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

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Offer It Up November 30th


As the Advent season begins, we find ourselves preparing for so many things-the end of the year, winter time, Christmas shopping, school semesters coming to an end and the tests that go with them-that, with so many things to do, we sometimes end up "preparing to prepare", as crazy as that sounds. Maybe you've heard yourself say or someone else say they are 'fixing to do ' something... a Southern phrase meaning they are preparing to only move beyond the idle stage and into one of only considering their next step if they were to actually do what they were 'fixing' or going to do in the first place.

This Advent, get beyond 'fixing to' and truly for Christ's birth first and find out how your other 'priorities' will find time to get done. His birth, His life, His death and His love was and is for us and beyond anything we can comprehend on this earth. It is in Mark's Gospel 13:33-37 that He tells us:

"Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch. Watch, therefore; you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning. May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: 'Watch!'"

Let's not get caught up in the hustle and bustle and the gotta have thises and the gotta have thatses. Remember it was He who brought you into this world. It is well worth noting that it is He who will take you home, too.

Watch.


Offer It Up November 29th


You Don’t Get A Second Chance For A First Impression

How many of you have heard that expression before? How many of you will agree? Think about it. We walk in and out of lives without much thought of the impression we leave behind, especially our spiritual impression! People will sometimes wonder why another person’s responses are not what they expected or what they should have been. Have you ever wondered why? Maybe we should look at our first impression and the way we present ourselves. Would you follow the example you lead? Many of us can honestly say “No” yet expect others to do just that. Let’s take a look at some of the things that can make or break an image or first impression.

Many times out of nowhere someone will walk into the room and immediately catch my eye. Sometimes they may be an executive, a community leader or even someone new attending church. I also tend to notice the people around me and their reactions as they observe the person that has entered. It is amazing how conversations stop and emotions begin to emerge. Some people are envious, some are cheerful, some turn away and continue their conversation but you can tell their attention is still on the person that entered.

Many of us do not realize how important our first impression (our walk) is, not only to the people around us but to our own self. However, very few take action (including myself) to improve that walk and in turn improve the first impression they leave behind. It does not take much at all to make the changes needed to walk into and command the attention of a room anywhere you may go.

Don’t settle for mediocre or average and wonder why life is the same. Some say that what is on the inside is what matters which is true to a point. But who will know what is on the inside by the looks on the outside. Can you judge a book by it’s cover? Whether or not we can is not the point, often times we do.

Are you the best you that you can be? Go feed His sheep, go tendto his sheep...love each other.

God bless.                                       Big e


Offer It Up November 28th


The Law of The Garbage Truck

One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport.

We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy; and I mean, he was really friendly.

So I asked, 'Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!' This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, 'The Law of the Garbage Truck.'

He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you. Don't take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets.

The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day. Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so...... 'Love the people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don't.'

Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it.

Author Unknown                                             Submitted by Reno Vossler


Happy Thanksgiving!

Offer It Up November 27th


1 Corinthians 1:3-9

Brothers and sisters: 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.

So here it is Thanksgiving and for what are we Thankful:

  • For God and all the glory He has bestowed on our world today and everyday… God’s will. God’s way. God’s way. God will.

  • A family-near and far-that cares for each other and loves each other, faults, warts and all.

  • For the miracle of birth in our family and those of others around the world… what greater evidence to submit that God cares for us than the birth of a newborn child.

  • For friends that have and are and will continue to be a part of our lives through all that we and they go through, regardless of the trials, regardless of the successes, regardless of the separation by distance or communication.

  • For a service man or woman overseas, on a post or base, away from home where ever they may be as they protect us and the entire U.S. so that we may spend time with our families safely.

  • The opportunity to impact lives with freedom of religion and freedom of speech though I may not always agree with others and they may not always agree with me… (still, everyone is entitled to my opinion.)

  • A home that though not perfect still covers our heads and protects us.

  • For a healthy life most of the time and when it is not so healthy, I am thankful for the time to slow down and listen to God as I heal.

  • That our children are working and maturing, for the most part anyway, and finding time to share their lives with us and others.

  • That with every application and interview, I am closer to employment and doing what God wants me to be doing... (evidently He's been generous with some free time lately--but I'm not complaining!)

  • The chance to make a difference with this website-anywhere, any time-with folks dropping by afraidnot.org

With this, we give Thanks for all those that come by and browse our pages, giving support in a way to what we do. We pray that all of you and yours have a blessed and enjoyable Thanksgiving.

Send us what you are Thankful for and we will post it here-whether it is Thanksgiving Day or not, we all have so much to thank God for.

