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

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Offer It Up December 31st


Here we are once again on the threshold of a New Year, saying goodbye to what has been. Some good memories and some bitter sweet and perhaps some very sad. I leave it to the reader to reflect on their particular 2008 moments.

As we look at where we are at this moment hopefully we have enthusiasm of life to be ready to forge ahead. It is a time for some to make resolutions for the New Year. Perhaps we would do well to accomplish the task of resolution making with really thoughtful consideration.

We are entering the New Year at mid-Christmas for those of us who are still celebrating the birth of the Lord. Celebrating the birth of Jesus calls for some introspection, some sincere desire and effort to make him the center of our life. Can we hold in our hearts this Babe, the Son of God, who willed to be a tiny baby so vulnerable as we all were at birth?. Now He comes to you, to me, still vulnerable in the form of bread and wine, He longs to be consumed by you and me in a way that enables us to be transformed into lovers.

Ah the challenge of love. To love those close to us and those not so close. Those who love us and those who don't. Those who have and those who have not. The challenge to be He who we receive into our hands, on our tongues, in our hearts. Jesus told his companions "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect!" Is it possible? He also said, "Nothing is impossible with God."

This coming Sunday is the Epiphany. Open hearts, open minds, will be ready to meet the Lord who manifests Himself to them. Will you open your hearts and minds to Christ in faith?

Come Worship. Be ready to meet the Christ in the way He chooses to present himself to you. You may be surprised! May you experience the JOY!

May the New Year 2009 be a year of favor and abundant grace.

Deacon Shrek


Still offeriing it up for '08...

1 John 2:18

Children, it is the final hour.

John 2:23-25

While he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, many began to believe in his name when they saw the signs he was doing. But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well.

So it is approaching the final hour of the year. And if you are so inclined, you may have a tendency to look back on 2008 and wonder “What happened???” Good or bad, smooth sailing or rough seas, we can’t stop the year from ending nor keep the new from beginning. We can end it and begin it by accepting what God has given us and what He wills for us in the New Year.

Chances are that we’ve all endured some good and some bad over the last twelve months and we should be thankful for all we’ve been given. And chances are equally good that we’ll experience some highs and lows again in 2009. What can be different is how we handle them.

John 2:24-25

“…He knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well.”

God knows our nature—yes, better than we do. Who better to go to then when we need some direction and support? He knows our needs beyond what we think what we want. In the New Year, what if you took time each day to look at the gifts you have received, the blessings He has given you? What if in the New Year you chose to make just five more minutes available for yourself in prayer? What if in the New Year you chose to share His Word with a friend or family member or someone else, to make a difference in their lives? What if you took time to look at the miracles of the world around you-of nature, of science, of life-and give thanks and praise for His wondrous works? And if you did just some of this, think of the growth, the transformation you could make. Not just for those you meet and share it with, but for yourself. It really is not that big of a stretch to make it happen. But you do have to start.

Heb 4:16

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


Offer It Up December 30th

Happy Birthday Kaleb!


Ecclesiastes 3:1

There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens.

Believe it or not, you already have all the time there is. Yup, that’s right. There are no new hours that can be manufactured or electronically embedded into the day. And what you do with it is a matter of choice.

You may have seen the following prose elsewhere but with the season of Christmas upon us and a New Year only hours away, give some thought as to what you will choose to do with the time you have. It’s the most valuable thing you have to spend.

The use of time

Take time to think
- It is the source of power.
Take time to play
- It is the secret of perpetual youth.
Take time to read
- It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to pray
- It is the greatest power on earth.
Take time to be friendly
- It is the road to happiness.
Take time to laugh
- It is the music of the soul.
Take time to give
- It is too short a day to be selfish.
Take time to work
- It is the price of success.
Take time to do charity
- It is the key to heaven.
-
Author Unknown

Ecclesiastes
3:2-8,12-15

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them; a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces. A time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away. A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to be silent, and a time to speak. A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

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.


Offer It Up December 29th


Isaiah 28:16

Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD: See, I am laying a stone in Zion, a stone that has been tested, A precious cornerstone as a sure foundation; he who puts his faith in it shall not be shaken.

We are in the transitional mode between Christmas and the New Year-still enjoying the glow of Christ’s birth and yet looking on to what lies ahead the next few days. The days are actually no different than any other days of the week—it’s where they fall on the calendar that bring them such great significance. December 31… end of the year; goodbye to what is left behind, hello to what we resolve for tomorrow.

Just what we do with it—the newness of the day, the week, the year—remains a choice or even a series of choices. Yet that choice or those choices can be made easier by making them with prayer. Prayer to start the day. Prayer to end the day. And prayer throughout the day. Yes, you can pray always. In fact, prayer and a Christian life are inseparable.

It can be a battle at times to pray as devil will do what is possible to keep you from doing so. Yet the battle of prayer is inseparable from the progress of our spiritual life. “We pray as we live because we live as we pray.”

So pray and pray often. It makes a difference for you and for others.

Isaiah 42:16

I will lead the blind on their journey; by paths unknown I will guide them. I will turn darkness into light before them, and make crooked ways straight. These things I do for them, and I will not forsake them.


Offer It Up December 28th


Colossians 3:12-17

Brothers and sisters:
Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body.

And be thankful.


Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

We are called to trust and surrender to God’s will and way, His Providence, for us. Just as the Holy Family did. Let us continue to be faithful to His teachings and that of the Church, The Commandments and The Word and pray for the Holy Spirit to fill our lives so that our ways are His ways. Let us also continue to be thankful for all that has been given us as families.

