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Do not be afraid. Just have faith. Mark 5:36

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Offer It Up August 31st

James 1:22

Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.

If you want this to work, you have to do it exactly like I tell you to do it or it won’t work.

Follow this recipe to the teaspoon and you will really enjoy the tastiest cookies ever!

Even though you may know of a shortcut, it’s better that you take this route because that way is under construction and you can’t get through.

Guys, each of you has to do your job on this play and every play of the game. Not just on the plays you want. Not just on the plays that are on your side of the field. But on each and every play.

How many times does it happen that we get instructions to do something and we look at them and say ‘That’ll never work! I can do this way and be just fine.’

‘That much sugar in such a small batch? Not for me… I’ll just put in half that amount.’

‘I know an even better and quicker way to get there and we can save a lot of time.’

‘The play is going to the other side of the field… I don’t have block over here this time… I can relax a bit and catch my breath…’

Someone always has a better idea or a better way or thinks they can get by with just a little less than their best at any given time. Short cuts, ‘my ways’, and ‘new and improved’ often turn out to be a lot less productive, a lot less tastier, and a lot less practical in life’s lessons and experiences. Even though directions were given, we chose to do something else in spite of what we knew would work.

Through Scripture, we have been given our own instructions and we still choose to do those things we know won’t work. The good news of the Good News, we can stand before God and ask for mercy and forgiveness when we find ourselves off track. Through reconciliation, we can fully accept the love and acceptance He has for us all. Listen, hear, be, do, have.

James 1:2-5

Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it.

Offer It Up August 30th

Psalm 25:4-6
Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long.

Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.

At a high school graduation commencement a number of years ago, the valedictorian spoke succinctly and bravely about the future for his class. He first thanked God for the grace and mercy for all that He did to get the class to where they were. He thanked his family and the other families on behalf of the students there for their help and guidance along the way to this moment in their lives. He thanked the teachers, staff, coaches and friends along the path who contributed to the development of their education—what they chose to keep and what they left behind.

From there, the tune changed a bit. As much as he and the salutatorian and other students with consideration for the honors had learned and will continue to learn; as much as all the students had learned individually and collectively from the books and lessons and papers and tests; however much that was—and it was a lot—whatever it was that they gathered in common sense and the experience of life will pay off more for them because of the company they kept and the people they will come to know.

It has been said that it is not sometimes what you know but who you know that can get things done. It has also been said that you are known by the company you keep. And if you were to relate that to how we go about our lives and how it is that we come to learn things from others, don’t we learn them from others, the very people we ‘hang out’ with? Look at the disciples. They were a rag-tag bunch of guys that when they were brought together with Jesus the Christ, look how their lives began to change… all from the company they were keeping.

He chose them to follow Him. They responded to His call. Every day we are given the same opportunity to respond to similar calls—who are we going to follow? Who are we going to hang out with today? Or would you be the type of company someone else would choose to hang out with? Would that someone be Jesus?

Psalm 25:11-14

For your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great.
Who are they that fear the Lord? He will teach them the way that they should choose.

They will abide in prosperity, and their children shall possess the land.
The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes his covenant known to them.

Offer It Up August 29th

Philippians 2:14-15

Do everything without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent … in the midst of a crookedand perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world

The Thumper Principle

How many of us recall seeing the movie ‘Bambi’? From Disney, a beautiful movie, a love story of sorts and a lesson on living for people of all ages. Watching it with children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or family and friends, you can almost recite the lines from many of the characters in the film.

Of those lines, you may recall one that I refer to as the Thumper Principle or Thumper Law. When you find yourself talking with others about others and the conversation begins to turn to a negative slant, it would be a good time to invoke said principle:

If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.

You can say even more sometimes with the words left unsaid than with the ones you do speak. When Jesus was speaking about the Bread of Life, there were those that found it hard to believe and they had their own things to say about him.

John 6:43

Stop murmuring among yourselves.

He knew there were unbelievers then. He knows that today. He also knows that there are those He has chosen to carry out what needs to be done to help those who do not believe. Each day, we make a choice to help not only those He puts in our paths but ourselves to further deepen our faith and help our own ‘unbelief.’ With the words we speak of truth and trust and of love and compassion and the very actions to go with them, our lives will begin to change and those around us will be impacted by that change. We pray they can grow with us.

So stop the murmuring and the complaining about and among yourselves. People will do what they want to do. Make the commitment to do what is right.

Offer It Up August 28th

John 15:1-2

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful."

I don’t know how many times I have read or heard this verse in reference but it is just recently that I have noticed that it is both types of branches that get pruned. For the longest time, in my own reading and listening, I would read or understand it to be that the branches that bear no fruit—those of no use, of sin and evil—would be cut away as being against the will and plan of God. For sure they would bring pain as anything that goes against what we want, or think we want anyway, would bring about some sort of discomfort if not outright misery and unhappiness. Necessary but painful nonetheless. Ouch.

Now I come to find out, after a bout of common sense came over me momentarily, that pruning can also be a good thing in that a vine can bear even more fruit if done so properly and in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing. The pain and discomfort will still be there but with growth and maturity, that is something we can accept and learn to live with. If we don’t accept it, the alternative is a lot worse… a hell of a lot worse. I'm sure you get the picture.

It ain’t about the ‘us’, the branches; it is about the ‘them’, the fruit. Given the choice, and we are given it every day, whose hands would you want the pruners in then—your own or God’s?

John 15:5-9

I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.

Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.

By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love.

Offer It Up August 27th

Ecclesiastes 3:10-15

I have considered the task which God has appointed for men to be busied about.

He has made everything appropriate to its time, and has put the timeless into their hearts, without men's ever discovering, from beginning to end, the work which God has done. I recognized that there is nothing better than to be glad and to do well during life.

For every man, moreover, to eat and drink and enjoy the fruit of all his labor is a gift of God. I recognized that whatever God does will endure forever; there is no adding to it, or taking from it. Thus has God done that he may be revered.

What now is has already been; what is to be, already is; and God restores what would otherwise be displaced.

Just what has God appointed us to do? Just to be ‘busied about?’ What the heck does that mean?

