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Are You Worried That The World Is Falling Apart? Here Are 5 Bible Verses You Should Know…


 

Catholic Speaker and author Gary Zimak discusses 5 Bible verses for those who are worried about the world

Let’s be honest…there are some frightening things going on in the world. Every day we are bombarded with news about Ebola, Isis, financial uncertainty, data breaches and many other threats. While it’s not necessarily a bad thing, advanced technology now makes it possible for weather forecasters to alert us to the possibility of tornadoes and hurricanes. In the same way, the popularity of the Internet makes it difficult to escape from “bad news”. It often seems like there is no place to hide. As soon as we wake up in the morning, we are deluged with troublesome news. When we couple that with our family, job and personal concerns it’s easy to see why worrying has become an epidemic.

As someone who has always tended to be anxious and the author of A Worrier’s Guide To The Bible and From Fear To Faith, I get it…I really do. It’s understandable that so many people worry. Fortunately, I’ve discovered that with the Lord’s help and a little effort on our part, we can experience peace even as the world around us seems to be falling apart. The good news is that God is still in charge and that nothing that happens surprises Him. If you’re worried about the state of the world, here are 5 Bible verses that you need to know. While the messages contained in these verses may seem simple, remember that they aren’t being expressed by “just another person”. These are God’s words and they are addressed to you. Take them seriously!

1. “I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) – Jesus never said that we wouldn’t have problems, but He did tell us that He is bigger than any catastrophe or threat that could occur in the world. He also assures us that we can experience peace if we stay close to Him. That’s a very nice promise.

2. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though it’s waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. (Psalm 46:1-3) – This is a great prayer for those times when you feel overwhelmed. It might not feel like it, but the Lord is always in control.

3. “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!” (Matthew 8:25) – Even though Jesus was in the boat with the disciples during the storm at sea, they panicked because he was asleep. With these words, they woke the Lord up and He calmed the seas. Instead of worrying, try using these words the next time you feel like the world is falling apart. Jesus loves it when we turn to Him when we’re afraid!

4. Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7) - What makes this passage so amazing is that it was written by St. Paul while he was in prison. Have no anxiety? Pray with thanksgiving? You’ll receive peace? Pretty convincing advice coming from someone who is sitting in a jail cell! Although Paul wrote these words, he was inspired by the Holy Spirit. This is God’s message to you. It’s one that should be read often.

5. “I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) – The final verse of Matthew’s gospel assures us that Jesus will never leave us. Unfortunately, we sometimes forget to turn to Him when we are anxious and troubled. Even though the world seems crazy, Jesus is right next to you. That makes me feel good. How about you?

So what do you think? After reading these Bible passages, do you feel a little better? I’m guessing that you do. While there are many similar messages contained in the pages of Sacred Scripture, these passages give us a good starting point. Pull out your Bible, highlight them and make it a point to read them the next time you begin to panic about what’s going on in the world. The more you get used to hearing God speak to you through the Bible, the less you’re going to be overcome with fear about Isis, Ebola and financial uncertainty. Instead you’ll be hearing another message, one which we should never forget…

“Do not be afraid!” (Matthew 28:10)

5 Lessons We Can Learn From Jesus’ Calming Of The Storm


 

Catholic Speaker Gary Zimak disusses Jesus calming of the storm at sea

When I speak at parishes and conferences around the country, one of my favorite Bible passages to discuss is “Jesus Calms The Storm At Sea” (Matthew 7:23-27). Basically, the disciples follow Jesus into a boat, a great storm arises, and the Lord calms the sea. Simple, right? Unfortunately, this story is so simple that we often miss some key points. If you’re struggling to stop worrying about Ebola, Isis, the stock market, personal health issues, job loss or many other problems, here are 5 important lessons you can learn from this powerful story:

1. The Disciples Followed Jesus - When Jesus got into the boat, the disciples followed Him. We should do the same thing every day. Following Jesus faithfully will not only help you to stop worrying, but it will get you to heaven!

2. Even Followers Of Jesus Have Problems – Just because we’re followers of Jesus doesn’t mean that we won’t have storms in our lives. On the other hand, following Jesus will give you peace, even in the midst of those storms. (Matthew 11:28)

3. Don’t Panic If Jesus Is Silent - Even though Jesus was asleep in the boat, He was very much in control of the situation. If it seems like He has deserted you, don’t worry…He is right beside you!

