Let the waves carry you

Today, I was at the beach reading.

The theme “Following God’s will” has been on my mind a lot lately.

After quite some time the heat of the day came.

I usually enjoy going in the waves, but today I was not really feeling it.

However, when at the beach, you got to do what you got to do.

So I decided to dive into a wave. Then another one. And then another one.

As usual, it was awesome

When I was in the wave, I could feel its power.

I decided to let it carry me and send me wherever it decided.

 

This is how we must follow God’s will. 

 

We must let God be God and go with the flow of the waves He sends us.

We must use the wave to drive us forward.

The waves of life come and go and pull us in a million directions.

This tossing about may make us feel a bit uncomfortable.

Feeling powerless is the fear many of us harbor deep in our hearts.

Today, I encourage you to let the waves of life come.

Do not fear the awesome power of God.

Dive in and let the waves carry you.

Carry you home. 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Faith is not Feelings

Yesterday I read the quote,

“It wasn’t nails that held Jesus to the cross but love.”

The truth is: God loves you with an infinite love. He died for you. He died for you. Let me repeat that: God died for you.

Most days the truth is hard to swallow. We may strive in our hearts to believe the truth of the Gospels, yet a lot of the time you may feel nothing. 

It’s ok to not feel a flutter in your chest when you contemplate the love of God.

You do not have to feel in order to believe.

What matters is constant perseverance.

Repeat to yourself the truths that will set you free.

Jesus died for me.

God loves.

I trust in Him.

I will not be afraid.

I will persevere.

I will never give up.

No matter what lies attack you on a daily basis, we must continue to call upon the truth even if it if they feel fake.

I want to remind you today just how much God loves you. It is so great that it is incomprehensible.

Feelings do not equal faith.

Faith is greater than your feelings.

Faith is freedom.

 

 

Calm in the Chaos

The theme of my life right now is calm in the chaos. 

We live in a world that constantly puts us on edge.

Text messages, homework, tests, emails, to-do-lists, etc.

It is difficult to stay calm when pulled in a million different directions.

Yet, we are called to calmness.

One of my favorite quotes by St. Padre Pio is

“I recommended calm and calm all the time.”

In order to hear the voice of God and do His will, we must be calm.

Trying to live a life on the narrow path while being pulled in a million directions is about as easy as doing math homework in a crowded subway. Sure, it can be done, but eventually, you are going to miss a calculation and end up with a very wrong answer.

Christ leads us to calmness through His words.

He reminds us that in Him we have the rest we need.

I encourage you all today to continue seeking a calm attitude.

You are called to remain calm in the chaos like Peter walking to Christ on the water.

All you must do is have faith.

 

Found

I looked under the rocks but found nothing there

I looked beneath the sea and through the ocean air

I searched the tree tops and across the jungle floors

I searched the wheat covered fields and behind wooden doors

I went into new towns and across state lines

I walked for miles and miles and saw no signs

I ran marathons in all different directions

I scoured my memory for any recollection

I rowed across lakes and from river to river

I climbed icy mountains and was filled with shivers

I made it through dark caves and volcanos ready to burst

I crawled through deserts dying of thirst

Then one day I felt hope no longer

My legs gave out, my lungs no stronger

I could not look anymore, time to give up the fight

The world told me I was crazy, maybe they were right

I sat still for the first time in years, and listened to the sound

Of Him who was always with me

And never needed to be found.

-nJb

 

 

 

Tagging Out of the Fight

The sweat is pouring down your back. You feel like the fight is never going to end. One minute you think you have it pinned but a second later you are trying to break free. You break out of the choke hold but a minute later you are caught in it again. You fling it off of you and run as fast as you can to the edge of the ring. You tag out by tapping His hand. You slide under the ropes. You walk passed the stands. You leave the arena.

And never look back.

Why?

Because He will handle it.

 

In life we are all fighting something. This is your “it.” I don’t know what it is but I know you have an “it.” It may be a bad habit. It may be a sinful desire. It may be struggles with anxiety and depression. It may be a painful past. It may be a fearful future.

The reality of this fight is you cannot win by fighting. Weird right. But, isn’t that how victories happen? When the going gets tough keep fighting?

The fact of the matter is you are too weak to fight. You need to tag out. In “tag team” wrestling there is another fighter on your team. You have given it your all but unfortunately its just not going to work. The opponent is just too much for you. But you have your Teammate waiting. You have Christ’s outstretched hand. The same hand that picked Peter up as he sunk into the stormy sea. The same hand that lifted up bread and wine and gave you His body and blood. The same hand that was pierced for your sins out of love for you. The same hand that cured the blind and raised the dead.

What are you waiting for. Tag out of the fight. Look to your Teammate.

Tell Him, “Jesus You will Handle this.”

And leave the arena. You don’t need to watch. Leave the arena.

And you may need to do this everyday. You may need to do this every five minutes.

But eventually you won’t go back into the ring.

You will find someone in the parking lot, and tell them all about the fight your Teammate is winning inside.

Joy under the rocks

When I was a kid, I liked going to the Long Island sound. I would walk along the beach and pick up large rocks. Some of the rocks weighed about 5 lbs other “giant” rocks were about 15-20lbs. It took a lot out of a scrawny 9 year old to lift them.

But there was a reason I did.

After lifting up the rocks and throwing them to the side. I would find tons of crabs running about. The crabs really liked hiding under the rocks. I would catch them and at the end of the day let them go.

Finding joy is a lot like finding the crabs along the beach.

Most days, it takes effort.

There are many large rocks/obstacles along the way.

