A Blessed Lent

It is that time of year again.  A time where millions of Christians the world over observe the season of Lent.  Lent is a time of reflection and abstinence and teaches us that there are things more important than our carnal desires.  Lent has been observed since the beginnings of the church and looks to the time that our Lord spend fasting in the desert before the start of his public ministry.  St. Ignatius of Antioch in 110 AD said “Despise not the fast period of forty days, for it comprises an imitation of the conduct of the Lord”.

It is during this time of year that we hear of people giving up things.  Some give up chocolate, social media, and coffee.  Others give up something totally different.  We give up these things to offer it up to God in prayer.  Fasting without prayer is just dieting.  If we are not praying and reading scripture then what are we doing?  Chances are we are missing the point of what Lent is all about.  A time of reflection, realigning priorities so God is in the forefront, and growing in love for Christ an our neighbor.

I urge you to not look at it as giving something up, but as taking something up.  Use this forty day period to make a habit of a spiritual practice.  If you are not currently praying on a daily basis you can give up 15 minutes of sleep or 15 minutes of your lunch break to pray.   The same if you are not reading scripture.  Adding these two practices to your day to day life will help you grow in your walk with Christ and remind you of what is important on a daily basis.  Have a blessed Lent my friends.

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A Challenging Lent

This past Lent was the most challenging ever for me.  My Lenten commitment was to pray the Liturgy of the Hours and seek guidance from the Lord.  For the last couple years I had a successful blog, podcast, and recently landed a radio show…but there was one problem.  Though I am Catholic these mediums tended to take my focus away from spreading the catholic faith.

To be fair I was still spreading Christianity, but I wasn’t focused like I should be.  Towards the end of this past Lent the Lord smacked me upside the head, and told me to get my act together.  The following words kept playing like a broken record in my mind:  “Spread the truth about my church”.  Whoa!  That means starting from scratch.  New blog, new podcast…everything.  That radio show?  Well that is on an evangelical station so that must go as well.  My decision was confirmed when One of the higher ups at the station was spreading anti-Catholic propaganda on his personal page.  I could no longer bring revenue to an entity that was attacking the church.

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I don’t write this to get pity or to portray myself as martyr.  I write it as a challenge to all of us.  Is there something that we are not giving to Jesus?  Are we giving him everything or are we being stubborn and think that we can do it on our own?  This Lent was the most challenging Lent, but it was the best Lent ever.  Prayers were answered as to what I should do with my writing and podcast.  It is to spread and defend the catholic faith.  May the Lord’s will be done.

Episode 7: Does discipleship matter? How do I make time to pray? Does God work even if one has no faith?

Listen to this week’s episode here

In this week’s episode I answer listener questions that came in during the week.  The first question asked if discipleship was really necessary, and isn’t getting to Christ what is most important?  The second question was in regard to prayer.  This listener asked with time so limited is prayer really necessary?  The third question, which will be answered more fully next time (I ran out of time) was if God can work even if someone doesn’t have faith?  Great questions!  Keep them coming in.  You can send your questions to hopewithin18@gmail.com or you can send them through my website theologystillmatters.com.

Episode 1 of the Hope Within Radio Program

New Year Resolutions

I would like to sincerely thank you all for the your support, and for reading this blog.  It has spawned into other projects over the past year such as a podcast, a publishing contract which I signed about three months ago, and articles in other outlets.  I am continuously in awe with how the Lord is using the little page.  I wanted to share a few resolutions that I will be doing in the New Year.

  1.  I will make it a point to do one blog post per day.  I love to write, and doing this will assist in other writing projects.
  2. I will release one podcast episode per week.  Over the past few months the podcast has been neglected.  I believe I have only posted three shows in the past three months.
  3. I will finish and release my third book.  My first two books will be released around March and April respectively.
  4. I will spend more time with my wife and four children.
  5. I will make a deeper commitment to prayer.  I admit that this is an area that I seem to neglect for some reason.  I pray in the morning, but during the rest of the day this vital practice is a struggle.

These are my five resolutions that I commit to.  Please let me know what your resolutions are by leaving them in the comments.  I thank you again for reading this blog, and I wish you and your family a happy new year.  God bless you and your loved ones!

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Prayer for Leaders

Unless you have live under a rock, I assume that everyone has heard about the huge event in the United States last night.  We held our election for President.  The election cycle has turned into a long drawn out affair that is exhausting not only for those running, but for the public.

But never mind that as this blog is not a political one.  No matter who you voted for it is important to take the scriptural mandate of prayer for leaders seriously. Every morning for the last eight years I have prayed for President Obama during my personal prayer time.  This was done though I did not agree with him on many things, but he has a hard job and prayer is helpful.  Though I did not vote for Trump, or Hillary for that matter, I will pray for him on a daily basis as his job is more difficult than I can possibly imagine.

I urge everyone to pray for their leaders, even if you do not agree with them.  What does the Bible say about such a thing?  It says plenty  as the verses below display.  There are many more, but these two, especially the Timothy passage, suffice.

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.” – 1 Timothy 2:1-3

“Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.”- 1 Peter 2:17

 

 

Great is Thy Faithfulness

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.- Lamentations 3:22-23

Lamentations is a book of the Bible that speaks volumes.  It was written by Jeremiah after the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem, destroyed the temple, and the Israelites were put into exile.  Though it was written in a very difficult time it speaks of the mercy of God, and his plan for his people.

The prophecy given to Jeremiah involved the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and that the people would be given yet another chance.  The love of God is not consumed, or in other words, it is without end.  Though we may be going through rough times his compassion never fails.  We can always go to him no matter what the situation.  In so doing we encounter the creator of the universe who will be with us every step of the way.  Many in my family are going through rough patches, and odds are it is the same in yours.  May we never forget that our God is loving and compassionate, and loves us with an everlasting love.  No matter what the situation or circumstances He is there.  May we always remember to go to Him in good times and bad.  Great is His faithfulness!

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