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AFRAIDNOT

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

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Offer It Up March 31st

2 Corinthians 5:17-21

So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

Ah, springtime. When a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love and a young woman’s thoughts turn to fancy… wait a minute, how does that quote go again? Maybe I made some of it up but most of it is legit.

Yet springtime is a time of warmth, a time of change, a time of growth. All of this and more happens as one looks about and see the signs of new life budding forth. One can’t help but be at least a little encouraged with what they see as the trees are beginning to show some signs of life, the grass is competing with a few weeds for growing rights in the yard and most of the coats and gloves are put away in exchange for sweatshirts, yard gloves and jeans. Yup, save for an occasional chill or two, spring has indeed sprung.

So how about us? How is it that our new lives have come about with the coming of spring? One can’t help but get caught up in the hope and optimism that comes with this time of year not just seasonally but spiritually. Each day we have is one day more we can be thankful God has chosen us to do His will. What a time of year to enjoy and know how much He wants us to persevere, to succeed, to love as He loves.

We have been called as ‘ambassadors for Christ’. Living as such, we can be examples for others to see what Jesus has meant to us and means to us. The more we do it, the more others see it. The more others see it, the more others can believe it. The more others can believe it… db

Romans 8: 28 -31

We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified.

What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?


Offer It Up March 30th

Acts 9:1-6

Now Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that, if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.

On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him.

He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"

He said, "Who are you, sir?" The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.

Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do."

Whether or not Paul was knocked off a horse or just knocked to the ground, he was certainly ‘knocked’ to his senses. He was known for persecuting those who followed Jesus. Now his life was about to changed and he will be the one to proclaim Jesus the Messiah. He had the confidence to do so as the Holy Spirit filled him to help carry the message. It may sound easy in theory, but we know through our reading of The Word, the practice and application was difficult.

Given the preponderance of make-over shows today, one would think that a simple ‘make-over’ of our lives would be so easy, too. It certainly seems that way. But the fact is, without commitment to change, without fully giving into God’s will for us, any change we do won’t last.

There is a story of a master carpenter who was asked to build one last home, the greatest and most elaborate home he could imagine that he could build. Spare no cost at all; do the best work you could do. He kept resisting as he was looking forward to retirement but he finally relented and gave in. But instead of doing his best work, he wanted to hurry and get it done so he cut corners, did some slipshod work, and covered up some things he would have normally have never done in the past.

Upon completion of the home, the contractor turned to him and said, “For all the years of work you have done for me, here are the keys to your brand new home.” Bummer. Something like that ever happen to you? Think about it.

With just a couple of weeks left of the Lenten season, let’s not lose sight of our goals. Let’s not give up on fully living God’s will for us. Paul changed for good. It may not take a revelation like his to get us to change—or it may very well be just that—yet whatever it may be, it needs to last. The more we are focused on Him, the more we can live like Him. db

1 Corinthians 2:2

I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.


Offer It Up March 29th

John 6:60-61, 65-68

“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.

For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.”

Then many of his disciples who were listening said, "This saying is hard; who can accept it?"

Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, "Does this shock you?

And he said, "For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father."

As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.

Jesus then said to the Twelve, "Do you also want to leave?"

Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

Eternal life through Him.

“For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.”

Who can accept it? I would hope we all can.

Who will accept it? I would pray that we all will.

Jesus told us often that it was only through Him that we would have eternal life. And eternal life is gained through His body and blood. And to receive His body and blood, we must be free from sin. To do that, we lay our sins at the foot of His cross through reconciliation. Jesus then welcomes us into His arms, not in some symbol of His body and blood but through and by His real presence in the Eucharist.

Spiritual food.

Word of God.

Bread of Life.

Power of the Blood.

“No one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.”

He chooses us. And who are we to say no? Maybe those that first turned away from Him weren’t ready to understand what He was saying. Maybe they lost that ‘something’ in the translation. Maybe they were looking for something different entirely. Maybe they just didn’t want to get it at all.

Peter finally got it. Imagine him taking in all the conversation about him and then Jesus hitting him with “Hey Peter—what about you? Are you ready to bail too?” Imagine Peter hearing these words and then his response…. ‘Where else would we go? You are eternal life.’

What if we were to be asked the same thing? Could we be as sure as Peter? Is our faith strong enough to stay with Him? We can strengthen our faith through our choices. db

The choice is ours every day…

Jesus then said to the twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”


Offer It Up March 28th

Once upon a time there was a rich King who had four wives.

He loved the 4th wife the most and adorned her with rich robes and
treated her to the finest of delicacies He gave her nothing but the
best.

He also loved the 3rd wife very much and was always showing her off to neighboring kingdoms. However, he feared that one day she would leave Him for another.

He also loved his 2nd wife. She was his confidant and was always kind, considerate and patient with him. Whenever the King faced a problem, he could confide in her, and she would help him get through the difficult times.

The King's 1st wife was a very loyal partner and had made great
contributions in maintaining his wealth and kingdom. However, he did not love the first wife. Although she loved him deeply, he hardly took notice of her!


One day, the King fell ill and he knew his time was short. He thought of his luxurious life and wondered, "I now have four wives with me, but when I die, I'll be all alone."

Thus, he asked the 4th wife, "I loved you the most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I'm dying, will you follow me and keep me company?"

"No way! replied the 4th wife, and she walked away without another word. Her answer cut like a sharp knife right into his heart.

The sad King then asked the 3rd wife, "I loved you all my life. Now that I'm dying; will you follow me and keep me company?"

"No! replied the 3rd wife. "Life is too good! When you die, I'm going to remarry!" His heart sank and turned cold.

He then asked the 2nd wife, "I have always turned to you for help and you've always been there for me. When I die, will you follow me and keep me company?"

"I'm sorry, I can't help you out this time! replied the 2nd wife. "At
the very most, I can only walk with you to your grave." Her answer
struck him like a bolt of lightning, and the King was devastated.

Then a voice called out: "I'll go with you. I'll follow you no matter
Where you go." The King looked up, and there was his first wife. She was very skinny as she suffered from malnutrition and neglect. Greatly grieved, the King said, "I should have taken much better care of you when I had the chance!"

