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AFRAIDNOT

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

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OFFER IT UP!   TUESDAY, JUNE 30, 2015
HAPPY BIRTHDAY PATTY!

“Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” (Matthew 8:26). This is a question that often plagues the human condition in time of trial in our earthly lives.  In Matthew 8:23-27, he tells of a time when Jesus and the Apostles were crossing the sea and a storm built up. As the waves crashed against the boat and threatened to “swamp” it and cause it to sink, the disciples cried out to Jesus in fear, to awaken and save them. 

 

In Mark 6:50 and, again, in Matthew 14:27, Jesus has the simplest of answers, “Do not be afraid (take courage), it is I.” Both Mark and Matthew share accounts, on two different occasions, in which Jesus calms the storm and the fears of the disciples. Each time, Jesus urges them to simply have faith and trust in Him. By these accounts, Christians are urged to not lose faith in times of this earthly life’s trials. 

 

How strong is our faith and trust in Jesus? He does not promise that He will take all of life’s pain, sorrows, or troubles away. But, he assures us that He will be there for us always—for eternity. We are called to place our complete and total trust in the heavenly reward of eternal peace. 

 

How nice it feels to go to your home after a long and stressful day at work. Even though you know the work or situation that caused you stress during the work day will still be there in the morning, there is something about the comfort of home that allows you to take a “short break” from the tribulations of your “day job”.  We must look at our time in prayer with Him as that same respite from the daily grind.  We must take advantage of His time, now, in our earthly lives so that we can spend our eternal life with Him in heaven.  

 

Lord, give me strength to face every difficultly knowing You are with me!  J.O.Y.

Paul B



OFFER IT UP!   MONDAY, JUNE 29, 2015

“Who do people say I am?” 

“Who do you say that I am?” 

In Matthew 16-13-19, Jesus asks His disciples these two questions. Today, as “modern day Christians”, we must ponder how we answer this question.  The first question is much more easily answered, especially by those who go to church each Sunday (and times between). We hear homilies and sermons, we have conversations at various places, whether bible studies, dinner-table discussions, or other opportunities.  In each of those opportunities we get to hear what others say about what they know or believe from these experiences.  

 

The second question, “Who do you say that I am?” is a much more challenging question, because it asks for a direct answer from our own mouths, specific to our knowledge and beliefs. But more importantly, it causes us to look not only at how eloquently we speak of Him, but how we act of and in Him! For us to truly answer this question, the “eloquence” of our actions becomes our answer. 

 

What do our actions, as Christian men and women say to this question?  What do others see in combination of what we say and do that might reflect our true and inner faith and belief that Jesus is the Son of God? Based on the way we practice our faith each day, does our life show that we answer like Peter in Matthew 16:16, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” In order to us to truly answer this, we have to offer more than just the words! Jesus makes this clear when he tells Peter, “Blessed are you….flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father. And, I tell you, You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church…” (Mt 16:17-18). 

 

We are the Church!  We are the modern day successors—disciples of Christ. In order to truly accept Him, we must accept the fact that we must continue to be part of the foundation that answers in word AND deed, “You are the Son of God” and “I am created in God’s image.” 

 

Lord, May I profess in Word AND deed that you are my Lord and Savior.  Make my faith strong like Peter and the other disciples of Christ then and today!  May others come to know You through my life’s word and action Jesus, Only You!  J.O.Y.

Paul B




OFFER IT UP!   SUNDAY, JUNE 28, 2015

“Do not be afraid, only believe.” Jesus offers these words in Mark 5:36 as He is speaking to one of the synagogue leaders, Jarius. The leader had approached Jesus, asking for Him to have mercy and heal His daughter who was sick and dying. Jarius, in faith, had called upon Jesus saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” 

 

Jesus, knowing the sincerity of heart with which Jarius believed Jesus could and would intervene, followed him to his home. While on His way, going through the streets, Jesus encountered another person who had simple, but great, faith in His ability and desire to heal us in our need. 

 

There was a woman suffering from severe bleeding and no one seemed to be able to help her in stopping the illness. She pressed through the crowds in the hopes of simply touching Jesus, saying and believing, “If I but touch His cloak, I shall be healed.” Upon reaching and touching Jesus she was healed. Jesus asked, “Who touched me” (because He felt the woman’s faith draw strength and healing from Him). Due the throng around them the disciples told Him that there were too many people to know who had touched Him. But the woman, knowing she had been healed came forth, trembling (but healed), telling Him what and why she had touched Him.  He responded, “…your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be well….” 

 

Meanwhile, people came forth and told Jarius to not bother the Master, as his daughter had died. It is here that Jesus utters, “Do not be afraid, only believe.” Though she had died, Jesus commanded the little girl to arise and to the astonishment of many, she did so. 

 

Jesus was moved to total compassion by the simple faith of both Jarius and the woman. Like them, we are called to develop and exhibit a deep faith that will allow us to go to Jesus in great confidence and trust during our trials. 

 

Lord, touch us and make us whole!  Allow us to receive Your touch and receive You fully!  Jesus, Only You!  J.O.Y.

Paul B




OFFER IT UP!   SATURDAY, JUNE 27, 2015

Do we approach Jesus in total acceptance that He sees into our hearts and knows how our trust lays? In Matthew 8:5-13, we find a Roman centurion in distress approaching Jesus, over the fact that his servant was suffering and in pain. Jesus was truly moved by the core of the centurion’s being that allowed Him to earnestly say, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only speak the word and my servant shall be healed.” These are such powerful words. The soldier accomplished two things: recognition of his own “unworthiness”, yet total trust in Jesus’ authority and mercy to grant his request. 

 

What kind of expectant faith and level of trust do we exhibit when we approach the Lord? Matthew tells us that Jesus was in awe of the man’s simple request and faith in which it was presented. The Roman soldiers were looked down upon by the Jews because they represented the antithesis of what they believed. The soldiers, in the course of their duties, were not only cruel, but had pagan beliefs and immoral practices. So it was remarkable that this man would approach Jesus with his request and, more remarkable (to them) that Jesus would respond with mercy and compassion. 

 

Think not only of Jesus’ merciful response, but also of the courage of the soldier to risk ridicule of his fellow officers and the mockery of the Jews for daring approach Jesus, the wandering Rabbi from Galilee, who performs these wonders in the name of God! He approached with total confidence and humility. Let us ask ourselves: does Jesus feel honored when he sees into our hearts and hears our prayers? 

 

Lord, increase my faith in, word and deed, so that I may approach in true faith and trust in You. Jesus, Only You!  J.O.Y.