Like a lot of single verses in Scripture, taken by themselves, I can’t quite get a handle on them. Yet when I read them again and read what is with them and around them, I get a clearer picture of what could be going on. From ‘busied about’ to ‘appropriate to its time’ to ‘the work which God has done’, I get the sense and feeling and knowledge that God has The Plan and I need to get with that plan and stay with it. If I needed additional assurance of such,

I recognized that there is nothing better than to be glad and to do well during life.

Given the choice, what else is there? And He has given us that option, that gift rather, of free will. All that is here is gift, right? Do you really think you had much to do with it to begin with? If you had much of a thought like that, try making your own dirt some day. Or your own air. See how far you get.

Do well with what you have. God wants it that way. Even with the trials and hassles and the suffering. We live and we grow. Our hearts are strengthened as our love is deepened for Him through a life of faith, hope and trust.

Offer It Up August 26th

Isaiah 41:6-7, 9-10

Each one helps the other, saying to one another, ‘Take courage!’
The artisan encourages the goldsmith, and the one who smoothes with the hammer encourages the one who strikes the anvil, saying of the soldering, ‘It is good’; and they fasten it with nails so that it cannot be moved.

‘You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off’; do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

Take courage. Sure.

Often times way tougher to actually practice if you keep hammering your thumb every time you go strike the anvil… or maybe it’s your friend that keeps moving the board about the time you get set to drive the nail. Yet with God as our ‘anvil’, our anchor, our corner post on which we build our trust, let us not be moved from the strength of our faith.

He has chosen us to do His good works. Right now, that work may seem a bit overwhelming if not completely and utterly useless. So what? He tells us to have faith and do not fear. Whose strength do you need more of—yours of this earth or His of eternal power and glory? We cannot do it on our own, have never done it on our own, and will never do it on our own, no matter how much we think we can, have or will.

There is no time like the present to ask for His guidance even if you have just asked for it. Keep in mind that He is mindful of all that we need.

Hebrews 4:16

So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.

Offer It Up August 25th

Pray without ceasing.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.

Prayer can be a constant thing throughout a day. Whether it is work related, church related or whatever related. It can be and should be a good call on our part to keep it in our paths and journeys if not constantly, at least as often as we can when something happens to remind us to pray.

Here is an easy one: you open your eyes for another day, what’s the first thing you should do? Even before checking for morning breath and even before you find your way to that first jolt of caffeine be it coffee or tea or diet Coke, give Him thanks that He chose you to carry His message forth again... You have clothes to wear and a place to live, give Him the glory and honor He deserves as we truly had little to do with it in the first place... The water is at the temperature you prefer as you practice your ‘cleanliness is next to Godliness’ hygiene, give Him a prayer of thanks that the water heater and plumbing are working.

Pray for the health of others, mental, physical, emotional or spiritual. Hearing a siren, pray for that emergency crew and where they are going and for those that they are responding to. Passing a church, pray for the souls that worship there and the shepherd that leads them... you hear gossip, pray that you stop it and not pass it on... you share a meal, thank Him for the blessings you have that you are about to share... you finish a meal, thank Him that there was enough for you to feel sated. The ways to pray are as endless as are the paths to His glory. Prayer with scripture; scripture as prayer. The Lord’s Prayer. Your own prayer. Pray for others. Pray for us.

1 Thessalonians 5:13-15

Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the faint-hearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all.

Finding more time and ways to pray will make everything else we do less complicated. As prayer changes things, it also changes us. We become rested, not restless. Content, not discontent. We are growing on a journey that builds a life through the peace and joy that only He can give. All through prayer.

Oh, another easy one for you right before you go to sleep-tell Him thanks for keeping up with you and that whatever His will be for you tomorrow, you’re okay with that too.

1 Thessalonians 5:23-25

May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.

Beloved, pray for us.

And another thing…

Fifteen years ago yesterday, John Bindel, Sr., our Dad and Grandfather and friend, left his prayerful life on this earth to share it and enjoy a more joyful life with God, His angels and His saints, for His eternal rest in God’s heavenly kingdom. It was he who led us to and brought us to and taught us our prayerful ways today. He and our mother were devoted and devout believers, with Mom still praying and ‘Walking and talking and praising the Lord, what else is there?’ today.

Thank you Dad, for all you left us. Our lives and the lives we touch continue to draw on our own strength and belief and faith because of your direction and steadfast belief, your strength and support, from the trust and love and devotion you showed us as you lived for our One True God and Father, Jesus Christ.

You did well as a faithful servant. If only we should do so well to leave such a Christ-centered legacy. We love you and miss you and know you are in God's eternal light.

Offer It Up August 24th

Happy Birthday Stephanie!

Joshua 24:15

As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.

Have you ever heard this or something like it before?

“It is impossible for any woman to love her children twenty-four hours a day.”

I don’t know who said that but whoever it was obviously did not know Stephanie. She pours out and pores over the ways of love for not just her children and her family but for everyone. To see her and to know her is to realize fully God’s love, through His Son, is not something He sent just for her or for others. She actively takes The Word to heart and to others, using words if necessary, mostly through her way of life and example.

Not only speaking but acting the truth in love, Stephanie has shown and given her heart as family, shared her heart in friendship, and most importantly, opened her heart for God’s love and grace to accept His blessings—everyday. How true and wonderful it is that the love of a family is one of life’s greatest blessings. Wrapped inside, there are even more…  

The love of a husband… and for him.

The love of children… and for them (24/7, 365).

The love of brothers and sisters… and for them, no matter what.

The love only parents can give… and the love only a child can return.

The love extended by grandparents… and the special bond of love formed by


It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons.

Johann Schiller

To modify or paraphrase the above quote, it is the heart indeed that makes us all family, fathers, sons, mothers and daughters and beyond. Stephanie goes above and beyond and can make family out of friends and friends out of family. She earned it and learned it well, humbly and gracefully. Her father and his father both had some similar tendencies so I guess there are some genetics to be considered… if such a trait could be passed on through the genes. If not, she certainly came by it through their examples of how they lived their lives.

And so it goes with Stephanie. And her husband. Her brothers. Her mother. And the rest of her family. And her friends. Living life as God intended us live it—filling the lives of others with the love of God, all the while knowing that this life is not about us but about what we do for others.