4. Cry Out For Help – While it is true that the disciples panicked when the storm arose, they had enough faith to do something very productive – they asked Jesus to help them. Worry is always useless, but prayer is always effective. Although we may not get exactly what we want, we will get what we need.

5. Learn To Look Back - After Jesus calmed the storm, “the men marveled” (Mt. 8:27). Looking back at the many times Jesus has helped you is sure to increase your faith and help you to deal with future problems.

Just as He did 2,000 years ago, Jesus can calm the storms in your life and help you to experience peace. Imitating the disciples at sea is a great idea. Give it a try and see what happens!

Finding Peace In A Crazy World!


 

Catholic speaker Gary Zimak disusses how to stop worrying while living in a crazy world

Are you growing increasingly uneasy about all of the craziness in the world? Do you find yourself worrying about Ebola, Isis, date breaches and the state of the economy? Relax! Jesus Christ is bigger than any of these problems and He doesn’t want you to worry. Beginning tonight at 8 PM Eastern on the Following The Truth radio show, I’ll begin a 3 part series designed to help you to stop worrying about the world’s craziness. The only script I’ll use is my Bible.

Please join me for 30 minutes each night as we hear what God has to say and look for practical ways to stop worrying. Please share the news with your friends. The only thing you have to lose is your anxiety!

Doing God’s Will Doesn’t Have To Feel Good!


 

Catholic speaker Gary Zimak discusses the fact that it doesn't always feel good to do God's will

“Father, if you are willing, remove this chalice from me; nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)

In the course of my travels, I have met many people who genuinely desire to follow God’s will. Many of those same individuals, however, are concerned that they aren’t doing a good job with the task. Do you know why they are concerned? It’s primarily because they don’t “feel” like doing what God wants. Let’s be honest, my friends…enduring suffering, reaching out to those in need, stepping out of our comfort zone and forgiving people who have hurt is generally doesn’t “feel” good. What we need to remember, however, is that a desire to do God’s will has nothing to do with feelings. Rather, it is a conscious decision.

When Jesus asked His Father to let the suffering pass Him by, He was expressing natural human feelings. The Lord could have suppressed these feelings, but He chose not to. By doing so, He reminds us that it’s perfectly acceptable to dislike suffering and to ask God to remove it from our lives. In spite of that aversion to suffering, however, Jesus chose to consciously submit to His Father’s will. Instantly, a feeling of fear was transformed into an act of obedience and love.

Back in the days when our twins were babies, my wife and I didn’t exactly plead with one another for the chance to feed them when they woke up in the night. Even though we loved Mary and Elizabeth, neither one of us “felt” like waking up to comfort them. While it didn’t “feel” good, we did it because we loved them and it was God’s will that we tend to the needs of our children. Despite what we may hear or believe, love isn’t necessarily a feeling. While there are often emotional feelings associated with love, it is primarily a decision. We can choose to love someone, even if we don’t “feel” like it. Submitting to God’s will when we don’t “feel” like it is a great way of expressing our love for Him.

Don’t be too hard on yourself when you don’t always enjoy doing God’s will. Sometimes it’s not fun for me either and it certainly wasn’t always fun for Jesus. Doing God’s will isn’t about feelings…

It’s about LOVE!

I’m Praying For You!


 

Catholic speaker and author Gary Zimak offers to pray for your needs

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men. (1 Timothy 2:1)

Recently, I have been receiving many requests for prayers. Through social media, email and verbal communication I’ve been hearing of sick children, unexpected trips to the ER, cancer diagnoses, anxiety and every other ailment imaginable. Whenever I discover that someone is suffering or in need of prayer, I immediately say a prayer and add long term requests to my official prayer list (a book that I carry to daily Mass and adoration). Even though I know that every prayer is effective in some way, I’ve been feeling that I want to do something more. I want you to know that I’m praying so that when you’re sitting in the ER, a doctor’s office or your house, you realize that you’re not alone and that you are being prayed for. In addition, I want to give you a chance to ask for my prayers.

Every day at daily Mass and in my rosary, I remember all those who have asked for my prayers. In addition, each Saturday and Sunday , I pray for these individuals before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Do you need prayers? Would you like to be added to my list? Email me and let me know your needs and I will add you to my official list. In addition, always feel free to contact me on Facebook or Twitter and request prayers.