And admittedly, there are no perfect families. Even the Holy Family had challenges and pains. Over time, I know I am one that chooses to overlook, if not forget, the better things in life I have received from others so that I may harbor a bit of resentment for things they have done to me or others in my family. Maybe some of you do the same thing… ‘Pity, party of one, your table is ready. Pity, party of one.’

I am, however, finding it easier to let those things go—why carry all that resentment and animosity around anyway and let them have that control over me?—by replacing it with love and forgiveness and a more active prayer life. ‘Active’ operatively means both words and actions, with the words themselves being an action. With humility and a sense of surrender, I have found that the more I pray, the more active I become. And, coincidentally, the more I pray, the more coincidences happen. Go figure that. No, this does not mean by any stretch of the imagination that ‘life is grand and all is well’ but it does help me live more fully as God wants me to.

You may have other plans that work especially well for you. However it is that you pray, continue to grow. With the Holy Spirit guiding us, we can all grow in our faith according to God’s will for us all.

Sirach 3:12-14

My son, take care of your father when he is old; grieve him not as long as he lives. Even if his mind fail, be considerate of him;
revile him not all the days of his life; kindness to a father will not be forgotten, firmly planted against the debt of your sins—a house raised in justice to you.


Offer It Up December 27th


1 Corinthians 2:13-14

This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

A TALE of TWO WOLVES
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that was going on inside himself. He said, "My son, it is between two wolves. One is evil: Anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego...The other is good: Joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith..." The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf wins?" The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one I feed."

As these days of Christmas continue, let us also continue to speak of the Holy Spirit, ‘in words taught by the Spirit’, so that if we were to ever engage within ourselves a battle of two wolves, we would have no problem feeding the right one.


Offer It Up December 26th


Did you get what you wanted or get what you needed? Did you find out that, in the end, or was it really at the beginning of it all, we received more than we deserved?

Matthew 1:21-23

She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 "Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means "God is with us."

'God is with us'… That is the gift. More than we deserve at times. A lot of times, I don’t get it that He continues to love and forgive me. But the beauty and wonder of it all, He does. We don’t have to ‘get it’ or understand it or even deserve it. We just have to continue to love Him and know that our lives can be better with Him than without Him.

Emmanuel. Jesus. God is with us.

What better gift can we receive?

What better gift can we share?

Romans 8:27-31

And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God's will. 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. What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Commit to yourself everyday to find some way to share the gifts you have been given. And to paraphrase St. Francis, if it’s necessary, use words.


Offer It Up Christmas Day

Merry Christmas!


A thrill of Hope… A weary world rejoices!

And the Word became Flesh and made His dwelling among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as of the Father's only Son, full of Grace and Truth.

John 1:14


Offer It Up December 24th


2 Peter 1:19

We possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

So here we are… Christmas Eve. After all is said and done, you find out most often that it usually isn’t. So what else is there left to do? Any shopping left? Last minute gifts? How about the cooking and baking? Still have a few sheets of cookies to whip out? Let’s not forget family and friends coming to visit for a few days (that may seem like eons by the time they leave). And what about road trips? Either across town or across the state, you may still have some roadwork ahead of you.

As it is, we all may have some roadwork of a different sort ahead of us. With the Holiest of Nights just hours away, let us not forget any last minute preparations for His arrival. Make some room in your schedule for worship. Make some room for sharing. Make some room for prayerful gifts of love. It’s not so late that you can’t get something done.

Find the time to be still and know He is coming.

Luke 1:76-79

And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God by which the daybreak from on high will visit us to shine on those who sit in darkness and death's shadow, to guide our feet into the path of peace."


Offer It Up December 23rd


Wanna get away?

Like the airline commercial often repeats, maybe this is the time of year some of us just want to get away from all the busy-ness of holidays. It seems as if the ‘season’ for Christmas begins earlier every year. From as long ago as October (that does seem like such a long time, doesn’t it?), it’s been a rush of decorations, shopping, parties, work, school programs, more parties, more shopping… where will it—or does it—all end?

Colossians 3:2; 15-17

Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.

And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Within a matter of hours, His birth will be upon us. Finally. The Reason for The Season. We have come this far to do so much to give all we have to bring our Savior into the world. Take time now to slow down and make yourself even more aware of the presence of the Son of God. Isn't this what it's supposed to be about?

To borrow a line from my nephew, Eric, from years ago, ‘It won’t be longer anymore.’ And yes you can get away from it all and it won’t take a boarding pass to do it.

Titus 2:13-14

...as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of the great God and of our savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good.


Offer It Up December 22nd


Balance. Poise. A bit of ‘evenness’ in our lives would be great, wouldn’t it?

Maybe some of us have it. A lot of the time we do. And then there are those times we don’t.

It could be about where our focus is when things go awry, when things are not going as we had planned, could it not? We all would like to think we are centrally focused. At least I do anyway. I get involved in a number of projects, tasks, programs, etc… and soon am overwhelmed by lack of time to get all things done what I want to get done. There are others that know me too well, especially my wife, who prefers to say what I call multi-tasking is no more than adult ADD. Ummm, point taken.

Whatever you call it when your life gets out of balance or your focus is not where it should be, you have to have something to bring it back.Maybe another way to couch it would be ‘to have faith’, to trust that God’s plans will be there when your plans aren’t. I am beginning to recognize this, as I have experienced a number of times where my faith has been given an opportunity to grow—or not—these past several months.( I am glad to report that though I am not where I want to be, I am way glad I am not where I was…)

Philippians 3:12-14

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Throughout this past Advent season, all this time of preparation and waiting, the time is now almost here and our anticipation grows. Eager to hear the Glad Tidings. ‘The Thrill of Hope’ our newborn Savior brings. A time for our faith and trust to be focused on what God has brought forth for us all—"The Word was made flesh and lived among us."

