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AFRAIDNOT

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

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Offer It Up July 31st

Psalm 8:3-4

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?

How long has it been since you heard the word “stupendous” used? It’s not a word that gets used very often. I think that is because it has such force and has such a powerful meaning behind it that you have to reserve for the most amazing things. What does Webster’s say about this word? Stupendous means “causing astonishment or wonder.”

So where am I going with this grammar lesson? Well, when was the last time you used the word alongside your relationship with God? When, if ever, have you stopped to think about or feel a sense of astonishment or wonder at God’s ability to be all-loving, all-powerful, and all-knowing?

When, if ever, have you stopped to think about how God has all the answers, when we obviously don’t? God is a know-it-all in the best sense of the word. It is a “stupendous truth” that God does not need to grab the latest book “for dummies” to figure something out nor does He need to consult with an expert on a subject. He IS the expert.

God does not need to ask questions, such as “who, what, when, where, why, or how” because He already knows. God does not need to ask us to come back later for some help because He is worn out and needs to take a break because He is all-powerful. Yes, we might think we try His patience and we test our own limits with Him way more than we should. But, He has that covered too. He is ready to forgive at a moment’s notice and love us even more than we deserve… right?

And isn’t that stupendous?

Acts 16:23-26

And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.

Offer It Up July 30th
Happy Birthday Tony!
Hook 'Em Bro!

Jeremiah 18:1-6

This word came to Jeremiah from the LORD: Rise up, be off to the potter's house; there I will give you my message.
I went down to the potter's house and there he was, working at the wheel. Whenever the object of clay which he was making turned out badly in his hand, he tried again, making of the clay another object of whatever sort he pleased. Then the word of the LORD came to me:
Can I not do to you, house of Israel, as this potter has done? says the LORD.
Indeed, like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, house of Israel.

So simple, or so it seems to the passers-by.

Pottery. Put some clay on a table or a wheel, spin it a bit with some water, a little molding and forming, and a little bit later, you have a, uh, hmm, oh maybe it’s a plate with sides, something like a tray, or it could be a really short pot. Put the ‘classic’ piece in the kiln, fire it until done, and then behold the wonder of modern art. See, way easy.

If you’ve ever found yourself in such a creative state, you know you are not alone. People try something new all the time and find out just how good they are, or are not, at a particular skill or expression. Some have natural talent and still others persist and learn how to work with what they have to become better, to become good… to become great. Even those with talent must find new ways to express their gifts and talents.

My brother Tony had loads of talent. More than that, he had so many gifts. His family—Mary K, Stephanie, John, Marc and Adam and their children—represent God’s gift to him. They now are Tony’s legacy and gift to the rest of us. He was a gifted husband. A father. Grandfather. Brother, uncle… son. Friend. The list goes on. He was all these for and to so many people. And not some small circle of folks that he knew or those that knew him, either. Just yesterday, another person said, ‘I knew your brother… he was a very good man.’

And yes he had talent. Not just artistically but in so many ways. Not only could he paint—artistically as well as like a house—he could write. He could build. Athletics. (He could hit a 3 iron like anyone else could hit a pitching wedge.) Much of the artwork he did from his classes at MSU is still around. And there are stories that could be shared from his family and friends of how he impacted their lives with his time and craftsmanship, all out of love and sacrifice.

Above and beyond all of these truly wonderful gifts, his greatest was his Love for God. As the potter would reshape his work, so God was always reshaping Tony. Like many of us, sometimes that would not be such an easy task. Also like many of us, once he was reshaped into what God wanted him to be, he became the vessel, the instrument, for the rest of the world around him for God to use to bring others to Him. That was his greatest gift.

From being a son and brother, to his service in the US Army, to his work at the Boys and Girls Club, to his studies at MSU to all of his years at the Post Office, he was in God’s hands. He would have been the first to say it was not about him but about the good of others. He gave without care for cost. And as he did, his own spirit was renewed in a way that we should all afford ourselves at least once. If we were to do it at least that one time, for sure we would try it again.

And there were those times when darkness loomed—death of family members weighed heaviest— but he always found God’s light to bring him home… God was using him then as well. God’s mercy was there for him as God’s mercy will be there for us. We all pray for that when our own lives are in similar straits.

Happy Birthday, Tony. Our brother, a husband, a father.

A son, an uncle. A grandpa.

A friend.

We do love you

Yeah, we miss you.

Yet we rejoice for we know you are now glorifying God with the angels and the saints.

1 Peter 1:6-9

In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.


Offer It Up July 29th

Romans 12:3

For by the grace given to me I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than one ought to think, but to think soberly, each according to the measure of faith that God has apportioned.

Life is grand for you today. You have things all going your way. Life is the proverbial chowl of berries… bowl of cherries. Regardless of the rain or clouds, the sun has found its way to keep things bright and warm.

Then it starts creeping in. Just when you think you have it all knowed up, smugness finds a home. The ego that was fine with itself now needs to be fed with some self-righteousness, maybe some arrogance, with maybe even a dash or three of the old holier-than-thou thrown in for good measure. Yup, look at me world. Ain’t I something!

How the mighty fall when they set themselves up on such shifting sand. For sure, God gives us all the opportunity to help others and be the vessel for them to see a better way of life with Him. And that is His Way, not ours. It is all about Him, not us or our doing. God has given us the gifts to use for His glory. How we choose to use them is up to us. And if we don’t, we are not following His will for us.

It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.

St. Francis of Assisi

Romans 12:1-2

I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.

Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.


Offer It Up July 28th

1 Timothy 2:1-4

First of all, then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity.

This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.

“We must constantly work to strengthen it (our faith) and make it operative in all we do…The surest way to do this, I think, is by prayer…And this is why, again in my opinion, the Morning Offering is still one of the best practices of prayer – no matter how old-fashioned some may think it.

For in it, at the beginning of each day, we accept from God and offer back to him all the prayers, works, and sufferings of the day, and so serve to remind ourselves once again of his providence and his kingdom.”

