Sunday, June 05, 2011

GOD WOULD LOVE TO RENEW YOUR MIND


This is an excellent "homily" for today. If you do nothing else this entire day, please read Eric Elder's "God Would Love to Renew Your Mind", the first in a series from the Book of Romans.

~*~
Good morning! And welcome to this introductory message to our new series called, Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind.
 
 
 
I believe that God would love to renew your mind. He would love to replace any thoughts you may be having that are pulling you down with thoughts that will pull you up. He would love to give you new thoughts. He would love to give you His thoughts. He would love to give you thoughts that will change the trajectory of the rest of your life.
 
How do I know this? Because God has changed the trajectory of my life by renewing my mind! It all began when I first started reading the book of Romans for myself, as an adult, almost twenty-five years ago.
 
I wasn’t in the pit of despair. I didn’t hate myself or my life. I didn’t even know I was headed in a direction that was about to destroy me. But as I began reading the book of Romans, starting with chapter 1, God began answering questions that I had had on my heart for a long time. He began speaking to me through the words on the pages in such a clear and convincing way that I knew it had to be God that was speaking to me.
 
The things I read caused me to reevaluate my life, what I had been doing so far, and what I wanted to do in the future. In the weeks that followed, God so changed my thinking that I finally came to the point where I was willing to put my faith and trust in His Son Jesus Christ for everything in my life: for the forgiveness of my sins, for the direction of my life, for my job, my body, my finances, my future—everything that was a part of me. I gave it all to Him.
 
Now, almost twenty-five years later, I am in an entirely different place than I would have been had I stayed on the path I was on. Even though I didn’t realize at the time the direction my life could have taken, God knew—and He wanted to spare me from it. He picked me up, turned me around, and put me on a new path—a path that was headed towards an abundant and eternal life.
 
And how did this life-change all get started? It started with an idea. A thought. A thought that maybe God was right and I was wrong. A thought that maybe if I were to truly follow God with my whole heart, that no matter where He led me, He would take me places that I could never have gone on my own. A thought that if I trusted Him completely, if He really loved me, if He cared for me deeply, and if He knew what was best for me, then He would always lead me down a path that was in my best interest and His—even if I didn’t understand it at the time.
 
Ideas are powerful. In the Academy Award-nominated movie, Inception, the main character asks an intriguing question to a guest who has joined him for dinner. He asks: “What is the most resilient parasite? A bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm?”
 
As his guests chokes on his food after hearing that last statement, the main character then answers his own question by saying:
 
“An idea. An idea is like a virus. Resilient, highly contagious. Once an idea’s taken hold in the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate.”
 
Later on in the movie, he states this premise once again, and then adds this powerful statement:
 
“And the smallest seed of an idea can grow. It can grow to define…or destroy you.”
 
Ideas have started revolutions of all kinds—both good and bad. The U.S. was started with a revolutionary idea back in 1776. But so were the terrorist attacks that killed so many of our people back in 2001.
 
Some of the ideas that have been planted in our minds are great. They should be be nourished and fed. But other ideas that have taken root in there aren’t so great. They probably need to be rooted out and destroyed, before they destroy us.
 
I’ve been talking with some friends who grew up having had seeds of faith planted deep within them when they were young—seeds which were watered regularly as they got older. But somewhere along the way, other people have planted doubts in their minds, doubts that have cropped up and overshadowed their faith. Doubts that have grown so large that you can hardly tell that they ever had a seed of faith at all. Unfortunately, they have taken to watering and nurturing these doubts—by the books they read, the shows they watch, and the people around which they have surrounded themselves.
 
And yet I know those seeds of faith were once there, and I believe they are still are! I was there when some of those seeds were planted. I was there as they were being watered. I even did some of the watering myself.
 
But sometimes things happen to us along the way, things that happen to us and things that we do to ourselves, that cause those good seeds within us to get crowded out and wither, letting the bad seeds grow wild and unhindered.
 
It might seem like there’s no way out once this cycle begins to happen. It might seem like people have gone too far down the wrong path—that they’ll never be able to change. But that’s a lie!
 
The truth is, God can change people’s hearts and minds in an instant. He can turn any life around on a dime. He can restore the years that have been taken away and put people back on the right path—His path—the path that leads to an abundant and eternal life.
 
But how? How can God do it? How can He transform us into the people He wants us to be—and into the people that we truly want to be, too?
 
