Wednesday, April 22, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  Sunday’s Gospel reading was about Jesus visiting the disciples two different times.  Once without Thomas present and once with him there.  I really like the different treasures and focal points God gives us whenever we read His word.  This time He called my attention to John 20: 21-24 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”  And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”  Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.”  And in the 25th verse Thomas says “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my fingers into the nailmarks, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

So often Thomas gets a bad wrap for wanting, desiring proof that the Lord is alive and that kind of becomes the focus of these verses, but did you notice that Thomas didn’t get to have Jesus breath the Holy Spirit upon him?  Sure, it’s easy to believe when He’s standing right in front of you breathing His Holy Spirit upon you.  I can only imagine if Thomas was there the first day and Peter wasn’t, we would all be saying doubting Peter.  After all, Peter did have a history of denying Christ, right?  Once we’ve experienced the true presence of Christ breathing His Holy Spirit upon us, it can be hard to remember what life was like without Him.  Because of that, it can be hard to put ourselves in others shoes when we see and hear them express doubts and unbelief in the Lord.  Be patient and just as Christ did, offer them peace and His presence.  Looking at verse 21 “Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.”  It took a couple times for His closest friends and disciples to be willing to accept His peace when offered, so no doubt it will take multiple offerings of Christ’s peace for someone who doesn’t know Him to be willing to trust and not doubt what they cannot see.  The eleven disciples saw and felt His presence in that room when Christ breathed the Holy Spirit upon them.  They expected Thomas to believe without seeing Him or feeling His presence.  It takes multiple experiences of Christ’s peace and presence for us to believe.  So, what does that mean for you and me?  It means that we never know where that person, that is standing in front of us, might be in their walk.  We have a choice to offer His peace and presence to them or not.  Even when you offer His peace and presence, you may never know the results of how He is moving within that person.  But here it is…That’s where we have to trust and not doubt that which we cannot see.  We have to trust that He is present and making Himself known so that they too will come to believe and rejoice in His glorious presence.  Bless others and be blessed.    

#ZachWilliams – Walk with You

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you and happy blessed Easter.  Due to a new work schedule, I was off last Friday.  To take full advantage of that day, my plan was to get up at my normal work time, get ready for the day, start laundry, clean the bathroom, and work on some other chores before meeting a couple friends for a walk and celebrate Good Friday Mass.  I had my morning all planned.  Got up at normal time…nope, slept in about an hour.  Okay, that was kind of nice.  I got ready for the day, started laundry, and headed to clean the bathroom until I was distracted with…”Send a Good Friday message.”  Okay.  I sat down and sent a Good Good Friday message and prayer to a few friends, and another, and another, and another as the Lord placed each particular person on my heart.  Two and a half hours later I hadn’t even made it to the bathroom and I was on the verge of being late to meet my friends for our walk.   Well, I guess my plans weren’t His plans.  I remember a few times while sending out those messages I thought, “I need to stop and get back to my list.”, but then I was quickly corrected with “This is what I want you to be doing.”  Although I shouldn’t have been, I was surprised by the responses I received.  “God works in amazing ways.  Thank you.”  “I need all the prayers I can get.”  “I really needed this.”  “I truly need the prayers at this time.”  “Thank you so much for the text and being a vessel of Jesus Christ.  I needed this this morning.”  “Your prayers were delivered right on time.”  “Love that you are thinking about little ol’ me.”  I had no idea so many people needed and longed for a word from God Friday morning.  I am but one person and you are but one person, yet if we listen and act upon His call, He can physically reach and speak to many.  Yes, some times we just long for that physical presence of the Lord.  During Holy Week we remember and celebrate the last supper or our Lord.  I’m sure you all have a pretty vivid image of His last supper, right?  A farewell dinner with friends, but also the institution of the Eucharist for generations to come.  Luke 22:19 “This is My body which is given for you.”  Luke 22:20 “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.”  There are a few things that I miss about not being able to go to church to attend Mass, but the greatest is not being able to physically receive Christ in the Eucharist.  I pray that both you and I will always long and desperately desire to be in the physical presence of Christ our Lord and Savior.  Bless others and be blessed.       