We all have the equivalent of 4 wives in our lives:
Our 4th wife is our body. No matter how much time and effort we lavish in making it look good, it will leave us when we die.

Our 3rd wife is our possessions, status and wealth. When we die, it will all go to others .

Our 2nd wife is our family and friends. No matter how much they have been there for us, the furthest they can stay by us is up to the grave.

And our 1st wife is our Soul. Often neglected in pursuit of wealth,
power and pleasures of the world. However, our Soul is the only thing that will follow us where ever we go.

Cultivate, strengthen and cherish it now, for it is the only part of us
that will follow us to the throne of God and continue with us throughout eternity.

As submitted by M. Martini


Offer It Up March 27th

John 7:1-2, 25-30
Jesus moved about within Galilee; he did not wish to travel in Judea, because the Jews were trying to kill him.
But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near.

Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said, "Is he not the one they are trying to kill? And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him. Could the authorities have realized that he is the Christ?
But we know where he is from. When the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from."


So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said,
"You know me and also know where I am from. Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true.
I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me."
So they tried to arrest him, but no one laid a hand upon him, because his hour had not yet come.

Don’t shoot the messenger.

How many times have you heard that? How many times have you been the messenger and heard it? Most often the message has to do with information that is not to the receiver’s liking or goes against what one might even hold as true. And just because the news or information was delivered by that individual, that person is often blamed for or forever associated with—wrongfully so—the fallout that comes from it. Gossip starts. Rumors fly. And lives get hurt. All because someone can’t handle the truth.

Look how often it was done to Jesus. Where ever He went, there were those that did not believe He was the Son of God. There were those that could not fathom that the Messiah was here and now. Not just those that lived in the towns where He traveled either—His disciples even had their doubts! From the time His ministry began to the time He offered Himself back to His Father and even upon His Resurrection, they questioned how it could be true. They would look but could not see.

Luke 24:13-19

Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.

He asked them, "What are you discussing as you walk along?" They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?"

And he replied to them, "What sort of things?"

It can and is true. He is with us and we can see Him and know Him in all the glory and majesty that is His world. We can see and know Him in the grace and mercy He fills us with in reconciliation. We can see and know Him in the strength that is Him in our time of need as we fall to Him in praise, humility and prayer. Each day. Each hour. Each moment. db

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.


Offer It Up March 26th

Thoughts on this Solemn day of Joy!

As Wednesday passed and night brought its own time of silence, I looked back on a day of rejoicing. Rejoicing in Mary the Mother of Our Lord and our mother who remains ever faithful and calls to us often. In the life of Christianity Mary has remained ever in contact with humanity. Our Lady of Guadalupe, LaSalette, Lourdes, Fatima, Knock.

Andwe concluded our day of Mary with prayers and thoughts give rise to deep gratitude for Mary's YES to God, her willingness to live in the mystery of faith. May you remain the one, Mary, who leads us in faith and trust in God. You shared life with your son and lived in the mystery of His love. We too are now often called to live in mystery to live in a faith that calls us to make present your son who took our nature, clothing himself in the flesh of man. He became for us the very revelation of the Father's love, and became the eternal sacrificethat brings us to newness of life

Mary, you remain our most powerful intercessor, you love us with a Mother's love and in your love you come and call us to new life. As we continue to walk our life journey, please dear Mother hear our pleas and intercede for us with Jesus.

As we near the final weeks of Lent and prepare for Easter, may we be ever willing to seek to see ourselves as we are seen by our loving God who gave us life,

Your yes those centuries ago opens the path for us to discover our human dignity as brothers of the Lord. Our Yes today is the continuation of the mission to bring the Kingdom of God to its fullness. Pray for us Mother that we may always with you repeat our yes with each breath.

Deacon


Psalms 19:14

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

In a sit-com from not so long ago, the couple was in a quiet moment when the wife asked the husband, “Al, what are you thinking?”

To which Al replied, (quite matter-of-factly), “If I had wanted you to know what I was thinking, I would have been talking.”

Obviously, not the best of communication practices going on in that particular exchange. How often do we find ourselves in similar circumstances with spouses, friends or family members, where we start the mouth before engaging the brain? What happens next? A foot in the mouth or squarely to the backside or, worse yet, someone is about to have their dignity impugned.

All it would take to prevent these types of scenarios is a bit of daily maintenance on the synapses and neurons. If not daily, at least every once in a while but more often than a dental check up or an oil change. Do it in place of the daily fare and glare one gets from the onslaught of video games, television, ipods and yes, even the medium from which you are probably reading this—dare we say it—the internet. Not that any of those things are all bad… lots of folks find great fun and productive uses for and from them. Moderation, however, is the key.

That maintenance and/or check up should include more prayer and scripture time. The more we can gain from those lines, the less we have to worry about the other. The more we have time to read and pray about The Word, the more our lives become like what we read and pray about. More like Jesus—and more pleasing in His sight. db

Psalms 139:23-24

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
try me and know my anxieties.

See if there is any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.


Offer It Up March 25th

John 5:1-16
There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes.
In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him,
"Do you want to be well?"
The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me."
Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your mat, and walk."
Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.

“Do you want to be well?”

When the man by the pool was asked by Jesus if he wanted to be made well, he didn’t have to think very long about it. After 38 years of infirmity and no closer to being healthy, the choice would seem pretty clear.

If he had not replied how he had no one to put him in the pool or how he could not get there before someone else, you could have almost heard him reply, “Well… yeah.”

38 years—that is quite a stretch to be ill. I wouldn’t want to be like that for 38 minutes. (And those of you that know me would agree.) Yet when we find that we are physically sick, emotionally in pain, or spiritually in need of healing, what do we do? Do we wallow in the misery of it all? Do we look for sympathy and some TLC? Or do we look for the cure, the remedy, the panacea that will take care of all of what ails us?

