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

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OFFER IT UP!   SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2015

THE UNIVERSAL PRAYER

 

Lord, I believe in you: increase my faith.

I trust in you: strengthen my trust.

I love you: let me love you more and more.

I am sorry for my sins: deepen my sorrow.

 

I worship you as my first beginning,

I long for you as my last end,

I praise you as my constant helper,

And call on you as my loving protector.

 

Guide me by your wisdom,

Correct me with your justice,

Comfort me with your mercy,

Protect me with your power.

 

I offer you, Lord, my thoughts: to be fixed on you;

My words: to have you for their theme;

My actions: to reflect my love for you;

My sufferings: to be endured for your greater glory.

 

I want to do what you ask of me:

In the way you ask,

For as long as you ask,

Because you ask it.

 

Lord, enlighten my understanding,

Strengthen my will,

Purify my heart,

and make me holy.

 

Help me to repent of my past sins

And to resist temptation in the future.

Help me to rise above my human weaknesses

And to grow stronger as a Christian.

 

Let me love you, my Lord and my God,

And see myself as I really am:

A pilgrim in this world,

A Christian called to respect and love

All whose lives I touch,

Those under my authority,

My friends and my enemies.

 

Help me to conquer anger with gentleness,

Greed by generosity,

Apathy by fervor.

Help me to forget myself

And reach out toward others.

 

Make me prudent in planning,

Courageous in taking risks.

Make me patient in suffering, unassuming in prosperity.

 

Keep me, Lord, attentive at prayer,

Temperate in food and drink,

Diligent in my work,

Firm in my good intentions.

 

Let my conscience be clear,

My conduct without fault,

My speech blameless,

My life well-ordered.

Put me on guard against my human weaknesses.

Let me cherish your love for me,

Keep your law,

And come at last o your salvation.

 

Teach me to realize that this world is passing,

That my true future is the happiness of heaven,

That life on earth is short,

And the life to come eternal.

 

Help me to prepare for death

With a proper fear of judgment,

But a greater trust in your goodness.

Lead me safely through death

To the endless joy of heaven.

 

Grant this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

Pope Clement XI





OFFER IT UP!   FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2015

This week, Ash Wednesday ushered in Lent with a recognition that we are to being fasting, prayer and almsgiving with a purpose. Lent is a time of making time to sit with Our Lord and really examine our spiritual walk. There seem to be enough indications in and around us to indicate that spiritual we are not in the best condition. 

 

Broken relationships signal a failure to love or perhaps not even know how to love. Violence, injustice, immorality, thievery and a myriad of behaviors that demonstrate sin in society are too common. All who bear the name Christian, all who were washed in the waters of baptism, yes even all who come to the table of the Lord are being called to look within, to search their own hearts and seek God's grace to repent where needed and begin anew.

 

Daily in recent days and even weeks I have heard laments over horrible events occurring in our world, horrible atrocities claiming innocent lives. Political speak talks of solutions by violent means, WAR.  And, there is no question that defense calls for violent means often.

 

Brothers and sisters in Christ, what about prayer? Have we forgotten Our Mother's call at Fatima? Are we unwilling to come together as a communion of faithful disciples to make prayer a priority as God's people? Are we unwilling to confess our failings as families witnessing by holy lives to the wonder of God with us?

Why not sit in silence this day and each day this Lent (for a few moments, say ten minutes each day) at a place where silence can allow for possibly hearing God speak. Read the daily Scripture, the Gospel and be open to the Word. Let God talk be part of your conversations with your spouse, children, friends.

 

Come, Let us worship the Lord. Shout for joy to the Lord who saves us!    

Deacon



OFFER IT UP!   THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2015

Luke 9:22-25 begins with Jesus telling His disciples, “The Son of Man is destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and chief priests…. to be put to death, and to be raised up on the third day.” 

 

It is in these words that we see Jesus’ willingness to submit to the Father’s Will. What an incredible example of putting God’s desire in front of our own! Jesus knew that God’s will is that the salvation of all people was the focus and goal of His earth’s journey!  Knowing this, He still gives us the perfect model of “perfect obedience”. 