From the Letter to the Hebrews, our call to faith and trust is given life through God’s Word.

Hebrews

11:1-3

Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. Because of it the ancients were well attested. By faith we understand that the universe was ordered by the word of God, so that what is visible came into being through the invisible.

12:1-2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.

13:1-2;6;20-21

Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.

Thus we may say with confidence: "The Lord is my helper, (and) I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?"

May the God of peace…Jesus our Lord… furnish you with all that is good, that you may do his will. May he carry out in you what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever (and ever). Amen.

Just have faith. As easy as it sounds, it’s not sometimes. But when you do realize that it is all about Him and serving others—and not about you— it makes it somewhat easier to grasp.

May God’s love and mercy be upon you and your faith continue to grow this Christmas and for all days to come.


Offer It Up December 21st


Christmas Letter from Jesus

Dear Children,

It has come to my attention that many you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season. Maybe you've forgotten that I wasn't actually born during this time of the year and that it was some of your predecessors who decided to celebrate My birthday on what was actually a time of pagan festival.
Although I do appreciate being remembered anytime.

How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own.

I don't care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth, just GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Now, having said that let Me go on. If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santa's and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all My followers did that there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.

Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15: 1-8.

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. 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.”

If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it:

1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.

2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.

3. Instead of writing George complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don't you write and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up. It will be nice hearing from you again.

4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.

5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.

6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.

7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "Merry Christmas" that doesn't keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday.
If the store didn't make so much money on that day they'd close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families.

8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary - especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name.

9. Here's a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no "Christmas" tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don't know them, buy some food and a few gifts and give them to the Salvation Army or some other charity which believes in Me and they will make the delivery for you.

10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in My presence. Let people know by your actions that you are one of mine.

Don't forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I'll take care of all the rest.

Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I'll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and remember:

I LOVE YOU,

JESUS

~Earthly Author Unknown~


Offer It Up December 20th


John 14:2-4

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."

I had the privilege to attend a good and dear friend’s retirement ‘ event ’ recently and it was indeed an impressive production—as it should have been for the years of civil service she contributed to our country. Throughout the succession of pomp, ceremony, meal and presentations, I could not help but wonder what it would be like upon our earthly ‘retirement’, on that time we leave our work on earth and begin to enjoy the calling God has prepared for us in His heavenly kingdom.

Will there be cherubs to serve as ushers as we enter the gates? I wonder will there be angels to call forward other angels to announce our arrival? Will there be a crowd of those who have gone on before us, waiting in the reserved seats, with smiles and tears of joy as we enter the stage and share it with our Lord and Savior? Will there be those that stand for us and say all those incredibly nice things about us only family and friends would say because they know you inside and out (at one time they knew the other stuff but now that you’re in heaven with them… all the other stuff is gone and forgotten)? Will there be a feast of great proportions, with all our favorite foods-(Branding Iron BBQ in heaven?)-desserts, and drinks? Will there be pictures and music and songs from our lives that everyone now knows and enjoys and laughs with us as we begin our eternal life? Will we be able or allowed to choose our ‘retirement plan’ once we are within the everlasting caring hands of God?

One comment my friend made during her au revoir speech was that she always seemed to be “in the right place at the right time.” Maybe so, Gayle. To me, being in the right place comes from doing the right thing at the right time, all the time. We do have choices to make; it’s called free will and God has given it to us. I would offer that it was the prayerful choices and decisions you made throughout your life that put you in the right place at that right time. Bravo and well done.

We should all be so prayerful.

            Psalm 139:1-4, 23-24

O LORD, you have probed me, you know me:

you know when I sit and stand; you understand my thoughts from afar.

My travels and my rest you mark; with all my ways you are familiar.

Even before a word is on my tongue, LORD, you know it all.

            Probe me, God, know my heart; try me, know my concerns.

See if my way is crooked, then lead me in the ancient paths.


Offer It Up December 19th


Let us at this season approach Christ with awe and love, in Whom resides all perfection. Let us come to the Sanctifier to be sanctified. In other seasons of the year we are reminded of watching, toiling, struggling, and suffering. But at this season we are reminded simply of God's gift toward us sinners. This is the time for innocence, purity, gentleness, mildness, contentment and peace.- Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman

As we near the end of Advent and see that our preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth is less than a week away, Cardinal Newman puts a perspective on the season we should all admire if not adhere to. This season is a time of peace, purity and innocence. God’s gift to us all-His only Son, to save us as sinners and bring us everlasting life. What more could there be?

Before you answer that question, ask yourself these: what difference has Advent made for you this year? What difference have you made for someone else this year because of Advent? Has someone made a difference for you during Advent and because of Advent? What have you done differently this year for Advent, preparing the way for the Savior’s birth?

Titus 2:11-14         

For the grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of the great God and of our savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good.

If you want, write out your answers and see what you come up with. Put down on paper those things that are different in a positive way because of something you have done this Advent season. Write out as many differences as you can that you have made on as many people as you can name during Advent this year. Make a list of all the people who have been there these past few weeks, for and with you, lending whatever it is you need in the way of support. Jot down what was different for you about ‘preparing the way’ this year. This is not a test or anything that you have to do… just a suggestion that could help you better identify who you impact and who really impacts you. Again, it’s only a suggestion but, hey, what do you have to lose?

