Spiritual Inspiration Messages

Spiritual Inspiration Messages

  • May 29, 2020

    SUBMITTED BY LORI JACOBWITH, FRIEND OF VOA-NCNN FROM MINNEAPOLIS

    As I've reflected on the violence that has erupted in my beloved Minneapolis, I've experienced fear, shock, and anger. My prayers & meditation today is the way I've felt I can offer to help begin to heal our community.

    We have much to learn as a city and country when it comes to healing the racial divide. Today, and always, may we be a country of caring humans. People who care for and about all people. 


  • May 28, 2020

    SUBMITTED BY EV LUNDGREN, CHAPLAIN, VOASW

    Once you understand your WHY, you’ll be able to clearly articulate what makes you feel fulfilled and to better understand what drives your behavior when you’re at your natural best. From now on, you will work with purpose, on purpose.


  • May 27, 2020

    Submitted by Linda Grace, Regional Development Officer, VOA-NCNN

    For you have been called to live in freedom… use your freedom to serve one another in love.
    -Galatians 5:13


  • May 26, 2020

    SUBMITTED BY JILL FOX, DIRECTOR OF QUALITY ASSURANCE AND COMPLIANCE, VOA-NCNN

    What Does Love Look Like?
    It has hands to help others.
    It has feet to hasten to the poor and needy
    It has eyes to see misery and want
    It has ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men
    That is what love looks like.
    -St. Augustine


  • May 22, 2020

    submitted by Jeff Powell, VOA Program Graduate

    Good morning. 8 years ago I walked out of Delano Kern County State Prison. Hopeless and broken. VOA made me a part of their family. So many God-like moments in my life have happened since. Today, I celebrate 9 years of sobriety and practice love and tolerance in everything I do. My journey has led me to so many opportunities to help and provide that hope to another and share the gift of God's grace. I am grateful and thankful for all of all staff, case managers, executives, and workers providing inspiration when you hire them to be apart of your teams. VOA gave me my life back and I will repay by paying it forward for the rest of my life... GOD BLESS YOU AND THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO...


  • May 21, 2020

    SUBMITTED BY KENT LACIN, BOARD MEMBER, VOA-NCNN

    Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.


  • May 20, 2020

    SUBMITTED BY CHRISTIE HOLDEREGGER, CHIEF DEVELOPMENT OFFICER, AND COMMISSIONED MINISTER, VOA-NCNN

    I read a story last year about a teacher who brought balloons to school and instructed the kids to write their names on their balloons. She then told them to put all of their balloons in the hallway, and she mixed up all of the balloons and told the kids they had 5 minutes for every kid to find their own balloon.

    Each child frantically dove into the balloons searching for what they thought of as theirs. But when the time was up, not a single kid had found their own balloon.

    The teacher then told them to take the balloon closest to them and find the person whose name was on it, and give them their balloon. Within two minutes every child had their balloon.

    The teacher said “Balloons are like happiness. No one finds it when they are looking only for their own. But when everyone cares about each other’s happiness, they will find their own
    much more quickly.

    What also changed was how the children stopped looking for an object, and started looking for each other. And that is how we’ll find our way out, if we look out for each other, if we care about what happens to each and every person’s life and livelihood, if we live by the principle of “love your neighbor as yourself,” then and only then, we will find our way out.

    Excerpt from Rabbi Mona Alfi's sermon


  • May 19, 2020

    SUBMITTED BY EV LUNDGREN, CHAPLAIN, VOASW

    Your vision is the story you are telling yourself about yourself and the world. It is more important to have a good vision than mere goals. A good vision will commit you to something greater than yourself and give meaning to your life.


  • May 18, 2020

    Submitted by Dr. Rita Brock, Senior VP & Director of Shay Moral Injury Center, VOA

    “We give thanks for places of simplicity and peace. Let us find such a place within ourselves. We give thanks for places of refuge and beauty. Let us find such a place within ourselves…Let us search for these places in the world, in ourselves, and in others. Let us restore them. Let us strengthen and protect them and let us create them.”