Father Walter J. Ciszek, S.J., silentinsight.com


Offer It Up July 27th

Colossians 2:12-14

Brothers and sisters:
You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. And even when you were dead in transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he brought you to life along with him, having forgiven us all our transgressions; obliterating the bond against us, with its legal claims, which was opposed to us, he also removed it from our midst, nailing it to the cross.

All too often we start doing the things we are charged to do without much thought into what we are doing. Whether it’s work or work at home or somewhere in between, our lives include many actions and even reactions, we do by rote.

Labeling the newsletters. Now there’s some mind gymnastics for you.

Oh, so I have phone duty this weekend… yea for me.

Hmm… yippee! Yard work. Can’t wait to sweat that.

Were you talking to me? Oh, sure I was listening… what was that again?

On the surface, not too much going on with the above and you may have your own ‘mundane mission’ that doesn’t do it for you. It’s when there is a succession of them and we fall into a trap of pity and start with the thought process that this is all there is and wonder why we bother with it all. That is when the devil has set his trap and we are precipitously close to or have outright fallen in it.

Now what? ‘Not this again’ is a usual woeful cry. Why me. Why now. The words are said so plainly and so unaffectedly that they don’t even sound like questions anymore. To a casual observer, it may appear to be more like rehearsed apathy, this superficiality, something akin to pity on a platter being served for that party of one.

With one and then another, we find it easier to move even farther off the straight and narrow, looking for a balm for our ills, a cure to what ails us as we have grown weary of way it is now.

The sad news is that it happens all too often. The good news is that there is a way out of the mendacity. The best news is that it is a way we are familiar with. A journey we already on. We’ve been delivered from it through Jesus’ death on the cross. That is our salvation. Every day. Choosing more to more of His will, His way. We’re not saints but even if we were, it would take work. They had no guarantees but they didn’t take any unnecessary chances either. (Well, at least not so much during their saintly lives.) Nor should we. Yet if we do, His door is always open and His Light is always on for us to enter and live in forever.

Colossians 1:9-14

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, strengthened with every power, in accord with his glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light.

He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.


Offer It Up July 26th

Treat all as you would treat Me, with Love and consideration.

Let nothing that others do to you alter your treatment of them. GC

Who would think that such a little word could have such a huge impact?I’m talking about the word “ALL.”It means there are no exceptions – none.How often have you been in a situation where someone treated you badly and instinctually you gave the same attitude right back?

I know what you are thinking… he or she deserved it – right?

What is it that causes us to think that way?Why is it that we can’t just walk away from a situation like that without getting in the last word?It’s simple really – it’s pride.It’s the ‘I deserve better’ way of thinking.Ouch!

God calls us to treat ALL as we would treat Him.Would we dare to stand before God in a moment of being instructed or chastised by Him and give Him an attitude in return?I doubt it.God calls us to let nothing alter how we treat others.Nothing?Nothing.This is a tall order.But it is possible with prayer, patience, and practice.

The alternative is to let our pride get the better of us and not listen to God.

lgboyd

Jeremiah 13:7-11

Again I went to the Parath, sought out and took the loincloth from the place where I had hid it.
But it was rotted, good for nothing! Then the message came to me from the LORD:
Thus says the LORD:
So also I will allow the pride of Judah to rot, the great pride of Jerusalem. This wicked people who refuse to obey my words, who walk in the stubbornness of their hearts, and follow strange gods to serve and adore them, shall be like this loincloth which is good for nothing.
For, as close as the loincloth clings to a man's loins, so had I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the LORD; to be my people, my renown, my praise, my beauty. But they did not listen.


Offer It Up July 25th

Can You Hear?

You know, I've often wondered what it meant to have a MountainWings moment. Was there some sort of internal pause? A light bulb in the head? Well, I no longer have to wonder.
I just had a MountainWings Moment.

I had just given my little boy a bath and was putting on his pajamas for bed. My husband was in the bathroom shaving. My baby was cranky and tired and was expressing his discontentment and impatience quite loudly when my husband called out a question to me from the bathroom - something about shaving cream. I called back that I couldn't hear him.

And that's when it happened. My MountainWings Moment.

I realized at that instant that I wasn't just telling my husband that I couldn't hear him because the baby was crying. I was telling him that I chose not to hear him because the baby was crying. All of my mothering instincts were focused on making my son happy at that moment. I was fighting arms and legs and tight pajamas while at the same time trying to soothe the baby with my voice - I couldn't
possibly have any time to answer anyone's question about shaving cream. It was irrelevant.

I was choosing to completely focus my entire being on dressing my son for bed in the most efficient and soothing way possible. It made me think about what we choose to concentrate on and what we choose to ignore. If I could concentrate on daily prayer and communion with the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost like I was concentrating on my son in that moment, what kind of person could I become?

If I could concentrate on my marriage and on all the words I say to my husband, how much more in love could we be? If I could concentrate on loving other people - everyone that I meet, whose life could be that much better because of me?

I want to thank you for opening up the opportunities to see MountainWings Moments in my life.
by Alexa Kirk

Submitted by Reno V.


Offer It Up July 24th

Psalm 84:2-6, 11-13

How lovely your dwelling, O LORD of hosts!

My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the LORD. My heart and flesh cry out for the living God. As the sparrow finds a home and the swallow a nest to settle her young, my home is by your altars, LORD of hosts, my king and my God! Happy are those who dwell in your house! They never cease to praise you.Happy are those who find refuge in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrim roads.

Better one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere. Better the threshold of the house of my God than a home in the tents of the wicked. For a sun and shield is the LORD God, bestowing all grace and glory. The LORD withholds no good thing from those who walk without reproach.

O LORD of hosts, happy are those who trust in you!