Finally, Thank You God, for making this life all possible.


Offer It Up November 26th


Getting in touch our life in Christ is a daily exercise that is nourished by reflecting on His word. During this final week of the year, Mother Church points us in the direction of final things. Looking at, and reading, Luke's gospel and from the book of Revelation, (Revelation 14:14-19; Luke 21:5-11), we get a reminder that one day all in time will pass away as we meet the Lord. Soberly, the scriptures jar us perhaps with the realization that there will be a judgment.
We are reminded to put on Christ, to keep growing in our ability to live with Him and to learn to apply his attitude of love to every aspect of our living.
To learn mercy, forgiveness, what true peace really means it is our daily training program so to speak... constantly learning to really depend on Him who is our life.
Today is a good day to focus on Peace as a fruit of the Spirit. Are you at peace?

Let the Lord Jesus dwell with you, see in one another the image in which we were created…

Trust in the Lord and be at peace... All will be well!                                                  

                                                                                                            Deacon Shrek


Offer It Up November 25th


Luke 21:1-4

Jesus, as we sit watching, You are telling me that the widow has given more than all these who have given substantially to the treasury. Do I understand correctly that You are not really talking about the amount of the gifts they have donated? Is it rather that You are speaking of the gift of self which comes from the heart? A heart filled with love as You have shown in being completely one with God our Father, and giving so completely with only a goal of giving us life. Giving me and all brothers and sisters a share in divine life? The widow has so little and in our age of percentages she has given so much.

I think I am beginning to grasp what You are calling me to realize, but I often fall into the same way of thinking selfishly that my needs and wants will not be fulfilled unless I amass goods and financial wherewithal. Is my 21st century world so different? I think not.

Jesus, I need You to fill my days with Your presence not only to understand and to know what is the Father's will for me, but also to be strengthened by Your grace and example to live fully for others never counting the cost, but willing to be spent entirely for the Glory of God and for the good of all. Be my breath Lord that in every moment of life I may be aware of Your presence and creative love always.

May Joy be the order of this day for all.                                                Deacon Shrek


Offer It Up November 24th


I read a lot of Scripture. I get to and I want to because I have the opportunity to do so. Aside from that, reading Scripture would do little for me if that is all I did.

What has helped, though, is being able to discuss what I have read with my wife, family and friends. These discussions not only give me a different perspective on what I have ‘consumed’ but also help to reinforce the relevance they hold in and to our lives. Our different experiences enable us to hear and see God living in our lives through different ears and eyes but with the same truthfulness.

            One of the readings that has stayed with me is Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, Chapter 1, verses 1-10. That entire passage is uplifting, but there are specific verses that I am able to continually fall back on during the day. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him.”

            We have indeed been given so many spiritual blessings. We could not possibly enumerate the thousands of gifts God has bestowed on us. We can, however, take the time to give Him thanks and recognize the grandeur, the grace and mercy we receive in those gifts. Of course, obstacles appear. That doesn’t mean He’s through with His mercy. On the contrary, knowing of the gifts that we have been given should only fill us with a greater hope and the courage—let’s call it faith—to overcome those trials.

Overcoming through faith, that is also when I become more grateful that my prayer life has developed to what it is now. It also helps to realize the need for a deeper spirituality that God will “gift” me with if only I prayerfully and persistently ask.

            Because God has chosen us to be His own through Christ, we have a responsibility to strive to “be holy and without blemish before Him” in all things that we do. That includes those times when everything is going great for us and those times when things are not so great. As my mom would say, “Praise the Lord” in all things.

            As we continue on our journeys, let us all pray that we realize the gift and the responsibility that “In him we were also chosen (Eph 1:11)…were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.” (Eph 1:13). God is so good to me, may His gifts to me be mine to give to others.                                                                      jim


Offer It Up November 23rd


Father John Robert Skeldon of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church presented a three evening mission using the teachings of Paul as the format because this is the "Pauline Year", the year of St. Paul. Father John Robert is one of those teachers I could listen to even sleep deprived and never feel sleepy. He is the definition of energy and I am always a bit saddened when he closes his presentation. He is truly blessed as a motivation to those of us wishing to better our own ability to "teach".

Anyway, I was moved by his description of the Conversion of Saint Paul. He explained how Saint Paul "turned around" not just his life but his entire self. He became the exact opposite of his former self. He turned from leading the persecution of Christians to leading the Christians themselves and even forming the basic structure of some of what we define ourselves as today.