The Apostle Paul gives us an idea in the book of Romans—several, in fact! He wrote this letter to those who believed in Jesus in the city of Rome, about 25 years after Jesus died and rose again from the dead. After spending over half the letter describing the difference between a godly life and an ungodly one, Paul said:
 
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:1-2).
 
What Paul said to the Romans is the same thing God is saying to us today: we’re not to conform to the pattern of this world—the worldly way in which things are done, but which inevitably lead towards death and destruction. Instead, God wants us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Why? Because then we’ll be able to know God’s will for our lives—to test and approve it for ourselves—His good, pleasing and perfect will! What a blessing that would be in any of our lives—to know God’s will!
 
In the weeks ahead, I’ll be exploring with you several of Paul’s many ideas for how to renew your mind, from how you think about yourself, to how you think about God and the people and situations God has placed in your life.
 
For some of you, this will be a new and exciting adventure into territory you’ve never explored before. For others of you, you may feel like you’ve tried so many things to change the direction of your life—and not yet found the secret to successfully doing it—that you may be skeptical that this will help either. But take courage: God would still love to renew your mind, too!
 
I remember seeing some flowers that our friend and neighbor Mary Lou planted in her front yard. They were called impatiens, and they grew into these huge bushes, bursting with color. My wife and I decided to plant some in our own yard. We planted them in the right spot and we watered them regularly, just like the instructions said to do. But no matter what we did, our impatiens hardly got more than a few inches tall, while Mary Lou’s were flowing over and out of her planter boxes.
 
We couldn’t figure out what was wrong until we asked her if she had a secret. It wasn’t a secret, she said, but she did use Miracle Grow, a type of fertilizer that would help the plants grow to their fullest potential!
 
My goal in this study is to give you a little bit of Miracle Grow from time to time—in the form of faith—a burst of faith that you can use to grow to your fullest potential, too. Oftentimes we try to do things all by ourselves. We may be doing the exact same things as other people around us, but you would hardly know it by the results. While sometimes it may just be the season that God has for us, oftentimes it’s because we’re missing out on the key ingredient—faith! Faith to believe that God can really do all that He says He can do in our lives! And as Jesus said, even just a little bit of that stuff has the power to move mountains!
 
For some of you, moving a mountain is just about what you need right now. As we go through this study, I’ll be sharing some stories from my own life, as well as some stories from the Bible and from Christians throughout the ages that I pray will boost your faith. I pray they’ll give you a burst of energy that will help you to keep pressing forward and keep moving in the direction that God has in mind for you.
 
For today, let me encourage you to simply begin seeking the Lord for His wisdom. As you do, you’ll find that He’ll be glad to pour out His thoughts into your mind. As God says in the book of Isaiah:
 
Seek the LORD while He may be found; 

call on Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way 

and the evil man his thoughts. 

Let him turn to the LORD,
and He will have mercy on him, 

and to our God, for He will freely pardon.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, 

neither are your ways My ways,” 

declares the LORD. 

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, 

so are My ways higher than your ways 

and My thoughts than your thoughts. 

As the rain and the snow 

come down from heaven, 

and do not return to it 

without watering the earth 

and making it bud and flourish, 

so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is My Word that goes out from My mouth: 

It will not return to Me empty, 

but will accomplish what I desire 

and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
(Isaiah 55:6-11)
 
God would love to renew your mind. He would love to pour out His wisdom upon you like rain from heaven, refreshing your soul as He does. He would love to feed and nourish those ideas that will come to define you, and root out and destroy those that could possibly destroy you.
 
In the weeks ahead, I pray that God will transform your life by renewing your mind. For those of you who are interested, I’ve also included some additional scripture readings below, along with some questions that you can use for personal reflection or group discussion, if you’d like to invite some friends to study this material along with you.
 
Either way, I pray that God will use this time to renew your mind in powerful ways, transforming your life along the way. I’m looking forward to it myself, and I hope you are, too!
 
Will you pray with me?
 
Father, thank You for giving us ways to transform our lives by renewing our minds. Thank You for the seeds of ideas that You’ve planted within us, those that are good and godly. Help us to feed and nurture them so that we can grow to our fullest potential. At the same time, we pray that You would help us to root out any ideas that have been planted in our minds that could be destroying us, even without our knowledge, so that we can live the life that You desire for us to live. We pray this all in Jesus’ name, Amen.
 