“He’s so broke, he can’t afford to pay attention.”Have you ever met someone like that?Those that think money is the solution to all of life’s problems.They are so focused on the getting and keeping of money that they can’t pay attention to anything else.And, in the process, they lose sight of some of the most wonderful gifts that may be right in front of their eyes.It’sthat constant thought of ‘I need more, I need more,’ that gets in the way of being able to see that they already have enough or even way more than they really need.It’s hard to sustain a relationship with someone like that because their focus is so much on self and on their own wants that they can’t pay attention to the relationship.In the end, it feels like they would suck the life right out of you to get ‘more’ if they could.

No one wants to be in the position of not being able to pay the bills.In the current real estate market, foreclosures are common – who would want to be first in line for that experience?No one, I would guess.Regardless of your current status financially or otherwise, it is good to consider what you do have instead of what you don’t.It is good to consider the little, wonderful gifts God has placed before you; gifts that may improve your life in ways that money cannot-Gifts of family, friends, a fulfilling job, or even hobbies or sports that bring us a sense of accomplishment.If you don’t have a car, you can be thankful for the bus or the neighbor who volunteers to drive you to the store.

Maybe you can’t afford to or don’t have the talent to play golf with the pros, but you can be thankful for the occasional round of golf with friends at the local course.Maybe some of your family relationships are shaky at best or those you love live far away from you, but you can be thankful for the baby steps you see to better those relationships or for the time you do get to spend with those you love.

Most of all, let’s not forget the gift of God’s love, mercy, peace and joy in our lives.The Psalmist above gets it.The Lord is there to provide for us and meet all of our needs and then some. Spending one day with God can prove to be way more fulfilling than having all the world’s riches, but having it alone.

It is a choice we have to make.

Do we want to have it all and always be preoccupied with where to get more or do we want to have enough so that we can enjoy the tranquility of sitting at the doorstep of our Lord? lgboyd


Offer It Up July 23rd

Matthew 13:18-23

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Hear the parable of the sower. The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the Kingdom
without understanding it, and the Evil One comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away.
The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit.
But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold."

If you have a yard that has some good grass in it—fully grown, thick, mow it every five days kind of grass—chances are good that there are few weeds, if any, in your yard. It didn’t just get that way overnight, either. Someone had to put some work into to get it that way. And if a weed does appear, it doesn’t take long to notice it and something is done about it.

In the gospel about the sower, where Jesus talks about His planting and His weeding, the soil the seeds fall on may or may not find root. On the rocky and hard soil, there are slim chances of the seed finding anywhere to take root. Shallow and loose soil, yeah, it will take root but won’t last long as the first bit of heat or stress will burn it up. Still other sorts of soil are better for growth as they are richer and deeper but share the ground with bushes, weeds and the briar patches. All grow well, including the good stuff, but even with the best intentions, the good stuff can be overcome by the weeds and bramble and choke off the good growth.

It’s the type of soil that the fully grown and thick yard of grass has that we all strive for, not just for the front yards of our homes but for the spiritual journeys of our lives. The more you have of thick, plush yard around you, the less likely the weeds are to sprout. The same could be said for our spiritual walk: the more we put ourselves in good company and in good light, the less likely we are to be caught up in the weeds and put ourselves in harm’s way. For many of us, trouble finds us often enough without having to go bring some home.

It might be that each of us are somewhere else than in the best of soils right now. Maybe it is a temporary setback. Maybe it’s been a way of life for far too long. It could be that it is somewhere in between. We get caught up in what the world wants from us as 'good' instead focusing on the goodness of God's life for us. And the crazy thing is, we know better. Well, most of the time we do.

Let our lives and hearts be open enough to listen and take in what our ears can hear so that He can continue to do His good work in us.


Offer It Up July 22nd

John 20:1-2, 11-18

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him." But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him." Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away."Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabbo'ni!" (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, "Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

The gardeners in our lives

Every day we are in His presence and we miss a chance to recognize Him. It happened with Mary Magdalene when Jesus came to her in the tomb… she presumed Him to be a gardener. We may presume Him to be someone or something else. A family member. A friend. A co-worker. Maybe even that someone who passes us on the street that gives us reason to stop for a moment and wonder. What are we looking for in our lives that keeps us from seeing what or who we need to see?

Sometimes it may take a ‘clear and present’ calling to get our attention, much like Jesus did when He called out to Mary Magdalene when He returned to her at the tomb. As if the angels were not enough of an attention getter for her, she was still looking for ‘something else’. That is, until He spoke to her and more importantly, she heard Him.

In our prayer life and outside of it, we must be attuned to hear what we need to hear. It is not the things of this world that matter but the things of our salvation that make the difference in what we should hear and act on. We also know there are plenty of gardeners in all of our lives; we may even be one for someone. As Mary heard her name called and responded to her ‘teacher’, let us be ready to do the same when we hear what He has called us to do for Him.


Offer it Up July 21st


Acts 17:24-27

The God who made the world and all that is in it, the Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands because he needs anything. Rather it is he who gives to everyone life and breath and everything.

He made from one the whole human race to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions, so that people might seek God, even perhaps grope for him and find him, though indeed he is not far from any one of us.

Generosity, and huge heart.

Jesus assures us that the measure we measure out is the measure that we ourselves will receive in return. In essence, that says that the air we breathe out will be the air we re-inhale.

That isn't just true ecologically. It is a broad truth for life in general. If we breathe out miserliness, we will re-inhale miserliness; if we breathe out pettiness, we will breathe in pettiness; if we breathe out bitterness, then bitterness will be the air that surrounds us; and if we breathe out a sense of scarcity that makes us calculate and be fearful, then calculation and fearfulness will be the air we re-inhale. But, if aware of God's abundance, we breathe out generosity and forgiveness, we will breathe in the air of generosity and forgiveness. We re-inhale what we exhale.

I have never met a truly generous man or woman who didn't say that, always, he or she received more in return than he or she gave out. And I have never met a truly big-hearted man or woman who lived out of a sense of scarcity. To be generous and big-hearted we have to first trust in God's abundance and generosity.

From God's abundance we get a sun that is generous and a universe that is too huge and prodigal to be imagined. That's a challenge not just to the mind and the imagination, but especially to the heart-for it to become huge and generous.

