Recognizing the Voice of God

Eucharistic Adoration at St. Norbert Parish

An interior locution is that still, small voice telling you what to do. It’s a private revelation, something you receive internally. This revelation may come from a saint, the Blessed Virgin Mary, or Jesus. This spiritual  encounter is a mystical communication, a message from God that may need immediate attention. A locution can also be a holy experience. Once while I was praying during Eucharistic adoration, I had my eyes closed, when suddenly Jesus came to give me communion. He was holding a communion wafer, and as He got closer, out of fear I opened my eyes and the vision disappeared. God speaks to us in many ways; as we receive and respond to these messages, God will entrust us with more encounters.

The Vacuum Cleaner

This incident happened years ago: our vacuum cleaner broke. Any other time I would have dealt with it by putting it off for another day. I was cleaning the house because we were expecting company. When these things happen I usually call Mike, who told me to purchase a new one. I went to a local repair shop and explained my dilemma. The owner asked me to bring the old vacuum in  for a trade in,  so I did. The owner told me that it could not be repaired. I was still not sure if I wanted to purchase a new one, so he gave me a loaner. While I was vacuuming, an interior voice came to me. I heard, “Go back and pick up the old vacuum.” I dismissed it as nonsense. Once again I heard the same message but with more urgency.  This time I stopped vacuuming and loaded the loaner. As I walked in, the owner was surprised to see me. “I’ve changed my mind, can I please have my vacuum back?” I explained. The perplexed man answered, “Oh, I’ve already taken it apart.” Without thought, the voice instructed me to say, “That’s fine, put it back together, I’ll wait.” As it turned out, he had not taken it apart as he wanted me to believe. I took my vacuum and loaded it into my car. Now what? I thought. Again the voice said, “Return the vacuum to Costco.” I could not remember whether the vacuum had been  purchased there, but I was obedient. Sure enough, Costco had proof of the purchase, and I received a full refund for the amount.

San Francisco

As always when Mike and I are out of town, we try to attend a church service. As we were driving in San Francisco, we passed the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi. We stopped and walked the grounds of this beautiful church. As we walked in, a service was about to begin, Mike knew by the look on my face that we were staying. The service was held in a side chapel of the church to accommodate the smaller group of congregants. We sat behind a dark-skinned man; maybe he was from India. This young man was wearing a pink long sleeved-shirt with the sleeves rolled up. He had a worn out Bible next to him. One other thing that I noticed about this man: his arms were covered in sores. When the service ended the Lord told me to go and speak to the young man. Mike and I were already half way out the door. Again the interior voice urged me to go back. But this time I registered mental objections, “No, I don’t know him, and besides Mike will think I’m crazy.” As I continued to walk my heart started to beat at an accelerated rate.  Again I heard, “Go to the young man!” I turned to Mike and said,  “I need to go back into the church to give the man who was sitting in front of us a message.” With a puzzled look on his face, Mike uttered a long, “OOOkay.” As I made my way back into the chapel, it was empty! I felt so bad for my disobedience. As I was exiting, I noticed the young man sitting in the main sanctuary. I was a little winded by the time I sat down behind him. As I opened my mouth  I was not sure what to say, but the Lord put the words in my mouth. I tapped him on the shoulder and said, “The Lord has a message for you. He hears your prayers and will soon answer them.” As the young man turned to face me, he was crying. He said, “Thank you very much.” With that I walked back towards Mike, who was waiting for me outside. Mike never questioned me about this because he understood this was from God.

The Miracle

For those of you who do not know, for twelve years I worked for Release Time Christian Education. This program involved fourth and fifth grade students. This organization has been around for over 60 years. The children are escorted  off  school grounds (usually during lunch) and fed the Word of God; both Mikos and Sonja (our children) participated in this program when they were in elementary school.

