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

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Offer It Up! Saturday, June 30, 2012
Happy Birthday Patty!

Matthew 8:5-17

When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, "Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully."
He said to him, "I will come and cure him."
The centurion said in reply, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof;
only say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes;
and to another, 'Come here,' and he comes; and to my slave, 'Do this,' and he does it."

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him,
"Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven, but the children of the Kingdom will be driven out into the outer darkness, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth."
And Jesus said to the centurion, "You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you." And at that very hour his servant was healed.
Jesus entered the house of Peter, and saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever.
He touched her hand, the fever left her, and she rose and waited on him.
When it was evening, they brought him many who were possessed by demons,
and he drove out the spirits by a word and cured all the sick, to fulfill what had been said by Isaiah the prophet: He took away our infirmities and bore our diseases.

He said to him, ‘I will come and cure him.’

Jesus told the centurion he would go and cure the servant with no more than a secon thought. The centurion asked and Jesus responded. Yet before Jesus could even get on the way there, his faith was rewarded even more as he explained to Jesus his unworthiness to have Him enter his house.

"You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you."

Jesus will come and cure us as we ask. And we may go and have those cured for us just the same—that is the essence of our faith and the power of our prayer. The conversion opportunity exists for each of us as we put ourselves in position for His will to work for us. Through prayer. Through faith. Through following His will for us and trusting that will, we too can rely then on the power of His healing and His miracles in the paths of our own lives.

True, it may not be an easy stretch when faced with particular trials—arguments and miscommunications in relationships, emptiness and loneliness, financial strain, work or unemployment worries—all can weaken us and lead us from our faith. Yet just as Jesus stood for the centurion and his faith, He too will stand for us and give us what we need as we keep our expectant attitude of faith. He did it for the centurion; He was there for Peter’s mother-in-law; He drove out the spirits of those who were possessed. All this was then and today He does it all for us.

He took away our infirmities and bore our diseases.



Offer It Up! Friday, June 29, 2012

Matthew 16:13-19

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"
They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"

Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

So if we were to be asked the same question as directly as the disciples were asked, what sort of answer would we have?

Jesus: “Who do you say that I am?”

Us: Blank stares and utter disbelief as we look on at the Son of God.

More than that, do we know who Jesus Christ is? Who He is to us and to the world? So let’s pretend then for a moment that the question has been posed to us by Jesus Himself: if we were to offer our response, would it be one that would be reflective of our faith? Would those that are near when we respond know that we are believers and followers of the One who was asking? Would Jesus smile and nod and encourage us to speak more about our faith in Him? Maybe then He would help us along and give us His words to speak...

Peter had first-hand knowledge and experience as he spent his days with Christ. He had the Spirit of the Lord within him to guide him to be ‘the Rock’ as he was so named. We have the scriptures and the traditions and Tradition of the Church to help us with our own beliefs and our knowledge. We to can become even more enlightened to the Word of God and come to know Christ even more intimately as Peter and the apostles did. We have the tools as our disposal. Through prayer. Through scripture. Through the Liturgy. Through the Eucharist and Body and Blood of Christ. All these and the development of relationships with those who share similar beliefs and faith can lead us all to an eternity of salvation with Him.



Offer It Up! Thursday, June 28, 2012

St Irenaeus.

One of the first Christian Fathers who was martyred about the year 200. We don't know much about Irenaeus but we have his brilliant writings as he struggled for unity in the Church and dispelled heresies. Irenaeus was true to his name as he did all in his power to bring peace to the early Church.

We are challenged in our time to make Christ truly the center of our lives and to bring peace to a troubled world. The Church has been assailed and is being assailed by new heresies and only when we allow the Holy Spirit to dominate our lives, when we strive to establish a bond with Christ Jesus that includes Him in all the events of life, can we begin to truly understand the will of God, and pray with intention "Thy will be done."

Today may St. Irenaeus intercede for us as we pray with Him to the Father of all, and obtain for the Church the grace to truly become One. For the community of Sacred Heart, may we continue the work begun through the Holy Spirit in the person of Father Hoa continue to flourish under the guidance of our new pastor Fr. Jack.

God grant us the wisdom and the grace to always strive to live in complete unity with you.

Deacon


Offer It Up! Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Psalm 119:33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 40

Teach me the way of your decrees, O Lord.
Instruct me, O LORD, in the way of your statutes, that I may exactly observe them.

Let me follow Your will for me O LORD. Not just when I feel it’s convenient or comfortable or when it looks good in front of others. Let my love for You be constant and exact.

Give me discernment, that I may observe your law and keep it with all my heart.

For those choices of right and even more right, give me the courage and the strength to do the right thing for the right reason. Let my heart be filled with Your spirit to answer You whenever You call me to serve.

Lead me in the path of your commands, for in it I delight.

The path I am on may not always be what I want but I pray that I may more clearly see Your will for me in the path You have for me. Not only may I follow it but let me feel Your presence and joy in the joys and sufferings along the way.

Incline my heart to your decrees and not to gain.

This world is not about ‘keeping up’ yet we try to match our lives to our neighbor’s gains. Open my eyes through to my heart and my ways so that I may know that what is of the greatest gain is salvation with You.

.
Turn away my eyes from seeing what is vain: by your way give me life.

It seems that everywhere I turn, the vanity and the emptiness of what the world offers is there. Keep me from focusing on those worldly things and let me be centered and driven to find You in all things and above all things and with all things.

Behold, I long for your precepts; in your justice give me life.

It is Your ways O God I want to follow. God’s will. God’s way. God’s way. God’s will. Let me live more in the Truth and Light of Your path for me so that always and in all ways, I will come closer to You and bring others closer to You.


Teach me the way of your decrees, O Lord.



Offer It Up! Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Happy Birth Day Bess Margaret Foley!

