Everyone who is in Christ is a new creation. The old self has passed away! Behold, new things have come. And all this is from God. (From Saturday's first reading)
Reflection for Saturday:
Rebuking the Devil can be easy!
I'm going to let you in on a secret that the Devil does not want you to know: Demons do exist, and they are trying to interfere with your relationship with Christ, because they are afraid of what you will do if you become fully aware of what you can accomplish through the Holy Spirit.
The US bishops have published a book of Pope Francis' teachings about rebuking the devil. This comes at the perfect time! As I've said in past editions of "Insider's View" and in recent episodes of the podcast show FOOTSTEPS TO HEAVEN, we live in a critical time spiritually. The devil's influence has penetrated the Church -- alarmingly in the hierarchy who were called to protect us from the Devil by good example and by good teachings.
Some of us are wondering how accountable Pope Francis is in the devil's infiltration into church hierarchy by allowing abuses to go unstopped. I certainly don't know the answer to this question, but I do know that Jesus told us not to judge; leave that to God. And I also know that Pope Francis's teachings about rebuking the devil are valid and very pertinent.
It's not just in Church hierarchy that the devil has won some souls. Many in the pew (especially in my country and other Western societies) have embraced Satan's lies about what is right and wrong -- the self-idolatry of moral relativism -- without understanding the damage that this is doing to their eternal souls and to countless other people.
Satan has been hiding under the guise that demons are not real or that, at most, they don't care about the average Christian. Otherwise good people would not be tricked into turning away from the moral teachings of Christ. I used to be one of these victims many years ago before meeting the Holy Spirit.
"What most pleases the Devil is that his existence is disbelieved; about this, he is truly happy!" said Fr. Gabriele Amorth, who rescued thousands of people through exorcisms between 1986 and his death at 91 in 2016. "Indeed, he does everything possible to keep himself hidden to make it appear as self-evident that evil powers do not exist. This has been, and is now, his greatest triumph."
In 1977, the baptism of the Holy Spirit snatched me from the Devil's hands and energized my faith in Christ, enlivened the scriptures, and empowered my prayers. It activated the Spirit of Truth in my thinking; now I could understand that the lies I had believed were, in fact, lies. It set me free from the enslavement to sins that I had not realized were sinful. And it exposed the Devil and routed demons from my life while putting me onto the path of holiness.
A new creation
In Christ, I became a new creation. The old passed away. But being a follower of Christ was not enough to make me recognize the tactics of the devil. Having a personal relationship with Jesus is only Step One. Jesus commanded us to go farther. Step Two is a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit.
How is your relationship with the Holy Spirit? Are you willing to make a deeper commitment to the Holy Spirit and develop a more personal, more effective relationship with him? If you are, come see what Good News Ministries is doing next to help with that (below)!
But first, back to my story. After learning the truth about how demons had been influencing me and pulling me farther and farther away from Christ, the Sacrament of Confession set me free from their power. (The whole story is in my book, Overcoming the Power of the Occult: gnm.org/terry-modica-author/overcoming-the-power-of-the-occult/.) From that time forward, I belonged to God's army in the on-going spiritual warfare that comes with being an active Christian making a difference for the Kingdom of God. I've been on the front lines of the battlefield for 40 years. Praise the Lord!
This is not a scary war -- unless you look at it from the Devil's perspective, because he knows he's a loser. We always have victory through Christ, because he conquered Satan for us when he took our sins to his cross and resurrection. Sure, sometimes we have to wait years to see the victory, especially when praying for a family member or friend who doesn't believe they are victims of Satan -- yet.
Here's an example of how easy it is to rebuke demons. When we first moved into our Tampa office, once or twice a week we heard cars colliding at a nearby intersection. Thinking it odd that there should be so many accidents, I rebuked "any demons that are causing accidents at that intersection, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen." There's a bit more to it than that, but this newsletter is not the time and place for a course on spiritual warfare. Suffice it to say, the frequent collisions immediately stopped.
Where are you on the battlefield? Do you know how to recognize demonic deceptions? Do have have strongholds of sin and need breakthroughs? What is interfering with your growth in holiness? Try these GNM faith-builders: wordbytes.org/victory/.
I'm reading Pope Francis' book. Would you be interested in going through it with me? I'm thinking of discussing it in upcoming podcasts of FOOTSTEPS TO HEAVEN. If you'd like to join me in an online course about it, subscribe at elists.gogoodnews.net/dada/mail.cgi/list/paracletia/ to be notified when the course begins.