 

How often do we enter a situation with dread, some anxiety or fear, over the perceived outcome of a pending situation? Yet, our Lord took upon human form and endured a level of human suffering that most of us will never have to endure and can only imagine! Then, speaking to all around him, Jesus goes on to talk about commitment to God through our following of Christ. He makes reference, here, to “taking up” our crosses every day.  What does he mean, “….anyone who loses his life for My sake will save it”? 

 

As we ponder the plight of Christians in some part of the world, we have a literal translation—one in which Christian missionaries are literally losing their lives as the witness His Word to others.  We also, in the comfort of our own lives (even in times of our own crises and trials) understand that we must commit ourselves to Him. Losing our lives to Christ is not just the literal sacrifice of physical life. It is the simple, but challenging act of living His Word and example so that we and others may strive for the same selflessness that Christ exhibited, knowing what He was sent to do. To renounce ourselves we must center each day on Christ—on His Word, and living His Way. 

 

Lord, help me to grow spiritually and accept the big and small crosses in the same obedience with which You accepted Yours!  Jesus, Only You!  J.O.Y.

Paul B

 


OFFER IT UP!   ASH WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2015

Today begins the solemn period of Lent. For many Christians, Catholic and Non-Catholic alike, this is a period of reflection and preparation for the commemoration of the Suffering of Christ and His Glorious Resurrection. It is a period time in which Christians are asked to find ways in which to spiritually grow and better understand the Love of an All-Powerful God who could (and did) humble Himself to our level of humanity in order to garner our attention and win our hearts, minds, and souls to Him. 

 

Several different “denominations” have taken to the practice of ashes on the forehead to celebrate what the Church calls “Ash Wednesday”. In light of Mark’s gospel account, 6:4-18, I pondered the symbolism of the ashes on the forehead. In this Gospel Jesus cautions us to be aware of and careful not to “trumpet” our good actions so that we don’t appear to be serving our own “self-glory” rather than the Glory of God. 

 

He reminds us that we are to truly serve God in serious and sincere faith, as God can see into hearts! So, why ashes? In my ponderings I keep coming back to this question of, “Why ashes” and why so many different “denominations” offer this symbolic gesture. Two thoughts came to me in my thinking and conversations with others: 1) in preparing ourselves to understand the true humility of our human condition—that we are His and that, someday, we are called to return to Him—that our human state will be no more...our bodies return to dust and our hearts/souls forever are His. The ashes are a reminder of this. 

 

Secondly, the ashes (more importantly, our actions) serve a symbol to all others who share our belief that we are His and we strive to seek Him and return, eternally, to Him. So let these not be a “hollow” and momentary gestures.  Let today be a permanent reminder that we are not alone in our human journey towards eternal joy.  “Happy” Lent!  J.O.Y.

Paul B



OFFER IT UP!    TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2015

In Mark 8:14-21 we find Jesus and His disciples taking their leave of the Pharisees, as they were questioning Jesus, looking for “a sign” as to who He is. While on the boat the disciples began to worry that they had not brought enough food for their journey across the Sea of Galilee.

 

What do you, as a believer in Christ, do when you feel you have “come to the end of your resources”? Are we like the disciples at this moment? Does anxiety set in? Do we have trouble in our hearts, worrying about the truth and reality of God’s promise to provide? 

 

The disciples had just witnessed (Mark 8:1-9) the multiplication of the loaves, enough to feed 4,000! Yet they still became anxious.  Jesus knew their hearts and their fears, just as He knows ours.  So He warned them not to fear physical harm before spiritual harm. Do not fear what can harm the body before fearing what can destroy the heart and the soul—spiritual death! He makes reference to the “leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod”. 

 

As Christians we must understand our “daily bread” is that which not only nourishes us physically, to keep us physically strong, but that which sustains us spiritually (and intellectually and morally, as well). Remember, to the Jews, leaven was a sign of evil—it was a piece of dough left over after baking—left over dough that fermented and eventually became leaven, fermented and rotting. 

