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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Feast of the Archangels and a Testimony!

Today, 29th September, the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Archangels, St Michael, St Gabriel and St Raphael.

 For my non-Catholic friends, you may remember that Archangel Gabriel was sent to the young virgin Mary to announce her being chosen as the mother of the Messiah. You will also find St Raphael in the Book of Tobit, as the angel who accompanied young Tobias on his journey. St Michael, of course, is the angel who rallied the angelic troops to defeat Satan and throw him and his minions from Heaven and who, in the Book of Revelation, is the one who will lead the angelic forces once again as Christ comes to claim His Bride on Judgement Day.

Click on the pictures for more detailed information on these Archangels from the catholic culture website.

St Gabriel
St Raphael
Each one of these archangels has its own beloved place in our hearts but St Michael has always been a favourite in our household.  My youngest has had a devotion to him from a young toddler and would make me play a youtube video of the St Michael prayer daily before I took he to pre-school. I wrote about this last year in this post giving a testimony of how I had personally felt the protection of an angel or angels in my life.

Today, I have a more recent testimony and a very timely one which I want to share with you. If you could ever be in doubt about the protective services of our guardian angels, I hope you will change your mind after your read this.

A few years ago, during a painful trial in my life, I was turning to God more and more, absorbing myself in His Word, the Eucharist and daily, lengthy visits to the Blessed Sacrament. It was in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel that I felt that I was being instructed to place myself and my family under the protection of St Michael and the Blessed Mother.  I purchased St Michael and Miraculous medals and gave to each member of my family.

Last week my husband was away on a business trip. I had to drop everyone to work and school and to pick them up in the afternoon as well. This meant three trips into town with our 'vintage' car. By Wednesday afternoon, when I had parked the car after my second trip to pick up my youngest from school, I heard a bubbling in the radiator. When the car had cooled down, I checked it and realized that my radiator was empty! With some alarm, I topped it up with water and some little voice prompted me to check all of my car's fluids. I discovered that my power steering fluid was also empty! I topped that up too and headed out for my third trip, which was rather lengthy since I had two stops and had to wait half an hour both times for my girls to come out.

The following morning, I should have checked the car, but in my haste to leave on time, I didn't. When I returned home, I decided to leave the car out of the garage and check the floor to see what had leaked out of it. There, all over the garage floor was coolant. I waited for the car to cool down and sure enough, the radiator was empty again!

I called my mechanic and explained the situation. He he told me that something was definitely wrong, I was losing water too fast and to top it up and bring it over to him, which I did. (He lives a short distance from my own home.) After checking, he told me that a water jacket had burst . In reply to my asking if this meant I shouldn't drive the car, he said "You CANT drive this car" and instructed me to take everything I needed out of it and he would drive me home. He also told me that my power steering pump was leaking badly.

I arrived back home in a daze, mentally calculating what this would cost me and how much of a setback it would be to my finances this month. I absentmindedly began scrubbing the gunk off the floor and spotted a shiny object where the car had been parked.

There on the floor, where it had no right to be, was a St Michael Medal.

Suddenly, like a ton of bricks it hit me!  It all fell into place for me at that moment. I had driven my car into town, a distance of 10 miles from my home, in awful traffic conditions at least three times and had waited over half an hour twice...WITH A BURST WATER JACKET. (I don't even KNOW what that is!)  Those words "You CANT drive this car." echoed in my brain. I'm no mechanic and I didn't do Physics, but my common sense tells me that my car could and probably should have shut down anywhere during that time and I would have had to have a tow truck take me to the mechanic.  Another thing...why in the world would I decide to check the Power Steering fluid? I have learned to check my water and oil after some mishaps but not that!

I only have one answer friends. Finding that medal (which by the way is not one that my children use so it cannot be easily explained how it would get underneath my car) is a reminder to me that God has his special angels protecting me and that, in my turning to St Michael's protection in those prior years, I am still the grateful recipient of his vigilant guardianship.