Matthew 7:6, 12-14

Jesus said to his disciples: "Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.
"Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the Law and the Prophets. "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few."

Crossroads. It’s just every day we face them.

There is that way and the other way.

That way is a bit narrower—not only does it look harder to travel, it’s even harder to say. The other way—it has the wide gate and the wide open road to go with it. Who wouldn’t want to go that way as easy as it appears? And as often as it appears the best way, with our free will we find out otherwise. Back to where we were, we then go along our ‘narrower’ path. Of course it brings with it the challenges and trials but we come to find out they make us more of who God has called us to be.

As the choices are about the paths we choose, so are they about how we choose to treat those in our lives. Are we narrow minded and closed off to those who don’t think the way we think? Or are we a bit more open-minded to those even if they have thoughts or life-styles dissimilar to ours? We are called to love one another, not so much to ‘like’ what one another does. We don’t even have to tolerate it—we pray for that thought or life-style to change, be it their thoughts, life-styles or even ours. Pray changes people. People change things.

The narrow gate--yes, those who find it are few. Yet the more we put ourselves in a position to find it or walk it, the better path will be to it. We must empty ourselves of those thoughts that are contrary to the loving and kindness that we must be filled with. And that we must do every day. With prayer, with grace and mercy, we may draw closer to God and bring others with us as He fills us with His Love.



Offer It Up! Monday, June 25, 2012

Matthew 7:1-5

Jesus said to his disciples: "Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove that splinter from your eye,' while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother's eye."

Corrective action is hard to take, especially when it means taking on a new way of doing things. As the saying goes, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got, especially if you expect different results.

‘Look at him arguing over something so petty—I certainly would never do that!’

‘Oh I always go to church on Sundays!’

Those are just a couple of instances of using the ‘n’ and ‘a’ words—never and always. And we do that a lot when we judge others and their actions. We presume we know which corrective action they need to take when we have little consideration for our own as we sit and pass judgment on them.

Jesus gets particularly direct as He points out that we should first remove the log from our own eye prior to helping with the sliver in the eye of our brother or sister. It makes perfect sense for safety and medical reasons as well as emotional and spiritual purposes as well.

Without the beam in place, we can see more clearly and understand what is going on in their world. Without the beam in our own eye, we can be more available to see if they even want our help. With the beam out of our own eyes, we can give thanks to God that we are now in a better position to do what He has called us to do, spiritually and emotionally.

Yes, we must humble ourselves before God and know that it is our own faults that need reckoning first. That is the corrective action that is the hardest to take. Our own.



Offer It Up! Sunday, June 34, 2012
Happy Birthday Katie!

Luke 1:66,80

"What, then, will this child be?"
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him. The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel.

How many of us as parents have asked that question or one like upon the birth of a child? Yes, we all want the hand of God to be with them and we for sure want His hand with us to help guide us as we raise them. For all the prayers that are prayed, offered and heeded, we are still unsure of the plans that God has for them and for us as we bring them along with our faith, our hopes and our love.

From there, given them all our best—and along the way, some of our not so very best—they make their way through the early on onesies-twosies-threesies birthday parties and before you know it, it’s on to the teenage year rites of acceptances or not. Disney videos and games give way to licenses to drive and real cars to go with the licenses. All the while, they grow stronger in their own spirit, prayerfully in the spirit of His Love.

As quickly as the years passed from threesies to teens, the child becomes a woman. She makes soon her own ways and decisions. Most, with good and sound reasoning, as she has been raised. She experiences the beauty and love of life within her and the beauty and love of life around her. Some, just as we all do, with not the best judgment. Yet the love is there, the love is real and always will be. No matter what. Just as God’s Love is for us.

That would be Katie. Full of life. Fully alive. Fully with love.

And if and when we were all to go through a desert or two in our lives, we would want someone like her with us to be there to share it. She knows a bit about comforting in the darkness of night. She knows even more about the light of the new day that God brings her and to us. For as much as she gives and lives, she lives and loves for others even more. Truly a gifted and spirit-filled woman.

Katie celebrates her birthday today and she celebrates life just as if each day was her birthday. A decent idea to keep one full of life, fully alive and full of love these days, don’t you think? Her vitality and vivacity in and for life are not only exhibited in the way she lives, but she proudly wears them on her sleeve, her shoulder, her leg and other parts of her body! And let us not forget her hair! (She gets it from her mom…)

Happy Birthday Baby Girl! God danced the day you were born and He is still dancing today!

We love you-

Mommy Paul and Daddy Paul



Offer It Up! Saturday, June 23, 2012
Today, Crimson Pitts has shared with us her gifts and talents with the the written word here at Afraidnot. It is evident that God has blessed her fully with His joy to spread His Good News--whatever her 'job' might be. Welcome Crimson and thank you for being God's messenger.

HELP WANTED:

STARTING IMMEDIATELY.FULL TIME POSITION FOR SPREADING CHEER AND JOY.NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY.GREAT BENEFITS.APPLY WITH GOD.

Like many, I struggle with my purpose.

What does God want of me?

I kneel on bare wood every day and ask to be of service to Him. I pray to be an instrument of compassion and love. I pray to be used for my highest good. I tell the Lord I will follow if he will lead me. Though I don’t always recognize the path he is asking me to walk.

Directionless, I pray a little louder. Maybe, God, you need to toss out bigger breadcrumbs for me to follow?Paint the signs crosswalk neon yellow so I actually see them?

I wait for a something biblical to happen: a parting of the heavens (and seas) or to be struck by lightning from divine inspiration. And then I wait a little longer because—after all—I’m a woman of faith. “Be patient,” I tell myself as I am reminded of the verse from Ecclesiastes about a time for everything (except it’s to the tune of The Byrds’ Turn Turn Turn.)

