Today’s Word with Joel & Victoria Osteen Ministries

Today’s Scripture
“Let no foul or polluting language…come out of your mouth.”
(Ephesians 4:29, AMPC)

God Is On Your Side
Your words have the power to pollute or purify. If you constantly complain, you release poison into your life. Complaining is not based on your circumstances, it’s based on the attitude of your heart. If you will keep the right attitude during your time of adversity, God will honor you. When you truly trust God, there are times you will have unanswered questions—don’t let that keep you from fulfilling your destiny. When you have a heart full of gratitude, it leaves no room for complaining. You can always find something to thank God for no matter what kind of adversity you may face in life. So decide today to live a life of thanksgiving! Don’t allow the poison of complaining prevent you from receiving all God has for you!

A Prayer for Today
“God, I believe in the power of the spoken word. When I am tempted to complain or speak negative words today, I will listen to that quiet voice inside me that tells me to hold them back. I will spend a quiet minute meditating on what I have to be thankful for and adjust my attitude so my words today reflect my joy. In Jesus’ name – Amen.”


Lucky or Blessed? By Bobby Schuller

Originally posted here:

“Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.”

– Psalm 5:12

I’ve long been interested in what are called “luck studies,” which began in the 1990’s. One in particular that has always fascinated me is the story of an amazing Israeli woman named Anat Ben-Tov. In 1995, 35-year-old Anat was sitting in a hospital bed after surviving her second bus bombing. In the first bombing, 22 people died and she was one of the few who lived unscathed. The second time, 35 people were injured and six people died. As she was being interviewed upon her second survival, she said, “I have no luck or I have all the luck. I don’t know what it is.” What would you say to that? Was she unlucky because she was involved in two bombings or lucky because she survived?

It was Anat’s story that led a man named Richard Weismann, an expert in luck and superstition, to conduct several clinical studies about the concept of good fortune and whether or not it is purely coincidental. During his investigations, he quickly learned that people who see themselves as lucky ultimately have better luck. Why? Simply because they are expecting it! Overall, those who believe they will be the recipients of good fortune are physically healthier and more confident than those who expect very little.

Friend, you are not just lucky, you are a blessed recipient of God’s grace, love, and favor! Far from being a state of mind or a coincidence, by the truth of your identity in Christ, you have inherited blessings too numerous to count. When you wake up each day, you have good fortune — not because of luck — but because of who your Lord is. This is why I encourage you to shift your mindset and believe that you are blessed and highly favored. When you approach each day with your confidence securely grounded in your Savior, good things will abound in your life!

Renew my mind today, Jesus, so that I expect your goodness and favor to surround me in every situation.

What is the difference between luck and God’s favor? Why can you expect good things to happen in your life because of Him?

Tuesday Week 12 of Ordinary Time

Psalm 15

The just will live in the presence of the Lord.

Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right, and speak the truth from their heart; who do not slander with their tongue.

Those who do no evil to their friends, nor take up a reproach against their neighbours; in whose eyes the wicked are despised, but who honour those who fear the Lord.

Those who do not lend money at interest and do not take a bribe against the innocent. Those who do these things shall never be moved.
Fear comes in so many forms. Sometimes, when we are angry a lot, or finding ourselves to be more and more defensive, we can trace the anxiety or insecurity back to a particular fear or a general fear. How liberating it can be for us to pray for the grace to be fear-less, especially in the concrete ways that will come to us in our everyday life this week.

A Passion for Reading and Writing

My Joyous Feature

There’s a passion for reading and writing. Both reading and writing can blend in very comfortably. Bringing the knowledge to find that great privilege into that brilliant moment. It’s kind of like a mindful relaxation. Likewise, meditation can blend in as well.

When you read your mind can concentrate on everything inside. It may take your mind off of things for a little while or maybe longer to focus on that book you’re reading. Reading is sort of like an escape to a different place. A place that you may wish to be there.

