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Goodbye 2021; Hello 2022 

For most, 2021 was a tough year, maybe even more challenging than 2020…which was nuts. As indicated last week, the new year is a time to plan anew, learning form the past, but leaving it for a better, brighter future. To assist you on that journey, should you decide to engage, we are launching a series in the new year, to help you in understanding:

  • In knowing rhe unconditional love of Jesus, the unimaginable is achievable
  • There’s a path to peace, joy, and fulfillment 
  • God made us for Greatness

In the meantime, during my favorite time of year, Christmas, I wanted to share with you a prayer I wrote, which speaks to my spiritual journey….and to what we’ll be doing in our New Years’ series. Enjoy!!!

Thank you God our Father; Thank you Jesus!!!

Dear Jesus Christ, Son of the Father, thank you for dying that torturous death on the cross for each one of us, including me. Thank you for rising from the dead so that I can live in Your Glory. God the Father, thank you for loving me enough to give me your only begotten Son.

Lord, thank you for my journey, every step along the way…the good, the great, the wonderful, the bad, the terrible, the ugly. I am where I am because it is where You want me to be. I am who I am because it’s who You are making me to be. I trust in You to make me and shape me for Your Glory.

Thank you for loving me, blessing me, showing me Your Will, showering me with Your Grace, and granting me Your Peace, which can only come from being in a place of Surrender, Gratitude, Humility, and Love.

Lord Jesus, help me to feel your Unconditional Love and Unconditional Forgiveness, fully internalizing and living these gifts, so that with Holy Spirit Boldness, using my God given gifts, not caring what anyone on this earth thinks of me, I can be all that You want me to be in serving You.

Dear Lord, help me to always see Christ in All and be Christ to All, Living Your Will, helping others become the best versions of themselves, which is True Love…Christ’s Love. Please give me the strength and courage to evangelize my Faith, living the Gospel, sharing the Gospel, using words when necessary and often. When done for the Glory of God, the unimaginable is achievable.

I ask this blessing for my family, friends, and myself, in addition to all those on Your Journey….grant us peace. For all those seeking, help us find. For all those lost, help us see.

I ask this in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

As always, please feel free to contact me at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com with questions, comments, concerns, challenges, or prayer requests.  

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

God made you for GREATNESS!!!

Mark Joseph

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Weekly Blog

What’s Your Favorite Prayer?

Last week’s blog was titled, “The Gift of Our Faith”. To realize and maximize that gift, we need to be in relationship with God our Father and Jesus Christ His Son, while calling on the Holy Spirit, who lives within each of us. Prayer is critical to that relationship, in its many forms. 

Do you have a favorite prayer or prayers? How is it that you pray? Rote prayer, reading and praying through Scripture, meditative or contemplative prayer? The Catholic Church offers many prayers for us, including the Mass, Rosary, and Divine Mercy Chaplet. A simple internet search will take you to an exhaustive list of Catholic prayers. 

Yet most people I know, including those actively engaged in our faith, will tell you that they struggle with prayer. I do too. Why is that? I assume your experience is the same as mine…that is that anything you get really good at takes work. It takes dedicated effort. God wants nothing more than us to be in relationship with Him. Given the free will He has provided us, God leaves it up to us. Just like our earthly relationships, where we have challenges, we’re challenged in prayer. Keep at it. It’s what God desires and it’s good for us…just ask anyone who prays regularly. 

My favorite prayers are the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, long form of the Serenity Prayer, and a prayer I wrote in 2009, which I call Thank you God; Thank you Jesus!!! For each, I say them incredibly slowly, praying through and hanging on every word. They are my “go to” prayers. I say them daily without fail. 

In reviewing all the blogs I’ve posted over the last 3 ½ years, I’ve done others on prayer, whether it be different types, processes, methods, etc. I hesitated to do so again here, but my wife reminded me that redundancy is good…and that we can all be reminded more about prayer. 

Believe me, I’m far from perfect at prayer. I struggle with it. But the reality is that the more I pray, the more peace I have. The more “right” direction I have to my life. The sin of pride, which I’m a pro at, is less of an issue. So is envy and the many others. I’m a better person when I pray more. 

The mistake people make with prayer is the same mistake many make in other aspects of their lives…”they bite off more than they can chew”. They start too fast, expecting too much. Like with anything else, the more we know about our faith (about prayer), the more we find there is to learn. It is not a race, but a journey. Take it slowly. Five minutes a day to start. Reading a little bit of Scripture and then reflecting on it. Saying a couple rote prayers. Sitting in silence with our Lord, listening for His voice in your life.  

I hope this blog prompted you to think (and pray). Maybe you’re a prayer warrior and the above doesn’t apply. If so, maybe you can share some of these ideas with others. Or maybe it does, and you can add to whatever you’re doing.  If you’d like a special copy on my prayer (noted above), please let us know. In addition, should you desire, we can provide you with a tool we created called, “Simple Process for Prayer”. 

As always, please feel free to contact me at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com with questions, comments, concerns, challenges, or prayer requests.  

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

Remember…God made you for GREATNESS!!!

Mark Joseph

 

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Weekly Blog

When It Gets Tough

When things are going well, it’s easy. Many don’t believe they need anything or anybody. Including committed Christians, people think things are good when things are good. If you’re like me, you believe everything happens for a reason, according to God’s grand plan. It’s easy to have that outlook when things are going well.