Paul B



OFFER IT UP!    FRIDAY, JUNE 26, 2015

Matthew 8:2 says, “…..and there was a leper who came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.” We as Christians often call upon the Lord for things in our lives. These may be things to change or “go away”, like the leper expecting that his condition be wiped away or it may be for something to become present in our lives, such as God granting Abraham and Sarah a son, in their old age (Genesis 17). 

 

What do we pray for? Health? Family? Jobs? Financial conditions? Political situations? The changes we often pray for and consider are outward, visible, exterior changes. They are things that are visible and often, change the comfort level of our human condition. However, continued, private and focused change to our interior self—our soul—is something we must strive for. 

 

When we focus on HOW we approach God, our confidence builds in all that we ask Him. Psalm 139, throughout, calls for God to search and know our heart and our ways from within. Just as the leper who approached Jesus, we must strive to approach God understanding that He knows what is truly in our heart, not just in our outward acts and words. In order to be changed (whether exterior or interior) we must allow Him to seep into our thoughts, word, and deed (more and more) each day. This “change” takes place at His call and our answer to that call. 

 

Jesus changes us if we let Him work in and through us. The Holy Spirit changes us through and through, if we allow: Abram and Sarai changed to Abraham and Sarah, upon God’s grace, and were blessed! Simon became Peter, the Rock! Saul, a serious enemy to Christians, became Paul and proclaimed HIM! 

 

Lord, today, give me the quiet wisdom, strength, and courage to approach You and truly ask, “Lord, if You Choose….” and desire, expect and allow You to work within and through me for Your Good. Jesus, Only You!

Paul B





OFFER IT UP!    THURSDAY, JUNE 25, 2015

In Matthew 7:21-29, Jesus warns about deceiving oneself by simply saying, “Lord, Lord” but not truly striving to live in His example. Jesus says to His disciples and those in the crowd, “Everyone who listens to these Words of Mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.  The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the House.  But, it did not collapse; it had been built solidly on rock. And, everyone who listens to these Words of Mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And, it collapsed and was completely ruined” (Matthew 7:24-27). 

 

This teaching is reminiscent of Proverbs 10:25, “When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.” What Jesus, throughout His earthly ministry, emphasizes differently though is the concept of righteousness. The foundation is not speaking eloquence in words of worship and praise, only or exclusively. Nor is the foundation intended to be sad-faced fasting and other sacrifice. Rather, we see throughout His ministry that Jesus teaches intentional avoidance of sin through acts of love and generosity towards others, including (and especially?) those who may have offended you.  It is this love that we are called to use as our Christian foundation and it will determine whether we can weather the storms and trials that are sure to come in this life. And, it is this same foundation upon which our heavenly and eternal home shall rest! 

 

In John 8:4-11, we find this same point made when Jesus tells those wishing to stone the sinful woman, “Let the one without sin be the first to cast a stone.” As they all walked away, Jesus tells the woman, “Go and sin no more”. We are like the woman, called to forgive, be forgiven, and to strive to avoid acts that defy the faith we express.

 

 Lord, You are the true foundation.  May I build upon You and be a “doer” of Your desire, not just a “hearer”.  Jesus, Only You!  J.O.Y.
Paul B
 


OFFER IT UP!    WEDNESDAY, JUNE 34, 2015
HAPPY BIRTHDAY KATIE!

The birth of John the Baptist was an event in the community of Zechariah.  Zechariah and Elizabeth were seen as especially blessed when Elizabeth was with child in her advanced years. Everyone as aware that something had occurred when Zechariah had gone into the Temple to perform his priestly duties, and as a result came out unable to speak.

Now as the babe is born, the relatives and those close to them were present to name the child. They fully expected the child would be names with a family name and were taken aback when Elizabeth said he would be called JOHN. They immediately turned to Zechariah for some indication of what the child would be called and he indicated ...His name is John. With that, Zechariah was again able to speak. The people are amazed and inspired that God had visited his  people. They felt surely God had a special mission for this child.

As we ponder the events surrounding John the Baptist's birth we remember also Mary's visit to Elizabeth. We are present when Elizabeth reveals the babe in her whom leaped for Joy. We too wonder at these joyous events and reflect on God's creative action. In celebrating this feast and pondering all that has taken place, our faith leads us to Jesus and God's revelation.
We too are miracles of God's love. Before Jesus even took flesh, we each of us were in God's loving plan. 

 
We too, are on a mission to reveal to the World the wonder of God's love in the person of Jesus the Christ. This day may we come to a more profound realization or our chosen-ness. May we be witnesses to the Lamb of God with John.

Deacon

 


Birthday Notes

There are so many gifts we are given throughout our lives, yet none are hardly, or heartily, greater than the gift of children. With all God has given us in His love and faith, those greatest gifts, He extends in the lives of family and in children.

 

For those with many, the gifts just keep coming in the shapes, sizes and depths of the hearts and love that God brings in the lives of the siblings. For those with some, the gifts are much the same yet the sizes and shapes are not quite so varied as the family members bring together their unique gifts to make up the beauty and love of family. And even for those with just the one child, the heartiness of gifts remain as that child brings with her or him the abundance of love that only God could pack into a single living being.

 

There is no limit to the love any of those children—as one, as few, as many—bring a mother and father. Each does so according to the plan God has laid out for them and as each has followed, or not, according to their will and their way. That is the love and joy of our lives as parents as we celebrate the abundance of blessings we have in the lives of our children. Not saying that all the days seem as such, yet we are saying that without them, there would be far fewer days of love, of joy and fullness of life in our lives. That’s how He works. That’s the love we have in our daughter Katie and our children.

 

Without that sort of work, there would be no Katie Lee, Katherine Lee, no Katie Paul Bindel in our lives today. No Baby Girl. No baby sister to Jason or Jeffery. No Toota-Froota, O Roota. No ‘Katie, don’t write on the walls. No, ‘Katie, you did such a great job on your homework.’ No turn-up dresses. No shopping at ‘Dillard’s’ for all the finest clothes. No falling through the stage at Lip Synch. No, there would be none of those things and all those since that have brought us closer, closer and even closer to you in faith and love since you were born.

 

Katie chooses a life of meaning and a life of giving as her way of bringing us closer. Good choices both of them. She recognizes the challenges and knows what lies ahead with them. She is learning to take little for granted and taking charge of what she can take charge of. There are a few (??) aches and pains that go with them yet she is seeing her way through them as best as she is able. It’s in her heart, as well as in her maternal genes, to rise up and continue and persevere.