Happy Birthday, Stephanie. You mean so much to me-and a few other folks I would guess. Yet you mean so much more to God that He brought you here to share your love and life and home with us. And God means so much to you that someday He will take you to His home to share it all with Him.

I love you a lot.

You favorite uncle... d

Isaiah 54:13

All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.

Offer It Up August 23rd

John 6:67–68

Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Some days, if not most, we move along, content and complacent with our proverbial lot in life. At least we’re that way as long as everything is going our way, right? We are, or could be, lulled into a false sense of security and our guard may be down for that instant and before you know it, life is not so much fun and games. Satan has slipped a trap on our foot and hung us out to dry, so to speak.

Some days, there are those battles bigger than others. Some days, the battles are little more than skirmishes, if that. Some days, those battles turn into an all-out war it seems. What happens when that battle or battles appear? Or they quickly turn into something harder to handle? We often wonder how did this or that happen? Where did I make a mistake? What did I do wrong?

Too much of an ‘I’ problem usually gets us into the battles to begin with. We forget that Jesus is there always, battles, storms or not. Life is great and all is well as long as the sun is shining and the seas are calm; we can all pretty much handle that. It’s when things get stormy and we can’t see the port as the waves are taller than the boat we’re in that we really ought to have our utmost trust in Him. It is when the fun and games are done and the hard times are upon us, that is our time to stand with Him.

Early on, some of His disciples couldn’t handle the truth and chose to leave. He has given us free will; trust and believe that by following Him, there is no other way.

Job 42:1-2

Then Job answered the Lord and said: I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.

For the Eternal Rest of Dolores Martini-We Pray To The Lord.

Offer It Up August 22nd

John 6:66-67

Because Jesus said, "My body is real food and my blood is real drink, many would no longer follow him. So he asked the twelve disciples, "And you--would you also like to leave?"

Ever go to the movies? Or rent one and watch one at home? You probably have like many of us and have done one or the other. You hear this good thing about it or that it has this star in it or this is the plot and that is what makes you decide to go see it. That or your spouse or significant other says that is what you are going to see.

As easy as it may seem for the actors to do what they do, the really good actors that is, they do a lot to put themselves into the roles they play. Studying the parts, the scenes, the characters, the depth of the entire movie—what they do becomes so much a part of their lives, they often end up actually living their roles outside the set of the movie! Spending months on their roles and on the sets, they commit themselves to becoming that person, living the life they lived while on the set and practicing it while off it. They want to do their best for the movie and for us for our entertainment.

How close are we to having that same commitment to our faith? To following the life of Jesus and modeling our lives after His? Can we do as the disciples did and make our commitment of love and faith and trust to follow Him? For the record, this is not a dress rehearsal sort of deal we are living now. Fortunately, through the beauty of His mercy and grace, God does let us have some retakes along the way. After that, It’s up to us to live our 'role' even more like Him.

Proverbs 3:1-3

Do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments;

for length of days and years of life and abundant welfare will they give you.

Never let go of loyalty and faithfulness. Tie them around your neck; write them on your heart.

Offer It Up August 21st

Psalm 27: 3-5

Though an army encamp against me,

my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me,

yet I will be confident.

One thing I asked of the Lord,

that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the Lord

all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord,

and to inquire in his temple.

For he will hide me in his shelter

in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;

he will set me high on a rock.

There are so many makeover concepts and shows these days about making people and their things into something they are not, or maybe they want to become. Not that they are all bad in themselves but just when is enough, enough?

Biggest losers for weight loss, home makeovers, bathroom redos, trucks redone, yards replanted—the list is endless. As soon as one loses its appeal, another one comes along that takes its place, just when you think they could not possibly come up with anything else as mundane as the last one. It would be of little surprise, to me anyway, to see a show about a makeover of a makeover… ‘whatever you can do, I can do better’ sort of thing. (Hey, that just might work!)

The point to this—and I am getting to it—is that we could all use some help in our lives as to what we want ‘redone’ but it is not going to be fully accomplished with 'things’. It can only be accomplished with a focus on God our Father. And surrender and trust to and in Him. Paul was ‘made over’ on his way to Damascus. We know Peter was ‘redone’ a number of times. Look at Moses and the Israelites. They too had their own makeovers as well. What was different about them? Their focus changed. It went from the troubles and fears and things of this world to the beauty and life and love in the shelter of His temple.

A realtor friend always states the three keys to a successful business are location, location, location. She also states the keys to one’s faith and trust and salvation are focus, focus, and more focus. Change your focus if it needs. Or maybe fine tune it some. You might find that your own 'makeover' or conversion will be one you can live with, without all the other stuff to go with it.

Offer It Up August 20th

2 Chronicles 7:14-15

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place.

When was the last time you were wronged by someone? Either in a very large and hurtful way or in a way that was not so painful? You may have had a reaction that bordered on revenge or vengeance at first and then with a bit of thought and prayer, you stepped back and looked at the situation again and only wanted them to burn in purgatory, not hell as you first had wished.

Here is a thought: what if you were to forgive that someone before they even had a chance to ask for your forgiveness? What if you were to let that pain go before they could get back to you (if they were to do so in the first place) and get on with your journey and walk with Christ? What if you were well on your way to number seventy-seven or even beyond, for the times you were forgiving someone? Imagine the grace, the love, and the power of God’s mercy when you let that go, through your words and your actions. Note-words and actions.

Forgiveness is from the heart. Jesus wants us to follow Him and to do so we must learn to forgive others as He forgives us. He forgives us before we even pray and ask for His mercy. His love for us is so great and we are so unworthy yet there He is, filling our lives with all that He is. Faith. Hope. Charity. Love. To bring all of these together is to bring us as one into union with God our Father, with a forgiving and loving heart for those who have wronged us.

Oh yeah, that’s right—He never said it would be easy to do; He did say that it would be worth it.

That is His promise.

Colossians 3:12-13

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Offer It Up August 19th

Assurance of God’s Protection

Hebrews 4:16

So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.

