*Best of DTB #291* 7 Quick Takes: We’re Number One!

Posted by Christie Martin - March 8th, 2014

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Have you heard the good news? Deeper Truth was Number 1 in Religion at Blogtalk Radio in 2013. The numbers put us at the top of our category. Let’s celebrate by producing even more quality shows!

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This week’s Garden of Holiness podcast is up over at Blogtalk Radio. The topic was the relationship between prayer, fasting, and mercy.

Online Religion Radio at Blog Talk Radio with Deeper Truth on BlogTalkRadio

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Next week’s Garden of Holiness podcast will again be about fasting and the lead up to Lent. After having heard a lot of negative reactions to the fact that we Martins were having a Mardi Gras Party to celebrate the upcoming season, I thought I’d bring on an expert on the Catholic season of Mardi Gras to explain what it really is all about. Tune in to hear from Jeff Young, The Catholic Foodie, a  true blue New Orleans Catholic!

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The Holy Spirit has gifts to give. Do you know what yours is? Find out here by listening to last week’s Garden of Holiness podcast.

Listen To Religion Internet Radio Stations with Deeper Truth on BlogTalkRadio

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In two weeks, the podcast will be about Sex Trafficking. It may seem an odd topic for Lent, but it is essential that all Americans understand the dangers to our children of all races and socioeconomic classes. Tune in to find out how the game has changed.

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Deeper Truth interviewed Jennifer Fulwiler from Conversion Diary! Listen in to hear her conversion from atheism to Catholicism.

Check Out Religion Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Deeper Truth on BlogTalkRadio

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Garden of Holiness is temporarily off line.

Jeff Young, The Catholic Foodie, and I are in the process of moving The Garden of Holiness blog from Blogger to WordPress. We’ve been doing this for about a year now. I’ve just been poking along on the process until a hacker struck two weeks ago and shut down the blog. I’ll post here when it is up and running again!

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Best of DTB #269 Forgiveness: A How To and a Why To

Posted by John Benko - September 8th, 2013

This is Christie and I’m once again writing about the Apologetics you do with your life, the kind that comes out by living your Christian Life, and the type of evangelization you do by action, rather than by bullet points.

If you’re having trouble forgiving someone, you know that your life keeps circling back to that person and their actions. You can’t keep yourself from discussing it, from thinking of it, from using that period as the go-to excuse for failures that truly have nothing directly to do with that situation. How do I know this? I have been there, circling that same drain.

Not forgiving someone is a trap. It makes that moment in time, that person the center of your life. You never, ever move on. If you don’t move on, you don’t ever get away from it.

You are still right there in that Hell.

To Be Crass…
Don’t let crap rule your life.
Deal with it and move on.

It’s in your best interests to forgive. It doesn’t mean that what happened was right or good or anything. It just means that you are ready to set that person free from your desire to personally witness justice. You’ll let God deal with that situation and that person.

Forgiveness is an admission that you are not in control,
You aren’t now and you weren’t then,
And you’re moving on because
There is only one thing
You can actually
Control:
You.

Forgiveness gets you out of the mess you were in. Finally. It gets you out mentally and emotionally. You get to finally be free.

Freedom! I highly recommend it.

So, here’s the deal. If you find it hard to forgive, let me let you in on the Great Big Secret. Forgiveness is not a feeling. It’s not a once and for all type of thing. It’s a decision. You make it every time you are tempted to dwell on that person, that moment, that perfectly justifiable anger.

Here’s how it works. You think of that person and you say, “Okay, that was bad, but I forgive it.” Then you give yourself permission to think of something else. When your thoughts drift back you get to tell your thoughts, “Been there, done that. There’s no more fruit here. I’ve forgiven.”

It’s that simple. It’s a process. At first it’s simply that: a mental action that you decide to make. After a period of time–days, weeks, months, years, or decades–you will find that this little mental ritual will not be necessary quite so often. If you had to struggle to think of anything else at first, then three times a day after a year or so is an improvement.

Here’s the other thing. Some people with certain temperaments do have an easier time with this process. It’s true. It’s harder for you.