When Jesus asked the man if he wanted to be well, He knew the answer before He asked. It was time for the man to be made well. To pick up his mat and walk. Not to sit by the pool anymore and wish to be healthy but to actually be healthy. To get on with his life, even if it took thirty-eight years of being so close to the pool of Bethesda and its healing waters. It was not a matter of his time but of Jesus’ time. He knew when he needed to be ‘made well’ just like He knows when and what it is that we need for our cure, our remedy, our panacea… db

Matthew 7:7-8

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.


Offer It Up March 24th

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.

“How is that a mirror to your life?”

Maybe you’ve heard that worldly popular, television pop-psychologist use that line on his talk show. It’s usually used in reference to some individual who is complaining about the bad break he or she had or whimpering about the way people seem to walk over them like ‘doormats’, another of the good doctor’s many folksy euphemisms.

Things happening to them that make them the so-called victim. Either way they see it, the people he puts on his show are looking at their lives as they have never before done or probably have seen. Most often, they don’t like what they see and with a couple more folksy prescriptions from the doctor, off the show they go toward a so-called blissful existence.

Let’s change just one word in that question and see what difference it makes:

“How is that a mirror of your life?”

With a change of just a single word, it can bring a different meaning as well as response to the question. A mirror of your life can be seen as what you do, what you are made of, not what happens to you or what you don’t have. Things don’t happen to people like this; they are making things happen. They are people of character and people of faith. Holding a mirror up to the way they are living, people like this are seen as models; as mentors; as the brothers and sisters and friends and neighbors that God intended for us to be, loving each other as He loves us and as we are to love Him.

Chances are real good you probably know some people like that. I’ve been blessed with some very faith-filled and faithful people in my life, with my wife at the top of the list. Hopefully, we can all be on our way to a life like that if we are not yet there. That is the absolute beauty of God’s grace and the splendor of His mercy; He sees us on the road and knows that we are on our way home… and His arms are open. db

Romans 5:18-19

In conclusion, just as through one transgression condemnation came upon all, so through one righteous act acquittal and life came to all.

For just as through the disobedience of one person the many were made sinners, so through the obedience of one the many will be made righteous.


Offer It Up March 23rd

Simple acts

While standing in the coffee shop line and observing the others in line, it was obvious most seemed to be lost in a preoccupied world. I was maybe the 4th or 5th in line and was also in my quiet reflective mode. But I watched as the lady in front of me caught the eye of a man in front of her. He was dressed as maybe a laborer. He was neat but his clothes had been well worn and had received many washings along with several carefully stitched repairs. His hands were strong but displayed the results of many minor cuts and scrapes. He seemed a little bit ill at ease standing there. The lady had an outgoing personality and I guess had the ability to engage anyone she encountered.

She had first ask me what my favorite coffee was and I told her I was there for hot chocolate, not coffee. She smiled and then asked the man in front of her what his favorite coffee was. At first I thought he may not answer but after a long pause he told her. "The man I am working for today said he had some business to take care of in the office across the street. So he told me to go get myself a coffee and he would pick me up when he finished". The lady smiled and said she enjoyed some special roasted blend and suggested he try it.

About that time the older man in front of the laborer placed his order and was digging in his pocket for the money. He ended up taking out all the items, of which there were many, and placed them on the counter but he produced only 53 cents for the $2.87 order. He was embarrassed and started telling the clerk he was sorry but he didn’t have the money and not to fill his order. But the laborer said not a word but put down 3 one-dollar bills and nodded to the clerk that he would pay. The older gentleman looked at him and just said a simple thank-you and walked off.

The lady then touched the laborer on the shoulder and said, "That was so very kind of you". The laborer ducked his chin and smiled and turned to walk away. The lady said "but you haven’t got your coffee yet". The laborer looked even more uncomfortable and very softly he told her, "The man I work for only gave me 4 dollars."

The lady reached out and touched his hand and said "go sit down over there and I will bring you a coffee." He said "Oh no, I couldn’t do that." But she insisted and so he went to sit. As she ordered 2 of her specials coffees, she told the clerk to please make a $50 gift card also.

She took her 2 coffees and the gift card, turned to give me a small wink, and walked toward the laborer as he sat at the table in the corner.

And some people say they have never encountered God.

Words of thom


Offer It Up March 22nd

1 Peter 1:6-9

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

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

It is true that the condition of the economy has impacted us all, some more than others as unemployment numbers are high, appropriate jobs are scarce and the short-term outlook is not as bright as it once was even a few months ago.

To cast about with the doubt and gloom is not something we do from these pages; nor do we turn a blind eye to the problems of the world and ignore the proverbial ‘elephant in the kitchen.’ We do, however, appreciate the wisdom and power of God and know that all things happen for His reasons. It is our choice through His gift of free will how we respond and walk the path we live. We can sit about and wallow in the muck and mire or we can rise above it and keep our focus on what is truly important—eternal salvation through our Savior.

We can’t do that with our noses pointed to the dirt… with that, you’d get a constant eyeful of an awfully brown world. What we can do is appreciate the beauty of the power in the struggle and know that our God is with us, with just enough grace for just enough of the trials for just enough of the time we are experiencing them. Not too little where we should lose hope. Not too much where we slip up and start to think it is all a piece of cake. But just enough grace for just enough of the struggle. And when you get to the other side of each of them, how wonderful is it to look back and see just how abundant that grace was to get you through. That is how great God is. How great is it to be in His world. db

Ephesians 2:4-10

Brothers and sisters:
God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions,
brought us to life with Christ — by grace you have been saved —, raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast. For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.


Offer It Up March 21st

Psalms 51:3-6

Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness; in your abundant compassion blot out my offense.

Wash away all my guilt; from my sin cleanse me.

For I know my offense; my sin is always before me.

Against you alone have I sinned; I have done such evil in your sight That you are just in your sentence, blameless when you condemn.

Timing, so it is said, is everything. Here it is spring and here it is also the Lenten season.

Coincidence?

Me thinks not.

After all, it happens this way every year. For real—check it out if you have your doubts. Ash Wednesday, Lent, Spring and Easter—all of them find themselves together around this stage of the calendar every single year. Am I overstating the obvious? Of course, yet sometimes that needs to be done. There are those of us that cannot, or will not, see the forest for the trees sometimes.

