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

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Offer It Up December 31st

1 John 2:12-17

I am writing to you, children, because your sins have been forgiven for his name’s sake.

I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning.

I am writing to you, young men, because you have conquered the Evil One.

I write to you, children, because you know the Father.

I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men, because you are strong and the word of God remains in you, and you have conquered the Evil One.

While you ponder what to do to finish out the year or what you did to finish it out, and start the New One—oh, and a New Decade we might add—you might be considering the greater picture of all this exercise in significance and consequence that God has blessed upon you. Granted, there may have been some head bumps along the way as well as some pot holes or major detours that you may not have seen coming or appreciated for that matter. And that’s okay because here you are now. What’s important is what you do with what you have, right?

Every New Year brings a new hope. A new resolve for something better, if not greater results. And it also happens that with that resolve there will be challenge if not adversity. Life may be grand now yet there is still more for us all to learn and secure, to hold even closer and dearer in our beliefs, in our faith and in our lives. What are you willing to offer up for that challenge? What is it that you will risk for your faith to grow deeper, your relationships to stronger, your love for your neighbor to be more Christ-like? It will all start with your faith you have now. And that faith can be as small as that mustard seed and it can still be enough to get you started.

God is with us every day already, with a New Year or with another new day. He cares that we all keep growing in His Love and we do that by following His will. Read the verses above from John again.

We are forgiven for His name’s sake.

We know Him as the Father, from the beginning.

We are strong and His Word remains in us.

And we have conquered the Evil One.

May the New Year and each new day we get as His gift be shared as God meant for us to share it, in praise and glory as servants in and of His name. db

Offer It Up December 30th

Happy Birthday Kaleb!

I John 2:15-17

Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world. Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever.

Have you ever known anyone that said ‘I’ve been to church and I’ve found I can get all the help I need in my own prayer life.’ Maybe they said something like that or maybe they ran into some difficulty or grief in their life that turned them away from the safety and harbor of the love of the church and have not yet found it in their heart to go back. Or maybe it was someone that turned them off, that they saw, or perceived anyway, not living a life in the light and faith of Christ.

They may still be in the practice of praying and still may put themselves in a Christian way of life by the way they present themselves—saying, doing and acting at least the same way—but you sense something is just not the same. They may send you all the cutesy emails about forwarding this to all your buddies and good things will be blessed upon you. They may send a seasonal card and say ‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘Keep Christ in Christmas’ and a picture of their kids or grandkids but you never see them in church. It’s as if they are practicing a Christian belief of convenience—I can believe this part and that part but if I have to do that, well, God will understand and I can make do with what I have here.

What they are really doing is putting the self first, not what they believe. They have a shopping cart that they stroll with and pick from various aisles what they want to believe. On aisle 3, they can pick from worldly wants and goods. Over on aisle 8, there are the popular ego and all-about-me selections. And on aisle 11, there are the dark side selections of lust and desires. This is all along with their up-front practice of ‘ain’t life grand’, pushing a shopping cart full of 'me' stuff.

Life can be and is indeed grand when we are living it all in God’s light, in spite of the trials and grief and hardships. In God, there is forgiveness. In Him, there is purpose. With Him, there is grace and Love. In our daily lives we can all place our faith and hope in the power of living in His Light. No shopping required.


Offer It Up December 29th

1 John 2:3-11
The way we may be sure that we know Jesus is to keep his commandments. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him. This is the way we may know that we are in union with him: whoever claims to abide in him ought to walk just as he walked.

Beloved, I am writing no new commandment to you but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. And yet I do write a new commandment to you, which holds true in him and among you, for the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.
Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness.
Whoever loves his brother remains in the light, and there is nothing in him to cause a fall.
Whoever hates his brother is in darkness; he walks in darkness and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

There are those times when you happen to run into an old friend, maybe someone you haven’t seen in a couple of years or even more, and it just seems like you pick up where you left off. You quickly get caught up on the ‘gap’ of years and then you reach that point of awkwardness where you both sort of look at each other and go: ‘Now what?’ What are the lives like now and what do you do with them if there are some differences to overcome? What if you did most of the maturing and growth while the old friend still had some more to accomplish?

What if that old friend and you had some things you did you would rather not be doing now but the temptation is there to go back to that old way? Who is going to know? Really, how often do you get to see this friend and hey, it’s only going to be a one-time deal… Go ahead; rationalize all you want. It won’t make it any more ‘right’ or ‘okay’ to do just this once.

What about that old friend now? What if that ‘old friend’ is an old way of life coming back to you from time to time? What if that old friend is a spouse or family member or a friend trying to get you to change from what you know is your faith and truth?

‘You’re different…’

‘Can’t we just go back to what we used to be?’

