Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. (From Saturday's first reading)
Reflection for Saturday:
How to hear God's will for your decisions
By Joyce Chan, Guest Writer
In my journey of faith, Hebrews 11:1 has been one of the most difficult verses for me to follow. How do I have faith when I cannot see evidence of my prayers being answered? But if the evidence were presented to me, then there is no longer a need for faith.
How I always wished I could hear the thundering voice of God speaking loudly and clearly to me, like how God spoke to Peter, James and John at the top of Mount Tabor in the Mark 9:7, so that I do not have to guess what God is trying to tell me. However, when I reflect on what God actually told Peter, James and John -- although it was certainly loud and clear -- God really only told them to "listen to him". But what is Jesus telling me to do, even if I do listen to him?
I have read that life is lived forward but appreciated backwards. Our lives are laden with uncertainties, and we will never know what lies ahead of us -- be it a positive or negative experience. I have, however, learnt from my experience, that every time I fall on my knees in desperation and fear of what the future holds, asking God in prayer to please show me exactly what his plans are, I always end up feeling that God is telling me with an exasperated sigh: "Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me?!"
I would then reflect back and realize how he has been leading me all along: how certain doors were opened or closed in the past, how different windows of opportunities appeared, how I met certain people along the way, how advice was given to me from different people, how certain decisions were made, and how things eventually happened, leading me to where I am today.
It is in times like these that I am humbly reminded of the meaning of Hebrews 11:1 and what it means to approach God with faith in prayer (Hebrews 11:6). God will not tell us what our future will look like. He wants us to walk by faith, and not by sight.
It will feel as though we are moving forward and stepping out into the deep and dark. We will not be able to see anything. But faith gives us the certainty that God is an infinitely loving Father who always has our best interests in mind. It means to trust him with all our hearts -- that is, to trust that whatever he allows to happen to us, whether it be a positive or negative experience, it is always turned into a good purpose by God.
It is with this type of faith that we can readily accept that we do not need to know what his plans are for us. We only need to trust that, as long as we keep close to him and choose to do the right and loving thing at all times (to "listen to him"), we can safely surrender our future to him and let him pave the path ahead for us.
[If you, too, would like to become a guest writer for this weekly column about the Saturday scriptures, you are welcome to give us a sample for consideration.]
Inside the Ministry: Changing hearts for Christ in under-developed countries
Recently, I received this message from Rutaremwa, one of our WhatsApp subscribers in Uganda:
"Since I subscribed to Faith Boosters, a big change has taken place in my life. You see, I am a student of philosophy. So, my faith was deteriorating at a supersonic speed because of what I am being taught. But when you people started throwing light on the Creed, I got relieved."
This is what gets me really excited about our WhatsApp ministry. We are helping Catholics in under-privileged countries where their faith is being threatened by worldly influences or Islamic pressures and by lack of access to good faith formation.
In our new blog version of Faith Boosters (wordbytes.org/faith-boosters), we send out short, inspirational messages every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. But in our daily WhatsApp version (chat.whatsapp.com/6XPx7J2IPajJMImUXN2TNZ), we send out much more. In addition to the regular Faith Boosters, we post some of our WordBytes (wordbytes.org) in short chunks. That's how Rutaremwa benefited from our teaching on the Creed.
At the time I posted the Creed series, I wondered if these posts were truly "faith boosters". They seemed more like "lessons in the faith". I questioned whether the WordBytes should be kept separate from Faith Boosters. So God made it clear, by inspiring Rutaremwa to contact me, that he wants us to continue using "lessons in the faith" as "faith boosters" -- for they truly are boosting the faith of many.
The story of my Catholic novel "Victor"
Victor is a fictional thriller about the saving power of love. Patti Regall is a young mother trying to escape from a lifetime of abuse and the devil-worshiping coven that wants to use her little boys, Victor and Vincent, to uncover the identity of the Anti-Christ. When she finds an opportunity to escape, she has to leave Victor behind.
Patti fights her own demons while desperately trying to rescue Victor from the coven. Tobias, a Christian man, comes to her aid, thinking he is merely helping friends who have a ministry to abused women and children. His faith is challenged by the dangers he faces, and as crazy as Patti seems at times, he can't help falling in love with her. It becomes his passion to help her rescue Victor. Will it cost him his life? Together they must discover the very real, supernatural power of Christ's love.
This novel is a spiritual thriller that will affirm your faith in Christ's victorious power.
Why I wrote about escaping from satanism
While growing up in a mainstream Christian denomination, I searched for the supernatural. Not finding it, I became interested in the occult at the age of 14 when a Ouija board was given to me as a Christmas present. This began a 7-year enslavement to demons until Jesus rescued me. In 1989, my book "Overcoming the Power of the Occult" was published. Soon after, at a speaking engagement on the topic, I met an ex-satanic high priest who had been delivered from many demons after Jesus rescued him.
The novel, "Victor", was inspired by what I learned from interviewing him extensively. Today, we are living what he predicted would happen from a multi-decade strategy of putting generational satan-worshipers into places of influence, including government, Hollywood, news media, colleges, Planned Parenthood (for the sacrifice of as many children as possible), and churches (my friend was studying at Princeton University to become a Presbyterian minister when Jesus rescued him). The purpose of their strategy: to get everyone thinking that good is evil and evil is good and to persecute Christians who don't.
Today, even good church-goers believe some of the lies that the satanists have been perpetrating. It's time to get my novel read by as many people as possible.
It's available on Amazon Kindle for $3.99, and if enough people buy it and post a review, a paperback version will come out. If Amazon does not have it in your country, you can get it as a PDF e-book from Catholic Digital Resources.
Amazon sells it on several country sites. To find out if you can order it in your country, go to gnm.org/terry-modica-author/victor/ and scroll down to the list of Amazon sites.
Spreading the word about Virtual Reality in ministry
Last weekend, Ralph and I spread the word about Good News Ministries with a booth at the Mid-Atlantic Congress of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. I also gave two Learning Lab mini-workshops and a full workshop on Virtual Reality's Potential in Ministry. One of those who attended told me after returning home, "I truly enjoyed Saturday's lesson. I have already done two VR photos and tomorrow will be doing my last one for our 3 parishes. I will be using it for First Communion."
Praise the Lord!
Meanwhile, Ralph gave conference attendees an experience in Virtual Reality at our booth:
If you'd like to experience Virtual Reality yourself (even without a headset), visit CatholicVR.net. Detox your mind and your soul in GNM's Virtual Reality Worlds!
Your servant in Christ,
Terry Modica, Executive Director
Good News Ministries gnm.org
Keep your eyes on Jesus!
Look to the past with gratitude.
Live the present with passion.
Move into the future with hope.
Find creative ways to proclaim the gospel of joy! (Wisdom by Pope Francis)
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From a subscriber named Bobby: "Too often Catholic pencil pushers use their hierarchy of intelligence, throwing out four syllable words, forcing the reader to open a dictionary, promoting self and not Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Other astute writers will quote from everything they have read and springboard into a verse or two from the Bible. What I like about GNM, you present the truth in a simple and non-compromising format that anyone can understand. Jesus taught on the level of the people who were listening."