This experienced occurred over seven years ago, on a Thursday at Nohl Canyon Elementary school.  While picking up my students, Kaitlan, a fifth grader, came running to tell me that Kelly (the parent of a former student) was in the hospital. Our walk to the trailer was a distance from the school so I questioned her about Kelly. All she could tell me was that she was very sick. I had this desire  in my heart to go to the hospital and pray for her; but she was just an acquaintance, and I wondered how she would receive me.  I taught the 45-minute class and walked the students back to school with this overwhelming urge to go see Kelly. “No, no, I can’t do this.  It would be too weird!’ I told myself.  Then I went home to eat lunch. I made a sandwich and took several bites when I felt the Lord tugging at my heart to go. I called the hospital to get more specific information. I still do not understand what came over me, but I got into my car and drove at an accelerated speed to St. Joseph’s Hospital. I was praying the entire way, but the Devil was also attempting to get my attention. Satan’s voice questioned me repeatedly: “Why are you doing this? You don’t even know her?” I tried to shut out the negative voices with praise music. So many obstacles were thrown my way as I rushed in to see Kelly. I thought to myself, what do I have to give her? I felt so empty that I was trembling when I arrived.  Kelly was in the ICU (intensive care unit). Due to the severity of her condition, visitors were required to suit up in a mask, gloves and robe. It was a shocking sight to see this normally active, young, beautiful mother of two in such a frail state. Kelly burst into tears and explained that her body was shutting down and that she was totally septic. With the combination of tears and the mask, my glasses fogged up as I dabbed her forehead with blessed oil and prayed for her. I prayed for healing and the total restoration of her body. Although our visit lasted only 10 minutes, after I left,  I continued praying for her throughout the day.

Jerusalem, praying at the site of Jesus’ imprisonment

The following evening I received a text message from Kelly. This is what I can recall:  “I wanted you to be one of the first to know that I’m being released from the hospital today. I wanted to thank you for coming and praying for me. The infection has left my body. I want to thank you on behalf of my parents because I am their only living child. I know that you were an angel sent from heaven, and it was a miracle.”

My Prayer:

Dear Lord,

May we always be able to hear Your voice and obey without questioning Your purpose for us. As we grow more spiritually, entrust us with more of Your holiness. Fill our cups, Lord.  Amen.

 

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Using Your God Given Gifts

The prolific St. Paul
Me, working on my Blog

While I was living my life as a Born Again Christian, I decided to finish my education at Biola University. As part of the curriculum, one of the classes included a study on the Book of Acts. This introduced me to Saul of Tarsus. Saul was on a mission to destroy Christians. He covered all his legal bases by making sure that he had the proper documentation to bring Jesus’ followers back to Jerusalem to stand trial before the Sandhedrin, the governing assembly of rabbis appointed with legal authority in ancient Israel.

Saul

But God had a greater plan for Saul’s life. Since his father was a Roman citizen, Saul claimed dual citizenship (Acts 16:37). He studied under the most highly revered teacher of his time, Gamaliel. Saul was a Pharisee and tentmaker by trade. He was fluent in both Hebrew and Greek. Saul was hell bent on bringing every new Christian to trial, hoping they would be sentenced to death. God used all of these attributes but redirected his energy to bring about his conversion. Saul was gifted with zeal and this, too, was used in every area of his life.

God used Saul’s career to support his missionary work. A tentmaker was always in demand because Roman soldiers had to serve in the Roman army for 24 years, and their service included most of Asia Minor and the Holy Land.

The Road to Damascus

On his way to Damascus, Saul was blinded by a bright light, so bright it knocked him off his high horse.

He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” He said, “Who are you, sir?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”
From this point on, the conversion transformed Saul’s life. He later adopted his Roman name Paul because as he traveled deeper into Gentile territory he became one of them.
When Jesus questioned Saul,  “Saul, Saul why are you persecuting me?”He had no idea who Jesus was because he was spiritually blind; but he understood that the voice was divine. This was a mystical encounter! Jesus’ message to Saul was whatever you do to the believers, you are doing it unto Him. For three days Saul fasted and prayed. When the scales fell off his eyes he became more than just a believer; but would go down in history as one of the most influential writers of our times.
Jesus’ Calling
The Lord has given us all  gifts; these gifts are for His purpose. He has called us by name and instructs us to preach the Gospel. When I think of St. Paul and how the Lord prepared the way for him, it gives me deeper insight into how each of Paul’s gifts were used in order for him to preach the Gospel. We all have gifts; not one person was left out of this category. I always felt the calling to preach the Word of God; I also wanted to share my spiritual life experiences through writing. God knows I can’t cook, but my husband is gifted in this area. Mike is also a gifted servant; he does what is right before God and goes above and beyond for others. Our son Mikos is a gifted orator and great story teller; he can calmly win people over by expressing his ideas through humor and speech. Our daughter Sonja is gifted in mentoring others; she makes a difference in the lives of each of her employees by teaching them the value of having a great work ethic and ethical business practices. We all have many gifts, but it is our responsibility to search them out.
St. Paul gave us a treasury of gifts through his writings.
Discovering Your Gifts
How do we discover our gifts? To some people it comes naturally; to others, like St. Paul, it’s through life lessons. For me it was the latter: all my misgivings, my disobedience, my stubbornness, my self-righteousness finally brought me to my knees. I am nothing without Christ! In St. Paul’s case, his blindness was a punishment for his disobedience. When Annaias laid hands on St. Paul, the scales fell off and he was immediately baptized. St. Paul didn’t stop and say, “This was a traumatic experience, I need to rest and figure this out.” By this critical transformation, all of Paul’s  gifts were perfectly aligned with his service to God. Through his baptism St. Paul’s sins were washed away, putting to death his old life.
15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and Israelites, 16 and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.”

