Replacing Bad Habits with Good Ones

Replace your bad habits or addictions with positive ones.  We all have bad habits to overcome.  Some of us stay up too late, drink too much, smoke, game too much, eat too much, fail to pray, fail to exercise, fail to go to church, show up late, interrupt others or fail to listen.  Our self-talk about our failures is very negative.  Sometimes we are not honest with ourselves and make excuses for our behavior and procrastinate the change we know we need to make.

Prayer, study, exercise, eating right, taking the dog for a walk, reading a good book. When you feel the urge to use tobacco, drink, game too much or any other negative behavior, think about the positive things you could do instead and create good habits. 
Forgive yourself, make sure your self-talk is positive, and choose to create positive habits.  Focus on your prayer life first.  Ask God for help.  He will help you and you can do this.

Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Oh God, help us to overcome bad habits and especially addictive behavior that hid us back from living the full life you have planned for us.  With Your help, we can replace our bad habits with good ones and better serve You through Jesus Christ Our Lord.  Amen

Love, Mymom

Book Recommendations: The Bait is Satan: Living Free from the Deadly Trap of Offense by John Bevere

I read The Bait of Satan in 2013.  At the time, I had no idea how hurt I was by my feelings of being offended.  As John explains in his book, there are many reasons to feel offended.  Our reasons are usually good ones.  Our parents, our spouse,  our children, friends, neighbors, co-workers, boss, pastor, fellow Christians, teachers…and the list goes on and on all have times when they offend us.   When I feel offended, I may choose to wallow in my feelings instead of having conversations and forgiving the ones who have offended me.  

John Bevere calls the temptation to feel offended and disrupt or sever our relationships with others, the Bait of Satan.  It is what Satan uses to hook us into not only feeling bad but to quit talking to those we legitimately feel have harmed us.  Falling into the trap of rightous unforgiveness is a sin.  These sins separate us from others and more importantly, turn our attention inward and separate us from God.

Jesus has told us, we need to forgive others always.  

Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you;”

Forgiveness is never optional as a Christian.  If we are to be forgiven, we must forgive.  Satan tempts us with the offenses of others.  His goal is that we be separated from God and others.  Worse, our separation leads us to other sins of gossip and treating others badly.

The Bait of Satan opened my eyes and I started forgiving others.  Occassionlly, Satan still catches me with his bait.  Most of the time, I’m able to recognize the offense and call it out.  When you have a conversation with the offender, you often find that you misunderstood the situation.  Their intention wasn’t to offend and even if it was, let them be, forgive, and do not be held captive by the offense.

Oh God, help us to recognize when we feel offended and to swiftly forgive others.  Help us to truly mean it when we pray “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”.  Through Christ Our Lord.  Amen

Love, MyMom

Book Recommendations – The Greatest Story

I want to share books that have been very significant in my life, so over this next month, I’ll give you some book recommendations.  The first book is the most significant.  It was very difficult and wonderful to read as are most spiritual books.  I would get distracted and have to bring myself back to it time and time again.  I first started exploring this book when I was a teenager.  I would read it avidly for a few weeks and then I would get out of the habit and come back to it later.  This book is the bible.  The first time I read it cover to cover, I read it with my young husband.  We used a study guide called God’s Word Today which I believe is called God’s Word Among us today.  The study guide took us through the bible one chapter at a time.

Each month, we would get a new booklet with daily readings covering a book of the bible.  The study alternated between the Old and New Testament books of the bible.  We would pause each morning before we began our day by reading a chapter or two and reading the reflection.  Over the course of three years, we read the whole bible.  It was such a special time for us to read together and reflect on God’s word together.  We learned so much about God and about each other.  My own faith deepened and at the same time, I had so many questions.

Over the many years since, I have read the bible multiple times.  I have taken the Bible Timeline class by Jeff Cavins.  I’ve read a daily reading guide of the mass readings.  Actually, the daily readings offered at mass will take you through the bible once about every three years.  My current guide is called “Living Faith, Daily Catholic Devotions”.  This year, I have committed to reading the bible cover to cover.  I’m using a devotion book called “Your Daily Walk”.

I also have an App on my phone.  Evangelizo has the daily readings and reflections.  More about Catholic Apps for your phone in another blog.  I’m learning new things every time I read a reflection.  The Word of God is infinite in its messages to us.  I meet God in a very personal way in the bible.  I find so many interesting facts.  So much comfort and so much challenge at the same time.  Why don’t you pick up the bible and read.  God has much to say to you too.

Let us pray, Oh God, help us to seek you in all that we do.  Help us to dive into your Holy Word again and again.  Please deliver us from the Evil One who finds every possible reason to keep us from reading, reflecting, and resting in You and your Holy Word, the Bible.  In Jesus Holy name, Amen.

Love,

My Mom

 

Listen, don’t judge

Many times I have failed to be present with you, to listen to your story.  I have jumped to conclusions and I have judged you from my own background and experiences.  I have tried to fix things for you and I have undermined your self confidence.  I’m sorry.  I truly want to listen and accept you where you are and trust you and God with your future.  You will have setbacks.  You will have successes.  You will succeed and you will fail.  Get up.  Plan your day.  Seek help.  Ask God what you should do next.  Spend time with Him in prayer.  I am praying for you.  I will listen to your story without judgement.  I will help when you ask.  

Jesus, Son of the living God, help us as we communicate with each other to listen and to see each other as you see us.  Amen.