 
~*~
 
 
DREAM, LOVE, CREATE
PEACE, LOVE & JOY
 
Abby

Saturday, June 04, 2011

What WILL you do?

I leave early Monday morning for Texas to spend three weeks with my mother and dad.  Now, what WILL you do?  Will you forsake me forever, or will you put my name on your calendar as a reminder of an approximate time when I will return?  My stats are down; I know, I had not published since Tuesday. Hard to believe but I was zoned out one day, running errands another day that turned into one disaster after another (I came inside the house and shouted at satan to get out and leave me the H*** alone! - then started singing "This Little Light o' Mine" at the top of my lungs! It worked!), then preparing food all day today for all the kids coming tomorrow.  I have my clothes laid out that I need to pack but there will be time tomorrow.

I hope to make at least one more post before I go.  I am really going to quit cold turkey by NOT taking my laptop with me.  Three weeks without a computer!  I need the break - it's a healthy thing to do.

See all you cats and dawgs tomorrow.  In the meantime ....

DREAM, LOVE & CREATE PEACE, LOVE & JOY!
Abbey

THIS DAY'S . . .

This Day's Thought

The best way to outwit the devil is to be silent under the hand of God.

Thomas Brooks



This Day's Verse

Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

Isaiah 55:7
The New International Version



This Day's Smile

There are three stages in the work of God: Impossible; Difficult; Done.

Hudson Taylor

~*~
AMEN!

PENTECOST BEGINS AT HOME

On May 4, 1897, Pope Leo XIII proclaimed: "We decree and command that throughout the whole Catholic Church, this year and in every subsequent year, a novena shall take place before Whit-Sunday (Pentecost), in all parish churches." It has been reported that Pope Leo XIII was inspired to mandate the Pentecost novena because of a letter from a housewife in Italy. Pope John Paul II has reiterated Pope Leo XIII's command for a worldwide Pentecost novena, although the novena can be prayed at any time - not only before Pentecost.

On June 3rd the Pentecost novena begins for 2011. You can use our Pentecost novena prayer booklet to help guide your prayer.

http://www.presentationministries.com/brochures/PentNovena.asp

Saturday, June 4, 2011, Pentecost Novena - Day 2

Acts 18:23-28, Psalm 47:2-3, 8-10, John 16:23-28
Link to Readings --> http://www.usccb.org/nab/060411.shtml

PENTECOST BEGINS AT HOME

"They took him home." -Acts 18:26

"Within a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 1:5) or, if you have already received the Spirit, the gift of the Spirit will again be stirred into flame in your life (2 Tm 1:6-7). This new Pentecost may take place anywhere, but the Spirit was received at the first Christian Pentecost in the upper room of a house (Acts 2:2). So the prime place for receiving the Spirit is not the church or even the streets, but the home.

Although it's possible to receive the Spirit when you are "home alone," it's much more likely that you will receive the Spirit when you are praying together with those who live in your house (see Acts 1:14; 2:1). Like Priscilla and Aquila, you should consider taking others home with you and explaining God's new way to them in greater detail (Acts 18:26). Then you should ask your guests if they are open to having you lay hands on them and pray for them to receive the Holy Spirit. If God has His way, your living room or kitchen may be the upper room for Pentecost 2011.

Consequently, it's crucial your house be a house of prayer (see Is 56:7). Christian couples must pray together so that they can lead their families in prayer. The homes of these praying families in turn become the places of Pentecost and of the re-creation, the re-birthing of the Church. Pray the Pentecost novena at home and from home to the world.

Prayer: Father, give me a Pentecost like the first one after Jesus ascended.

Promise: "Ask and you shall receive, that your joy may be full." -Jn 16:24

Praise: Lauren received an outpouring of the Holy Spirit while praying at home alone and received the Spirit again at a Life in the Spirit Seminar.

From One Bread, One Body

Friday, June 03, 2011

MINUTE MEDITATION

Temple of the Holy SpiritMinute Meditations
As we are made in the image and likeness of God, and our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, we are to treat our bodies with reverence and care.

from Saints for Healing
Stories of Courage and Hope

by Janice McGrane, S.S.J.

POSITIVE THOUGHT

To forgive and forget is to reflect love. Situations pass, they cease to exist,
but they continue to be alive in the mind. Open your heart and be generous,
free yourself from that sorrow, forgive and forget
and you will live every moment in peace.