So as we prepare to enter into the very beginning of the coming Advent season can we also find a way to "turn ourselves around" can we better define ourselves as Christians? Advent comes from the Latin word Adventus and that is the translation of the Greek word Parousia. Parousia is often defined as the "Second Coming". So if we combine this tiny bit of simple information we might see that Advent serves a wonderful "two part" opportunity to all of God’s children. First I might say it is an Adventure (Adventus). The adventure to me anyway, is the excitement of God's coming. Christmas is drawing near. But it is also the excitement of being prepared for the Parousia, for the "final coming of God". And that is the message we need to understand if we are meeting the call to do God's work. In other words are we truly involved in the ADVENTURE of preparation for our God's coming?

While taking the "Light of Christ" program several years ago a teacher tasks us to "now, go out and teach… and if all else fails speak". This wonderful explanation of God's message has become my "marching orders". But in my human nature form I guess I should chisel it in a large stone and wear it around my neck. Maybe that way I would not forget it so often.

God gives us All His Blessing, always… the Adventus / Parousia is being open to receiving them!   words of thom reed


Offer It Up November 22nd


Sunday is the feast of Christ the King. I wonder what that means for American Catholics who may not be in tune with the idea of a King. Perhaps we really need to reflect on what it really means for us to refer to Jesus as King of Kings, Lord of Lords... and what is it we celebrate on this last day of the Liturgical year....Christ the King.

Sunday's readings (Ez 34:11-12, 15-17, 1 Cor 15:20-26, 28, Mt 25:31-46) should give us a clue. We look forward to our own destiny, but more than that to the completion of the coming of the reign of God. The awesomeness of it all can escape us. Our minds just cannot grasp the wonder of it all.

We celebrate this Sunday the end that is not yet, and we continue to work toward the coming of that end time. We begin anew following this feast as we enter the New Year and the Advent season.

Anticipation not only of that mixed holyday commemorating the Incarnation but anticipation always of the coming of God's reign individually and collectively. Advent will be for most a busy time preparing for who knows what. Caught up with the mundane preoccupations of parties, gift-giving, and a myriad of other time consuming and often tiring activities, will we take time to rest in the Lord and really reflect and meditate on what He has done for us? Will we stop to meditate on His creative power working in and through us each day? Can we rejoice through each day as we come to know how to love as we are loved by Our Most Generous Lord?

"Simple!" says a dear friend. I wonder. I hope this feast of Christ the King will be special for all who somehow are enlightened this day, and I pray the Advent Season may be a rich time of grace for all who hear the knock on the door, and graciously welcome the Lord in to dine.

Deacon Shrek


Offer It Up November 21st


What does daily scripture reading do for you? Really, what do you get out of it?

At a mission last week, a priest talked about Lectio Divina (pronounced lex-ee-o dih-vee-nah), a holy or sacred reading of scripture. He offered that a person might take a particular book’s passage, read it aloud (or not), sit silently for some time to think and pray on it, then read it again. When you do read it again, he also suggested finding one verse, one bit of that reading that caught your attention that may not have caught it before. Read that passage again. And this time really pray about what brought you to that particular verse and what it brings to your heart and soul right now.

Praying and reading scripture together-quite the concept don’t you think? That is what is happening as you take this approach to reading the Bible. It could be that we need more time in prayer. It could also be that we need to knock a little dust of the cover of The Good Book too, and spend some time in the company of Our Lord God Almighty. Why not do some of both? A little prayer time, a little scripture time… You don’t have to start out with a full hour, but if you’re really busy, it may not be a bad idea to do so…

A lot of people use a five step venue, some say first used and instituted by St. Benedict. It begins with Reading, picking a book and verses that you find to your liking. Romans is good if you want to go with the New Testament. Proverbs is a good choice if you prefer to start in the Old Testament. Where ever it is that you begin, read over the passages slowly, a number of times, letting the words sink in with each breath you take.

Next is Rumination or chewing—yes, much like how a cow chews over and over… Grab hold of a phrase: Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.” Romans 12:12, and go back over it again and again. If you have a tendency to have intermittent symptoms of multi-tasking disorder, simply bring your thoughts back your phrase. Soon you will have in memory and it will take more than “hey look—something shiny!” to get your attention off of it.

As is often the case, Meditation brings questions. In this third step, you might hear or see yourself asking what this passage means to you now that it has not meant before. You might also hear yourself ask God why is this phrase so important to my life right now? What are you trying to say to me? From the passage above, as you rejoice in hope or endure in affliction, are you persevering in prayer?