 

Sometimes it would be easier to get caught up in the ‘stuff’ and quit… but she won’t. She’s come too far and has so much farther to go. And if you have any doubt, it would be a good idea to stand back unless you get run over as she zips past you. The hours she spends giving. The hours she spends loving. The hours she spends working. They’re hard to separate as she goes from one to the other as she does so much of one with the others. Above and beyond her work and her family, she gives more than asked of her, dedicated to what is good and pleasing for the well being of others.

 

We tend to limit ourselves till we are tested. God helps us with that bit of doubt in our lives. He calls them children. And for children and their doubts, He has parents for their bit of testing. Together they all grow as He would have them—at least that would be the plan. We are so blessed for the love of Katie in our lives and pray that we grow with her in faith, in hope and in love.

 

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

We love you-always will, no matter what!

Mom and Dad




OFFER IT UP!    TUESDAY, JUNE 23, 2015

In Matthew 7:6-14, Jesus compares our faith and following to pearls—valuable! He also asserts that we are not to take this gift for granted. The pearl is beautiful and valued in necklaces, rings and other forms of jewelry, proudly displayed for all to see by those who own them. Why then, should we not “own” our faith and proudly display it for all to see? 

 

That is Jesus’ point in this comparison. He goes on to share that the road is not easy and the gate to the path of eternal life is narrow. In this comparison, He is referring to the narrow gates into the city. During the day, the larger gates are open in order to allow for the busy traffic and the passing of buyers, sellers and visitors. But during the night, to limit entrance during the darkness, only the narrow gates are open, thus limiting passage.  This serves as protection against those who would want to cause harm to citizens during the night. 

 

To go into the city at night takes a conscious choice of planning. So it is with the City of God. We must make a conscious choice to spend our lives in Him and with Him, so as to spend our eternal reward in His Presence, as well. In this discourse Jesus teaches, similar to the words of the Lord’s Prayer (forgive us as we forgive), in Matthew 7:12, “So, whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.” He reemphasizes moral law, raising it to a standard or level of “perfection” that requires more than avoiding harm to others. 

 

Rather, we seek to INTENTIONALLY cause good to others. Intent of our actions must be thought out ahead of time, thinking of the consequences and not only the result on ourselves, but the result on those around us!  When we love others the way we wish to be loved, we fulfill God’s desire. 

 

Lord, give me the strength, courage, knowledge, and skill to love others selflessly, with kindness and concern. Empty my heart of unkindness and unforgiving nature so as to leave only room for kindness, goodness, mercy, and charity. 

May I truly value the gifts of faith, hope, and love in/for You.  J.O.Y.!

Paul B

 
 


OFFER IT UP!    MONDAY, JUNE 22, 2015

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  This is part of the prayer that Jesus shared with His disciples as He was giving them example an example of the simplicity of prayer (Matthew 6:7-15).  In reading in Matthew 7:1-5, He tells us, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; because the judgments you give are the judgments you will get and the standard you use will be the standard used for you.” 

 

While instructing us to pray, Jesus clearly states that we should ask for forgiveness from our heavenly Father in the same manner we give it. Do we truly comprehend what that means in our daily lives? When we are impatient with a child, spouse, friend or co-worker, do we reflect, first on how we have prayed to God for forgiveness? Or, for patience and understanding of our ways that don’t always follow His? 

 

Often, when we react it is because we see other’s faults and forget that no one is perfect, including ourselves. Jesus goes on to use an example, in Matthew 7:4-5, in which we are to remove the “log” from our own eye before expecting the splinter to be removed from our neighbors eye. Once we have done this, our vision will be clearer as to the ways of God. As Christians, are we not called to strive to understand one another and learn/correct our own faults first. It is only from looking within and striving to speak, think, and act in His ways that we can then, perhaps, help someone else.  Jesus was bold enough to call those who spoke one way and acted another, “Hypocrite”. 

 

Lord, give us strength and wisdom to focus on and strive for a life that will cleanse our hearts and minds from sin and deepen our union with You in this life and the next.  Jesus, Only You!  J.O.Y.

Paul B

 


OFFER IT UP!    SUNDAY, JUNE 21, 2015

Mark 4:35-41

On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples: “Let us cross to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him. A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up.

Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!”

The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”

They were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”

 


They’re in the boat, the storm breaks out and Jesus is asleep.

What do the disciples expect of Him once they wake Him?

It’s a little early in the world of inventions to have life preservers or other devices to help them prevail and save themselves. Hence, the immediacy of their pleas to have Jesus wake up and ‘do something’ to save them. It was just them, as the crowd was no where around—they were left on the shores. All they had with them was Jesus—‘just as He was.’ What else were they to do? What else had they done before in these situations without Him?

 

From this passage across the sea to the other passages they made with Jesus, the disciples saw a number of these instances where Jesus made things different than what they were to begin with. From people born blind and seeing again to those who were lame now able to run about freely to this where He commands the seas to be still: ’Quiet! Be still?’ The disciples again are awe-struck at the wonder He presents. Not for glory or honor but for love and lesson. A love that is unconditional even though they try to put conditions with it. And lessons that He gives time and again though they haven’t quite sunk in all the way.

 

If this sounds the least bit familiar, don’t think you have it all to yourself. We’ve all been down the same road with the disciples and in the same boat, if not literally then very well figuratively. How many times have we cried out, “Lord do something!’

‘I am helpless-I can’t do this on my own!’

‘What are we supposed to do, Lord? Do you not hear us?’

People of faith-deep and not-so-deep-pray these amens. We all have difficulties seeing the answers to our prayers, especially when the times are hardest and most trying. It is then that we find we need God most. It is then that God is doing what God will do for us. From the outside in and from the inside out, He is at work. From there, it is up to us to continue what He has started in us so that we may experience the peace and salvation He has planned for us when we are finished.




OFFER IT UP!    SATURDAY, JUNE 20, 2015

Is God the master of your life? As we truly consider and reflect on our faith, do we completely trust Him for all of our needs? In Matthew 6:25-33, these questions should come to the mind of each Christian as we read Jesus Words. He asks, “Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet Your heavenly Father feeds them.” 

 

As I ponder my own life and what I have been blessed with, I often count my blessings and give thanks to God! But, in doing so, I then contemplate what “often” means in terms of God’s time: eternity. In my day-in/day-out journey, how do I reflect my thanks and praise for what I have through my “reaping and sowing”? We spend our days working and interacting with others. 