Praise God and thank you St Michael!

If you would like to read testimonies of how angels are daily protecting and guiding God's faithful you can subscribe to the weekly newsletter by Joan Wester Anderson here and you can also read her wonderful compilations by ordering them here.

Hope you enjoyed reading and may the angels walk with you!

Footnote: I DO NOT receive any commissions for recommending these books. I just happen to be a fan and wanted to share my love of them with you.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Kingship of Jesus

The Kingship of Jesus is stressed in many places throughout the New Testament. In this second week of  our study in Colossians I found myself pulled towards these truths:

Jesus is King of All Creation
Colossians 1:16 tells us that" in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him" 
Deuteronomy 10:14 (47 kb)

Jesus is King of the Church
Colossians 1:18 says :
Colossians 1:18 (52 kb)

What is a King? What is a Kingdom?
Dictionary Definitions:

King - Male sovereign or monarch, chief ruler, one invested with supreme authority over a nation, country or tribe, usually be hereditary succession.

Kingdom - A country or state headed by a king and/or queen, a monarch with a king or queen as head of state.

Let's take a look at some ancient history:
  • Kings (and queens) have always been treated with a certain amount of respect.
  • A king's subjects paid taxes towards his upkeep.
  • His decrees/edicts were absolute and carried out under punishment of death.
  • His subjects served Him, were loyal to him and defended him to the death.
  • The wore outward signs of their allegiance, especially in times of battle.

Now, though the general respect for modern day royalty is not what it used to be, their sovereignty also not what it used to be...let's take a look at how most people respond to a visit from members of the British royal family:

Photo: Mail Online

  • They line the streets for hours, waving flags, tossing flowers and other tributes of their affection.
  • No expense is spared to host members of royalty.
  • Heavy security is called out.
  • Though there are some who despise anything to do with the monarchy, the majority consider themselves lucky and blessed to have been able to get close enough to see them.
Now, let us consider this question:

Do we treat Jesus as a King?


Do we consider His laws and commandments as absolute, under punishment of death? Or do we find ways to water them down and make them fit into the lifestyles which we choose and the choices we make?Unfortunately, this is true of many people. They make excuses for not doing things their faith tells them they should do or for doing the wrong things by saying "God understands.", or "I cannot believe that a God who loves me would ask me to xxx". We often justify our actions based on the fact that 'it feels right'. Many are saying that the Church needs to modernize. What would Jesus say if He walked the earth now, in modern times? God doesn't change...His laws do not change...right and wrong do not change. This could mean not sticking them could mean our death...an eternal death.

Are we loyal to Him, would we defend Him/our faith to the death, if necessary?
How many of us stand up for God when others are blaspheming against Him in our presence? Would you? Would you be afraid of alienating others or, worse, victimization? Would you continue to go to Church, worship or hold bible studies in public if it were dangerous to you? I think of those who are being persecuted for their faith, right now in these modern times. If you thought this is ancient history, read this article...watch this video. Praise God that most of us still have the freedom to worship our God, but a frightening trend is beginning to take hold of our world. In the name of 'political correctness' or 'freedom of rights' and many other names, the supremacy of God, the absolute infallibility of His laws is being undermined and threatened. Where are we going to stand if the time comes to make a stand?

Are we willing to wear our faith as outer garments?
Do people look at us and see that we are Christians?  Are we bold enough to proclaim it? I have often seen those bumper stickers on cars saying things like 'Prayer is the answer.', 'Choose Jesus!' or 'Jesus is my co-pilot'. Sometimes the people driving were less than considerate users of the road and I have thought to myself  "This is why I will never put one of those on my car". Hmm...am I making excuses for myself...afraid to be advertise my faith? Perhaps an outward sign such as this would encourage me to drive courteously on the roads.