Writing can open up with great honor. Cherishing that open mind by letting your ideas flow through pen and paper. Pen and paper are the number one thing to do when you write. At some point you don’t have to worry about correcting errors until after you’d finish writing it out. Writing is like being in…

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Missionary Thought for the Week of June 24, 2019: Sacramental Preparation for Autistic Persons Guest post by Valerie Boles

Originally posted here:

Among Catholic families, few occasions come close to the celebrations of sacraments. Baptism, First Reconciliation, First Eucharist, Confirmation, Matrimony and Holy Orders are all very special occasions for very good reason. Questions begin to arise, however, when an autism diagnosis enters the picture. Is the autistic person eligible? In most instances, yes. It is the preparation that is more often an obstacle than the sacrament itself.

To validly receive the sacraments, a person needs to have sufficient formation in their faith, information about the sacrament and an earnest desire to seek that sacrament. (Although infant baptism would seem to be the exception, that takes place with parents and Godparents pledging to fill those roles until the child becomes aware of its meaning and graces). There is nothing inherent in autism that would prevent any of these conditions from being met, even in light of the wide range of learning styles and communication needs we see in the autistic community.

The one point that repeatedly comes up is the matter of preparation. Nearly every Catholic parish follows the same path when it comes to preparing congregants for sacraments, and this is where autistic children, teens and adults run into difficulty. This week’s guest writer Valerie Boles takes a closer look at sacramental preparation among the autistic community.

The current state of our sacramental preparation is one that emphasizes large group activities and classes. There are ice breakers and crafts and loud games and quiet time. In trying to meet the needs of all backgrounds and all learners, there are frequent transitions and many volunteers.

The world of frequent transitions and many faces and many quick commands is not amenable to autistic people. It is not a learning environment. The most common way that both parish staff and parents approach the faith formation and sacramental preparation of autistic children is to ground their efforts in integration, that is to do everything in their power to have autistic children and adolescents participate side by side with their typically developing peers by any means necessary.

This is a heroic, often Herculean task. Involving the autistic community in our faith community is necessary for all of us.

This essay is not to say that there is anything wrong with integration; it is to propose a new way of looking at the faith formation of autistic persons.

Our first priority cannot be integration. It must be a relationship with Christ.

Integration poses so many extraneous problems which may become obstacles to a relationship with God. The sensory and social difficulties and uncertainties have the potential to dominate the typical formation experience for people with autism. When our anxieties are high and we are just trying to make it through the day without a meltdown, there is a very small chance that we will be able to engage the existential realities our formation encourages us to think about.

Trying to make it through without a meltdown is the reality of many people with autism during our typical, loud, transition-riddled faith formation events. I am not saying that we should allow this to be an excuse for relegating people with autism to the sidelines. Everyone deserves to be a part of this chaotic community. What I am saying is that integration is insufficient spiritual formation for autistic children. We must first always consider whether or not we are creating the space for autistic persons to encounter Christ, especially during our spiritual formation activities.

There are as many ways to encourage faith formation as there are people. All ways must include two components: unconditional, predictable loving relationships and prayer. With Christ at the center in prayer and modeling Christ’s love in our own relationship with those we are trying to form, we demonstrate by experience what our faith is. We must demonstrate the beatitudes not teach them.

The most easily implemented faith formation model to implement is a one on one relational interaction. This could be to meet and discuss issues of faith or to meet and discuss issues of life. It is important that we view this more as mentorship than tutoring. The person and their mentor (someone older and more mature in the faith) could meet in a coffee shop bi-weekly and just catch up on the events of the week and discuss issues of faith. When I did this, I always had something that was on my mind to bring to my student (the ten commandments, discerning right and wrong, the sacraments, etc.) but I would always start first with prayer and relationship. I have never read a Bible passage in which Jesus began teaching without first relating to his disciples. I would bring up our topic, explain it briefly and concretely and then just chat, allow the topic to sink in and let my student bring it up again when he was comfortable. The core of our sessions was prayer and relationship.

Another alternative would be to set up a community based activity that is more predictable and less fast-paced. This could be a prayer group that meets regularly with children. This could be a prayer group that meets regularly made up of people of different grade levels. The advantages of a program like this is that it is not expensive or exclusive to people with autism. This could be an advantageous program for anyone with or without a diagnosis.