‘It sure would be a lot easier if we were both on the same page.’

‘Remember when we were back in…’

Don’t you hate it when that happens? You have to call on you Savior for the guidance and wisdom to see you through. To shed the light not only for you but for those around you. And if you are the vessel for them to see His light, so be it.

The trials are going to happen. It’s how and when we come through them that we are closer to Him in our faith. When you do run into the ‘old friend’ next time and you get to the ‘now what’ segment of the conversation, show your faith and let His Truth be your guide. That way, you and your ‘old friend’ will both know The Way to go.


Offer It Up December 28th

Luke 2:22-24

When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord," and to offer the sacrifice of "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons," in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

So by now all the presents should be open. Unless you’ve been stranded by the snow and ice as many of us have around here. Maybe then the surprise and novelty and newness of what you have received are still giving you some happiness. Maybe you are even more thankful today than you were when you first received your gifts. And maybe you are just thankful that you have someone to share them with, regardless of what it is that is shared.

Christmas Day has past and let us hope that the Love brought to us that day is still shining. That the ‘newness’ of His birth has not even begun to wear away even yet. Let’s hold on to what we have really received in this renewal of His birth. Don’t be in a hurry to put all the things away that you took so much time to set out. Enjoy what God has sent us. Enjoy what He has given you.

There will be those that want to get back to the routine of what their lives were about before Christmas. And now that it is gone, the sooner they can put it behind them, the better. Don’t be that guy or girl. Let’s keep our focus on where it needs to be, on appreciating the Gift we have received. Like anything else you would enjoy, make the season last.


Offer It Up December 27th

1 John 3:1-2

See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

Beloved, we are God's children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

Let’s face it; we have a lot to learn.

Regardless of our how young we are, act or live, we really never have it all ‘knowed up.’ In John’s verse above, we do know for now what we are now called—children of God. And that in itself is great news. And even more, we learn as our faith grows and deepens, we find out just how much more we need to learn and grow; that part of which that has ‘not yet been revealed.’ Exciting and mysterious at the same time, it is also another one of those ‘both/and’ understandings that God has allowed us to share in.

The more we put ourselves in His way, the more we can become like Him, revealing a life of His love for us. We all have been called and placed on a specific journey to walk. Yet with our gift of free will, that journey gives us opportunities to come closer to His grace and deeper still in our faith. Or we can choose not to and let others make the call for us, putting our lives in the hands of others. Which would you rather have—God’s plan or somebody else’s?

It’s an easy call. Though the path or plan may not be what you had seen for yourself or maybe it isn’t exactly the road most frequently traveled like everyone else is doing, submit to His will for the way He has for you. You might be surprised at the happiness that you find when you do. A bit of perseverance, in conjunction with a bit more patience can bring about a lot more peace.


Offer It Up December 26th

John 1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

He was in the beginning with God.

All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.


Sacred Heart Catholic Church

A little snow on Christmas… and a little more… and a little more. Then it’s a little too much, for us anyway. Yet for some, this ‘too much’, for where we are in Texas, would have been a mere dusting in the North or Northeast. So we enjoyed a white Christmas and the warmth of staying indoors with family and friends.

Unlike the snow-too much or too little of it-you can never have too much or too little of God’s love. It’s really a ‘both-and’ relationship. Since God is Love, we who live in Him also share in that Love. And we are made of that Love, in His image and likeness.

All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. John 1:3

We are both in and of His Love. For that Love, there is nothing we did or can do to earn or bring it on by merit. It is ours because God is God and He loves us for all we are. For that love, what can we give back to Him and how do we do that then?

There is prayer. There is love. There is sacrifice. There is forgiveness. There is patience. There is peace. There is kindness. Add your own gift to the list. Then start sharing them with one another. Even as much heartburn as it might bring you to let go of the past, through and with His grace it can happen. All you have to do is let Him have His say in the matter… and of course you have to follow along with what He says. After all, it is a ‘both-and’ sort of relationship.


Offer It Up December 25th

Merry Christmas!

Titus 3:4-7
When the kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done
but because of his mercy, He saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope 0f eternal life.

But because of His mercy, every day we are given an opportunity to experience that rebirth with Him again.

Today of all days, let this be the one that forever keeps you, keeps us all, washed and renewed by the Holy Spirit. His grace, mercy and love are enough for us all.

Merry Christmas. db and family and friends




Offer It Up December 24th

Luke 1:76-79

And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God, when the day shall dawn upon us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

If we should all be so blessed and full of hope that we could do the same.

‘To give knowledge of salvation… through the tender mercy of our God.’

‘To give light to those who sit in darkness… the shadow of death.’

‘To guide our feet into the way of peace.’

So can we not? Who are we that we can’t be the beacons? The ones to lead others on the path?