Are you ready?


Offer It Up December 18th


As much as Advent is a time of preparing, we also spend much time waiting… waiting in lines, waiting at stop lights, waiting at checkout counters-so much waiting that our patience is often tested beyond capacity. So it goes in our daily lives as we move about, putting bits of time together that make our days and nights, stretches of activity and accomplishments intertwined with segues and transitions of sitting and waiting.

Interestingly enough, our prayer life can also be about waiting and those same stretches of ‘activity’ and ‘accomplishments’. Not sure how often it happens to others but upon a rare occasion, my prayers are offered and a response comes back loud and clear-in almost no time. More often, though, the case is that I feel the God hears my prayers and though I may not hear or even feel a response, I know that He is listening. And with that, the more I pray, the more secure I become in that faith that He hears and knows what is best for me, regardless of what I may think or want or “know” what would be good for me at that time.

Yes, many times the answer is “No”. It used to be, (okay-it still is sometimes), that when I would get the “No” from a job application or something that I had prayed would happen, I would get a big ‘mad’ going on at God because He said no. Never mind He has something better planned. Never mind that it’s His show and I’m only the actor, not the director or even the producer. Never mind that He Himself said:

Jeremiah 29:11-14

For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope. When you call me, when you go to pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, you will find me with you, says the LORD, and I will change your lot…

Think of all that is happening to you and for you while you pray. Wow.

Think of all that is happening to you and for you while others pray for you. Wow even more.

There is so much happening that is beyond our comprehension, and thankfully so. All of our prayers are heard and answered. Some are presently answered; some we get to spend some time on and wait for an answer; and still others, well, there is hope yet we’ll get an answer.

And so it goes—back to waiting because it is about waiting-and preparing. And preparing does include praying. Next time you have to wait, remember all that time is nothing to God. He is All Time and all time is His—do something prayerful with it.

1 Samuel 12:23-24

As for me, far be it from me to sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you and to teach you the good and right way. But you must fear the LORD and worship him faithfully with your whole heart; keep in mind the great things he has done among you.


Offer It Up December 17th


One of the most difficult and challenging responsibilities of a Christian is holding his brothers and sisters in Christ accountable. God has not left us here as Lone Rangers, but He has given us a family to support and strengthen us. It is often impossible for us to be built up in our walk with Christ until the rubble of sin and disobedience has been cleared away. As a family, we must aid each other not only in the building up, but in the clearing of the rubble.                    Author Unknown

So how do we do this then, this building up, this rubble clearing, this strengthening of each other?

Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so man sharpens his fellow man.

And how does man sharpen his fellow man? In relationships and in the community… the community, the congregation of the church. As an ember removed and set aside from the coals, it will soon go cold. As a member of a parish or church stays away, he too goes cold, or becomes spiritually dull. Sure, it is possible to grow some spiritually on one’s own. But why not grow more in the Holy Spirit with the lives of others? Why not share in that growth, sharpening more lives as part of ‘one body’?

Romans 12:4-5 For as in one body we have many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another.

Where else can all these parts of the body come together to better serve not only one another but to praise and honor God? Where else can believers accomplish more ‘ unity in multiplicity’ than in gathering at their church? Really, give this some thought: Jesus led by example; His disciples led by example; and today we can lead by example by going to church. And taking an active part in the body and community of the church.

The question should not be so much about what the church can do for you but more so what God wants you to do for His church.

Colossians 1:9-10 Therefore, from the day we heard this, we do not cease praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding to live in a manner worthy of the Lord, so as to be fully pleasing, in every good work bearing fruit and growing in the knowledge of God…


Offer It Up December 16th


Presence in the Midst of Crisis

Of all times for the financial health of the world to end up in Intensive Care—just as the holidays entice us to splurge, to buy a little beyond ourselves because gift-buying and gift-giving are expressions of care, appreciation, even remembrance. We bake richer foods at Christmastime. And wrap things in shinier paper. And we like to spend a little more, just because this time is special. It is a time for feasting and lingering. It is a time for extravagance.

There is some justification for extravagance at this time of year. We are celebrating the love of an extravagant God. The Christ Child is the ultimate gift. God’s love is lavish, overflowing. God did not hold back from us, in sending Jesus, the son of God. In that birth we were given God’s very self.

And so, this year in which money is especially the focus of stress and strategy, perhaps we should think in terms of giving the self instead of stuff. God gave God’s self in fairly plain wrapping—the infant of two pilgrims with limited resources. No fine blankets or silky bassinet for Jesus. No huge basket of Ghirardelli’s chocolate treats for his parents. But the presence of that child was so rich and fine that poor shepherds, great intellects from far countries, a pious widow and an old prophet were all drawn to him with tears and joy.

What kind of presence am I to those I love? If I can’t give a hefty gift certificate or even a nice set of bathroom towels this year, how can I be more present to that person for whom I’ve been willing to pull out an overextended credit card in years past? If I can offer no great cash value, then what is left? My stories? My welcome? My precious time for a phone conversation? My visit that lasts longer than it takes to exchange wrapped boxes?

This has been a stressful autumn for my husband and me. Unemployment, then underemployment, then major house repairs, and family too far away to travel to easily. And what we are discovering is that, to come home in the evening and eat a simple meal together, to give a long hug and a word of encouragement, to spend a little more time with our dogs and cats doing nothing but petting and cooing—all of that is lavish enough for us. There will be no expensive dining out this year, no big party thrown for friends. There will be cooking together in the kitchen, looking for the best price on clementines. There will be one trip to a family wedding and brief stops at other relatives on the way back. On each stop we will enter the home and be there will smaller gifts but a bigger sense of us—us coming in the door, giving hugs, having a relaxed conversation, enjoying the presence of those we don’t get to see very often.