Think about the beauty of this for a moment: the renewal of your heart and soul coupled with the renewal of the earth around you. The spirituality of the season gives us an opportunity to be cleansed of what has been our guilt and sin and fill us with God’s compassion and mercy. We then are taken in by God’s wondrous works while the earth’s natural existence washes away the darkness of winter and fills our senses with His glorious wonders and beauty. All of this brings us closer to Him. What does He want in return?

Nothing, really. He would still love us unconditionally. He gives us so much more than we could ever earn or we deserve anyway. His mercy knows no bounds. (Thankfully!) Yet who are we to be so arrogant then to take all what He has given and give nothing back? There is our challenge. To be authentic. To have substance. To have faith. db


Offer It Up March 20th

Hebrews 10:32-34

Remember the days past when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a great contest of suffering. At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and affliction; at other times you associated yourselves with those so treated. You even joined in the sufferings of those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, knowing that you had a better and lasting possession.

How long ago was it that you were ‘enlightened’? Or endured a great suffering? Ever been publicly exposed to humiliation? How about putting yourself in the place of those in prison?

For some, it may seem like yesterday and for others, we may be living it now. Either way, with the enlightenment or the suffering, we should be fully aware of what lies ahead—“a better and lasting possession.” We get caught up in the thinking trap of workings of God instead of the trusting in God alone. Cardinal Francis Xavier Van Thuan wrote in his Testimony of Hope:

“You must distinguish between God and the works of God. Everything you have done and desire to continue doing—pastoral visits, formation of seminarians, of men and women religious, of the laity, of the youth… evangelization… all are excellent works. These are God’s works but they are not God! God can do things infinitely better than you can… You have chosen God alone, not His works.”

Van Thuan tells us that it is the foundation of Christian life, choosing God for God, not His great works. For sure, the works and wonders of God are immense and majestic. We are humbled by their sheer singular, yet simple spectacle. How can we not be as they are around us everywhere we go? And as evident as they are, we still have our faith to know that through Him, all of this was possible. And the more faith we have, the more we can claim the plan He has for us. We don’t need to know it; we just need to know that He knows it. That’s choosing God. db

Isaiah 55:9

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.


Offer It Up March 19th

The test of our love for God is the love we have for one another. Author unknown

Esther C:14

But I acted as I did so as not to place the honor of man above that of God. I will not bow down to anyone but you, my Lord. It is not out of pride that I am acting thus.

Remember your resolutions from New Years? And now it’s Lent and you have some other resolutions you are working with? First things first: how are the former resolutions working out for you? If you find yourself wavering a bit from where you started, let this serve as a nudge then to move you on to where you need to be. If you are handling them well, keep up the good work and Godspeed to you.

So here we are in the Lenten season and some of us have set our minds and hearts to be more resolved at other things, if not for the year, at least for the 40 days of the Lent. What lessons are we learning as we sit at the midpoint of our dedication to almsgiving, penance and sacrifice? Lent-the time of year when Catholics give up chocolate. There is more to it than that, even if that is all a person does. It is not the giving up of the chocolate or the sweets, it is what the act means of giving it up. We may find that it is it easier to forego the dessert or the chocolate now. If so, do we recall why we actually gave it up each time we pass it by?

Jeremiah 33:3

Call to me, and I will answer you; I will tell to you things great beyond reach of your knowledge.

It is our resolve, right? Our resolve to love our God and thank Him for sending His Son to save us from what we cannot do on our own. Our resolve to love others as Our Father loves us. Our resolve to live and love in the way of the Holy Spirit. Our resolve’ to do’, really, or even ‘to be’ all these things. Not so much as ‘to don’t’ or ‘to not be’, something. Hope that makes some sense. If not, suffice to say: put all your trust in God. He will make it clear to you along the path He has set for you. If you think about it, it’s really His path—we’re just sharing the walk along it with Him. db

Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not.


Offer It Up March 18th

Lord, we are in need of your grace.

Take the Long View

Romans 8:29

We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

People come and go in our lives. More than we probably realize or acknowledge. We start a new job, meet some make some new acquaintances. Go to a party, meet some new folks. Visit a church while out of town, engage in a few chats with some believers. All the while, keeping some of them in our memory and many of them are let go.

What about those we keep as friends, building a stronger relationship with them and finding out that the relationship is not all that it seemed to be at the beginning? Maybe the friendship started out like a ‘ball of fire’ and grew to volcanic proportions and now it seems that if there is any burning at all, it is the chafing of one’s backside as the wonderment of it all fell into merely wondering what happened. Bummer for all parties involved.

For sure, things change and people change. Yet the choices still are ours to do with our time what we choose to do with our time. And still there are those that will put the onus on someone else and say ‘they’ keep me from doing something. ‘It’s their fault I can’t go do this’ or ‘I can’t volunteer for that’. It’s simply not true.

People will do what they want to do with the time they have to do it. They already have all the time there is. There are no more extra hours. With our free will from God, we see ourselves living in the present view where God is with us. Our daily lives can have an impact on the larger picture, long after the day has past and maybe, so have we. Maybe you’ve heard it before that it—life—isn’t so much a sprint as it is a marathon. Give it all you have then every day. db

Proverbs 16:1-3

Man may make plans in his heart, but what the tongue utters is from the LORD.

All the ways of a man may be pure in his own eyes, but it is the LORD who proves the spirit.

Entrust your works to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.


Offer It Up March 17th

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Count your joys instead of your woes;

count your friends instead of your foes.

Irish saying

Philippians 4:8-9

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.

50% of marriages are falling apart…                      

                                50% are staying together

Stocks are down…                                                          

                                                                Some are climbing and stabilizing

Unemployment is higher than in 40 years…       

                May be time to look at a career change or go back to school

Gas prices are rising again…                                      

                                                Get healthier-drive less and walk more or carpool with friends

Perspective. It’s all yours, really.

We get enough of the negativity as it is and, admittedly, it is difficult to overcome such a groundswell when it seems that way. And if you want it that way, that is your prerogative to have your perspective as you choose. After all, we do have the gift of free will.