We all have been taught to pray for others and to give thanks and praise for all we have. There are some that feel that praying for one’s self is selfish and that God would think it foolhardy to hear such from us. Maybe if your prayer is overly focused on yourself and happen to be self-centered, (i.e. your wants instead of needs,) instead of Christ-centered, yes, that could lead to some concerns.

Many of us feel more comfortable praying for others than we do praying for ourselves. If we pray more for others, then there will be others that will pray more for us. I like that way of prayer and thinking and it works. Yet there are times when we do have to offer our own prayers for our own help and our own direction. Surely there have been those times of ‘foxhole religion’ when you may have been going over the speed limit and you offered up a quick prayer that the highway patrol chose not to put on his or her lights and come after and give you a ticket; or that in those days of English tests or final exams, you would say a few prayers over a few questions as you ‘swagged’ (scientifically guessed) at a few multiple choice answers.

If you ever had or ever do come to doubt that we should not pray for ourselves, pray the prayer we have been taught by Jesus. It is a blueprint on how we should pray every day. We praise our God our Father in Heaven. We pray that we follow His Will here as we will do so in His Eternal Kingdom. We ask for the sustenance—both for our souls and bodies—to get through this day, not tomorrow or the next, so that we can become more like Him.

Here is where it gets tough for me and maybe for you—the forgiveness petition. If there was ever a prayer for yourself, this is it. ‘Forgive me of my sins.’ So that as they are forgiven, we get to forgive others who have hurt us, yet another difficult stretch for us. Then we ask Him to keep us from temptation and from the snares of the devil.

Amen. So be it. Thank you Lord. I can’t do it on my own.

Psalm 91:1-2

You who live in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress;
my God, in whom I trust.

Offer It Up August 18th

Philippians 4:8-9

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Have you ever had a cut on your hand or arm or someplace and you sort of brushed it off as nothing too big to be concerned about? Maybe you were cutting some tree limbs and you scratched your arm and you thought nothing of it for a day or two. Or maybe you had been carrying around a cold for a couple of days, thinking it would be going away as quickly as it came on. And yet the sniffles and the bit of the headache continued. Both the cut and the cold as they are may seem like to be no big deals. But left alone without some sort of care or attention to them, what can happen?

Without being tended to, there is not much good that can happen. Without taking the time to see to it that once the damage has been done, you take steps to prevent even more, or in the best case scenario, start the healing process., infection can set in and lead to even greater problems. The cut starts to get infected and gets redder and tender and the cold turns into fever, sore throat and body aches. The body starts to reject whatever it is that is not good as it tries to stay healthy.

Isaiah 26:3-4

A nation of firm purpose you keep in peace; in peace, for its trust in you.

Trust in the LORD forever! For the LORD is an eternal Rock.

Satan works a lot like those cuts and colds and the infections that can come with them if you haven’t noticed. We may not realize that we are that close to slipping up but he does. And the longer we take in getting ourselves back to where we need to be—treating the cut or the cold—the easier it is for him to make his presence known and shown. A little worry and anxiety here. Some grudge carrying there. And a bag of unforgiveness over there. Not to mention the trash from the past we have piled up in the garage.

With all this or even some of this taking place, it isn’t necessary to sever your arm to heal the cut or to cut off the nose to stop the drip, drip, drip. Usually, proper medication will take its course to clean things up. Likewise, the sooner you send Satan packing, the less baggage you have to carry and the better you will feel. To do so won’t take more than what you probably already know: keep your focus on God and keep your attitude prayerful. Do things in a positive light. And surround yourself as much as you can with like-minded and right minded people… like yourself. Before you know it, the cut is cured, the cold is gone and all is right in God’s world, including you and yours.

Romans 8:28-30

We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified.

Offer It Up August 17th

The Meaning of Faith

Hebrews 11:1-3

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.

So that’s what faith is huh?

Is yours that kind of faith? Believe in stuff you don’t see?

Or is yours the kind of faith one has when they go into the darkness of one’s own home, knowing where the furniture is so you don’t stub your toe or trip and fall? It’s a kind of faith you might have that works pretty well for you as long as no one has rearranged the furniture or left something in your way or you forgot about the toolbox you left in the hallway. And if you happen to run into some of the obstacles, so much for the faith you had in yourself, right? Bummer.

According to Merriam-Webster, here are some other words associated ‘faith’-

Allegiance. Loyalty. Fidelity. Sincerity. Promise. Firm belief.

Complete trust.

And if we were to further define faith, here is what else M-W has to allow:

1 a: allegiance to duty or a person :loyaltyb (1) : fidelity to one's promises (2) : sincerity of intentions

2a: belief and trust in and loyalty to God

2b: firm belief in something for which there is no proof.

So much for the darkness of your own home and knowing where the furniture is. The faith God wants us to have is about stepping into His Light and knowing and trusting that He will lead us where He wants us to go. May not be the way we thought we would be headed or what we wanted but when we put our lives in His hands, that is when complete trust takes over. Even if there are obstacles-and there will be-it is His promise to us see us through.

1 John 5:3-4

For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith.

Offer It Up August 16th

Luke 9: 23-24

Then he said to them all, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.

I don’t fish very often-can’t remember the last time I went fishing to really go fishing as a matter of fact-but that is not going to keep me from writing about fishing today. Because it happens every time you go out to fish, whether it’s me or you or someone else: you put off in a boat toward the middle of the lake and you cast back toward the dam as close as you can get. Why? Well, that’s where the fish are. And the guys on the dam-what are they doing? They are casting out as far toward the center of the lake as far as they can. And they're doing that because? Cuz that’s where the fish are, of course.

Huh. What’s going on here? An exercise in futility? Redundancy? Or is it something else? Of course they all want to catch the ‘big one’ that seems to always get away. And it might be that they’re also looking for something they can’t find where they are. Something akin to the grass being greener on the other side of the fence but since they’re at a lake, well maybe the water is a bit bluer or something where ever it is they want to cast. The fish aren’t biting, they get bored, so they fish in another spot... are you getting the picture? Or do you think you already got it and know what’s next?