We tend to forget, don’t we, that God’s presence is enough. God’s grace is sufficient. We forget that and follow after the big pay-off, the nicer car, the gadget that will make life more convenient, the vacation that will be more romantic and exotic than all the others. We hanker after finer and pricier presents, when the only answer to our real desire is that awesome Presence.

This Christmas seems like a great time to spend more time in that Presence. And more time exploring the power and wonder of our own presence with others.              

This was written by Vinita Hampton Wright, author of Days of Deepening Friendship


Offer It Up December 15th


FOOD FOR THOUGHT

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions.

But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened; everything was lost. He was stunned with grief and anger. "God, how could you do this to me!" he cried.

Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him. "How did you know I was here?" asked the weary man of his rescuers. "We saw your smoke signal," they replied.

It is easy to get discouraged when things are going bad. But we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering. Remember, next time your little hut is burning to the ground----it just may be a smoke signal that summons the grace of God.

Submitted by M. Martini


Offer It Up December 14th


So in John’s Gospel, the priests and Levites kept after him: “Who are you then if you are not the Christ? Elijah? Prophet? What do you have to say for yourself?”

And then the Pharisees asked him, “If it is so that you are not any of these, then why do you baptize?”

We are familiar with John’s answers: “No, I am none of these, not the Christ, Elijah or prophet.”

He did say, “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘make straight the way of the Lord,’” as Isaiah the prophet said.”

“I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.”

Maybe we don’t get the same sort of inquisition that John was getting then, certainly not to the degree that we might be prophets or the Christ-okay maybe some of you do but I don’t-but we are challenged everyday to in other ways to live our lives so that others will know and believe in Him. We all must ‘testify to the light’ so that others may not live in darkness.

No, we are not worthy to untie his sandals, but we do know that without Him and living for Him, our salvation is next to, if not completely, impossible. As we reach the midpoint of Advent, let us all continue to give thanks for all that God has brought into our lives. As we ‘make straight the way of the Lord’, in preparation, we know He has already made our paths, right? Now all we have to do is make the right choices.

May the God of peace make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will also accomplish it. Brothers, pray for us too.1 Thessalonians 5:23-25


Offer It Up December 13th


Most people are bothered by those passages in Scripture which they can't understand; but I've noticed that the passages that trouble me are those I do understand.Mark Twain

If you are reading this, you probably have an understanding and a pretty firm grasp—at least for the most part—on what you believe to be true about your faith. Through reading God’s Word, we can deepen that understanding and strengthen our grip on what we believe, leading us to ‘walk the talk’, so to speak, in our daily lives.

Some weeks ago, this page had offered a method to further enhance the way we go about reading the Scripture. Not saying it was the best or only, just another way to do something people are already doing. However it is that you have found yourself reading more or understanding more or being challenged more, the quote above attributed to Mark Twain may give you cause to pause. Putting yourself in position to better understand what you are reading or hearing was one of the steps suggested; what do you do, where do you go, howdo you get yourself in that place for your faith to grow?

2 Peter 1:20-21

Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation, for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the Holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God.

I am bothered by what I don’t understand, be it Scripture or anything else. For those things important enough to me, I look for help and other input to get clarification so that it makes sense. Like reading God’s Word. And, like the quote, once I do have a keener insight, I find often out I have a few more ‘issues’ than I had started with… once I read or hear God’s Word, sometimes I’m like a dog chasing a car; if I ever 'catch' it, what am I going to do with it?

Does that ever happen to you? Maybe there are others out there like that-if so, welcome to the club. I’m glad to know I’m not alone. As we then continue to put forth our best efforts, living more of His Word more often, and sharing it to spread it, we can find out more about what we at first didn’t understand. Sometimes it will be as plain as the light of day. Other times it will take more prayer and more sharing to see His plan come to life.

Persist and prepare.

O God of love and truth, keep us ever faithful to Your Holy Word and so help us to build a society that brings the greatest good to the largest number. Amen.


Offer It Up December 12th

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe


In our times of prayer and thanksgiving to our God and Savior, many times we are made aware of the silence around us. Be it the quietness of the room we are in, the stillness of the wind or even the calm within our hearts and souls. It is during these times that we feel we should be listening, often straining, to hear God speak to us.

So we sit. And we wait.

And the silence fills us more.

Maybe the words are not spoken aloud to you or the way or His response not made clear to you as you think it should be, or would like for it to be. Yes, it would be nice to have that happen all the time-instantaneous responses from God.

Ask and you shall receive… boom, there it is.

Knock and the door shall be open… well, that was easy, wasn’t it?

Isaiah 48:17

“I, the LORD, your God, teach you what is for your good, and lead you on the way you should go.”

Keep in mind, He does know what is for our good. And also keep in mind, He does take care of and respond to and help with all you submit and hand over to Him. His is not a part-time relationship with us as ours is with Him. In that stillness and silence is His answer.

Continue to prepare for Him as He prepares our place for us.

Wait, be still and know.


Offer It Up December 11th


Matthew 11:28-30
Jesus said to the crowds: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

What does ‘taking my yoke upon you’ mean to you? I always understood that taking a yoke on was more like work. The more I think about it though, as with oxen, the yoke is shared… and who better to share it with than the one who offered it to you?