What of t-shirts that have signs or slogans that may not be popular opinion? A few years ago we participated in a walk against abortion and purchased t-shirts that said 'Abortion is murder'. After the walk, I put mine away, reluctant to wear it out in public...telling myself that it was because I did't want to  many anyone else feel uncomfortable. After all, who knows which person one may encounter may have made that choice. Hmm...am I just making excuses for not standing up for my beliefs?

Do we pay our 'taxes' for His support?
Okay...so God really doesn't want our money, but His churches do...to feed  and clothe the poor,  the homeless and ill. Are we feeding His Body by tithing...not just our money, but our time and talent too? Even the widow's mite was welcome...you may not be able to give much but every little bit counts. Many times it is the 'human resource' that is most needed. Someone to carry out the actual 'feeding',  'clothing' and visiting. Maybe your church needs someone to usher, or do collection or sing in the choir. There are many ways to 'pay our taxes' and serve God.

Our King will come to claim His Kingdom
Some day our King will come again in glory as is told in the Book of Revelations. He will come to separate the goat from the sheep. Who will He pick as His loyal subjects? Who will He consider worthy to share in His Kingdom? When that day comes, I pray that we will all have had the fortitude to have lived our lives in a manner pleasing to Him so we can enjoy a blissful eternity praising and worshipping God.

Jesus Christ coming with bright light and shine around him while angels welcoming by praying and singing religious Christian drawing art picture free download

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My Top Ten Things I Love About My Husband

Today, I'm linking up with the series Top 10 Tuesday over at Angie's place, Many Little Blessings.  Its my first time linking up but I've been following Angie's blog for a while now and I think you'll find it a place you feel much at home.

Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings

I've been following, but not actively participating in, the Revive Your Marriage Series which is taking place on four of my favourite blogs simultaneously. This is actually the fourth week, but I thought it was high time I took some active participation.

 This week's topic is on reviving our appreciation of our husbands via praise. The challenge this week is to list five things you love about your husband. I have decided to list ten. I recently had a birthday and requested a letter from my husband on why he loves me as my gift from him. He went above and beyond so now its payback time!

My Top Ten Things I Love About My Husband

  1. You always try to make me smile...you always did and you still do!
  2. You always encourage me...you support me in my crazy endeavours. It was upon your encouragement that I started my blog (which you always read).
  3. Even though I often look like something the cat dragged in, you're never ashamed to hold my hand in public.
  4. You prefer to be at home with us than anywhere else...thank you for placing family first!
  5. You work hard to provide for us and you've NEVER EVER told me I ought to get a job...believing that God wants me to be a homemaker and that He will provide our every need.
  6. You've tapped into that little romantic guy that's been sleeping inside you all these years...what a gift he is to me...I love him so!
  7. You've been willing to make the changes necessary for our marriage to grow and our relationship to deepen, both spiritually and emotionally. I KNOW how hard that is for you.
  8.  You share with me and ask my thoughts on things.  This is so important to me, that you trust my judgment and are willing to listen to me.
  9. I feel safe when I'm with you...my world is right and I know that whatever comes we will face it together, with God's help.
  10. Just because you are you...God made you for me and me for you and my body, soul and mind recognizes its mate. Being with you makes me happy. No matter what life throws our way, no matter if we disagree or hurt each other sometimes. My life is with you and I wouldn't have it any other way.

If you'd like to check out the Revive Your Marriage Series, click on the link below. I promise you'll be blessed.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Learning to be Christian...Lessons from Colossians

We are into the first week of the study of the book of Colossians. So far we have done Colossians 1:1-10.  I have to say that these first three days of the study has been focused, for me, on the reminder of what being a Christian entails:

  • Praying constantly - Prayer is the doorway of communication between us and the Holy Spirit of God. It is by prayer that we maintain a relationship with Him. A relationship that allows us to grow in wisdom and knowledge and understanding.  Through this relationship, we can receive all the tools and gifts of the Spirit that we need to live this life here on earth in such a manner that we can enjoy eternity forever in Heaven. Somehow I am reminded of the promises made in Baptism, the Covenant we make with God on that day, where He marks us as one of His own and our destiny is to be with Him in Heaven. We must do our part to fulfilling that destiny by abiding in Him. 