How do I know that? Because you’re the type who reads this type of thing. You’re like me: you need to learn people stuff. I’ve always needed Human Lessons. It’s why I can write about it. Someone taught me or I went out and did what you’re doing. I looked it up. There are those who seem born knowing this stuff. Not me. Not you either.

Life’s complicated. People can wreck a person. It’s tough going, for sure.

Just keep in mind that Christ told us we are to forgive someone 70 times 7 times. I’d always assumed that he meant to forgive someone every time they did something wrong. Now that I’m in the cycle of forgiveness I get it. He means sometimes you have to forgive a person that many times for just one bad moment. He’s talking process here.

I hope you get it. Your life is worth the trouble it takes to forgive. In fact, you will only get your life back once you forgive.

Moment by blessed moment.


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*BEST OF DTB #251* 3 Tips for Keeping those January Resolutions

Posted by John Benko - January 10th, 2013

Note from the Christie: You’ll probably notice that this isn’t strictly apologetics but more of a tactical application post. Life is hard and Christian life is cross-schlepping hard. How we live speaks more clearly about our beliefs than anything coming out of our mouths or keyboards. Let’s help each other get it right, pick each other up when we get it wrong; witness first in the home, then in the world.

“Let all things be done decently and in order” (I Cor.14:40)

God is a God of order. Like cold is what happens when heat is absent, chaos is what happens when God is absent. Without the hand of God, or your hand as His child, all things will revert to their original state: nothingness. The process isn’t pretty. The first few stages are mere messiness and disorder. Left alone, these degenerate into chaos. Chaos ultimately ends in obliteration and annihilation.

A wife and mom is in a constant fight with the descent into chaos.

It’s the oldest story out there. Creation was orderly and functioned well until we introduced the chaos of sin. After that all Hell broke loose, literally. To make a near eternal story short, if you are battling the Home Depot web page or a counter top that continually fills up with junk mail, half finished scribblings, hair ties, dog collars, dirty coffee mugs, broken crayons, unsharpened pencils, random lists and rubber bands, you can blame Adam and Eve for it.

Thanks guys!

Though, from the looks of my counter top (and no, I will not be showing you a picture of my desk), I’d be the last person to ask about organization, I do have an insight or two into the process. I know how to get organization schemes wrong, I know how to fail, and since that’s about it, let me help you avoid some of the pitfalls as you enter into January’s Resolution Season.

#1 Let God In
Since God created order and you need Him for that, begin any home improvement project with prayer. Don’t try to go at the house on your own steam. Don’t even try to go at it with some expert’s scheme. None of that is going to work as well as simply starting from the premise that you can’t tackle this problem alone. Face it, the Universe is spinning out of control, your counter tops and dusty baseboards are merely evidence of a problem greater than mankind. Entropy is a law you are trying to break! Which leads me to my next point.

#2 You Are Doomed

Not my actual counter…

You are going to fail. You may quit reading now or you may build into your system this humbling realization. Like we continually fall into sin and laziness in our spiritual life and need to be continually repentant and prayerful to battle that tendency, you will continually fall into it in your physical life, too. Whatever your new plans are, a new diet or a vow to keep the gas tank above a quarter tank, you are going to do very well on your new system for a few weeks and then you will slip up. No matter how diligent you think you are, one day in the dim gloom of a drizzly February day, you will look up in surprise to see that counter looking worse than it did when you started. It will hit you that you have failed and you will be tempted to look upon all the effort you put into it to change yourself and your life was a great big honking waste of time! My thinking usually sounds a bit like this, “Almighty Me has put for a bit of effort and now the job should run itself without anything more from Me. It isn’t fair!” If that sounds in any way familiar or if that random Internet pic of a messy counter top is yours, swallow your pride, pray, repent, and get back to the job. That’s just how that works.

#3 Be Smart and Be Lazy
Be lazy enough to understand that a little effort every day avoids the tremendous effort once a week/month/year. Putting off a job multiplies magnificently (horrifically?) the effort it takes to do the same job. You may think you are being lazy by ignoring a problem spot, but the really lazy person designs her life around the least effort humanly possible. If 10 minutes of cleanup twice a week is all that it takes to keep the counter top clear, but 5 seconds of putting away a piece of mail in the moment is all it takes, be lazy enough to pick the latter. That’s just smart.

