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This blog is simply meant to bring God the glory; no more and no less. I'd love to hear from you! Comments, questions, conversation. rebecca.labriola@gmail.com

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Identity Crisis. Thursday, December 18. 2014.

It seems fair enough to say that John the Baptist probably never had an identity crisis.
When questioned about his identity,
he admitted that he wasn’t the Christ,
he wasn’t Elijah,
nor was he the Prophet.
He said his identity was found in this,
“I am the voice crying out in the desert make straight the way of the Lord.”

How easy would it have been for John to say that he was the Christ?
Or Elijah?
Or the Prophet?
Oh how he would have been revered!

But instead he is simply a sign on the road to Christ.
A middle man.
No one really exciting.

But he knew who he was.
He was given an identity and a mission.
He was to tell others of the coming of the Lord.

It didn’t really matter what others thought of him.
It just mattered that he completed the mission Christ set before him with grace.

What mission has Christ set before you?

There is more merit in completing a seemingly worthless mission
than there is in making your mission frivolous.
There is more merit in honesty
than there is in trying to cover up your mission.

Your true identity is in the Lord.
If we all believed this and lived as we believed,
there wouldn’t be such thing as an identity crisis.
We wouldn’t be worried about how we look to others,
if we are good enough,
if we are doing it right.
We would know that our identity and worth are found in Him
It matters not what others say or think.

John the Baptist knew who he was and what his mission was.
He was created in the image and likeness of God
so that he might tell the world of the coming of Christ.  

You were created in the image and likeness of God
for an incredible purpose.

What might that purpose be?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Tenants. Thursday, December 11. 2014.

“Without cost you have received, without cost you are to give.”
Matthew 9:8

I do not know when we each became so important that we own our own lives.
When did we decide that it is a choice to give,
that it is taking of our own time,
taking of our talents?
Things that are not even our own to begin with!

When did we become so greedy?
Lord, take time to remind us each day that nothing is our own.

We are Yours.
All we have is all You’ve given.
Not ours.

Humble us into knowing that we are just renters.
Renting this body.
Renting this living space.
Renting these things.
Renting these feelings.
Renting this life.

At the end of the lease
all of that is gone.

All that remains are the things that we say or do in Him name.
And those things that we didn’t say or do in Him name.

help us to be the best tenants that we can be while we are here. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

White Flag. Wednesday, December 3. 2014.

As a teacher,
I have quickly learned that victory is important to kids.
Every day I witness victory and defeat.
I see tears and angry marches when victory is not found.
I get to see the cutest victory dances when they are victorious.

They don’t like losing.
They don’t like giving up.
They don’t like defeat.
They want victory.

We are trained to win.
To be victorious.
To be right.
To be strong.

We don’t want to fail.
We don’t want to give up.
We don’t want to surrender.
That white flag means weakness.
It means we couldn’t do it.

We want to succeed at life.
To be victorious.
But sometimes it is a challenge.
Sometimes we feel defeated
and deflated.
We so badly want victory.
We want to succeed on our own.

I propose a counter concept.

Maybe that white flag of surrender means something more.

When life is too much.
When we can’t take it anymore.
When we are barely breathing.
There might actually be victory in surrender.

When we simply cannot do life on our own,
holding up that white flag,
surrendering to the Lord,
giving it all to Him,
that, dear friend,
is victory.

We live in a world that says victory is obtained
by doing everything on your own.
In Christ’s world,
we are victorious when we admit that we can do nothing on our own.

That white flag might mean surrender.
But in Christ’s eyes,
it also means victory.

Victory in Christ is far greater than any victory found in the world.

Choose victory in Christ.
Wave your white flag.
Surrender it all.

Be victorious.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Day Prayer. Thursday, November 27. 2014.

Lord, on this day designated to giving thanks,
please help me to truly be thankful from deep within.

Help me to acknowledge the good,
help me to be thankful.

Help me to recognize the maybe not so good
and help me to be even more thankful.

Teach me that challenges are Your way of changing me
and help me to be thankful.

Show me the areas that I could be doing better
and help me to be thankful for second chances
and the opportunity to try again.

Thank You for all the opportunities to serve others,
remind me to use those opportunities well.

Thank You for this life here on earth
to prepare me for life eternal.

Thank You for those who fought
to keep our freedom.

Thank You for the ability to be thankful.

Help me to remember to use this gift every day. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Adventure. Wednesday, November 19. 2014.

“Life with Christ is a wonderful adventure.”
St. Pope John Paul II

Adventures tend to be exciting.
New things to see.
People to meet.
Experiences to experience.