    Excerpts from Michael Leunig, A Common Prayer: a Cartoonist Talks to God


  • May 15, 2020

    SUBMITTED BY SHERMAN HAGGERTY, DIVISION DIRECTOR, EMPLOYMENT SERVICES, AND ORDAINED MINISTER, VOA-NCNN

    "We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father"

    1 Thessalonians 1: 2-3


  • May 14, 2020

    SUBMITTED BY KENT LACIN, BOARD MEMBER, VOA-NCNN

    Praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and sorrow come and go like the wind. To be happy, rest like a great tree in the midst of them all.


  • May 13, 2020

    Submitted by Beth Valentine, Program Director, VOA-NCNN

    “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
    [Colossians 3:16]

    The pillars that feed and guide of my walk with Christ are Service and Music. When your spiritual tank is low, what is the soundtrack that fuels your Faith?


  • May 12, 2020

    SUBMITTED BY LORI JACOBWITH, FRIEND OF VOA-NCNN


  • May 11, 2020

    SUBMITTED BY EV LUNDGREN, CHAPLAIN, VOASW

    We have never been taught how to relax, how to take care of ourselves in a positive, nurturing way (not just going on a vacation or out for an expensive dinner). Twenty minutes of deep relaxation a day will aid your mental growth, improve your physical health and emotional stability, and possibly even increase your spiritual awareness.


  • May 8, 2020

    SUBMITTED BY JILL FOX, DIRECTOR OF QUALITY ASSURANCE AND COMPLIANCE, VOA-NCNN

    While it seems as though we are still living in a very uncertain time, we must continue to persevere. It is through perseverance and determination that we can make a difference. Martin Luther King put it so succinctly,

    “If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

    God has put us in this world, at this specific time and place to illustrate for others what it means to stay steadfast.

    "Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him."
    James 1:12.

    God will be right there waiting for us and in fact is guiding us along every step of this journey. Stay strong together.


  • May 7, 2020

    SUBMITTED BY VOA-NCNN STAFF

    God is with the patients


  • May 6, 2020

    SUBMITTED BY PAULETTE FREE, HR GENERALIST, VOA-NCNN

    I would like to challenge you in this season to become a LEADER. Each of us is called to be a leader of people in whatever role we hold. Leaders add value to peoples lives, we can accomplish this by living a servant leadership lifestyle.

    Who will you add value to today? We are called to be change makers in this world. What changes will you make today?

    Make your purpose as a leader to love people, lead others, make a difference, and share Christ. These are the true characteristics of a leader.


  • May 5, 2020

    SUBMITTED BY SHERMAN HAGGERTY, DIVISION DIRECTOR, EMPLOYMENT SERVICES, AND ORDAINED MINISTER, VOA-NCNN

    "Comfort and prosperity have never enriched the world as much as adversity."

    "Mountain tops are for views and inspiration, but the fruit is grown in the valleys"

    " When we come to the end of ourselves, we come to the beginning of God"

    -Billy Graham quotes on suffering.


  • May 4, 2020

    Submitted by Julie Baumgartner, Director of Veteran Services, VOA-NCNN

    At this moment things may seem to be blinded between the fog
    Do not be discouraged
    As this fog lifts, you will be able to start seeing through it
    Continue to have Faith
    The warmth of the sun will start shining
    Filled with strength, courage and confidence
    Live for today, continue to hope for tomorrow


  • May 1, 2020

    SUBMITTED BY ANA BANKERT, DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT, AND COMMISSIONED MINISTER, VOA-NCNN


  • April 30, 2020

    Submitted by Ev Lundgren, Chaplain, VOASW

    Forgiveness is one of our most powerful allies. Forgive the people in your life who harmed you and forgive yourself for your own mistakes and you will liberate yourself from pain, anger, resentment and negativity. Anger, grudges and resentment hurt no one more than the person holding them.


  • April 29, 2020

    SUBMITTED BY KENT LACIN, BOARD MEMBER, VOA-NCNN

    The heart is like a garden. It can grow compassion or fear, resentment or love. What seeds will you plant there?