 

In those efforts, what comes through to others and, therefore, God? I, personally, awake each morning and offer thanksgiving to Him for another day. Then I spend time in scripture, reflecting, writing and sharing what I try to let seep into my heart. What happens next? As my bride arises, how do I reflect Him in my interactions with her? Then, my phone rings or I head for work. 

 

On weekends, I begin whatever household activities, family or community activities, Church, etc….  In those, how do I reflect Him? Do I trust Him (first/foremost) or do I let my doubt and stubbornness “take control”. As we try to heed Jesus’ call to give God total control, we must strive to understand that our worldly wealth and status have “no true value” unless we use what we know and believe (in Faith) and share them in His Love, Truth, and Spirit with others. 

 

Lord, free me from needless worry of worldly things and to put my trust in You. May my first, steady, and only concern be Your Glory and Peace in this world and the next. May I live each moment in/for You. Jesus, Only You!

Paul B





OFFER IT UP!   FRIDAY, JUNE 19, 2015
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MICHAEL!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY LILIANA!

1 Corinthians 3:3-9

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I give thanks to my God always on your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in him you were enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge, as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you, so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

A life of thanksgiving. So far, so good.

That’s looking back and looking ahead for a woman who we would do well to aspire to emulate. Even if we could only do a bit of her humble and thankful service, we would be busy enough for days and weeks to come.

 

Liliana commits and recommits it seems on a daily basis to giving thanks in ways we mere mortals overlook. Oh for sure, there is liturgy and prayer for us-the beautiful and present love we have each day. But she goes above and beyond that, giving thanks to her God ‘on account for the grace bestowed upon her.’ For as she has been enriched in so many ways—from a faith filled with God’s presence, a loving mother and father and siblings, a loving husband and children, and friends made and friends to make—she sows her gifts without thinking of cost, concern or contemplation. (That contemplation and planning part sometimes brings on a few challenges!!)  But that indeed is her ongoing testimony to Christ-love and service in thanksgiving for all she has been blessed with.

 

Yet we have been blessed with so much in her. Our lives have been brought closer to God because of her, with her enriching and outpouring love. From her gifts of laughter, her gifts of friendship, her gifts of spiritual sharing and her gifts of faithfulness in our Lord Jesus Christ, Lili shares in thanksgiving her life of joy and happiness. All done without boasting, without arrogance as it is not about her but about those who need most what God would will them to have. Selfless and acting for the good and joy of others, she brings far more than happiness, as good as happiness might be. The fulfillment of joy is greater than the short-lived excitement of happiness as joy—Lili will tell—comes from the heart, filled with the love and joy of Christ.

 

Such are people of great heart and even greater love of God. So easy to recognize their passion, their faith, their daily walk in Christ. She loves God with all heart and all heart mind and all her soul and shows her love by giving thanks, by loving her neighbor, near and far. How better to show one’s love for God than by living His greatest commandments. 


Happy Birthday Liliana.

We give thanks for you this day and always and pray that all you say, do and love may never falter or be lessened for our God. Let His love keep you from harm and protect you now and always and keep you in His comfort and peace. Amen.




OFFER IT UP!   THURSDAY, JUNE 18, 2015

The first commandments call us to recognize God and to worship Him, alone (Ref:  Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21).  In reading Matthew 6:7-15, we find Jesus teaching us, His disciples, the simplicity of prayer.  Jesus shares with us the following words, “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 trespasses against us. But, deliver us from evil.” 

 

Before sharing this simple, but comprehensive prayer Jesus reminds us, first (in Matthew 6) that the quality of our prayer does not lay in the fancy “babbling” of eloquence. Rather, it lays in the simplicity of opening our hearts/total selves to the reality that that we are truly, utterly, and honestly dependent upon Him and His goodness, as our creator and Lord. So Jesus tells us we must first, and foremost, begin with recognition of Him as “Our Father in Heaven….” 

 

What more powerful recognition and honor can we give Him?  We not only honor the first commandment with this humble statement, we call upon Him directly. In Romans 8:12-17, Paul tells us that we, as sons of God, are heirs with Christ. As such, we call God, “Abba, Father.” When Jesus shared the simplicity of this prayer and opening with, “Our Father, Who art in heaven…” He calls on us to approach Him with the boldness, confidence, and intimacy we share in the parental relationships of our human condition. In fact, the fifth commandment calls us to honor our father and mother. 

 

Therefore, by addressing Him as Father, we bring this additional intimacy, one that we can, perhaps, better understand in our human condition(?). As we share this intimacy, let us not forget He is our Heavenly Father, our creator, and knows our heart and it’s ways. 

 

Our Father, Creator of All, give us all that we need to honor You in our lives and interactions with others and to live a life that will lead us to Your eternal protection and reward! Jesus, Only You. JOY!

Paul B

 


OFFER IT UP!   WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17, 2015

True devotion to God is more than just outward commitment to prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. These three works were considered, by the religious leaders of Jesus’ time to be integral elements or signs of a religious person. A good life is based upon these. 

 

As Christians, we should value these attributes in our walk, but in Matthew. 6:1-18, Jesus points us to the “heart of the matter”. Why do we do these things? He warns us to avoid the “human nature” of wanting to draw attention to ourselves, by doing “good works” that are noticed by others.  We must realize that prayer is not just an act. It is an attitude of reverence, worship, awe, and obedience. It is a gift and working of His Spirit within our heart that enables us to devote our life (thought, word, and deed) to God with a primary (sole) desire to please Him in and through all we do/are.  

 

Matthew 6:6, quotes Jesus, “But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret, will reward you.” Isaiah 49 reminds us that God has called us to be, even from the wombs of our mothers! Therefore, He knows our hearts and our intentions. So each time I read Jesus words in Matthew 6:6, I am not moved to say, as some do, “It does not matter if I go to church, God knows my heart!” It is because He knows my heart that I try to surround myself with like-minded/like-hearted people. And, when I go to my “private room” to pray, I look upon this as turning inward to my mind’s eye and heart’s inmost place. 

 

Lord, remove my “lukewarm-ness” in meditating upon Your Word. Give me firm faith, hope and a fiery heart that I may revere You in all I say, think and do! Amen.

Jesus, Only You!  J.O.Y.

Paul B

 
 


OFFER IT UP!   TUESDAY, JUNE 16, 2015

Matthew continues, in 5:43-48, in sharing Jesus’ radical concept of loving your neighbor, including your enemies or those who persecute you. Jesus points out that the “sun rises on the bad, as well as the good” (5:45). In directing us to love those who don’t support or stand for us (and our love for God), Jesus expects us to care for everyone, no matter their stance.  Rather, we must love as God loves, which is unconditionally. 

