God’s existence because they were able to see Him.  Instead, he made them doubt His goodness.  I often wonder what more Adam and Eve could have wanted.  My thoughts now drift to Ariel, the Little Mermaid and the song she sings…”

Look at this stuff
Isn’t it neat?
Wouldn’t you think my collection’s complete?
Wouldn’t you think I’m the girl
The girl who has everything?

Look at this trove
Treasures untold
How many wonders can one cavern hold?
Lookin’ around here you’d think
(Sure) she’s got everything

I’ve got gadgets and gizmos aplenty
I’ve got whozits and whatzits galore
(You want thingamabobs? I got twenty)
But who cares? No big deal
I want more
(lyrics of Part of Your World – Disney Productions)

What more could the first man and woman want?  The specific answer may never be made known here on planet earth, but the real issue now is both Adam and Eve exercised their free will and sadly, each freely chose to disobey God. Did you notice what happened immediately after?

“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked;so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” Gen 3:7

Although God said they would die, they didn’t die immediately.  Instead they realized they were naked!

“Before the Fall, with Original Innocence, the human heart perceived the fullness of value concerning man and the world ‘in the dimensions of God’.  After the Fall, a lost of the meaning of the body and of the world results from the loss of sacredness of both the world and of self.  The loss of sacred combined with concupiscence (Answers.com defines concupisence as…” n. A strong desire, especially sexual desire; lust.”) results in ‘shame of the body’.” (Fr. Al Boisclair’s notes on Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body)

Although the first man and the first woman disobeyed Him, God didn’t leave them in their shame.  Instead…”The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” Gen 3:21

But wait, there’s more!  God made sure that this would not be the end of mankind.  Instead he says…

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring (the adversaries of the devil) and hers (mankind);  he (Jesus)  will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Gen 3:15

God still loved mankind and He immediately provided a way for them to return back to the full life they enjoyed before their Fall.  In the midst of man’s callousness towards God, He sent His Son, Jesus, in the form of man, to die for ALL of man’s sin so that he who believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life with God in Heaven. (John 3:16)

“And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.  He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.” Gen 3:22-24

I often wondered why God would not allow man to eat from the tree of life.  In Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, I learned that it was because God did not want man to remain in his deteriorated, fallen state forever.  God wanted to make sure Jesus, His son, had time to redeem the world and return man back to the loving relationship he once had with his Creator.

… and this is what happened in the garden.

God bless,

Melissa – February 7, 2011

REFLECTION: “Satan has a plan for your life”…

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011



“Satan has a plan for your life”.  This is Neal Lozano’s title for his second chapter of his book “UNBOUND”. It is terribly disturbing, isn’t it?  In truth, Satan DOES have a plan for your life and it is to steal, kill and to destroy you. (John 10:10)

Through the Healing the Family Tree Conference last weekend at IC Delta, a lot of information about New Age and the occult has been brought to the surface by guest speaker, Moira Noonan.  She openly shares about her 20 year involvement serving as a minister in the Church of Religious Science where she was actively involved with clairvoyance, hynotherapy, spiritual healing and past life regression and her later victorious convertion back to the Catholic Faith. (http://www.spiritbattleforsouls.org/interview.html)

As if by chance, the Father brought me across Neal Lozano’s Unbound book once again on the weekend.  As I browsed through Eva’s copy while I visited, I began to see correlations between what both Neal and Moira have been sharing.

In his book, Neal Lozano draws his readers to the movie Hook which recounts the tale of the grown up Peter Pan.  “Peter now has children of his own and has forgotten his former life in Never Never Land.  Captain Hook, seeking revenge, comes and steals Peter’s children.  Hook’s plan is based on this scheme: the best way to get revenge on ‘the Pan’ would be to win the afffections of Pan’s children and become a father to them….This story is an allegory for the human drama.  Satan saw the dignity God gave to man and woman, created as they were in his image… In his hatred, Satan struck back at God by seeking to destroy His children.  The cunning serpent-Satan recognized in Adam and Eve a potential to mistrust God’s love, and he sought to capture their hearts and affections and become a father to them.  Jesus referred to the devil as the father of lies… By twisting God’s words, questioning God’s motives, making empty promises and presenting evil as good, Satan captures Adam and Eve, and they submitted to his rule.”

“Why did Satan fall from heaven? Satan fell because of pride. He desired to be God, not to be a servant of God. Notice the many “I will…” statements in Isaiah 14:12-15. Ezekiel 28:12-15 describes Satan as an exceedingly beautiful angel. Satan was likely the highest of all angels, the most beautiful of all of God’s creations, but he was not content in his position. Instead, Satan desired to be God, to essentially “kick God off His throne” and take over the rule of the universe. Satan wanted to be God, and interestingly enough, that is what Satan tempted Adam and Eve with in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-5). How did Satan fall from heaven? Actually, a fall is not an accurate description. It would be far more accurate to say God cast Satan out of heaven (Isaiah 14:15; Ezekiel 28:16-17). Satan did not fall from heaven; rather, Satan was pushed out of heaven.”(http://www.learnthebible.org/satans-rebellion-and-fall.html)

But how does the devil, THE enemy, attempt to destroy us?  “The enemy had succeeded; he misrepresented God and gained influence in the human race.  He continues his influence through a host of evil spirits that seek to misrepresent God, deceive us and attach themselves to us.  He often works through other people – those God intended to represent Him, such as parents and other caregivers.  Those with primary responsibility of presenting the character of God to the next generation are Satan’s targets and prime agents.

Did you note the last sentence of the previous paragraph?  The devil’s prime targets are those with the primary responsibility of presenting the character of God to the next generation!  I believe the key word is “the next generation”. Our generation has already been tampered with.  He has now moved on, desiring to tamper with the generations to come.

Fr. Denis Phaneuf, the other speaker at the Healing Conference, states that it is easier to prevent than to heal the effects of the occult and New Age on each generation.  What can you do?  A lot!  Don’t wait for others to do the research, go and take an active part in studying God’s word so that the truth will be revealed to you.  Ask the Holy Spirit to open up your spiritual eyes and ears so that you may be alert to the ways the enemy is trying to destroy you and your family.  Stay in constant communion with the Father, asking Him to guide you in ways that you can enjoy the life He wants you to live to the fullest.  John 10:10 says...

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Not only does God want you to live, but He wants you to live your life to the full.

God bless,

Melissa – February 6, 2011

p.s. – PLEASE click on to the following link to educate yourself about the Harry Potter Novels and the potential threat they have become to our society today.  http://www.spiritbattleforsouls.org/id35.html
– You may shiver now when the devil is discussed openly.  I shiver more, knowing that many have opened the doors of their homes and hearts to the devil without realizing it.  That is where the danger lies.