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Weekly Blog

You Can’t Steal My Joy

“There ain’t nothing gonna steal my joy”, is a line from Zack Williams’ song, Old Church Choir. In reflecting on it, what is your answer to the inferred question? Do you allow things around you to upset you, frustrate you, stealing your peace and joy? Or are you of the mind and in the place where you can say, “There ain’t nothing gonna steal my joy”? If you are, you are a rare individual in today’s world.

I wasn’t in a place where Zack’s line applied to me for the longest time, because I didn’t have the inner peace for it to be the case. In fact, I didn’t have any peace. Instead it was all about the pace. I was running, running, running, always trying to accomplish more and never able to keep up with what I thought the world wanted of me. I was invested in gaining prominence, accumulating possessions, and experiencing pleasure. I was trying to fill this God sized hole in the center of my chest with all of these things that couldn’t possibly make me happy, let alone give me joy.      

I think that’s it’s important to make a distinction between joy, happiness, and pleasure (referencing Dicitionary.com):

  • Pleasure comes from being gratified, delighted, or satisfied by something physical, emotional, or even intellectual. It is typically very short lived, only being experienced when what is creating the pleasure is taking place.
  • Happiness results from the possession or attainment of what one considers good. Happiness is tied to an experience or occurrence that is time bound. It is a response to circumstance, contentment, good luck, prosperity, or good fortune.
  • In contrast, Joy is not a function of situation or circumstance, nor prosperity or good luck, but true goodness that brings lasting peace.

Peter Kreeft, PH.D., professor of philosophy at Boston College, states it this way, “Pleasure is in the body. Happiness is in the mind (feelings). Joy is deep in the heart, the spirit, the center of the self”. I would agree….joy can exist in you, no matter what’s going on in your life.

So the question is, how do you attain joy? From my experience, there’s only one way. You have to first understand and internalize God’s unconditional love and forgiveness.  

Next question….how do I get that? Again, speaking from my experience, it only happens through conversion. The good news is that wanting it is the first step and seeking it will make it happen. If you’d like some help in this regard, shoot me a note and I’d be glad to assist.

 

Remember….God loves you more than you’ll ever know, no matter what you’ve ever done.

  • God is there for you, like no one else in your life (not your friends, not even your spouse)
  • And God wants you to have joy

It’s only in knowing God’s love, knowing who you are in Christ, put on this earth for a special purpose, uniquely gifted, and made for greatness, that you will have lasting joy in your life. And be able to say, “There ain’t nothing gonna steal my joy”.

Please share your thoughts with me at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com.

May God Bless you on your Path of Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Mark Joseph

 

 

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Weekly Blog

No Matter Where You Go, There You Are

We live in a world of instant gratification, where it’s often thought that the “grass is always greener” somewhere else. If only this would happen or that would happen, it would all be different and better….so many believe.  

Do you ever think this way? Do you believe that if you changed jobs that your work issues would all be resolved? Would a different Church change your faith life? Or would a different group of friends add more harmony to your life? Would these things create the peace, joy, and fulfillment you’re looking for?    

The fact is…no matter where we go, there we are.

 

Good Lesson To Be Learned

I remember a story I heard years ago, where a man stopped to fill his car with gas in the new town he moved into, asking the attendant…and the attendant responding:

  • Man – What are the people like here?
    • Attendant – What were the people like in your old town?
  • Man – What are the Churches like here?
    • Attendant – What were the Churches like in your old town?
  • Man – What are the restaurants like here?
    • Attendant – What were the restaurants like in your old town?

Get the point? We create our own reality.

 

What Doesn’t Work

The secular world tells us that we need things to make us happy. I refer to them as the 4 Ps, prominence, possessions, pleasure, and people….all external factors. The fact is that we can accumulate as many of these things (or change them as often) as we want…and they won’t bring us happiness. As I’ve learned in my life, you can never have too much of what you really don’t need. Think about it.  

True change doesn’t occur by only addressing the external, but through the changes we make internal to ourselves. Changing jobs won’t do it. Changing Churches or friends won’t do it. Only changing yourself is going to produce the life you really want.

How Do You Do That?

Like you, I can only speak from my experience. What I know is that the only way I started (and continue) to live a life of peace, joy, and fulfilment was to invite Jesus into my life. I first did so in realizing that life would be better with Him in it than not, then turning towards Him and away from myself. That’s when conversion begins to happen, followed by healing.    

Too long to detail in this blog, I’d be happy to provide you with more information. Shoot me a note and I can provide you with resources or we can even talk by phone. I’m happy to help you on your journey.

 

God Made You for Greatness

In the meantime, know and believe this…

  • God loves you more than you’ll ever know, no matter what you’ve ever done
  • God made you for greatness (as indicated throughout Scripture)
  • In His image and likeness
  • For a specific purpose
  • With special talents and gifts
  • All according to His grand plan.

Understand, internalize, and execute the above…and you will have peace, joy, and fulfillment. You will do great things.  

The truth is…no matter where you go, there you are. Be the change you want…start with you. Then, independent of substance or circumstance, nothing will bring you down. You’ll excel in a way that you never thought possible.  

Please comment to me at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com.