From Parishworld


Offer It Up July 20th


Philippians 3:17-21

Join with others in being imitators of me, brothers, and observe those who thus conduct themselves according to the model you have in us. For many, as I have often told you and now tell you even in tears, conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ.

Their end is destruction. Their God is their stomach; their glory is in their "shame." Their minds are occupied with earthly things.

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body by the power that enables him also to bring all things into subjection to himself.

Let Go
One day while climbing towards a high cliff a man slipped and fell over the edge. Frantic - he grabbed at a branch jutting out from a tree and yelled out, "Oh, God, help me."
He looked down while holding on tight and saw only jagged rocks. Clutching even tighter to the branch he cried out again, "God...Please help me."

Suddenly he felt God's presence and heard God ask, "My son, what can I do for you?'
The man, somewhat relieved, answered, "Please God, help me. Save me."
God said quietly, "Do you love me? Do you trust me? Do you believe in me?"
"Yes, yes, I love you. I trust you and I believe in you," the man shouted.
"Well, if indeed you love me, trust me, and believe in me, LET GO."

With some hesitation and another look below at the jagged rocks, the man asked, "Is there anybody else up there I can talk to?"

We often seek other answers when our real answer can only come when we "Let Go" of some things. Though the above is an often-told joke, it is a true parable. So often in counseling, people are told the same thing.

"You have to let go. That situation is killing you. It is killing your peace, your finances, and your future. You must let go!" Often they will inwardly feel just as the hanging man asked, "Is there anybody else that I can talk to, because I am afraid to let go? I know the situation is killing me—that's why I'm here. I know that what I am holding on to is destined to die. I know I cannot fully live while I remain embraced with it. But I am soooo... afraid. Afraid that I might fall if I let go."

Like a person on drugs, you often must "come down" before you can ever get back up. You must fall from one high, to rise to an entirely different type of high. You must let go of the bad before you can ever fully embrace the good. Someone, somewhere, right now is hanging on to something that you know in your heart is not good for you.
You think the fall will kill you.
But It won't.
To keep on hanging on will eventually tire you to the point where you will fall.

There is a big difference between falling because you hung on so long that you lost your grip, and letting go of a thing in wisdom, obedience, and faith while there is still strength left.

Wisdom whispers ever so softly for you to let go of the thing that you know is not good for you.
You need to Let Go.
Now.

Submitted by Reno V.


Offer It Up July 19th


Micah 6:8

You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.

How easy would it be to have signs every day that we were doing God’s will? Something along the lines of that commercial you may have seen for office supplies—the easy button—just push it and we get some sort of indication that we are doing what He wants us to be doing. Wouldn’t that be great? Something to take all the guess work out of our plans?

First of all, the plans are not ours. Well, they shouldn't be anyway. Secondly, the signs are already there; we need to become more aware of them. And thirdly, prayer is our easy button. As we put our lives into God’s way, surrendering to His will, prayer becomes our way of submitting ourselves to His service, ‘only to do the right and to love goodness and to walk humbly with your God.

Everywhere we look, day after day, moment by moment, God has given us every indication that He has been here and is here. For sure, we will have our prayers answered, His Providence will be shown in miracles and our lives will take those great turns and surprises, all as we commit ourselves to our faith with hope and courage.

Take more notice of the ‘signs’ today. No real need to look for them, just see them. They are there. And as you begin to see more of them, the things you cannot see but know as true will become more real, more evident along the way.

The Meaning of Faith

Hebrews 11:1-3

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


Offer It Up July 18th


GOD'S TODAY

Don't let yourself be torn between yesterday and tomorrow.
Live always and only God's today.
Accept surprises that upset your plans,
shatter your dreams,
give a completely different turn to your day
and - who knows?
to your life.
It is not chance.
Leave the Father free Himself to weave
The pattern of you days.

Dam Helder Camara

Sometimes the best thing to do is just to be there.

Here some news: people grieve differently.

These times are some of the heaviest emotional upheavals that we experience, either firsthand or shared with those close to us. Even Jesus went through His own grief in the Garden the night before He died. With His disciples with Him, He knew His fate. Jesus shared time with His disciples and He shared time with His Father. Why should we be any different? With our own grief and sorrow, we too sometimes want people to be with us. And there are those times when we want our space. Somewhere in between is where a balance can be found. And the only one to make that call is the one doing the suffering.

As our family and friends are hurting, we often struggle just trying to find ways to help or for finding the words to say. We mean well yet the words come out a bit jumbled…’Uh, I know what you mean, uh, wait, I mean, I know what you are going through,’ even though we may have never experienced the loss they have. An understanding smile is shared, maybe a nod or hug, and the awkward moment is gone. Thankfully.

More often than not, the best thing to do is just to be there. Even with all the experience one may have been through.

The best thing to say is nothing. Be there when they need you.

Love them.

And pray for them.

Romans 12:1-3, 11-12, 15

I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect. For by the grace given to me I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than one ought to think, but to think soberly, each according to the measure of faith that God has apportioned.

Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.


Offer It Up July 17th


For a friend.

For us all.

Let my future be as God wants it.

I leave it in the hands of Him

who cannot operate but for the good of all.

And this is enough to make me happy.

I do not know what He is preparing for me

in the journey I begin tomorrow.

I know one thing only,

if He is good and loves me immensely,

everything else: calm or storm,

danger or safety, life or death,

are merely changeable and passing expressions

of the beloved immutable, eternal Love.

Blessed Giovanni Battista Mazzucconi


Offer It Up July 16th

Happy Birthday Terri!


Galatians 6:9

Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up.

We have been entrusted with a mission and we are accountable to God for the success of that mission. By our choices, our paths are worn for others to see our lives and how we have lived. Through prayer, we can become more aware of what God wants us to do so that we may live more like Jesus and love as He did.This gives us life and life to those around us. Without the communication of prayer, there can be less opportunity for doing His will, leading to life without Him—being in darkness and sin.