God has called us and chosen us. Now is our time to answer His call as His kingdom is ready to be with us again. Indeed, it is the season to be—to be more like Him than ever before.


Offer It Up December 23rd

Malachi 3:1-3

Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me; And suddenly there will come to the temple the LORD whom you seek, And the messenger of the covenant whom you desire. Yes, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. But who will endure the day of his coming? And who can stand when he appears? For he is like the refiner's fire, or like the fuller's lye. He will sit refining and purifying (silver), and he will purify the sons of Levi, refining them like gold or like silver that they may offer due sacrifice to the LORD.

What are you doing?

Just a couple of things I need to take care of, some personal things.

Here, let me help.

No, these are things I have to do, but thanks just the same.

No really, let me help you out with them. I can do them for you while…

Not this time. These are some things that I have to do.

Well, okay, have it your way then. I was just trying to help.

No problem. Maybe later.

Yeah, maybe.

Okay then…

Yadda, yadda, yadda…

Blah, blah, blah…

We have all experienced an exchange like this or something similar over the years when someone has extended a hand to help when in fact the timing was not the best for them to do so. Each wanting to get in the last word, the grand parting shot. At what cost? At whose expense? Regardless of their intentions or what was said, often there are feelings that get in the way and the relationship may even become strained over the communication. A little change in attitude occurs in both. And in so doing, there could be a need for a bit of ‘brat-itude’ adjustment for both parties.

In life there are so many little things that we rush through and overlook just to get to the big things, the important personal things that demand or even command our attention. When those events come about, the intentions of those around us often become less important, particularly when we are so myopically focused on achieving whatever it is we set out to do. This time of year seems to bring out the 'best/worst' in us, too.

Start looking for the deeper aspects instead of those on the surface of your life. What difference does it make if the desserts are not all ready at the same time? And if that present doesn't get wrapped-oh no, how terrible! Remember the rule of 5: ask yourself: what difference is this going to make 5 seconds from now? 5 minutes? 5 hours? Before you get too far, you may find that whatever it was that was so vitally important is now not so critical. This is the time of year to prepare, not to be distracted, a time to put yourself in the hands of the ‘refiner’s fire.’ This is the time to make way, to make room, for more meaning, more significance, in your life. That meaning, that significance is found in the Good News and that Good News is Jesus Christ.


Offer It Up December 22nd

Perhaps the most beautiful prayer in the whole Bible is Mary's song of praise to God recorded in chapter 1 of St Luke’s gospel. It’s appropriate now, just before Christmas, to hear it again and pray it with Mary.

Luke 1:46-56

Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
because he has looked upon the humiliation of his servant. Yes, from now onwards all generations will call me blessed,

for the Almighty has done great things for me. Holy is his name,
and his faithful love extends age after age to those who fear him.
He has used the power of his arm, he has routed the arrogant of heart.
He has pulled down princes from their thrones and raised high the lowly.
He has filled the starving with good things, sent the rich away empty.
He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his faithful love according to the promise he made to our ancestors - of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.

Mary stayed with her some three months and then went home.

Offer It Up December 18th

Psalm 37:23-24

Those whose steps are guided by the LORD; whose way God approves, may stumble, but they will never fall, for the LORD holds their hand.

Wow, isn’t this an exciting time of year? All the parties and shopping and gift-giving? The parades, extravaganzas and festivals all bring us opportunities for holiday excitement and fun, right? Let’s not forget the sports activities going on with all the football games and basketball season in full swing now. Like, what else could there be to make this any better?

If you’re still with me, you’ve at least wondered what might be going on with this idea. Until recently, I had not heard of the ‘Advent Devil’ but now I have a clearer understanding of just how he makes himself present; through all the things that distract us from what the true meaning of Christmas should be. That’s his strategy, his ‘policy’, if you will. If there’s anything he can do to get us off track from what we should be doing to prepare for Jesus’ birth, he’s done his job.

Take a bit of a personal inventory today and see how your time is spent and where your focus is. How much of your reflection is on the true Reason for the Season and not on the devil’s dash for the cash. If you are finding that you are having a bit of control issues with some things in your life, hand them over to someone who can do more with them than you can—He knows what to do with them better than anyone.


Offer It Up December 17th

Luke 10:23-24

"Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it."

We all know those that get it and we all know those that don’t.

We also know of ourselves that there are those times when we get it and when we don’t. When we don’t have a clue why God has us doing the things He has us doing nor do we much care. We didn’t want this going on in our lives so we’re not going to deal with it and maybe it will take care of itself… just disappear. You know, magic. Maybe we look around and we find ourselves just like that—ourselves, alone. And if it doesn't take care of itself and we are still dealing with it, with or without help, what then?