Today I finally got it.

It wasn’t the voice of God I’ve been impatiently waiting for as I drum my fingers on the chair arm. It was the voice of a spunky, older woman in lime green galoshes walking her schnauzer.

“What a handsome pup you have there,” I say to her.

She stops and smiles. She wants to talk to me, but here in San Francisco where people are piled on top of one another three stories high and smushed together in bus seats, sidewalks, and exorbitantly priced flats, people don’t engage. Perhaps that’s why, when there’s a naked man painted chrome parading down the street, he’s accepted not so much because of tolerance as indifference. Do people even see each other here?I realize, unlike at home, there is a reason California is not called The Friendly State.

That doesn’t deter me from being friendly. That’s who I am. That’s what I do. So when a silver-haired feminist smiles back at me; we connect—if only for a minute or two.

We have a lovely conversation and I continue on my merry way. As I wave goodbye, she says, “Thanks for being so nice.”

“It’s my job,” I reply with a grin.

My job? I ask myself. That’s a funny thing to say.

I think about our conversation walking uphill (both ways in San Francisco) to Mass.

At St. Vincent de Paul Church, I listen to the Gospel reading.

Matthew 6:19-23.

'Do not store up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moth and woodworm destroy them and thieves can break in and steal.

But store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where neither moth nor woodworm destroys them and thieves cannot break in and steal.

For wherever your treasure is, there will your heart be too.

'The lamp of the body is the eye. It follows that if your eye is clear, your whole body will be filled with light.

But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be darkness. If then, the light inside you is darkened, what darkness that will be!

Do not store my treasures on earth? Well, that’s easy. Between a flood in my home and a brutal divorce, I don’t seem to have enough treasures to fill my bank account, much less earth. Sorry woodworms, moths and thieves.

I think about my dreams of becoming a writer. Just one big book advance would change my life I wouldn’t have to cater any more or paint commissioned art pieces. It’s not that I’m not grateful for the money I earn, but it seems like such a struggle. I’m not doing these things in joy.I’m surviving by the skin of my teeth. It’s exhausting. The stress of living hand-to-mouth interferes with my faith. It’s hard to be filled with the joy of the Lord and focus on abundance when your kids want a season pass to the waterpark and you have to decide whether you should push the mortgage payment back a week.

Now, I know all the platitudes about The Lord will provide and He gives you what you need, not necessarily what you want, yada yada yada.And I do pretty well for myself. It’s not like I’m starving to death. And there are billions of people out there much worse off than me so I hate to complain. (Notice I didn’t say I didn’t complain, just that I hate to.) I’m mostly unattached to material things yet the things I have I appreciate. I worry about funding my children’s college, trying to provide a secure life for them now; and I think it would be helpful to add on a third bedroom so they don’t have to always share a room, get the light above the kitchen sink fixed where I clean my catering pots and pans.

The priest begins the homily.

I try to concentrate on what he’s saying—something about living your life with joy—as I think about how I’m going to pay the balance I owe my attorney. I make a mental note to check my email when I get home to see if any literary agents have returned my queries.

He’s talking about being an instrument of peace and receiving your rewards in heaven. Great, I think, I hope in heaven I get a higher per plate price for Steak Diane and a significant advance from the angelic equivalent of Putnam & Sons.

With a blissful smile on his face, he encourages this gaggle of daily communicants to do the Lord’s work. I think I hear him say it is our job.

I already have a job, I snark quietly to myself. A couple, rather, I think as I fret about the mechanic’s bill on the car repair I’m putting off, straining to do the math in my head.

Waiting to get struck by lightning for being so preoccupied and narcissistic during the sermon, I hope God will spare the nun across the aisle from me when a blackened outline of my body is burned into the pew.

I think of her and all the saints and the priest preaching to us in front of the altar and Father Hoa back home packing to leave Sacred Heart.They do the Lord’s work and they are provided for.

Am I that different? Are any of us that different?

I realize then that my frustration at being unpublished is because I am concerning myself with the how’s. How I will be provided for is God’s domain. My only job is to serve him.

My job: Just like I told the lady in green rain boots.

I always thought my job was something I needed to make happen. I’ve earned multiple degrees, racked up experience and skills, but ultimately I finally understand my job.

My job is what I’m good at.

My job is being nice.

My job is spreading cheer.

I can do that through bringing a home-cooked meal to a grateful family too busy to cook themselves, but still adamant about gathering around their table. I can do that by painting a customer’s beloved pet which will remind them of their spaniel long after he’s gone. I can do that by writing a story that might change the life of just one person that reads it. I can do that by saying hello and spending a few minutes talking to a stranger on the street.

I thought I was brightening her day. She was brightening mine.

Sometimes my paycheck is money. Sometimes my reward is the life-affirming epiphany disguised as the gratitude of a stranger in lime green galoshes.But always the abundant and constant source is God.

I see that I’m always taken care of. I don’t need to worry. It doesn’t matter if I’m writing, cooking, painting, or waiting tables: all of those are (pre) occupations. My real occupation is to be nice and spread cheer; to let God and His love and compassion work through me.

My treasure is in heaven. That’s where God is. Heaven is in my heart. And my heart is joyful.

Because that’s my job.


Matthew 6:7-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
"In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them.Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
"This is how you are to pray:
"Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."

Jesus said, “Do not be like them.” He didn’t say ‘judge them.’

Jesus said, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” He didn’t say, ‘Beg and plead and whine until you get what you want.’

Jesus taught us how to pray–it is not difficult really–we are to acknowledge our Father and His Holiness; our hope is to rest in Him and Him alone. We are to count on Him for our sustenance, for forgiveness of our own sins and for grace to forgive those who wrong us. We look to Him to guide us and keep us from doing things we will later regret.