So, enjoy your New Year. Keep your Resolutions, but do so armed with the understanding that breaking an old habit of disorderliness with a new habit of orderliness is going to take time and a bit of human frailty. Always keep in mind that first thought, that God is a God of order. If you find your February beginning to bloom with the flowers of your old familiar chaos, remember that like cold is the absence of heat, chaos is the absence of God. Laxity in your physical world may be a sign of laxity in the spiritual, so begin weeding it out with prayer and repentance. That could never hurt.

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*BEST OF DTB #187* Addiction: The Destroyer’s merciless predatory game

Posted by John Benko - May 16th, 2012

Revelation 9:11
A king, the angel of the bottomless pit; whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek Apollyon; in Latin Exterminans,

In other words, translated, his name is ‘the destroyer’. That is his name, that is his game, that is his sole mission and motivation 24/7/365.

Through your dreams, through your goals, through your ambitions, through your strengths, through your weaknesses. Constantly probing, ever on the attack, ever the predator, merciless and cruel, vile, disgusting, grotesque and inhumane. Always stalking, always menacing, setting traps, going about like a roaring lion seeking whom he might devour.

If the Lord God allows you to suffer it is only that He seeks your ultimate good. A little pain now, through which He may bring you to eternal bliss.

Ah, but the destroyer uses the lure of bliss for bait. A little sugar laced with poison? Some forbidden fruit perhaps? Some alcohol or drugs to dull your pain? Maybe a little frolic for the flesh? How about I pour the fill of your ego or satiate your need for greed?

All the while, he is only crouching down as you circle the bait, entranced by it’s shimmer, it’s fragrance, it’s taste. Crouching, stalking, moving in that he may get close enough to strike and grab you in his talons and drag you into his house of fire to torture you and laugh as you shriek and scream in pain.

Addiction is his cunning and merciless game, his web meant to ensnare you that he may store you away as his captured prey that he may move on to another unwary victim. Recently, my wife told me that she does not believe in sex addiction, responding to something she read in the paper.

My vantage point is just a bit different. You see, I do believe in sex addiction, but only within the framework of addiction itself. What I am saying is that I don’t believe in food addiction or gambling addiction or alcohol addiction or drug addiction or sex addiction being about food or gambling or alcohol or drugs or sex, at least foundationally. Though some of these addictions can have dire physical consequences, their cause and the far greater consequence, is spiritual.

Here in this article, I wish to deal with ten principles that are at the core of addiction. Some of them, you may not have ever considered before. I draw all of the principles from various places and I will try to give credit where it is do.

  1. Addiction, itself, is the issue,  not the subject of the addiction. There is no drug addiction or alcohol addiction or sex addiction. These are only various manifestations of a learned behavior of buying short-term satisfaction or relief at the expense of deferred but greater suffering. Addiction is suicide on the payment plan.
  2. Addiction controls, and is controlled by, all 4 facets of the human person- Physicality, Emotion, Intellect and Spirituality. Any cure to addiction that doesn’t incorporate all 4 is doomed to failure.
  3. All behavior, regardless of how self destructive, results in a payoff. If you cannot identify and remove the payoff, you cannot hope to change the behavior.
  4. You cannot have it all. God has already given you more than you can possibly repay.
  5. Happiness is a choice. It takes work. Happiness is not about things.
  6. Love is a choice. It takes even more work. Love must be given unselfishly and received graciously and humbly. Most people have no clue what love is.
  7. Sometimes pleasure must be denied. Sometimes, pain must be endured.
  8. Pride is deadly. All sin, all addiction comes from an unhealthy pride. Even despair is pride turned inside out.
  9. Denial is deadly. It isn’t just annoying and debilitating. Refusing to see the truth has dire consequences.
  10. The truth will set you free. The Truth has a name and He has a Church.

Tune in tonight as we discuss the Destroyer’s game.