 

So, Jesus’ reminder was to warn His disciples to avoid the bad influence of the Pharisees and of Herod—worldly influence! Jesus, reminding His disciples of the miracle of the loaves asked, “Do you not yet understand?” He needed them to know that God’s abundance will see them through! Do we, in our lives, pray with confidence, “Give us, this day, our daily bread”? 

 

Lord, Your Word and Spirit sustain us! May we understand and endure with strength and joy to serve you: to appreciate Your abundances! Jesus, Only You! J.O.Y.

Paul B

 


OFFER IT UP!   MONDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2015

“Look beyond the bread you eat, see your Savior and Your Lord!”  These are words from one of my favorite songs.  In reading Mark 8:11-13, where the Pharisees are asking Jesus for a “sign” to prove that He is the Messiah, I am moved by the power of the words “Look Beyond….” 

 

The Pharisees, in this passage, “demand a sign” from Jesus. How often do we “test” God, demanding a sign from Him that He is with us? How often do we “look beyond” what we are given in our earthly journey to see where it truly comes from? While we are encouraged to seek divine intervention, help and hope in our needs, we are also called to relate to Jesus as personally as He has related to us by sacrificing Himself! We are to look beyond ourselves with total humility, not with impatience and arrogance. 

 

What is our relationship to Jesus? Do we demand signs of His faithfulness to us? Or, do we offer signs to Him of our faithfulness? As we “look beyond”, we must realize that Jesus IS the Sign from our Father. We do not need any other signs or guarantees! 

 

This is where the Pharisees fell short. They were looking for overt acts (of healing or other “miraculous” effort) rather than for the goodness of the Words and impact of those words on the lives of all. Jesus reveals Himself and makes His Presence known to us in so many ways—through The Word, through the communal sharing and praising of Him, through the Communal sharing of His Body and Blood, in our daily rising and living—our every day circumstances. If we seek Him, we will find Him in all these things, as the ultimate sign of His Own Divinity! 

 

Lord, Jesus, may I always recognize You as THE sign of divine presence in my life. May I never forget Your promises, may my faith never waver, hope never fade, and the fire of love for You and in You never grow cold. May I “look beyond” and see You!  Jesus, Only You!  J.O.Y.

Paul B



OFFER IT UP!   SUNDAY, FEBRUARY, 15, 2015

Mark 1:40-45

A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said,

“If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him,  “I do will it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once.

He said to him, “See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.”

The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere.

 

Having been sick for even a few days, being removed from the usual goings on of work, family and friends and such, one can get some very small sense of the isolation that goes with what the man with leprosy may have been feeling. Let alone the disease and pain itself but the isolation, loneliness and separation he and the others like him must have felt, theirs was a permanency of living apart; mine, just a few days or so.


As he approached Jesus, he had to have a greater sense of faith than at any other time of his life. He knew something was about to change. He knew what he wanted and knew that if Jesus willed it, it could and would happen. Kneeling before Him, the leper didn’t even ask so much as made a statement of truth: ‘If you wish, you can make me clean.’ With His compassion and a touch, and the man’s faith in being cured, he was made clean.


And Jesus tells him not to let anyone know but the priest and to make his offer of thanksgiving as proof of healing. Yet it was more than the man could bear; he had to let others know of his newfound cleanliness. And who wouldn’t? How often is it that we see others, if not ourselves, begin to spread the word of hope and renewal upon the cleansing of our own lives through the love and compassion and grace of God? It’s not about the miracle-working, as great and powerful as it is; it can be so much more than that when we come to believe in Christ for His Word, having faith and living as He wills.




OFFER IT UP!    SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2015

Mark 8:1-10

In those days when there again was a great crowd without anything to eat, Jesus summoned the disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will collapse on the way, and some of them have come a great distance.”

His disciples answered him, “Where can anyone get enough bread to satisfy them here in this deserted place?” Still he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They replied, “Seven.”

He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them, and gave them to his disciples to distribute, and they distributed them to the crowd.

They also had a few fish. He said the blessing over them and ordered them distributed also.

They ate and were satisfied.

They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets. There were about four thousand people.

He dismissed the crowd and got into the boat with his disciples and came to the region of Dalmanutha.