With Contemplation, you want to ‘clear the mechanism’—the brainwaves, be still and silent. Try as you can to not have your own thoughts but to let God do the talking. This is a time to let Him come to you and sit in silence with Him.

Lastly, is Spoken Prayer. Some use traditional prayers. Some use their own from their heart. Some write them down; some say them aloud. All should be done in response to God’s call to us. Be ready to respond to what He has in store for you.

Like anything else, a devotional prayer life like this can develop as much as you want it to. The more you pray, the more you become more like Christ. The more that happens, the more you pray… and so it goes. Godspeed to you and your prayer life.

See you in church.


Offer It Up November 20th


We do have two ears and one mouth. All the better to listen than to be speaking.

Or so it should be anyway.

“Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:9)

How often is it that we go to God in prayer and we offer Him praise and glory—a good thing, a very good thing—and then begin our supplications and thanksgiving with hardly even a moment’s breath to listen for a reply? I for one am seemingly forever rushing to get some prayer time done so that I may move on to the tasks at hand for a given day. It’s as if I am saying, and maybe some of you are as well, “Listen, Lord, thy servant is speaking… you got a minute?”

Through prayer, our needs and fears and problems, and even our happiness and success, become His to tend to. It is all about His will and His way. As we grow into a more mature, more grace-filled prayer time, be it longer or just a deeper sense of spirituality or closeness through your prayer, we will find that not only do we find comfort in what we offer to God but we will find even greater peace in what God offers in return.

When you really get to the core, you will find that it’s all Providential and in His time. And where a thousand years are like a flash, what is time to God?

Be mindful and joyful in and of His presence.

Savor His Word.

Soak it in.

Be still.

There is an ‘Old West’ axiom that says “Never miss a good chance to shut up.” Take that to heart in as many ways as you want and especially in your prayer life. Let God speak to you. Take a breath every now and then to hear what He has to say.


Offer It Up November 19th


Have you ever known someone, could even be you, that has been faced with a choice or two that seemed pretty cut and dried but the ‘right way’ or ‘right thing’ was not what you wanted to do?

I don’t want to go that way, God.

Nope, that’s not what I want to do…

It is way too hard…

I can’t do it…

I won’t do it…

I am doing it my way…

I am going this way…

Do you know anyone like that today who spends far more time looking for and coming up with excuses not to do something for their own good than they do looking for reasons to accept the more reasonable path before them? There may be risks involved but for an individual to grow, it takes courage and an occasional leap of faith. And with those leaps will come failures… spectacular ones at that.

Having been there and done more than I care to illuminate here, (got the t-shirts and hats and all that to show for it), making those types of choices can hurt like hell. The pain it causes me is nothing compared to the pain it causes others. And only the Grace of God removed the pain and darkness that comes with the death of my sins, bringing me joy and hope in the love of Jesus Christ. Thank you Lord, how could I ask for more?

I’m not sure, but it seems that if people put the same effort into building relationships that they do in finding ways to get out of them or tearing them apart, maybe there would be fewer broken families. Maybe if spouses took the same effort and time they used looking for what their mates do wrong or what is “irreconcilable”, and converted that to a one-on-one time for open communication and prayer time, could it be there would be fewer divorces?

Naaaaaaaahhhh.

Too much Pollyanna wishful thinking. It can’t be that easy.

Or can it?


Offer It Up November 18th


Galatians 3:22-29

Brothers and sisters:
Scripture confined all things under the power of sin, that through faith in Jesus Christ the promise might be given to those who believe.

For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Saturdays according to the tradition of many is a day for honoring Mary. Mary the mother of Jesus and our Mother. Throughout the history of the Church, especially the last 5 centuries, Mary has been our intercessor. How can we not be moved by her pleas, at LaSalette, Lourdes, Fatima, Guadalupe, and the countless other reported apparitions. Some have not received the "blessing" of the Church but nonetheless the messages all call us to life in Christ. Pray, turn from sin, turn to God it is all such a constant call.


From Paul's letter to the Galatians, he reminds us who we are. Baptized, clothed in Christ, we have become one in Him, and we are expected to live in faith, above the law.
The white garment given us at baptism symbolizes the victory won in Christ, and as was said to us through our parents, godparents, the Christian community we are to bring our white garment unstained into the everlasting light of Heaven.
Is there anything more fantastic than to know that we are children of God? Coheirs with Christ to life in glory? "Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it."
Can we strive to make the Magnificat of Mary ours. We can if we like her are willing to say, "Be it done to me according to your word." Mary the woman of faith is our model..The promise of salvation is a reality, all is gift, all will be well if we accept the gift even if it comes in the form of a cross.