We most often go back to what we know. And most of us know our anchor is our faith and our hope. And those both are found in our God. And we get back to Him through prayer. There’s a good chance that’s how we got a bit distant from Him to begin with. Choosing not to see when given the opportunity. Disregarding the ‘still small voice’ when we knew Who was really talking to us. As it says in Luke’s verse, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see!’ And maybe even the ears that hear what you hear. Keep a closer eye and a nearer ear to Him through prayer. Those that don’t get it might even get a clue by watching you.


Offer It Up December 16th

5 finger prayer

1. Your thumbis nearest you. So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you. They are the easiest to remember. To pray for our loved ones is, as C. S. Lewis once said, a "sweet duty."

2. The next finger is the pointing finger. Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal. This includes teachers, doctors, and ministers. They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction. Keep them in your prayers.

3. The next finger is the tallest finger. It reminds us of our leaders. Pray for the president, leaders in business and industry, and administrators. These people shape our nation and guide public opinion. They need God's guidance.

4. The fourth finger is our ring finger. Surprising to many is the fact that this is our weakest finger, as any piano teacher will testify. It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, in trouble or in pain. They need your prayers day and night. You cannot pray too much for them.

5. And lastly comes our little finger - the smallest finger of all which is where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others. As the Bible says, "The least shall be the greatest among you." Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. By the time you have prayed for the other four groups, your own needs will be put into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.

submitted by m.martini

Offer It Up December 15th

Matthew 21:28-32

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: “What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ The son said in reply, ‘I will not,’ but afterwards he changed his mind and went. The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did his father’s will?”
They answered, “The first.”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God before you.
When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him.”

‘You might want to rethink that, Bindel.’

I’ve heard that enough in different circumstances and from different people to understand its many implications. Either I had made a rather obtuse statement, presented something as wildly factual, or offered my stance as one that was not readily accepted by those in the office mainstream, i.e., those that sign the checks. In any instance, there was certain cause for pause to stop and think.

As in Matthew’s gospel, the father went to his sons and asked them to do some work for the family business, out in the vineyard. One said he would and didn’t, the other said he wouldn’t but later had a change of heart and then went out to the fields. We’re not sure what exactly made him change his mind—could be that it was a ‘Come to Jesus’ moment for him-but the fact that he did go do what he had said he was going to do was the right and admirable thing to do.

How often does that happen with us? How often do we stop to change our position as we make our way on our journey? We make a choice on good or bad information, (on what we want really), and it turns out not so good. God is there with us to bring us back with His grace. As those that entered His heavenly kingdom who lived according to His will, we are alive and well living in His kingdom here on earth, choosing to do His will as we ‘rethink that’ choice, in choosing to follow Him.

Offer It Up December 14th

Philippians 4:6-7

Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

We are instructed not to worry; to have “no anxiety at all” but to be thankful for everything.

The holidays can be a time of great joy and peace; a time of celebration, or not.For some, the holidays are filled with excitement and anticipation of being with family and friends, of giving and receiving gifts and enjoying a time of celebration.For others, the holidays are a reminder of something not so pleasant; perhaps there was a death in the family around the holidays in years past, perhaps there was simple disappointment that friends or family members let you down somehow.It may even be that your family struggles to get along during the holidays and you feel torn in two trying to please everyone.

Do not become anxious, but be thankful.And instead of dwelling on the sadness or the frustration, try dwelling on the peace and joy that comes from giving of yourself.Take time to share, to present yourself to others with honesty and sincerity, and take time to rejoice that in spite of the fact that we let God down all the time, He has an endless supply of grace, peace, joy, and lots of other good gifts to present to us on a daily basis. lgboyd

Luke 3:10-14

And the crowds asked him, "What then should we do?”He said to them in reply, "Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise."

Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him, "Teacher, what should we do?"

He answered them, "Stop collecting more than what is prescribed."

Soldiers also asked him, "And what is it that we should do?" He told them, "Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages."

Offer It Up December 13th

Psalm 27:14

Wait for the Lord;

Be strong and take heart

And wait for the Lord.

Have you ever had an experience where you feel tremendously blest by God and you no sooner breathe a prayer of thanksgiving and then… the rug gets pulled right out from under you?The temptation is to let the prayer of thanksgiving turn into a prayer of “why me Lord?”

Personally, after the rug gets pulled out from under me that way, I usually get up, dust myself off, and look up saying, “very funny Lord.”It is hard to think that God planned it that way, but maybe He did.And maybe He really wasn’t trying to be funny about it.Maybe He blessed you first in order to prepare you for what was to come next.Think of it as placing a pillow under you before you fall.And, maybe, if you wait for Him, be strong and take heart, He will bless you a second time by tenderly picking you up off the floor, dusting you off, and putting you back on your feet.He may even provide you with answers to prayers you were not expecting.