Quick reminder, our next Walking with Emmaus walk is Saturday, April 18, 2020, 10:00 AM at Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve.  Click on the Walking with Emmaus tab for all the details.  I hope to see you there…at a socially acceptable distance.  :0)

#DannyGokey – Undertow

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  Happy Holy Week!  This is my favorite week of the year, which leads up to praying and celebrating my favorite Mass of the year, Easter Vigil.  Yes, it will be different this year but the most important people (Father, Son, and Spirit) will still be with us.  You know, it may be harder for some than others, but we could continue living our lives in this atmosphere of social distancing, but socially distancing yourself from God is never a good idea.  Honestly, we need and crave His love and friendship too much to want to be distanced from Him. 

During Holy Week, we read and pray the Passion of our Lord twice.  Palm Sunday we read from the Gospel of Matthew and then from the Gospel of John on Good Friday.  While reading the Gospel during Mass Saturday evening there were a couple verses from the Passion that really jumped out at me. 

Matthew 26: 48 “His betrayer had arranged a sign with them, saying, “The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him.”  49 Immediately he went over to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and he kissed him.  50 Jesus answered him, “Friend, do what you have come for.”  Then stepping forward they laid hands on Jesus and arrested him.”  Jesus called Judas Friend.  Wow!  Face to face in the actual moment of handing Jesus over to be tortured and put to death, Jesus still called Judas Friend.  That is so incredible, but as a human being I don’t know that I’m that forgiving.  If you ever think that your sin cannot be forgiven, in that very moment Jesus is still calling you Friend.

Matthew 26: 73 “A little later the bystanders came over and said to Peter, “Surely you too are one of them; even your speech gives you away.”  Without even trying or thinking, his speech gave him away as a follower of Christ.  Does your speech give you away?  For many years I was a closet Christian, unwilling to profess my faith and belief in Christ as a daily part of my walk with Him.  I guess at that point it really wasn’t much of a walk with Him if I wasn’t willing to talk about Him with others.  I honestly believe a prayer that I’ve been praying for about 19 years, every morning when I brush my teeth, has helped me break free from my unwillingness and fear of what others would think.  The prayer is Ephesians 6: 10-20 The Armor of God, but more specifically verses 19-20 “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”  And then I always add “In Your Son’s name, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen.”  You see, it doesn’t do any good to just declare something if it’s not being declared in the Lord.  A declaration has no real meaning without the Lord being at the center of it all.  I pray that this Holy Week moves you in mighty ways.  That miracles are seen and felt.  And that you will know beyond any shadow of a doubt that YOU are a friend of God.  Happy Easter!  Bless others and be blessed. 

#PhillipsCraigandDean – I am a Friend of God

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you. Life and relationships are acts and actions of give and receive to keep you in balance. Activity and Rest. Work and Home. Learn and Lead. Public and Private. Mentor and Mentee. Journeying though this very different Lenten season, I’ve been thinking these past couple weeks about relationships. How relationship choices form our lives. And the need for balance of receive and give in order to thrive with Christ at the center of our core. With that thought process playing in my mind, I keep finding myself being drawn to the lives and relationships the disciples lived. Balance…We typically think two weighted items that draw against each other to come to a place of level. But there is also that center point. We have the need to be poured into, to learn and receive. But what good is all that knowledge and wisdom if there is no one to offer it to? You know, those that in turn have you as a source of knowledge and wisdom. On one end we are taking it all in. On the other end, we give it away. And then there are those with equal receive and give, equally yoked relationships. So, if I were one of the 12 disciples it might look like this. I receive from the Lord. I give to those the Lord takes me to, in cities and towns as I journey this road. But then there is that balance. The other disciples that I share so much of my time and journey with, where there is an equal balance of giving and receiving knowledge, wisdom and love. When the Lord pours into us, it is an undefinable gift that many times we overlook. We see these gifts as challenges that we don’t really want to deal with and in the moment could care less that it’s going to make us a better person down the road. Right now, you only feel growing pains, maybe beat down and weary from the journey. You know we could get an Amen from the disciples on that point. Surprisingly as we pour into others, we can walk away with a similar feeling of being beat down and weary thinking and questioning, how long will it take for them to get this and understand. Right now, I’m hearing an Amen from God. Both these ends of the spectrum are needed. And that brings us to the balance. Those other disciples that pour into us and us into them. A real give and receive balance finds you full and still able to pour forth from the overflow without becoming drained and empty inside. Search your heart and identify the sources that fill you. Now, identify the sources that draw from you. Finally, identify those disciples (family and friends) around you that allow your cup to flow without ever running low. All three sources are needed and wanted, but we must always start and allow ourselves to first be poured into and molded by the One True Source. Bless others and be blessed.