 

He asks the question, “If you love those who love you, what reward do you get?” He goes on to ask, “Do not even the tax collectors do that?” Here, we must remember that the tax collectors were viewed as some of the “lowest of the low” in terms of cheating and sinfulness during Jesus’ day. How easy is it to love “like-minded” people? 

 

In the end, though, we are also reminded that it must be our goal to strive to live a Christ-like life and example for all, both friend and “foe”. In Matthew 5:48, Jesus tells us that in giving a loving example to all, we are therefore called to be perfect, as our Heavenly Father is perfect. Let us explore the concept of how easy it is to love those we deem “deserving” our love. It is human nature to take the path of “least resistance”. 

 

Understanding this, the true test of our love of/for God is in whether or not we are able to love those who, in our sights, are not lovable or who have “wronged us” in some way. In this radical call to love, Jesus asks us to go beyond the “easy” love. To do so, we must call upon God, through His Word, daily, for encouragement and direction. Through the guidance of His Spirit we seek and receive divine grace to answer His call to love. 

 

Lord, the “radical” love you shared with us 2000 years ago offers freedom and pardon. Free us from stubbornness to be open to Your Spirit, Who will fill us with a love that brings the Father’s peace, joy, and acceptance! Jesus, Only You!  J.O.Y.

Paul B

 


OFFER IT UP!   MONDAY, JUNE 15, 2015

In reading Matthew 5:38-42, we are called to reflect on the many sermons and mediations we have heard and read on the radical nature of Jesus’ words. In this passage Jesus speaks about God’s Law, giving it a new standard of grace and love, superseding the concept of retaliation, justice, or even, vengeance. Over the years this reading has been presented in church, spoken about in sermons and quoted in many different settings, reminding us of Jesus’ radical words. 

 

So, as I read this today, I was struck by the fact that over the last two thousand years, millions of people have heard the same words spoken and analyzed, yet in our human condition we still use the phrase radical concept to describe it. How stubborn are we? We see and understand the words, we hear that we are called to put aside concepts such as “an eye for an eye and a toot for a tooth”. But do we truly get that we are then called to replace our humanly instinctive selfishness to “get our due” and replace it with the grace and mercy of “no resistance” to those who would ridicule us for our acceptance of God’s love. 

 

If someone strikes us on the right, offer the left. If someone wishes to sue you for your tunic, offer your cloak with it. If someone requires you to walk a mile, offer two. We, in today’s age, still refer to these as new concepts, yet none of us can remember a time when they were not taught and preached as an integral part of our Christian values. The Old Testament is not void of these concepts either, though Jesus brings them “front and center” with his teachings and ultimately, by His sacrifice on the cross. Only Jesus’ Cross can free us from the complete tyranny of hatred, revenge, and retaliation that we are called to leave behind for grace, love, and mercy. 

 

Lord, give us the grace of patience and mercy when we are tempted to respond with vengeance. May we be humble, when provoked and respond with loving kindness. Jesus, Only You.  J.O.Y.

Paul B

 

Birthday Notes...

There is this old adage that has been around that goes something like this: The more we complain, the longer God makes us live.’ For some, they may think that would be their lot in life-more misery, more stuff to complain about. Yet for others, the other side of the coin would be a far better way to grasp life and live it accordingly. What if that adage was ‘The more you give thanks, the longer God gives you to live.’

 

There are those who subscribe to such a way of life, a life that brings such joy, such gratitude, such fulfillment of life to others. They do so without so much fanfare, either, with a focus on the greater success and cheerfulness of those who most need it. And those who most need it are those who are in their lives-both close and not so close-who have such needs. How great would life be, how great would the world be, if there were people the world over who gave thanks so much more than they did complain with their mouths full?

 

How much more joy would there be for us all if we allowed Christ to live in us like that? How would it be if there were more models, more disciples, and more Christ-centered people who shared the love of God in thanksgiving and grace by the joy in their hearts? Really, how awesome would that be?

 

The good news is that we don’t usually have to go so very far in our circle of friends and families to find such folks. The better news is that more often than not there are more than just one or two that do share such a way of life. The best news is when one sees in a spouse and in her mother, he sees the same steadfast spirit in them both, blessings of love, grace and joy, as they persevere in their faith.

 

Sam Maynor is celebrating her birthday today. She is doing so in the fashion and spirit as described in the words above…although we can skip over the ones about the complaining. Throughout her life, she has and continues to remain faithful as she puts herself at the will of God. Through the tougher times of life, weaker folks would have succumbed to the weaker ways of the world.

Not Sam.

Not the mother of my wife.

Not the grandmother of our children.

Not my friend.

She kept to the way and will of God, as the kind and loving soul she is. Indeed, being kind for her is so much her nature just as God loving us is so unconditional. It is with such selfless love she is who she is and will be who she is, bringing and sharing a love and joy for her lifetime.

 

Happy Birthday to you,

Sam. To you, Nonny.

To you, Mom.

May God continue to fill you with the everlasting joy of His love, His peace and the kindness that He has already made in you today.

We love you and always will, no matter what.

Linda and David

 


OFFER IT UP!   SUNDAY, JUNE 14, 2015

God’s “invisible hand”, in our lives, constantly blesses us with opportunities to grow in His presence and in our daily living. Just as crops, trees and shrubs grow, seemingly mysteriously, from seedlings to productivity, so must our faith. It is those “unseen miracles” throughout the moments of our day, just as the unseen miracle of seed, transforming to sprouts, branches or leaves that keeps faith growing. It is faith that provides order and ultimate hope to the human condition! 

 

In Mark 4:26-33, Jesus provides two examples in parable form, related to the scattering of seed and the subsequent sprouting of that seed, as to how our faith should grow! It is God and His Word that keeps us growing, sprouting and renewing and renewing in faith. Though we are called to take care of ourselves in heart, mind and body, it is God who ultimately provides. 

 

How often do we take the “small miracles” of each day for granted, thinking that we are in control (or, forgetting that He is the ultimate gardener)?  These lapses may be momentary or they may creep increasingly into our days when we forget to thank Him for another day’s opportunity in the morning, seek His divine assistance throughout our day, or share our day’s successes and frustrations with Him in the setting of each day. How much love do we show God, in return for His daily tending to our needs? 

 

In Mark 4:30-32, Jesus compares our faith to the tiny mustard seed, the smallest of seeds. Yet, this seed sprouts and grows into the largest of the shrubs and allows birds and animals to rest in them and in the shade they provide. Our seed of faith, if we allow God to take control, can grow into the same respite for ourselves and for those around us! 