Please remember that no matter how hopeless a situation looks or how helpless you feel, you can always pray and it will always be effective. Even you might not get exactly what you want or get it as fast as you like, God hears and responds to every prayer. In addition, take comfort in the fact that I’m always willing to pray for you…

You are not alone!

Easing The Suffering Of Jesus…Today!


 

Catholic Speaker Gary Zimak reveals some practical ways that we can ease the suffering of Jesus

On this holy and sad day known as Good Friday, we will have many opportunities to reflect on the suffering of Christ. While this is a great idea and something that we all should do, we need to be careful. We often have the tendency to treat Our Lord’s suffering as something that happened two thousand years ago and something that was caused by some really nasty people who are no longer alive. While this line of thinking is partially true, it ignores two very important facts:

1. Ultimately, all sinners are responsible for Jesus’ suffering. That means that we share in the blame.

2. Even though Jesus’ Passion took place two thousand years ago, there is something that we can do to ease His suffering TODAY.

On the night before He died, Jesus spent time in the Garden of Gethsemane. Scripture tells us that “He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground” (Luke 22:44). Why was He suffering so greatly? In his book, Life of Christ, Archbishop Fulton Sheen expressed the opinion that Jesus was in agony because He saw all of the sins that were committed in the past and will be committed until the end of time. This means that when we hear of Our Lord’s suffering on the night before He died, we should realize that our sins were a contributing factor to his distress.

On the other hand, since He was God, it follows that Jesus would also be able to see all of the good things that would be performed over the years. Therefore, while He was in the garden, Jesus would have known every time that we turned away from sin or performed an act of kindness. Therefore, we still have the ability to ease His suffering in the Garden.

So what can we do about this? For one thing we can recognize that our sins caused Jesus a great deal of mental and physical pain. This should result in some degree of sorrow and a desire to do better in the future. Secondly, we can do something to ease the Lord’s pain. Here are some steps that we can take:

1. Pray - What did Jesus ask Peter, James and John to do while He was suffering in the garden? He asked them to stay awake and be with Him as He suffered. By praying every day, we do just that.

2. Turn Away From Sin - We should ask the Lord each day for the grace to resist temptation and turn away from sin.

3. Trust - Jesus told St. Faustina, “You will give me great pleasure if you hand over to me all your troubles and griefs. I shall heap upon you the treasures of my grace”. Do you trust Him enough to let Him handle your problems?

4. Surrender - The most basic way to surrender to the Lord’s will is to accept everything that happens to you today and not complain. When was the last time you tried this?

5. Show Mercy To Others - “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40). In her diary, St. Faustina wrote of three ways that we can show mercy to others:

a. By Deed (Anything we do to alleviate the suffering of another)
b. By Word (Anything we say to alleviate the suffering of another)
c. By Prayer (Praying for one another)

Jesus suffered and died so that you could go to Heaven. By doing some simple things today and in the future, we have the ability to lessen the intense suffering that Jesus experienced because of our sins. Don’t waste the opportunity!

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.

I Finally Stopped Worrying. Here’s How I Did It…


 

Catholic speaker Gary Zimak explains how he stopped worrying

I got to thinking the other day and I came to a surprising realization…

I don’t worry anymore!

If you have heard me speak or read my books, you’ll understand why this is a monumental occurrence. It is a well known fact that I have been a severe worrier for most of my life. While I credit my anxiety with drawing me closer to the Lord, the act of worrying was having the opposite effect. The more I would worry, the less I would trust God. Now, despite two years of full time work as a Catholic Evangelist (with no guaranteed salary and literally living month to month), I have found myself in a position that I never thought possible. I don’t worry anymore!

So, what changed? How was I able to finally break free from worrying? The answer will probably surprise you, as it did me. For many years, I tried to stop worrying. I made up my mind many times over the years that I was going to “Let Go, Let God”, “Be Not Afraid” and “Let Not My Heart Be Troubled”. And I failed, and failed again and failed many times after that. It wasn’t until some time not that long ago that I realized that I was trying too hard. I know that it sounds crazy, but the reason that I couldn’t stop worrying is that I was trying too hard not to worry!