What about the times when your burden has been heavy? Who has God sent into your life to help lighten the load? Who has taken more than their fair share of your sorrow, your grief, your pain… when it was more than you could or would want to carry? What a gift they shared with you to take that on, some of, if not all of, the weight you were carrying.

How do you go about repaying such a gift? A start would be to give to others what has been given to you. By someone sharing your load, your yoke, you know what it feels like to have it, that weight, lifted from you. Share that love as you give back and share someone’s load or yoke with them. You have been a recipient of God’s grace. Do with it as He would want you to do- trust in His presence so that you might share His grace and rest with others.

There is no time like the ‘present season’ to start.


Offer It Up Decmber 10th


This week, yesterday in fact, we remember St Juan Diego, Cuauhtlatoatzin (Talking Eagle) to whom the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in 1531 at Tepeyan just outside of what is now Mexico City. On Wednesday July 31, 2002, John Paul II canonized Juan Diego in Mexico City. Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego and her visitation is regarded as a new birth of Christ to the New World.

Some 500 years later we are still not fully aware of what this all meant to all of us in this Western Hemisphere. Why are we so slow to grasp the fullness of the messages Mary the Mother of God brings to earthbound sinners? Juan Diago, chosen for the privilege of seeing Mary and bearing her message more fully blessed with interior graces that led him to a life of prayer, virtue and boundless love of God and neighbor.

Each day we too are privileged to receive grace. We have boundless opportunities to meet Christ in the Eucharist, to unite our lives to His in Holy Communion, trusting that Christ Himself who suffered as one of us, and for us calls us to graced living. As Jesus took time daily to be with the Father in prayer, we too are called to spend ourselves some time each day in prayer. This is not an easy task for people who want to be in control. To imitate Christ and be willing to seek God in all circumstances requires surrender.


Our world is in turmoil. The news each day comes at us like a violent storm, and we often wonder what the new day will bring. We pray that God will come to the rescue, we plead that God will bring change.

Grant us Lord the grace we need to live holy lives. Open our eyes, our hearts our minds that we may see your truth in the daily events our lives. As we prepare for the celebration of the Incarnation, may we be so full of the revelation of your love seen in the birth of Jesus that we are passionately driven to love as He loved. Set us ablaze with desire to live as your children celebrating your reign in our hearts and bringing the Kingdom to its fullness. Amen.                                 Deacon Shrek


Offer It Up December 9th


How is it that people come into our lives and how people go out of our lives? All for a reason or reasons that are sometimes quite evident to us. And sometimes for reasons or a reason that we may not know until days, months or years have passed.

'Lord, I am counting on others. Give them strength to put up with me.'

'Lord, others may be counting on me; give me strength.'

Those others could be family. They could be friends. Many times they are strangers that impact your life in a way that no one else could ever do. And so many times, your actions may have also changed a life that you will never know about until such time you reach your Eternal Glory.

For those times when we reach that “aha” or “wow” moment, how do we respond when we realize that God has acted through another to bless our life?

If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing. Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but (also) everyone for those of others. Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus… Philippians 2:1-5

If there is a time or a season for doing for others, this would be it. Not that there really needs to be. Being Christ-like should not be a seasonal or part-time thing. Nonetheless, let us not begrudge or ‘be Scrooge’ the reasons, let’s all do as much as we can, with all we have, with where we are, for as long as we can.

There is strength in numbers.


Offer It Up December 8th

Feast of the Immaculate Conception


What joy should be in our minds and hearts as we celebrate this day! Mary, our Mother, model of faith, hope of angels, leads us to her son Jesus the Christ. In our world torn apart in so many ways, we can be said to live in darkness. The darkness of sin and evil seem so palpable and stifling at times we find ourselves grasping in doubt for light. Mary has over the ages come to remind us where we will find eternal light.
First, in her faith-filled YES to the angel she teaches us love and faith in the unseen God. For her, the God of Israel revealed himself through the message of an angel. Her yes is for us the beginning of new life, life brought to us by the God-man Jesus who took to himself our humanity, and all our sinfulness as he became sin. How astounding all were created through Him and for Him and he becomes one with us, taking on flesh through the Virgin Mary who had received the first fruits of His Redemption. Today we celebrate Mary, and with her we give Glory to God through Jesus.
It is a fitting celebration these first days of Advent. We pray:


Mary, Mother of Jesus, and our mother walk with us through this time of Advent. Instruct us in the ways of faith. We beseech your intercession that we may obtain the graces we need to live faithfully in times of darkness and doubt.
Teach us to pray as we ought, as you taught Jesus in infancy teach us in our infancy to live with complete trust and love for God Our Father. Hear us, O Blessed Mother, and guide us to your Son, so that by imitation of Him we come to the fullness of life with God the Father for all eternity. Amen.

The patroness of our nation is the Immactulate Coneption; in four days on the 12th, we will honor Our Lady of Guadlupe, Patroness of the Americas. She is our special guide to Advent and to holiness of life. Mary came to lead us to her Son so that in recognizing His awesome love for all humankind we may follow him and attain life forever. We keep our eyes on the goal and on Jesus and Mary as they show us the way to God's glory.                                                                                                                         Deacon Shrek


A bit more for today.

Allow God’s peace to cover you… to hold you… to make you His.

Hey, you want to do me a favor? Can you watch our dog Bentley while we go out of town? He's not very big as really big dogs go...

Can I borrow your truck to move a couple of things?

The parish needs someone to head up this committee-could you take that on for us? Thanks… I knew you would.

People are often reluctant to just say no.