 

Lord, just as seeds imperceptibly grow, yet produce wonderful displays of Your Glory, strengthen my own seed of faith to grow into an example of Your love and mercy; one in which others find rest and comfort in Your shining example of Love.

Jesus, Only You!  J.O.Y.

Paul B

 


OFFER IT UP!    SATURDAY, JUNE 13, 2015

O my Divine Savior,

Transform me into Yourself.

May my hands be the hands of Jesus.

Grant that every faculty of my body

May serve only to glorify You.

 

Above all,

Transform my soul and all its powers

So that my memory, will and affection

May be the memory, will and affections

Of Jesus.

 

I pray You

To destroy in me

All that is not of You.

Grant that I may live

But in You, by You and for You,

So that I may truly say,

With St. Paul,

"I live - now not I -

But Christ lives in me".

 

St. John Gabriel Perboyre

 


OFFER IT UP!    FRIDAY, JUNE 12, 2105

Ephesians 3:8-12, 14-19

Brothers and sisters:

To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for all what is the plan of the mystery hidden from ages past in God who created all things, so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the principalities and authorities in the heavens. This was according to the eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness of speech and confidence of access through faith in him.

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

 

As it was given to Paul, though we may not see it or deem ourselves so worthy, we too have such grace to spread the Good News of Christ Jesus. After all and if not, then what is our baptism for? What are our sacraments for? What then of the Eucharist? These all help ‘bring to light for all what is the plan of the mystery’ or at least some of the mystery of our faith, of God Who brings to light all we need to understand.

 

Jesus came so that we may have a greater confidence in our faith, just as Paul noted in his letters and just as we come to know as we put ourselves in Christ’s trust. As Paul prayed for the sanctity of life and that of the Church, he was also praying for us all. A prayer that we may have Christ more fully alive in our hearts with the same love that burns and glows His heart. And to have Christ there with such a faith and love that it cannot be denied—so is the love of God.

 

This sort of love is extraordinary-beyond any such we can have for one another, this love God has for us. But that should not keep us from trying. He sent His Son so that we could love as He loves, so that we would love as He loves and so that we will love as He loves, totally and unconditionally. As we see in Christ Jesus the love of His Sacred Heart today, let us also see who we might love as He would want us to love. Let us not worry about not having enough; He’ll so to it that there will be enough to go around for everyone. The more we give away, the more we find out we have left…that is the utter immensity, fullness and power of His love.




OFFER IT UP!    THURSDAY, JUNE 11, 2015

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.”

 

Jesus was setting the bar already higher than it was set in the Old Law. Not that there was anything wrong with it, as it was practiced to the letter, but that there was more to it than just following it that way.


They knew not to kill outright, but how many were killing others from within? How many were judging their fellow man with anger and bitterness and resentment? Jesus was leading them beyond that, having them lead a life that would bring them into the kingdom of heaven. The stains on their hearts from the blood they had from their thoughts of hatred, thoughts of hostility toward others and thoughts of evil on their own, they had to be cleansed and reconciled before they could approach the altar to offer their gift. If not, the darkness of prison awaited them.


Jesus tells us the same today: how are we approaching the altar with our own families, our friends, those who need what God has given us to give? What are we holding within that is keeping us from coming nearer to His kingdom of heaven? What sort of bitterness, what darkness is covering our hearts, our minds our souls that is waiting for the light only that Jesus Christ has for us? Instead of that prison of darkness, let us find that light He has for us, a light eternally leading us to holiness and salvation with Him. And along the way, we’ll be graced to see those in our lives see our gift of self as Christ gave His, totally and eternally.




OFFER IT UP!   WEDNESDAY, JUNE 10, 2015

Today we hear Jesus directly speak to the importance of God’s commands. In Matthew 5:16-17 He makes it clear that we are not only accountable for ourselves and conducting ourselves in a manner that keeps His commands, but we are also responsible for being a guide for others around us. This is our call as friends, spouses, parents, siblings and children. To draw others closer to Him through our actions is fulfilling His desire. 

 

If our actions cause someone else to fall away or not see His example, we are failing in His call to us! It is a simple concept and one that we should apply in our relationships here, in the secular world, as it will be applied in the Kingdom to come. The law that Jesus speaks of to His disciples is the divine law to love one another as God loves us. The laws that draw us into such a relationship are not negative or punitive. 

 

Any laws, by design, are not intended to restrict our freedom, as many seem to perceive them today. Rather, they are meant to give us freedom and opportunity to live in peace and serve to the greater and common good of each other. Our forefathers, for example, established a basic foundation of laws or rights most based in the dignity of each human being and, clearly based on biblical precepts that empower us to behave responsibility and considerately towards self and others in our actions and speech.

 

The right to speak freely and openly about thoughts and opinions, for example, must be rooted in an understanding and consideration as to how our words may impact others around us. Thus, we should not just speak in a manner that overpowers the rights of others to also speak. This goes for any application of law that governs our interactions, as all are rooted in a respect and dignity that resides in love of God and love for God! 

 

Lord, direct and govern our hearts, minds and bodies in thought, word and deed in line with Your wisdom and law. May we reap the blessings of obedience.

Jesus, Only You!  J.O.Y.

Paul B



OFFER IT UP!    TUESDAY, JUNE 9, 2015

Matthew 5:13-16

Jesus said to his disciples: “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”

Salt and light… prayer and spirituality. They go hand in hand… the more we pray, the more we find can find ourselves on a narrower path of spirituality. The prayers are not just the prayers we pray, but those that are prayed for us by others—those that we ask for and those that are done out of the goodness and kindness of faithful hearts known and unknown. All are done in the spirit of faith and in holiness.

There is a connection between the two—between faith and holiness—between God and the pray-er—and another connection between the other two—between God and the prayer itself. The more the pray-er is devoted to the prayer and to praying, the more the supplication is lifted higher, in thought, in word, in love and in deed. For God does hear our prayers.

As this connection keeps us close with God, it also keeps us close with one another. The closer we can come together in prayer, the closer we can come together in love and in faith. It also works the other way as we put our hope and faith more in Christ, the more we will find ourselves in prayer. It really is not a difficult concept to imagine; even less a concept to grasp in practice and in faith.

Whether we are the salt of the earth or a light for all to see, we are to use the gifts to glorify our God as His light shines from within us.