What if we used it to find as much as we can that was right with the world instead of playing ‘Ain’t it awful, Joe?’ Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."

Taking an approach like this, even for a little bit, can lead to a bigger change in your perspective. It doesn’t take much effort to look for the evidence that there is goodness in the world. It starts with who we are.

We are all made in the “image and likeness of God” (Genesis 1) which would make sense then that we are made innately good; start with that thought. Your family is good; your friends, your neighbors, people with different opinions than yours, even the guy who sped past you and cut you off—they were all made in His likeness. Just like you and I were. So what is keeping us from finding the good in others and in other things around us? What if it is as easy as changing your perspective? What would your excuse then be? db

“His mercy and grace He gave us at the cross…”


Offer It Up March 16th

Galatians 5:19-26

Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Now those who belong to Christ (Jesus) have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit. Let us not be conceited, provoking one another, envious of one another.

If you were to never venture out from where you live, that would be all you know and that would become your reality. Hence, if you were to live in your house and never go outside of that house that obviously would be your reality. To expand that, if we were to live in a city or an area and never get outside of that to visit, that would be all we know… our world as we know our world to be—our reality.

To live in such a world is not wrong. It is limited. And when that world is held in contrast to other ‘worldly’ views, differences of opinion occur. Like a frog in an empty well, all the frog sees is the darkness around and the light at the top. Should the frog be on the outside of the well, it would see a different perspective of the life it had been living, again, not wrong-or right-just different. Getting outside the well gives the frog a new perspective and new reality that it would not have known otherwise.

As it says in Galatians, “if we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.” Living in the Spirit, following and belonging to Christ, is a way we can change our perspective. Look for the good in what others have done and are doing. Look for the good in the lives of people you care for. Look for the good you can do now. Let us all continue to offer up what we can for the good of others; invoke the ‘Thumper Rule’ every chance you get: if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. If Thumper had been reading Romans, my guess would be he would have used this verse:

If possible, on your part, live at peace with all. Romans 12:18

Let’s get on to living in a world outside the well. db

Galatians 6:2-10

Bear one another's burdens, and so you will fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he is deluding himself. Each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason to boast with regard to himself alone, and not with regard to someone else; for each will bear his own load.

One who is being instructed in the word should share all good things with his instructor. Make no mistake: God is not mocked, for a person will reap only what he sows, because the one who sows for his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows for the spirit will reap eternal life from the spirit.

Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up. So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all, but especially to those who belong to the family of the faith.


Offer It Up March 15th

John 2:13-23
Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money changers seated there.
He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said,

"Take these out of here, and stop making my Father's house a marketplace."
His disciples recalled the words of Scripture,
Zeal for your house will consume me. At this the Jews answered and said to him, "What sign can you show us for doing this?"
Jesus answered and said to them,
"Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up."
The Jews said, "This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?"
But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
Therefore, when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they came to believe the Scripture and the word Jesus had spoken.

For those of us that drink coffee, how often does it happen that you pour a cup of coffee from one of those drip-type coffee pots, (those glass pots that have the half inch lip and a little curl on the end for no obvious reason other than to increase the probability of spillage while pouring,) and as you start to pour, the coffee starts running backward down the coffee pot onto the counter and/or the floor—pretty much everywhere but the place you intended it to go? Is this something that happens to you or is it just specific to me, like an ID 10 T operator error?

I don’t really lose a lot of sleep over it but I do lose a bit of time, cleaning up after myself as I try to correct the pour of the coffee, adjusting the angle of the pot, tilting it up and down—doing pretty much everything I can do to get coffee into the cup, my original goal. So I do get some coffee in the cup and I do get some coffee on the floor that I have to clean up. I wonder what would have happened if I would have stopped and started again, instead of trying to fix something that was not going to be ‘fixed’ the way it was going?

It is not too much of a stretch to see how our lives can get like that from time to time. We put together an idea or two to set a goal or make a plan—to get a cup of coffee. We have the cup although it may not be the cleanest cup, we are comfortable with it and know it will hold coffee for us. So we put our plan into action, taking the steps necessary in our lives toward our goal—going to the coffee pot to get some coffee and start to pour. As we get into the plan, we see that it isn’t working as well as we would like and things are getting a bit messy but we think we can handle it so we keep going—we keep pouring the coffee even though it is spilling back down the pot and not much is going into the cup.

At some point, you get enough. You get enough of either or both of what you want or don’t want; of what you planned for or didn’t plan for. Either you did get enough coffee in your cup and you went on or you didn’t get enough coffee and you made a mess of the place from spilling what was in the coffee pot. So, either way, you stop. Now what?

When our lives are like that, when the mess is getting messier and the plan is not coming together as we had hoped, we often look at what the circumstances are that making the situation so dire. We try to change the environment instead of changing from within. Jesus chased the money-changers out of the temple, changing the temple from within. He did it with a whip. That much we know He did. And knowing that, why not let Him into your plans and let Him change yours—with a whip if He has to—to help drive out the mess that could be pouring out of your coffee pot and replace it with His Truth and Direction?

His Will and His Way? db


Offer It Up March 14th

How do we live as Catholic Christians in this present age? An age of relativism where so much caution seems to be thrown to the wind. What does it mean to follow Jesus Christ the bridegroom of this church we belong to? There are some who no longer want to be involved in Church, but still insist on being called Catholic. Why Catholic? Is it a sense of belonging? Do they consider themselves in terms of catholic as universal body of Christ because of a personal relationship? For all of us who have received the gift of faith, there is the challenge to nurture that gift. The roots of faith for most of us run deep through the centuries.

Our forefathers, our ancestors passed on the gift and we received it with the responsibility to nurture it. The wonders of God's creation continue to be revealed and perhaps too often we get caught up in the wondrous gifts from the creator and forget about the creator.

