Live for a Bigger Purpose – It should exist for God

August 25, 2013 under Syllabus 2013-2014

Summary

Do you have a bigger purpose for your life?  Life is better when you have a purpose that goes beyond your own material needs. Living for a higher purpose goes beyond a relationship or a career. It is a reason to be passionate about life, a reason to get up in the morning. It is something to contribute to the world and something that gives you immense satisfaction. It is the kind of thing you want to be remembered for when you die. This does not have to be something massive or earth changing or even particularly charitable. It just has to be something that you are living for beyond your immediate circumstances.

Objective

Anybody can live for a greater cause. We are all great in our own way. It makes you passionate and inspiring.  It makes you interesting. Most of all it makes life more fun and worth living. Living a purpose driven and goal driven life is more exciting that sleep walking through life. You can shape the direction and shape the purpose rather than living on someone else’s whim.

 

How do you discover your real purpose?  I’m not talking about your job, your daily responsibilities, or even your long-term goals. I mean the real reason why you’re here at all — the very reason you exist. If you want to discover your true purpose in life, you must first empty your mind of all the false purposes you’ve been taught (including the idea that you may have no purpose at all).

So how to discover your purpose in life?

While there are many ways to do this, some of them fairly involved, here is one of the simplest that anyone can do. The more open you are to this process and the more you expect it to work, the faster it will work for you. But not being open to it or having doubts about it or thinking it’s an entirely idiotic and meaningless waste of time won’t prevent it from working as long as you stick with it — again, it will just take longer to converge.

 

Here’s what to do:

1.       Take out a blank sheet of paper or open up a word processor where you can type.

2.       Write at the top, “What is my true purpose in life?”

3.       Write an answer (any answer) that pops into your head. It doesn’t have to be a complete sentence. A short phrase is fine.

4.       Repeat step 3 until you write the answer that makes you cry. This is your purpose.

For those who are very entrenched in low-awareness living, it will take a lot longer to get all the false answers out, possibly more than an hour. But if you persist, after 100 or 200 or maybe even 500 answers, you’ll be struck by the answer that causes you to surge with emotion, the answer that breaks you. If you’ve never done this, it may very well sound silly to you. So let it seem silly, and do it anyway.

At some point during the process (typically after about 50-100 answers), you may want to quit and just can’t see it converging. You may feel the urge to get up and make an excuse to do something else. That’s normal. Push past this resistance, and just keep writing. The feeling of resistance will eventually pass.

When the author did this exercise, it took about 25 minutes; and reached his final answer at step 106. Partial pieces of the answer (mini-surges) appeared at steps 17, 39, and 53, and then the bulk of it fell into place and was refined through steps 100-106. I felt the feeling of resistance (wanting to get up and do something else, expecting the process to fail, feeling very impatient and even irritated) around steps 55-60. At step 80 I took a 2-minute break to close my eyes, relax, clear my mind, and to focus on the intention for the answer to come to me — this was helpful as the answers I received after this break began to have greater clarity.  Here was the author’s final answer: to live consciously and courageously, to resonate with love and compassion, to awaken the great spirits within others, and to leave this world in peace.

One alternative thought associated with purpose was even simpler:

In response to the question, What should I do with my life?  There might be only one thing you can do with it, since you came into this life with nothing and you’ll leave with nothing: You can give it away. You’ll feel most on purpose when you’re giving your life away by serving others. When you’re giving to others, to your planet, and to your God, you’re being purposeful. Whatever it is that you choose to do, if you’re motivated to be of service to others while being authentically detached from the outcome, you’ll feel on purpose, regardless of how much abundance flows back to you.

Bible Readings

1.       1 Corinthians 10:31

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

2.       Matthew 6:25-33

 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?  “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

 

Catechism Readings

1.       Paragraph 303

The witness of Scripture is unanimous that the solicitude of divine providence is concrete and immediate; God cares for all, from the least things to the great events of the world and its history. The sacred books powerfully affirm God’s absolute sovereignty over the course of events: “Our God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases.”162 And so it is with Christ, “who opens and no one shall shut, who shuts and no one opens.”163 As the book of Proverbs states: “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will be established.”164 

Small Group Questions

1.       Have you thought about your ‘Bigger Purpose’ in life?

2.       Where does God and the Church fit into your Purpose?

3.       Have you talked about this with your wife?

4.       How are you being ‘of service’ to others?

Recommended Resources

1.       How to Discover Your Life Purpose in About 20 Minutes
http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/01/how-to-discover-your-life-purpose-in-about-20-minutes/

2.       Live For A Purpose Bigger Than Yourself
http://www.thechangeblog.com/live-for-a-purpose-bigger-than-yourself/

3.       5 Steps That Reveal Your Life’s Purpose
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/douglas-labier/life-purpose_b_1830154.html

4.       How to find your life’s purpose
http://www.wikihow.com/Find-Your-Life’s-Purpose

Accountability

1.       Can you consider doing this purpose exercise this week?

2.       Can you partner up with a member of your small group to share the results of the exercise?

 

Author

Rich DelCore Aug – 2013

comments: Comments tags: ,

How to commit to giving God 10 Minutes a day

August 18, 2013 under Syllabus 2013-2014

Summary

We are each called as Catholic Men to a deepening relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. A daily habit of committing 10 minutes for prayer should be an attainable goal for each of us to strive for.

Objective

Can Catholic daily prayers change your life? Absolutely! You can develop
a fuller relationship with God and live a better life through prayer. You have a better chance at finding fulfillment (to say nothing of salvation!), from daily prayers than from the many distractions bombarding us these days!

Think of all the promises we hear on TV and elsewhere: you’ll find happiness if you buy this car, this book, this exercise bike, or this pill
(after checking with your doctor first on that last one)! Yet many times our souls feel as empty as our wallets afterwards.

Developing a good prayer life can really change you for the better. Praying can become a most satisfying routine in many ways. It might not be an easy habit to start at first, but it’s definitely one you won’t want to break! Catholic daily prayers can give you a sense of peace and purpose.

Prayer has often been called “the raising up of the mind and heart to God”. We engage in a literally divine conversation with Him. You get a wonderful opportunity from prayer to strengthen and deepen your relationship with our Creator and with your fellow human beings by praying for their needs as well as your own.

Bible Readings

1. Luke 11: 1-13

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished,
one of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”
He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test.”

2. 1 Thessalonians 4: 10-11

We urge you….to progress even more and to aspire to live a tranquil life

3. Seeking Her Intercession
The Memorare

REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

Catechism Readings

1. Paragraph 2697

Prayer is the life of the new heart. It ought to animate us at every moment. But we tend to forget him who is our life and our all. This is why the Fathers of the spiritual life in the Deuteronomic and prophetic traditions insist that prayer is a remembrance of God often awakened by the memory of the heart “We must remember God more often than we draw breath.”1 But we cannot pray “at all times” if we do not pray at specific times, consciously willing it These are the special times of Christian prayer, both in intensity and duration.

2. Paragraph 2698

The Tradition of the Church proposes to the faithful certain rhythms of praying intended to nourish continual prayer. Some are daily, such as morning and evening prayer, grace before and after meals, the Liturgy of the Hours. Sundays, centered on the Eucharist, are kept holy primarily by prayer. the cycle of the liturgical year and its great feasts are also basic rhythms of the Christian’s life of prayer.

3. Paragraph 2699

The Lord leads all persons by paths and in ways pleasing to him, and each believer responds according to his heart’s resolve and the personal expressions of his prayer. However, Christian Tradition has retained three major expressions of prayer: vocal meditative, and contemplative. They have one basic trait in common: composure of heart. This vigilance in keeping the Word and dwelling in the presence of God makes these three expressions intense times in the life of prayer.

Small Group Questions

1. What time of day is the best for you to pray?

2. What resources i.e. daily devotions, scripture or quiet reflections help to put you in a state of grace?

Recommended Resources

1. http://www.ourcatholicprayers.com/catholic-daily-prayers.html

2. http://www.livingfaith.com/

3. http://thereasonforourhope.org/meet_father/homilies.php

Accountability

1. Did you carve out a time this week to devote 10 minutes of daily prayer?

2. Did you Pray for your small group members to help him reach his goals?

Author(s)

Bob Considine

comments: Comments tags: ,

Talking and Listening to God

August 18, 2013 under Syllabus 2013-2014

Summary

Any relationship – needs interaction. Do you have a shallow relationship with God? When do you talk to Him? When you’re in a bind or need something? Talking to God is important, and we should engage Him when times are tough. However, for a closer relationship with God, we have to talk with him on a regular basis, and then listening to God is imperative. Do we only know how to talk to God and ask or tell Him what to do or are we trying equally as hard to listen to what God wants from us?

Objective

The really sad thing about not talking and listening to God, is that you miss a golden opportunity to draw closer to God, to get to know him better, and to let him know that you realize that you want and need his help. When you fail to talk and listen to God, you greatly limit God’s ability to accomplish the things that he wants to do in your life. When you don’t communicate with God you miss the Godly advice given at James 4:8, “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you”. Instead, when you don’t talk or listen to God you pretty much tell him that you don’t need him, that you can do things on your own, that his advice and his concern are not needed, that you are very capable of going through your life under your own power and doing it your own way.