June 2, 2011 Message to Mirjana

Our Lady appeared yesterday to the visionary Mirjana and gave the following message:

"Dear children; As I call you to prayer for those who have not come to know the love of God, if you were to look into your hearts you would comprehend that I am speaking about many of you. With an open heart, sincerely ask yourselves if you want the living God or do you want to eliminate Him and live as you want. Look around you, my children, and see where the world is going, the world that thinks of doing everything without the Father, and which wanders in the darkness of temptation. I am offering to you the light of the Truth and the Holy Spirit. According to God's plan I am with you to help you to have my Son, His Cross and Resurrection, triumph in your hearts. As a mother, I desire and pray for your unity with my Son and His works. I am with you; you decide. Thank you."

According to Mirjana, Our Lady looked sad during the apparition. When Our Lady spoke about "the light of the Truth and the Holy Spirit,” a unique light was visible behind her. Before the apparition was over, Our Lady blessed everyone present and their religious articles, and She especially blessed the priests.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

A PERSONAL NOTE

How's everybody out there? Is school out everywhere in the USA and Canada and everybody just beginning to enjoy their summer vacation?  Unfortunately, the end of the school year was marred by the vast destruction of tornadoes on April 27th.  We pray for those who lost their lives, for the loved ones they left behind, for those who lost their homes .... Heavenly Father, see them through and bring them a comfort that can only come from your mighty hand and love.

My own grands are already spending days at the pool.  My youngest, Riley, said he has a new girlfriend today. I asked about his old girlfriend and he said, "I'm breaking up with her." He's going into 4th grade, for Heaven sake! I guess I remember "going steady" in 4th grade.  Back then, the guy gave his girlfriend his St. Christopher to wear. For some reason, the St. Christopher medalion was very popular. Everybody had them, some surrounded in pearl or colors.  Anyway, I told Riley about breaking up with his current girlfriend, "This is just the beginning of a long line of broken hearts!"  He just grinned from ear to ear!

I'm flying out to Texas on Monday morning to spend some time with my mom and dad.  There's a few things I can assist them with and I want to just spend some time with them.  I know I came home on February 26th and that was just a little over 3 months ago, but I want to take every opportunity to be with them. My hubby is still working mandatory 12 hour days, 13 days, the one day off.  He will be off this Sunday! Yay!  Oh, he works for Maw Bell and is doing tornado damage work, new phone lines and junction boxes, etc.  I hope he will be able to come to Texas sometime before I return home.

Well, I had a contractor all lined up to do some things around the house and he quit on me today before we even got started.  He called and said he didn't appreciate my snappy message.   Well, I called him twice and he didn't call me back. So, I left a mesage and very nicely said, "if you don't want this job, just let me know and I can find someone else, no problem, just let me know something."  I don't feel that was snappy in the least and if he has a cell phone that he uses for business and it doesn't have good service (I've gotten the "phone trouble" excuse twice now), then I would think he'd get a new one.  Especially since it is his lifeline to his customers.  No worries.  We'll begin anew when I return.

I'm taking my laptop and I'll be on here off and on, but I'll try to be regular, and I'll keep you up on what I'm doing.  I'm gonna miss my hubs, my kids and my grands more than anything, but I have only one Mama and Daddy, right?

Everybody keep cool, pray for a safe and fun summer break, and always put God first in your lives.

Remember: Give to God What Belongs to God (that encompasses everything, doesn't it?)

PEACE, LOVE & JOY,
ABBEY

THIS DAY'S . . .

This Day's Thought

The law of God will not take ninety-nine for a hundred.


William Secker




This Day's Verse

Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord; Nor are there any works like Your works. All nations whom You have made Shall come and worship before You, O Lord, And shall glorify Your name. For You are great, and do wondrous things; You alone are God.


Psalm 86:8-10
The New King James Version




This Day's Smile

Plan your life, budgeting for seventy years...and understand that if your time proves shorter that will not be unfair deprivation but rapid promotion.


J. I. Packer

~*~
There's more inspiration below, so don't stop here!
Abbey

MINUTE MEDITATION







Our Journey to God

Who knows what lies ahead on this surprising road? While it is helpful sometimes to look back, the prize lies ahead and I pray to be able to finish the race.

— from Atheist to Catholic