Because He Lives

Posted by: ZealousSheep

Matt Maher has a way of penning the thoughts of my heart–in lyrical phrases accompanied by music that stirs the soul–that fills me with gratitude because these songs help me to pray as a child before the Father. His newest song has just premiered : Because He Lives. An anthemic, soulful song calling us to recall our freedom in Christ Jesus, to declare “Credo: I believe!” Jesus, the conquerer of sin, death, fear and shame, has risen from the grave! And in Him, we too can rise to new life. My life is held in His hands and I have LIFE abundant because the Blood of Jesus has overcome sin and death in me!!!

Listen. Pray. Allow the power of Jesus to overcome in every corner of your heart so that you can cry “I’M ALIVE!” and mean it with every fiber of your being.

I believe in the Son
I believe in the risen One
I believe I overcome
By the power of His blood

Amen, Amen
I’m alive, I’m alive
Because He lives
Amen, Amen
Let my song join the one that never ends
Because He lives

I was dead in the grave
I was covered in sin and shame
I heard mercy call my name
He rolled the stone away

Because He lives
I can face tomorrow
Because He lives
Every fear is gone
I know He holds my life my future in His hands

In Search of Pearls [SERMON]

pearl

Read this Scripture passage before listening to the homily (given at the seminary at Mass on Wednesday).

Brothers and sisters:
If you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are obvious:
immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry,
sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy,
outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness,
dissensions, factions, occasions of envy,
drinking bouts, orgies, and the like.
I warn you, as I warned you before,
that those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, generosity,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Against such there is no law.
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh
with its passions and desires.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit. (Galatians 5:18-25)

Prayer Workshop: Spontaneous Prayer & Holy Thoughts

Silent Prayer

(For an explanation of the Prayer Workshop, click here.)

Direct all of your hopes to God by brief, ardent upliftings of your heart. These are very simple prayers and do not need to be longer than 1 or 2 short sentences.

Praise his excellence: “You are everything, Lord. I need nothing more than your love.” “You are God and I am not.”

Invoke his aid: “Jesus, redeem my life!” “God, come to my assistance! Lord, make haste to help me!”

Adore his goodness: “Praise God!” “God, you are so good.”

Offer your soul to him: “I give you everything, Lord.” “All is yours, Jesus.” “Be my God.”

Let him lead you as a father leads a child: “Lord, I give you control. Let your will be done. Reveal your will to me.” “Lead me where you want me to go.”

Kindle by every possible act your love for God! Speak with your heart or mouth whatever springs forth from the love within you. Let everything lead your memory back to God and his glory.

Let your conversation with the Lord last throughout the entire day, even if you speak only one or two sentences at a time. Let him remain present in your mind all day long, so that he may speak to you and tell you of his love.

Prayer Workshop: Spiritual Rest

Silent Prayer

For an explanation of the Prayer Workshop, click here.

(I’ve mentioned this topic before, as you can see here, but I’ll mention it again because it is very important.)

Read what our teacher has to say about this:

This is a matter…to which I am very anxious to win your attention, for in it lies one of the surest means of spiritual progress.

At various points during the day, stop what you are doing and place yourself in the Presence of God. Of course, he is always with you and you with him, but we so easily forget this fact. Our lives are so busy with work, chores, technology, family, friends, etc. and our minds are too easily distracted from recalling our resolutions made during our Morning Prayer. That is why this phase of the Prayer Workshop is so important. We must strive always to remember the Ultimate goal, which is eternal life in Heaven.

When you stop what you are doing and recall the Lord’s Presence, recall also that he breathes life into you and looks upon you with incomparable love at every moment. Close your eyes and rest in his embrace. Perhaps you may go to Calvary and see him looking with love upon you from the Cross as he dies for your salvation. Or perhaps you may go to the stable in Bethlehem and behold the Baby who has come to save you from eternal damnation. Or perhaps still you may see him ascending into Heaven so that he may send the Holy Spirit to dwell in your soul.

Find rest in these places, even while you are in the middle of your most busy day, or while you are in such a huge crowd that no rest seems possible. Pray these words (or something like them):

You, Lord, are my refuge, my castle, my stay, my shelter in the storm and in the heat of the day. Let me remain in your presence this entire day. Give me grace to recall your love for me and for all of your people. Give me unfailing rest.

Prayer Workshop: Evening Prayer and Examination of Conscience

Silent Prayer

(For an explanation of the Spiritual Workshop, click here.)

Set aside a few minutes in the evening, perhaps after the evening meal or sometime before going to bed. Go to your prayer space and recollect yourself in the Presence of Christ. Renew the warmth of your Morning Prayer by recalling the points of meditation which helped you the mostRecommit yourself to serving the Lord in every moment of the day, especially as the evening draws to an end and fatigue sets in.

Examine your conscience and reflect on the entire day up to this point:

Thank God for the day.

