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How To Know God Is Working In Your Life (Part 2)

Last week, I began a series on recognizing God?s response to your prayers. Because of the fact that He frequently works gradually and in ordinary ways, we often miss the signs that He is responding to our prayers. I recommended that you imitate the prophet Elijah in 1 Kings 17 and look for the ?little clouds? that signify that your prayers are being heard and the drought is ending.

Is Anything Changing?

A second way to recognize that God is responding to your prayers is to look for change. Last week we focused on the small, positive changes that are taking place in your life, but this week I urge you to look for any changes that have taken place since you began praying. Specifically (and here?s where you?ll probably think that Gary has lost his mind), look for the negative changes! Yes, you heard me correctly. When you pray for something and things get worse, it is a sign that the Lord is working in your life. Crazy, right? Nope. It?s the absolute truth.

What Does The Bible Say?

Let?s turn to the Bible for an example. In Exodus 3:7-8, we are told that God heard the cry of the Israelites who are enslaved in Egypt. The Lord goes on to say that He has ?come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey?. Sounds like a done deal, right? The people cry out to the Lord and He fixes the problem. Well, yes and no.

Don’t Be Surprised When Things Get Worse

Even though God did indeed deliver the Israelites from slavery, things got worse before they got better. When Moses and Aaron first obeyed the Lord and went to Pharaoh to request some time off for worship, his initial response was to restrict the straw that was given to the people for brick building. Now, in addition to being forced to build the same number of bricks each day, the Israelites now had to first gather their own straw! Is this an example of the power of prayer? You bet! Although it took 40 years and lots of suffering, the Lord delivered on His promise and the slaves were set free. Moses stumbled and complained, but he never stopped praying and being obedient.

Don’t Stop Praying!

If things have gotten worse since you?ve started praying, don?t give up. God?s ways are not our ways. He really does know what He?s doing. By all means, ask Him what He?s trying to teach you and plead with Him to make things better, but never stop praying. He operates on His own schedule. Give Him a chance!

A Catholic Retreat For Those Who Worry!


Catholic speaker and retreat leader Gary Zimak will be leading a Pray, Hope and Don't Worry retreat at the Malvern Retreat House in Malvern, PA on August 14-16,2015

Are you tired of worrying?

Would you like to feel greater peace in your life?

Do you sometimes wish you could get to know Jesus better?

Does the idea of getting away for a few days of peaceful reflection and relaxation sound good to you?

I am thrilled to announce that on Aug 14 – Aug 16, 2015, I will be leading the first ever Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry retreat at the Malvern Retreat House in Malvern, PA! Located in the Philadelphia suburbs, the Malvern Retreat House is the oldest and largest Catholic retreat center in the United States. I have a great deal of respect for the work that Msgr. Marino and his staff do and I am honored to be working with them on this retreat.

This retreat will allow you to encounter Jesus in a deep and personal way. We will meet Him in the Sacraments and Sacred Scripture. We’ll grow closer to the Blessed Mother. I will share simple and practical ways which have allowed me to break free from worrying. Here is the schedule for the weekend:

5:00 Registration
6:45 Dinner
7:30 Welcome
8:15 Conference #1 Getting Personal With Jesus
9:00 Celebration of the Eucharist: Priest provided

7:00 Rise
7:40 Morning Prayer
8:00 Breakfast.
9:15 Conference #2 From Fear To Faith
10:15 Reconciliation Service Leader & Confessors are provided for individual confessions
11:30 Way of the Cross (Private ? Using the outside Stations provided along the pathways)
12:15 Lunch
1:30 Conference #3 What If Mary Said, ?No??
2:30 Small Group Discussion
3:15 Break
3:45 Questions and Comments
4:30 Break
4:45 Celebration of the Eucharist: Priest provided
5:45 Dinner
7:30 Conference #4 You Can?t Walk On Water If You?re Sitting In The Boat!
8:30 TBD
9:30 Coffee & Danish

7:00 Rise
7:30 Morning Prayer
8:00 Breakfast
8:30 Conference #5 What Does God Want Me To Do?
10:30 Faith Sharing
11:00 Celebration of the Eucharist (Rector of Malvern as celebrant)

My presentations will include:

1. Getting Personal With Jesus ? Many people go through life knowing about Jesus, but never get to know him personally. Sadly, many Catholics don?t even know that it?s possible to have a close, personal relationship with Christ. Using some of the techniques featured in his soon to be released book on the topic, Gary will give you practical suggestions for becoming close friends with the Lord. In addition, you?ll discover why it?s critical that you share Jesus with others and learn simple ways to do so.

2. From Fear To Faith – Are you tired of worrying? After struggling to overcome anxiety for many years, Gary Zimak has learned that Jesus Christ can help us to win this battle. In this talk, based on his best-selling books A Worrier?s Guide To The Bible and From Fear To Faith, Gary will share his step by step approach for breaking free from worry by encountering Christ in His Church.