Taken from reading resources below:

And talking to God should be the same as if you were talking to your best friend. You should tell him your thoughts, desires, hurts, and problems, as well as giving him your thanks and praise. Talking to God not only tells God that you have knowledge of him but that you also have faith in him. Talking to God also tells him that you have a desire for his presence in your life and that you need him and are dependent on him.

The bottom line is, we have to make an effort to put ourselves into situations where God can talk to us. The more we truly listen, the more likely we are to act in a manner that is pleasing to God and more joyful for ourselves. How do we talk to God now, and how do we improve our talking and listening skills with God?

Bible Readings

1. 1 Samuel 3:9

‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’

2. Genesis 18:16-32

With Abraham walking with them to see them on their way, the men set out from there and looked down toward Sodom. The LORD considered: Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, now that he is to become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth are to find blessing in him? Indeed, I have singled him out that he may direct his children and his household in the future to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD may put into effect for Abraham the promises he made about him. So the LORD said: The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great, and their sin so grave, that I must go down to see whether or not their actions are as bad as the cry against them that comes to me. I mean to find out.

As the men turned and walked on toward Sodom, Abraham remained standing before the LORD. Then Abraham drew near and said: “Will you really sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there were fifty righteous people in the city; would you really sweep away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people within it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to kill the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike! Far be it from you! Should not the judge of all the world do what is just?” The LORD replied: If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake. Abraham spoke up again: “See how I am presuming to speak to my Lord, though I am only dust and ashes! What if there are five less than fifty righteous people? Will you destroy the whole city because of those five?” I will not destroy it, he answered, if I find forty-five there. But Abraham persisted, saying, “What if only forty are found there?” He replied: I will refrain from doing it for the sake of the forty. Then he said, “Do not let my Lord be angry if I go on. What if only thirty are found there?” He replied: I will refrain from doing it if I can find thirty there. Abraham went on, “Since I have thus presumed to speak to my Lord, what if there are no more than twenty?” I will not destroy it, he answered, for the sake of the twenty. But he persisted: “Please, do not let my Lord be angry if I speak up this last time. What if ten are found there?” For the sake of the ten, he replied, I will not destroy it.

3. Proverbs 12:15

The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.

4. James 1:19-20

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

Catechism Readings

1. Paragraph 1088

“To accomplish so great a work” – the dispensation or communication of his work of salvation – “Christ is always present in his Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the Sacrifice of the Mass not only in the person of his minister, ‘the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly offered himself on the cross,’ but especially in the Eucharistic species. By his power he is present in the sacraments so that when anybody baptizes, it is really Christ himself who baptizes. He is present in his word since it is he himself who speaks when the holy Scriptures are read in the Church. Lastly, he is present when the Church prays and sings, for he has promised ‘where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them.”‘

2. Paragraph 2839

With bold confidence, we began praying to our Father. In begging him that his name be hallowed, we were in fact asking him that we ourselves might be always made more holy. But though we are clothed with the baptismal garment, we do not cease to sin, to turn away from God. Now, in this new petition, we return to him like the prodigal son and, like the tax collector, recognize that we are sinners before him. Our petition begins with a “confession” of our wretchedness and his mercy. Our hope is firm because, in his Son, “we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” We find the efficacious and undoubted sign of his forgiveness in the sacraments of his Church.

Small Group Questions

1. Have you experienced God talking to you in deep prayer or even just quiet time? Share how that happens, how you get there, how it changes you.

2. Do you talk to God on an everyday basis? Is it formal or informal?

3. Do you talk to God like a friend, are you praying but not listening, are you talking to him like you would talk to your Dad?

4. Think about a situation you have been in lately and note if you have stopped to listen for God or if you are simply choosing what you think is best to do?

5. After the discussion above share your thoughts on the possibility you may not like what God wants you to do.

Author

Updated from 2012-13 by R.DelCore (8/2/13)

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Sex in your Marriage: Is it as God intended or not at all?

August 20, 2012 under Syllabus 2012-2013

Summary

Who can you talk to about the sex in your marriage, are you talking to your spouse about it, is your marriage healthy from a physical point of view as the church intends, have you ever wondered what’s normal for couples in their 30’s, 40’s or 50+? Join us for a discussion on this subject with a Catholic Sex Therapist – Dr. William Wester.

Objective

  • hile we all joke about sex in our marriage, for some couples, there is no sex in the relationship. One definition of a ‘sexless marriage’ is having sex less than 10 times per year. Also, surveys suggest that over 20% of couples report they are in a sexless marriage.
  • We will provide a forum for the men of the Father’s team to be able to have a discussion with their spouse about the health of their sex life and how it reflects on the overall relationship and the teachings of the church.
  • We will also again engage a Catholic Sex Therapist – Dr William Wester – to join us for the large group discussion.
  • According to the Church, humans are sexual beings whose sexual identity extends beyond the body to the mind and soul. The sexes are meant by divine design to be different and complementary, each having equal dignity and made in the image of God. The sexual act is sacred within the context of the marital relationship that reflects a complete and life-long mutual gift of a man and a woman. Sexual sins thus violate not just the body but the person’s whole being.
  • Spousal love, according to Church teaching, is meant to achieve an unbroken, twofold end: union of husband and wife as well as transmission of life. The unitive aspect includes a person’s whole being that calls spouses to grow in love and fidelity “so that they are no longer two but one flesh”. The sacrament of matrimony is viewed as God’s sealing of spousal consent to the gift of themselves to each other. Church teaching on the marital state requires spousal acceptance of each other’s failures and faults and the recognition that the “call to holiness in marriage” is one that requires a process of spiritual growth and conversion that can last throughout life.
  • Throughout Church history, various Catholic thinkers have offered differing opinions on sexual pleasure. Some saw it as sinful, while others disagreed. We are fortunate to have Pope John Paul II Theology of the body which has been discussed this summer in a 4 week session. While we plan to incorporate elements of TOTB we want to make sure we take advantage of the resources who will join us for the session (Dr Wester and Dave Shea).

How we plan to prepare for the session:

  1. We plan to prime the pump for the discussion about 3 weeks ahead of time with a handout that you can reflect on and potentially talk with your spouse. This will be some questions and dialog from Dr Wester for your consideration.
  2. For 2 weeks ahead of the session – we will pass our index cards (like we did previously) and ask you to anonymously list your questions and concerns about the health of your marriage from a sexual point of view to prepare Dr. Wester in his comments at the meeting.
  3. For the large group session – we would hope to have Dr. Wester and Dave talk about the common themes that were reflected in the card questions and provide a list of resources for your follow-up after the meeting and in small group discussion.

Bible Readings

  1. 1. Corinthians 7:1-5

Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Catechism Readings

  1. Paragraph 1646

By its very nature conjugal love requires the inviolable fidelity of the spouses. This is the consequence of the gift of themselves which they make to each other. Love seeks to be definitive; it cannot be an arrangement “until further notice.” The “intimate union of marriage, as a mutual giving of two persons, and the good of the children, demand total fidelity from the spouses and require an unbreakable union between them.”

Small Group Questions

  1. Are you in a sexless marriage – can you use today’s topic to start a discussion with your spouse?
  2. Thinking about your marriage and the commitment with your spouse. Is your first priority what is best for her or do you put yourself and your wants first?
  3. Have you considered reading the Theology of the Body – For Beginners – Christopher West?

Recommended Resources

  1. Theology of the Body – For Beginners – Christopher West?

Accountability

This week try to find a way to talk to your spouse about taking your Marriage a Conjugal Relationship to a better level that will allow the two of you to grow even close to one another and to God.

Author(s)

Rich DelCore

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Talking and Listening to God

August 20, 2012 under Syllabus 2012-2013

Summary

When do you talk to God? When you’re in a bind or need something? Talking to God is important, and we should resonate to Him when times are tough. However, for a closer relationship with God, we have to talk with him on a regular basis, and then listening to God is imperative. Do we only know how to talk to God and ask or tell Him what to do or are we trying equally as hard to listen to what God wants from us?

Objective

The really sad thing about not talking and listening to God, is that you miss a golden opportunity to draw closer to God, to get to know him better, and to let him know that you realize that you want and need his help. When you fail to talk and listen to God, you greatly limit God’s ability to accomplish the things that he wants to do in your life. When you don’t communicate with God you miss the Godly advice given at James 4:8, “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you”. Instead, when you don’t talk or listen to God you pretty much tell him that you don’t need him, that you can do things on your own, that his advice and his concern are not needed, that you are very capable of going through your life under your own power and doing it your own way.

Taken from reading resources below:

And talking to God should be the same as if you were talking to your best friend. You should tell him your thoughts, desires, hurts, and problems, as well as giving him your thanks and praise. Talking to God not only tells God that you have knowledge of him but that you also have faith in him. Talking to God also tells him that you have a desire for his presence in your life and that you need him and are dependent on him.