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*BEST OF DTB #116* Why Sex Is Complicated

Posted by John Benko - December 15th, 2011

A very wise young man once blew my mind by pointing out a fundamental reality in our fallen world: God made all things good and Satan tries to turn good things evil. Satan can create nothing. All he can do is use his superior intellect to twist our perception of reality to make good appear evil, truth look like lies, the attractive repulsive. He loves to use our emotions, good things, to further befuddle us.
God made marriage. Marriage is good. God made sex. Sex is good. Marriage reflects the unity of the Triune God and the bond between Christ and the Church, so it is a profound good for the world, even without the economic and social stability marriage generates. It is good for the persons involved, too. It takes immature, self-centered creatures and matures them, making their lives outwardly focused on another. With sex in the equation, it also makes them parents, which furthers the process of maturation.
God the Father loves the Son perfectly and completely: so much so it is personified in the Holy Spirit. Your love and your husband’s love is meant to be that beautiful. Your love will grow larger than the two of you, something you will both stand in awe of. In fact, the world will wonder at it, writing news articles about love after 75 years. In fact, marital love personifies, too–in your children.
Speaking of sex: the more selfless it is, the better. The more you lose yourself in your spouse and let go, the more amazing it is. On a fundamental level, sex is about surrendering to each other and becoming one, if even imperfectly. The hormones involved, oxytocin especially, are designed to cement a bond between husband and wife so that each sexual encounter–be it a romp under the covers or merely the promise of one in a look and a wink shot across a table crowded with cranky children and schoolwork–produces oxytocin and other hormones to reinforce the chemical, emotional, and spiritual bonds between husband and wife. That is very, very good.
That’s why Satan hates it. You and your spouse are created in the image and likeness of God. Marriage speaks to the world about the Nature of God. Since Satan cannot hurt God, he will hurt you, His image, or your marriage, His reflection. Satan will interfere with your marriage in any way inhumanly possible. If he can’t end the marriage, he will mar it to make it as imperfect a reflection of God as he can entice the two of you to make it.
God knew you and His purpose for you from The Beginning (Jerimiah 1:5, Romans 8:29). You and your spouse have been called to the Sacrament of Marriage from the moment God created the world. Satan, being a spirit, exists outside of physical time. He is not bound by our bonds. He can see you married when you are still a speck in your mother’s womb. He knows your spouse before you have even met. He will work on you and your husband from birth until death to interfere with your marriage. He will encourage you, a woman, to damage your ability to bond with your spouse by enticing you to sexual encounters without commitment so that you will come to marriage untrusting, numbed and scarred. He will entice your future husband to view women’s bodies as tools for his sexual fulfillment, separating the act of sex from the bonds of marriage and keeping him emotionally and sexually immature and unable to approach true manliness. (The Damage of Sexual Promiscuity–a must read)
Satan insinuates himself into your marriage to make less room for God
But God teaches us forgiveness, repentance, and self-sacrifice. God heals. As damaged as you come to the marriage bed, there is hope. As harmed as your marriage may be by sins against it, infidelity, lust, selfishness, God infuses the Sacrament of Marriage with abundant Graces to heal you both. All you need is God. All God wants is you.
Make yourself precious, like jewels.
Proverbs 31

Open your heart to God and to your husband. By this openness, you will allow Grace to flow into your marriage. Be prayerfully aware of God and set your selfish impulses to ignore, belittle, or bemoan the needs of your husband at the foot of the Cross. If he wants you to bring him a cup of coffee, serve Him by serving him. If he wants you to cuddle up on the couch after the kids are asleep, serve Him by accommodating him. If your marriage is damaged, use your love of God to rebuild it. If your husband is so damaged as to be numb to your needs, let God heal that. Help Him heal your marriage by taking up arms with Him to fight for your husband’s heart. Send a barrage of roses against the fortress your husband has built against you; flood his life with so many small acts of love that he drowns in it. Surrender to God to win the war for your husband’s heart. Make him gasp at the beauty of Love.

Who knows? Maybe your husband has been trying to do the same for you for years.

Your emotions, your desires, and your impulses must be under your guidance. Your guidance must be under God. If you do not guide your impulses, if God does not guide them, you will be manipulated and enslaved by them. Do not surrender your will to your emotions. Unite your will to God’s will, even when your emotions have a will of their own.
Your marriage can work. It can fulfill you, but only if you let God in.
Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

wifey wednesday
Wifey Wednesdays are hosted each week by Sheila Wray Gregoire
at To Love Honor and Vacuum.

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