3. What If Mary Said ?No?? – We often assume that Mary had to say ?yes? when asked to become the Mother of the Savior. In reality, the Blessed Mother?s assent was a conscious choice on her part. In this talk, based on Gary?s book, Listen To Your Blessed Mother, we?ll look closely at Mary?s life and learn how to imitate her constant ?yes? to the Lord. You?ll also discover how Mary can lead you closer to Jesus than you ever thought possible.

4. You Can?t Walk On Water If You?re Sitting In The Boat! ? Did you ever feel like God is asking you to do something, but you?re afraid? That?s perfectly normal. Whenever the Lord asks us to do anything, there is always some element of fear involved. There?s no reason to let fear stop you from letting God work great miracles in your life, however. In this talk, Gary will give you practical advice for conquering even your greatest fears and teach you how to surrender control of your life to the Lord!

5. What Does God Want Me To Do? ? As someone who went from a secure career as a project analyst to an uncertain future as a Catholic lay evangelist, Gary knows what it takes to discern God?s will. How do I know what the Lord is calling me to do? How can I learn to hear Him speak in a noisy world? How can I learn to trust in His providence? All these questions (and more) will be answered in this talk, based on Gary?s own personal journey and detailed in his book Faith, Hope, And Clarity: How To Know God?s Will. You?ll learn that it is possible to hear God speak and experience peace in the midst of uncertainty. This peace can be experienced only by surrendering to the Lord?s will.

This retreat is open to both men and women and is designed to help you to finally break away from worrying by growing closer to the Lord. We will be staying in the beautiful Family Life Center (A one-story facility with 50 air-conditioned rooms with private baths for individuals, couples and family members. Each room has a double bed and a single bed and a private bath. Four rooms are fitted for wheelchair accommodation, and contain one double bed).The cost for the weekend retreat (including meals and lodging) is only $225. Please email me if you have any questions or need additional information.

Click on the following image to register for the Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry retreat. Space is VERY limited (100 people), so make it a point to register today!

Register today for the Pray, Hope and Don't Worry retreat led by Catholic speaker Gary Zimak at the Malvern Retreat House

Gary Zimak is the author of ?A Worrier?s Guide To The Bible?, ?Listen To Your Blessed Mother?, ?From Fear To Faith? and ?Faith, Hope and Clarity.? 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.

Don’t Be Afraid Of The Future – God Is There!


Catholic speaker and author Gary Zimak will offer advice for dealing with fear of the future on the next episode of Following The Truth on Holy Spirit Radio

Do you find yourself being afraid of the future? Is the uncertainty just too much to bear?

Make it a point to listen to the next episode of Following The Truth on Holy Spirit Radio – “Don’t Be Afraid Of The Future”! The program airs on Wednesday (May 27) at 10 AM Eastern with an encore broadcast at 4 PM Eastern. If you’re not in the Philadelphia area, you can listen online HERE.

I’ll be offering many Bible verses that will help you to relax and live in the present moment and share songs by the Isaacs, Casting Crowns, David Haas and Steven Curtis Chapman. Here’s a sample…

If God is with us, there is no need to be afraid. The future may be unknown to us, but it’s not unknown to God. He is already there!

(Gary Zimak is a Catholic speaker and author who travels throughout the United States and Canada giving inspirational talks and leading parish missions and retreats. Click HERE to invite Gary to speak at your parish or conference or to inquire about his availability.)

Marcus Grodi On Faith, Hope, And Clarity…


EWTN Television host Marcus Grodi recommends the new book by Catholic speaker Gary Zimak - Faith, Hope, and Clarity

?There has never been a time in history when our lives have been more inundated with voices?the world, the flesh, and the devil?yelling at us, trying to convince us what we must do to be happy. So what is a person to do if in the midst of this cacophony he or she wants to be faithful to God, to one day stand before Him without embarrassment? In Gary Zimak?s fine book, we have a clear and trustworthy road map for discerning the simple and difficult steps of hearing God?s will for our lives.?

Marcus Grodi, President/Founder of The Coming Home Network International

Thank you, Marcus, for recommending my new book – Faith, Hope, and Clarity: How to Know God’s Will. You can pre-order it at a discounted price by clicking on the image below. Stay tuned for more endorsements!

5 Habits That Are Hazardous To Your (Spiritual) Health


Although Lent is winding to a close, there is still plenty of time to work on the many bad habits that hurt our relationship with the Lord. If you were to make even the smallest progress overcoming one of your bad habits, then your Lent would be a success. While God never expects us to overcome our imperfections by ourselves, He does expect us to take the first step and try to fight against these tendencies. Here are 5 bad habits that, if not controlled, will keep you from growing closer to Christ. Are they the worst ones in the world? Maybe or maybe not, but every one of these tendencies will keep you from being the best Catholic you can be.