We want to say yes. We want to say yes because if we don’t, they may not like us. We feel that those others may feel we are not good people, good Catholics, good Christians—like we should be or they should be (or are?). And when we do say yes, how often is it that we want to maintain some sort of control or be a part of the outcome, instead of just acknowledging your response by having your yes mean yes, with no strings attached or hidden agenda?

Sure, I’ll watch your dog but I will only do it from….

Borrow my truck? Sure but don’t forget to put gas in it…

That committee? I will only if you let me pick who I want to be on it…

Next time you stop and think to say ‘yes’ to someone, first of all-remember to start to again, but then remember Mary and what her ‘Yes’ meant.

Luke 1:38 'May it be done to me according to Your word.'

How many times have we said yes like that to God? Ummm…. Let’s not go there right now, if ever. Too many times, for me anyway, it has been about me wanting the control. If you were to look at my journey as if it were on a continuum of sorts, with breaks in the line to indicate my non-practicing, sinful ways, you could plainly see where I wanted the control and was making those choices contrary to what I believe today. As a matter of fact, the ‘line’ would look more like some really bad Morse code, with all the dashes and gaps in it.

Fortunately for me and for us, God has forgiven and forgotten many times over our sins and shortcomings. What we cannot do, He does for us. He has chosen us so that we can ultimately choose to do His will, His way. Let us all be thankful for what He bestows on us everyday-His mercy and grace-so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ.

If you choose to watch someone's pet, loan them your truck or serve on that committee, think more about the 'Yes' and what it means to the other person than what it means to you. Thought it may not mean much to you, it may mean the world to someone else. Just like Mary's did.

Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12
Brothers and sisters:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him.
In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved.

In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will,
so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ.


Offer It Up December 7th

Happy Birthday Theresa!


Many people don't know what they want and are willing to go through hell to get it. Don Marquis, adapted

Isaiah 40:5, 9-11
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
Here is your God! Here comes with power the Lord GOD, who rules by his strong arm; here is his reward with him, his recompense before him. Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care.

Many of those same people find out what they think they want, realize that they still have to go through hell— and back—to get it, and yet decide that still it’s worth the effort.

The prodigal son returned.

So can we. Even after so many trips to and through hell and back.

We can return to what God has for planned for us. He knows where everything goes and how things are supposed to be—even better than we do. He has taken our past upon Himself, the sins and failures and all that we have given up on. Forgiveness of others. Forgiveness of ourselves. We don’t need to bring anything with us into today anymore than His mercy, His grace and His love… that is what He wants.

So give God what He wants. Why not use this season to allow your heart to be open to whatever God has in store for you? Ask God to grant harmony, peace and grace in your life and the wisdom to live your life as He would have you live it. A little bit of order out of the chaos that might be happening.

You won’t have to do it alone.

2 Peter 3:13-14
But according to his promise we await new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you await these things, be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.


Offer It Up December 6th


"His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him." Luke 1:50

'The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.'

During the next few weeks may we become ever more aware of the needs of those around us and do our best to care for their needs. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son.

God loves us with the kind of love that it is hard to understand, hard to fathom or even reason. Guess what? Don’t reason it out. Just have faith and know that He does and always will love you. We don’t have to understand it, we just have to know it, believe it, be open to His love and let Him fill our lives with all He can do for us. A gift, yes it is, one we should thank Him for everyday, even though we may not always like the answers we get.

As Advent continues and we make our preparations, through God’s Word, we are given the greatest reason-a gift, in fact-to trust and have faith. Looking-no, reading through it—you find words like love, peace and trust. Just a few words to go along with the many others that God wants us to know and feel and live. And as we do so, one step, one experience at a time, our trust and faith grows and our lives become more like His. Our paths become straighter, our load becomes lighter and our way becomes clearer.

1 Peter 2:4-5

Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God, and, like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Let this be the time you begin and if not begin, re-commit and if not that… well, do whatever it takes to create and keep an expectant attitude of faith. As you ‘expect’, so will those around you.


Offer It Up December 5th


What preoccupies your time?

Work does. Play does. Idleness can and does a lot. All of these things occupy as well as pre-occupy our time. If we are not actually working, we are often thinking about work. If we are not on a vacation or playing somewhere, we sometimes are daydreaming about that far-off place of utopia. (Even if we are on vacation, what are we often doing?) And then there are those times when the mind goes completely off the radar and anything that comes along to keep you from doing whatever it was that you set out to do is always better than what it is that you are doing.

St. Paul has a bit of a different perspective in Romans.

“For those who live according to the flesh are concerned with the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit with the things of the spirit.” Romans 8:5

For those times we find ourselves becoming overly occupied or pre-occupied with those things of the flesh—work, play or the dreaded idle time—St. Paul suggests that we replace those things with time and thoughts of the Spirit and live accordingly.

Got it, St. Paul. In 256,000,000 pixels, on a 56-inch plasma flat-screen high-definition television. What better way to watch and prepare for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Yet with a message so clear and present, how is that we find ourselves living in a black and white world with drum tuners and rabbit ears? For me, it’s because I still am wanting what I want when I want it, not letting God have His will, His way in my life. Oh, I submit that I have a decent prayer life and feel that God hears my prayers... comfortable, yet still wanting more out of my with my relationship with Him. But let things get a bit unsteady or too many “I’m listening but the answer is no” responses, and that’s when doubt creeps in. You just gotta have faith.

So here is some good news. We are not perfect. The better news is that God knows that and will reward our faith as we continue to honor and praise Him, no matter the circumstances. As for our time and how we spend it, there are those things we are obliged to do and get to do. As for the things that could pre-occupy your time, let prayer be one of them.