The bottom line is, we have to make an effort to put ourselves into situations where God can talk to us. The more we truly listen, the more likely we are to act in a manner that is pleasing to God and more joyful for ourselves. How do we talk to God now, and how do we improve our talking and listening skills with God?

Bible Readings

1. 1 Samuel 3:9

‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’

2. Genesis 18:16-32

With Abraham walking with them to see them on their way, the men set out from there and looked down toward Sodom. The LORD considered: Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, now that he is to become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth are to find blessing in him? Indeed, I have singled him out that he may direct his children and his household in the future to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD may put into effect for Abraham the promises he made about him. So the LORD said: The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great, and their sin so grave, that I must go down to see whether or not their actions are as bad as the cry against them that comes to me. I mean to find out.

As the men turned and walked on toward Sodom, Abraham remained standing before the LORD. Then Abraham drew near and said: “Will you really sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there were fifty righteous people in the city; would you really sweep away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people within it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to kill the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike! Far be it from you! Should not the judge of all the world do what is just?” The LORD replied: If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake. Abraham spoke up again: “See how I am presuming to speak to my Lord, though I am only dust and ashes! What if there are five less than fifty righteous people? Will you destroy the whole city because of those five?” I will not destroy it, he answered, if I find forty-five there. But Abraham persisted, saying, “What if only forty are found there?” He replied: I will refrain from doing it for the sake of the forty. Then he said, “Do not let my Lord be angry if I go on. What if only thirty are found there?” He replied: I will refrain from doing it if I can find thirty there. Abraham went on, “Since I have thus presumed to speak to my Lord, what if there are no more than twenty?” I will not destroy it, he answered, for the sake of the twenty. But he persisted: “Please, do not let my Lord be angry if I speak up this last time. What if ten are found there?” For the sake of the ten, he replied, I will not destroy it.

3. Proverbs 12:15

The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.

4. James 1:19-20

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

Catechism Readings

1. Paragraph 1088

“To accomplish so great a work” – the dispensation or communication of his work of salvation – “Christ is always present in his Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the Sacrifice of the Mass not only in the person of his minister, ‘the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly offered himself on the cross,’ but especially in the Eucharistic species. By his power he is present in the sacraments so that when anybody baptizes, it is really Christ himself who baptizes. He is present in his word since it is he himself who speaks when the holy Scriptures are read in the Church. Lastly, he is present when the Church prays and sings, for he has promised ‘where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them.”‘

2. Paragraph 2839

With bold confidence, we began praying to our Father. In begging him that his name be hallowed, we were in fact asking him that we ourselves might be always made more holy. But though we are clothed with the baptismal garment, we do not cease to sin, to turn away from God. Now, in this new petition, we return to him like the prodigal son and, like the tax collector, recognize that we are sinners before him. Our petition begins with a “confession” of our wretchedness and his mercy. Our hope is firm because, in his Son, “we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” We find the efficacious and undoubted sign of his forgiveness in the sacraments of his Church.

Small Group Questions

  1. Think about a situation you have been in lately and note if you have stopped to listen for God or if you are simply choosing what you think is best to do?
  2. After the discussion above share your thoughts on the possibility you may not like what God wants you to do.
  3. Have you experienced God talking to you in deep prayer or even just quiet time? Share how that happens, how you get there, how it changes you.
  4. Do you talk to God on an everyday basis? Is it formal or informal?
  5. Does God speak to you through others? Through their words or actions?
  6. Do you put God on a time table and if you don’t get the answer you want you simply shut God Down?

Recommended Resources

  1. Listening and Talking to God
    http://robertwells.tripod.com/listeningtogod.html
  2. How to Listen to What God Wants from Me … – Catholic Online
    www.catholic.org/featured/headline.php?ID=1185
    Book
    : How to Listen When God Is Speaking: A Guide for Modern-Day Catholics [Paperb
    Mitch Pacwa

 

Accountability

  1. This week would be a good time to start thinking of various ways we can let God guide our lives. Take steps to ask God what God wants you to do – NO MATTER WHAT
  2. Commit to one action you will make to talk and/or listen to God and share your experience next week.
  3. Is God talking to others through you? Can you make yourself more aware of opportunities to open another’s life to God through yourself?

Author(s)

Dan Lape – Update

Graham Galloway and Steve Green – Previous work

Included Resources

By Fr. Jonas Abib
Founder Cancao Nova
©Catholic Online 2004

The important thing is always to practice listening to God. You do not listen to Him with your ear but with your heart.

Listening to God is embracing God’s inspirations in your heart. God’s answers us in your heart, in our deepest inmost core where He dwells. If you want an answer from God, look for it deep inside yourself. You should learn to plunge into the temple of your heart and look for your answers there.

It is something that cannot be done externally, amidst noise and lots of activity; it is something that cannot be done in your head. We often try to decide things in our mind, know everything in our conscious mind. Though what we really need is to plunge into our hearts and search for an answer in deep prayer.

We all know the benefits of prayer, especially prayer in tongues, followed by deep silence. In fact, what you experience is not a real silence, an empty silence: on the contrary, it is a silence of plenitude, a pleasant silence, a silence through which you plunge into your own self.

It is something like plunging into the depths of your own spiritual oceans in a sea-probe, going deep down inside yourself and entering that place inside you where God dwells. That is the place where God gives you the seeds for the answers of everything you ask Him.

It is a question of learning how to listen to God.

You listen to Him not with your ears but with the wisdom He inspires you in the recesses of your praying heart.

 

http://robertwells.tripod.com/listeningtogod.html

TALKING AND LISTENING TO GOD (Partial)

Talking to God
We talk to God in order to constantly build and strengthen our relationship with him, to get to know him better, to learn what he expects of us, what we can expect from him, and to find out how we can best accomplish the things that he wants us to do. We also talk to God in order to seek his advice and help, to show him that we recognize his existence and awesome power, and of course to show him that we have trust and confidence in him.

And talking to God should be the same as if you were talking to your best friend. You should tell him your thoughts, desires, hurts, and problems, as well as giving him your thanks and praise. Talking to God not only tells God that you have knowledge of him but that you also have faith in him. Talking to God also tells him that you have a desire for his presence in your life and that you need him and are dependent on him. It also shows God and that you want to be obedient to him. He wants to hear these things from you. He already knows what they are but he wants you to tell them to him. He wants you to make the effort to talk to him and not to take him for granted.

If you really want to communicate and talk to God, if you want to become close to him, if you want to begin to grow strong spiritually, and if you want to begin a glorious and meaningful relationship with him, then do two things.
1) Talk to God daily, in a normal everyday type of conversation. Remember that God can read your mind and that he is constantly observing your inner most thoughts at all times, so he knows what is going on in your heart and your mind far better than you do. So your conversations with God do not have to be vocal and you can mentally talk to God anytime you want. God gave us little taste of his ability to search the hearts of men and read their minds back in Jeremiah 17:10 when he said, “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.”
So you can easily talk to God in your thoughts, and these conversations can be done anytime or anyplace. They can be done in school, at work, or at any other place, even if the rules of the world are against it.

2) The second thing you need to do in order to better communicate with Jesus is to read the Word of God each and every day. The Bible was the one thing that Jesus left for each one of us to read and study so that we would be able to find out about God. Only by reading the very word of God can we hope to draw near to him.

When Our Lord sees that you are taking the time to read his word every single day then what he is going to do is begin to peel away the layers of cloudiness that are covering your eyes and that hide the truth. Once he sees that you are serious about reading his word, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit will begin to open your eyes and mind, and allow you to begin to understand the Word of God and the incredible meaning that it has on every aspect of your life. It won’t be long before you realize that the Bible isn’t difficult at all to read and understand, and to your amazement you will begin to also realize that you and Jesus have been drawn closer together. Suddenly you will know that indeed he is communicating with you.

It is really a joyous occasion to see a believer who has devoted the time to talk to God and to read his word daily, suddenly realize just how much God is speaking to them. The true believer takes great comfort in knowing that Jesus Christ is constantly talking to them, directing them, guiding them, and teaching them throughout each and every day.

Also keep in mind that the way you talk to God is extremely important. Do you talk to him only when you are in trouble and need help? If so then it shows God that you are simply taking him for granted. However if he sees that you are setting aside certain periods of time during each day just to talk to him, then what you are doing is opening up the channels of communication between you and God.

We are living in a world that rarely thinks about Jesus and seldom talks to him, and if Jesus sees one person out of a million who is actually taking the time each and every day just to talk to him, then you are going to put great joy in his heart. Just think of it. The creator of the entire universe will be personally listening to you each and every time you talk to him.

He may watch for a while to see if what you are doing is only temporary and whether or not you will stop it after a few days. But if you continue, then God is going to be extremely pleased and I believe he won’t be able to wait to begin to communicate with your heart, your conscience, your soul, your spirit. In fact you will not believe how much God will be talking to you.

Listening to God
Listening to God is probably the most important thing that will ever happen to a person. In fact your entire eternal future is based on you hearing God speaking to you and whether or not you listen to him. And this is because your spiritual life doesn’t begin until God speaks to you and you finally decide to listen. This is so beautifully described in John 10:27-28. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand”.