These episodes will also serve as a great study guide for parish groups that read Pope Francis: Rebuking the Devil. The book can be ordered from Amazon. In the US, the link is amazon.com/dp/1601376081. (Did you know that Amazon Smile donates to us a portion of sales made by US residents who choose Good News Ministries of Tampa Bay as their favorite charity?)
New Course: Pray in the power of the Holy Spirit
On Monday, we begin a new online course, via podcasts in THE GOOD NEWS SHOW. Life in the Holy Spirit is meant to include a powerful prayer life that truly makes a difference. Why settle for a mediocre faith? Miracles are not meant to be elusive. Listen to (or watch) the introduction for our next course, "Pray in the Power of the Holy Spirit".
Stay tuned for the 12 upcoming episodes! They will begin on Monday and will be published three times a week. Each is only 5 to 6 minutes long but they will change your life!
How do you know if you're truly listening to the Holy Spirit? How do you know if the Holy Spirit is truly listening to you? Find out in the next series of The Good News Show!
In last week's newsletter, I said, "We're called to invigorate RCYA (no, that's not a typo)" and then I failed to explain what RCYA stands for. Well, in fact I had written the following as the first sentence, and somehow it disappeared:
RCYA = Remnant Church & Young Adults.
Tadaaa! There it is and it's sticking!
Let's encourage the Remnant Church
We are called to invigorate and re-invigorate the faith of the "Remnant Church". It's likely that, because you're reading this, you are part of the Remnant Church. This is the part of the Church that takes their faith seriously. We go to Mass to give God our time and attention in a public way. We receive Jesus in the Eucharist because we want to be united to him. We learn from the scriptures and embrace Church teachings in order to become the saints that God designed us to be.
Sadly, we do not have the freedom to be ourselves around those who are caught up in the deceptions of the Devil. And this can be mentally exhausting. Frustrating. Lonely.
I am here for you. We need each other.
For more than 24 years, GNM has been here to support you and encourage you on your journey of faith. Please remember that we need your support, too. We cannot do this without the Champions of Good News who donate their time or their financial aid to keep this important work going. No one can succeed at this alone; we need each other.
Listen to the difference we made for Aurea in South Australia:
"I would like to sincerely thank Good News Ministries for providing me with daily spiritual support which enhances my well-being, physically and spirituality. The words of God that I have received through Good News Ministries have enabled me to carry on through the demands of the day, especially during the time I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. I will be forever grateful for Good News Ministries, for providing for all my spiritual needs every day."
Let's encourage Young Adults
We are called to enliven the faith of Young Adults. We're succeeding by using WhatsApp and producing podcasts.
Reisha in Malaysia receives the daily Good News Reflections through WhatsApp, and she has been listening to my podcasts about developing a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit. She says:
"I believe I am starting a cooperative relationship with the Holy Spirit. Everything I ask for seems to have a corresponding response. I am beginning to see the working of the Holy Spirit in my life. Nothing is a coincidence. Thank you and praise God!"
God is preparing his faithful followers for a great work in the battle against evil. It won't be easy, but it will be glorious and, of course, ultimately victorious.
Good News Ministries cannot shrink back. We must continue to push forward to find more ways to invigorate the faith of more people. Last week, the Lord showed me how to use Twitter and Instagram more effectively. Until now, we've not made much of a difference with these tools. The problem is: We don't have enough funding yet to hire the talent that's needed. We are getting low on funds -- the typical mid-year low point is coming soon.
Jesus has a strong passion for enlivening the faith of both the Remnant Church and Young Adults, and therefore so do I. Are you with me on this?
If you can help me fulfill Christ's passionate desire to invigorate young adults, go to gnm.org/donate now.
Footsteps to Heaven episode #14:
3 Ways to Un-stifle the Spirit
It's time we reclaimed what is rightfully ours as followers of Christ: a faith that works miracles. A faith that heals broken hearts. A faith the drives the Enemy out of the Church. A faith that convinces non-believers that turning to Christ is a good idea. A faith that fulfills the promises made by Jesus! Read the Bible, the New Testament, to find all the times when the supernatural happened and ask, "Is this happening in my life?" And if the answer is no ask, "Why not?"
The answer is in our relationship with the Holy Spirit.
The Devil is afraid of what you will do if you become fully aware of what you can accomplish through the Holy Spirit. Hooray! In Christ, you are a game-changer. So here's how to reach your full potential.
In this podcast, I name eight ways that we stifle the Spirit and then I identify three ways to un-stifle the Spirit.
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."