Before you think that Gary has officially lost his mind, let me finish the thought. I was trying to stop worrying by using the “mind over matter”, “positive thinking” approach and that’s why I failed. Even though I supplemented this method with a healthy dose of prayer, Bible reading and the Sacraments I couldn’t stop worrying. Then one day the answer dawned on me. I was trying so hard that I wasn’t letting Jesus help me. As is the case with most people who like control, I was so determined to fix the problem on my own that I wouldn’t let anyone, including the Lord, help me. Once I stopped trying so hard and let Jesus do the “heavy lifting”, my worrying decreased dramatically. Don’t get me wrong, I still experience fear and concern. These feelings are normal and can even be helpful, as they sometimes let you know that it’s time to take action. Worrying, on the other hand, is a useless and unproductive response to fear. While there are several correct ways to respond to fear, your overall objective should be to draw near to Jesus. He is the ultimate answer to any problem or difficulty that arises in your life.

If you feel that you’re too weak to give up worrying, you’re probably right. I’m in the same category. The good news is that the Lord knows that we’re weak and that we can’t just force ourselves to stop worrying. Instead, He wants us to stop trying to do it on our own and let Him help us. Take it from me, my friends, the easiest way for you to break free from anxiety is by focusing less on giving up worrying and more on Jesus. Doing this has made a huge difference in my life and has finally allowed me to stop worrying.

So where do you start? You start by speaking with Jesus daily and asking Him to take control of your life. Make it a point to read the Bible each day, even for a few minutes. The daily Mass readings are perfect for this. Additionally, receive the sacraments of Holy Communion as often as possible. Finally, turn to the Blessed Mother and ask her to assist you. As you grow closer to the Lord, your worrying will begin to decrease. If you need more assistance, I’m excited to announce that my next book, From Fear To Faith: A Worrier’s Guide To Discovering Peace (coming in August 2014 from Liguori Publications) will offer a step by step method for overcoming worry in your life. It’s a book designed for those of us who are weak and can’t do it on our own. Be sure to sign up for my monthly e-newsletter (in the sidebar to the right) for more details, including how to pre-order the book. I’ve also developed a new talk, “How To Stop Worrying TODAY” that I’ll be presenting in parishes around the county. Contact me to find out how to invite me to speak at your parish.

Don’t lose hope, my friends. I finally stopped worrying and you can too. Jesus is the answer and He is waiting to help you!

Suffering? 10 Lessons We Can Learn From The Agony In The Garden


 

Catholic speaker Gary Zimak presents 10 lessons about suffering that we can learn from Jesus and the agony in the garden

Over the course of our lives, it is inevitable that we will experience suffering. It is also inevitable that this suffering will cause us to ask many questions:

Why me?

What should I do?

Is it okay to feel anxious or sad?

Can God help me?

Fortunately for us, the answers to each of these (any many more) questions about suffering can be found by studying Jesus’ actions on the night before He died. Here are 10 lessons that we can learn from the Agony in the Garden.

1. It’s Okay To Be Troubled – Sometimes we think that feeling sad or nervous means that our faith is lacking. We assume that if we trust God, we should always be happy. Not true! While we should avoid worrying, fear and sadness are normal human emotions. Jesus was “sorrowful and troubled” (Mt 26:37), “greatly distressed” (Mk 14:33) and “His sweat became like great drops of blood” (Lk 22:44). It’s perfectly acceptable for you do feel the same way when faced with difficulties in your life.

2. Prayer Matters – While there’s nothing wrong with feeling distressed or sad when facing difficulties, we should never succumb to useless worry. Instead, we should imitate Jesus and PRAY!

3. Ask Your Friends For Help – One thing that makes suffering more intense is the feeling that we’re in it alone. In his agony, Jesus teaches us an important lesson. Ask others for help! Jesus asked Peter, James and John to accompany Him as He prayed in the garden. When we’re in trouble, we should ask people to pray for us. In addition to our earthly friends, we can ask the saints in Heaven and the souls in purgatory to intercede on our behalf. There is never a reason to suffer alone!

