Category Archives: Faithful Fans

Breakthrough and Miracles
by Nancy M Powers

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In theaters now is a movie based on the true story of a teenage boy who fell through ice and was submerged for over 15 minutes.  After being rescued from the ice, he was rushed to the hospital and for 45 minutes the doctors attempted to revive him with CPR to no avail.  It is a story of hope, perseverance and prayer and begins with a mothers cry at her childs bedside, “Holy Spirit, please come and give me my son back.”  

So often when faced with challenges, we throw our hands in the air and embrace defeat.  We ask where is God in this without reaching out to Him.  The Mom in the movie asked big for sure.  Some challenges may need just a small ask.  But ask we should.  So my question to you is how can miracles happen when we never ask for them?  

I’ve cried out to God a couple times recently.  One big cry was for a friend diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.  I wanted a miracle and I prayed for one along with his Mom and a throng of other people.  I claimed it because I knew if God felt like there was more to do here on earth, He’d hear our prayer and heal my friend.  Now I’m not saying I’d hate God if it didn’t happen but I am saying that I felt strongly I had to ask.  So I believed and saw little signs of encouragement along the way…Like the guy in the hospital elevator who’s t-shirt said “God is bigger than cancer”…And the first set of scans that were blurry…And his wife who wanted to slow things down a bit as it was coming too fast, this death sentence.  So when the news came that there was NO stage 4 pancreatic cancer, I praised God for hearing the fervent prayers of us all.  But I have to say, as I told the story over and over again, many wanted to say it was mistakes made.  Their comments left me feeling, “No wonder we miss so many miracles.  We don’t look at life through eyes of faith”.  Miracles must be reviewed, revisited, reflected on.  Look back in your life and reflect on those challenges when you cried out to God.  Maybe the response you received wasn’t the original one intended but I bet you can see Him there.  

In both of these instances, mine and the one in Breakthough, the miracle began with a cry of one, joined by the prayers of many and a God who cares so deeply for us that he is there in every situation…even the smallest of situations.  So don’t be afraid to cry out and then ask others to join you in pray too because where two or three are gathered God is there.  And trust Him.  Even if these people had not been healed, God would still be there providing comfort, encouragement and love.  He really does care that much!  So from this day forward let’s all look for the miracles in our lives! 

Rise Up Take Aways
by Staël Dantes

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Biblical and Spiritual Inspirations

Book of Esther<br/>Life of Saint Jose Sanchez del Rio

SUMMARY: Have you ever felt like you just don’t fit in, mocked as an oddball or weirdo for what you believe? Have you ever felt as if living your faith would isolate you from your “friends” because they want to do things that go against your values? It would seem that these days, living out your Faith is not the popular thing to do. Many people see faith as an obstacle to Joy, Peace, and Freedom when it is our faith in Jesus that is the key to achieving these. 

In John 14:6 Jesus says the following: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus tells us that the only way we can “come to the father” is by following His example. We need to live the life he has shown us. This means we need to live boldly! 

What does it mean to live boldly? To live boldly is to live confidently and courageously; showing a willingness to take risks. The message of the Gospel is full of power. The love of God for us demands that we live differently. It requires us to live counter-culturally as Jesus showed us. We have the truth, and it is up to us to live by that truth at all costs. 

An incredible example of this can be found in the life of Saint Jose Sanchez del Rio. He was a 14-year-old boy who was put to death by Mexican government officials during the Cristero War because he refused to renounce his Catholic faith. When the Cristero War broke out in 1926 Jose’s mother and the rebel general, Prudencio Mendoza refused to let him enlist. The boy insisted that he wanted the chance to give his life for Jesus Christ. The general finally relented and allowed José to become the flagbearer of the troop. 

During heavy fighting on January 25, 1928, Mendoza’s horse was killed, and José gave his horse to the general so that the fight could go on. Then he sought cover until the government troops captured Jose and imprisoned him in the sacristy of the local church. It was later reported that José was ordered by the government to renounce his faith in Christ, under threat of death but he refused.

To break his resolve, he was made to watch the hanging of another Cristero that they had in custody, but instead José encouraged the man, saying that they would soon meet again in Heaven after death. In prison, José prayed the rosary daily and wrote an emotional letter to his mother, saying that he was ready to fulfill the will of God to whom he dedicated himself. The following is an account of how St. Jose was Martyred: 

“Consequently, they cut the bottom of his feet and obliged him to walk around the town toward the cemetery. They also at times cut him with a machete until he was bleeding from several wounds. He cried and moaned with pain, but he did not give in. At times they stopped him and said, ‘If you shout, “Death to Christ the King” we will spare your life.’ José would only shout, ‘I will never give in. Viva Cristo Rey! (Long live Christ the King!)'”

Jose died on February 10, 1928. He knew what it was to live boldly for his faith and not hold anything back. He is a perfect example to the rest of us on how to live boldly for the Lord. In his world, one could die for practicing the Catholic faith. We must all live a bold example of faith, being unafraid to stand up for the cause of Christ in our everyday lives. We CAN live a counter-cultural lifestyle of faith and virtue and go against the grain of our culture.

Challenged to Rise!

Choose one way you can tangibly be bolder in your faith – whether that’s inviting your family to church, walking away from gossip, to write an essay about your values in school – whatever that looks like for you, DO IT!

Discussion Questions

1.    Has there been a time in your life that you were made fun of or mocked as weird or “different” for your faith? What was that situation like and how did it make you feel?

2.    What does it mean to live boldly?

3.    Who in your life is an example of living a bold life?

4.    What are some challenges that you face to living your faith boldly?

5.    How can the life of St. Jose inspire you to be bolder? 

6.    Who in your life needs the love of God, and how can you be bold in sharing that with them?

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