 

 

Again a great crowd gathers with Jesus. And again, for the time they spent with Him, they hungered more for His word. The longer they hungered for Him, the greater the need for physical nourishment as they spent the last few days with Him and the disciples. Indeed, a hunger found in their hearts and souls and in their bodies and spirits.


Jesus knows they cannot be sent away to their homes for they will ‘collapse along the way.’ His compassion is always evident. Having been with Him for three days, His heart is moved to feed them instead of sending them away to fend for themselves. He calls upon His disciples to find what food they can and with seven loaves and some fish, ‘they ate and were satisfied.’ All 4,000 with seven baskets left over.


Just as in the Eucharistic feast, we too share the compassion of Christ as we receive His body for our nourishment so we will not collapse along the way as we walk with Him. This same food comes from those who serve as His disciples, the priests, the clergy, the laity and ministers—the disciples—who continue today in service and love the communication of the Eucharistic celebration.  It is not about the servant as it is about where the service comes from: the faith and believe we hold in Jesus Christ. As it was never about Him then, it is that way today as we all come to serve in His name, all in His way, His will.




OFFER IT UP!    SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2015

Mark 1:29-39

On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them.
When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him.
Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.” So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.

 

It can be wearisome for anyone to have to care for so many people. Imagine the strain and even the stress Jesus faced as He cured and healed the sick and the lame. As He drove out the demons and cleansed their souls. If were enough to cause Him to be weary and tired, how then can we not be with those things we have to take care of in our own lives?

 

Caring for one or twenty-one, the duress can be overwhelming. It can get that way if we are just tending to our own needs, much less about those of others. Yet we go about our lives just the same, seeing to goodness and mercy just as Jesus did and would have us do. We do so because we believe so. We believe so because we trust in His way for us, with the gifts He has given us.

 

And what we get from it is a fulfilling life, one that recognizes the unique place God has for us each in His kingdom. We are here for a reason for Him, not for a reason for us or them. As Jesus served throughout His life so too will we continue follow in His way as His disciples. And with a heart centered on Him and living a journey truly as His servants, we may come closer to knowing our eternal glory.



OFFER IT UP!   SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2015

Hebrews 13:15-21

Through him then let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name.Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have; God is pleased by sacrifices of that kind.

Obey your leaders and defer to them, for they keep watch over you and will have to give an account, that they may fulfill their task with joy and not with sorrow, for that would be of no advantage to you.

Pray for us, for we are confident that we have a clear conscience, wishing to act rightly in every respect. I especially ask for your prayers that I may be restored to you very soon.

May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep by the blood of the eternal covenant, 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.

There are those days we can’t help it but to do everything in and through the will of God.

Like those days when we would want to stay in bed and not go to mass, something comes over us and gets us up, moving in a holier direction.

Like those times when we would just as soon share our two bits worth and involvement in the gossip ring at work but instead we take the stand and put a stop to it.

Like the opportunities for those emails that come across from time to time that invite us to see what someone has to ‘show and offer’ us and we delete the junk mail.

 

As written in Hebrews, we’ve taken that opportunity to do good and at the same time, obeying the commandments and following God’s will and not our own. Makes perfect sense—the more we put ourselves with Him, center our life on Him and live in His joy, the more we will fulfill our path to salvation.

 

Hebrews ends with a prayer, a prayer for us that we all have a clear conscience so that we may behave in God’s way and not our own. A prayer that brings us an everlasting peace, living in truth with our covenant with God. A prayer that opens up our hearts to more fully grasp His power and might in our lives. Amen.

Who is Jesus? This preacher, holy man, healer, one who casts out demons? For Herod, He was John the Baptist whom he had beheaded.  Imagine the fear of Herod, perhaps even sleepless nights as he wondered, who is this Jesus? 

 

We read Mark's account perhaps with our own questions. We imagine a place in the Middle East some 2000 years in the past, and try to piece together an image of Jesus. In a sense, we are like those contemporaries of Jesus the Christ with our own questions of wonder as we attempt to live in faith.

