Building a Relationship With God: Are You Being A “Martha?”

Have you ever heard of the story of Martha the busy and Mary the attentive? Reading a blog post titled, “Why Bother With Jesus” reminded me of this eye-opening story. If you haven’t heard of it or read it yet, here it is:

Luke 10:38-42

Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.”But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Take a look at yourself today. Are you being a “Martha?” Is your life becoming too cumbersome because of all the things that you believe you need to do for the Lord? Is it becoming too crowded that you barely have time to listen intently to Jesus? Yes, the Lord needs us to do things for the completion of his work here on earth, but he does not want us to be so caught up with our duties that we lose sight of the most important things–building a relationship with God.

Leave all your cares behind and take a break at the foot of Jesus today. Building a relationship with God is the most important thing we can remember to do as Catholics.

King Solomon’s Wise Parenting Advice

Proverbs 22:6 is probably one of the most well known passages on the issue of child-rearing in the Bible: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” King Solomon’s wise parenting advice affirms that for our children to grow up to become virtuous and upright individuals, parents need to guide their children in the right path and teach them the right lessons and virtues as early as possible.

Parents have been given the wonderful gift and great privilege of helping mold the lives of our children however, we are only given a fairly limited amount of time. So how can we effectively teach and train our kids in the “way they should go?” Let me share my thoughts:

1. Discover and appreciate the uniqueness of your child.
2. Live a life worthy of emulation.
3. Consider what Jesus would do when you encounter a parenting dilemma.
4. Pray for wisdom and guidance–for both you and your kids.
5. Inspire, don’t  coerce.

Read the beautiful post that inspired this entry: “Train Up A Child.” I try to take King Solomon’s wise parenting advice to heart, but it may not be for everybody. That’s okay! Do what works for you!

Colossians 3:17: Give God the Praise He Deserves

When you do something good and other people compliment you for it, how do you respond? Do you say “thank you” and take credit for your actions or do you remember to say “praise the Lord” and give God the glory? A post titled, “I See God Working In Your Life,” prompted me to ask myself these questions. Sadly, I was a thank-you-and-take-credit-for-my-actions kind of person. It’s really a shame realizing that I haven’t really been giving God the credit that he is due. Colossians 3:17 is a good reminder of how we should act on a daily basis.

Instead of feeling forlorn and condemning myself of this shortcoming, I reminded myself that God always gives me a chance to correct myself and do better in the days to come. As part of my resolution to give more glory to God in my everyday living, I decided to print out Colossians 3:17 and put it somewhere I can see it everyday. The verse says, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Discovering Our Life’s Purpose Through The Bible

A person who does not know their ultimate purpose in this world is bound to live a life of emptiness. This is a fact that a lot of us are aware of. For this very reason, many people turn to professionals such as life coaches, counselors, career advisers, and psychologists to help them figure out what they are meant to do with their lives. Although these “life experts” can offer some help, they are really not the key to discovering why we are here in this world or what can fill the void of emptiness within us.

God–our maker and creator is the only one who can show us our life’s purpose. We don’t need to pay costly fees to receive counsel from Him. We can readily talk to Him in prayer and hear His words by reading the Scriptures. The Bible has all the answers to our questions–why we are here, what will make us happy, and how we can best live our lives.

If you are searching for answers on your life’s purpose,you will find great insights on this post: What Is the Will of God for My Life?

Child Discipline According To The Bible

Disciplining children is one of the most important and most difficult responsibilities of parents. And although a lot of research has already been done on the subject, there is still a great deal of controversy about the appropriate ways to impose discipline upon children. The mounting advice from various sources has, in fact confused a lot of parents on how they could really effectively set limits on their children.

Although I have found some parenting advice on discipline to be helpful, my principles on the matter are still based on what the Bible teaches. I try to take inspiration from God’s principles of discipline, which can be found all over the Scriptures. I also turn to the book of Proverbs as it contains plentiful wisdom regarding child-rearing.

One of these days, I will try to put out a more detailed post on this subject; but as of the moment, let me point you to this wonderful read: Discipline or abuse: The choice between judgment and grace.

 

Parenting Inspiration From Biblical Characters

I read a post this morning called Parenting Tips from Job. It contained a checklist of how Job (from the Bible) took on parenting–what principles he lived by as a parent. Some of my favorites in the list included: praying for his children, showing his children the nature of God through his character, and teaching them to recognize what sin was.

Realizing just how many parenting lessons I can get from the life of Job, I got interested in finding other Biblical characters who may also have some parenting tips to offer. And I found quite a few:

  • Adam and Eve
  • Jochebed (Moses’ mother)
  • Abraham and Sarah
  • Jacob and Rachel
  • Samson’s parents
  • Mary and Joseph
  • The prodigal son’s father

Do you know characters in the Bible whose lives impart valuable parenting lessons? Please share them with us in the comments!

Faith, Humility, and Trust are Reoccurring Themes in Biblical Stories

It seems like in nearly every Biblical story where an angel appears to a human, the first thing they say is, “Do not be afraid!”. The more I thought about that, the more it made sense that I would totally need some reassuring in a situation like that. The angel has a message to pass along in most instances as well. Often the message is something that the individual at first finds crazy, but shows faith in. Their faith is later rewarded obviously because that tends to be how God does things.