This boredom is often what leads people to want to do something different—hopefully something better—with their lives. That something different, that ‘change’ they want, can be problematic, especially when done without direction and without surrender. It will take patience and trust and more of that surrender to the Will and Way of God’s love and mercy. And through our communication with Him through our prayer life, through scripture and through living His Word, we can come to learn and live more of that change and experience a transformation that will last a lifetime on this earth into an eternity with Him in Heaven. He made the first disciples, fishermen, fishers of men. He can make today’s fisherman a disciple in much the same way, where ever it is he casts.

Matthew 4:18-20

As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him.

Offer It Up August 15th

2 Peter 3.14-18

Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given to him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, beware that you are not carried away with the error of the lawless and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.


Have you ever asked someone how they were doing and the reply you heard was something along the lines of ‘Oh, doing okay—SSDD—same shtuff, different day.’

And if you think about what they said, most days, are pretty much the same really. The only difference being that they are separated only by lines on the paper that we use as a calendar. Just look at them: they all end with the letter ‘y’, they all start with a consonant; there are always at least 28 of them in every month; and they all have 24 hours in them … see? Amazing. And they are ALWAYS in that same order! But I digress.

Maybe something then has been missing in the life of that person who looks at their days that way. Nothing against continuity and stability. Good things to have, especially in today’s economy. Yet when I hear that sort of reply, I get the sense that there is little if any excitement or joy or even passion going on in or with that person. Doesn’t have to be a permanent condition they are feeling or going through. May or may not be. The point is, they can have that right be as complacent as they want to be, but why would they? Why would they when given the gift of free will to pray and the result of that prayer and devotion would make a difference in how they see their world? Maybe with a few small steps each day, they would begin to see a difference in the way the world was around them. Maybe with a prayer or two to start and end the day, maybe the day would not be so much the same gray day as yesterday. Maybe?

Prayer does change things. Faith moves mountains. His love endures forever. It only takes a few small steps each day to make a difference in faith and prayer. God’s love for us will always endure and we should give Him thanks and praise for that because we are nothing without that love. Progress is better than being stagnant. And with prayer, progress can be made and complacency left behind. Trust in His plan and way.

Oh—that SSDD thing. It may mean one thing to some but next time you hear someone say ‘same stuff, different day’, it can also mean that even ‘small steps can make a daily difference’. (I agree that it might be a bit trite, but it can work for some of us.)

Offer It Up August 14th

Wisdom for Living

Some daily wisdom

We have all seen lists on how to do this better and how to do that better and how to make this better and those lists include living and praying and some even include how to die better. What this one offers is none of that really. What it does do is let you see for yourself what taking in a little ‘air’ time can do for you. By ‘air’ I mean slowing down enough to breathe in the air of God’s presence and be with Him as He is with us throughout the day. The list is from a talk by the late Fr. Jim Babb, SJ, from a retreat in March of 2000. We’ve added the suggestions below each item in the list.

1)Pray / be silent at least thirty minutes each day and if you are really busy do it for an hour.

This one has been attributed to St. Francis or Augustine. It works. The minutes don’t have be to consecutive. Maybe in blocks of ten or fifteen minutes would do, especially if you find out early on that the day is getting away from you.

2)Exercise a little each day

Anything here will help, especially when anything is more than what you are doing already. Take stairs instead of an elevator. Walk a block instead driving it. (Be mindful of the heat-it gets hot in some places.) Get up and stretch at your desk if you have to and do some jumping jacks. You’ll get some energy going and people looking at you at the same time!

3)Read a little each day - something that challenges your mind.

And something that stretches your mind as well. Get your mind out of its comfort zone as you would your body with exercise. Reading is definitely a great way to do it as are puzzles, mind games and the like. Use it or lose as it is said often.

4)Do something just because you want to each day.

This is a fun one but one that should be noted with caution: be nice and be good to yourself so that when you are done with what you wanted to do, you can look back and say, ‘Thank you, God. That was good.’

5)Eat & drink in moderation

In all things, moderation is the key. Recently, my boss asked why I was not eating at lunch and I came back with something like ‘Uh, I’m fasting… yeah, that’s it. Fasting.’ No, he didn’t buy it either. We have to take care of our body so that we can take care of others and the things God wants us to do for Him. Hence, feed ourselves and do so in moderation.

At the end of the day, the list above won’t be the guarantee that all will have gone well for you. It may have made the day something easier to go through. And by the time you get to your bed and are thanking God for bringing you to rest for another night, realize then that God is with us all through the day and night and that should there be that chance tomorrow, He will be there with us then.

Philippians 4:8-9

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you

Offer It Up August 13th

Matthew 18:19-20

Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

When was it that you last had that moment or even moments of fullness of the Spirit? That you knew, for as certain as one could know through one’s faith, that Jesus was with you and among you?

From a recent homily, a priest shared with us from Matthew’s gospel—“where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am in the midst of them.” He asked if that ‘fullness’ or presence was known, was it at a wedding or the birth of a child? Or was it at the funeral of the death of a loved one? Or was it even yesterday, last week or last Sunday at mass or at church?

You didn’t miss it, did you? Or has it been so long ago that you forgot what it was like? All those very important ‘things’ of life that have kept you busy enough and thinking enough that whatever it was God was trying to get through to you was bouncing around the radio tower but was never clear enough to get through all your interference.

It’s not too late to find that fullness and hear what He is calling out to you. It could even be happening today. With scripture. With prayer. With the sacraments. And with Him.

And when it does—even if it has happened recently or not so recently— whenever and where ever it was, recall that joy and peace that was within you at that particular time. Hold on to it. Store it away as you would store away love and peace and wisdom and knowledge. There will be a time when it will be needed. There may even come a time when it may be all you have. That is when you truly will find out just how fully present His love is for you. And that will be something you won’t want to miss. db

Offer It Up August 12th

Deuteronomy 31:8

It is the LORD who marches before you; he will be with you and will never fail you or forsake you.
So do not fear or be dismayed.

When Moses spoke to his people as they prepared to cross the Jordan, he said that he had done what God had called him to do and that they would cross into the Promised Land without him. Imagine what was going through their minds as word spread about the camps; their leader for all these years was leaving them to their own ways to make it across as he had done what God had willed. Now God was ready to bring him home, to His Promised Land. Who would lead them? Who would take such a people and continue—no, finish—what Moses had brought them to?