#CastingCrowns – In the Hands of the Potter

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  Walking from the parking lot to my office yesterday morning, I was serenaded by a group of birds.  Ahh, breath in the morning.  The peace and calm of that moment brought a smile to my face.  Shortly before that, as I was driving to work the streets were less crowded.  Less vehicles speeding and darting between the lanes.  Heading home at the end of the work day, knowing that there is nowhere that I need to be, other than home…Ahh.  Have you noticed there are less emergency vehicles and sirens?  Can you feel it?  It’s as if God is saying “Just breath in My peace and I will give you rest.”  Rest…  That’s a hard thing to do when we have our days, weeks, months so packed with activities that we blink and a year has passed.  When we are unwilling to rest on our own, sometimes God will offer us a sabbath.  Jesus did some of His best healing during sabbaths.  And those Pharisees were always there to point it out, as if it wasn’t a good thing He was doing.  I know we’re all in this social distancing thing together for health reasons and maybe it’s just me, but have you noticed that people will swing wide when passing you, as if they need just a little more distance?  Okay, I get it, but something else I’ve noticed is that people won’t look you in the eye or smile when passing by.  I’ve also noticed that people’s attitudes have been kind of down.  I really hope it’s just me and you haven’t been experiencing this too.  Why is this?  It got me to thinking.  First things first, God created us to be in relationship with Him.  Second, He created us to be in relationship with each other.  When we don’t have balance in our relationship with God and each other, we can feel fear, darkness and depressed.  The birds of the sky may not notice a difference in this time of sabbath, but missing human contact will take a toll on us.  At this time, although we are to keep our physical distance, that doesn’t mean we should build a wall and block our spiritual connections.  Smile, greet each other, offer an air high five, or a complement.  Although they are not physical contact, they are still fuel to the spirit to brighten your day.  Hey, we are all in this together.  It’s not just Dayton, or Ohio, or the US.  We are all in this together.  One world.  Let’s lookout for each other and be a light of hope to those who may be struggling in this time of sabbath.  Bless others and be bless.

#TobyMac – One World

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  This past week has been filled with the humanity of sadness and loss, and the promise of everlasting joy in and with the Lord.  Last Wednesday, March 11, 2020, a friend and member of our Greater Dayton Emmaus community passed away in his sleep.  Chris Wissinger was only 54.  I last saw Chris the Monday before his unexpected passing and he seemed so full of life.  Chris was the Vice Chairman of our Emmaus community and effective April 1, 2020 Chris would have moved to the Chairman of the Board and Community Lay Director position.  The link below is a video that features Chris and was going to be shared on the Greater Dayton Emmaus website upon his transition to his new role.  I would encourage you to watch the video and take it to heart.  So many of us that have experienced the Walk to Emmaus weekend experience have had very different, but at the same time similar experiences, transformations, and desires to grow and share our relationship with Christ.  Chris’ passing was unexpected and didn’t offer a known opportunity to saver those last moments.  On the other hand, me, my husband and multiple members of our family spent last Wednesday through Monday sharing some precious moments with Shirley and each other as we day by day watched her transition through the end stages of life.  We laughed.  We cried.  We sat in silence…Except for The Food Network that was on 24/7.  For someone that had no desire to eat, she sure liked watching those food shows.  Even when she was no longer able to speak or keep her eyes open, none of us changed the channel. 