It is for this reason that you need to not only talk to God constantly about everything, but you must also listen for God to speak to you. And the best way to listen for God to speak to you is to look to your heart and your mind for his answer. Most people expect God to answer them in some divine way or somehow speak to them verbally, right out of the heavens, but that isn’t the way God operates. God speaks to a persons heart. To their mind. To their sense of moral righteousness and fairness. To their sense of what is right and Godly. When Jesus Christ is dwelling within a person he is communicating constantly with that person’s, heart, conscience, soul, and spirit. His answer may even be in that certain feeling that you have. That unexpected feeling that came out of nowhere and that shines additional light on the problem. His answer may lie in that sudden pause that you experience. That pause that gets you thinking about a different path to take.

And those methods of communication that God uses are extremely loud and clear. The true child of God can hear God speak just as clearly as if God was standing right alongside of them and verbally talking to them. However for most people, especially in the beginning, they need to be quiet and really listen for God’s answer because it is so very easy to block his answer out. You can get busy watching a TV program or cleaning the house and you never really hear his side of the conversation.

It’s amazing, but a true child of God is carrying on a constant two way conversation with God all day long. This is why talking and listening to God is so easy. It’s like listening to music. That’s why if your driving down the street going 30 miles over the speed limit, you know that’s the voice of God telling you that you are wrong and that you must get back to the proper speed limit. That speeding is against the law, that you very possibly might hurt or kill another person, that you will be stopped by the police and given an expensive ticket, that your insurance rates will go up, or any number of other reasons. (You know it’s not satan talking to you because if it was satan he would be telling you to go faster, that a little extra speed doesn’t matter, that the other drivers owe you, or that it is ok for you to speed because you are in a hurry).

Another example might be if you are at work and you see something that you would like to have at home, and you suddenly begin to think that your employer will never miss it, and that it really isn’t that expensive. Well, that’s God speaking to your entire being through your conscience. He’s pleading with your heart not to steal that item. He’s telling your mind that it will only bring dishonor and guilt upon you and upon God. He telling your moral righteousness that it is very wrong, and that nothing good can ever happen when you steal from another.

After a while God is carrying on a conversation with you even while you are talking to other people; and you are tuned in to God just as much as you are to the other person. When was the last time you and another person were talking and that person used the name of God in vain. Did your mind not hear the Lord cut into that conversation and instantly begin to tell you that the conversation was wrong. That it is wrong to be around someone dragging his Father’s name through the dirt? Or how about the time when you were talking with another person and one of you happened to mention vicious gossip about another person. Didn’t your heart hear God tell you that it wasn’t right to gossip? Did you feel that gentle warning letting you know that you were traveling out of God’s camp and into an area that is owned and ruled by satan. That was God simply talking to you. And it will be one of the most glorious days of your life when you finally realize that you can conduct a constant two way conversation with God 24 hours a day.

Also a great many people love to say that God works in mysterious ways. That they have absolutely no idea how or why God does what he does. But for the true believer, God’s ways aren’t mysterious. His ways aren’t concealed behind smoke and mirrors. It is just the opposite. Because once you begin to understand Jesus Christ, once you begin to learn what he is all about, once you begin to understand what he is trying to do in this world and in your life, once you begin to understand the tremendous importance that he holds for all of mankind, then his actions will not be mysterious. That’s when his ways will become crystal clear. In fact many times you will actually be able to predict what he is going to do.

The believer, who has surrendered his life up to Jesus Christ, will see God actively working in their daily lives. But this seeing will not be a visual image focused in our eyes. Instead, God has allowed his children to see him through his faithfulness, his blessings, his guidance, his encouragement. Our very spirits tell us that he is very near to us. Do we not see him by the feeling of peace and calm that his very presence brings? Do we not see God through the daily provisions that he brings for our many needs? We see God when he is carrying our burdens, when he is lighting our paths, and when he is nestling us in his arms. The believer that has surrendered, is able to see God all day long.

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Teaching your Children the importance of God, Family and Friends

August 20, 2012 under Syllabus 2012-2013

Summary

Do we take it for granted that our children will know the importance of God, family, and friends? One of the most important things we can do in life is to make sure our children understand how important this is as well as what it takes to continue to grow in the faith.

Objective

It is our duty as Fathers to uphold the teaching regarding the importance of God to our families. We do this by loving example and at times needed discipline. We are called to lead our families to Christ and to nurture the process along the way. The focus on the importance of God will transcend in the decision making of how our children choose the friends in their lives as well.

We can get help with this by following Seven Lessons Fathers Should Teach Their Children by Deacon Mike Bickerstaff (see resources)

  1. Teach by Word and Deed
  2. Be a Family of Prayer
  3. Make the Home a Place of Peace, Hope and Love
  4. Live Simply, Give Generously, Be Present
  5. Teach Your Children the Faith
  6. Live the Sacramental and Liturgical Life
  7. Get to know St. Joseph

Bible Readings

1. Genesis 18:19  

For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”

2. Proverbs 22:6 

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

3. Isaiah 54:13 

All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children.

4. 1 Corinthians 15:33

Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”

5. Ephesians 4:29-32

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you

Catechism Readings

1. Paragraph 2223

“Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery – the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the “material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones.” Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children…

2. Paragraph 1655

“Christ chose to be born and grow up in the bosom of the holy family of Joseph and Mary. The Church is nothing other than ‘the family of God.’ From the beginning, the core of the Church was often constituted by those who had become believers ‘together with all [their] household.

3. Paragraph 1656

“In our own time, in a world often alien and even hostile to faith, believing families are of primary importance as centers of living, radiant faith. For this reason the Second Vatican Council, using an ancient expression, calls the family the Ecclesia domestica [Domestic Church]. It is in the bosom of the family that parents are ‘by word and example . . . the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children. They should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each child, fostering with special care any religious vocation.’”

Recommended Resources

  1. How to teach your children about God
    http://www.ehow.com/how_6083735_teach-children-god.html
  2. Bible Verses About Children- 25 Inspirational Scripture Quotes
    http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/bible-verses-about-children-25-inspirational-scripture-quotes/

Accountability

  1. Really look at the weekend and the week ahead in a different light. Pray that Christ reveals to you the miracles of every day. Ask for his help and to help other in his name.
  2. Report back to your group next week and discuss what you saw.

Author(s)

David Karsten

Included Resources

1. Seven Lessons Fathers Should Teach Their Children
http://www.integratedcatholiclife.org/2012/06/deacon-bickerstaff-lessons-of-our-fathers/

Who Introduced You to the Lord?

The first question I would like to pose, is simply this: “How did you come by your faith, whether it be weak or strong, new or old? Where and when did you first come to encounter Jesus and his glorious Gospel?” For many of us, the answer would be, “I first came to know Jesus in my home, from my father and mother.” This is not the case for everyone, but, it is the general plan of God that our first witnesses and teachers of the faith are our parents who share the good news of salvation with their children. For this reason, the family is referred to as the Domestic Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) teaches of the role of the family.

CCC 1655 – “Christ chose to be born and grow up in the bosom of the holy family of Joseph and Mary. The Church is nothing other than ‘the family of God.’ From the beginning, the core of the Church was often constituted by those who had become believers ‘together with all [their] household.’ (Cf. Acts 18:8) When they were converted, they desired that ‘their whole household’ should also be saved. (Cf. Acts 16:31; Acts 11:14) These families who became believers were islands of Christian life in an unbelieving world.”

It was no accident, rather, it was the will of God that Jesus Christ was conceived of woman and born into a family where he was lovingly raised and received experiential knowledge as he matured from infancy to adulthood. Everything Jesus received from that family experience is an example for us to follow. Nothing of his life is to be neglected by us as if it were irrelevant to our lives. The same is true of every word written in Sacred Scripture.

What You Should Desire for Your Children Above All Else?

So then, this is the second question, “Just how deeply do we parents desire that our children, along with ourselves, should also be saved?” You see, each Christian is called to be “salt” of this earth where too many things have soured and a “light” in a world too often filled with darkness. Note what the catechsim says above, “These families who became believers were islands of Christian life in an unbelieving world.” Such is the both the dignity and obligation of Christians, to become witnesses to an unbelieving world and to form families; domestic churches that are islands of Christian life.

Our vocation is the path by which we journey to Heaven. God has called each of us by name to Himself. In baptism we each received a share in the divine mission and a responsibility to be faithful to that mission. When a man and a woman answer God’s call to the vocation of marriage, they agree to live out this responsibility together as man and wife, and if blessed by children, then also together as father and mother. The obligation of their baptismal calling expands in a particular way to include the sanctity and salvation of their spouse and children.

CCC 1656 – “In our own time, in a world often alien and even hostile to faith, believing families are of primary importance as centers of living, radiant faith. For this reason the Second Vatican Council, using an ancient expression, calls the family the Ecclesia domestica [Domestic Church]. It is in the bosom of the family that parents are ‘by word and example . . . the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children. They should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each child, fostering with special care any religious vocation.’”

