Sunday, November 28, 2010

At request of Papa

About one month ago I came up with the “Beards for Breath” idea. I wasn’t quite sure what the response would be or if people would even want to take part in it. Well only a few weeks into the event hundreds of people said that they would be uniting in my prayer for lives of the unborn. And I’m sure it made a difference.

This past month I have prayed so intentionally for an end to abortion. This past month of prayer has been an emotional one for me, I have been in tears and I have rejoiced. I’ve been In tears because if you have a heart and you think about what abortion is and what it does to a person or family..... are you supposed to be happy? I rejoiced after this: about halfway through the month someone asked me to pray for a girl that her 16 year old sister knew at school. The girl was pregnant and asked a friend to take her to an abortion clinic, but the friend said no. (Praise Jesus!) But the friend that said no was worried that the girl would ask someone else to take her. It was at this point that I learned about this girl and asked the “Beards for Breath” group to pray specifically for this girl and her unborn child. About a week later I learned that the girl that was pregnant had since asked her friend that refused to take her to the clinic to be with her when she told her parents that she is pregnant and that she wanted to keep the child!!! (Thanks be to God!!)

About this same time of the month I learned that Pope Benedict XVI called for a worldwide day of prayer with the intention being an end to abortion. Certainly he was calling on the Catholic Church, but really the invitation was to everyone with a pro-life passion. The day was yesterday 11/27/10 and Pope Benedict began the Advent season by celebrating a solemn “Vigil for all nascent human life” at St. Peter’s Basilica.

Yesterday I thought about this day Pope Benedict called for and thought about how neat it is that the entire Catholic Church was praying for the same intention yesterday. I thought about this especially when I prayed my rosary last night. Saturday the mysteries of the rosary are the Joyful mysteries, there are 5.

1.The Annunciation of Gabriel unto Mary. (LK 1:30-38)
2.Mary’s Visitation to Elizabeth (LK 1:39-45)
3.The birth of Jesus (LK 2:1-7)
4.The presentation of Jesus in the Temple (LK 2:22-24)
5.The finding of Jesus in the Temple (LK 2:41-51)

To those unfamiliar with the rosary: it is a devotion to the Blessed Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary. We reflect on moments in the life of Mary and Jesus while reciting the Hail Mary. Tonight it was more special to pray this than usual. I offered the intention of praying my rosary last night for an end to abortion and for the lives of the unborn not realizing that I would soon enter into prayer while contemplating the single greatest pro-life moment in the world. That moment when Mary, a virgin was told she would conceive a child, but instead of taking her fate and the fate of the child into her own hands, she simply said YES to life. Then Mary visits Elizabeth and Elizabeth recognizes her as blessed and finally Mary gives birth to Jesus.

From the beginning life has been a gift from God and although we may not have planned a pregnancy, God has. And even when we think we may have “planned” a pregnancy, God knew even before conception of that child.

I feel there is nothing coincidental about the timing of Pope Benedict’s call out to Pro-lifers to unite yesterday in prayer. Last evening as the official beginning of the Advent season we need to pray for more than an end to abortion and for the gift of life, but we need to pray for and prepare for the most important birth in the history of the world, a birth that we will celebrate in just 27 days. Are you ready?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Devil hates Beards

Monday morning, like any other morning I left my apartment, hopped in my truck, and drove to school. I arrived, got out of my truck and started to walk away when I noticed something strange on my bumper. I have 4 stickers on the back of my truck, 2 U of WI Eau Claire, 1 Green Bay Packers and one that reads "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." Jeremiah 1:5 One of these stickers was partially torn this morning. Any guesses as to which one? It looks like an animal took a bite out of the corner of it, certainly something that was carefully done, not just by chance or nature.

As I walked to campus with a few coworkers I shared with them what had happened. After a short pause I told them, "the devil hates my beard." And there is no doubt that this month the devil hates beards being grown for "Beards for Breath," and if he hates it, that can only mean that Someone else loves it. Did you ever think that a beard or prayers for beards (thanks ladies!) would bring glory to God?

If Jesus has a plan for us before we are formed in the womb, wouldn't satan want that plan derailed before one was out of the womb? Satan loves to see souls ruined in the womb, or out, and Jesus loves to see souls, that He has created, come into the world moving closer to a relationship with Him and closer to bringing Him glory.

And this month with a lot of prayer, a little sacrifice and suffering our beards are bringing glory to God and saving souls and lives.

So persevere through the discomfort and itchiness because not only does satan hate it, but Jesus loves it.


Spirtual Warfare

My previous post is a message to the Beards for Breath group and it talks about something that has been on my mind a lot lately, spiritual warfare and present the devil is everyday. Yes, he's as present as Jesus is everywhere we go and as Jesus wants us to be loving and glorify Him in the things we do, the devil wants the opposite, and he wants it bad.

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of listening to Fr. John Corapi. A priest for about 20 years now and a man that has experienced the good and the bad and life more than the average person. Fr. John's presentation was in Newark, NJ at the Prudential Center, home of the New Jersey Nets, Seton Hall Pirates, and the New Jersey Devils. Fr. John began his presentation by coming on stage wearing a Devils jersey and with a hockey stick, the brand/model of the hockey stick was "Warrior". I'm not sure how much of that was intentional but pretty ironic isn't it? I mean a Catholic priest wearing the "devil" with a hockey stick labeled warrior!! Fr. John said, "I've never seen a homeless person, alcoholic, or drug addict that doesn't believe in the devil." Adding that these people (like most) are often stuck between the devil & God. Fr. John at one point in his life was all of those things he mentioned, homeless, alcoholic and drug addict. Thankfully he turned out ok and is doing great things now.

Fr. pointed our direction to Ephesians 6:10-17, which I invite you read here:

This passage talks about putting on the armor of God and standing firm against the devil. Fr. John said, "St. Paul (the writer of Ephesians) tells us to put on the WHOLE armor of God, not the parts we want. If there's a hole in our armor, the devil is a good shot, he will wound you."

Being on a college campus and facing my own confrontations as a Christian with the devil everyday I can tell you that devil is very real. Everyday I am faced with decisions to make that will either bring glory to God or please the devil and I don't always make the right decision. The beauty is that as Christians we can repent, move on, and try to do it better the next time. The devil hates the beauty of Christ and the life offered to Christians through Christ's death. The devil wants us to make a mistake, feel bad about it, let it get us down, and for us to stay down, even to depression. Everything that is good, the devil hates.

So let's put on the armor of God and help those around us become better equipped to stand up to the devil and more importantly bring Glory to God in all that we do.