1. Anger – Despite the Lord’s repeated warnings, we often feel justified getting angry with others on a daily basis. Anger can be lethal to our spiritual lives and should be high on our list of faults to eliminate this Lent. How can we overcome it? With lots of prayer, receiving the Sacraments and by reading (and re-reading) the Lord’s words:

“You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire.” (Mt 5:21-22)

2. Impatience – Although this fault is more subtle than anger, it can be very destructive to our spiritual lives. St. Paul tells us that “love is patient and kind” (1 Cor 13:4) and to “be patient with them all” (1 Thess 5:14), but we tend to lose sight of this when someone doesn’t move fast enough or disagrees with us. Let’s face it, we get annoyed with others several times each day, despite the fact that God is ALWAYS patient with us. For many years, I was a lukewarm, apathetic Catholic who’s purpose in life was to have a good time. By the grace of God, I’m still here and so are you. We should work on becoming more patient while we still have time. As a word of warning, if you pray to become more patient, expect people to pop up in your life who will give you PLENTY of practice!

3. Worry – Often we think of worry as something that’s inevitable. Many people have told me that “everyone worries”. I disagree. I’ve met people who, although they experience fear and even anxiety, don’t worry. Why? Because they have a deep trust in God. This is going to be painful to hear, but when we worry, we tell God that we don’t trust Him. Even though He tells us in Scripture that “all things work for the good” (Rom 8:28), we sometimes worry about events that are happening or MAY happen in our lives. Citing the previous Bible verse in his book Uniformity With God’s Will, St. Alphonsus Liguori stated that if God sends us suffering, it’s for our own good. After proclaiming the famous “Let not your hearts be troubled” (Jn 14:1), Jesus told us to believe in God and to believe in Him. Do we?

4. Lack of Charity – In our zeal to spread the “Good News” of our Faith, we sometimes overlook the need to do it WITH CHARITY. I’ll defer to Sts. Peter and Paul, who make the point more effectively than I ever could:

Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence. (1 Pt 3:15)

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. (1 Cor 13:1-3)

5. Over Sensitivity To Criticism – We sometimes try harder to please others than to please Christ. Many of us “like to be liked” and that desire can sometimes get in the way of our relationship with the Lord. Today’s world is not very friendly to Catholicism and the message of Jesus Christ. When we live and share our faith, we can expect to be criticized. In fact, the Lord told us exactly what would happen when He said “you will be hated by all for my name’s sake” (Mk 13:13). A bitter pill to swallow, right? Maybe, until we hear what He says next. “But he who endures to the end will be saved”! As we continue to travel the road to heaven, we should strive to make all of our actions pleasing to Jesus. As long as we do that, we’re in great shape!

If you’re like me and can identify with more than one of these bad habits, don’t panic! Pick one of them and make up your mind to use the remainder of Lent to work on it. Above all, don’t forget to ask the Lord for the grace needed to improve. Also, make it a point to receive additional grace through the Sacrament of Confession. Once you begin to see good progress (and you will, if you keep at it), tackle another one and keep going. While working on our bad habits should be a year round pursuit, Lent is a great time to get started. When we start to attack our faults like this, Jesus begins to increase (in us) and we begin to decrease (Jn 3:30). Ultimately, we’ll be able to echo the words of St. Paul and proclaim:

“It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal 2:20)

Prepare The Way Of The Lord…An Advent Retreat!


A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (Is 40:3)

How are YOU preparing for the coming of the Lord on Christmas Day?

Beginning on Monday, December 3rd I’ll be conducting an Advent Retreat on my nightly Following The Truth radio program. Best of all, you don’t even have to leave your home! Similar to the Wise Men two thousand years ago, we’ll set out on a journey designed to bring us face to face with the newborn Savior. Each night on the show, I’ll read the daily Mass readings and present various meditations designed to prepare you to celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25th. In addition, I’ll be leading the very popular St. Andrew Novena each night on the show! With all of the craziness of the Christmas season, it’s easy to forget about preparing for the coming of the Lord. During this Year of Faith, why not make a commitment to give Him an hour each night?

As always, there are several ways to listen:

Every Monday-Friday at 8 PM Eastern on BlogTalkRadio

As soon as the show airs, the podcast will then be available in the BlogTalkRadio On Demand archives (free of charge).

The day after the show airs, the podcast will be available in iTunes (free of charge).

If you’re like me, you have let many Advents pass by without preparing spiritually for the Lord’s birth. We can’t do anything about the past, but we can do something about the present. Hope to “see” you on December 3rd. Let’s make this our best Advent ever!