Jesus wants us to pray with sincerity of heart. It is difficult to be sincere when we are in the midst of judging others or whining about our circumstances. Jesus wants us to forgive. It is difficult to forgive when we are in the midst of judging others or whining about what we have or don’t have, perhaps looking at what others do have. It is difficult to forgive when the same things keep happening over and over–when will it stop? It will stop when we do one thing–seek God’s grace and mercy in our own lives so that we can share that with others.

We must feel God’s grace and mercy throughout our entire being. With His grace and mercy, we can move through our days with less resistance. We don’t need to judge others or even compare ourselves to others. With His grace and mercy, we don’t need to whine and complain about how we’ve been wronged.

With His grace and mercy, we can forgive ourselves and others. We can be approachable, we can be human, but we can also be that divine presence in other’s lives.

lgboyd

"If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions."

Matthew 6:5-8

“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

We can pray anywhere. In our homes, our churches, synagogues, stores—yes, even in our ‘inner rooms’, as written in Matthew’s gospel. What Matthew’s gospel tells us as important as it is to pray, it is also important that we have good intentions when we do.

‘Do not be like the hypocrites.’ Maybe you’ve heard some others say they don’t pray or go to church or believe in God for that very reason-for all the hypocrites in the world. Ding, ding. Ring the bell, They win the prize! As if that’s anything new. As Matthew’s gospel continues, ‘they have received their reward.’ We all will.

We are all sinners, hypocrites, if that works for you. And we are all given the grace of God to come clean from our hypocrisy, from our sins, through His Love and the sacrament of reconciliation. Prayer moves us from that sin closer to God. In a line from the movie Tombstone, Doc Holiday lies dying in a church-run hospital, even receiving the sacrament of Last Rites and he comments—maybe even prays—that his hypocrisy knows no bounds. God looks beyond our sins and our own hypocrisy—His Love and mercy knows no bounds. He knows what we need even before we do. He has given free will and prayer to help us get a little closer to figuring that out.

So pray. Pray when can. Pray where you are. Your inner room can be within your heart and soul. Close yourself in there. Pray and listen. You may hear your prayers answered even before you ask Him.



Offer It Up! Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Since beginning Ordinary Time, the Church draws our attention to the Sermon on the Mount as we daily meditate our way through the Gospel of Saint Matthew. From Chapter Five, it ends with that phrase that challenges. "Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is Perfect." How can we possibly be challenged to be perfect as God is perfect?

Yet, this phrase is on the lips of Jesus in Matthew's gospel right after He tells His apostles how God shows justice to all. The sun shines on everyone. The rain falls on everyone. God gives every person the same opportunities to come to Him. His love extends beyond limits and reaches everyone.

Perfect.

What do you mean or understand by perfect? What is Jesus saying about being perfect as the Father is? Can we be like the Father and love beyond our friends and acquaintances? Can we live so we extend our love to all in our world experience? Not without God's grace can we reach that kind of perfection.

Prayer is the answer. We enter into dialog with our God and open our mind and heart to Him, seeking to be transformed by His grace. We humbly acknowledge that it is only by His grace that we can come to holiness and strive for being perfect. As we meet Our Lord and our Blessed Mother in prayer this day and all days, let our quest be to open ourselves to transformation by His grace.

Jesus, listen to my heart. Please grant me the grace to be all that our Father created me to be. Help me to learn to love and to obey as you taught and modeled for me. Amen.

Deacon



Offer It Up! Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Happy Birthday Liliana!
Happy Birthday Michael!
Matthew 5:43-48
Jesus said to his disciples: "You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Thomas Merton said, “Without love and compassion for others, our own apparent love for Christ is fiction.” Maybe Merton was talking Matthew’s gospel or any other references to unconditional love we find in scripture. His point would be that our love must be true, Christ-centered love, not the type that is self-centered and carried out because it ‘looks good while I’m doing it.’

When it rains, everyone gets wet, both the sinners and the reconciled. When the sun comes up, the same holds true for those still living and breathing for one more day in His name or not so much. Jesus reminds us how easy it is to love and like those who love and like us. What about those who are a little different? Or a whole lot of different? What about those who we see every day? Like He said, even the heathens practice that…

Our perfection won’t ever happen on this earth. There are enough imperfections to go around for us all to keep that from happening. However, it is our pursuit of it that should lead us to that point where we meet God face to face. Until then, we love, we sin, we reconcile, we forgive, we love, we sin, we reconcile, we forgive… God will take care of the rest.

Birthday notes...


Sharing birthdays are some folks who have some similarities in the way they live, even though their lives are not so similar. Here are some of those commonalities…

Both are true servants to their faith.

Both are true spouses to the loves of their lives.

Both are true to the love of their families.

Both are true to trust of the friendships.

And both happen to be those sorts of people that are in our lives that once in them, they are forever linked to us in faith, in love and friendship. Besides being Catholic, one lives in Rhome and the other has been to Rome. One is a native Colombian, the other a native Texan. And there is that coffee connection, too. (Well, maybe they have more in common than I thought…)

They are family. They are friends.

They are life-changers. Difference makers. Transformers.

They are disciples.

They are love. And they are loved.

They are people that, without either, our lives would not be as faith-filled nor would we be as faithful to each other. Christ-centered, humble, ‘small’. With all the similarities, the interesting thing about them—they hardly know each other. But that is the beauty and the grace of God and how He puts people in our lives to transform us with a world of difference from people all over the world.

Believers and God-fearers. Family and ‘adopted’ family. Friends and best friends. Liliana and Michael. Linked by their births, linked by their friends and family.

Forever linked by the Love of God.

Happy birthday to both of you, our brother and our sister, our families and our friends.

Thank you for making a difference in our world.

We love you.