All that sounds great, but how do you fare during the tough times? What happens when things get challenging? It could be something at work. A health issue…with yourself or someone you love. Maybe even a relationship problem. What’s your outlook in those tough times?

Challenges can be viewed as more global things as well. One example is what’s going on in our country. It’s difficult to see the dramatic increase in violent crime, significantly rising prices, and small businesses struggling. Add to these all the conflicting messaging about COVID, threats to our civil liberties (including religious freedom) lawlessness going unchecked, illegal drugs coming across our boarder, mass censorship, and politicians on both sides of the isle who are complicit. If it weren’t so sad and alarming, it would be laughable, i.e., the new belief by some that men can get pregnant.

What’s God’s plan in the above? I’m not sure and I can’t wait to ask our Lord one day, along with many other things. I do have a couple thoughts. When as a society we have so dramatically stopped living the Christian life, is this what happens? It seems that truth no longer has meaning…is this what we get? Is God sending us a message?

An observation…when 9/11 occurred, Christians flocked to Church. Catholics were lined up to go to confession. Studies showed that statistically speaking, people prayed more and more people prayed. I know in my own life, experiencing tragedy is what brought me to my encounter with Jesus Christ…that which changed my life forever.

A Personal Issue

Or there are those personal things. I’ve had a health issue of late. Nothing too traumatic, my wife and I are concerned about where my symptoms may be leading. Over the last several months, I’ve developed a constant tightness in my hands, with occasional cramping. Although I can certainly live with the current situation, it continues to get worse. Not painful, it is affecting my grip. I’m still able to exercise daily, but I feel it. For the first time, it was bothersome when on my computer the other day. Still pursuing a diagnosis, the medical community hasn’t been able to figure it out. 

I’m sure there are others with much bigger issues than mine. In fact, I personally know several. For all of us…”why”? How are these trials, health related or otherwise, part of God’s grand plan? Remember, I’m one of those people who believe everything happens for a reason. 

Living a Life of Gratitude

You know my story and the tragedy I’ve endured. I am thankful for all of it because I know I wouldn’t’ be who I am today without experiencing those things. I live in a place of gratitude. My version of “gratitude” is believing that all things happen for a reason. I believe that for all things, the big and small, i.e., my hands. 

Jesus died a torturous death (for our sins). Given that He, our Savior, suffered tragedy, we shouldn’t expect otherwise. We’re told in Scripture that life will provide us with challenges. It won’t be easy. It’s not easy. 

Here’s what I know. Life, with its ups and downs, is better with God than without Him. I would encourage all of us to stay close to our Lord. Be prayerful. Go to Church. Maintain good, supporting relationships. Continue to discern the reasons why things happen in your life, whatever the impact. Use all to help you be a better version of yourself, for the glory of God…as difficult as that can be at times. I’ve said it before, “God loves you more than you’ll ever know, no matter what you’ve ever done”.  

As always, please feel free to contact me at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com with questions, comments, concerns, challenges, or prayer requests.  

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

God made you for GREATNESS!!!

Mark Joseph

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Weekly Blog

Why Do You Second Guess Yourself? 

Why are you unsure of some of your decision? You second guess yourself. You sometimes even beat yourself up over a decision. Why? What’s up with that? 

There are two reasons why the above occurs. One is from our past. While that may imply that there’s nothing to do about it, that’s not the case. The other we can have control over as soon as today. 

The first, first. Not sure if you’re aware of it, but you most probably experienced conditional love when growing up. If you’re like most, you grew to believe that you have to earn the love of others. I like to say, “the more or better you perform, the more love you perceive that you receive”. Make sense? Can you think of an example in your life?

Although I know it occurred throughout my youth and adolescent years, it was really punctuated my senior year of high school, when I played football for our championship team. I can’t imagine how players feel on the collegian or pro level, given my experience as a 17-yearold. My fellow players and me were made to feel like gods…being celebrated on and off the field, individually and collectively. That senior year, I really internalized this…the more praise I got, the more I felt loved. Think about it in your own life. It’s:

  • Not done intentionally
  • Not done with malice
  • Just what happens

My brothers and I couldn’t have had a better upbringing. Yet I walked away from my youth believing for me to be loved and accepted, I needed to perform, to win.

The reality is that we all want to be loved…we want to be accepted. That being the case, as indicated above, we act in ways such that people will affirm us. That includes our decisions. If we don’t receive that affirmation, we second guess ourselves. We may even beat ourselves up. Unfortunately, there’s not the space here to understand how to overcome this. As such, we’d suggest you watch the free webinar we’ll be doing next month. There you’ll get the answer. Promise. More info to follow. 

The second reason why we second guess ourselves is in how we arrive at decisions. I’d suggest that taking such things to prayer changes everything. What? How? Here you go. Try this. It works. 

  • Identify to God whatever is on your heart that day…whatever the issue you’re dealing with or decision you need to make. It could be a current or long-term challenge. It’s your choice. God is interested in whatever you bring to Him. 
  • Detail the situation to God. What is the challenge or opportunity? What are your ideas to address or resolve it? What do you see as the pros and cons to your ideas? Talk through every aspect of the situation with God. 
  • Then just sit in silence, listening for the voice of God to speak to your heart. Be patient. Wait on Him. See what comes to you.
  • Journal as much of the above as you would like, especially how you believe God is speaking to you. 

You want to be sure of your decisions? Take your issues to prayer. Talk to our Lord about them. 

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

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

Remember…God made you for GREATNESS!!!