As we respond to the call to live in Christ, to love, to pass on the faith we need to keep Jesus in focus at the center of all we do and say. In the very moment to moment living and breathing of our bodies we are to learn to be what God intends us to be. What a challenge this is for any of us. Jesus remains the model for our accompanying life. Our concern it seems to me is to really learn to love as he loves, and to love every person. How to accomplish that feat? How not to control things and still live meaningful lives? How to manage the gifts we are given and find the abundant life of God's joy without being overwhelmed with STUFF? God's will, my will. How to find coincidence?

By really making my every intent an effort to live simply and lovingly, being in communication always with God, seeking to live as fully as possible in His will... is that not doing His will?

I cannot for sure know, O Lord, you will but my intent and effort always to know and live with a deep desire to do your will, I believe will be honored by you. I am not alone, in all my actions, my words, my whole life affects others and sometimes effects change. Grant always the will, the grace to live consciously seeking to love as you love. Amen.

Deacon


Offer It Up March 13th

It is Friday during Lent so what do we do then?

Abstain from meat and fast, more than usual during the season. But what on earth for? Here is what is written in Galatians that might give some insight:

Galatians 5:16-17

I say, then: live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh.For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want.

What are we really hungry for then if it is the meat we are giving up? What are we truly recognizing as a sacrifice when we fast and do penance and abstain? What more can we do or be during this season and beyond to keep in perspective the ‘desires of the Spirit’ against those ‘desires of the flesh?’

Our hunger and passion should be to live according to the will God has planned for us. During Lent, we can renew or enhance our drive toward that relationship that leads us to do so. Look at the good we can do by the examples we set by living such a life. Instead of looking for or complaining about what we cannot do or what we do not have, let’s show what we can do and use the gifts we do have. To do so would keep us on that path God has chosen for us and help us focus on the desires more of the Spirit than those we find in the flesh.

Don’t eat that strip of bacon even if ‘it’s only a strip of bacon…’

Don’t gorge yourself at the all-you-can-load-on-your-tray-sideboards-are-a-dolloar-extra-buffet…

Plan to put more into stewardship of your time, talent and treasure; don’t see what you can do with what you have left.

Don’t forget that Reconciliation is a good thing to do so that you can get going on any penance you can do.

Be more prayerful where ever you are and whenever you have the time.

Grateful indeed we are Lord, for all the blessings You have shared with us. Let our hunger be for Your glory and praise as we give over to You our lives so that Your will be done here on earth as it is in Heaven. db


Offer It Up March 12th

Luke 16:19-26

Jesus said to the Pharisees: ‘There was a rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen and feast magnificently every day. And at his gate there used to lie a poor man called Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to fill himself with what fell from the rich man's table. Even dogs came and licked his sores.

Now it happened that the poor man died and was carried away by the angels into Abraham's embrace. The rich man also died and was buried. ‘In his torment in Hades he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off with Lazarus in his embrace. So he cried out, “Father Abraham, pity me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in agony in these flames.”

Abraham said, “My son, remember that during your life you had your fill of good things, just as Lazarus his fill of bad. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony. But that is not all: between us and you a great gulf has been fixed, to prevent those who want to cross from our side to yours or from your side to ours.”

Who has happened by your office for a visit with you lately and you were "a bit too busy" to hear what they wanted to share with you?

When was it that you ‘had’ to get something else done when someone called you just to see what was going on?

How often have you passed up the opportunity to listen to your friend or family member, maybe even one you have not seen or spoken to recently?

Who has been the Lazarus lying at the door on your front steps?

Admittedly, today’s world moves at a frenetic pace. We do get caught up in the tornadic activity we often call our work or our life and rarely slow down to recognize just how often we miss the chance to do something for someone else. We have our commitments, we have our duties, we have our obligations. We also have a responsibility—even though it is an option— to do God’s will, even if our plans have to be altered to do so. We shouldn't be so reluctant to move where He wants to move us.

Every day is a challenge to be sure. We are preoccupied and absorbed, self-absorbed even. And we sometimes make it even more of a challenge by tuning out what God has planned for us to share with others. It makes sense then to leave in His hands what He knows best—our lives and who and what we need in them. We may not know today or tomorrow the good we do for someone or the good that someone will do for us. That is not the point. Compassion is.

We can choose to do good now or we can lose for eternity. We can choose to stop what it is that we are doing and have that chat with the friend that stops by to see you at the office, even though it will keep you from doing something important, like the reading the paper. We can choose to take that call that comes up instead of ignoring because you just ‘had’ to give the cat a bath at that time. We can choose to see who is lying on our front steps and see what we can do to help them. db


Offer It Up March 11th

Happy Birthday Shelley A.!

Happy Birthday, Shelley!

With her prayers and thoughts, she helped us get the ball rolling on some ideas for this little website. With her encouragement that was shared by others, it became a reality. We are truly grateful God led her into our lives to share with us her passion for prayer and her fervor for her faith. She has been there for others, (myself included) and never thought twice about offering her help to anyone in need. Going through her own spell of hardship, she continues to hold onto what has brought her this far, all without so much a grimace or knitted brow.

Today she celebrates the ?? anniversary of her birth. As we offer God our praise and thanks for all He has blessed us with in our lives—a deepening of faith, a strengthening of family, a wellness of friendship and a treasure of needs—we put our trust in Him so that we may live the life He wills of us and thanks for the life Has given us in Shelley.

Thank you, Shelley, for all you do and have done. May God continue to bless you and keep you His. As you move forward with your prayer life, I offer this thought: think of Jesus naming you in a prayer to God, saying your name as He prays for His friends and all He prays for… as we all open ourselves up to a more prayerful way of life, we open ourselves to Jesus praying for us.

Let Him do it.

God's Will. God's Way. God's Way. God Will. db

1 Peter 3:13-17

Now who is going to harm you if you are enthusiastic for what is good?

But even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you. Do not be afraid or terrified with fear of them, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame.

For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil.


Offer It Up March 10th

I am not capable of doing big things, but I want to do everything, even the smallest things, for the greater glory of God. - Saint Dominic Savio (1842-1857)

Whatever we do, let’s do it for His glory.

As simple as that sounds, how often do we put it in practice? From work time to play time, everything we have and everything we do is from God so why is that we try to do things on our own so much and so often? Sure, we may talk a good game and put up a front that all is well and that we have the world by the tail but when we get to the point, we find that the point is rather dull and sometimes even ’ point-less.’