Linda and David



Offer It Up! Monday, June 18, 2012

James 2:14-18

My brothers, what good is it to profess faith without practicing it? Such faith has no power to save one, has it? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and no food for the day, and you say to them, "Good-bye and good luck! Keep warm and well fed," but do not meet their bodily needs, what good is that? So it is with the faith that does nothing in practice. It is thoroughly lifeless.

To such a person one might say, you have faith and I have works is that it? Show me your faith without works, and I will show you the faith that underlies my works! Do you believe that God is one? You are quite right. The demons believe that, and shudder.

Yup, even the demons got it right—God is One and powerful and they know it. With their temptations to lead us from what God has planned for us, from our faith and good works, we can respond to the temptation with our belief in our One God. We also know that God is One in three persons and that should be enough to keep on our path toward Him, provided we practice the faith that holds that Truth.

As we come to know more of that Truth, we can and do turn more from sin, from temptation to temptation. As we do that, can we recognize those who are in need so that we may practice the faith we have been given? Though we practice ‘not sinning’ do we also practice ‘faith works’? Do we do more than say ‘good-bye and good luck, keep warm and well fed’? Indeed, it is a near lifeless existence to have a faith without the spirit and energy to carry it out.

Our own creature comforts and comfort zones put aside, our faith is about the service of and giving to others. How can we bring that comfort of life, of love, of compassion to others? Just as Jesus did by meeting them where they were, regardless of who they were, or what they needed. How will your faith and your works change a life today? Who can you be Jesus to today?



Offer It Up! Sunday, June 17, 2012

Prayer for Fathers

Pope John XXIII

St. Joseph,

guardian of Jesus and chaste husband of Mary,

you passed your life in loving fulfillment of duty.

You supported the holy family of Nazareth

with the work of your hands.

Kindly protect those who trustingly come to you.

You know their aspirations, their hardships, their hopes.

They look to you because they know you will

understand and protect them.

You too knew trial, labor and weariness.

But amid the worries of material life

your soul was full of deep peace

and sang out in true joy through intimacy

with God's Son entrusted to you

and with Mary, his tender Mother.

Assure those you protect that they do not labor alone.

Teach them to find Jesus near them

and to watch over him faithfully as you have done.

Amen.


Offer It Up! Saturday, June 16, 2012

Luke 2:41-51

Each year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.
After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, "Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety."

And he said to them, "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?"
But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.

From the beginning of Luke’s gospel to the end, there is a theme of obedience and commitment. We see it when we read about Joseph and Mary going to Jerusalem each year for the Passover feast. More, we see it when Jesus is taken, according to custom, to the festival. Jesus, at the end of the gospel, showed His obedience to His parents as they returned to Nazareth. They were following what was given to them as law and commandment and rules. They were doing what God had called them to do, be it their life, their family, their vocation.

Even when Jesus stayed behind, it was not as if He was disobedient or going against His parents’ wishes—He was doing what God had called Him to do. He was ‘in My Father’s house’ so that He could teach the faithful. He was meeting those people where they were even at the age of twelve. As passionate as He was about His teachings and what He was learning, so to were His parents. They were passionate about raising Him—their vocation as husband and wife, mother and father—brought with it the responsibility of raising Him as He needed to be raised. The commitment and obedience to the will of God.

As parents, spouses, families, friends, strangers waiting to be friends, we all carry the same sense of passion as believers in Christ Jesus. We all have the same hope for commitment and obedience. We all have our vocation to live and heed. We have all been called. Just as Jesus was listening and teaching as was His vocation, we have the same responsibility to live our vocations. Not just when they are convenient or necessary. But every day. Not just when we’re comfortable with who we are and who we’re with but even with those we’re not and even when we are not.

How commited are you to living your vocation? Obediently? Passionately? Responsibly? Faithfully? Selflessly? Choose one, though preferably more, and get busy living.



Offer It Up! Friday, June 15, 2012

Romans 5:1-5

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God.

Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.

With the faith and peace that has been assured us through the Love and grace of Jesus Christ, there is and should be a certain amount of ‘braggadocio’ spirit in us all. After all, it is our eternal salvation that we are bragging about, not anything of ourselves or of this world. All of the things that God has given us and placed in our lives—His Word, His Love, His faith and peace, His holiness—those are the gifts of sorts to which we cling and to the faith that we profess.

With those gifts come the gifts of afflictions and trials we would just as soon not have to cling to or even experience.

Some seem trifling… this little mechanical thing or another.

Others more demanding of our faith… an illness, potential career change… family and relationships that are frayed.

Others that tear at us to the core of our beliefs, painfully emptying us of all we have, leaving us naked, broken and empty and at mercy and fullness of God’s Love.

Through one trial or a handful of afflictions or a life’s suffering of pain and sorrow, God’s Love has ‘been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.’ Not just for that trial or that few days but for the life we have been given. As Paul said, if we boast, we also boast of our afflictions as they will help us endure. As we endure, our character turns to give us hope, and ultimately, hope does not disappoint.

Maybe it’s you that has grown in grown character lately through the trials. Maybe you know someone who is experiencing more than what seems to be their fair share.

However our lives or another’s may seem, we have all been called to grow in the Love of God every chance we are given. We share with one another the pain and share with one another His Love. Let us all grow then in His peace and mercy, together in holiness and love.

Birthday Note…

My mother-in-law is celebrating her birthday today. Yeah, she is such a celebrating and party animal, she actually looks for ways to celebrate life every day. That’s how Sam is.

She looks for and finds the things that God has placed along her pathway to holiness, all those things to be thankful for. Even in the throes of her own trials and tribulations, she still puts herself in His hands and knows that His love is there, ‘poured out into her heart,’ just as Paul noted in Romans. She too has grown not only in character but in faith as she has endured her fair share of tribulation. From that faith and character, she has passed on to her family and friends a legacy of love and spirit that only mothers, grandmothers, and friends—like Sam is to all us—can share and give.