It takes a lot of strength to lift the rocks of our lives to find the treasure of joy.

Somedays the weight of the world makes it impossible to see the beauty all around us.

But we must not give in to the weight of the rocks.

As Christians, choosing joy in the midst of the crosses, is our mission.

St. Teresa of Avila said, “The lukewarm do not embrace the cross; they merely drag it along.”

Friends, I encourage you to seek joy with all your heart today. God loves you more than you can even imagine. No matter the obstacle along the way, choose to lift the rocks and find joy.

There is a reason to be cheerful. Christ has overcome the world.

 

 

He will take care of it.

Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.”

Luke 9:62

 

Choices are a part of life. They can free us or they can enslave us. Choices can bring us peace or anxiety. What we choose ends up shaping our mind and hearts. Our habits are formed by our minute by minute choices.

At first this seems pretty frightening.

We often ask ourselves, “Why can’t I change my choices, why am I so stuck.?”

The beauty of Christianity rests in the mercy of Jesus Christ.

His mercy overcomes our past choices and allows us to put our hand to the plow and never look back.

Life is very good at making us turn around.

We check everything…. think over all our past mistakes….ruminate on our interior struggles….

Christ tells us that we cannot be fit for the Kingdom of God if we look back, because through this decision we are allowing the fear to become our focus.

By focusing on fear we are paralyzing ourselves. Our God-given gifts cannot be utilized. Instead of doing good we become idle.

If we are to be fit for the Kingdom, we must trust that by focusing on Christ everything will be taken care of.

By no means is this an easy task, but it is a necessary one, if we are to grow closer to holiness.

I encourage you to set your hands on the plow today.

Whatever the plow is for you.

It may be your responsibility as a father or mother, a student, a member of the military, a  priest, a teacher; whatever it is…

Fulfill your obligations with love.

Grip the plow tight until your knuckles turn white.

Strive to glorify God through every minute of your life.

When you feel the temptation to look back in any form.

Move forward and trust that Christ will take care of it.

Because He will.

He will.

He will.

He will.

I am going to keep repeating it until it breaks through the barriers we have set up in our minds.

If we have confidence in Christ miracles will happen. 

If we trust in Christ our lives, though difficult, will have an interior peace. 

If we keep our hands on the plow, we will bring the light of Christ to a very dim world. 

 

Bad times or Your time?

Bad times, hard times, this is what people keep saying; but let us live well and times shall be good. We are the times: such as we are, such are the times.”

-St. Augustine

 

Life is overwhelming. Most of us have so much going on right now we feel pulled a million and one different ways.

Did I send that email? My test is coming up better study! Why are people being treated that way? Did I forget to call that person back? Why is there so much hatred? 

We can’t seem to catch a mental break. So what do we do? Well I know the first thing I seem to do is blame the times.

Because my head says, “If I blame the environment; it’s definitely not my fault.”

It’s easy to blame the times in which we live for how we live.

Yet, this is not what the Bible tells us nor what our hearts remind us of on the daily.

“Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”

Romans 12:2

Today, I encourage you to not blame the times for where you are at. Focus on using your free will to change the times for the better.

When the world seems unjust; show others mercy.

When the world is cruel; shower others with love.

When the world breeds fear; live with courage.

 

 

 

When you hug God

You walk towards Him.

He reaches out His arms to embrace you.

You lunge forward and hug Him with every ounce of your being.

Your fears melt. You are eternally safe.

Yet, you feel a sharp pinch on the side of your head.

You notice a thorn from His crown is hitting you.

You feel a pain in your side.

You feel just a bit of the lance which pierced Him.

Your feet resting on top of His, begin to sting.

At the touch of the nails driven into His feet.

Your hands holding His become red.

The burn of the nails in His hands, melts into yours.

The tighter you hug the more of His pain you feel.

You begin to know God and His love.

Yet, you call it suffering?

My friend, this is a gift.

To walk the way of the cross with God.

 

Surrounded by Darkness

When I was young, my brothers, sister, and I would use our snow days to build snow tunnels.

My dad would get all the snow piled up along the sides of the driveway and we would start digging at one end. We would take turns getting deeper and deeper into the tunnel. We would use little hand shovels and other times we would use or feet to try to kick our way through.

This would take all day long.

I can remember being in the tunnel. Dark, cold, and jammed against the walls. I could barely do anything but slightly move my arm to clear away some snow. Inch by inch we would chip away doing all we could to reach the other end.

The picture is so clear to me. When after hours and hours of work. I would scrape away some snow with my gloved hands, and see a small beam of light. I would dig faster and faster and eventually I would squeeze my body through and make it to the other side.

Then I would go inside and have some hot chocolate. Celebrate the victory.

As I reflect on this I recognize that for most of the tunnel building process, I was surrounded by darkness. All I could do was continue to do what was necessary to finish my mission.

Maybe this is where you are at today?

Life feels hopeless. You feel like you are not making any progress forward. You feel weak. You feel like the tunnel is too long and you are not going to have the strength to continue.

It is okay to have those feelings. It is okay to be upset with where you are at and how little you feel like you are moving forward. It is okay. It is actually quite human.

But I encourage you today to focus on the goal you have. The goal that you are chipping away with day by day.

Focus on a goal, that feeds you with hope.

Hope in God’s plan for your life.

Hope in yourself.

Hope in the impact you will make.

Friend, if today you are surrounded by darkness. If you feel the walls of the tunnel falling in on you. I beg you to keep digging. Even if it is only with a tiny motion of your hand.

I promise you, the light will break through.

And in that moment, there will be no need for hope.

Only thanksgiving.