They may have had the first rendition of good news/bad news as we have come to know it today. Or to them, the news would have been flip-flopped in that the bad news came first; no Moses, no leader. Then the good news, the really good news:

It is the Lord who marches before you

Moses was all God’s. With all that he did for the Israelites, even with all the moaning and grumbling and as close as he was to giving up, he succeeded in bringing them to their Promised Land. And here he was, about to hand them over into the hands of God. How much better can the news be than that? Who better to have leading a life for any one of us?

Are our lives much different than the Israelites? Do we sometimes find ourselves looking for the next great thing only to find out we were next to it all along? Next to and living in God’s kingdom here on earth? Let that soak in for a while so that the fear and dismay can subside. And when it does, realize just how much He has in store for us all when we live in the joy, peace and abundance of His love. db

Offer It Up August 11th

Galatians 6:7-10

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

You’ve seen them; the God-mockers. The ones who venture into the unknown on their own, with their seeds of destruction sown. Yup, that’s them. Life in the fast lane while they’re running with the devil on the highway to hell. (Got any more 70’s classic rock titles to mix in?) Having been one who’s sown those seeds and driven that road, I will attest to the truth that God indeed cannot be mocked. As one must not become weary doing good, I became way weary of not doing so much good. And upon occasion, I tire of it still.

Grace fully, God is there to take me back. He is there to take us all back; our broken and humble selves. It is up to us to ask for His forgiveness through reconciliation and our sincere repentance. He opens His heart to take in ours in His love and mercy. He does not want us to give up. We get yet another opportunity. And another. Still another. Because we are believers and we are His children, His family.

How many times will we get these opportunities to keep doing good? Who knows? But who wants to take that chance of reaping destruction when the alternative is so much better? Don’t be that guy. Or girl. Be who God wants you to be and live in such a way you won’t miss a chance to do His Will. db

Isaiah 40:31

...but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Offer It Up August 10th

Happy Birth Day, Jackson Reeves!

Ephesians 2:1, 4-5, 7-10

You were dead in your transgressions and sins… But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, brought us to life with Christ

… that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast.

For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.

Like it or not, we were, and still can be to a great extent, (or at least in part), dead in our transgressions and sins. And yet we go on living and loving, and laughing and crying, and existing with our sets of ideas and plans that sometimes work with God’s and often times don’t line up with His. It’s when they don’t match up with what we want or think we should have that we find ourselves regressing or even sometimes, dare we say, transgressing ourselves into a less than loving life of God’s grace and mercy. Going our own way, choosing our paths, not those that are going along His Way and of His Will.

If you don’t think that’s true, think back to the last time you really did something on your own.

Time’s up. We all know we don’t do anything on our own. All that we have is a gift of His grace and His mercy. All that is planned for us is a result of that gift and nothing to do with what we have done, are doing or will do. Yes, it helps that our faith is an active and living faith as we are all created for such. Yet all that we ever will be is from God and we owe it to Him to give not only Him our best but others the same as we do for Him. We are all made in His image, right? db

Ephesians 3:20-21

Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine, by the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Offer It Up August 9th

Stop murmuring among yourselves.

John 6:41-51
The Jews murmured about Jesus because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven, ”
and they said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother?
Then how can he say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
Jesus answered and said to them, “Stop murmuring among yourselves.
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day.
It is written in the prophets: They shall all be taught by God.
Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.
Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father.
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life.
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”

Remember the commercial from a few years ago, about getting your car repaired and the guy said ‘You can pay me now or pay me later.’ (Okay so it was more than a few years ago, more like a generation ago then.) The point was if you didn’t take care of your vehicle if you had the opportunity—given the choice to do so (think here free will and good choices)—you would have more to take care of later if you chose to pass on that opportunity (think not so good choices of free will).

What does Jesus offer us in the Bread of Life? Is He not offering us now a way for us to choose a better life with our free will—‘pay’ Him now for all He has given us through His love, mercy and grace—or do we choose to ignore the warning signs and make those choices that lead us away from Him?

We are called everyday to choose our paths. Yes, it’s a challenge. But one that is worth the effort and the cost. Living in this manner will almost certainly deepen the relationship we have with others in love and faith. Together we can become even closer with Him, thanking Him and ‘paying’ Him now for all He has taught us and given us through His grace. db

Offer It Up August 8th

Matthew 17:14-20
A man came up to Jesus, knelt down before him, and said, “Lord, have pity on my son, who is a lunatic and suffers severely; often he falls into fire, and often into water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.”
Jesus said in reply,
“O faithless and perverse generation, how long will I be with you?
How long will I endure you? Bring the boy here to me.”
Jesus rebuked him and the demon came out of him, and from that hour the boy was cured.
Then the disciples approached Jesus in private and said, “Why could we not drive it out?”
He said to them, “Because of your little faith. Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed,
you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Do you get the impression that Jesus might have been a bit exasperated (and I would presume righteously so) with what the disciples were asking him? Somewhat like an employee coming back to her or his boss yet again, a third or fourth time to ask ‘Now how do you want me to do that again?’ You can almost see the eyes start to roll back along the head start to shake as He begins His reply…

Matthew 17:17

O faithless and perverse generation, how long will I be with you?

From there, just like many an impatient boss would do, ‘Just bring it to me and let me do it, will you? I really don’t have time to go through this again.’

As an employee, maybe it was in the way they heard and understood the instructions that it didn’t get done the first time. And the second go-around, well the employee thought maybe they knew enough on their own and could do it their way and get it done. And so it goes; maybe the third time it was pretty close to getting done-but not quite. The want-to is there, the action is there, and yet it still can’t get done.

Where’s the cooperation? Had the employee just gone back for clarification, some help and guidance, the job could have been done right away. Like the apostles, they found they couldn’t do it on their own, either. They needed their faith to ‘cooperate’ with His Will, not theirs. How often is it that we hold on to our own wills and wants before we trust what God wills and wants for us?

Our insecurities and problems and fears are nothing if our faith is as small a mustard seed in Him. Surely we can love Him more and give Him more and trust Him more than that in return for all He has given us. db

Deuteronomy 6:5

You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.