These times in our lives are not a mistake and they are not God playing a joke on us.Blessings from God come in all forms, shapes, sizes and for all kinds of purposes.They are God’s way of meeting our needs for the moment.

lg boyd

Isaiah 12:2-3

Surely God is my salvation;
I will trust and not be afraid.
The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation."

With joy you will draw water
from the wells of salvation.

Offer It Up December 11th

Lamentations 3:22-23

My tender mercies never fail, for they are new every morning.

She was having one of those days that are typically reserved for Mondays. Maybe a Monday with rain, and a Monday with rain and runner in her hose. Maybe even a Monday with rain, without an umbrella and a runner in her hose and just way too many other things going on that were contributing to the development of a Monday from Hell. But it wasn’t even Monday, it was like a week of them on one day, on a Wednesday. Ouch.

2 Thessalonians 3:16

May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.

Everything pointed to a day that she was supposed to not be the social butterfly as there were no feelings of good will in her emotional good will bank to withdraw. (As a matter of fact, she was overdrawn and was facing some huge NSF fees.) Yet, she had heard that still small voice to turn around from her trip home and go to the Christmas dinner party anyway. That she did. For all it was worth, it turned out she had quite the decent evening and was even glad she had made the decision to attend.

Psalm 23:1

I am your Shepherd and I will meet all your needs.

She makes her way back home, turning into her long driveway only to pause for some time to gather her thoughts as she is surprised to see a decorated house, festive with lights, decked out with its full complement Yuletide displays.

‘Nope, not my place. Shouldn’t have had that glass of wine,’ she mouthed.

She did the double take, was for sure it was her home and then proceeded on up the lengthy drive. As she neared her home, her daughter and son-in-law were just putting the finishing touches on completely decorating her entire home for Christmas. Yup, everything. Tree, outside lights, garland, wreaths. Even a new tree at that.

Deuteronomy 31:6

Be courageous, for I am with you and I will never fail you.

So much for a day from Hell. So much for carrying around baggage from days past. So much for worrying about how things are going to get done. About whether or not one goes to this church or that church. About who is right or who is wrong. How much does that matter in the grand scheme of God's plan anyway?Continue to look for the affirmation of God’s goodness and greatness, even in those days where there may not seem to be much. Even in those relationships where there may not seem to be a connection or at least much communication. Find the time and the way to see how good He is to all of us. When you do, you won’t have time to worry or complain about what type of day you’re having.

Isaiah 30:21

I will be the voice behind you, guiding you in the way you should go.

Yes, He will provide. Always has. Always will. Perfectly.

Offer It Up December 10th

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.”


You’ve seen them before, R.I.P.: Rest In Peace. Most often when and where we see or hear them is usually at a time of sorrow and grief at someone’s passing, as they move from this earthly kingdom closer to God’s place for them in His heavenly home. Reading Matthew’s verses though, why not take a cue from them and do more resting in His peace now, even before that day comes?

Jesus wants to share what He has with us. He wants us to share what we have going on with Him. These pages have often talked about His Will, His Way. This is what it comes to: Jesus carrying our burdens, our sorrows, our sins, so that we can better follow in His Way and do His will. With Him, not only can we rest in His peace but we can rest in His presence. Taking up His yoke is not meant to load us down. On the contrary, it is meant to lighten our load and light up our way with Him.

Let it be a give and take sort of proposition. Give Him the glory and praise and thanks for all that you have today. Take up your cross. Take on His yoke. And trust that He will lead you in the Way everlasting. db

Offer It Up December 9th

The 7-Ups

1 . Wake Up - Decide to have a good day. "Today is the day the Lord hath made; let us rejoice & be glad in it" Psalms 118:24

2 . Dress Up - The best way to dress up is to put on a smile. A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks. "The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart" I Sam 16:7

3 . Shut Up - Say nice things & learn to listen. God gave us 2 ears and 1 mouth so He must have meant for us to do twice as much listening as talking. "He who guards his lips guards his soul" Proverbs 13:3

"Gossip betrays confidence avoid men who talk too much" Proverbs 20:19 "Listen to advice, accept instruction and in the end, you will be wise" Proverbs 19:20

4 . Stand Up - For what you believe in. Stand for something or you will fall for anything. "Let us not be 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..." Galatians 6:9-10

5 . Look Up - To the Lord. "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength" Phillipians 4:13

6 . Reach Up - For something higher. As Jiminy Cricket sings "High Hopes" Always try to better yourself. Have FAITH. "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews11:1

7 . Lift Up - Your Prayers. "Do not worry about anything; instead PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING" Phillipians 4:6

submitted by M.Martini

Offer It Up December 8th

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Titus 2:13-14

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.