I grew up in the 1950′s-1960′s. I raised my children in the 1980′s-2000′s. Without falling into a sense of false nostalgia, I believe I can say that in relative terms, my childhood took place in a much more simple and safe time compared to the time of my children. And today, the world has become even more complex and more “alien and even hostile to faith”. Therefore, the second question posed above is clearly one of great urgency and it is critical that we understand the obligations of our vocation.

CCC 1657 – “It is here that the father of the family, the mother, children, and all members of the family exercise the priesthood of the baptized in a privileged way ‘by the reception of the sacraments, prayer and thanksgiving, the witness of a holy life, and self-denial and active charity.’ Thus the home is the first school of Christian life and ‘a school for human enrichment.’ Here one learns endurance and the joy of work, fraternal love, generous – even repeated – forgiveness, and above all divine worship in prayer and the offering of one’s life.” (Cf. Mt 11:28)

When I recall my childhood, the specific occasions remembered are those times and events that, at the time, held special relevance to me. It is difficult to predict what an adult will one day remember of his childhood. But know this, children are like video recorders, capturing everything. One day, when the need arises, an adult will pull from his memory banks examples to serve him in time of need. Will these memories serve him well, leading him to life or will the wrong message and example be there, leading him to wrong and destructive choices? I was blessed with good and holy parents; I can only hope, now that my children are grown, that they are able to say the same about me.

Too often in our families, the handing on of the faith falls upon the shoulders of our mothers. And may God richly bless those holy women who have been faithful to the good God by introducing the faith to a new generation.

But, fathers, we must ask ourselves where we are in this most important of responsibilities entrusted to us by God. The witness to faith is not nearly so strong within the family if mother and father send mixed messages to their children.

What memories are we, as fathers, making for our children?

Seven Lessons Fathers Should Give their Children

This is not a comprehensive list, but I would like to share a few lessons I have learned as a child and a father that I believe are crucial. I encourage you to add to this list in the “combox” below.

1. Teach by Word and Deed

Do our words match our examples? You have heard it said that you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. I would like to modify that. You can never, over time, fool your children even some of the time. Children seem to have a built-in detector for hypocrisy. Fathers, do you think that you can teach your children to love and honor their mother if you don’t love and honor her in both your words and actions? It’s not going to happen. Nor will you likely succeed in any area if your words and actions do not match. So, fathers, teach by word and deed.

Going to Mass, making a novena or praying a family rosary was never a chore for my mother. These were joyful expressions of her love for Jesus, His Blessed Mother and His Church. Even in later years as I struggled to maintain and grow my faith, the memory of the example given me by my mother served as an anchor keeping me from crashing against the rocks of the pagan culture of my college years. I may not have demonstrated that to her at the time, but it is true nonetheless. One thing I always knew – my mother was praying for me. And deep in my heart, I knew that my father who had died when I was 16 was praying for me too. He was not Catholic, but he supported my mother’s efforts at every step. At that time, I retained the sense of the importance of God because God was important to my parents. They taught me this by their deeds. And I could feel their prayers. Because they taught my sister this too, I knew she also was praying for me. My life and the example of my family has taught me to never discount the power of prayer.

2. Be a Family of Prayer

This leads me to the topic of prayer. One of the great errors of our time is the failure of the individual Christian to advance in the prayer life and of the family to pray together. We are never going to truly know God until we become people of deep prayer and our children are not going to learn from their parents how to pray until they see them in fervent, urgent, persistent, faithful, expectant prayer – praying alone, praying together as husband and wife, and praying together with the entire family. No, we are not going to always feel like praying. And the devil is going to throw up obstacles, making us feel like we have no time to pray. Nor will our children always want to pray. But we must be faithful to God in our efforts to pray. And in this, fathers should take an active and leading role.

First, fathers need to commit to their own prayer life and that means more than simply reciting vocal prayers. We must practice meditative prayer – the Church teaches that this expression of prayer is a neccessity for the beginner – pondering in our hearts the events in the life of Christ and His Holy Family, reflecting on the lives of the saints, praying the scriptures, and thinking about the persons of God and the truths entrusted to the Church.

Second, pious practices such as grace before and after meals, a morning offering, blessing ourselves when driving past a Church where Christ is sacramentally present, offering a “Hail Mary” when seeing an ambulance or firetruck speeding down the road, all serve also as teaching moments for our children.

Third, fathers should encourage the family to come together on a regular schedule to pray a family rosary. This is a great way to introduce your children to the practice of prayer. There are endless ways to practice prayer as a family.

My previous pastor told the story of how his vocation to the priesthood developed in spite of all the obstacles he encountered on the road to ordination. He has vivid memories of his family praying an evening rosary together daily. But he remembers something more. After all had turned in for the night, he would hear, and sometimes look into his parents bedroom to see his parents (father and mother) praying together at the end of the day when none of the children were watching. This told him that prayer for them was really important. Their example provided him the fortitude to answer his call.

3. Make the Home a Place of Peace, Hope and Love

Peace and concord in the family is so important, yet it seems to be under fire more than ever. We are told in Scripture to be of one mind, yet members of families today seem to each have their own life and wants. Especially in these difficult economic times, the tendency is to allow worry and anxiety to permeate the home. Do you bring the troubles of work home to fester within the home? Do your children think that your work is more important than they are?

Saint (Padre) Pio of Pietrelcina wrote, “Don’t worry about tomorrow because the very same Heavenly Father who takes care of you today will have the same thought tomorrow and always. . . What does a child in the arms of such a Father have to fear? Be as children, who hardly ever think about their future as they have someone to think for them. They are sufficiently strong just by being with their father.” Make sure that the environment of the home provides this example for our children. Our children should be raised to believe, “Jesus, I Trust in You.”

4. Live Simply, Give Generously, Be Present

Love, honor and respect for one another in the home and for those outside the home should be faithfully practiced. Charity should prevail in all things. In this increasingly materialistic world, we do our children a grave disservice by the excessive accumulation of possessions. We teach them to love creation more than the Creator. Resist all disordered attachments that keep you from advancing in the life of grace. Living simply allows us to live with a generosity of spirit that teaches children to care for their neighbor who is in need… remember Our Lord’s teaching that when we fail to serve the least of our brethren, we fail to care for Him.

Look for ways to reach out beyond the family to assist those in need, both with your financial means and with your presence. Involve your children. Have them contribute to a charitable fund from their allowance. Involve them in preparing aid packages for the local shelter and food bank. Take them with you, where appropriate, to serve in person those less fortunate.

Most of all, be present to your children… patient and loving, firm and steadfast. Protect them from the evil of the world and help them discover their vocation from God.

5. Teach Your Children the Faith

It is simply not enough to expect the local parish or Catholic school to be the sole teacher of your children when it comes to what the Church teaches. We must take an active role as their primary teachers.

CCC 2223 – “Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery – the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the “material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones.” Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children…”

This “primary” roles means it is both before and above all others who are teachers of our children. We need to teach them in all the ways already discussed, plus we need to make sure that our children do not grow up to be doctrinally illiterate. Teach them their catechism, read the bible with them, and make discussion of heavenly matters and their role as pilgrims on this earth a natural part of the family experience. They were made for heaven, so keep their eyes fixed on their supernatural home even as you help them navigate the waters of this temporary world. Teach them the human virtues of the life of grace by which they can overcome sinful tendencies. Teach them “what a wonderful savior we have in Jesus.”

6. Live the Sacramental and Liturgical Life

While the family is the first, that is, the Domestic Church, the Christian family is also a part of the larger family of God, the Church. Therefore, as parents, we have a grave responsibility to make sure that our children participate in the life of the parish, especially in the liturgical life and sacraments. As our children grow, their involvement in worship as part of the Catholic parish should be fostered through practice and education. The Mass will never be “boring” to one who has been raised to understand what it is. Assist at Holy Mass on all Sundays and Holy Days, even while traveling on vacation… even if it is very inconvenient to do so. Take your children to Confession regularly – help them prepare and teach them not to be afraid. Show them God’s mercy and love. Develop in them a love for the Blessed Sacrament.

7. Practice Devotion to St. Joseph

Get to know St. Joseph. Meditate and reflect on his life and example. God did not entrust Jesus to only Mary, but also to Joseph. Find in him an example to follow and a powerful intercessor in prayer. Call on him in prayer each day as you raise your children and honor their mother.

There are many other lessons which could be included here. I hope you will share them with one another. We need to instill in our children the sense that they have been called to a high and noble purpose. Teach them to give praise and honor to God and to be grateful for His many blessings and to be good stewards of His gifts. How wonderful it is to be a part of this family which is the Catholic Church.

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Getting Through Spiritual Dry Spells

August 20, 2012 under Syllabus 2012-2013

Summary

Ever feel like you are just going through the motions. Like you are going to church because you know it’s right, but it just isn’t making that special connection. How do you work your way out of it? What can you focus on to bring you back to a rewarding relationship with God and the church?