Through praying the scales finally fell off my eyes as well. The deeper I searched for holiness, the less I desired worldly things. We are a family who lives within our means. Through Mike’s example  our children have learned the dignity of having a work ethic. God gave us the means to educate them and now it’s our responsibility to keep them in prayer and for them to follow our lead in putting God first in their lives.

Through the grace of God, Mike managed to keep us all in college simultaneously. I attended Biola for two years, Mikos attended Westmont, and Sonja was at Pepperdine with the help of an academic scholarship. Although it seemed financially impossible, God made a way for all of us to finish our education. All the  loans were paid off,  and Sonja and Mikos paid their share as well. This gave us a sense of accomplishment; we never looked to the government for aid because God was our guide. When you put your full trust in God, nothing is impossible (Matt 17:20; Mark 9:23).

St. Paul’s Gift to Us

Of thirteen epistles that St. Paul wrote, some of his most prolific writing was written while he was in prison. Ephesians, Philemon, Colossians and Philippians were written during his first Roman imprisonment. 2 Timothy was written during his second Roman imprisonment. Even behind bars, nothing could quench the fire of the Holy Spirit in St. Paul. He rightfully gave God the  glory for all of his gifts ( 1 Tim 1:12, 1:16).

Of this I became a minister by the gift of God’s grace that was granted me in accord with the exercise of his power.
My Prayer:
Dear Lord,
May we be forever mindful and grateful for the gifts You have bestowed on us. Teach us to humbly walk the talk. Allow us to seek the same light You shed on St. Paul. Remove all iniquities and purify  our minds so that we can recognize You in all things. I pray for those who are still on the road to Damascus; direct them to the street called Straight and remove the scales from their eyes. Amen.
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Don’t Get Lost On the Road to Emmaus

Do you recall the story of the road to Emmaus? This is where Jesus met his disciples but they did not recognize the Resurrected Christ. Only after breaking of the Bread that their eyes were opened. We can all fall into this category of not recognizing our Lord because we are disillusioned with what’s going on around us. Following Christ takes a faithful  act of charity in which you deny yourself and recognize the needs of others. I certainly do not understand why God has allowed so much division in our country, but I’m trusting Christ that He will see us through this bumpy road.

13 Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, 14 and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. 15 And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,

 

The Roads We Choose

There is only one road that leads to heaven, yet many are lost because of their hardened hearts. I choose to trust God in every area of my life. I learned long ago what wavering does to our spirits. The paths are already set out for us, yet many choose the long road. Whenever I travel, toward the end of a trip, I long for familiar surroundings, my home. In the big scheme of life we are on the road to home. The longer the trip, the better we need to prepare. When Jesus walked with his disciples He did not say, “Hey guys, remember Me? I told you I was going to return.” Jesus was gracious because He understood their distress in losing their rabbi. The disciples were in need of a great awakening, to enable them to things in the spirit, to understand the supernatural. Our Lord knew that they needed a better road map; through the Holy Spirit they received their spiritual app to stay on the right path. They had a calling to preach the Gospel and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, they were equipped for this life-changing journey.

“Woke” Up

In the best and most gracious words, I believe to say that these expressions  “Woke, Black Lives Matter, White Privilege” are dividing our country. In time I believe the misused and deception in many of the underlined assumptions will be revealed.

