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Jesus

Feeling Blessed To Be Alive!

 

So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. (1 Thessalonians 5:6)

 

Just Another Day

April 3, 2019 started off as “just another day” for me. I said goodbye to my wife and daughters, blessed them, drove to work at the parish, took care of multiple emails and led a rosary for our Senior Adult Ministry. At 3 PM, I went over to the chapel and prayed a Chaplet of Divine Mercy for all the souls in purgatory. As always, I emphasized “those who will die today”. Never did I think that I could have been praying for myself.

I left the parish at 4 PM, said a prayer for safe travels and prepared for the drive home. It was a beautiful day and I was looking forward to a peaceful ride. As I typically do, I alternated between listening to podcasts, Christian music and praying. The traffic on the Pennsylvania Turnpike seemed lighter than normal and all was well. At around 4:15, there appeared to be a slowdown (which is nothing out of the ordinary) and I applied my brakes and came to a stop. I looked in the rearview mirror (an instinctive move) and saw a car approaching at an uncomfortable rate of speed. Time seemed to slow down as I braced for the inevitable. I was about to take a direct hit by a car traveling at 70 miles per hour!

What happened next is a bit blurry in my mind. For what seemed like minutes (it was actually a matter of seconds), my car was propelled head on into the concrete divider, spun around completely and came to rest facing the oncoming rush hour traffic. By the grace of God, I was able to collect my thoughts and drive the car to the shoulder of the highway. The person who hit me had also pulled over to the side of the road and was waiting in the car. I was surprisingly calm as I called ‘911’ and my wife. A gentleman from roadside assistance then opened my passenger door to make sure I was okay. My first words to him were:

“I’m blessed to be alive!”

 
As I climbed out of the car, I noticed the postcard of the Blessed Mother and the baby Jesus that I picked up two days earlier at the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa. It was sitting on the passenger seat. A feeling of peace came over me, as I was reminded of their constant presence. I had some neck and back pain and I could feel that I hit my head on something (probably the visor), but I was able to walk unassisted. As I waited to complete the police report and have my car towed, I posted a message on Facebook asking for prayers and pondered how I would get home. Everything worked out perfectly.

A Reminder

Before this incident, I was very aware that my time on earth is limited. I also understood that God expects me to use my gifts to advance His Kingdom. That is why I gave notice at the parish earlier this week. I’ve been feeling a strong calling to return to full time ministry as a speaker and author. There is work to be done. I understood that. But now that understanding is stronger than ever. The fact that I’m alive today is a reminder that the Lord isn’t ready for me yet. He still needs me to work for Him on earth. People need to know that Jesus Christ is real and wants to be a part of their everyday lives. He also wants them to have hope and be at peace. I plan to spend the rest of my life spreading that message.

He has a plan for you as well. If you haven’t surrendered your life to Jesus, do it today. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Ask Him to use you as His instrument. Don’t worry that you’re not qualified. None of us are. He will do the heavy lifting. All He wants is for you to say, “yes” and depend on His assistance. He will handle the details.

I am alive for a reason and so are you. Jesus is counting on us to assist Him. I’m all in. How about you?

How To Become Friends With Jesus In 10 Easy Steps!

 

Find A Real Friend in Jesus is the latest book from Catholic speaker Gary Zimak.

“As you turn each page, you can almost feel Jesus wrap his arms of loving mercy and compassion around you. If you are seeking deeper intimacy and union with Christ in a simple yet powerful way, Find a Real Friend in Jesus will be your ‘go to’ resource.”

Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers
Author, Behold the Man: A Catholic Vision of Male Spirituality

If you are looking for practical advice on how to become better friends with Jesus Christ, my new book Find A Real Friend In Jesus can help. After struggling with the concept for many years, I have discovered the secret. Not only is it possible to become friends with Jesus, but it’s amazingly easy!

Find a Real Friend in Jesus: Ten Amazingly Easy Steps will be released on February 26, 2016, but you can preorder now from Amazon by clicking on the following image.

Jesus Christ Never Changes!

 

Catholic speaker and author Gary Zimak reminds us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever

Are you facing a difficult problem?

Are you losing hope?

Do you feel as if you have no place to turn?

Are you searching for peace?

Do you need a miracle?

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrew 13:8)

The same Jesus who cured the sick, changed the water into wine, walked on the water, raised the dead and ascended into Heaven two thousand years ago still exists today.

Saint Teresa of Avila once heard someone say: “If only I had lived at the time of Jesus… If only I had seen Jesus… If only I had talked with Jesus…”

She replied, “But do we not have in the Eucharist the living, true and real Jesus present before us? Why look for more?”