Objective

It seems like a lot of people go through spiritual dry spells. People sometimes feel apathetic about their relationship with God and/or feel like God’s voice is silent during a difficult time. The objective is to provide some practical tips for getting through times of spiritual dryness.

Bible Readings

1. Hebrews 11:6

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

2. Job 30:20

“I cry out to you, O God, but you do not answer; I stand up, but you merely look at me.

3. Matthew 8:26

He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

Catechism Readings

  1. Paragraph 2088

The first commandment requires us to nourish and protect our faith with prudence and vigilance, and to reject everything that is opposed to it. There are various ways of sinning against faith:

Voluntary doubt about the faith disregards or refuses to hold as true what God has revealed and the Church proposes for belief. Involuntary doubt refers to hesitation in believing, difficulty in overcoming objections connected with the faith, or also anxiety aroused by its obscurity. If deliberately cultivated doubt can lead to spiritual blindness.

  1. Paragraph 162

Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to man. We can lose this priceless gift, as St. Paul indicated to St. Timothy: “Wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting conscience, certain persons have made shipwreck of their faith.” To live, grow and persevere in the faith until the end we must nourish it with the word of God; we must beg the Lord to increase our faith; it must be “working through charity,” abounding in hope, and rooted in the faith of the Church.

Small Group Questions

  1. What do you do when you are going through a spiritual dry spell?
  2. Is there some activity, sacrament or inspirational book that helps you get back on track with your spiritual journey?
  3. Have you talked with a priest or spiritual advisor during this time? How has this been helpful?
  4. How has FathersTeam been helpful in this process? How can FT be improved in this regard?

Accountability

  1. Ask yourself – is there anything I am doing to block God’s voice? Take time to reflect on what you have been doing lately.
  2. Have you been praying, receiving the sacraments, going to Adoration etc.?
  3. Are you filling your life with other distractions?

Author(s)

Tony Heekin and updated by John Fahrmeier

Included Resources

From http://www.conversiondiary.com/2009/07/9-tips-for-spiritual-dry-spells.html

Make sure you’re not doing anything to block out God’s voice
– Is there specific sin in your life that is blocking you relationship with God?
– Are you holding a grudge against someone?

Keep praying (no, seriously, keep praying)
– Mix up your prayer life a bit. Add the rosary if you are not currently saying it. Pray with your spouse.
– A spiritual dry spell is not the time to start subtracting spiritual practices that you once felt called to do.

Receive the sacraments

– Increase the frequency with which you receive the sacraments of the Eucharist and Confession. As with prayer, it’s tempting to slack off on going to Mass or Confession if it doesn’t lead to an emotional experience, but the sacraments are channels of grace regardless of how we feel when we receive them.

Read inspiring spiritual books
Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire

In the Shadow of His Wings

Come Be My Light

He Leadeth Me

Finding God’s Will for You

10 Prayers God Always Says Yes To

Make sure there’s not a physical cause

-Though we always have free will to turn to God no matter what the circumstances (as I was recently reminded), I’ve found that if I’m staying up too late, constantly eating junk food, not exercising, pushing myself too hard, etc., I’m far more tempted to turn away from God than when I’m feeling good physically — and this alone can lead to spiritual dry spells.

Make sure you’re recharging your batteries
-This is similar to the above, but it’s so important yet so often overlooked that I think it’s worth addressing as a separate point. It is critically important to understand how you recharge your batteries, i.e. knowing what activities give you energy vs. what activities drain your energy.

Find a spiritual director
-Spiritual directors can help you work through questions like, “Am I doing something to block out God’s voice?”, “What could be the purpose for God’s silence in my life right now?”, “How can I keep praying when I feel so unmotivated?” etc.

Consider counseling

-If you think you might have serious unresolved issues in your life that are impacting your relationship with God, you may want to consider finding a Christian counselor to help you gain peace in those areas of your life.

Research the Christian understanding of spiritual dry spells

-If you’ve done all of the above and nothing is better, it may simply be that God is withholding spiritual consolation from you for a reason.

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Knowing God’s Will

August 20, 2012 under Syllabus 2012-2013

Summary

Christ taught us that knowing God’s will and living in obedience to that will is the key to it all! God is the potter; we are the clay. God keeps us spinning on His potter’s wheel, shaping and reshaping us as He bathes our lives in tears to make us more Christ-like so He can use us for His will. Surrender daily. Keep your clay moist through daily prayer – prayer that’s in accordance to His will.

Objective

Our job, our purpose is to understand and live in God’s will and not be selective when times get tough.

Bible Readings

1. Matthew 7:21

Not everyone who says to me “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

2. Matthew 12:50

For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother and sister and mother.

3. Romans 12:2

Do not conform yourself to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.

Catechism Readings

1. Paragraph 2882

Our Father “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”He “is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish.”His commandment is “that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”This commandment summarizes all the others and expresses his entire will.

2. Paragraph 2825

“Although he was a Son, [Jesus] learned obedience through what he suffered.”How much more reason have we sinful creatures to learn obedience – we who in him have become children of adoption. We ask our Father to unite our will to his Son’s, in order to fulfill his will, his plan of salvation for the life of the world. We are radically incapable of this, but united with Jesus and with the power of his Holy Spirit, we can surrender our will to him and decide to choose what his Son has always chosen: to do what is pleasing to the Father.

In committing ourselves to [Christ], we can become one spirit with him, and thereby accomplish his will, in such wise that it will be perfect on earth as it is in heaven.

Consider how Jesus Christ] teaches us to be humble, by making us see that our virtue does not depend on our work alone but on grace from on high. He commands each of the faithful who prays to do so universally, for the whole world. For he did not say “thy will be done in me or in us,” but “on earth,” the whole earth, so that error may be banished from it, truth take root in it, all vice be destroyed on it, virtue flourish on it, and earth no longer differ from heaven.

3. Paragraph 2826

By prayer we can discern “what is the will of God” and obtain the endurance to do it.Jesus teaches us that one enters the kingdom of heaven not by speaking words, but by doing “the will of my Father in heaven.”

4. Paragraph 2827

“If anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.”Such is the power of the Church’s prayer in the name of her Lord, above all in the Eucharist. Her prayer is also a communion of intercession with the all-holy Mother of God and all the saints who have been pleasing to the Lord because they willed his will alone:

It would not be inconsistent with the truth to understand the words, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” to mean: “in the Church as in our Lord Jesus Christ himself”; or “in the Bride who has been betrothed, just as in the Bridegroom who has accomplished the will of the Father.”

Small Group Questions

  1. Think about a situation you have been in lately where you did not live God’s will. Discuss that situation and what caused you to make the choice you made.
  2. What action can you take the next time so the outcome is different?
  3. At this point in your life, what level of commitment do you have to living God’s will and not your will?

Recommended Resources

  1. The Integrated Catholic Life –
    http://www.integratedcatholiclife.org/2011/12/deacon-bickerstaff-five-essentials-for-discovering-and-living-gods-plan/
  2. Living Your Strengths: Discover Your God-Given Talents and Inspire Your Community (Catholic Edition) [Hardcover] by Albert L. Winseman
  3. Finding God’s Will for You [Paperback] by St. Francis de Sales (Author)

Accountability

  1. This week would be a good time to start thinking of various ways we can let go of some of our selfish ways as we strive to live closer to God’s will for our life.
  2. Consider an action you will take this week to better understand God’s will and commit to it. Report to the small group your observations and progress during the next meeting.

Author(s)

Reid Rooney – Previous Author(s): Steve Green / Graham Galloway

Included Resources

1. From The Integrated Catholic Life – Five Essentials for Discovering and Living God’s Will

Let’s face it – not all of us have a prophet like Nathan living in our home and we are not likely to be visited by an Archangel. So how are we to discover God’s plan for us? I think too many of us look for a great sign and fail to hear the quiet voice of God when He speaks to us in our hearts and through others. So here are what I believe are five essentials for discovering and living God’s Will:

Live in Christ’s Friendship– We Catholics refer to this as being in a state of grace. That is, live the sacramental life and, particularly, seek forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation whenever you become aware of committing a grave sin. Mortal sin particularly deafens our spiritual hearing.

Practice Humility and Surrender to the Lord– We are all inclined to be prideful. If we think we already have all the answers, we won’t be open to new ones, so get into the habit of practicing humility daily. Humbly surrender your will to the Lord.

Pray Daily– Do we really love God above all else? Then we should be praying before and above all else. That’s what you do when you love someone; you spend time in their company. Prayer is spending time with God. In prayer, we must ask God to reveal His Will to us.

Be Aware and Listen– Do you normally limit your prayer to speaking to God? If so, you need to set aside time during and after your prayer to listen. Trust Jesus. He said, “Seek and you will find, ask and you will receive, knock and the door will be opened.” Have faith that God will answer and you will discover that answer – one way or the other.

Decide to Act – The desire to live God’s Will is not the same as the decision to live God’s Will. The former is a feeling; the latter is an act of human will. This is not always easy and it can sometimes be painful, but you can believe that God has only the good for you in His answer. We cannot always see very far down the road.  We won’t always understand the specific purpose and end, beyond our own salvation, for our actions and decisions that God has in His Plan of Divine Providence for us. It is only ours to trust and act.