 

As you listen and reflect today on Mark's Gospel, see Herod leer at Salome as she dances, listen as  he swears to give anything she asks for, are taken aback when she asks Herodias what to ask for and concludes by asking for the head of John on a platter. We react perhaps in horror as they bring her John's head, and look on as Herod responds in weak concern for the opinion of his guests.

 

Do I sometimes make decisions based on the perceived favor of others rather than on the truth and out of love for God my savior? In the course of each day how aware am I that God is present in all circumstances, and strive to live in His will? Sadly it remains easy at times to miss the mark, to sin. Can I say most sins are venial and fail to see that this weakens faith and opens the path to more serious sinfulness? 

 

God today be my sure support and guide.

Deacon 

Repent and believe in the Gospel. Lives changed for those first called by Jesus, He sent them out with little to dissuade them or distract them from the message they were to share. They went out proclaiming, healing, teaching—bringing the Good News of salvation to all of God's children.

 

If we are attentive, we hear about the New Evangelization these days. Does that stir anything in the soul? Is the fire beginning at least to burn, knowing that you have been chosen to bring the  Good News to the world? Or are there so many distractions,  dreams of building our own world, longing to accumulate stuff, desiring to fill our barns to the max so we can retire and enjoy the "good" life?

 

What about the end of the journey we have undertaken? What are we preparing for as we look toward a life without end? Recently we heard from the writer of the letter to the Hebrews, this world is passing away. A not so subtle reminder to all of us that we are destined for a life beyond our imagining.  A life we look for in faith, with hope and living in love…charity.

 

Today, take some time to reflect on life with Jesus Christ.  Am I in love with Him and is that love witnessed in the love I have for all who are created in His image? I must repent and believe in the Gospel...

God grant me the grace to see clearly and the courage to change (repent) in all the ways I must. 

Deacon


Mark 6:1-6 finds Jesus among the “most severe critics” - His “hometown” people. There is a saying that we often hear in our human condition, “Familiarity breeds contempt”. Jesus, in His earthly ministry, faced the same severe testing when He returned to His hometown to minister and preach. Jesus rather than perform miracles in this “close-minded” group and setting startled and disappointed the “hometown crowd” with the announcement that no prophet or servant can be honored among his own people. 

 

How true do we know this to be in our own world, today? How often do we hear the phrase, “An expert is someone who is more than 50 miles from home”? Jesus was discounted, in Nazareth because His neighbors had watched him grow up, the son of a mere worker, a carpenter. They understood that He had no “formal training” by the scholars of the Word. Because of their lack of understanding and their closed-mindedness, Jesus was unable to perform mighty works in their midst. Here, we see the lesson that if we come together in hate and refusal to accept and understand, then we cannot accept the graces that are offered in our midst. 

 

This is true in our “human interactions” and it is clearly true in our divine interactions. If we are not open to God’s grace in our lives, we will see no point in (nor will we have the inclination to be) accepting of God’s love. How we treat each other in our disagreeable moments is indicative of how accepting we truly are (and are willing to be) of God’s will. In order to truly accept and experience the joy and freedom of God’s Word we must first accept God (who is the Word) as the definitive authority of this life and our eternal life. 

 

Lord, you fulfill all our hopes and desires by and through Your Will for us. May Your Spirit dwell in and among us—both family and friends—in Grace, Truth, Freedom, and Eternal Life.  J.O.Y.

Paul B




The depth of our faith is known to God! And that depth is revealed in the way we respond to difficult challenges in our lives: when and how we come to Him in our need. How do we approach Jesus when we experience trials, pains, and sufferings in our lives?  When do we approach Jesus when we experience these? Is it to Him whom we first turn? When something does not go our way, do we immediately think of Him and ask for His intervention? Or, do we sulk and respond with self-pity first, before remembering to lay our concerns at His feed? 

 

In Mark 5:21-42, Jairus is not afraid to approach Jesus to save his desperately sick daughter. Amidst the crowds that had gathered, Jesus knew the depth of Jairus simple, but firm, faith. Jairus willingly and simply fell at the feet of Our Lord and begged His divine intervention. He openly recognized the authority to conquer anything—the Authority of God—in Jesus. 