  • April 28, 2020

    SUBMITTED BY LEO MCFARLAND, PRESIDENT AND CEO, COMMISSIONED MINISTER, VOA-NCNN

    A Journey of Prayer

    My first thoughtful prayer was spoken at bedtime as a young child and supervised by my mother, it went something like this; "Now I lay me down to sleep...…." included in this nightly prayer was a blessing for mommy and daddy, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, essentially my whole known world. My next genesis of prayer came around the dinner table, where we gave thanks for the blessings of the food before us and for those who prepared the bounty. As I grew older my prayers began to include others who I had never met. When we heard a siren, a prayer was offered for someone who may have suffered an injury. And so my prayers developed over time. Too often they were self serving prayers, a plea to God to help me overcome some insurmountable challenge, but eventually I came to understand how the offering of prayer could soothe the heart of someone in pain. Prayer is a connecting force that brings the blessings of God to the human condition. Today we have an abundance of opportunity to pray for so many who need the touch of God. As we humble ourselves to think of others through prayer, we open ourselves up to the grace of God, and it is our responsibility to share that grace at every opportunity. May the blessings of God's love comfort you and heal the pain and fear that surrounds you.
    Amen.


  • April 27, 2020

    Submitted by Gerald McFadden, President & CEO, VOASW

    Oh Heavenly Father, as we your children seek comfort during times of peril, uncertainty and fear. Let your holy spirit abide within us and your protective mercy be upon us, as we seek safe harbor in your loving arms. Father strengthen us and let us take courage in knowing that Your rod and Your staff will comfort and protect us…..
    Amen



  • April 24, 2020

    Submitted by Nick Angeloff, Director of Ministry & Outreach, VOANR

  • April 23, 2020

    Submitted by Doug Kleinsmith, Volunteer and Donor, VOA-NCNN

    The present will soon pass and how we embrace it has the power to change everything.


  • April 22, 2020

    Submitted by Ev Lundgren, Chaplain, VOASW

    Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.


  • April 21, 2020

    Submitted by Kent Lacin, Board Member, VOA-NCNN

    "We do not possess our home, our children, or even our own body. They are only given to us for a short while to treat with care and respect."


  • April 20, 2020

    Submitted by Paulette Free, HR Generalist, VOA-NCNN

    We are all experiencing something different at this uncertain time. While we do life differently, one of the things we need to do is to intentionally stay connected even though we are apart. In this unusual season let's allow the work of the Holy Spirit to go deep, and let's continue to grow in our relationship and trust of our good, good Father. Intentionally choose FAITH over FEAR. Life is going to continue to be full of uncertainty, but when we choose faith over fear and we place our trust in God, we can live with security. That security doesn't mean we won't ever be hit by "life" and that everything will always feel great. But it does mean we won't have to walk through life alone. If God is for us and with us, we can get through anything that comes at us. Remember, others are watching how those of us who follow Jesus are responding during this time. What are they seeing by your actions, choices, and attitudes? I pray God gives you peace and comforts you with his security.


  • April 17, 2020

    Submitted by Lori Jacobwith, friend of VOA-NCNN

    Beautiful Words to Bring Hope & Peace

    With so much uncertainty, it feels like time for a moment of hope & peace. These beautiful words of wisdom were shared by a friend recently. May they give you the same hopefulness they gave me.

    "Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.

    Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely.

    It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.

    What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing.

    We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.”

    – Clarissa Pinkola Estés


  • April 16, 2020

    Submitted by Sherman Haggerty, Division Director, Employment Services, and Ordained Minister, VOA-NCNN

    "I slept and dreamt that life is all joy.
    I woke and saw that life was all service.
    I served and saw that service is joy."

    -Kahil Gibran


  • April 15, 2020

    Submitted by VOA-NCNN staff

    AND BE STEADFAST IN PRAYER;
    PRACTICE REGULAR CHARITY;
    AND BOW DOWN YOUR HEADS WITH THOSE WHO BOW DOWN (IN WORSHIP)