2. “The less self-willed we are, the easier it will be to us to follow God’s will.”
Letter by St. Francis de Sales

We must recollect that there is no vocation without its wearinesses, its bitternesses, and its trials; and moreover (except in the case of those who are wholly resigned to the will of God,) each one would willingly change his condition with that of others. Those who are Ministers, would fain be otherwise. They who are married, would they were not. They who are not, would they were. From whence proceeds this general discontentedness, if it be not a certain rebellion against constraint, and an evil spirit in us that makes each one think another’s condition better than his own?

But it is all one; and whosoever is not entirely resigned, but keeps on turning this way and that, never will find peace. When a person has a fever, he finds no place comfortable; he has not remained in one bed a quarter of an hour, before he wishes to be in another. It is not the bed which is in fault, but the fever, which torments him everywhere. And so a person who has not the fever of self-will, is contented everywhere and in all things, provided God be glorified. He cares not in what capacity God employs him, provided he can do therein His Divine will.

But this is not all. We must not only do the will of God, but to be really devout, we must do it cheerfully, nay, joyfully. If I were not a Bishop, perhaps, knowing what I now do, I might wish not to be one. But being one, not only am I obliged to do all that this difficult vocation requires, but I must do it joyfully, and make it agreeable to myself to do it. This is what St. Paul means when he says, “Let every man in the vocation in which he is called, therein abide with God.”1

We cannot bear the crosses of others, but each one must bear his own; and that we may each bear our own, our Lord would that each should renounce himself; that is to say, his own will. “I wish this or that” I should be better here or there.” These are temptations. Our Lord knows best what is best for each one of us; let us do what He wills, and remain where He has placed us.

But you have asked me to give you a few practical rules for your guidance. Besides all I have told you above, you should, First, meditate every day, either in the morning or before dinner or supper, and especially on the Life and Death of our Lord, and you can make use of any book that may assist you. Your meditation should never last above half-an-hour; at the end of each always add a consideration of the obedience which our Lord exercised towards God His Father: for you will see that all He did was done in obedience to the will of God; and considering this will rouse you more earnestly to strive to learn His will yourself. Secondly, before you do or prepare to do any of those duties of your calling which are apt to irritate you, think of the saints of old, who joyfully endured great and grievous things,—some suffering martyrdom, some dishonor in this world; some binding up ulcers and fearful sores; some banishing themselves into the desert; some working among slaves in the galleys: and each and all to do something pleasing in the sight of God. And what are we called upon to do, approaching to such trials as these?

Thirdly, Often think that the real value of whatever we do, is proportioned by the conformity with which we do it to the will of God. If in merely eating or drinking I do it becauseit is the will of God that I should, I am doing what is more agreeable to Him, than if I were to do what should even cost me my life, without any such Divine intention.

Fourthly, I would advise you often during the day, beseech God that He would inspire you with a real love of your vocation, and that you should say, like St. Paul, when he was converted, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?2Wouldest Thou that I should serve Thee in the lowest office in Thy house? I will reckon myself here, too blest. Provided that I serve Thee, I care not in what capacity.” And coming more particularly to what is vexing you, say, “Wouldest Thou that I should do such-and-such a thing? Alas! O Lord, though I am not worthy, willingly will I do it:” and by these means you may greatly humble yourself; and oh, what a treasure you will obtain! Far, far greater, doubtless, than you can ever estimate!

Fifthly, I would wish that you should consider how many saints have been in your position of life and vocation, and how they all accommodated themselves to it with great meekness and resignation; as many in the Old Testament as in the New,—Sara, and Rebecca, and Elizabeth, and the holy Anna, and St. Paul, and hundreds of others; and let their example encourage you. We must love what God loves; and if He loves our vocation, let us love it also; and let us not amuse ourselves, by placing ourselves in the position of others. Let us diligently do our business. For each his own cross is not too much. Gently mingle the office of Martha with that of Mary, diligently doing the duties of your calling, often recollecting yourself, and placing yourself in spirit at the foot of the Cross, and saying, “My Lord, whether I run, or whether I stand still, or whatever I do, I am Thine, and Thou art mine. Thou art my first Love, my Spouse, and all that I do, it is for Thee, whatsoever it be.”

Further, every evening examine yourself, and throughout the day constantly raise ejaculatory prayers to God. I recommend, for your reading, the “Spiritual Combat.” Communicate, if possible, every week, and regularly attend the services of the Church on Sundays and Festivals. Remember also what I have often told you,—be just to yourself in the devoted life you are leading; I mean, let others, and especially those of your own family, see its blessed effects in yourself, and be led to honor it accordingly. We must always be careful not to make our devotion annoying to others. What we cannot do without annoyance, especially to those placed over us, we should leave undone: and believe me this spiritual self-denial and privation, so far from being displeasing to God, will be accepted by Him as such, and turn to your own profit. Deny yourself willingly; and in proportion as you are hindered from doing the good you desire, strive so much the more zealously to do what you do not desire. Perhaps it is difficult for you to resign yourself patiently and gladly to these privations, but in doing so, you will gain for yourself real benefit. In all commit your cares and trials, and contradictions, and whatever befalls you to God, comforting yourself in the thought, that He blesses those who are holy, or those who are striving to become so. Keep your heart ready to bear every sort of cross and disappointment with resignation, for the sake of Him Who has borne so much for us: and may He fill thy heart and be thy guide through life!

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Dad’s Top 10 Reasons To Attend Church

January 31, 2012 under Meeting Materials

Contributed from Paul DeLuca.  Read during Apologetics:  Defending The Catholic Faith presentation.

 

    1. BALANCE:   I’ve always felt off balance when I’ve strayed away from a connection with my faith and it’s mass that brings me back and helps me stay connected.
    2. PRACTICE PRAISING:  It’s where we learn how to praise God and since that’s what we will do in eternity we need to get lots of practice now.
    3. GOD CENTER:  Once I truly came to believe that everything is from God I had a deeper desire to be close to Him always.  
    4. HIS CHANNEL:   I can do GREAT things when I let Jesus work through me.  
    5. BEING OUR BEST:   Becoming the best version of ourselves must include God
    6. LOVE OF NEIGHBOR:   Humans are meant to be social creatures building relationships with other human beings throughout life.  Mass nurtures and develops our spirit to help us see how we should behave in this world toward others.  
    7. STAYING ON TRACK:   Following God in one’s life is the ‘road less traveled’.  Weekly Mass provides the road map to find your way on that road.  
    8. SANCTIFICATION: – the process of growing Christ like.  
    9. PROTECTION:   There is a constant force in the world trying to get in-between us and God.  It can be called many things: secular society, pop culture, individualism, etc.  Don’t be fooled it is the devil.  We need the Mass as our weapon against this constant force.
    10. WALK TOWARD HIM:   For every step you take towards God, He takes 1000 steps toward you. 
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Talking and Listening to God

September 7, 2011 under Syllabus 2011-2012

Summary

Talking to God is important. However listening to God is imperative. Do we only know how to talk to God and ask or tell Him what to do or are we trying equally as hard to listen to what God wants from us?

Objective

The really sad thing about not talking and listening to God, is that you miss a golden opportunity to draw closer to God, to get to know him better, and to let him know that you realize that you want and need his help. When you fail to talk and listen to God, you greatly limit God’s ability to accomplish the things that he wants to do in your life. When you don’t communicate with God you miss the Godly advice given at James 4:8, “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you”. Instead, when you don’t talk or listen to God you pretty much tell him that you don’t need him, that you can do things on your own, that his advice and his concern are not needed, that you are very capable of going through your life under your own power and doing it your own way.

Bible Readings

1. 1 Samuel 3:9

‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’

2. Proverbs 12:15

The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.

3. James 1:19-20

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

Catechism Readings

1. Catechism 308

The truth that God is at work in all the actions of his creatures is inseparable from faith in God the Creator. God is the first cause who operates in and through secondary causes: “For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Far from diminishing the creature’s dignity, this truth enhances it. Drawn from nothingness by God’s power, wisdom and goodness, it can do nothing if it is cut off from its origin, for “without a Creator the creature vanishes.” Still less can a creature attain its ultimate end without the help of God’s grace.

Small Group Questions

1. Think about a situation you have been in lately and note if you have stopped to listen for God or if you are simply choosing what you think is best to do?

2. After the discussion above share your thoughts on the possibility you may not like what God wants you to do.

3. At this point in your life how do you shut God out of your life in terms of how you may listen to God?

4. Do you put God on a time table and if you don’t get the answer you want you simply shut God Down?

Accountability

1. This week would be a good time to start thinking of various ways we can let God guide our lives. Take steps to ask God what God wants you to do – NO MATTER WHAT

2. Commit to one action you will make to talk and/or listen to God and share your experience next week.

Recommended Resources

1. Listening and Talking to God

http://robertwells.tripod.com/listeningtogod.html

2. How to Listen to What God Wants from Me … – Catholic Online

www.catholic.org/featured/headline.php?ID=1185

Book: How to Listen When God Is Speaking: A Guide for Modern-Day Catholics [Paperback]

Mitch Pacwa


Author(s)

Graham Galloway

Steve Green (Previous Author)

Included Resources

By Fr. Jonas Abib
Founder Cancao Nova
©Catholic Online 2004

The important thing is always to practice listening to God. You do not listen to Him with your ear but with your heart.