4. God Can Do All Things – No matter what you are facing, ALWAYS remember that there is hope. Jesus assures us with the following words, addressed to His Father:

“Abba, Father, all things are possible to you.” (Mark 14:36)

5. It’s Okay To Ask For Relief – Sometimes we’re afraid to ask the Lord to take away our suffering. We shouldn’t be. Jesus did exactly that:

“My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me.” (Mt 26:39)

Always feel free to ask the Lord to remove your suffering, but…

6. Thy Will Be Done – We should accept the Lord’s decision. When Jesus prayed that His suffering might pass, He appended the words “but not as I will, but as thou will” to the prayer (Mt 26:39, Mk 14:36, Lk 22:42). Adding this powerful phrase ALWAYS ensures that we are praying in accordance with God’s will, even if His will is unknown to us!

7. Prayer Always Works – We often complain that God doesn’t answer our prayers. What this really means is that He doesn’t answer them in the way we’d like. We have to trust that, when we pray, we’ll always receive what we NEED, not necessarily what we WANT. In His humanity, Jesus prayed that His suffering would be removed (if it be the Father’s will). As it turned out, this was not the Father’s will. It was necessary that Jesus endure suffering so that mankind could be redeemed. In addition, Jesus received something that He didn’t request, but something that helped Him to carry His cross:

“And there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him” (Lk 22:43)

8. Don’t Stop Praying – In times of trouble, one of our biggest temptations is to stop praying. If the Lord doesn’t answer fast enough, we often stop praying. Big mistake! In his gospel account, St. Matthew tells us that Jesus prayed three times in the garden “saying the same words” (Mt 26:44). Therefore, it’s perfectly fine for you to continually ask God to heal your cancer or help you find a job!

9. Pray To Avoid Temptation – While He was in the garden, Jesus warned Peter, James and John to pray that they would not enter into temptation (Mt 26:41, Mk 14:38, Lk 22:46). What’s one of the biggest temptations that we can encounter in the midst of suffering? Despair! Without prayer, it’s very easy to give up as we tire of carrying our cross. Take Jesus’ words seriously and keep praying even if you don’t feel like it.

10. Angels Are Real – Do you believe in angels? You should because they are VERY real and can help you! When Jesus was agonizing in the garden, who was sent to strengthen Him? Certainly not Peter, James and John because they were asleep! Instead, an angel was sent to strengthen the Lord (Lk 22:42). Each of us has a guardian angel who watches over us. Remembering that fact during times of trouble can be extremely comforting. If an angel was sent to strengthen the Lord during His incredible agony, couldn’t your angel do the same for you?

As Christians, we are all called to imitate Jesus. There is no better time to do so than during our times of suffering. Not only did Christ suffer much, but He can teach us a great deal about HOW to suffer. Following His example can help us greatly as deal with our daily struggles.

Feeling Depressed and Hopeless? Turn To Saint Jude!


 

Catholic speaker Gary Zimak discusses his devotion to Saint Jude

One of the blessings granted to me by the Lord is the opportunity to encounter many people who are suffering. While this hardly sounds like a blessing, I consider it an honor because I’m able to share His “Good News” and bring some peace into their lives. Jesus told us repeatedly that we can experience His peace even in the midst of extreme suffering and trials. We often get so battered and worn, however, that we lose sight of this message. When this happens, it’s important to reach out to others and ask them to carry us in prayer. As Catholics, we are blessed by our belief in the Communion of Saints. As a result we can also turn to the saints in heaven and ask them to intercede for us. Throughout the years, St. Jude the Apostle has become known as the patron saint of hopeless causes. Many of you will read this and immediately reply, “that’s me”! If you are tired, weary, depressed and feeling hopeless, I invite you to pray the following prayer. I found it in a Saint Jude prayer booklet and thought it may prove helpful. If you are reading this post, rest assured that you will be in my daily prayers as well. Don’t give up…things WILL get better!

Prayer To St. Jude For The Depressed
St. Jude, friend to those in need, I am weary from grief and anxiety. I am often without joy, without hope, struggling through the dark night of the soul. I turn to you in prayer. Take away this emptiness and the pain of my broken heart. In your compassion, wipe away my tears and carry me to a place of peace. Too long have I been blind to the goodness of God’s world. Help me to take my life one day at a time, one moment at a time, and to be aware of God’s love for me always. Heal me. I yearn to feel, to bathe in light and joy. Envelop me in brightness, and do not hold back. And I promise, if you should see me fit to receive these gifts, I will share them always. Amen.