Not only can we turn to Him in prayer, but we can receive Him in the Eucharist. We can visit Him in churches and adoration chapels around the world. Best of all, we can allow Him to work miracles in our lives. The Lord may look a little different, but make no mistake that He’s still the same as the man we read about in the gospels.

The only person that can keep you from a close, personal relationship with Jesus Christ is YOU! Don’t let that happen. He is knocking on the door of your heart. Open the door and let Him in. You’ll never regret it!

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)

Gary Zimak is the author of “Faith, Hope & Clarity: How To Know God’s Will”, “A Worrier’s Guide To The Bible”, “Listen To Your Blessed Mother”, and “From Fear To Faith”. He is a frequent speaker at parishes and conferences across the United States and Canada, has an international radio following and is recognized as the leading Catholic speaker on the topic of overcoming anxiety. In addition to hosting his own daily radio show on BlogTalkRadio, Gary is a regular guest on EWTN television and radio.

Want To Become Close Friends With Jesus?

 

Find A Real Friend In Jesus - The new book from Catholic speaker and author Gary Zimak

Coming in Spring of 2016 from Servant Books!

The Greatest Offer You’ll Ever Receive…


 

Catholic speaker and author Gary Zimak invites readers to come closer to Jesus

Jesus said:

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

What is your response? What do you have to lose? Just your worries, sadness, hopelessness and loneliness. Today’s the day to accept the Lord’s offer and move closer to Him, my friends. I plan to do it. How about you?

Book Review: Learning To Pray With Jesus


 

Catholic speaker, author and radio host Gary Zimak reviews Shane Kapler's new book about the prayer life of Jesus

“Since the center of the person of Jesus is prayer, it is essential to participate in his prayer if we are to know and understand him.” (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, later known as Pope Benedict XVI)

Who doesn’t want to get to know Jesus better? As Christians, a closer personal relationship with the Lord should be a daily goal. As the above quote from Pope Benedict XVI points out, however, getting to know Jesus involves participating in His prayer life. Unfortunately, many individuals are confused by the prayer life of Jesus. In fact, many people question why Christ (who was Divine) had to pray at all. I have struggled with this question myself and, while I now understand why Jesus prayed, I need to learn more about how He prayed.

In his new book, Through, With, and In Him (The Prayer Life Of Jesus and How To Make It Our Own), author Shane Kapler does a great job unpacking the mystery of Jesus’ prayer life. He also explains that, since we are part of the Mystical Body of Christ (the Church), we are all called to participate in the prayer of Jesus to His Father. Fortunately for us, Kapler not only explains how this is possible, but he does it in very understandable language.

Using Scripture and history, Shane Kapler explores Jesus’ prayer and demonstrates how Catholic liturgy, sacraments, devotions, and practices allow us to not only understand it, but enter into it. I found the in-depth explanation of the Our Father to be especially helpful and I will never look at the Lord’s Prayer in the same way again. This book is definitely a “keeper” and one that I’ll refer to again and again. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to grow closer to Jesus.

For more information or to order Through, With, and In Him by Shane Kapler click HERE.

How Can I Be Sure I’m Following Jesus?


 

Catholic speaker and author Gary Zimak offers suggestions for how we can be sure that we are followers of Jesus

After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him. (Luke 5:27-28)

In today’s gospel, Jesus invites Levi (also known as Matthew) to follow Him. The tax collector then left everything behind and followed the Lord. Lent is a great time to assess just how serious we are about following Jesus. While I certainly claim to be His follower, do my actions support that statement? How can I be sure? Fortunately, Jesus gives us the answer:

Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24)

I guess that means that, if I want to be His follower, I should do what He did. I probably should surrender to the Father’s Will, stop complaining so much about the annoyances of daily life and begin putting the needs of others before my own.

I’ve got some work to do. How about you? Let’s pray for one another.

Have I Grown Closer To Jesus Today?


 

Catholic Speaker and Author Gary Zimak offers advice for assessing the status of your relationship with Jesus

As we journey through the forty days of Lent, it’s easy to lose our focus. Even if we remain faithful to our Lenten sacrifices, we can still lose sight of our main goal – growing closer to the Lord. While it is entirely possible that giving up sweets, coffee or beer can draw us closer to Jesus (by uniting our suffering with His or recognizing that we may be chasing after the comfort provided by worldly things), it’s also possible that we can become so obsessed with our self-denial that we may lose sight of Him entirely.

Every day, our relationship with the Lord can do one of three things. It can grow stronger, it can weaken or it can stay the same. Our goal in Lent (and really throughout our life) is to grow closer to Jesus every day. Therefore, at the end of each day we should ask ourselves the following question:

“Have I grown closer to Jesus today?”

While it sounds like a simple question, it’s sometimes a difficult one to answer honestly. Therefore, I find it helpful to look at a series of practical questions which will help to assess our relationship with the Lord.