For us to proclaim the Good News is to share in the renewal of our environment, our world, His kingdom on earth. We become even more conscious of what our roles are as believers. We are ready to accept whatever comes our way to lead others to a life of salvation. Cardinal Francis Nguyen Van Thuan put it this way in a prayer:

Lord I want to live each moment

by filling it with my love,

living each moment with the greatest intensity,

just as the saints in heaven live their eternity.

Each of their moments is made of love

and their eternity is a beatitude

that no tongue can ever describe.

I must always live more intensely

the time I have left.

What counts is not so much how long I live,

But how I lived the time I had.

You will not question me about the number of years,

but about the weight of the love

reaped every day of my existence.

John 20:19-21

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you."
After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."


Offer It Up July 15th


Philemon 1:4-7

I give thanks to my God always, remembering you in my prayers, as I hear of the love and the faith you have in the Lord Jesus and for all the holy ones, so that your partnership in the faith may become effective in recognizing every good there is in us that leads to Christ.

For I have experienced much joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the holy ones have been refreshed by you, brother.

Really?

Have you ever seen some one in a ‘zone’, like on a hot streak? Call it luck or fortune or blessings, but whatever it is they are doing, they are doing it well for a period of time. Sometimes, when a baseball player is on a hot streak, having a great run of success at the plate, some say that he is in that zone and add that where ever he is, it must be good to be. Golfers are the same way—especially those types of golfers who are not usually that good and then they run off a string of pars with a birdie or two mixed in. People around them don’t want to ‘wake them up’ as they are playing well above their game.

Outside of sports, it is great to see people you know in those types of zones. Lately, some friends of mine have been ‘spot on’ with encouragement, with their friendship, with what they write, with their faith. In some circumstances, it would be surprising if it were not for the depth of their faith and the increasing depth of mine. Not for these people.

Family and friends sometimes are there just at the right time and with the right words and with the right approach and all we can do is wonder how they knew. Yet we are so thankful that they do. And we want to know more of what they know; of where or whatever it is that they have or are, we want some of it or want to be like them.

So what is it? Their insight. Their depth… their faith. Yeah, their faith. And how did their get there? And why am I not? Not to be envious, but what happened that I couldn’t come up with the things they said so astutely, so clearly, so simply? Am I not ‘getting’ what they are ‘getting’? To borrow on the line from the movie, When Harry met Sally, we want to say ‘I’ll have what they’re having.’ How do they do it?

Really. What is it?

Really?

Prayer. Trust. Surrender. Faith. Repeat.

Watch those people and you will see them live what they say they do. All humbly before God. Putting others first in a world full of ‘But what about me?’ cries.

Really?

Really.


Offer It Up July 14th

Happy Birthday Amanda!


The last of the four part series on The Body of Christ

I Corinthians 12:18-20

But as it is, God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended. If they were all one part, where would the body be? But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

If we put it all together, we realize that each part needs the other to function.The hands cannot multi-task unless the head tells it what tasks need to be done and the ears, eyes, and nose are there to call attention to the needs along the way.The feet cannot move the body forward unless they know in what direction to go.The head, ears, eyes, and nose all assist the feet in moving forward and avoiding pitfalls along the way.And the feet take the hands where they need to be to get the tasks accomplished.

It is no accident what part of the body you are.And, the parts mentioned above are just a few of the many parts that you might fit into.Regardless of how you fit into the body and what your role is, just remember that God placed you there as HE intended.He picked that spot out just for you.So don’t be shy – use it for the glory of God.

Just don’t forget what we talked about on Day 1 – whatever you do, do it with compassion, patience, kindness and most of all, Love.

I Corinthians 12:31b-13:1-4, 8

But I shall show you a still more excellent way.

If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.And if I have the gift of prophecy, and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.Love is patient, love is kind…Love never fails.


Offer It Up July 13th


The Body of Christ - Part Three:

I Corinthians 12:21-26

The eye cannot say to the hand, "I do not need you," nor again the head to the feet, "I do not need you."Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are all the more necessary, and those parts of the body that we consider less honorable we surround with greater honor, and our less presentable parts are treated with greater propriety, whereas our more presentable parts do not need this.But God has so constructed the body as to give greater honor to the part that is without it, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the parts may have the same concern for one another.If [one] part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.

There are those parts of the body that produce the inner workings, the ‘behind the scenes’ kind of work.Some may appear weaker or less honorable from our human perspective, but in God’s eyes they are just as necessary, if not more so, than the parts that are more visible.Keep that in mind as you assess your gifts and what part of the body God placed you in.

As for the eyes, ears, and nose – well, those are the senses we utilize to take in the world around us and respond to it in kind.The eyes are able to see what is going on in and around the world.Eyes help us identify who or what we are encountering.If you are an eye within the body, you are probably good at seeing someone else’s needs before they even ask for help.Eyes also help us spot errors – eyes are the proofreaders.Without the eyes of the body, accomplishing God’s work would be like floundering around in the dark.Eyes help the body avoid the bumps and bruises of running into roadblocks.

The ears allow us to hear attitudes and tone of voice.Ears hear the pain or the joy, the laughter or the cries.Ears on the body help create a sense of empathy for others.Just hearing the need and listening is enough.I imagine most “ears” of the body like to talk on the phone.Without ears, the body would not enjoy or savor the sweet sounds of life or hear the call for help.God’s work is done through the ears that respond and react to the joys or the needs of the body by offering a kind word of encouragement in return or by just listening without judgment.

And then there is the nose.The nose takes in the sweet aroma of God’s creation, but also takes in the not so sweet aroma of our sin and our less than perfect bodies.The nose senses when something good has gone ‘bad’ or sometimes senses danger, like smoke from a fire.Noses are quite intuitive that way.The nose needs a lot of discernment to know when to send out the alert that someone needs assistance or action needs to be taken to avoid danger.Without a nose, the body might end up in a mess for the lack of being able to discern danger.God’s work is done through the nose by helping the body avoid circumstances that could lead to pain and disaster.