As we wait for Jesus’ birth this Advent, we should take a closer look at those around us. We just might see Him here already in their words and in their love and in how they live. And as we do that, we can take a closer look at the way we go about doing the things we do. Are we ‘eager to do what is good’? Are we choosing the higher road when the lower one would be the easier, though not the right choice?

With Advent now into its second week, we have to allow ourselves to be guided by God’s truth and light, not by what we see of the material world. Not an easy thing to do but certainly attainable. And as we allow that guidance—that giving ourselves permission—we can accept the Love He has for us. What greater gift is there than that?

God has given this to us, His Love. We certainly have not earned it but through His mercy and grace we have received it. We now are to go out and share that love just as someone has shared it with you. Who knows, maybe someone will see the reflection of Jesus in you and then they may be ‘eager to do what is good.’ What better gift would there be than that? db

Offer It Up December 7th

Happy Birthday Theresa!

Romans 8:15

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."

Today is like any other day in that we are gifted to be here. How we choose to go through it is our response to God’s will for us. We can be assertive and take it on like we are the disciples He has chosen us to be or we can not. Sometimes it’s easier to not be that leader, not be that person who takes charge and does the right thing in spite of all the world around them.

Hebrews 13:6

So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

Sure we have our own crosses to bear. Jesus has asked to picked them up and follow Him. That is what makes us who we are. Once one is laid down, another is picked up. Maybe even another. That is what each day will bring. That is the gift of each day. We choose our salvation by following His will for us with the peace and understanding of knowing His love and faith for us and our love and faith in Him.

Today is all you need to work with… obviously because that is all you have. And in His greatest plan, this is no time at all to Him. He knows our crosses and knows what we can handle. He wants us to share it with Him, on His cross. Let today be that day. db

1 John 3:2

Beloved, we are God's children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed.We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

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December 7, 2009

A Family Birthday Note...

Not that she needs the fanfare or even wants it, but a sister of mine turns another year older today. Despite the turning of another calendar year, it's her heart that keeps her young and her love for others keeps her even younger. She even does pretty well at keeping us all a bit younger with her ability to make us laugh. Here's to you, younger sister. Enjoy the blessings God has for you today and every day.

1 Timothy 6:18-19

Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

Birthdays come and go but when you get to the ones that are milestones, and beyond them, you have give yourself some credit. Or at least acknowledge that you had the fortitude and blessings to make it as far as you did. They are more easily accomplished when the years are filled with generosity toward others, giving of one’s self and sharing God’s love in the way He meant for it to be shared.

My sister Theresa is celebrating another year of such giving and generosity. She is rich in faith, in family and in friends, and most certainly in good deeds for all she does for so many people in her life. For what God has shared with her, she takes little time in giving it back so that others may see what He has done for her.

For sure, she and her family have faced the trials any family would face and without their absolute faith and trust in God, they could have easily given in to the ways of the world. They knew, they know and will always know that for those that love and follow Him, all things will work together for good.

Happy Birthday, Theresa. And thank you God for bringing her into my life and into ours.

Offer It Up December 6th

Hebrews 13:2

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Angels Unaware

My children and I had a dental appointment with Dr. Hilliard here in Abilene one day in 1997 and when I was paying the bill his receptionist was telling me all the work that needed to be done on our teeth.
Mine totaled up to over $500.00 and being a single parent, that was COMPLETELY out of the question. She was telling me that I could do it "little by little" and I was letting her know that there wasn't enough "little by little" in the world to justifyme spending $500.00 on MY mouth. There were things that my children needed done and I would get those done, but that the work on my mouth simply would not be done. She understood and we left.

Later that day, she called me at work and told me that they had an anonymous donor that wanted to pay the bill to have the work done on my teeth. I thought she was kidding or that the doctor was just going to do the work free, and that he did not want me to feel bad so they were going to pretend like someone was going to pay for it. When it was obvious that neither of those were true, I figured the doctor must have somehow figured out who my parents were and called them.

I guess it took less of a miracle in my mind for him to figure out who they were, even though he did not know them and that was the first time we had ever been to see him, than for a total stranger to be willing to pay my dental bill. I called my Mom and of course, she knew nothing about it.

After call after call to the receptionist to make sure she wasn't kidding, she finally told me that there was a lady in the
waiting room when I was paying out that had overheard our conversation and had told her that she wanted to cover thecost to have my teeth work done, but she did not want me to know who she was. There is NO WAY to explain how shocked I was!!!!

Needless to say, I got the work done that I needed and she paid the bill. Then a little while before Christmas that year, the
receptionist called me at work again and told me they had something for me that I needed to pick up...I went down thereand there was an envelope from "Our Angel" with a check from one of the local churches for $300.00 in it to help us withChristmas. She had given it to the church for them to write the check so her identity would still remain unknown.