Let it be God.


Offer It Up December 4th


Matthew 7:21, 24-27

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.”
“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”

I like to drive. It’s good therapy for me. Well, most of the time anyway.

And those times when it is therapeutic, and I need a change, I will turn on the radio. Not too big a deal. The hassle comes when I am out of range of a decent station and I am scanning the dial, trying to find something that appeals to me. That is all well and good for me-if my wife is with me, that is another story entirely. She wants the station to come in loud and clear. I can take the static if I have to strain a bit-(okay a lot)-to hear a good song or if it’s a football or baseball game I want to hear. She is patient for a while but it won’t take long for her to give me a gentle indication that she cares little for what I am listening to: “Turn it down or turn it off.”My wife, she is so kind.

What about those times in our lives when we are straining to hear God’s music—His Word—and we are not quite getting the message clear enough? How do we adjust our antennae or change our receivers, the radio dial, so that we can better hear what He has to say? Sometimes we have to stop and clear out all the other noise that happens in our lives for a bit just to hear what God has to say. Just as you would ask someone to “hold that thought” as you listen to your latest and greatest favorite song, you might do the same for yourself for a while and find the time and place where the message can be received a little more clearly and without so much static. This isn’t about shirking your responsibilities or turning yourself out from the world completely. It is about keeping your prayer life active and growing and keeping in contact with God on a daily basis. Eventually, the signals will be more easily picked up and heard and the static in your life will be less noticeable.

This Advent season as you keep watch, keep ‘tuned in’ as well.

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.” Matthew 7:24


Offer It Up December 3rd

Happy Birthday Nancy!


This first week in Advent, we read some of Isaiah's prophecies that remarkably describe the Messiah 700 years before his arrival as one among us. We reflect on the Scriptures and heed Jesus' works to "Watch" to "Be Alert!"..

The world around us focuses on Christmas as a very consumeristic event. We prepare to celebrate Christmas and the Scriptures remind us to prepare for the coming of Christ. But, we must be quick to remember He has come. Christmas is truly a celebration of His dwelling in our midst. We are to be ready and watchful for his Second Coming.

We have been baptized into His very life. We are called to be Priest, Prophet and King. Priests in that we offer in sacrifice all of lives experiences, as we join our lives to Christ each time we celebrate in the Eucharist.

We are to fulfill our prophetic role whenever we witness and proclaim the Gospel message. When opportunities arise and we are able to present the good news to others who share God's good creation.

We exercise the role of king when we allow the reign of God to be our guiding principle that enables us to effect change in our world, when we as Christ-bearers, do our part in making up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ, thereby bring about the building of God's Kingdom.

Indeed, the Lord is coming!

Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus.

Deacon Shrek


Offer It Up December 2nd


Mary Was Preparing The Way Too

Imagine waiting for the birth of Savior of the World.

Not just your first child but THE First Child, if you will.

Jesus Christ. Son of God.

As we look to the presence and the celebration of His birth, we might also thinking about all the things we need to get done for the celebration to be a joyous one-Christmas cards, shopping, baking, maybe some travel plans, getting together with family-all sorts of plans to be made and done prior to “the big day.”

In fulfillment of prophecies of the Old Testament, God chose Mary to be the mother of Jesus. And what did Mary say? “I am the Lord’s servant. May it happen to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38) If that was all there was to it, life would have been grand for Mary and Joseph. But we all know God said it would be worth it though it would not always be easy.

As Mary was preparing, her anticipation, her excitement, her joy-all were in response to her acceptance of God’s will for her. Along with that, though, were some travel plans that had to be made, there were family members that had to be told of ‘The Good News’, and of course they had to eat so there was the food preparation. (At least she was saved from having to buy gifts-she bore unto us the Greatest one she could give.) In Luke’s paraphrased verses below, she exclaims her joy as she is welcomed by Elizabeth:

“Soon afterward, Mary got ready and hurried off to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah's house and greeted Elizabeth. Now it happened that as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, 'Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honored with a visit from the mother of my Lord? Look, the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Luke 1:39-44

Mary felt the joy in her womb. We can feel the joy in our hearts as we continue to prepare for the birth of Jesus this Advent season. Mary said ‘Yes’ to God’s will for her. We can also say the same to what God has in store for us. Let’s prepare for and share this glorious experience as we have never done before.


Offer It Up December 1st


I Will Come and Cure Him. . . . (Matthew 8:7)

Compassion. A man, who is chief amongst those responsible for the repression and dispossession of the people you love and the land which had been promised those people, comes to you and asks for a favor.

What would you do? How would you respond to him? Well here is the picture of compassion -- Jesus responds immediately, "I will come with you and heal your servant." No questions, no lecture about how you have crushed my people under your heel. Instead Jesus hears a need and responds -- instantly!

So it is with us as well. Jesus responds immediately to all of our trials. The problem is that He responds with what we need to endure the trial, not necessarily what we want. When we are in the midst of hardship, He is there by our sides, supporting us and holding us up. Too often, if we do not get what we wanted from the prayer, we wonder where God was, what He was thinking, how He was meeting our needs.

You ask, Jesus responds. Always. Not sometimes. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you (Matthew 7:7). That is the promise of Jesus Christ -- no, it is more than a promise, it is the meaning of Messiah. When we ask, we are given always what we need, and sometimes a good deal more. When we seek, we often find more than we are looking for. God's abundance overflows upon us. Sometimes it is just difficult to see with fleshly eyes. We need to look with the eyes of the Spirit and thank the Lord for His daily salvation.                   Borrowed from SRiddle at The Journey