Often there is some sort of setback that occurs.
A challenge.
A hurdle to overcome.

But in the end,
we are stronger than that challenge.
We come out on top
and have the story to tell
and the memories to recall.

Our relationships can be thought of as adventures.
The excitement.
The highs.
The lows.
The memories.

Being the humans that we are,
we don’t expect our friendships to sail smoothly all the time.
There will be some bumps and bruises.
And we know that.
When the time comes,
we decide if it is a relationship worth fighting for or not.

I think that often,
we don’t apply the same generosity to our relationship with Christ.
We expect it all to be smooth sailing
and when it’s not,
we throw a fit.

Instead of accepting life with Christ as an adventure with highs and lows,
we expect it to be a ride set on cruise control.

We perceive the lows in our lives as times Christ doesn’t take one for the team
when in reality,
everything He does or doesn’t do,
is for our good.

We pray for Him to change our circumstances
when He might be using those circumstances to change us for the better.  

When life doesn’t go according to our plan,
we question Christ’s plan for us.

Life with Christ is an adventure.
The excitement.
The highs.
The lows.
The stories.
The memories.

We embrace adventurous experiences.
We embrace the adventure of friendship.

Could we do a better job embracing life with Christ?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Gas Station Witness. Wednesday, November 12. 2014.

I really dislike gas stations.
I wait as long as I can until I have to fill up my tank
and I make a concerted effort to get gas in the 6am hour
with the hopes that no one else will be there.

Nothing good ever happens at gas stations.
Too many cars.
Too many people.
Too many weird people.
Too many things that could potentially go wrong.
Just not my cup of tea.

This morning I had to get gas.
And heaven forbid it was in the 7am hour.
I was supposed to be there BEFORE 7am.
But no.
I didn’t leave my house until 7am.
Meaning I had 20 minutes to get gas and get to work,
which, by the way,
it takes 20 minutes to get to work on a good day.

So I begin filling up my tank.
Most all of the other pumps are open
and lo and behold a car pulls up to the pump riiiiiiight on the other side of me.
My mission to avoid people failed in the first 30 seconds.
And what’s more is the guy then proceeds to talk to me after he pays.
This is just going horribly wrong.

“Hey, I really like your HE>i (He greater than I) bumper sticker!”
Sometimes I forget that my car is my witness.
Thus a conversation about Christ ensued.
Right there.
At the gas station.
At 7am.

Eric and I talked about our love for Christ
and how greatly He has blessed us.
There was unity.
In Christ we are one.

There was a reason I was late to the gas station this morning.
Christ had someone I needed to meet.
As we wrapped up our conversation,
I got in my car and noticed a third person getting gas,
he was without a doubt listening to our conversation about Christ.
There we were witnessing to the great love of Christ.
At the gas station.

I see this as such a pivotal moment
but in reality,
this witnessing goes on constantly.

If you claim to be a Christian,
have a Rosary hanging from your rearview mirror,
wear a cross,
pray before your meals,
have a Christian bumper sticker,
you are being watched.
You are witnessing.
People notice.
You might forget about your cross necklace
but it does not go unnoticed.

This morning was such an eye-opener for me.
Each moment,
each action,
each breathe
is an opportunity to witness.

The fact that I was so excited about this morning,
tells me that I don’t take up the opportunity to be a witness to Christ very often.

We are either for Christ
or against Him.

Our actions.
Our words.
They all point towards Christ.
Or they point away from Christ.
There is no in between.
No lull.
No grey.

This morning I was blessed enough to be able to point to Christ.
What a gift to be able to do so.
What if we all chose to point to Christ at least once a day?

Pray for the opportunity to witness to your God!
Let’s knock this witness thing out of the park!
Let’s point to our God.
Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire!

(Catherine of Sienna)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Talk to Your God. Thursday, November 6. 2014.

“In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought but the Spirit itself intercedes…”
Romans 8:26

For most of us,
our phones are buzzing and beeping all day long.
The number of emails that we send could be breaking records.
We talk with our coworkers throughout the day,
whether we want to or not.
We get home and run through the day with our families.
We talk to the other families at evening church or sport activities.
We plop in front of the TV and gladly yell at the politics or sports.
And say a 30 second prayer before bed,
if that.

Communication is breeze for us.
We might argue it is becoming too technology-oriented.
But we are communicating with each other nonetheless.

Prayer is communication with God.
We do not practice this nearly enough.