I share this thought because I read a post this morning titled, “Speaking With an Angel Requires Faith, Humility, Trust”. The post spoke about instances where angels have appeared to humans. It is a truly humbling experience because of the sheer magnitude of what is occurring. Often faith and trust are big elements of these stories too because of the message being sent through these angels by God. The post talks about Mary, Joseph, and Zechariah and their own personal experiences with angels and God. The post is beautiful and you should check it out.

Is Reading the Bible a Requirement to Go To Heaven?

I read a post today from Just a Catholic called, “Do You Have to Read the Bible to Go to Heaven?”. When I read the titled I thought to myself, wow did somebody really ask that question? I thought about it a little more though and realized that’s just how some people think. They think there is some checklist of good deeds and actions they must do to go to heaven one day. This checklist does not exist though, as we all know quite well. I thought it was an interesting thought none the less.

There is nothing that forces you to read the Bible. However there are some definite benefits to be found in doing so. First and foremost, God would not have had the Bible created if he did not want us to read it. The Bible is there for us to read and learn from. You can learn from the lessons Jesus taught, and therefore live a life more like Christ. Cherish the words that God has give us in the Bible and make the most out of them.

Lessons From the Bible: The Birth of Christ Can Teach Us A Lot

If you know the story of how Jesus Christ was born, you know how he was born in poverty. Mary and Joseph were traveling desperately searching for a place where she could have the Son of God.
Every single place they went, there was no room for them. They were at a loss. Where would they have this child?

That was until they knocked on the door of one inn. The man told them he had no room for them, however, they were more than welcome to use an outside area. When Jesus was born, Mary and Jesus laid him in a manger made of straw. They were overjoyed with the new baby boy God had given them.

How Jesus’ Birth Shows the Spirit of Poverty

Mary and Joseph couldn’t have been happier that blessed day Jesus was born. They didn’t need a fancy room, nice warm blankets, or any other accommodations. They had everything they needed. God provided for them.

Think about this – you are about to give birth to a child with no place to go. You must make due with whatever you have around you. It’s not perfect, but it will work. When that child is born, nothing around you matters, all that matters is you have a brand new baby boy you love tremendously.

If you’re able to imagine that, you are able to see how Mary and Joseph felt. They were poor in the things they had but they were not poor in the love they had.
So what matters more? The things you have or the people you have around you? Appreciating what you have and realizing you don’t really need anything but what God believes you need will help you understand the spirit of poverty. When you are poor, you are able to see what really matters.

How to Use this Teaching in Your Life

Think about all of the modern conveniences you have and then imagine if they were gone. Think about how different your life would be and what you would have to do to compensate for the loss of those things. However, while this exercise can be effective, it may not be possible to truly feel poverty until you are poor. It’s hard for people to appreciate things when they aren’t really gone. It’s hard for them to see what truly matters when they are clouded by all the things around them.

It’s good to know though if there was ever a time when you don’t have as much as you have now, you can have faith in God that he will provide you with whatever you need. He always knows what you need before you even ask for it. Having that faith and believing in God’s guidance will help you in troubling times. It will help you see that you don’t really need all the things around you – all you need are the people you love and basic living essentials. Take a moment now to appreciate what you have and thank God. Try to see what really matters as you reflect on the birth of Jesus Christ. With this, you can grow stronger in faith.

New Catholic Childrens Books to Release This Fall

I was delighted to read this posting on EWTN.com this morning and hear of their plans to get children more aware of prayers and church stories. We need something that will begin to bring younger ones back to the Church and these books seem like a good idea. Hopefully these books will be as colorful and fun as the article below makes them out to be because if they really are I think kids will love them. They will enjoy the pictures and be taught lessons from the Bible, and pick up knowledge about saints and prayers all at the same time! I think this could be a real win for the Catholic Church.

“Ignatius Press announced on Monday that they are launching a collection of illustrated Catholic books for children, with the first eight to be released in October 2010.

The company has partnered with Magnificat in publishing a series of Catholic books that will “capture the imagination of children of various ages through delightful full-color illustrations, exciting stories from the Bible and lives of the saints, and simple yet powerful prayers,” read a press release on Aug. 16.

Ignatius decided to republish the books in the U.S. after viewing Magnificat’s children’s books that had been released in France. Magnificat is known for its pocket-sized devotional books featuring daily Mass readings, meditations and prayers in editions created for both adults and children.

Among the books that will be released this fall are two hardcover titles, “John Mary Vianney: The Holy Cure of Ars” and “Bernadette: The Little Girl from Lourdes,” which are intended for older children. Three sturdy books for younger children will also be published, including “My First Prayers for My Family,” “My First Prayers for Christmas,” and “The Bible for Little Ones.” Two comic book style titles will include, “The Adventures of Lupio, Volume 1: The Adventures and Other Stories,” and “The Illustrated Gospel for Children.” Additionally, the first volume in a series of coloring books titled, “Pictures from the Gospels: A Coloring Book,” will be released.

“Ignatius Press is honored and excited to be working with Magnificat to publish this new line of such high quality, beautifully designed Catholic books for children that have that wonderful combination of inspiring, informative text with such lovely artwork,” said Anthony Ryan, marketing director for Ignatius Press.” – “Ignatius Press Launches Illustrated Catholic Books for Children”, EWTN.com