Father, thy will be done. Deacon Shrek


Offer It Up November 17th


Sometimes we are not ready to see the wonder of God’s wisdom and strength until we are gasping for breath in the exhaustion of our own strength.

In the movie “The End”, the actor Burt Reynolds is in a scene where he is drowning as he tries to commit suicide. He has a change of heart, so to speak and ‘finds religion’ and seeks God’s help. He prays and asks God to save him and that he will give all his wealth to charity should he be saved. As he gets closer to shore, he realizes that he may in fact live and continues to pray, though what he gives to charity is now not all he has but 75%... and as he gets closer, the percentage gets even less… you get the picture.

Are we sometimes like that with our belief in our own times of trials and troubles? Okay God, I promise-just get me out of this just one more time and I will never go back there again… never, okay God? For real, just let me get out of this jam one more time, Lord and I will never…

As often-told stories of scripture tell us, “mountains of faith rise from the valleys of failure”, or in the ocean and shore vernacular, “reaching the safety of the shore from the crashing waves of the sea”.

Before we see ourselves on the mountain or on the shore, before we see God’s love and direction, we may need to experience the emptiness of failure, the loneliness of a broken heart, or the collapse of an unfinished dream to fully realize the glory and wonder of God’s might. Trust Him.


Offer It Up November 15th


Love and laugh. Make your world the happier for your being in it. Love and rejoice on the grey days.

There are wilderness days for My Disciples as well as Mountains of Transfiguration, but on both it is duty, persistently, faithfully done, that tells.

Be gentle with all. Try to see the heart I see, to know the pain and difficulty of the other life, that I know. Try, before you interview anyone, or speak to anyone, to ask Me to act as interpreter between you two.


Just live in the spirit of prayer. In speaking to Me, you find soul-rest. Simple tasks, faithfully done and persisted in, bring their own reward, and are mosaics being laid in the pavement of success.

Welcome all who come here. I love you. A God Calling Piece


Offer It Up November 14th


To believe in the Resurrection, you should be filled with great joy and hope. The mere idea of eternal life with God should be all the encouragement you need to address all the situations that come your way throughout your daily walk, a mere stepping stone in life’s journey. And if any of you are like me, we have a tendency to look at each day as an end in and of itself, rather than as a means or link as an integral part of our journey toward our own resurrection—eternal life with Christ.

Too many times I tend to concentrate on the problems that come about throughout a day. And most of the time, they are problems that I have let get bigger than they really need to be. That is when God puts someone in my path that encourages me, straightens me out, or flat out gets in my face – by their words or prayers. Many times that person who re-directs me is my wife, Susan. Other times, it can be family or friends, fellow parishioners, who offer their prayers of love and encouragement, or that ‘gentle’ persuasion.

Throughout scripture, we are called to reflect on the hope and great joy that we will know when we are finally raised up by God. But we can’t be so smug in that; when there is much life to live and a journey to travel that will, by the grace of God, lead us to that resurrection. Each day God invites us to share in His joy and love. He calls us to renew our hope and trust in the mysterious and loving providence of “our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through His grace” (2 Thessalonians 2:16) just as St Paul writes. And that mysterious and loving providence is our invitation to share in the Paschal Mystery of Christ. This invitation is a gift from God to share in the very Body and Blood of Christ, to share Eucharist with our parish community, with each one of, as St. Paul says, our brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen. jim

 

Offer It Up November 13th


John 1:11-12…He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God to those who believe in His name…

Desire is the God-given passion that compels each person to make make a difference.

Desire is crucial in discovering your life purpose. God has wired you with certain desires that grow over time as you develop a closer, deeper relationship with Him. So, how do you discover your desire in ministry and serving (Time, Talents and Treasure)? Three questions to ask yourself:

1. If you could snap your fingers and know that you couldn't fail, what would you do?

2. At the end of your life, if you could look back and know that you did something significant, what would that be?

3. What do you love to do?

How you answer these questions will help you begin to identify what you are passionate about.

God has given each person a unique dream for their life.
Desire persuades and can cause dreams to come true.

Desire helps you discover where you are best suited to serve in ministry.

Desire acts as an internal guidance system for your life.

Desire determines what your interests are and what will bring you the most satisfaction and fulfillment. Through prayer, God will help you pinpoint healthy desires that can be channeled into creative ways to serve Him and others.