Sam will be the first to say that it really isn’t supposed to be about her, all the fuss about birthdays and all. And that’s just the way she is and has been. She has always made it about her family, her friends, and mostly her faith in Jesus Christ. Even when those families, those friends and even her faith have not made it easy to do so, she has ‘stood the gap’ and held fast to what she knows as Truth. The Truth of our eternal salvation.

So if you happen to know Sam, or even if you don’t, wish and pray for her on this anniversary of her birth, the blessings due her from God on high. Not that she or any of us have earned His grace or mercy, but she can certainly be a little closer to them for all she means to us and all she has meant to those around her.

God bless you and keep you His, Mom and Sam. You are special in His sight.

We love you-

Linda and David

Matthew 5:20-26

Jesus said to his disciples: "I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven. You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, 'Raqa,' will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, "You fool," will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny."

Know Jesus, know peace.

No Jesus, no peace.

This bit of bumper sticker theological wisdom is as true today as it was when it was first noted and printed: the more we have Christ at the center of our lives, the more we will have the peace of Christ within us. Knowing that, it’s still a challenge to put aside those things that keep us from that peace.

We’ve all been there. Those little embers of anger or jealousy or pride that lay within our hearts that we ignore for the most part. But it doesn’t take much for those bits to be sparked into flames then, before long, they blaze out of control before we know it. All from a bit of resentment or envy or anger we left untended in us.

What’s it worth then to let that stuff go? More headaches? More misery? More stuff and baggage to carry around so that somewhere down the road it will all come undone? Wouldn’t it make some more sense to follow the words as Jesus spoke and ‘settle with your opponent quickly’, ‘be reconciled with your brother’, and ‘pay the last penny’? It makes lots more sense in that there is lots more peace to be had in that sense.

Don’t be encumbered by the pain and rage of those things that keeps us from the peace and grace of the Love of Jesus Christ. Be as full of His peace and grace and love as you can as you bring your gifts to His altar.

Matthew 5:17-19

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven."

If it is true that that imitation is the best form of flattery, it can also be true then that it can be a form of great praise, since flattery can be defined as giving praise and honor to another. Of course, the adverse would also hold true then too; given the right and just way to do things and to do otherwise… the picture may speak for itself.

Jesus said so much that the laws were not there to be abolished nor what the prophets said ignored. Matter of factly, the beliefs Jesus held were in line with Jewish beliefs and laws though He never took the law into His own hands nor took from the Jews what belonged to them. It was the duplicity that He preached against, the speaking from both sides of the mouth, the saying of one thing and doing another. It was not the law so much as it was its intent, its spirit.

With the scripture, with the Commandments, with His example and with the promise of salvation, we have a better shot at a ‘single-faced’, full-on, Christ-centered life. We can dispense with the keeping up with those that have more than us. We can let go of the practices that are not congruent with our faith. We can let the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be exhibited in the way we live and breathe. And not just for the day or week but until heaven and earth have passed away.




A bit of an enlightenment opportunity here as often as is mentioned on these pages-love, free will and, yes-hell. We strive to share God’s Love. We look to follow His will with the gift of free will. And we hope that with the grace and mercy the two provide as we bring them together will keep us not only from hell on earth but from eternal damnation.

From Fr. Robert Barron and the Catholicism Series

What is the relationship between love, free will, and Hell?

(CCC 1036-37, 1057)

Love cannot be forced or coerced; by its very nature, love is rooted in free will and the giving of oneself to another. Gaudium et Spes, the Second Vatican Council's Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern Word, expressed this truth in this way:

The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator (par. 19).

If man is free to entrust himself to God and to love God freely, he is also free to reject God as well. And that rejection, carried to its ultimate end, is Hell. That state of damnation is not the condemnation of man by God; rather it is man's condemnation of himself. It is the state of those persons who reject a right relationship with God and insist upon their own autonomy from God and turn their back on his supernatural life. This rejection of supernatural life and love is the embrace of supernatural anguish and death.

The Catechism states:

The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. God predestines no one to go to hell; 620 for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end (pars. 1036, 1037)

Various theologians and mystics have noted that the "fire" of Hell is the divine light and burning love of God that has been rejected by those in Hell. While the fire of God's divine love animates those who receive it, it torments those who reject it. Or, as the Catechism states, "Hell's principal punishment consists of eternal separation from God in whom alone man can have the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs" (CCC 1057).

For further reference, see CCC 1033-37, 1056-58


Acts 11:21b

In those days a great number who believed turned to the Lord.

In those days and as in these, many are turning to Jesus Christ. For whatever the reason or season, He will bring all to Him who finally respond to His call. We have all been called—it is us to us to choose to heed and answer.

Our paths have been laid before us. We have choices to make that will take us closer to Him or lead us farther away. We can be in the great number of those who continue to believe and live a life of faith, hope and love or we can slither away with those who chose otherwise.

As Jesus has called us, we answer with a life directed toward and filled with holiness. A call we respond to as we live humbly and graciously with the gifts He has given us, seeking only to do His will. Not only then will our faith mature and our love for Him and others develop but that great number of those who believe in Him will also grow. Live it and see it.

Acts 11:24b

And a large number of people was added to the Lord.

Mark 14:22-26

While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, gave it to them, and said, "Take it; this is my body."
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many. Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."
Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Communion.

Common. Union.

Bringing together our commonness in union with the flesh and blood of Christ so that we may go beyond ourselves and into the feast and glory that is the Real Presence of the Body and Blood of Christ. We become one body in Christ, transformed in Him, through Him, and with Him, as we share in the celebration of the Eucharist.