 


OFFER IT UP!    MONDAY, JUNE 8, 2015

What is the “good life”? How does the “good life” of this human condition relate to the ultimate end or purpose that God has designed for us? We constantly search for this thing called “true happiness”, which we must realize is nothing other than being in a position in which nothing else is desired!  The heart of the “good life” is explained by Jesus in Matthew 5:1-12—The Beatitudes. 

 

The call to truly pursue happiness through the Will of God is found in these eight beatitudes. This word literally means “blessedness” or “happiness.  The simple (but not always easy) steps to eternal joy are summed up simply: the keys to happiness are: 1) In choosing to be poor, rather than rich we are called to value Him over things of this earth; 2) Mourning over our sinfulness through true repentance, rather than accepting the “feels good now” spirit of secularism;  3) Being gentile in nature; humble, rather than haughty and proud; 4) Hunger for holiness through adherence to His precepts, standing by righteous ways; 5) Showing mercy to others, rather than only seeking our own rights and needs; 6) Seek God, first and foremost, by allowing Him to dwell in your heart, thus seeing Him in others’; 7) Seek peace with all, rather than seeking to overpower; 8) Stand strong for God, even in the face of insult and persecution from the secular world. 

 

These “keys” to happiness, the Beatitudes, confront us with clear challenges and choices concerning the life we pursue during our earthly presence—and how we use all that He has given us—for His Glory! As we strive to accept God’s ways, we are often contradicted by the values of the world around us. We are promised that His Joys will “more than compensate” for the inevitable sufferings of this path. Lord, Increase my desire for Your Ways and show me the path that leads to everlasting peace and happiness. May the “keys to happiness” open, to me, the “Good Life”  J.O.Y.

Paul B

 


OFFER IT UP!   SUNDAY, JUNE 7, 2015

Mark 14:12-25 describes the most significant meal Jesus shared with His Apostles—this most important occasion of His Breaking of the Bread! In this meal Jesus identifies the bread and wine as His Body and Blood. He commands His disciples to share in His Flesh and Blood—therefore inviting them (and us) to take His Life, His Essential Being, into the very center of our own being. 

 

We can also reference John’s Gospel, while Jesus was teaching at the synagogue in Capernaum (6:59):  “So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat My flesh and drink My blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for My flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat My flesh and drink My blood abide in Me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats Me will live because of Me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”

 

As Jesus prepared for his ultimate offering of self. He clearly states that the life He offers is the very life of God, Himself.  Jesus’ true gift is His entire being—Body, Blood, Heart, Mind, and Soul—for our Salvation. Jesus Instructed His Disciples to share the Body and Blood of Christ in remembrance of Him (Luke 22:19). As we are called to share in the Lord’s Supper, we anticipate the final day when the Lord will feast, anew, with all His disciples. Until then, we are to strive to share in Him each day! 

 

Lord, sustain us with your Presence and Life! May we always hunger for You and be satisfied only by and in Your Example! 

J.O.Y.

Paul B

 


OFFER IT UP!    SATURDAY, JUNE 6, 2015

The Miracle Prayer

Lord Jesus,

I come before you, just as I am.

I am sorry for my sins, I repent of my sins,

please forgive me.

In your name, I forgive all others

for what they have done against me.

I renounce Satan, the evil spirits

and all their works.

I give you my entire self.

Lord Jesus, now and Forever,

I invite you into my life Jesus.

I accept you as my Lord and Savior.

Heal me, change me, strengthen me

in body, soul and spirit.

Come Lord Jesus,

cover me with your precious blood,

and fill me with your Holy Spirit,

I love you Jesus. I praise you Jesus.

I thank you Jesus.

I shall follow you every day of my life.

Amen
 


OFFER IT UP!    FRIDAY, JUNE 5, 2015

The title “Lord” is declaration of joyful submission to Jesus Christ. Jesus really and truly is Lord. He is the Lord to whom we owe total obedience and total allegiance. “Lord” throughout history has been a term used, in our human condition, to describe someone who is in a position of “power” or ownership over others. 

 

We pledge, every opportunity we get in our church experiences, that “Jesus is Lord”. What does this mean? Are we proclaiming Him to be the center of our lives? Are we offering ourselves in total service to Him? As we have read in Mark’s Gospel over the past few days, are we rendering to our Lord, all that we are, as His? 

 

In Mark 12:35-37, Jesus clearly states that though He is from the Line of David, from which the Messiah is promised, He is more than a son of David: He is Lord of all. So, when we as Christians address Him as Lord we are using a title that submits to His ownership of us. We are acknowledging that He rules over our world—not just the physical creation, but all that is in it, including our hearts, minds, souls and, deeds. 

 

I recently read that though demons believe in God, they never address Him as “Lord”. Throughout the Gospels we find references that they address him as “Son of God”, “Holy One of God”, or “Son of the Most High”, but never call Him Lord. Demons rebel against anything that would imply them being ruled by God! Jesus, in order to give us the power and strength to submit to His Lordship over all the earth ensured that He will be with us through the end of time by providing us with His Spirit. Therefore, Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians12:3 that no one can say Jesus is Lord except in the Holy Spirit. 

 

Jesus, I believe that You are Lord! You are my Lord and I submit myself to Your rule in my life. Allow Your Spirit to dwell in my heart, home, thought, and deeds among my fellow man! May my service to You be joyful, humble, and full ! J.O.Y. 

Paul B



OFFER IT UP!    THURSDAY, JUNE 4, 2015

The religious leaders, as we have noted, did not truly understand or accept Jesus as the Messiah. Therefore, they were continually challenging Him. As we read on in Mark’s Gospel, 12:28-34, we find them again testing Him. The Pharisees made it their life’s pride and practice to study and master knowledge and understanding of the 613 precepts of God’s Law in the Old Testament.

 

In an effort to see if he understood the law as they did, they called him out with the question, “Which is the first of all?” Jesus, as usual, was profoundly simple in His response, “….there is only one Lord, Our God, and you must love Him with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And, you must love your neighbor as yourself.” 

 

So, taking this into account, what does God require of us?  It is this simple: Love as God loves. In Mark’s Gospel, over the past several days, we have read that we are to render to God, that which is His (which is our entire being in heart, mind, soul, and deed) and we are to strive to comprehend the fruits of His love in our human condition, knowing that the eternal bliss in store for us is incomprehensible, even in our brightest moments! We know that God created us in His image. Therefore, He loved us first (just as a parent loves, in a way never before experienced, when a child is born). Our response to His love, then, must be a response to His loving grace and kindness. We must continually seek ways to make our love for God, and His desires for us, grow within our hearts—thought and deed. 