In fact, it is pretty sad how well and often we communicate with others
and how poorly and little we communicate with our God.

We often shy away from the things that we feel like we do not know how to do.
How do I even begin to talk to a God so big?
I’ll start tomorrow.
Let me just send this e-mail first.

Romans 8:26
The Spirit comes to our aid.
Prayer is a weakness of ours.
We do not communicate with God as we should.
It would be a ‘Needs Improvement’ on our life report card.
But the thing is,
the more we do it,
the better we become at it.
The more we type,
the faster we become.
The more we exercise,
the healthier we become.
The more we pray,
the more natural it becomes.

We keep away from the things that seem less important.
How is taking time to pray going to help me reach my work goals?
Providing for my family is more important.
God will understand me going into work earlier instead of praying.

Prayer helps us.
Morning prayer sets a tone for our days.
Taking 5 extra minutes
to crack open the Bible,
read a book written by a saint,
to read some morning prayers,
will help you reach your goals.
Once you slip into a routine of morning prayer
and then miss a day,
you will notice.
You will miss your time with the Lord.
The few minutes that once seemed so awkward
are now a necessary part of your day.

Don’t shy away from communicating with your creator.
He wants to check in with your throughout the day more than your boss does.
Talking with Him is more important than your beeping cell phone.
He will give you strength throughout the day to meet your goals,
to be and do the best the you can.

Take the 5 extra minutes.
Start small.
Talk to your God. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Love Lie. Thursday, October 30. 2014.

Love drives us.

From the time we are young
to our adulthood
we live and act in hopes of obtaining love.

As children we (hopefully)
are obedient.
We desire to please. 
To do what is right.
To follow the rules.
For surely,
parents love obedient children.
We are good because we want to be loved.

When we become adults
and have families of our own,
we work in order to provide for our families.
Most of us would rather spend our time in other ways.
But we go to work.
Every single day.
To make money.
To put food on the table.
And a roof over our heads.
To provide.
Because we want the love and approval from our families.

We are constantly doing in order to be loved.
It’s tiring.
It’s never enough.
There’s always more to be done.

It is a daunting task to work in order to be loved.
It is also a lie.

The truth is a breath of fresh air.
It is pure freedom to know that we are already dearly loved.

We don’t have to earn God’s love.
God is love.
He loves us.

When we remove ourselves from the lie that
we must earn love
and relish in the truth that
we are loved,
things change.
Freedom is found.

We now do things because we are loved.
Because we are a dearly beloved child of God.

Let the truth sink in.
You are a child of God.
You were created in His image and likeness.
He is love.
He loves you.
He loves you freely.
His love for you is not earned.
It is a gift.
Freely given.
Child of God.

When we apply this truth to our lives,
our motives do a 180.

We no longer do things to obtain love.
But rather,
we do things because we are loved,
because we are children of God.

We go to work each day in order to serve others,
in order to serve our families,
in order to be a blessing to others.
It is no longer a question of ‘What can I gain?’
but rather,
‘What can I give?’

Let us kick out this lie.
Bring in the truth.
And see how our day changes,
see how our lives are better,
see how we can bless others,

and know what it is like to live as Children of the God of Love.  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sojourners. Thursday, October 23. 2014.

“Beloved, I urge you as aliens and sojourners to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against the soul.”
1 Peter 2:11

This verse starts off so gently but then
jumps right into the harsh reality that is part of our lives.

We are aliens and sojourners
journeying through this life,
this season,
awaiting our final destination.

This isn’t home.
I’m not sure why in our humanness
we try so hard to make it home.

This is the world.
It is simply a moment in time
compared with our life eternal.

We get so wrapped up in the day to day.
Eternity seems forever away
so we cave into what this world has to offer.
According to Peter,
we should be running the other direction.

This is not necessarily the most comfortable season of our lives.
And that is okay.
It won’t always be a breeze.
Remember, there is still a battle raging.
A war taking place.

Spiritual warfare was present when Peter wrote this passage
just as it is present now.

The battle is raging.
The world is pining for our souls.
So too is Christ.

If Christ is fighting so hard for our souls,
then why are we so leniently selling our souls to temporary things of the world?

If Christ is giving His all for our souls,
don’t you think they are important,
and worth it,
and made for more than what this world has to offer?

He died on the cross for you.
Your soul was worth it.

He fights for your soul every day.
He battles the things of the world
that we cannot seem to let go of;
wards off the things harmful to our souls.
Your soul is absolutely still worth it.

Go forth today believing that your soul is worth the fight.