Susan Swanson out of Boston College wrote several articles regarding a family based approach for people with more profound expressions of autism. Her program involves the catechist going to the home of the family and helping children label moments with their family which demonstrate the love of God. God often explains the love of Christ for the Church as a marriage. Swanson’s program capitalizes on a person’s experience of love within their family and broadens their understanding of family love to include God, especially the experience of God in the sacraments.

Deacon Lawrence Sutton details a parish based model which includes the entire family and peer mentorship. This is a very specific model in which the principles of the program balance catechesis and inclusion. The specifics of this program are outlined in the book, How to Welcome, Include and Catechize Children with Autism and other Special Needs. This program is more difficult to set up than some of the other alternatives we have discussed but this program is by far the most comprehensive. The program has gotten good results at a variety of parishes so if it is possible to set this one up, it is the Gold Standard.

For younger children, a more multi-sensory approach may be useful. Catholicism includes within it many sensory experiences. The feeling of Holy Water, the smell of incense and the feeling of sitting and standing and kneeling. The faith is meant to be experienced and explored in a sensory way. Using a catechetical method like the Catechesis of the Good Shepard allows children to explore the faith in a developmentally appropriate way. This is helpful for children of all ability levels.

Valerie Boles is a graduate student of occupational therapy at Saint Francis University. She is passionate about finding creative ways to communicate the Gospel. In her free time, she enjoys camping, listening to podcasts and reading.

Today’s Word with Joel & Victoria Osteen Ministries

Today’s Scripture
“…If God is for us, who can be against us?”
(Romans 8:31, NIV)

God Is On Your Side
As a believer in Jesus and a child of His, God is on your side! If you haven’t thought about it yet today, remember, you are created for greatness. There is no obstacle that can stop you. There is no disadvantage that can hold you back. You’re in the palms of God’s hands, and He has equipped and empowered you. Quit telling yourself, “I’ll always struggle in this area. I’ll never lose this weight. I’ll never get out of debt.” Change your perspective. You are not weak, defeated or inferior. You are full of “can do” power. The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives on the inside of you.

God is on your side. Let that sink down into your heart today. Begin to expect His favor. Expect Him to work in your life. Focus on the fact that God has equipped you. He has anointed you. Your best days are still out in front of you! If God is for you, no one can rise against you! As you meditate on this promise, it will become real to you. You will walk in the favor and victory of God!

A Prayer for Today
“Heavenly Father, thank You for being on my side today. Thank You for equipping and empowering me to accomplish everything You’ve called me to. Give me a deeper revelation of Your love for me today so that I can live the abundant life You have prepared for me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen”

Don’t Call God a Liar By Bobby Schuller

Originally posted here:

“What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar.”

– Romans 3:3

Yesterday we talked about healing others by ascribing to them the same value that Jesus ascribed to us. Today, I want to expand on that thought further by giving you a simple exhortation: don’t call God a liar.

As important as it is to call out and identify value in others, it’s equally as critical to affirm it in yourself. You must stop disagreeing with what the Lord says about you. As challenging as it can be (especially for those of us who grew up in a legalistic or religious environment), to do any less is to agree with Satan, whose aim is to steal, kill, and destroy! Since your Savior calls you the righteousness of God and tells you that you’re chosen, forgiven, and dearly loved, it’s vital to bring your mind and heart into alignment with Him. When you devalue yourself and speak things over your life that contradict His Word, you are, in essence, calling Him a liar. Since He is the Truth and there is no darkness or falsehood in Him, He defines your worth. Because He says you are valued and accepted, nothing can take that away!

Friend, you can trust God because He loves you completely; no one wants the best for your life more than He does! No matter how dark things look, He is on your side. He’s not a bad Father, He’s a Good Father, and in fact, He can only do good. He is faithful, patient, slow to anger, abounding in love, and is not in a hurry as He cultivates the fullness of your potential. When you agree with who He is and what He says about you, He changes your heart and elevates your thoughts in a way that will transform your life! Isn’t that great news?

Forgive me, Jesus, for the times in which I have disagreed with what you say about me. Today, I bring my thoughts into alignment with your truth and affirm my worth in you.

What negative words have you spoken over yourself or your situation that may have unknowingly labeled God a liar? Which truths from His Word counter those lies?