Walk the talk.

Practice what you preach.

Say it, do it, be it.

Choose one or all of the above as a mantra or any one of your own to move from intentions to actions. It is a choice that we are blessed with daily—to be living examples of what we believe and what our faith means to us. Enliven your own spirit to have the Holy Spirit guide you this Lenten season and at all times to do all the good you can at all the time you can where ever you can with all the love you can. db

John 15:10-11

If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in his love.

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.


Offer It Up March 9th

Luke 6:35-39

But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.

Be merciful, just as (also) your Father is merciful.

"Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.

Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you."

And he told them a parable, "Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit?

Lent is in its second week, and how are things going so far with our sacrifices, almsgiving, fasting and penance and mercy? Let’s not forget that we can also be doing things for the good we normally don’t find ourselves doing, either. Not so sure on your front but over here, it has not been as smooth as I had anticipated. For sure, there has been the standard offering it up of ‘no sweets’ for the duration (including Sundays) and the understanding of what that means. And there has also been the fasting and almsgiving.

What I am finding the hardest is the part about penance and mercy. The ‘letting it go’ and forgiveness of others and myself. It’s as if the handle is handcuffed to my wrist that I carry this satchel of guilt and indignity that sin and blame bring. My dignity has been impugned and somebody has to pay… and that somebody usually ends up being me with the sorrow that comes with the carrying the stuff around while the other person goes about content with the control they have over me.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, past or present situations included, here is what someone way wiser than myself suggested: make yourself like air. Make it that when the punches are thrown at you by the person or people that do such things, go through you. If we were to make ourselves like rocks, they would hurt themselves when they hit us and that could and would lead to more attacks. Being air, they go right through.

Let mercy lead you. Unlock the handcuffed satchel of guilt and pain and leave it at the Cross. Use this time in Lent so that your mercy and penance are more extraordinary than at any time. Who knows? You might just end up being lighter than air. db


Offer It Up March 8th

St. Paul followed Jesus' model of truth.

Philippians 3:17      

Join with others in being imitators of me, brothers, and observe those who thus conduct themselves according to the model you have in us.

What are you doing today? It is Sunday and the day is about half over as this is written. Maybe you have made the choice to attend the church of your choice to show your appreciation to God for being where you are, as an ‘outward, visible, public and regular worship’ sign.

Maybe you’ve already fulfilled your ‘obligation’ to attend church.

Maybe you have to work and won’t be able to attend the service of your choice.

Or maybe you forgot to set your clocks forward and missed your normal time to go and then just blew it off.

It isn’t too late to add something to or make something of the day, regardless of how it has started. What if you were to, what if we all were to, go out of our way today to do something for someone who doesn’t expect it? What if we all were to call that brother-in-law and try to bridge the gap that has kept you apart for who knows how long? What if we were to go to a nursing home and take flowers to those that may have no one to take them flowers? What if we were to turn off the television long enough-or all day-and spend the time doing something outside with family and friends or even something healthy for yourself-go to the park, ride a bike, take a walk?

It all sounds so simple yet so far out of reach when it comes down to us having to do it ourselves. It’s easy to suggest someone else do it, but when we challenge ourselves to step out of routine or break away from habits, we list a litany of reasons why not. I was all set to give ‘what for’ to a friend of mine as I was for sure this person needed to hear what I had to say… until my wife very intelligently and scripturally asked; “Whom would you be doing it for, really-your friend or yourself?” Well, so much for that conversation with that friend.

She was right. I was wrong. If we want to make a difference, we have to start from within, realizing at first, the difference we must make for ourselves. That is why an outward, visible sign is so helpful in making that realization. You’ve read it and heard it before here and other places; there is help and strength in numbers. Even safety. God is there, as He is everywhere, from attending mass to taking flowers to shut-ins, He is there to help us move through the changes. db

Matthew 6:12

Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.

When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.


Offer It Up March 7th

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 and sisters only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Love your enemies; pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father. . . . (Matthew 5:44-45)


God is pure and perfect love; therefore He is an ever-creative and totally self-giving Being who abides in the absolute truth inherent in His love.


Love and truth can't be separated, because loving requires God, its very source, to do what is best for the receivers of His love. The original receivers, Adam and Eve, should have obeyed their Creator, certain that He had already provided perfectly for them and that the one thing denied them He withheld for their good.


Sin enters when man uses his free will to contradict the perfection of the love that created him to share in His blessed life. The "Evil One" awakens pride by tempting us to exercise our will to enhance our pleasure, self-importance and independence.


If we examine the source of man's conflicts, we see that they all originate from our wish to enthrone "self" over God and our fellow humans. This renders us incapable of telling good from evil and makes us expert in rationalizing perverse behavior to appear that it was done to improve over the "good."

Matthew's chapter 5 should be considered in its entirety for it defines righteousness as God in Christ has revealed it to us. The Beatitudes describe moral perfection; then Jesus continues by naming a series of destructive behaviors such as violence, revenge, faithlessness and lawlessness. In today's gospel, He overturns the hostility often expressed toward sinners in the Old Testament and replaces it with His joyful message of repentance, forgiveness, salvation, peace and eternal life.

O Heavenly Father of light,
Open our hearts to the voice of Your Word to banish the darkness from our hearts and replace it with the fullness of Your life and limitless truth.
Amen.


Marie Bocko, OCDS

From The Journey, at Daily Meditations, www.daily-meditations.org

(Someday, I hope to write as well as Marie does. I think you would agree that she has great insight into the Scripture. db)


Offer It Up March 6th

In yesterday’s Gospel, Matthew 7:7-12, it reminds to seek and find, to ask and receive…

What to ask for? Perhaps that is the rub.

Life—the gift of the Creator with all its wonder, what more must there be?

Yet as we live in this world of time we often become so immersed in the self we can only want and want more often to the point we don't acknowledge the Giver of all good gifts, and fail to show "gratitude" appropriately. In my own reflection and conversation with the Lord, I want to ask most sincerely for those gifts, the grace to truly live in his will, to see in all the events of living His image.