  • April 14, 2020

    Submitted and adapted by Rev. Sean Savoy

    From Ode 6 of the Odes of Solomon

    As the wind glides through the harp and the strings speak,
    So the Spirit of the Most High speaks through my members, and I speak through Their love.
    For They destroy whatever is alien, and everything is of the Most High.
    For thus it was from the beginning, and will be until the end.
    So that nothing shall be contrary, and nothing shall rise up against Them.
    The Most High has multiplied Their knowledge, and They were zealous that those things should be known which through Their grace have been given to us.
    And Their praise They gave us on account of Their name, our spirits praise Their Holy Spirit.
    For there went forth a stream, and it became a river great and broad; indeed it carried away everything, and it shattered and brought it to the Temple.
    And the barriers which were built by humans were not able to restrain it, nor even the arts of them who habitually restrain water.
    For it spread over the surface of all the earth, and it filled everything.
    Then all the thirsty upon the earth drank, and thirst was relieved and quenched;
    For from the Most High the drink was given.
    Blessed, therefore, are the ministers of that drink, who have been entrusted with that water.
    They have refreshed the parched lips, and have aroused the paralyzed will.
    Even living persons who were about to expire, they have held back from death.
    And limbs which have collapsed, they have restored and set up.
    They gave strength for their coming, and light for their eyes.
    Because everyone recognized them as the the Most High’s, and lived by the living water of eternity.
    Hallelujah.


  • April 13, 2020

    Submitted by Jill Fox, Director of Quality Assurance and Compliance, VOA-NCNN

    Without sun, there would be no light. Without light - only darkness. Sunlight literally keeps us alive. We literally could not live without it. During these uncertain times, let us be the light for others.


  • April 12, 2020

    Submitted by Leo McFarland, President and CEO, Commissioned Minister, VOA-NCNN

    It is April, the dawning of spring. Wherever you turn your glance, you can see the beauty of God’s handiwork in every blossom and freshly sprouted sprig. April is a time of rebirth and renewal, and for Christians, it is the holiest period of their faith journey. Easter, a time to wonder in the vibrant colors of the season. A time to walk with a child and touch and smell the newly formed blossoms. A time to decorate colorful eggs for the Sunday morning egg hunt. A time to gather as a community in prayer, a time to renew ones faith. Sometimes, as we are experiencing today, we are required to be a little more circumspect in gathering together as family. So Easter this year is like no other Easter in my lifetime or perhaps yours. True, the normal traditions of this time are being reimagined, but for a good reason. The health of the broader community requires a personal sacrifice, one we are all participating in. As emotionally painful as this is, it is also an opportune time to reacquaint ourselves with an often lost skill, that of reflection. What a more beautiful time than now to reflect on God’s abundant blessings. I started this message with a focus on the vibrancy of the Spring Season, I have a special legend that is attached to this season that I both take comfort in each year as well as anticipation, and it is attached to one of God’s great creations, the Dogwood Tree.

    Legend holds that the tree once grew like the great Oak Tree. Because it was so strong and sturdy, it was the wood used to build the cross on which Jesus was crucified. Because of its role in the crucifixion, it is said that God both cursed and blessed the tree. It was cursed to forever be small, with narrow and crooked branches, never to be good for building again.

    At the same time the tree was blessed so that it would produce beautiful flowers each spring, blossoming just in time for Easter. The petals of the dogwood actually form the shape of a cross, the middle of the Dogwood flower has a tight grouping resembling a “crown of thorns” and the tips of each petal are indented, as if they bear a nail dent. There are even colors in the petals that bring to mind the drops of blood that spilled during the crucifixion.

    For Christians, Good Friday is a time to prayerfully consider the ultimate sacrifice made on behalf of all mankind. Easter Sunday represents the fulfillment of Christ’s promise of the resurrection. May today be a time of deep reflection, focused on all the glory God has gifted us, and if possible, seek out and find a blossoming Dogwood Tree and remember for a moment, the sacrifice the Legend represents.

    God Bless you.


  • April 10, 2020

    SUBMITTED BY CHRISTIE HOLDEREGGER, CHIEF DEVELOPMENT OFFICER, AND COMMISSIONED MINISTER, VOA-NCNN

    “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

    Isaiah 53:5



  • April 9, 2020

    Submitted by Paulette Free, HR Generalist, VOA-NCNN

    There's a great verse I would like to share that says something simple yet powerful that we all can keep in our hearts and hold on to right now:

    "For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline."
    2 Timothy 1:7.

    God is our anchor, so we can anchor into Him as strong as we possibly can. He is guiding us through this day by day. Don't buy into the hysteria and panic, buy into the power of Christ and be diligent to study, read, and pray.


