Weekly Reflection | 40 Days of Faith April 2, 2017 | Hello! Today I’m sharing week my 5th weekly reflection as a part of my Lenten journey. If you are just joining in, catch up here: Initial Post, Week 1 Reflection, Week 2 Reflection, Week 3 Reflection, Week 4 Reflection. Here’s how my week looked through photos, faith and journals… 3/27 Play Psalm 33: 2-4 “Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully and shout for joy. For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all that he does.” A beginning of the week reminder to use what I have been given to praise the Lord. Whether it be through this blog or playing one last game of Bingo with LK before bedtime, I should do it all in His name. I want to be better at offering my actions up to Him during the day…happy or sad, easy or hard I want to walk through my day with more of a purpose, because if I turned everyone of my actions into something that I could use to celebrate the Lord’s faithfulness…surely my perspective would change. 3/28 Serve Matthew 6:19-24 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” I’ve journaled about this before, but these days it’s all too easy to get caught up in material possessions. A great reminder in that building up material treasures here on earth does us absolutely no good. I don’t think that it’s bad to buy new things, but when I let myself get so caught up in wanting and working towards a certain thing I am definitely serving two masters. I want to better use my hands to serve the needy here on Earth than to be a servant to material possessions that do not gain me treasures in heaven. 3/29 Wander James 5:16-20 “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” One of the hardest parts of this journey was the dialogue that it’s opened up. Writing my reflections down for others to read makes me feel insanely vulnerable, but what’s the scariest part is when people approach me to talk through them in person. I’ve had countless conversations now about this series with friends, family and even total strangers who happen to read my blog and somehow they haven’t gotten easier. Admitting human err is hard and that’s kind of what I feel I have on display through these journal entries, but this verse is so reassuring to me. Here we are comforted knowing that we are all human and that while we all sin, the important thing is to gently hold each other accountable. Pray to each other and pray FOR each other and try your very best to bring back anyone that you know who may have wandered from the truth. Be diligent in your prayers for others, because should you bring them back to God, you will surely save them from eternal death. 3/30 Blessed Luke 6:20-26 “Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets. But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.” I never tire of this verse, but I have to say that I started to read it a little differently this week. #Blessed gets thrown around a lot these days (and I’m guilty of it too), but when I started to think about what people consider #blessed to mean…it didn’t match up with what God tells us blessed means. We use this term when when good things happen to us…often times it’s associated with happy times or material possessions, right? For example: someone gets a new car and posts it on Instagram with the hashtag #blessed. In this verse we are told that blessed actually means the total opposite. That you are blessed not when you’re rich, but when you’re poor…not when you’re full when you’re hungry…not when you’re happy but when you’re sad…and not when people love you, but you’re blessed when people hate you. God is telling us that through these trials here on earth, he’s revealing Himself to us and that is the real blessing. Through these blessings he is shaping us not for our physical life, but to inherit the Kingdom of heaven. Oh how different our perspectives would be if we were as joyful about the hard times knowing that this was all preparation for our eternal lives in heaven… 3/31 Admire So the word “admire” isn’t in the Bible. Crazy, right? Even admiration, adore and adoration don’t really make meaningful appearances. While I’m not sharing a verse here, I did want to use the word to write down my admiration for those people who openly share their faith without limits. I’m not sure that I really understood how hard that was before I started writing these, but I definitely don’t think that it’s an easy task. Sharing your faith leaves you open to judgement and persecution and…well…that’s not always fun. I really admire those of who continue to persevere and only share your faith with the world…what a beautiful gift you are. 4/1 Work Proverbs 31:10-31 “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” I’m sure that most of you have read and love this verse, but it’s definitely one of my favorites as well. Such amazing words for us to study as women, wives, and mothers. I’m only speaking for myself, but often times as a mother and a wife, it’s really easy to feel under-appreciated. The work in the home seems to literally never end. This verse is reassuring of a lot of things, but specific to work, it really encourages us to understand that our work in the home is valuable not only to our entire family, but it’s valuable to the Lord. 4/2 Shout Psalm 95 “Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear his voice” What a wonderful verse to end the week, especially on a Sunday as we prepare for Mass. Be joyful always and know that our God is a great God…do not be afraid to shout aloud joyfully to Him…. Have a great week friends! Thanks again for following along with this journey and for your continued encouragement!