I’m working on processing the events of this past week and I know that God’s hand of blessing has been all over us.  One lesson learned from this past week that I would like to share with you was something that I learned from Shirley’s Hospice of Dayton case worker, Kimberlee.  She told us about a training experience that she had when she joined the hospice team.  She was given a special set of googles that gradually caused her to be in the dark, unable to see and communicate with those in the room around her, but she was still able to hear.  She shared with us that the sense of hearing is the last to go and how helpless a feeling it was to be able to hear people talking around you and about you, but not talking to and with you, and also not being able to communicate your needs.  I tried to keep this in mind as we spent those many hours with Shirley.  Take a moment to think how important those final words you hear will be.  It will make you pause and think a little differently about the words you speak.  It’s so important to speak life and love to those around you.  It is only by God’s grace and His love within you that you are able to speak true and real everlasting life and love.  Now is the time and now is the place, for you know not what tomorrow holds.  Bless others and be blessed.

#GreaterDaytonEmmaus

#TheAfters – Well Done

#HospiceOfDayton

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you. Discernment. That’s a tough one no matter what point you are in your journey. Our decision can allow a life to flow smoothly along, cause it to turn on a dime, or might bring you a combination of smooth and edgy. Sometimes lack of discernment and fear of making a decision will cause you to be frozen in your path, not allowing a decision to be made. Which in and of itself is making a decision to stay right where you are. Maybe part of what holds you back is stinkin’ thinkin’ that tells you that you aren’t worthy of better. You might as well settle, because this is the best you’ll ever do. Or maybe it’s telling you don’t go down that path, there will be growing pains. Your job, where you live, your children, relationships, how will you grow in Christ, where are you being called to serve? These are just a handful of discernments you may be currently working through. Watching my mother-in-law as she is working/discerning her way through the transition from life to her afterlife, it really got me to thinking about discerning that final decision to let go of life as we know it and allow ourselves to run full steam to the Lord with nothing holding us back. You know, it doesn’t sound bad, but I would bet, in the moment that will be the toughest decision we will have to make. Even Jesus faced discernment at the point of transitioning from life to death. His was a very brutal and ugly death because of the ugly darkness we carry in this world. As you discern that which you are faced with, first talk with the Lord. He’ll talk you through a few options, then leave you to choose. He’s good like that. If you listen, He’ll share with you the good and the bad, but He won’t make the choice for you. Seek wisdom and truth in your discernment, so you may choose that which will light your world and the world of those around you, that you may carry and shine forth the light that never fades. Bless others and be blessed.

#TheAfters – Light Up the Sky

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  Last Hump Day was Ash Wednesday and Sunday was the first Sunday of Lent.  For going on 52 years now, I’ve experienced the Lenten season.  Typically, it’s been my least favorite liturgical season, but it feels different this year.  It doesn’t matter how many times you hear something, your current attitude and outlook on life will bring a new perspective on what can seem like a dust covered message.  Sunday’s second reading was Romans 5: 12-19.  The verse that rang clear as a bell to me was verse 19.  “For just as through the disobedience of one person the many were made sinners, so through the obedience of one the many will be made righteous.”  We all know the One that we will be made righteous through is Christ.  What came to mind next was that Christ also gives us the opportunity to contribute to this turnaround from sin to righteousness.  Sin entered paradise because of selfishness.  Wanting more than paradise could offer.  Seems kind of silly, right?  What’s better than sharing paradise with the Lord?  Sin is the no brainer choice.  Choosing the love and grace of God is a conscience choice.  That’s were obedience comes in.  You know those “random acts of kindness” that make you feel good and happy?  Do you really believe they’re random?  They seem to me to be planned opportunities that the Holy Spirit presents to us.  Opportunities to step outside of our selfish selves to be obedient, thereby drawing one step closer to the love and grace of our Father and paradise as it was originally offered to us as His sons and daughters.  During the season of Lent there is a great focus on prayer, fasting, and alms giving.  True, these are things we should be focusing on every day.  As you draw closer to Christ’s road to Calvary this Lent, you are once again presented a greater opportunity to choose to receive the love and grace of our Lord through your obedience, when He presents you with opportunities.  Don’t just make the no brainer choice.  Stop and make a conscience choice. 

Just a quick reminder to go to the menu and checkout the Walking with Emmaus page.  Our first walking share group will be Sunday, 3/15/2020 1:00 PM at Charleston Falls in Tipp City, OH.  All are welcome to join our walk.  If you are an Emmaus alumni, bring your name tag and group reunion card.  I hope to see you there.  Bless others and be blessed.