  • April 8, 2020

    Submitted by Sherman Haggerty, Division Director, Employment Services, and Ordained Minister, VOA-NCNN

    The Power of Kindness: Kindness is the instrument God uses to open the heart. It is the means God uses to transform fear, hardness, cruelty, and despair. It is the thing we are to bind around our neck and write deeply in our hearts (Pr. 3:3).

    There are three qualities to kindness: It deeply touches the heart, it is unexpected and it is undeserved. The heart of kindness is hospitality. Good hospitality welcomes with open arms and receives with pleasure and honors others with goodness. A heart open to suffering that receives an offering of kindness will know joy. Be kind to all today.


  • April 7, 2020

    Submitted by Melissa Aliotti, Board Chair, VOA-NCNN

    Each of us lives a singly independent life. We do not control what is outside ourselves, but in any given moment, we can control our reaction to our circumstances: In times of confusion, we can decide where to focus our attention; in times of despair we can find an opportunity for hope; and in times of darkness we can choose to be the light, if only just for ourselves and those around us.


  • April 6, 2020

    SUBMITTED BY ANA BANKERT, DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT, AND COMMISSIONED MINISTER, VOA-NCNN

    An incredible verse that gives me hope and a sense of positivity during this time of uncertainty is found in: 2 Timothy 1:7 and it says,

    "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." Another version of this verse says, "God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible."

    It is so easy to fall prey to fear. I almost guarantee that if I were to ask you to give me 3 things you are afraid of it would not take you long to list them. We are all facing challenges and fears that we have never thought possible which is why I think it is extremely important to be reminded of what we are all called to do according to this verse, and that is BE BOLD, LOVING and SENSIBLE.

    Be bold in the way you react to all the negative news coming your way. Find ways to take risks, be courageous for your family, neighbors and friends. This is a great time to put our selfless powers to the test.

    Be loving to those who need it most. There are many individuals in our circles of influence and the community at large that need our love more than ever. Find ways to show that love in a creative way. An example I saw on social media was, if you have extra toilet paper, hand sanitizer or paper towels, leave them out for your delivery drivers with a note to help themselves."

    Be sensible. There has never been a better time for us all to practice sensibility, not load up our carts with unnecessary supplies and food; and listen to state and local mandates as they relate to social distancing. This truly helps and protects all of us.

    I strongly believe that when we replace fear with, WHAT CAN I DO FOR OTHERS, our anxiety will slowly go away and we will have a newfound purpose during this unprecedented time we are living in. It would be a shame for us to come out of this without learning something, maybe it is time for us to relearn what it means to take care of thy neighbor and be there for one another.


  • April 3, 2020

    Submitted by Ev Lundgren, Chaplain, VOASW

    Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on my weakness, and mercifully give me those things which for my unworthiness I dare not, and for my blindness I cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
    Amen


  • April 2, 2020

    Submitted by Sherman Haggerty, Division Director, Employment Services, and Ordained Minister, VOA-NCNN

    I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.
    (Jeremiah 29:11)


  • April 1, 2020

    Submitted by Kent Lacin, Board Member, VOA-NCNN

    "Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of a candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared."


  • March 31, 2020

    Submitted by John Orr, Board Member, VOA-NCNN

    We have an opportunity, hunkered down as we are, weathering through this coronavirus crisis, to consider the common bond of sisterhood and brotherhood that we have from our Creator. This disease shows how equal, and vulnerable, we all are. So while we have all this time to regroup and reflect, may we remember that we are one humanity. The miracle in this is that we are all unique, each an original. It is something to be celebrated, not shied away from or to be feared. Diversity! Thank God for diversity, in all creation, and in each person whose path we cross.


  • March 30, 2020

    Submitted by Leo McFarland, President and CEO, Commissioned Minister, VOA-NCNN

    Faith, during troubled times, binds us together. A shared Faith empowers the soul to persevere through the loneliness and fear of chaotic times. Prayerfulness quiets the heart and allows for a clearer vision of the path to redemption. Faith is the foundation for all that is promising, even when the promise is obscured by darkness. Let us pray together for all who are suffering and living in fear. Let God’s message of eternal salvation and peace flow from us to comfort all in need. Ever prayerful, ever kind, ever mindful, of God’s glorious love.