 

Our faith in God is a hope in His Promise that serves to give us strength. Faith and hope are essential for a good relationship with God (foundation of trust). Knowledge of His Truth (the Word) become the pillars that rest on that foundation! The more we know of God, the more we love Him. 

 

Lord, we love you and desire for that love to grow. You, who loves us so much as to send Your Son and allow Your Spirit to dwell within us, warm our hearts with Your Fire of Love! 

Jesus, Only You!

Paul B

 


OFFER IT UP!    WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3, 2015
HAPPY BIRTHDAY LINDA!

The promise of eternal paradise with God—unending life—is beyond all human understanding. In our human condition we have joys and sorrows. We experience happiness and disappointment. So this is our sole reference point outside our faith in a God who offers us that eternal life (we can’t truly comprehend, but can hope for). 

 

Mark, in 12:18-25, provides another attempt by the leaders to “trick” Jesus into blasphemy and contradiction, this time with the subject of the resurrection of the body. They asked, “Who’s wife will she be”, in reference to a woman who marries seven brothers, over the course of her life, as each passed away. His response is one that is designed to help us try to comprehend that God’s eternal love is one, which we can’t understand. 

 

She will be no one’s wife, as God’s love is all encompassing. In our human condition, we target relationships and friendships on an individual basis. We are called by God to share of ourselves unselfishly with all. But, as we experience daily, this is a nearly impossible task. Though some share of themselves with any and all better than others, we know from life’s experience that we are limited by our emotions and feelings. 

 

God, on the other hand, is not limited. He patiently awaits each of us to turn to Him in heart, mind, soul and deed. When we “fire on all four of these cylinders”, our spiritual motors are running smoothly. Keeping it running this smoothly is the challenge! What we can see with the “naked eye” makes our challenge of comprehending “heaven” more difficult. Paul, to the Corinthians (1 Corinthains 2:9-10) quotes Isaiah (64; 65) saying, “What Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love Him.  God has revealed to us through the Spirit.” As we strive to please Him we must remember that we have only begun to taste the “first fruits”. 

 

Lord, give me strength, courage, and hope to believe Your Word and promise. Allow Your Spirit to fill my eyes, mind, heart, and soul! 

Jesus, Only You!  JOY

Paul B


Birthday Notes

To begin with, to say that Linda is kind and loving is just a bit of an understatement. Well, maybe it is a huge understatement. Yet secondly, being her husband, I don’t say that or these things because I am her spouse or just because it is her birthday. Those that know her would attest to her love and all the others virtues that bring life to others through her gifts God has given her. That is where the fullness of her own life happens; from giving of herself for the good and life of others.

 

Some of us would act out our lives like everything was about us. Then there are those who make everything about someone else… that would be Linda. Of all that she is and all that she has been through, she still maintains a deep faith and centers that faith on the Light of Christ. She’ll rebuff any plaudits and humbly step aside as those she serves come to realize the love they have found comes not just from her but the love of God that shines through her. Indeed, life is not about her. That's how she would have it. 

 

But this day is. This day is all about her.

Her faith.

Her love.

Her beauty.

Her kindness.

Her charm.

About how all that she is makes her that special person in so many lives, from family to friends and beyond. There is no one more special in my life than her. No one more grace-filled with so much to share than Linda. No one more calming when the storms are raging than she. No one more practical when being rational has lost its sensible compass than her. No one with a more comforting heart when the pieces of another need to be mended than her.

 

No one that brings more joy and love and life to me than you.

 

I give thanks to my God at every remembrance of you

And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:3, 9-11

 

Happy Birthday to you my love.

I love you no matter what-always have, always will-

me

 




OFFER IT UP!    TUESDAY, JUNE 2, 2015
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JASON!

Should we pay taxes or not? The beginning of every calendar year the subject of taxes fills our lives. Not so much like the Scribes and Pharisees trying to test Jesus, but still with concern for paying  too much, or receiving a return. All in the terms of this worldly organizational life.

 

We can listen to today's gospel and reflect on Jesus’ response to His testers. Much of this world’s good—events and ways of living and such—are just that—good things. But all of creation, even our very selves, belong to God. His love for us gives us so much freedom, all the wonders He created He saw were very good and He shares them with us totally. 

 

Sadly most of the time we are so focused on the self we can't see the simplicity of His love and all there is for us. What will you see today?

Deacon


Birthday Notes

As he celebrates another completion of his ever-growing and loving life, Jason also celebrates it fully and wholeheartedly, just as he has done throughout the previous thirty-plus years. Not only has his life been filled with grace and love, he has done so for hundreds, if not thousands of others with his kindness, generosity, patience, charity and, of course, love.

 

Day in and day out, night out and night in, he has shown the resilience not many folks care to show these days, personally or professionally. Being there for family, being there for friends, being there for those at work and those who know him from his profession, his stature stands tall and strong as an oak tree, providing protection from what may come their way. There are few who witness and share such courage and faith these days as he, without so much fanfare or wearing it on his sleeve. Even with the demands of life, he still finds time for the true needs of others. Not always easy but he always seems to make a way in the end.

 

That’s how folks have come to know Jason, through that kindness, through that way he shares and through that way he gives what he has to give. Others may give more in some other fashion or form but none will give as much from the depths of their heart as Jason gives from his. Yes, that is how they will know him.

 

That is how we have always known him and always will.

That is how we have always loved him and always will, no matter what.

Happy Birthday Jason. May God continue to fill you so much more with the grace and gifts He has given you to share in His name.

 

We love you-

Mom and Dad




OFFER IT UP!   MONDAY, JUNE 1, 2015

The Easter season has hopefully prepared us for life as we discovered anew the wonder of Christ and the glory of the Resurrection. Each day begins with the wonder of knowing that we are brothers and sisters, heirs to the divine life with Christ. We continue to strive to understand the mystery of God with us and God who transcends us. 

The reminders that flood into our lives at the end of the Easter Season each year are a wonderful time for deep reflection. Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, Corpus Christi, and the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. If we make the time to enter into prayer and celebration, dialog with Christ and with each other, how do we not open ourselves to the wonder of God's love.

During this month of June when life is offering some respite, many look to the next few months for vacations and renewal. Perhaps in these times of resting one could find some ‘resting in the Lord’—resting that would be appropriate for any of us. As technology advances we can either become absorbed by the latest and newest gadgets or maybe we can try to control the invasion to our senses and daily spend time being silent, emptying ourselves of all preoccupation and just focusing on gazing on the Lord and listening for his call. What a glorious way to start a summer season in Him!

Deacon