#Kutless – Grace and Love

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  Wow, what did the Emmaus weekend experience mean to me?  I listen to music when I’m getting ready for the day, but Monday I made a conscience choice to not be distracted by the music and allow myself to listen for Him.  I allowed the workaholic in me to relax and not even crack my work computer open.  When I got back to work on Tuesday, a coworker asked me how the weekend was.  I told her it was so good that I didn’t even crack open my computer on Monday.  She said “Yeah, I kept expecting to see something come through from you.”   

 It all started Thursday night when I met a new friend that I was so comfortable with that it felt I’d known her, her whole life.  When we met, I had no idea the healing He started in motion.  Saturday the Holy Spirit did some phenomenal works opening my eyes to an area that I had no idea I was holding onto so tightly.  I opened my heart to let go and in return found many hands reaching out to support me and an army of angels praying for me and with me.  Allowing that unrealized burden to be thrown into the sea of forgetfulness has lightened my step.  It’s crazy how things can weigh us down without ever realizing it.  But what’s even more crazy is when we grab some bate, a fishing pole, and charter a boat to bring us back to the deepest depts of the sea of forgetfulness to try to drudge up that which we were freed from.  It’s so easy to hash and rehash experiences in our lives, to feed off the negativity, and live in the muck and mire.  It’s time to burn the ships, break the fishing pole, and throw that bate to the gulls.   Leave that junk in the depts of the sea.  I don’t even want you standing on the shoreline dipping your toe in it.  Every decision we make to look in that rearview mirror blinds us to what lies ahead and sets us up for wreckage.  Make a clean break and don’t turn back.  Bless others and be blessed.

#ForKingAndCountry – Burn the Ships

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  I’m so thankful the sun is starting to rise earlier.  Seeing and sharing a sunrise absolutely warms my heart.  Driving to a meeting Saturday morning, a friend and I were heading straight into the rising sun, which sparked a conversation about how transition lenses don’t change in the car because the windshield has some UV ray protection build into it, therefore my glasses won’t change.  My friend commented that even on cloudy days, 70% of the sun’s rays make it through, so you still need to wear sunscreen.  That put a big smile on my face.  Even on your cloudy, dark days, the Son will always be a ray touching your life.  You may not see those radiant beams of light on the cloudy days, be that doesn’t mean He’s not with you.  And as long as you don’t put Sonscreen on, He will leave His mark on you.  You know what I mean, that undeniable glow that shines forth from the faces of those basking in the Son.  There’s no other glow like it. 

Thursday evening kicks off the Greater Dayton Women’s Walk to Emmaus #107.  I’m so excited for the 22 Pilgrims that are going to be spending 72 nonstop hours of being drenched in the Holy Spirit.  I’m also excited for the 30 team members and the community of volunteers that have been and will continue to freely give of themselves this weekend to ensure these Pilgrims have everything they want and more.  You know, sometimes its in the receiving of that which we didn’t even know that we were missing or needed, that can turn a mind…heart…life around.  Even if someone told these ladies everything planned on the schedule for them this weekend, they still wouldn’t have a clue as to what’s about to happen in their lives this weekend.

With that being said, in powerful moments like these, Satan is bound to be pounding on the door and trying his best to sabotage any and everything he can to keep God’s Pilgrims from experiencing the unconditional love and grace of our Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Three in One.  Of the 27 live in team members, five are Michele’s/Michelle’s.  As you may know, Saint Michael is the patron saint of Michele/Michelle.  And Saint Michael is an Archangel, a defender of the kingdom of God.  The team kind of took that as a sign that this Walk needed to call upon Saint Michael to help protect all those participating in Women’s Walk #107.   As the Lord places these Pilgrims and this team in your thoughts and hearts this weekend, will you please say a pray that God’s Will be done.  And if you’re willing, maybe pray this prayer to Saint Michael.

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.  Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil;  May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;  And do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls.  Amen

Bless others and be blessed. 

#GreaterDaytonEmmaus

#WalkToEmmaus