Listening to God is embracing God’s inspirations in your heart. God’s answers us in your heart, in our deepest inmost core where He dwells. If you want an answer from God, look for it deep inside yourself. You should learn to plunge into the temple of your heart and look for your answers there.

It is something that cannot be done externally, amidst noise and lots of activity; it is something that cannot be done in your head. We often try to decide things in our mind, know everything in our conscious mind. Though what we really need is to plunge into our hearts and search for an answer in deep prayer.

We all know the benefits of prayer, especially prayer in tongues, followed by deep silence. In fact, what you experience is not a real silence, an empty silence: on the contrary, it is a silence of plenitude, a pleasant silence, a silence through which you plunge into your own self.

It is something like plunging into the depths of your own spiritual oceans in a sea-probe, going deep down inside yourself and entering that place inside you where God dwells. That is the place where God gives you the seeds for the answers of everything you ask Him.

It is a question of learning how to listen to God.

You listen to Him not with your ears but with the wisdom He inspires you in the recesses of your praying heart.

http://robertwells.tripod.com/listeningtogod.html

TALKING AND LISTENING TO GOD (Partial)

Talking to God
We talk to God in order to constantly build and strengthen our relationship with him, to get to know him better, to learn what he expects of us, what we can expect from him, and to find out how we can best accomplish the things that he wants us to do. We also talk to God in order to seek his advice and help, to show him that we recognize his existence and awesome power, and of course to show him that we have trust and confidence in him.

And talking to God should be the same as if you were talking to your best friend. You should tell him your thoughts, desires, hurts, and problems, as well as giving him your thanks and praise. Talking to God not only tells God that you have knowledge of him but that you also have faith in him. Talking to God also tells him that you have a desire for his presence in your life and that you need him and are dependent on him. It also shows God and that you want to be obedient to him. He wants to hear these things from you. He already knows what they are but he wants you to tell them to him. He wants you to make the effort to talk to him and not to take him for granted.

If you really want to communicate and talk to God, if you want to become close to him, if you want to begin to grow strong spiritually, and if you want to begin a glorious and meaningful relationship with him, then do two things.
1) Talk to God daily, in a normal everyday type of conversation. Remember that God can read your mind and that he is constantly observing your inner most thoughts at all times, so he knows what is going on in your heart and your mind far better than you do. So your conversations with God do not have to be vocal and you can mentally talk to God anytime you want. God gave us little taste of his ability to search the hearts of men and read their minds back in Jeremiah 17:10 when he said, “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.”
So you can easily talk to God in your thoughts, and these conversations can be done anytime or anyplace. They can be done in school, at work, or at any other place, even if the rules of the world are against it.

2) The second thing you need to do in order to better communicate with Jesus is to read the Word of God each and every day. The Bible was the one thing that Jesus left for each one of us to read and study so that we would be able to find out about God. Only by reading the very word of God can we hope to draw near to him.

When Our Lord sees that you are taking the time to read his word every single day then what he is going to do is begin to peel away the layers of cloudiness that are covering your eyes and that hide the truth. Once he sees that you are serious about reading his word, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit will begin to open your eyes and mind, and allow you to begin to understand the Word of God and the incredible meaning that it has on every aspect of your life. It won’t be long before you realize that the Bible isn’t difficult at all to read and understand, and to your amazement you will begin to also realize that you and Jesus have been drawn closer together. Suddenly you will know that indeed he is communicating with you.

It is really a joyous occasion to see a believer who has devoted the time to talk to God and to read his word daily, suddenly realize just how much God is speaking to them. The true believer takes great comfort in knowing that Jesus Christ is constantly talking to them, directing them, guiding them, and teaching them throughout each and every day.

Also keep in mind that the way you talk to God is extremely important. Do you talk to him only when you are in trouble and need help? If so then it shows God that you are simply taking him for granted. However if he sees that you are setting aside certain periods of time during each day just to talk to him, then what you are doing is opening up the channels of communication between you and God.

We are living in a world that rarely thinks about Jesus and seldom talks to him, and if Jesus sees one person out of a million who is actually taking the time each and every day just to talk to him, then you are going to put great joy in his heart. Just think of it. The creator of the entire universe will be personally listening to you each and every time you talk to him.

He may watch for a while to see if what you are doing is only temporary and whether or not you will stop it after a few days. But if you continue, then God is going to be extremely pleased and I believe he won’t be able to wait to begin to communicate with your heart, your conscience, your soul, your spirit. In fact you will not believe how much God will be talking to you.

Listening to God
Listening to God is probably the most important thing that will ever happen to a person. In fact your entire eternal future is based on you hearing God speaking to you and whether or not you listen to him. And this is because your spiritual life doesn’t begin until God speaks to you and you finally decide to listen. This is so beautifully described in John 10:27-28. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand”.

It is for this reason that you need to not only talk to God constantly about everything, but you must also listen for God to speak to you. And the best way to listen for God to speak to you is to look to your heart and your mind for his answer. Most people expect God to answer them in some divine way or somehow speak to them verbally, right out of the heavens, but that isn’t the way God operates. God speaks to a persons heart. To their mind. To their sense of moral righteousness and fairness. To their sense of what is right and Godly. When Jesus Christ is dwelling within a person he is communicating constantly with that person’s, heart, conscience, soul, and spirit. His answer may even be in that certain feeling that you have. That unexpected feeling that came out of no where and that shines additional light on the problem. His answer may lie in that sudden pause that you experience. That pause that gets you thinking about a different path to take.

And those methods of communication that God uses are extremely loud and clear. The true child of God can hear God speak just as clearly as if God was standing right along side of them and verbally talking to them. However for most people, especially in the beginning, they need to be quiet and really listen for God’s answer because it is so very easy to block his answer out. You can get busy watching a TV program or cleaning the house and you never really hear his side of the conversation.

It’s amazing, but a true child of God is carrying on a constant two way conversation with God all day long. This is why talking and listening to God is so easy. It’s like listening to music. That’s why if your driving down the street going 30 miles over the speed limit, you know that’s the voice of God telling you that you are wrong and that you must get back to the proper speed limit. That speeding is against the law, that you very possibly might hurt or kill another person, that you will be stopped by the police and given an expensive ticket, that your insurance rates will go up, or any number of other reasons. (You know it’s not satan talking to you because if it was satan he would be telling you to go faster, that a little extra speed doesn’t matter, that the other drivers owe you, or that it is ok for you to speed because you are in a hurry).

Another example might be if you are at work and you see something that you would like to have at home, and you suddenly begin to think that your employer will never miss it, and that it really isn’t that expensive. Well, that’s God speaking to your entire being through your conscience. He’s pleading with your heart not to steal that item. He’s telling your mind that it will only bring dishonor and guilt upon you and upon God. He telling your moral righteousness that it is very wrong, and that nothing good can ever happen when you steal from another.

After a while God is carrying on a conversation with you even while you are talking to other people; and you are tuned in to God just as much as you are to the other person. When was the last time you and another person were talking and that person used the name of God in vain. Did your mind not hear the Lord cut into that conversation and instantly begin to tell you that the conversation was wrong. That it is wrong to be around someone dragging his Father’s name through the dirt? Or how about the time when you were talking with another person and one of you happened to mention vicious gossip about another person. Didn’t your heart hear God tell you that it wasn’t right to gossip? Did you feel that gentle warning letting you know that you were traveling out of God’s camp and into an area that is owned and ruled by satan. That was God simply talking to you. And it will be one of the most glorious days of your life when you finally realize that you can conduct a constant two way conversation with God 24 hours a day.

Also a great many people love to say that God works in mysterious ways. That they have absolutely no idea how or why God does what he does. But for the true believer, God’s ways aren’t mysterious. His ways aren’t concealed behind smoke and mirrors. It is just the opposite. Because once you begin to understand Jesus Christ, once you begin to learn what he is all about, once you begin to understand what he is trying to do in this world and in your life, once you begin to understand the tremendous importance that he holds for all of mankind, then his actions will not be mysterious. That’s when his ways will become crystal clear. In fact many times you will actually be able to predict what he is going to do.

The believer, who has surrendered his life up to Jesus Christ, will see God actively working in their daily lives. But this seeing will not be a visual image focused in our eyes. Instead, God has allowed his children to see him through his faithfulness, his blessings, his guidance, his encouragement. Our very spirits tell us that he is very near to us. Do we not see him by the feeling of peace and calm that his very presence brings? Do we not see God through the daily provisions that he brings for our many needs? We see God when he is carrying our burdens, when he is lighting our paths, and when he is nestling us in his arms. The believer that has surrendered, is able to see God all day long.

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