Ears, eyes, and nose – a few of the senses of the body that allow us to see where there is a need in the body, to hear and listen to what that need is all about, and to sense when danger or illness within the body is present.Again, as important as it is to have a plan and be able to move and synchronize that plan, if the ears, eyes and nose aren’t doing their job, the plan could come to a screeching halt.


Offer It Up July 12th


Our second installment on the serving parts of the Body of Christ. Thank you for reading and for serving along.

I Corinthians 12:13-17

For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit. Now the body is not a single part, but many. If a foot should say, "Because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body," it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. Or if an ear should say, "Because I am not an eye I do not belong to the body," it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?

Look at the parts of the body mentioned in the scripture and consider where you fit in: the head, the hands, the feet, the nose, the ears, and the eyes.Obviously, these are not the only parts of the body, but they do provide a good representation of how the body must function as one.And, although they must function as one synchronized unit, they all have their own unique purpose.It’s kind of like any other piece of machinery.Even the tiniest nut or bolt has a purpose.How many times have you seen that one little bolt come loose and fall out of something and the whole piece of machinery stops functioning?So keep in mind as we take a look at the different parts of the body that where one part of the body may seem more important than the others, it most definitely is not.

The head is usually the mastermind, or the brains behind something; the leader of the group.This part of the body sounds really important, and it is. Without the head, there would be no plan, just chaos.But, what good is the head if it is not attached to the rest of the body?Not much.So, just because someone is a natural born leader doesn’t make them more important than anyone else.As the head needs a body, leaders need a team to get something done.

What about hands?Hands do a lot of different things – hands are the multi-taskers.Hands can touch, grab, carry, hold, point, pat, write, type, and create connections in any number of ways and sometimes in more ways than one.Maybe you are good at doing any number of things at once or maybe you are good at creating connections between people or groups.Without hands, the body would struggle to put all the pieces of the plan together.It seems to me that God uses the hands of the body to synchronize it all together.

Now feet – they are the movers.Feet move us along from one location or point in time to the next.Feet move us in the right direction step by step.Feet keep us on the right track and keep us steady and balanced as we move forward.Maybe you are good at setting priorities and seeing what needs to come first.You know what is important to getting a job done and what can be left behind or saved for later.You might even be good at motivating people to get something done.On a practical level, I imagine the feet of the body don’t mind doing the driving.Without feet, God’s work would stall out or move along at a crawl.

While the head, the hands, and the feet provide the body with a plan, and the structure and movement of the plan, there are other necessary parts that ensure the body remains joyful, healthy, and on the right track, if not keeping things togehter.

lgboyd


Offer It Up July 11th


Today, we begin a four day series on the serving parts of the Body of Christ. We all make up the Body of Christ in all we do and say as his disciples and minsiters of His Word.

Over the following days, join us as we share how as individuals and as a community we make up the serving body of Christ.


I Corinthians 12:4-12

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one spirit; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues.But one and the same Sprit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ.

The Body

Part I

So what part of the body do you think you are?Stop for a minute and think about what gifts or talents God has given you.Don’t be shy – we all have something we are good at; something that doesn’t scare us off or make us wonder if God forgot to include our brains when he created us.

You may wonder why it even matters.You do what you do and serve when you can and just get the job done when asked, right?Well, it matters because God gave you specific gifts to use.Certainly there is nothing wrong with pitching in and helping where needed, but we need to be careful that we are not overlooking that special gift or gifts God gives to each of us to use for His honor and glory.In so doing, we become more like Him each and every day that our special gifts are used.Joyce Rupp, in her book, Prayer, says it like this,

The central quality of Jesus weaving through his teachings and activity is that of compassion.He not only instructs his followers about the basic tenets of this central gospel virtue, Jesus clothes himself with compassion in both his attitude and actions.Time and again we see how compassionate Jesus is.He empathizes with those who grieve.He does all he can to help the ill and disabled.He wants to be sure the hungry are fed, leads the wayward back to their best selves, speaks of justice for the poor, accepts disciples whose foibles challenge his patience, and forgives his enemies rather than being retaliatory.

Jesus’ activities were all based on compassion and love for all of God’s creation.Acknowledging your gift(s) is important so that what you do can be filled with compassion rather than having a “let’s just get the job done” attitude.

lgboyd

John 5:15

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.


Offer It UpJuly 10th


Luke 5: 17-25

One day as Jesus was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem , and the power of the Lord was with him for healing. And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed; they were trying to bring him in and set (him) in his presence. But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles into the middle in front of Jesus. When he saw their faith, he said, "As for you, your sins are forgiven." Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves, "Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who but God alone can forgive sins?" Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply, "What are you thinking in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise and walk'?But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins''--he said to the man who was paralyzed, "I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home." He stood up immediately before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God.

What all is happening here in Luke’s passage? Here are a few of my musings.

The healing power of Jesus is really getting the villages to turn out in droves, huge crowds are everywhere. And why not? People then as today want to be healed. How they go about getting that way, well, some still seek out Jesus and are living in His Light. Others not so much. Yet, there is the hope for them to still walk in that light. Our job is to live in such a way for them to see it and follow it as we do. Perfectly? Of course not. Forgiven? We should hope so.

Then there is the group of guys who are so fired up by His healing, they bring their paralyzed friend on a stretcher, hoping that Jesus can cure him. Along the way, because of their faith, Jesus forgives their sins. Wow! (I wonder if they were expecting that?) They tore through a tile roof to get him there! Even then, that had to be no easy task. Talk about being on a mission! How many of us have friends like that today—tear down the house to save us, to get us healed? How many of us would do that for a friend? For anyone?

And then there were the doubters, the scribes and the Pharisees and their chums, those that were on the perimeter with their raised eye brows and sideways tilted heads, wondering who this Jesus was, forgiving sins in the name of God. When He spoke to them about their thoughts and made them out-loud thoughts, that must have jerked their collective heads straight and their eyes wide open—kind of like all of the kids on Spanky and the gang of Little Rascals getting caught in the middle of another story.