Joy. Cleansing. Fullness. Promise. Forgiveness. Anticipation. New life. All this we receive, all this we celebrate as we actively share in His Body and Blood. Christ’s gift to us on the cross, the pouring out of His blood, was His sacrifice for us all—the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. At each Eucharist, we are joined in that sacrifice again and again, to remind us of our eternal salvation till we share in His heavenly banquet.

Ignatius of Antioch is noted as saying that the Eucharist is the "one bread that provides the medicine of immortality, the antidote for death, and the food that makes us live forever in Jesus Christ.” Contrary to what some may think life as we know it on earth is not going to last forever. What better way then, to bring healing to our bodies, our minds and our spirits and hearts than to bring in the Body and Blood of Christ? As food and drink nourishes our bodies, so does receiving the Body and Blood Christ—the very ‘Bread of Life’—nourishes our souls.

Let us pray that we all stay hungry and thirsty for Him and Him alone.



Offer It Up! Saturday, June 9, 2012

2 Timothy 4:1-8

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power: proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.
For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths. But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry.
For I am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance.

Paul takes little time to get to the point here: start spreading the Good News—he’s leaving, if not today, then at sometime soon. And his departure will be one of great sacrifice, as he encourages our lives to be a message of great sacrifice and hope.

We are all called to evangelize, to be disciples of The Word handed over to us. As Paul did so in all circumstances, he was persistent, whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching. As familiar with spreading other types of good news as we might be—the birth and baptisms of family members, the announcements of engagements and marriages, the special sharing of birthdays and anniversaries—we sometimes are hesitant at sharing and encouraging others with the ministry of our faith.

Paul calls for us to fulfill our ministries, put up with hardships and in all circumstances, do as God has willed for us to do. Yes, we must be persistent. As we stay to the course with prayer and living the Gospel, lives will change. We will change. It is our responsibility as much as it is our faith as Catholics and as Christians to carry out the teachings and message of Christ. We do this in our love, in our lives, with our gift of free will as we choose to follow the path laid out before us, not by our own choice but by the will of God.

Paul had an idea his ministry as he knew it on earth was coming to an end. Most of us may not have that type of information readily available as he did. It makes sense then to put ourselves in a better position to be ready to go when we are called, whenever that day may come. For sure, we all long to make that appearance before Him.

For I am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance.



Offer It Up! Friday, June 8, 2012

Given the things we have learned in our lives and from whom we have learned them, there is probably much we have held with us for a number of years just because we learned it from someone who we respected and trusted. Someone who knew what they were talking about. Knowledgeable in their field, trusted in their work and capable of sharing their gifts and talents in such a manner so that others could grow and learn.

Our parents—even with all that we figured they didn’t know or were clueless about—they certainly left us with much to pass on to our own children if not to others.

Our teachers—even when we had better things on our minds than geometry or sentence parsing or verb conjugation in Spanish or English—they gave us the gifts they had so that we could celebrate our education.

Our families—even though siblings were older or younger, or cousins or in-laws were near or distant, there were those instances when we learned from their insight or their lack of it.

Our friends—if we could package just a portion of the lessons learned, though the storehouse might be full of life’s hardest knocks and lessons learned from them, the softest shoulders on which to rest would be at the receiving door waiting to share the pain and the load with us.

Mostly our faith—from scripture, we have been given it all. Our parents, our teachers, our families, our friends have all been influenced by the Good News. All were inspired then so that we would be inspired today. Inspired to live according to His Word. His Will. His Work. His Way.

2 Timothy 3:14-17

But you, remain faithful to what you have learned and believed, because you know from whom you learned it, and that from infancy you have known the sacred scriptures, which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness,so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.



Offer It Up! Thursday, June 7, 2012

Mark 12:28-34

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, "Which is the first of all the commandments?" Jesus replied, "The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these."
The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher. You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he. And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him, "You are not far from the Kingdom of God." And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Human love. We love ourselves a lot. We love each other even more. Or so we should. There are some that even love ‘things.’ Though try as we must, we cannot love any one any more than God. That goes a couple of ways: He Loves us more than anyone can and we should love Him more than we love anyone or anything.

We must love as that is the greatest commandment. As we make our way about this love, we find that we are also to love as He does, as well as loving one another as we love ourselves. And we must indeed avail ourselves to love as much as we are able. Yet, we are not Him. We are His. And we must trust in His Love for us that He will infinitely and without condition Love us forever.

Trusting is not always the easiest thing for us to do, especially when the light is not as bright at the end of the tunnel. Loving Him and trusting in His Love is far greater than all the sacrifices we can make. From that, we get His promise of our salvation, that we 'are not far from the kingdom of God.'

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



Offer It Up! Wednesday, June 6, 2012

2 Timothy 1:1-3, 6-12

Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God for the promise of life in Christ Jesus, to Timothy, my dear child: grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I am grateful to God, whom I worship with a clear conscience as my ancestors did, as I remember you constantly in my prayers, night and day.
For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God.
He saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works but according to his own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began, but now made manifest through the appearance of our savior Christ Jesus, who destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel, for which I was appointed preacher and Apostle and teacher. On this account I am suffering these things; but I am not ashamed, for I know him in whom I have believed and am confident that he is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day.

Paul starts out his exhortation to Timothy reminding not only Timothy but the rest of us about the great promise of our eternity in Christ and the grace and mercy God the Father gives us. As he is thankful for such mercy and grace, he also gives his thanks and praise with a ‘clear conscience’ as he constantly remembers him in his prayers.

For many of us, a clear conscience would be, well, good enough. But who ever among us ever wants to settle for ‘good enough’? Paul goes on to remind Timothy (yes, and us), to ‘stir into flame’ the gifts we have been given from God. Those gifts of love and self-control, the gifts of witness, of power and of strength; the gifts of holiness and perseverance. All of these were not of our own doing and not meant to be for our own ‘satisfaction’ but for the good of others and for Christ Jesus. The bigger the flame, the greater the light. The greater the light, the deeper the faith. The deeper the faith, the greater the witness. The greater the witness, the greater the flame grows.