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Mark Joseph

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Weekly Blog

Your Path to Peace…Guaranteed

We began this series the first Wednesday after New Years’, with accompanying videos every Friday. We identified the things that overwhelm us (chasing the things that can’t bring us happiness), then discussed my lived experience in how to overcome them. You’ve heard me say that in understanding and internalizing the unconditional love of Jesus Christ: 

  • The unimaginable is achievable
  • There can be Heaven on earth
  • There exists a definitive path to peace, joy, and fulfillment. 

God loves you more than you’ll ever know, no matter what you’ve ever done…He made you for Greatness. You have unique and special God given gifts and we are put on this earth for a specific purpose.  

We’ve discussed the things that add to your greatness, your happiness…all the attributes of discipleship: 

  • Our identity in Christ, knowing God’s love
  • Active prayer life
  • Vibrant Sacramental life
  • Living by the teachings of Jesus
  • Authentic Fellowship
  • Serving those in need
  • Sharing the love of Christ 

Embracing the above, although simple but not easy, is the only way to live a life of peace, joy, and fulfillment. The “peace” portion of that includes the following:  

  • Surrender – it is only in me truly knowing God’s unconditional love that I could trust Him. Convinced He made me a specific way for special things; He knows me better than anyone, knowing what will make me happy. Knowing that He knows best and wants the very best for me, I can experience Greatness by surrendering to our all-loving God.  
  • Gratitude – it’s understanding that everything in my life happens for a reason, according to God’s grand plan, shaping me for His glory and my fulfillment. I may not know “why” now, but it’s all to bring me closer to God and for a greater good. In addition, I’ve learned I need to have an attitude of gratitude. 
  • I know in Humility that it’s not me, but God working thru me that Greatness occurs. Knowing this and coupled with Surrender, I give all over to Him, which relieves me of all the pressure…I just do my best and leave the rest to our Lord
  • Love, love, love. This all culminates in love, fulfilling the Great Commandments in loving God and loving our neighbors. 

That’s it. Not overly complicated…definitely not easy. But oh, is it worth it though. It works, which doesn’t mean that all your problems are going to go away, but here’s the deal. In knowing the love of Christ, you’ll have a joy that is independent of substance and circumstance. You’ll be fulfilled. You’ll have peace. 

Stay tuned for what we go to next. Shoot me a note with any requests. Reach out to me if you want to chat about any of this and as always, please email me with questions, concerns, comments, or prayer requests at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com.  

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Remember…God made you for Greatness!!!

Mark Joseph

 

P.S. Tomorrow marks what would have been my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary. Miss Dad, Mum. I love you!!!

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Weekly Blog

Why Share the Love of Christ?

In reading Scripture, the answer to the above is obvious. With all the things Jesus said while here on earth, two of the most impactful were the Great Commandments (Mark 12:29-31) and Great Commission, in summary…love God, love your neighbor, and share the Gospel message (love of Christ). I’d suggest that these weren’t mere suggestions from our Lord. He was specific.   

In the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), Jesus said before ascending to Heaven, 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Verse 20 gets less attention that 19. Jesus tells us, “behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age”. Related, it’s my lived experience that the only path to peace, joy, and fulfillment is to say “yes” to Jesus. It’s what Jesus promises us in verse 20. 

Saying “yes” to Jesus means being His Disciple, a part of which is making other Disciples. The question is “how” do we do this. My first suggestion is to not hit people over the head with our Bibles. Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care. We need to love them first, where they are, for who they are. 

We’ve all heard the merits of teaching a man to fish as opposed to feeding him a fish. Discipleship calls on us to teach others how to become teachers of teachers, i.e. Disciples making Disciples. To do so, we need to exercise humility: 

  • The discipleship relationship is not that of a doctor to a patient, teacher to a student, or even a Priest to a parishioner 
  • It is founded in a personal relationship with a brother or sister in Christ. 
  • The intent isn’t to mold versions of ourselves, but to help others be Disciples for Christ, to be like Jesus 

As St. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ”. There are several elements to evangelizing:

  • Be prayerful – you can’t give away what you don’t have
  • Pray for those God puts in front of you
  • Build relationships with others – learn their stories so that you can share in a way that is relevant to them. 

Pope Paul VI stated, “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses”. We’re called to share our faith, which means sharing our story. We do so by sharing…

  • Your life before you recognized Christ as a meaningful part of it
  • How you came to know Jesus Christ (your conversion)
  • Your life in Christ, including the challenges
  • Make the invitation to others to join you on the journey

We hear of Peter and the other fishermen dropping their nets. Others leave behind their former lives to follow Jesus, which is the most important decision a person can ever make. Our call is to follow Jesus consciously and intentionally with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. Once made, that decision should drive everything in your life. Once made, you have the opportunity for peace, joy, and fulfillment. 

Remember, being a Disciple includes making Disciples. If interested in a model that is engaging, effective, and free of charge, go to https://steubenvilleconferences.com/discipleship-quads/, or contact me. I’d be happy to share with you. 

As always, please email me at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com with questions, concerns, comments, or prayer requests. 

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Remember…God made you for Greatness!!!

Mark Joseph