Jesus had made it clear to them that He was the Son of God. He had been sent by the Father to bring salvation through the forgiveness of sins. As the paralyzed man got up and walked, his faith having healed him and cleansed him, our faith too can heal us and cleanse us. We should be so astonished today as the crowds were then. After all, we still see incredible things today.

Luke 5:26

Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God, and, struck with awe, they said, "We have seen incredible things today."


Offer It UpJuly 9th


Hosea 14:9-10

Let him who is wise understand these things; let him who is prudent know them. Straight are the paths of the LORD, in them the just walk, but sinners stumble in them.

As much as I read, there is still much I am grasping at, not so wise yet or even understanding it all. Though I still persist in learning more, using more good sense and better judgment than in the past, mistakes—lapses in judgment, slip-ups, call it what it is: sin—will happen and those experiences will lead to more learning. I would offer we all live in a style such as that, if not exactly then at least somewhat.

Staying to and in the straight path takes work; work takes energy. The more energy we spend, the more apt we are to get tired. We may look for an easier path as we tire, even though we know what could happen… our journey tends to get a bit on the messy side.

That is where the understanding comes in. With our understanding and prudence, we at least now know where we have stepped in ‘it' and that we need to take the appropriate action to get ourselves clear of it. A 'Did I really just do that?' sort of double take. Life had been so good up till then and we just 'had' to find a way to trip ourselves up.

So now what? Where do we start to get things right again? Obviously, we go back to what was working best for us in God’s plan, God’s way. Back to that straighter path. If apologies and repentance are in order—and most likely they are—get done what needs to be done with those who have been affected, including God. Ask for and accept it when forgiveness is given. Then stay to the straighter path. The more we do it, the more it becomes the way we truly live, not just a behavior that we put on for show. Our true heart shows through as we walk in His way.


Offer It UpJuly 8th

Happy Birthday Carrie!


Hosea 11:8c-9

My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred.
I will not give vent to my blazing anger, I will not destroy Ephraim again; For I am God and not man, the Holy One present among you; I will not let the flames consume you.

Think of the times our own hearts have been overwhelmed with pressure and anxiety. Our self-described ‘hell on earth’ as it were, where we go through all the ‘stuff’ at work, the yadda-yadda-yadda at home or our keeping up with the Joneses relationships. Is it pity, even self-pity, we feel or is it more like the ‘blazing anger’? Does it stay in us so much that we let it consume us, that it becomes our life instead our life controlling it?

How hollow and narrow is our faith if we succumb to such recklessness. Regardless of where we are, God is readily there-always. He won’t let it consume us, provided we give Him the opportunity to do what God does. With all our sins and yes, even all our stupidity, God won’t be any farther away. He can’t be. He is omnipresent. And there is a reason for that: so that none of us—sinners and the not-so-smart—are never far away from His saving grace.

‘I will not let the flames consume you.’ What more do you need to know?


Offer It UpJuly 7th

Birthday Blessings to my Dad, My Father-in-law Gene

and to my good friend c.l.-All of them sharing eternal glory


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.

Imagine

Imagine God always beside you.

The thought of God always beside you
will keep you from doing things that you shouldn't do.

The thought of God always beside you
will empower you to do things that you otherwise couldn't do.

Imagine...

Submitted by Reno V.


A Birthday Note...

Romans 12:17-18

Do not repay anyone evil for evil; be concerned for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, on your part, live at peace with all.

This verse was shared at my father’s funeral service some sixteen years ago, as Romans Twelve was a favorite chapter of his. I would have to guess it would still be. He, along with our mother, did much to instill much in us all.

Faith, Hope and Love and they both stressed the importance of all three, yet the greatest was Love.

We would all do well to practice and share our faith with the love our Father shares with us so that we too may hope, as far as it depends on us, to live in peace with others.

Happy Birthday, Dad.

I love you.

David


Offer It UpJuly 6th


Matthew 9:35-38

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest."

It seems that Jesus knew the disciples were going to need more help than what they had. Luke talked about seventy-two additional disciples. Now Matthew makes reference to asking the master for more laborers. It was evident something was happening that was calling for more help to get the work done.

Not too much unlike today really. There is an even greater need for the work to be done as the workers appear even fewer and the work load even greater to spread The Word, the Good News of our salvation. So what do we do? Do we keep doing what we’ve always done and expect things to change? By some definitions, that would be insanity. Or do we avail ourselves as Jesus said and ask the Master to send out the workers? And will we be ready if those workers happen to be us?

We must take our faith personally so we may share it personally with those who want to know the Good News. We have to pray to know what to say-not to be theological wizards or biblical scholars-just to be faithful witnesses to His Word. The best way to do that is to believe and live it. The more we live it, the easier it becomes to pray it. The more we pray it, the easier it becomes to say it. As this happens, we grow deeper in our faith, with the love and trust in God’s transforming power and grace for us. He did it for the disciples and He can do for us. And if He can do it for us, we can show others how He can do it for them.

Ask the Master today.


Offer It UpJuly 5th


Psalm 145:8-9

The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all and compassionate toward all his works.

When I think about all the times I lost my temper with my children, I cringe.When I think about all the times as they got older that I became impatient at their inability to see beyond themselves, I cringe. Thankfully, God is gracious and merciful to forgive me for my impatience and to help me figure out how to recover from it.

I stand in awe to think of God’s ability to have grace, mercy, kindness, compassion, and patience with ALL of His children – even the ones that haven’t come to call Him Father yet.I only have two children…and a husband…and an assortment of other family members that I grow impatient with from time to time.Oh…and let’s not forget how many times I’ve grown impatient with myself.God’s supply never runs out.Not even when those around Him who did not trust in Him or believe in Him.In fact, there were times He was ridiculed – and even that did not stop Him from showing patience, mercy and compassion. l.g.boyd

Matthew 9:18, 23-26

While Jesus was speaking, an official came forward, knelt down before him, and said, "My daughter has just died.But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live." When Jesus arrived at the official's house and saw the flute players and the crowd who were making a commotion, he said, "Go away! The girl is not dead but sleeping." And they ridiculed him.
When the crowd was put out, he came and took her by the hand, and the little girl arose.And news of this spread throughout all that land.