Yet if you take away any part of that flame-the heat, the fuel or the oxygen, the flame diminishes. If one were to have less faith or hope, the heat of the fire as it were, and was not as passionate about their beliefs, the flame would not be so bright. If one were to take away the practices of faith, their prayers, their sacraments, their devotions-the fuel for the flame-it would also keep the flame from burning brighter. The same would hold true if one were to separate themselves from others who believed and the community of faith-the oxygen source. Any one of the three without the other two would keep the fire from burning. Though it may last a little while, eventually it will burn out, or flame out, and die. Just like we would without the Gospel and strength that comes from it.

Paul reminds us again—‘He saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works but according to his own design’. We have been given the tools, the grace, the mercy and the unconditional Love of Jesus Christ to proclaim the Good News. As did Paul, we should remain unashamed and confident until our last day guarding what He has entrusted to us.



Offer It Up! Tuesday, June 5, 2012

2 Peter 3:14-18

Therefore, beloved, since you await these things, be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace. And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, also wrote to you, speaking of these things as he does in all his letters. In them there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures.V. Final Exhortation and Doxology*

Therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, be on your guard not to be led into the error of the unprincipled and to fall from your own stability. But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

What are you waiting on? Or on whom is it that you are you waiting? 'Consider the patience of our Lord as salvation' however it is that you find yourself biding your time. Maybe it will be in prayer. Maybe in some scripture devotion or preparation. Maybe both. It might even be that you are living more of the life that scripture gives you to live.

Forewarned is forearmed. Forearmed is to be prepared and on guard for what may come our way. We may not understand the reason why they do—not that we are ignorant of them—but they will happen. As paraphrased from the verse above, we sometimes ‘distort to our own destruction’ the value and meaning of scripture when we don’t get what we want from life. We bend it our way to make it fit what we want, not what God has planned for us. That is when more trouble begins.

Instead of seeking guidance in those circumstances, we often go our own way and are ‘led into the error of the unprincipled.’ We lose sight of what brought us to the better quality of life we were experiencing, all that we had before. The relevance and light of the truth in scripture has become less relevant to us and the darkness of sin begins to surround us. We have indeed begun to walk on less stable paths without the benefit of light, truth and grace.

Fortunately, that grace is enough to bring us back. From any path we have willed ourselves to take. With our ongoing conversion process, from ‘being saved’, to on our way to being saved, we can put ourselves in a better position to do as God has called us by being eager to be found ‘without spot or blemish.’

2 Peter 1:2-7

May grace and peace be yours in abundance through knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and power. Through these, he has bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature, after escaping from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion, devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love.

It says so right there, wrapped up in verses two and three, all that He has given us—everything that makes our life what it needs to be—all through His divine power. Grace and peace in abundance is ours for the asking. Ours through knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. He’s handing it out so that we can take it in.

So what is it about our way of life and our narrow-mindedness that steers us from what He has given us? Where is our devotion? Where is our dedication? Is it that we sometimes think we have our own ‘special knowledge’ that God doesn’t have and can do a better job than He? Well, yeah, I guess.

Well, yeah, no. Not only no but hell no at that. There is nothing greater than what God has given us than the promise of salvation through Jesus Christ His Son. Unless one thinks the alternative has its advantages, ‘the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire’, then every effort is to be made then to rise above and beyond the that desire or desires to share in His divine nature. From our efforts of faith through our service in love, we cannot take the promise He made us for granted. We must be committed to living them out as He has given them to us so that we may live, act and share in eternal glory.


Sirach 26:1-4, 13-16

Blessed the husband of a good wife, twice-lengthened are his days; A worthy wife brings joy to her husband, peaceful and full is his life. A good wife is a generous gift bestowed upon him who fears the LORD; Be he rich or poor, his heart is content, and a smile is ever on his face. A gracious wife delights her husband, her thoughtfulness puts flesh on his bones; A gift from the LORD is her governed speech, and her firm virtue is of surpassing worth. Choicest of blessings is a modest wife, priceless her chaste person.

Like the sun rising in the LORD'S heavens, the beauty of a virtuous wife is the radiance of her home.

Oh wow and ahem.

Some guys might contend that if their days be ‘twice-lengthened’, their lives and marriages would be more like prison sentences than bonds of love. Admittedly, there have been days yours truly felt so inclined. From this side of the relationship only, not from hers, those days what a guy brings upon himself… one shudders to think where we would be without the amazing power and grace of God to save us and pull us through.

There are no gifts greater than the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. There is no Love greater than the Love we are given through Him. There is no peace, no trust, no wisdom greater than that we find through Him. Yet with Him and through Him, we are given so many gifts, none so greater than a loving and beautiful wife.

In all God’s glory and might, He gives us the grace and beauty and love from and of a woman to bring us about, to set our own heart's content. That is the gift we find in a woman, a lady, a wife for our life. God could be generous in so many other ways and is. Yet in no other way could He do for man what man needs than to bestow upon a good wife, a generous gift, upon Him who fears the LORD.

A love brighter and warmer than the morning sun. A love softer and more radiant than the full moonlight. A wife, a lady, a friend, a woman is the delight of not just her husband but the home.

My life is blessed beyond measure because of such a woman, a lady, a friend, a wife. She is so much more than I deserve. The wife in my life. And I am thankful for the life in my wife that God has for us all. Yes, you are a treasure, faithful friend and loving wife.

Happy Birthday, Linda.

I love you-

me

Sirach 6:14

Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter; whoever finds one finds a treasure.