  •                                  Baptism of Jesus, John The Baptist, Matthew 3:13, John 1:29

      • Prayer for others - As Christians we have a responsibility to lift each other in prayer, just as St Paul lifted the people of Colossae, praying for their continued growth in the Spirit. We should be praying, not just for those who we love and are close to, but for those who are far from God, those who daily offend Him, those in authority - our spiritual and governmental leaders. We should be praying for our enemies and those who annoy us - tough to do, but that's what Christ calls us to!  Matt 5:44-45 tells us "But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your father in heaven..."
      Praying hands with rosary and Cross clip art towards god Jesus Christ and mother Mary pictures and religious images download for free

      • Hope, Faith, Love, Grace  - These are the themes that I received from  these first verses of 1 Colossians. We are reminded that our hope is in the promise of everlasting life through Jesus Christ. We are reminded to love all as He did and to keep alive our faith in Him and the Grace that He continually offers to us in the form of forgiveness, provision, protection...the list is endless. I believe that we ought to be extending this grace to others as well...to forgive those who offend us, to be more tolerant and thereby show His love to one and all. When He walked the earth, these are the things He taught and He exemplified, by His actions. If we are to be like Christ, we must emulate Him.
      The Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, Matthew 5:1

      • Evangelization  - I feel strongly reminded that I have a duty to do what I can to bring about the Kingdom of God right here on earth, in whatever way I can, in whatever season of life I am in. Some of the wonderful GMG ladies are missionaries, spiritual leaders etc. We are each called to spread the Good News in our own circumstances...to our spouses and children, to whosoever we encounter in the course of our days. The way we treat others and the way we act will speak of our faith and spiritual walk with God.   We may not all have an active role in official evangelization, but we were all given this mandate by Jesus... Matt 28:19 :Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

      The book of Colossians promises to be a rich and rewarding study. Already, in just a few days, my heart is convicted and my spirit yearns for that deeper relationship with God.  If you haven't already, why don't you join us? Just click on the link above to the Good Morning Girls website and you will find all the details there on how to sign up and download your resources.

      May God's blessings be upon all of you!

      Friday, September 14, 2012

      Dear Me - A Letter to My Teenaged Self

      Today is my birthday...I'm now officially on top of the hill...assuming I live to be 90 I'm firmly in the middle ages right now! :P

      What a perfect time to link up with Emily at Chatting at the Sky where she is hosting a most intriguing blog party.  I learned about this through my dear friend Kris who participated and decided to take part myself.

      Emily recently wrote a book for teen girls entitled Graceful. To celebrate the release of the book she is hosting a linkup which  features letters written by our 'mature' selves to our teen selves. As the mother of four daughters, I think this is a beautiful venture and I look forward to sharing with them what I discover here.

      So, with no further ado:

      Dear Lisa (you've gone by quite a few names over the years from Lili to Lisedewise and the much-hated Liza Minelli to what most folks call you today...Lise)

      I wish I could step into Doc's souped up DeLorean and slip you a little note when you were about 13. What a year of changes for you! I guess you were always in that strange place  in between the uncool and the wannabes. Your search for who you were made you try on so many different cloaks. That's natural I guess, but it sometimes took you away from who God wanted you to be. 

      You were always a tomboy growing up... in the teen years it became a balancing act between wanting to look glamorous (remember when you and your bf read cover to cover the Sweet Dreams Fashion Book)  and giving in to your own natural tendencies.  Remember how you and you friends and sisters used to play dress up and model for the camera? You had to have fun somehow right? Pretending to be models and the Solid Gold dancers...unfortunately deep down inside you didn't believe you could measure up...your body didn't look like theirs. Ah, but if only you knew that you were beautiful to God and an heir to His Kingdom, you'd have know you were a princess and it didn't matter if you could dance in high heels or you were too big in certain places!