Offer It Up August 7th

Philemon 1:6

Your partnership in the faith may become effective in recognizing every good there is in us that leads to Christ.

I was talking with a group of men recently and the topic came up about going to ‘church’. Many of us ‘go’ to church, a lot of us are ‘attending’ church, and even some of us are ‘celebrating’ our service. The talked continued as they discussed about how often it is that we sometimes are there just in time to get in ‘our pew’ and are there for the duration and then when it’s over, we have little more to say or do than a courteous nod or acknowledgement to those we have just shared God’s Word and Sacraments with.

This begs the question: what if the bread and wine change and we don’t? (a borrowed quote.) What if we take the time to put ourselves in God’s way to take up His Word and carry it on to others but it doesn’t get any farther than the doors of the sanctuary, much less than the end of the pews we sit in? What if we take the time to attend workshops and renewals and revivals and put our hearts into ‘conversion status’ and as soon as the last witness shares or thump of the Bible is heard, all bets are off and we go back to what was comfortable?

It doesn’t have to be that way and it shouldn’t. Why would we take the time to do what we do if we are not going to believe in Him and trust Him to provide for us? His hand has been there the entire time, waiting for us to make our reach for it. Renewals, workshops, revivals—even our weekly Mass and services. They work as much as we allow them to. And only if we recognize Him in our midst, in the people next to us and beyond.

Paul’s conversion was definite. Maybe a bit of heart to heart like he had is what it will take for some of us. It won’t have to be a blinding light but it can be His voice to lead us where He wills us. db

God's way back home to Him is unique for all

If you seek peace and tranquility, you will certainly not find them so long as you have a cause for disturbance and turmoil within yourself.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Offer It Up August 6th

Luke 17:5-6

And the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith."

The Lord replied, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to (this) mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.

Is showing up enough?

Really, don't you get up some mornings and you gotta wonder—what in the world is this world all about? It’s Thursday or Tuesday or a day and this week is the same as last week and the same as the week before as the week before as the week… and so it goes. BUT, you still show up, cuz that is what you do.

No matter the complacency, no matter the challenge—there are those sufferings and pains of life that are inevitable. And when the stuff hits the proverbial oscillating blade appliance, it is then the instincts take over and we start to take cover as ‘it’ spreads far and wide. So much for taking a stand and showing every one that your are none the worse for wear and tear and you can handle these things and you never back down from a challenge and your heart is always strong enough to blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda… we have heard it all before and said it all before, too.

So much for the false bravado. The fact of the matter is, we all get pretty scared that whatever it is that is hovering over us or cowering within us will indeed be the end of us. Fear has a deathly grip on us and it’s not getting anything but tighter. Anybody got any ideas on how to get out of this? Anybody got any ideas on how I got INTO this in the first place?

Maybe it started when you got up with the thought of what this world was all about and if showing up was enough. You know those days when your head is not quite on straight and the heart is going along with. Those are the days to go back to what you know is true. To what your foundation is—your rock, your anchor—your Faith. Keep to those Truths until such time your ‘genuine self’ kicks back in. Call it what you will but by showing up and opening up for the truth, even osmosis can help if you are in the right place for it!

We can fake it till we make it. God wants us to have an even greater faith in Him and we can do that if we leave the worry and doubt aside. He will always show up for us-every day. db

John 14:1-4

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.

In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way."

Offer It Up August 5th

Matthew 14:24-33

Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore, was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them, walking on the sea.

When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. "It is a ghost," they said, and they cried out in fear.

at once (Jesus) spoke to them, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid."

Peter said to him in reply, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water."

He said, "Come." Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.

But when he saw how (strong) the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!"

Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"

After they got into the boat, the wind died down.

Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying, "Truly, you are the Son of God."

Let’s pray about it.
We can pray for God’s guidance and He will show us the way.

Then, if he would just give us a sign, then we will know it will be the right thing to do, or not to do.

And so we pray and give thanks and we offer it up and put it in God’s hands.

And we wait for Him to answer.

And wait.

And wait.

Hhmmm. We have prayed and we pray more for His guidance, and not just for that single intercession but for all our thanksgiving and praise and intercessions.

And we wait some more.

Maybe we have already heard the answer. Maybe we missed it in the still small voice of a gentle breeze. Maybe it was in the dew on the morning grass or in the colors of the glorious evening sunset. Maybe we haven’t slowed down long enough to hear what He is saying to us through others, or through His Word. It could be that we may miss Him and what He has to say in the passers-by we see every day. Or the co-worker who we can’t seem to get along with. God uses all of us for good, right?

His kingdom is here on earth as it is on heaven. He prayed it as He taught us to. Be ready to see and hear what He has for us today. Keep an expectant attitude of faith. Like Peter, step out of the boat and believe what our God has in store for us. He will take over from there. db

Offer It Up August 4th

Numbers 11:4b-15
The children of Israel lamented, “Would that we had meat for food!
We remember the fish we used to eat without cost in Egypt, and the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks,
the onions, and the garlic. But now we are famished; we see nothing before us but this manna.”

Manna was like coriander seed and had the color of resin. When they had gone about and gathered it up,
the people would grind it between millstones or pound it in a mortar, then cook it in a pot and make it into loaves,
which tasted like cakes made with oil. At night, when the dew fell upon the camp, the manna also fell.

When Moses heard the people, family after family, crying at the entrance of their tents, so that the LORD became very angry, he was grieved. “Why do you treat your servant so badly?” Moses asked the Lord.

“Why are you so displeased with me that you burden me with all this people?
Was it I who conceived all this people?
Or was it I who gave them birth, that you tell me to carry them at my bosom, like a foster father carrying an infant, to the land you have promised under oath to their fathers?
Where can I get meat to give to all this people? For they are crying to me, 'Give us meat for our food.’
I cannot carry all this people by myself, for they are too heavy for me.
If this is the way you will deal with me, then please do me the favor of killing me at once, so that I need no longer face this distress.”

Kill me now.

Just kill me now, Lord.

However worse it could get, I would just as soon you do it now than face whatever else there is… if it could possibly get any worse, that is.