Desire is a foundational ingredient in discovering your life purpose.(www.wiredforapurpose.com)


Offer It Up November 12th


From a prayer warrior recipient to all prayer warrior and worthy prayer givers around the world:

Some of us see these very sincere prayer requests and may have the tendency to "blow them off". “Oh another prayer request! I wonder if they work?”

Unfortunately, we as children of God, don't put in the same amount of effort thanking the prayer givers as we did asking for their prayers. Myself included! BUT...let me say that in my opinion, being included in any and all prayer groups I was blessed to be in, brought me through with what I guess was God saying: "Enough, enough! OK I'll heal him so I can get on with other work. I can't even get any rest for listening to all those prayers for that old man!"

That being said let me extend my thank-you's, but more importantly, the inclusion of all those prayer givers in my prayers. Wow, do you see where this has a chance of going? Maybe one big happy world group of catholics with a small "c"... universal. At least if God answers our requests for miracles in the life of one or two of His children it seems to my humble soul, He would answer the prayer for a much larger miracle.

Maybe we just need to ask it with the same feeling we do of those more personal requests. So I ask all to pray for all... "now and at the hour of our death. AMEN.

...AMEN"

Contributed by Thom Reed


Offer It Up November 11th


As a child, we listen to His instruction and thank Him!

As a man and woman of God, we carry out His instruction and thank Him. That simple truth is, we matter to God.

And thus God's will... God's way... God's way... God WILL!

Hadn’t we seen it before, that He took the bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to us? He did so before the large crowd who had listened for long hours to His word, He did it in the upper room before Judas handed Him over to suffering, He has done it countless times when we have come to the end of a long day and He joins us around the table for a simple meal and He does this at every mass.

The Eucharist (communion) is the most ordinary and the most divine gesture imaginable. That is the truth of Jesus, So human, yet so divine; so familiar, yet so mysterious; so close, yet so revealing!

Jesus is God-for-us, God-with-us, God-within-us. Jesus is God giving Himself completely, pouring Himself out for us without reserve.

So as what we hear Father say, "...THIS IS MY BODY,... THIS IS MY BLOOD...TAKE AND EAT... AND DRINK...", this is Jesus saying to us..."this is Me for you!” Yes??

And so the sacrifice on the cross and the sacrifice at the table are one sacrifice, one complete, divine self-giving that reaches out to all humanity in time and space.

Amen, Amen, Amen!! and I'm Eddie


Offer It Up November 1oth


We fall down.

We get up.

We go on.

(With apologies to Donnie McClurkin.)


Offer It Up November 9th


The Fate of Sandcastles

You’ve watched it, too. I know I’m not the first or only person who has seen it. But there is a lesson in it that we both may have overlooked.

There are some children on a beach. They’re playing and giggling—building sand castles all the while. They seem so intent on the project. You get amused at how meticulous and careful they are with crumbly corners and towers. The looks on their faces as they screw their mouths around and stick out their tongues make you smile. Their resolute concentration on the task is priceless.

Then a big wave begins building and starts toward shore. But the kids don’t panic. Instead, they do the strangest thing.

They jump to their feet, scream with delight, and watchthe torrent of water wash away their creations. There is no panic. No sadness. No bitterness. Even children know the inevitable end of sandcastles. They are neither surprised nor angry about what has happened.

You and I should be so wise. The stuff of this world is about as lasting and durable as children’s sandcastles on the beach. Yet we grownups can get so caught up in it, defensive of it, and depressed over the loss of it.

God didn’t create you to be famous, get rich, live in the biggest house, or drive the fanciest car. He created youfor his glory. He put you in the world to love people and do holy things. Your destiny is not bound up in physical things, but spiritual. So living to be a hundred is far less important than living well—even if for a short time. Beautifying your body is far less urgent than purifying your soul.

Children know that their sand castles are brief joys destined to disappear with an incoming tide. So they don’t fret as the waves approach. They watch their creations get swept away without shedding tears. Again, we should be so wise.

Everything about this life is fleeting and perishable. The incoming wave of human mortality is going to sweep it all away. Like sand castles, nothing done for the sake of this world can last. Only what we do for eternity will survive.

What would the loss of your job or business do to you? What if your house were lost to fire or storm?What if a strange pain sent you to your physician and led to the discovery that you have only a few weeks to live? These things really do happen to people, you know. We are all as vulnerable as sand castles.