      Even though you tried on the class clown cloak, the serious side of you won out and you ended up a class prefect in your senior year...boy did you lord it over those younger ones. Power definitely did not suit you at all...if only you had worn that mantle of authority with humility and gentleness...as God would have wanted you to. Alas...wisdom comes with age!

      You always knew that God was there with you, but I wish you'd embraced Him and loved Him more fully in your youth. You were so lucky, He was always such a good shepherd to you and you know full well you were saved from the consequences of many scrapes!

      Like the time you and your bf read Sweet Dream's Popularity Plan (anybody else remember this?) and decided to concoct your own with the boys in the school play and ended up getting the wrong boys' attention?   

      You wanted to feel loved and accepted, if only you'd realized that He was all the love you needed all wrapped up in one precious gift. You could find complete and unconditional love and acceptance in Him. Perhaps then, you wouldn't have been so insecure growing up.

      I know you felt the severity of your father's restrictions and his harsh discipline all the way to your soul. Someday you will appreciate how he protected you and if only you could have looked beyond his stern exterior you would have seen a man who wanted affection too but didn't know how to give it as it hadn't been given to him.  Someday you will also struggle to give this to your children. What a pity that you never had the courage to reach out to him first...what a difference that would have made!
      You were so insecure in yourself...your body growing so fast you wanted to hide it and the unwanted attentions it brought, your ability to make others like you or love you. Everything falls into place in time and someday you'll be loved for who you are... flaws and all.  Meanwhile, you'd savour the unconditional love of your pets...bleeding heart animal lover that you are.  How many injured birds did you rescue...even taking one with you from the beach to nurse back to health, crying when they didn't make it. You know what? Someday humans will become more important than those animals you love so much now (and let me just whisper in your ear that at least a couple of your future daughters are going to be just like you...so bear it with a smile and remember your own days)
      Peaches, Ginger, Lady, Rex and Sheena 

      Your love for reading and writing...that was awesome, but it kept you locked away from your family. I know it was your way of dealing with your  teenage drama, but it was a bit selfish.

      In fact, you sometimes were so wrapped up in yourself that you didn't pay attention to your sisters and you got upset when they came into your room. Funny that...your future eldest daughter is going to do the same!  

      Looking at everyone else's freedoms, you felt the sting of what you couldn't do and have.  My dear, if only you had appreciated what you DID have, but that's the way of youth. The grass always seems greener on the other side. If I could have slipped you a note about one thing it would be this:


      You were always anxious to grow up, to escape, to live. You felt caged in and you longed to have the freedom to discover what was on the other side of the fence. Life goes by so quickly, if only you had savoured that time of innocence and freedom...yes freedom! You didn't know it yet, but you WERE free...free of responsibility, debt and all the baggage that comes with growing up. 

      You know, despite you father's strictness, you would have a lot of fun growing up. You always had cousins about and the vacation days at your grandmother's home while both your parents worked provided a lot of room for freedom. Your father graciously allowed your best friend to spend many weekends at your house so you could study and have some fun together. You didn't think anything of it, but it was his way of bending a little...he wouldn't let you go out, but you could have a friend to share some time with.

      Oh, and what about that school play you took part in when you were 15? That was one of the greatest times of your life...you really loved the drama! Maybe that's why one of your daughters loves it so much now. That took alot out of your father to drop you to rehearsals and pick you back up when you lived so far away from school. Of course, you wouldn't see that until you become me, the grown up.
      There you are, with your bad self,   diamond drawn around your eye, acting as a gang member for the school play

      My dear, if I could, I would tell you to slow down, give more of  yourself, appreciate what you have, give more grace to others and most of all...cling to the Father and let him mold and shape you. I would tell you that the most important thing in the world is...how you love!

      Why don't you join in the fun and write a letter to your teenaged self? Link up at the site below. Its a very enlightening experience. Warning...introspection required.

      graceful for young women