It turns out she was a Christian lady that had also been a single mom. Once again......I simply could not believe
It and still can't really. There is no way she will ever know how many times she still crosses my mind and how many prayers I have prayed for the Lord to send her a special blessing and if He someway let her know it is from us through Him. There is a special place in our hearts that is hers and hers alone and there always will be.

The doctor told me one day that I had been in the same room with her about 6 months earlier and was surprised to find out that I still did not know her identity. The first thing that came to my mind was that I hope I wasn't having a bad day that day. When I told the receptionist that, she said she didn't figure I had acted bad (but then she doesn't know how bad I can act when things aren't going my way).
That just goes to show you that you never can tell when you are "entertaining angels" and you sure wouldn't want to be showing your "less than loveable side" at the time.

On top of all this a couple of months ago, I was going through some mail that had piled up and found an envelope with no
address and no return address on it. It had a type written message taped to the front of the envelope saying that thesender had been watching our family....that we did not know it because they kept it quiet but that they felt we were havinghard times and didn't know where to turn and that we should turn to God because He is the only one that will never leave us. Also, that they didn't know what the trouble was but that they felt God had sent them to help and maybe this would help some. I opened the envelope and there were five $20.00 bills in it!!!!

I started shaking and crying and immediately called my Mom. She was leaving the next Wednesday to have tests done at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center to find out if she had Mycosis Fungoides or not.

The kids and I needed that money very, very badly and I told her that if God would work Miracles like that $100.00 at a time when I was at my wits end, then He would surely work miracles with her health too!!!!
I have no way of knowing for sure who put the envelope in our mailbox and no way of knowing for sure when it came....but I do know FOR SURE that it was an "Angel" and that God had me find it at just the right time. And GUESS Mom DOES NOT have Mycosis Fungoides!!!

Well, I just wanted to let ya'll know about "Our Angel". God knows her name and one of these days I will see her in Heaven and I will know her too.
Remember, God loves us very, very much and...if we will let Him be...He is always in control, even if we don't think so at the time.Thank you for writing MountainWings! It is always such a blessing to me!!

God Bless you all!

submitted by R. Vossler

Offer It Up December 5th

Jeremiah 33:14-16

"Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring forth for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: 'The LORD is our righteousness.

What are you waiting for?

Have you ever been waiting with someone else—your spouse, your friend, or no one in particular—just standing around or sitting there without saying much? Both of you biding your time, taking up space and air, ruminating about what you would rather be doing than whatever it is you are doing now.

Then it happens. After several minutes of fidgeting and silence and maybe even some breeding insolence, it finally occurs to one of you that maybe if someone said something about leaving, then something could be done about the current plight. The exchange could go something like this:

“Are you ready?”

“Well, yeah.”

“What are we waiting on then?”

“I was waiting on you.”

“Well, I was waiting on you!”

“Well let’s go then.”

So much time, so much of a relationship, so much life, wasted on what? No one wanting to be the one to say anything or care to say anything. Communication. Understanding.

Hey, talk to me.

Hey, listen to me, don’t just hear me.

It’s Advent. Be thinking now of how you can better care for who and what we have and prepare for Who and what it is to come. Sure there will be things we miss but the beauty and greatness of His Love is that we can come back to Him and He will help us share in the wonder and glory of His kingdom here on earth. Just be ready. Yeah, He’s waiting.

Let’s go then.


Offer It Up December 4th

Mark 11:24-25

Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours.

When you stand to pray, forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance, so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your transgressions."

Communication and grudges can go together and often do. Or better yet, lack of communication leads more to holding a grudge, even carrying it around like some sort of badge of honor. What one gains from that, nothing, is lost only to them. It’s more like that saying of drinking poison and hoping someone else dies from it.

Recently, Hal was approached by Joe about a concern he had. It seems that Hal had done something he wasn’t supposed to do, at least according to Joe. Hal tried to explain that he was just trying to help and that given the circumstances, he would probably reach out and help again. Joe would have nothing to do with it. Joe said he had put all the people and controls in place and that it was none of Hal’s business to help. Hal apologized and asked that Joe would give him forgiveness and that he was sorry for the miscommunication… really, a small issue in the overall picture.

Evidently, that was not going to happen. Joe said that something like this had happened two years ago and knew Hal would do something like it again. Really? Two years ago? ‘Never mind what it was but it did happen and sure enough, there you go again.’