Life is God’s gift. Revel in every good thing. But as you enjoy your creations in the sand, just remember not to get overly attached to them. Rubel Shelly

Christ, help me to remember what is important, what really matters in my life. I get so caught up in my duties and obligations that at times, I forget about the supremacy of love. Help me to see that it is not so important what I do, but the love with which I do it, that truly matters. M Martini

Offer It Up November 8th


(Today's OIU is a contribution from one of our recent visitors. We look forward to receiving more of these types of pieces from you too! Forward your life's take to us at david@afraidnot.org and we'll do our best to get it in our pages.)

"You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you." John Wooden

My favorite saint right now is St. Paul. It is the Year of St. Paul, and the more I read about him, the more I have great admiration and respect for him. He has SO many words of wisdom that pertain to us today every bit as much as they did when he spoke to the people of Corinth, Rome, Phillipi, etc. We have come a great way, and yet we are so much like our Christian brothers and sisters of that time. Paul was struck down on his way to Damascus - may we have our own conversion and seek to lift up our Christian family without strings attached, without the human desire for a pat on the back, without any response at all except the love of Christ growing in our heart...

"Bear one another's burdens, and so you will fulfill the law of Christ."

Galatians 6:2

With grace and peace,

Debbie


Offer It Up November 7th


In today’s world of technology, it’s a pretty good bet that you should have a plan in place in the event your computer crashes. Working on an important document or program is no different-just think of the old time tent revivals and the crowds saying “Jesus Saves—and so should you!” Any computer geek would tell you that at least every week you should back up your hard drive or at least have your main files saved to a disk. Most computers even have a pop-up window that politely asks you “Back up files today?” Not a bad plan in theory but as with so many other plans, it’s in the practice that they fall apart.

In our lives today, many of us have our own back-up systems in place, some of which may include more prayer time, going to church (more) or reading the Bible (more). Again, a good thing to have in place in the event the proverbial blue ‘unrecoverable system failure’ screen appears on your monitor. But does anyone else see what’s wrong with this picture? Where was all of this before?

Does it seem so far-fetched that if you would have had this in place before hand, you may not have had to resort to your back-up plan in the first place?

Our lives can be like computers-crashes happen. Sure, have savings set back. And have your business and personal computer files backed up too. Life is important in that aspect. But don’t settle for a back-up plan when it comes to your spiritual life. Jesus tells us in His own words just how important it is:

Luke 12:36-37, 40

“And be like servants who await their master's return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on hisarrival… You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come."

Live life a little less chaotically, if not, at least 'plan your chaos'. Put your back-up plan ‘up front’ for a change and see what a difference it makes.


Offer It Up November 6th


The journey of faith is not just a ‘me and God’ experience. The Holy Spirit works through the Church to lead us to build a world of peace and justice. God made us for lives in community. The contemporary value of individualism, in which one is concerned only with his or her personal experience, can lead to a dead end. Seeking justice is a way of living that makes us vulnerable, because it means that we trust God and not simply our own desires. What we do, or refrain from doing, reveals who we are as followers of God.

Lord, Jesus, in this place and at this time, I am your hands, feet, ears, eyes and heart. Lead me to work for justice where I live and in the world around me.


Offer It Up November 5th


Live in this Moment

I AM

I was regretting the past and fearing the future.

Suddenly my Lord was speaking.

"My name is I am"

He paused. I waited. He continued,

"When you live in the past with its mistakes and regrets, it is hard. I am not there.

My name is not I WAS.

When you live in the future, with its problems and fears, it is hard. I am not there.

My name is not I WILL BE .

When you live in this moment it is not hard. I am here,

My name is I AM ."

Helen Mallicoat


Offer It Up November 4th


They were in the right place, on the wrong day. Or so it would seem.

The Dayspring Chorale, a traveling high school singing group, arrived at a nursing home for a Thursday concert. However, the folks at the home were expecting them on Friday. But they said if the group could get set up fast, they could sing for 20 minutes. Then they'd have to stop for a memorial service for one of the residents.

The chorale hurriedly got ready and sang, and as they did, the son of the man who had died heard them. When they were done, he asked if they could sing at his dad's service. They gladly agreed and ministered hope and truth to all who attended. God used these young people in a special way—all because of a secretarial error. But was it a mistake?

We carefully make schedules so we can be where we think we should be. But we always need to keep in mind the words of Solomon, "A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps"(Prov. 16:9).

Do we seek ministry in life's unplanned schedule changes? Do we turn detours into guided tours of what He wants to do through us? If we're doing God's will, we'll be in the right place. Then, wherever we are, we can point people to Him.                                                                                                                 Borrowed from Dave Branon


Offer It Up November 3rd


1 Samuel 16:7

"Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart."

How is it that we live day to day, and in our own sense, find ourselves in and

out of the grace of God?