Woke

I believe “woke culture” is designed to silence conservative people like me. It’s as if this woke culture wants nothing more than for the world to believe as they do, or to shut us up. No one should be silenced, nor will I  operate in fear when taking a stance for what I believe. We live in a democracy, and we should all be free to express our own beliefs and opinions. You cannot force normal, God fearing people to think or believe tenets that they not accept as true. The “woke culture” beliefs are far from God’s teachings and they come across as invasive and compulsive. I am not, nor will I ever be a racist; therefore forcing this ideology on me only makes me go deeper into prayer. I’m neither angry nor disenfranchised; instead I will continue to vote for candidates who stand for principles and values I hold as truth.

We see what anger does to force issues. Ask Stacey Abrams how she really feels about what she’s done to her beloved Atlanta? Her “woke” theory backfired on her, and the sheep, (corporate America) followed her down the road to perdition. Major League Baseball was scheduled to play the All Star games in Atlanta but, because of the recent reform passage of a voting law in Georgia, Abrams was up in arms about the results. The games were moved to Denver. Atlanta has a population that’s 57% African American, compared to Denver’s 13%. Are you “woke” yet Stacey? You took the money right out of the hands of your fellow African Americans! The loss of revenue will exceed 100 million dollars. I pray that the good citizens of Georgia are truly “woke” to  your shambles, Ms. Abrams.

Black Live Matter Founders

I have one question for the founders of Black Lives Matter: What have you done with the 90 million dollars donated to your organization? Are you using it to end police brutality? According to American News, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, a co-founder of  BLM, recently purchased a 1.4 million dollar complex in Topanga Canyon, located in Los Angeles County. Were these donations diverted for her personal use? BLM is also invested in keeping their negative narrative of injustice in our faces, using the money to infiltrate their ideologies in our schools’ curriculums . Yes, Black lives matter but I do not believe in the social-political narrative and methods this organization is advocating.

White Privilege

This terminology is mistakenly given the label of  “white” when in reality any race can fit into this category. To get lost in a privileged life is to not understand the social needs of others. I have met many different races of people living what would be considered a privileged life. But to just make it a “white” matter is not totally accurate. Along with the phrase “white privilege” comes the stigma that all whites are racist, when the majority are not. White people do need to understand the history of the many obstacles African Americans have endured.

All these absurd changes in corporate America are designed to curry favor with the masses and to avoid any backlash in public sentiment. Fortune 500 businesses are protecting their corporate image from any association with racism and bigotry by summarily firing employees who engage in misconduct they view as racist. United Airlines is changing its hiring to promote racial equality  and opportunity in its training employment programs. I have never paid attention to who flies the plane I’m in, man or woman; the only thing that matters is that they are qualified to get us to our destination safely, never their gender or the color of their skin. If United Airlines truly wants equality and equal opportunity, why now? I pray that United Airlines is making these changes because they truly care, not just to jump on the band wagon.

The Road to America

When President Trump was in office, they were referred to as “cages.” Oh how the world has changed! Now they are simply “detention centers.” What a mess Biden has created! Do you want to talk about children being separated from parents? First of all, when God has gifted you with a child, it is your godly duty to raise that child. I don’t care how war torn your country is, you stay with your child to protect them from harm! The fact that we are allowing this to happen right before our eyes and nothing is being done to correct this huge elephant in the White House is a national  embarrassment to the rest of the world. Who is going to pay for all this? No worries, Biden will have the cost covered by raising our taxes.

Did you know that the San Diego Unified School District is seeking teachers to teach in-person 1,450 illegal immigrants, girls who recently crossed the border? Yet this same district has not opened in-person teaching to American children. The hypocrisy is appalling. My grandchildren Maddie, a sophomore in high school, and Will, an eight grader, have not attended in-person classes for over a year; yet we are allowing undocumented illegal children to get this privilege?

My Prayer: Dear Lord, I have expressed my deep concerns with President Biden. Lord, he says he is Catholic, but it is in name only. Dear God, convict him for all the wrong that he is doing and bring him to his knees. I pray for a major conversion in his life and ask that You take over his reprobate mind so that he can think clearly. Help us, Lord, to unite in prayer for our once God-fearing country. Amen.

 

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