What good does it do anyone to harbor or to carry or to hold on to such a grudge, a misunderstanding or even such a hate for so long? What’s at work here? Obviously communication, perception, judgment, to name the basics, or the lack thereof in any of them. The point is, we let them slide because we let our emotions and our pride get in the way of what really matters. Forgiveness, openness, charity and love can replace that which keeps us from reaching out to fractured families, misunderstood old friends, and the neighbor who still has your wheelbarrow.

Life is short enough as it is. Don’t make it shorter with a heavy heart full of regret and bitterness.

Lighten your load this Advent season. Forgive. Let go.

Move on, move up and reach out.

Oh, by the way, Hal and Joe… they’re still friends. They’ve mended their fences and made their peace. Good for them. Good for you when you mend yours too.

Ephesians 4:31-32

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Offer It Up December 3rd

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.”

Practice what you preach.

Preach the gospel where ever you go and if necessary, use words.

May the words from my mouth and the meditation from my heart be acceptable to O Lord, my Rock, my Redeemer. Psalm 18:2

Search me God and know my heart. Try me and know my anxieties. See if there is any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23

Some adages and some verses to start us off. Like anything else though, as good as they sound or read, they don’t do a lot for anyone just sitting on the page or floating around our brains then through our mouths. It’s what we do with that makes who we are. Our character. Our truth in living.

As we continue to pray as such for His guidance and His love and give our trust to Him, we get in more of a habit of doing just that. And which would we rather do—carry on in a trusting, loving relationship with Jesus Christ or take our chances on a life that harbors living against His will, a life that surrenders to our own will, not His?

People can listen to what we say and read what we write and may give it some thought and save it in their recall banks. But they will more often remember what we do, especially if we do it in love and kindness. That is how we would want to be remembered. Someone that when the storms come, though we may get washed away some times, we are never, ever far away from coming back to Him. Our faith keeps us that close. His love and grace brings us back the rest of the way.

Whatever your storm is now, whatever your darkness is that is keeping you farther from Him than you need to be, know that with Him and through Him, there is the safety of His healing, forgiving, Love. db

Offer It Up December 2nd

Matthew 15:29-30, 32, 35-37

Jesus reached the shores of the Lake of Galilee, and he went up onto the mountain. He took his seat, and large crowds came to him bringing the lame, the crippled, the blind, the dumb and many others; these they put down at his feet, and he cured them.

But Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I feel sorry for all these people; they have been with me for three days now and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them off hungry, or they might collapse on the way.’ Then Jesus instructed the crowd to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves and the fish, and after giving thanks he broke them and began handing them to the disciples, who gave them to the crowds. They all ate as much as they wanted, and they collected what was left of the scraps, seven baskets full.

When we pull back from God, we keep Him from filling us with more of what He has for us. That keeps Him from feeding us and curing us, in a sense. Whenever we go to Him to begin with for a need to fill, we get more than we deserve, often more than we need.

In Matthew’s gospel, He cures the lame, the blind, the crippled and the dumb. Instead of sending them away, He feeds them. He feeds them so well and with so much, there is still so much left over. He is the same with us today as He was with the crowd then. They came to Him for help-we go to Him for our own help, our salvation. Instead of sending us away, He feeds us spiritually with His body and His blood and with His mercy and grace. What greater need can we have than to be filled with such blessings along the way on our journey with Him.

It’s the Advent season. As we await His birth, let’s look to the coming of His kingdom with hope and with thanks and praise for all the abundant blessings He has fed us with, much more than we deserve, much more than we could have ever imagined.


Offer It Up December 1st

Psalm 19:8-10

The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The decree of the LORD is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple.

The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart. The command of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eye.

The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The statutes of the LORD are true, all of them just

Perfect, trustworthy, right, clear, pure, true describes his laws and commands to us.Refreshing, becoming wise, rejoicing, enlightening, enduring, just; these describe how we feel when we heed or fear His will and His way for us to live.

This Psalm always speaks to me because it brings me back to the basics.Narrow it down—focus on the basics.It is only in doing so that we find ourselves open to serving others the way God intended for us to serve.

Life often feels complicated, messy, even smelly.Some facets of life on earth may feel exhausting, may turn our stomach or be beyond our ability to reason or understand.Sometimes; no, often, I have a desire to skip over these parts of life or sweep them under the rug so that I can move on to bigger and better things.What I’m learning to do, and it ain’t easy, is to narrow it down and focus on the complicated, messy parts of life that I don’t always understand or want to acknowledge.

I’m learning that until I can handle the narrowed down parts of my life and the basics of following His will and His way, I really have no business trying to handle the bigger things.Not that God can’t use me where I am right now, because I know He is.He is using me and teaching me all at the same time to see that the narrowed down, complicated parts of life have their purpose in providing strength and stability.Or as the Psalm says, it provides wisdom, enlightenment, endurance and justice, which in turn brings us much refreshment and rejoicing.


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