In the past, I’ve looked at my life as a continuum of sorts-a straight line from as far back as I can or care to recall till today. A true continuum has no breaks in it or ‘discontinuities’ and in since I am still alive, I guess in the physical sense it serves its valid purpose. Born on this date… still living on this one… straight line from A to B—I liked that part of it.

Yet when I look at that same line and remove the physical aspect and put my faith life on it, it changes-horrifically. Too many times I found myself way out of the graces of God from those choices I had made. That continuum looks more like a series of inadvertent dashes and slashes with the unpleasant reminders of what I had done there and what was going on then… painful to recall to say the least. Yet that was my way of thinking that I was out of God’s grace-how could He love someone like me who had gone so far from doing things to show my love for Him?

So what to make of all of this? God makes all of our past sins His and forgives them. Romans 12:2Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect. We renew ourselves with His forgiveness and start again with His mercy and grace. Being a sinner myself, I would think it’s a pretty good deal, don’t you think?

Change does come from within. I don’t make the life continuum comparison much anymore but I do make it a point to see where I am on daily basis. From how it starts to how it ends and how I ‘behaved’ in between. And prayer is a big part of that behavior.

Titus 2:11-14

For the grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of the great God and of our savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good.

Let us all continue to help one another grow in God’s love and His presence where ever it is that we may find ourselves. Put yourself in a position to pass on the Good Word.


Offer It Up November 2nd


Is There Such Thing As Normal Person?

The spiritual life (living your faith so to speak) can and will stimulate action in each of us as long as we put forth the effort. If not, then might we be described as congenitally blind and deaf? Would it take the Holy Surgeon Himself to perform the miracle healing?

The results would be surprising. As Father Hoa, Father Ray and Deacon Roland say, “…live your faith…” To make sense of this visual world, we must learn to see. To make sense of this audio world, we must learn to listen. Though Christ restored a man’s sight, he still didn’t see. Though our Savior restored a woman’s hearing, she still didn’t listen. No blind or deaf person has ever had their sight and hearing restored without some sort of difficulty. As in our spiritual lives, it takes effort and by golly sometimes that effort includes others! With that being said sisters and brothers, what is normal and what does it look like? Webster says normal is “a standard or regular pattern”. So now you may have already gone to the thought that abnormal is not standard or regular. Hum, Webster further says that ordinary “is the regular or customary condition or course of things”.

I believe (well Shelley and I believe) people are not normal or even ordinary for that matter. Look at what we as a people have accomplished. Look at what past Christian brothers and sister have left for us to carry on. REMEMBER how God showed us He loved us and how much He loved us. Keep in your minds, your bodies and your souls what Jesus said, “…do this in memory of Me!”

Working together, praying together, helping each other, we become EXTRA-ORDINARY! Webster says that is “going beyond what is usual, regular, or customary” and that’s not such a bad thing is it? Amen. big e


Offer It Up November 1st


Have You Ever...


Have you ever felt led to do something that didn't make sense? Have you ever wondered how God was going to work things out in your life?

Have you ever been afraid to take new step in a new direction?

Have you ever felt like taking a leap of faith even though you didn't see a net?

Have you ever gone on an interview for a job, filled out an application for that beautiful condo/apt/home or took a test drive in that new car?

Have you ever started a business not knowing where the customers were coming from?

Have you ever moved to a new city?

Have you ever taken a chance on love?

Have you ever told a bill collector, "that bill will be paid by this month" not knowing where the money was coming from?

Have you sent your child to college not knowing how the tuition would be paid?

Have you ever walked away from drama, stress, pain, abuse or confusion not knowing where you would end up?

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things NOT seen." (Hebrews 11:1)

I've done some of those things and realized that wherever God leads me, He feeds me. Wherever He guides... He provides.

A doubting man once said to his friend who was a believer, "I believe if you thought the Lord told you to jump through a stone wall, you'd jump."

The believer replied, "If the Lord told me to jump through a stone wall, it would be my business to jump, and it would be His business to make a hole."

Of course, you must pray for wisdom and discernment. I encourage you today to deepen your faith.

Trust...obey...pray...and take it one step at a time.

The net or the hole will appear. The money or the opportunity will appear. The application will go through.


The love will be returned. The doctor will give a better report. A door will open that you didn't see before.

The customers will come. Your income will increase. Food will be on your table and a roof over your head.


Your family will be restored.

You’ll see.

God wins.



"With God All Things are Possible." Matthew 19:26

Mostly from Jewel Diamond Taylor

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