Consider all that happened during the day: Where have you been? With whom did you interact? What did you do? Did you serve God as you resolved to do?

Thank God for all the good things that occurred. Consider what thoughts, words, or actions have offended God and ask forgiveness of him. Resolve to do better tomorrow.

Offer everything – your body and soul, friends and family, all your relations – to God. Ask the saints and angels to intercede for you to God.

Finally, go to rest, knowing that God himself has commanded you to do so.

Neither this practice nor that of the morning should ever be omitted; by your morning prayer you open your soul’s windows to the sunshine of Righteousness, and by your evening devotions you close them against the shades of hell.

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Since its launch in December of 2012, EvangelicalDisciple has now reached 10,000 views with a following of over 4000 people, including Facebook and Twitter.  All that with free resources.  THAT IS GREAT NEWS!!!  … … Bad news… those free resources aren’t able to keep up much longer.  Prime example: SoundCloud hosts 3 hours of audio tracks for free… we have 6 minutes left and then we have maxed out.

What we currently have:

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What we’d like to do:

upgrade to WordPress PREMIUM: $100 per year. Benefits: expanded blogging techniques; no ads (this is big… ads can be nasty); greater flexibility in design; greater influence in the world wide web with unique domain name.

upgrade to SoundCloud PRO: $135 per year. Benefits: we are out of time on the free program, so without this SoundCloud is over; unlimited recording; greater flexibility in audio hosting

lots of other things!  However, the above is the main campaign at this time.  If you like what you see/hear, please think about supporting our growth!

May Jesus Christ be Praised!

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aka

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Prayer Workshop: Morning Prayer

Silent Prayer

(For an explanation of the Prayer Workshop, click here.)

Morning Prayer: Preparation for the day’s work.

Step 1. Thank God for another day and ask forgiveness of any offenses committed against him.

Step 2. Call to mind the Ultimate goal of this day, and everyday: Eternal life with the Holy Trinity in Heaven.

Step 3. Consider what the day ahead will hold. How will each event/encounter/interaction aid my pursuit of Heaven? How can I serve God in these moments? What temptations to offend God will arise? Prepare for these moments. Imagine them happening and imagine yourself choosing the virtuous path. Resolve to serve God in each moment.

Step 4. Humble yourself before God, for without him you would not even see this day. Offer him your whole heart and beg him for strength to serve him in each moment earlier brought to mind.

Do these things right away in the morning in a quiet space, perhaps even a space designated only for prayer. Keep in mind the words of St. Paul to the Romans:

It is now the hour for you to wake from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we first believed. The night is almost gone and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave honorably as in daylight. (Rom. 13: 11-13a)

Prayer Workshop: Introduction

Silent Prayer

Prayer is one of those basic activities every Christian disciple longs for, even if not knowing how to do it. After all, Jesus invites his disciples to be his friends:

No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. (John 15:15)

Now, to be a friend with someone comes with some demands, though the friendship makes the demands seem easy to fulfill. Who doesn’t want to spend time with their friends?? The best way for friends to communicate with each other is by spending time with each other and having a conversation.

Many people, desiring to be disciples of Jesus Christ, do not know how to spend time with their Friend. This must be corrected! I’m turning to the wisdom of St. Francis de Sales, who lived in the 16th and 17th centuries and was well-known for his spiritual advice. He wrote a great book, Introduction to the Devout Life, which was meant for the average person living in the world. (You can find it here.) St. Francis was known to be a great spiritual guide and his wisdom is quite expansive.

My next few posts, prefaced by “Prayer Workshop,” will highlight a few of his chapters concerning briefer periods of prayer that a disciple may take throughout the day. For the most part, these times of prayer do not require deep spiritual knowledge, nor do they require heaping amounts of time, since our spiritual master knows how busy are the people of God. Still, friends of Jesus want to spend time with Jesus and must learn how to do so.

It’s also worth noting that these next few posts will not cover the entirety of the spiritual life and are not meant to. Instead they are simply showing ways which will allow all disciples, no matter how busy, to spend more time with their Lord and Friend.

Do Not Be Anxious. [SERMON]

red grapes Ventana 9.07

Scripture to read before listening:

Brothers and sisters:
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters,
whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,
if there is any excellence
and if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
Keep on doing what you have learned and received
and heard and seen in me.
Then the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:6-9)

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:
“Hear another parable.
There was a landowner who planted a vineyard,
put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower.
Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey.
When vintage time drew near,
he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce.
But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat,
another they killed, and a third they stoned.
Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones,
but they treated them in the same way.
Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking,
‘They will respect my son.’
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another,
‘This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’
They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?”
They answered him,
“He will put those wretched men to a wretched death
and lease his vineyard to other tenants
who will give him the produce at the proper times.”
Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures:
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes?

Therefore, I say to you,
the kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and given to a people that will produce its fruit.” (Matthew 21:33-43)

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