Was I grateful for everything that happened to me today (good and bad)?
Was I kind to everyone I met?
Did I love my enemies?
Did I speak to the Lord throughout the day?
Did I listen to Him speak to me (in silence, in the Bible, through the teachings of the Church)?
Were my actions a good example to others?
If I experienced any kind of suffering did I offer it up?
Did I thank Him for giving me another day?
Did I use my talents to serve Him (by doing the best I can in performing my duties)?
Did I ask for His help in overcoming my imperfections?
Did I tell the Lord that I loved Him?

Now, if you’re like me you probably answered “no” to some of these questions. Don’t panic. That’s what Lent is all about. Tell God you’re sorry and ask for the grace to do better tomorrow. If you’re honest with yourself and keep trying, you and the Lord will grow closer and you’ll be on the road to receiving the ultimate reward…

Life with him in Heaven!

If you’d like some help during Lent I invite you to join me in the Lenten Radio Retreat that I am leading on my nightly Internet Radio Show. Every Monday thru Friday for the duration of Lent, I’ll read an excerpt from Fr. Larry Richard’s book, “Surrender: The Life Changing Power Of Doing God’s Will“, read and discuss the daily Mass readings and share a series of short (but POWERFUL) meditations entitled “Lenten Lollipops” (from the book of the same name by Fr. Francis Boylan). You can find out more HERE.

Taking The Passion Personally


 

As we enter into Holy Week, the Church invites us to enter into the experience of Our Lord’s Passion. On Palm Sunday, we’ll listen to the narrative that will detail the events leading up to His agonizing death on Calvary. When we cry out, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” at Mass, we’ll cringe and silently wish that we’d been given another line to proclaim. We’ll hear about how Judas and Peter betrayed the Lord. We’ll have angry thoughts directed toward these “weak” men and wonder just how they could treat Jesus in this way. Once again, Pontius Pilate will get to show us his “Personally, I find nothing against this man, but you can do whatever you want” routine. Finally, the gospel will close with Christ being laid in the tomb. There’s a good chance that we’ll leave Mass with a bad taste in our mouth….at least for a while.

If I’m not careful, however, there’s a good chance that these feelings of sadness can pass before Good Friday rolls around. Why? Possibly because I spent too much time thinking about all of those people who turned against Jesus and murdered Him on the cross. Maybe because I focused on the fact that Pilate was a wimp. Another possibility is that I became distracted with the idea that Christ’s agonizing death was necessary in order to redeem all of mankind. Wait a minute! What could possibly be wrong with any of these things?

While it’s a good idea for me to remember that people conspired against Jesus and that His suffering was necessary in order to bring about the redemption of mankind, I shouldn’t stop there. Why? Because doing that could easily fool me into thinking that the Passion and death of Jesus is all about other people. It’s not! It’s about ME and it’s about YOU. We need to take the Passion of Christ PERSONALLY!

When I’m forced to cry out “Crucify Him” on Palm Sunday, I don’t like it. In reality, however, the Church got the casting right. It’s due to my sins that Our Lord had to suffer and die on the cross. Furthermore, every time I commit another sin I drive the nails more deeply into His bloody hands. And why should I dwell on Judas and Peter’s betrayal when I’ve committed the same offense many times? Pontius Pilate? Sure, he was a coward, but so am I at times. And any talk of redemption should always call to mind the fact that what took place on Calvary 2,000 years ago resulted in the gates of Heaven being opened for Gary Zimak. Provided that I’m willing to cooperate with His grace, our Lord’s great sacrifice could one day result in MY salvation!

As I relive the Lord’s suffering over the course of the next few days, I should take it personally…VERY personally! I was the cause of that suffering and, in spite of that, He loved me so much that He gave me a gift beyond all gifts. All He asks is that I vow to make some changes…to repent of my sins, follow Him and obey His commandments. I hope and pray that you, like me, will come to the same conclusion and take Our Lord’s Passion personally. As a result, we’ll own up to our responsibility for His death and be willing to do whatever is necessary to one day receive the gift of eternal life. Although it might be a bumpy road while we’re here on earth, the end result will be worth it!

“It is you who have crucified Him and crucify Him still, when you delight in your vices and sins.” (St. Francis of Assisi)

What Jesus Wants You To Know About Worrying


 
Here’s a neat YouTube video put together by a listener. Using my 8/13/12 interview with Sean Herriott on Relevant Radio’s Morning Air, she added some pictures and came up with a very nice 2-part presentation. The discussion focused on “10 Things Jesus Wants You To Know About Worry and Anxiety”. If you’re a worrier, please check out these videos. If not, share them with the worriers in your life!