Offer It UpJuly 4th


Luke 10:1-12, 17-20

At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them,
"The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace to this household.'
If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves his payment.
Do not move about from one house to another. Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, 'The kingdom of God is at hand for you.'
Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, 'The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you.'
Yet know this: the kingdom of God is at hand.I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town."
The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and said, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name."
Jesus said, "I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky.
Behold, I have given you the power to 'tread upon serpents' and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven."

We know about those that Jesus called early on, the twelve that He called to follow him. They were the ones that helped get His mission started and spread. Yet Luke writes of those additional seventy-two He also ‘appointed’ or called, to further establish His kingdom on earth. The harvest is great but who is available to bring in the crop? Evidently, His Word was catching on and Jesus knew more were needed to spread His Word. They wouldn't need much and we don't need much today.

‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.’ That was the message for them to deliver. As it was then, it is no different than our message today. Today, we are more than the twelve, more than the seventy-two, and as His faithful, we are all called to do as they did, bringing peace to lives throughout our communities and beyond. Sure, we may not be accepted by all. We may even be persecuted for what we believe. Yet we still must carry on.

Jesus called for His faithful to rejoice not because the spirits were under them but that their names were written in heaven. Let us all take a similar approach for we should all rejoice, knowing that He has not only written our names but has already prepared a place for us there as well.

John 14:1-4

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?

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

Where I am going you know the way.


Offer It UpJuly 3rd


Psalm 23:1-4

A psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack.

In green pastures you let me graze; to safe waters you lead me;

you restore my strength. You guide me along the right path for the sake of your name.

Even when I walk through a dark valley, I fear no harm for you are at my side; your rod and staff give me courage.

Okay – I admit it.Sometimes I want what I want when I want it.Sadly enough, those are the times that I feel like I am greatly lacking in everything I actually need.And, sadly enough, those are the times when I am certainly not on the right path.And, sadly enough, those are the times when I start to become afraid of every possible outcome of the things that are bothering me.

So how does that happen?I don’t know if I have an exact answer, but I think it is those times when I am dragging my feet to follow God.It is those times when I am following from a distance.Sometimes when we are in the midst of a storm or walking along a dusty road feeling parched and dry, it’s hard to remember that if we stay the course, there is a wonderful meadow or peaceful lake waiting for us on down the road.The Lord is there to give us the strength to endure, to even have more energy instead of less so that we can continue full speed ahead through the storm.

Isn’t it comforting to know that He is there, if not right beside us, He is at least just a few steps ahead waiting for us to catch up. l.g.boyd

Follow Me, and whether it be in the storm, or along the dusty highroad, or over the places of stones, or in the cool glade or the meadow, or by the waters of comfort, then, with Me, in each experience there will be a place of refuge.At times you seem to follow afar off. Then weary with the burden and the way, you stretch out a hand to touch the hem of My Garment.GC


Offer It UpJuly 2nd

Happy Birthday Melissa!

Happy Birthday Ken!


Psalm 19:8-11

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 ordinances of the LORD are true, all of them just.
They are more precious than gold, than a heap of purest gold;
Sweeter also than syrup or honey from the comb.

Who would think that laws would refresh the soul?

How about those precepts? Think of the last time you were ‘rejoicing’ over a precept.

And then there are those command…ments. Clear, enlightening. Of course we are all the wiser and better off for them.

All of which are more precious than gold, the purest gold.

So how is that we take God’s Word and rejoice in His laws and His decrees when things are not going the way we had anticipated? Do we turn our backs on them and make our own rules to fit what works for us? Do we rationalize and say the commandments are not really supposed to mean, you know, that? What do they expect anyway… for us to follow all of them every day?

The laws, the precepts, The Word, they are all there for us to keep us doing what we should be doing. And if we need to do something different than what we have been, they can help us make that leap to do what needs to be done that will lead us to change. John Maxwell said that people change when they hurt enough that they have to change; that they learn enough that they want to change; that they receive enough that they are able to change.

Through The Word, with His precepts, through the fear of the LORD, we can learn and receive enough to enable ourselves to grow in His Love.


Offer It UpJuly 1st


Changing the way we live

Mark 1:16 -20

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee , he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men." Then they abandoned their nets and followed him. He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him.

Starting a new job can certainly be a change in the way you live. Either a boost in the way you have been used to living or it might be that you are making those efforts to do less with less. However it is that you look at it, you’ve put in the hours and effort; you’ve done your time, so to speak, gaining the experience to submit your résumé, get past the initial ‘thanks for stopping by’ interviews, and getting your foot in the door to finally find your new niche in life. Yup, you’ve made it once again to where you feel God needs you to be. Or so you think.

Put yourself in the shoes and lives of the early apostles. Forget about the résumés. No need for interviews. As a matter of fact, your new life and career, your ‘job’ has been chosen for you. You didn’t choose it. Dropping everything you’ve ever done or known as a way of life. Following a man who asks you to abandon what it is that you are doing, join with others and change yourselves, and oh, by the way, change the world. Could you do it now? Would you do it now?

We have that chance every day we are given on His earth. He has made the call and we have answered it for those of us that follow Him. Yes, we choose to follow Him. Fishers of men? You bet. Abandoning all we’ve known before? Hmm. Well, we have to start somewhere. We have to empty ourselves so that we may be filled more with what He wants us to be. And that takes work. Daily work. That type of work that leads to our salvation. Just as it did for those that dropped what they were doing when He asked them some 2,000 years ago.

Lord, may our work today leave a lasting impression for Your glory.