Created in the image of God, male and female, I want to truly see that image in all relationships, all the opportunities of each day to love as much as possible as God loves, to forgive as he forgives.

To be like the true shepherd who is so concerned for the lost sheep he goes away from the herd, the 99, and endures all that he must to rescue the one who is lost. That’s how much I am loved in my misadventures, and Lord I long to love with that kind of love...

So I ask for what you wish to endow upon me and the clear vision to see what you open before me.

Our Father.......

Deacon


Offer It Up March 5th

1 Timothy 6-10

For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God 5 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

How often is it that we get in the way of ourselves and start chastising the way we do things? We sometimes make a small mistake and immediately we find ourselves giving us ‘self-lectures’ and ‘talking-to’s’ because of the error we made. All that accomplishes is prolonging the issue and can only make the matter worse. What if we just acknowledged that we made the mistake, took whatever steps necessary to make it right, and then moved on?

Because we fear that the one mistake might lead to another?

Because we’ve made a similar mistake before?

Because maybe somebody saw make the mistake?

How about giving yourself a break? For sure, some errors are not so readily accommodated. And for those, it may take more time… and more prayer. Mistakes can be humbling and humility can lead to a closer walk with our Savior. A closer walk with Christ leads to more trust and confidence that He will do what needs to be done in your life.

He knows what we need. He is waiting for us to ask. db

Matthew 7:7-12
Jesus said to his disciples:
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asked for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asked for a fish?
If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.

"Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets."


Offer It Up March 4th

From the reading of Matthew’s Gospel, 6:7-15, it reminds us again of the prayer that Jesus taught.

OUR FATHER...

Pray it slowly and ponder it daily and often. Really take time to sit with the Lord and let Him once again tell you what and how to pray.

Let the prayer He gives you take root. Not only speak it but let the words come from His lips into your mind and heart and reveal what tremendous love is being conveyed in this prayer. Begin now and pause and reflect.

Our Father...

            Who art in heaven

Hallowed be your name...  Your kingdom come...

Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven...

Give us this day our daily bread...          

Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who trespass against us...

And lead us not into temptation...           

But deliver us from evil.

Amen (So be it)

May you sense the loving embrace of your Father and Lord.

                                                           

                                                                                Deacon


Offer It Up March 3rd

Happy Birth Day!

Sarah Jane Bindel

Matthew 6:7-15
"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.

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

A deacon friend of mine (and possibly yours too if you frequent these pages and the same haunts and places we go), often encourages the people and couples and groups he encounters to do more praying. That’s it, quite simply put.

If they are a couple looking at the possibility of marriage, he tells them prayer is always the best place to start. If they have been doing little, if any, he then suggests that they start with something that will get them on the right track to a daily routine that will include some, if not more, prayer. Deacon tells them to be thankful for what they have and to put that thankfulness in prayer.

“Good morning, Lord. Hey, I’m awake and have another day. Thank you.”

“As I go about my life today, let me be aware of and thankful for all the things you have given me and keep you with me, Lord. Amen.”

For sure, they are short with nothing fancy to go along with them, yet God still hears them. As Deacon suggests, we should all be so cognizant of our own connections with our own prayer life. The Lord’s Prayer can help us keep that closeness. When He taught us how to pray, He began by praising His Father in Heaven. Let us do the same with our offerings of our prayers; He is worthy of all we can give Him. db


Offer It Up March 2nd

Our prayer can be like a conversation we have with a friend in that it involves listening and speaking. And in that conversation with a friend, most of it should involve more of the former than the latter.

When we listen to our friends, what do we listen for? We listen for what is really the gist of their conversation, the point of why they called, the reason behind their sharing… we truly want to be involved with what it is they have to say. (Well, we should anyway.) We would want them to do the same for us. Should the roles be reversed or when it is our turn to speak, we would want them to do the same.

Lately, I have been ‘cutting corners’ just to get to the usual prayer sites that I visit on a daily basis for my prayer time. Picking up a Lenten calendar recently, I saw a reminder that said ‘raise the level of your prayer and think about the meaning.’ Bummer. No heavenly merit points for me on that.

A lot of times, if not all of it, it is not about the quantity but about the quality. God wants our prayers. We need our prayers. Take more time to slow down to listen. Enjoy the quiet until you hear what God has to say. You may not hear His word or His voice but the message itself will be made clear for you in His time. db

Isaiah 41:10

"Do not be afraid--I am with you!
I am your God--let nothing terrify you!
I will make you strong and help you; I will protect you and save you."


Offer It Up March 1st

Happy Birthday Jeff!

What makes us think that we are above temptation?

Have you ever heard someone say, “Oh, that will never happen to me. I would never do something like that.”

How about, “Can you believe that someone would do such a thing? I can’t imagine me ever doing something like that… no, not me.”

The truth is, we are all on the verge of temptation. All it takes to succeed in resisting it is to do God’s will.

We know it is not God that tempts us; it is of course, satan and his cohorts. And we also know that it is but for the grace of God that we can be led not into temptation for we believe in God. For those times that temptation does arise and the words “Get the behind me, satan” signal the start of your battle, know that the Holy Spirit is ready to shield you as you put on the armor of Christ. As evidenced with what satan tried to do with Jesus in the desert, we will not be tested beyond what we cannot handle.

Don’t go into your battles alone. During this season, the devil will be doing whatever can be done to drive you away from your sacrifice and service. Stand your ground. Find your strength in numbers. And continue to pray for the guidance you need to have a heart that is open, loving and held with God’s comfort and rest. db

Galatians 5:22-26

In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Now those who belong to Christ (Jesus) have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit. Let us not be conceited, provoking one another, envious of one another.


A little side note here: 23 years ago today, Jeffrey Paul Bindel got an early start on life, weighing in at a hefty 4 lbs. With such a small start, you would have thought he would have stayed that way... not so much. He has grown so much- he is now 6' 7"-and even matured as well to go along with his height. We are proud to be his parents and his family and are blessed with him in our lives.

Yes, we do love him and always will, no matter what.