Ever felt that way? Or ever heard any similar sentiments uttered? Maybe even from your own lips? Maybe it’s not so much of a question of if but of how often for many of us. We feel we have done everything we can to make things right or do the right thing and still nothing happens or nothing works the way we want it to or thought it should or would.

Look at Moses’ laments…

Why are you treating me so badly—what did I do to get you so mad at me?

And all these cry babies! I didn’t bring them into this world!

Listen to them—they want something else to eat for crying out loud. Sssheees—after all we gave them, too.

Lord, don’t make me carry these guys by myself—even if they are my brothers, they are like way too heavy!

I’ve had it. Go ahead.

I’m done. Kill me now.

Many of us could substitute our name for Moses’ on that list and figure that God must have it in for us. But God didn’t and doesn’t have it in for Moses or any of us. God reveals more of Himself to us as we grow through our trials and in our faith in Him. Our faith becomes more about Him than in things of the earth, of things we see and have. We learn that faith is not possible by and only of yourself and just by yourself. You have to have that faith in Him, a growing and loving, intimate faith.

God brings good out of the troubles and trials. He is our redemption and our salvation just as He was with Moses, He will be for with us. db

Offer It Up August 3rd

Matthew 14:14-21

As Jesus stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them and healed their sick. When evening came, the disciples went to him and said, ‘This is a lonely place, and time has slipped by; so send the people away, and they can go to the villages to buy themselves some food.’

Jesus replied, ‘There is no need for them to go: give them something to eat yourselves.’ But they answered, ‘All we have with us is five loaves and two fish.’

So he said, ‘Bring them here to me.’ He gave orders that the people were to sit down on the grass; then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven and said the blessing. And breaking the loaves he handed them to his disciples, who gave them to the crowds. They all ate as much as they wanted, and they collected the scraps left over, twelve baskets full. Now about five thousand men had eaten, to say nothing of women and children.

What does it get us, living a life of faith, if we don’t really ‘get’ what we believe? To say that I believe and have faith in God-that I will put everything in His hands-is quite a step for me. And I do that a lot, really, give it all over to Him. As a matter of fact, I do it every day. Pray for it, too. But when things get a bit out of control and the throttle is stuck wide open, what do I do? The absolute best (worst?) and perfect time to let Him have His way, right? Not for me… I got this one, God. Yup, that’s me, pulling it back to my side of the cockpit just about the time I really need to leave it all in His hands…

Faith can be like that but it doesn’t have to be. We know that God will bring us to where He needs us and wants us so that our faith will do more for us and for others. We may not know when or who or how but we do know, through our deepening faith and wisdom, that He does hear us.

As the disciples looked about at the crowd, they knew they had their hands full but they were not relying on their faith. They were not trusting that Jesus would take care of them and the crowd. They finally did take the fishes and the loaves to Him and what happened? There was enough left over to fill twelve baskets. Faith (Jesus) was there all along. Even then they doubted. Even with His presence and having known who He is, they still lacked faith.

We’re not that different. He is present in our lives today. Maybe not on a seashore or a hillside feeding the crowds but He’s here. Let our faith be strong enough to keep us with Him. Even though we can’t see Him like the disciples did, we can see Him through the love and faith of those around us. db

Offer It Up August 2nd

Luke 24:13-17, 25-27

Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, ‘What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?’ They stood still, looking sad.

Then he said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

How many ‘walks’ have you been on or final tries have you had only to find out that what you thought was a lost cause, turned out to be the opposite? Maybe you didn’t fail the course after all. Maybe the blood test came back negative. Maybe your spouse wasn’t as mad as you thought they were going to be after playing 36 holes of golf.

Imagine the two on the road to Emmaus. Imagine the doubt, the worry—maybe even the outright denial of his ‘coming back’, his Resurrection. They had heard of his crucifixion and hoped for his redemption of Israel and now here it is the third day and… some women said his body wasn’t even in the tomb, and angels were seen, saying he was indeed alive.

So what does Jesus do then? He gives them what we might refer to today as a good old fashioned wakeup call. He starts out by quoting The Word to them, ‘what the prophets had declared’, interpreting Scripture (His Word about Him!) to them. And they still weren’t getting it. Not quite yet. Not until He broke bread with them—the Eucharist—and gave it to them. It was then they recognized Him. It was then their hearts were set on fire.

Our walks and trials can be much like that—with hearts on fire—if we would only recognize how fully alive He is in our lives. We just have to be ready to see Him when He comes to us. And we can do that by living in and through The Word of God. Every day. Every chance we get. He lets us choose. Why not choose the best He has for us? db

Hebrews 12:4

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Offer It Up August 1st

Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

What is a life if it’s one without any sort of commitment? What do you have then if you have no sense of steadfast allegiance, no loyalty, no devotion?

Could it be said then that without commitment then you would have no faith?

Are not our lives characterized by the substance of our faith? Our commitment to that faith? And without it—either, really—our fate is sealed to one of emptiness and lifelessness.

Don’t get caught speeding either with this one when you say you are committed. A lot of us say that every day as we ‘committed’ to so many causes, bringing triteness to the word’s true meaning. Yes, many of us are as over-committed as there are those that are under-committed or even non-committal. Think about the commitments we have we face on a daily basis: spiritually, family, personally, professionally, community—and all the promises and pledges and obligations we have within those areas! It can and does get overwhelming!

Without commitment, where does one go? Without that faith, the hope? Where do we go and what do we do then?

The Cross. Jesus Christ.

Yeah, that sounded way too easy. But how soon we forget that when we are up to our necks in alligators that our initial objective was to drain the swamp…

But it sometimes is not so easy just to come back to the Cross. And if you give it some additional thought, how difficult is it to let go of old ways and begin new ones? It is not always easy to surrender the control and the will you want as your own to do His Will, is it? That's where God's mercy and grace are sufficient for us today.

And if another day comes tomorrow, He gives enough for that day too. He knows what we can handle and wants us to become more like Him... an ongoing conversion process if you will. Trust in His love and mercy. Keeping our focus where it needs to be, on Him, the chances of meeting our obligations are infinitesimally increased no matter how many alligators there may be in the swamps of our lives. db