 

As in all situations, there were those around Jairus who, for whatever reason (lesser faith, less optimism, etc…) urged him to stop “bothering” the Master because your daughter is already dead. To encourage Jairus (and all of us) Jesus said, “Do not be afraid, only have faith”. This is reminiscent of the Lord speaking in Isaiah (41:10): “...fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you….”

 

One thing we must remember is that Jesus is moved by the simplicity of our faith. He was deeply moved with (and to) compassion by Jairus’ humble act of laying himself and his troubles at His feet. Later, in Mark 9:23 Jesus tells us, “...all things are possible if you believe!” God’s compassion to how and when we call upon him is, truly, that “simple”. 

 

Lord, help me to approach You, each day, with expectant hope—give me the strength to eliminate the skepticism of the human condition from my own faith’s journey.  J.O.Y.

Paul B

Sunday Worship? Daily Prayer? Regular Thanksgiving for daily blessings in life? Do we take these simple practices of faith and efforts to honor Him to heart? 

 

As Christians, we are called to do the simple tasks of giving God the Glory for all that we are. In Luke 2:22-40 we see Joseph and Mary keeping the customs of the law by going to the temple in Jerusalem to offer sacrifice (two turtle doves) and to consecrate the first-born male. As we consider this, we must note Joseph and Mary’s willingness to please God and to raise Jesus in accordance with the Will of God. Vs 38-40 state, “When they had done everything the Law of the Lord required, they went back to Galilee, to Nazareth. And, as the child grew to maturity, He was filled with wisdom and God’s favor was with Him.” 

 

Though He was born into such humble estate, we see here that His parents took their parental role, in light of God’s expectation, very seriously. All Christian parents, therefore, are called to take this same approach. We are called to provide example to the children with whom God blesses us. It is our example that provides the first steps and direction on His pathways. It is our guidance (with God—the Word, as our compass) that gives our children the basic abilities to discern which direction to go when the paths split and choices must be made! 

 

Therefore, just as Mary and Joseph observed the Will and Desire of God, we each must ask Jesus for the gift of deeper faith to live our lives according to His teachings.  We must trust wholeheartedly in Him and the joyful hope and promise of Life (eternal). So, when we consider Sunday worship, daily prayer, and oft-offered thanksgiving as our initial “sacrifices”, we realize that His desires are well within our grasp. And, we will find (and be) further graces and blessings the more we meet these “minimums”. 

 

Lord, may I never cease to honor You in my words/deeds!  J.O.Y.

1 Corinthians 7:32-35

I should like you to be free of anxieties. An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord. But a married man is anxious about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and he is divided. An unmarried woman or a virgin is anxious about the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy in both body and spirit. A married woman, on the other hand, is anxious about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.  I am telling you this for your own benefit, not to impose a restraint upon you, but for the sake of propriety and adherence to the Lord without distraction.

 

So Paul wants us to be free of our anxieties, does he? Hmmm.

Paul didn’t have mortgages hanging over his head.

He didn’t have teenagers going from 12 to 20 it seems in a week’s time.

He didn’t even have a steady job with a boss to answer to… at least not that he could see anyway.

 

What he did have was a faith that was as solid as one could fathom. A faith that was once that of a persecutor, now a faith that was flaming the torch for life in Christ eternally. And to have such a life meant one had to have few worries, few distractions and few ‘anxieties’. Just as Paul had.

 

This is not to say he didn’t or had no anxieties or worries… he just had a way of caring for them and handling better than we probably do. And that is what we as believers should practice more of—caring less and handling less the anxieties of the world and handing them over to Jesus Christ. Who better to care for them than Him? Who better to guide us away from them than Him? Who better to fill us with what we need instead of anxiety than Him?

 

Paul tells us it’s for our ‘own benefit, not to impose a restraint’ on us. Which is what worrying and giving in to anxiety do to us—keep us from being fully embraced by the love and grace of Christ Jesus.  So if there is to be this anxiousness, let it be for Him and not for us or the world. Let our excitement be found in Him and Him in us.

No worries...