Love, Mymom

Be True to Your Faith in God

I am uncompromising about my belief in God. In the Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. I believe that Jesus leads us to the Father. I believe that developing my relationship with Jesus through my prayer life is the most important thing that I do each moment of each day. Brother Lawrence learned how to be in His Holy presence at all times, even when doing simple, menial work. Do all things as if doing them for Jesus. See the Practice of the Presence of God.

It isn’t ok to ignore Jesus in your day or save Him for when you occasionally go to mass. Worse, to be vague about your belief at all. I have talked with Christians, especially Catholic Christians who are lazy about their belief or who want to be popular with the crowd who believe that Jesus just doesn’t matter.

As for me, I will serve The Lord. I don’t get to speak for my children any more. They are grown. I will never stop praying for their continuous growth and conversion to a beautiful life filled with Jesus.

Don’t be lukewarm about your faith. Jesus deserves so much more. Turn to Him and He will forgive your apathy and welcome you back. Join me in worshiping our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Oh God, forgive us for our Apathy, for the time we chose not to go to mass even for just one hour a week. Forgive us for the times we took you for granted and failed to worship you. Forgive us for denying you and help us instead to be aware of you in each breath we take. To shout out, My Lord and My God. In Jesus Holy Name. Amen.

Love, Mymom

Beware of Group Think

I was recently watching The Wolf of Wall Street, about debauchery, deception, hard selling tactics that capitalize on greed. It was the worst movie I’ve ever seen in terms of the language, sex, drugs, and overall sinful , moral less behavior. It was repugnant and I was very disappointed. I should have turned it off. I actually felt sick to my stomach at the depravity of so many people willing to follow a bad leader.

When money and greed are your idols, God is not present. When group think sets in, we let our guard down. We think we can behave badly because others are behaving badly. This group think has been around forever. The bible is full of stories of group think, people behaving badly and God’s disappointment with his children. Jesus died to set us free from
the trap of sin that spirals out of control. When we turn to Jesus, or when we are humbled and brought low and look up to see Jesus, he is there with us. He forgives us and tells us to forgive others. “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone…Has no one condemned you? Then neither do I condemn you, Go and sin no more”.

I don’t recommend the movie mentioned. It does not entertain and there is no good message in it. Buyer Beware. Hollywood’s Best Picture nomination and rating system are very flawed.

Let us pray. Oh God, guard us from Group Think and bad behavior. Help us to think of you and things above. May your hand be upon us keeping us from evil that we may do no harm. Help us to turn away from our sin and turn to you through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Be careful out there.

Love, Mymom

Meanness

Mean or snide comments are mean and snide. What are we thinking when we make them?? We are all guilty of making “funny” remarks at the expense of others. Guess what – those comments are sinful and hurt others. Don’t do it. Just don’t be the devil’s voice in the world. As for forgiveness if this is you. Apologize. Encourage each other and build each other up. Kind words. Remember “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.

When we are the victims of mean or snide comments, resist the urge to retort angrily. Take a deep breath and ask God to help you to forgive. That person may not know how badly they hurt you with the mean comment. Be courageous and tell them. Remember Jesus loves you truly. You are a cherished child of the one true King, Jesus. Peace be with you.

Oh God, help me speak kindly and listen with forgiving ears today. Help me to use positive self talk when thinking of what was said to me and let go of the hurt. Help me to rest in the knowledge that you love us both. In Jesus Holy name. Amen.

Love, Mymom

Build each other up

Relationships are not a competition. There is no room for sarcasm, cynicism, or meanness. When you feel hurt, as simply and honestly as possible, say “ouch, that comment hurt. Was it your intention to hurt me?” When we feel hurt, we often want to give an angry or sarcastic retort back. Resist that sin and instead turn the other cheek as Jesus taught. Seek to understand. Communicate bravely your very vulnerable feelings. Love. Build each other up with loving words. Peace be with you. Let us pray. Oh God, please help us to listen as you listen, to pray for your help before speaking, to love as you love through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Love, Mymom

Forgiveness

Think about the rude person you work with, the mean kids in middle school, your ex friends who hurt you, your mom who you never seem to please, your absent dad, your husband or wife or boyfriend or girlfriend who did the unforgivable, the driver who flipped you off, your boss who is too demanding or not demanding enough, yourself for your owns sins of bossiness, gossip, meanness, stealing, lying, laziness, betrayal, the list goes on and on. Sin abounds. Small sins we Catholics call venial or great sins we call mortal. Sin abounds. The great news is that we can forgive others and we can be forgiven. When we fail to forgive others, that is our sin. Jesus can help us to forgive them if we ask for his help. Jesus will forgive us when we are sorry and ask for forgiveness.
Jesus died to wash away our sins and our guilt.

I’m preparing for the beautiful sacrament of reconciliation this evening. What a lovely thing: To reflect on the things I’ve done http://four.mary.org failed to do and to ask for forgiveness. To hear the wise counsel of our priest be forgiven and begin anew.

Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice, forgiveness, renewal, and for Reconciliation. In Jesus Holy Name, Amen.
Love, Mymom

P.s. For those of you who haven’t been in a while, reconciliation is another name for confession or penance. The format is still the same but we can sit facing the priest or sit or kneel behind a screen. It is our choice. We can go at a scheduled time or we can call our church to make an appointment with our priest. Come back to this beautiful sacrament. Peace be with you.