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

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Offer It Up October 31st

How often do you find yourself wondering, (outloud sometimes), what God really does have in store for you? When things are going well or if not well at least decently, we have a tendency to rely on what we have come to know from a material ‘reflection’. And then, without careful regard, we will sometimes rely less on God and His plan, or reflection, in us and for us.

Take a few moments after you read the following submission and then hold that image of what it would be like… until He sees His image in you.


Malachi 3:3
Refiner and Purifier of Silver

Malachi 3:3 says: "He will sit refining and purifying silver..."

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.

That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver.

As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot then she thought again about the verse that says: "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver." She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.

The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy - when I see my image in it."

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has His eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you. Author unknown Submitted by M. Martini

Offer It Up October 30th

Happy Birthday Mom and Grandma!

Luke 13: 22-30

Isn't sometimes a little astounding that the questions in the Gospel are already being spoken among us? How many ask or wonder, "Lord, will only a few people be saved?"

I find it an interesting question in the light of all Jesus said and did to bring the message of God's love to all mankind. The task is still ours to complete what Jesus began: spread the Good News.

God wants us all at the banquet of Eternal Life. Yet, we cannot ignore the fact that it is an invitation and any one of us is free to not make that RSVP. The invitation calls us to "Kingdom Living" NOW. You just don’t know when the celebration may begin. The words of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel, 13:22-30, "I do not know where you are from.", I believe, should be a wake-up call for any of us serious about a relationship with the Lord.

When we say we ate and drank in your company, still He answers “I don't know where you're from”.....”go away”... “you evildoers”...”Last first and first last”. It’s not so much about when you come but that you make the decision to answer His invitation and join Him-the sooner, the better. And when you do, follow His criteria and come dressed in the robe of justice and righteousness, fully intent on doing the Father's will in all things, loving God with your heart and mind and soul.

Our God who stands before you in the guise of..............!

Deacon Shrek

Offer It Up October 29th

Seven Habits of Faith

I saw this list somewhere a few months ago and at this time in my life, find it particularly helpful. Might be that you will be able to do some good with it too.

If today was our last day on earth, these are seven things we can do to put ourselves in better shape for that road to eternity. Though originally it has been presented as a ‘to do’ list as it appears, I would offer that we look at it and practice it as a ‘to be’ list; instead of one act of kindness to do, adopt a behavior of being kind more often; instead of one person you prayed for, put prayer as a priority in your life… I think you get the point of this ‘to be’ thing.

If you do happen to be around at the end of the day, write down, chronicle or journal your accomplishments. Nothing extraordinary is necessary-even the mundane. Eventually, you will soon see how you will ‘abandon the mundane’ and live in eternity here on earth, with this new ‘to be’ approach. Challenge yourself ‘to be’ more Christ-like and faith-filled.

With your daily routine including the seven habits of faith, your life can gain meaning and direction, more than you can imagine. A few days of practice will soon pass and before you know it, you will have a habit of faithful prayer and faith inventory in a matter of weeks. We all know prayer changes things; experience it more fully, if not unexpectedly, as you put more prayerful ways into your life. Besides, you have to admit that the payoff-your eternal reward-is worth the extra effort.

Seven Habits of Faith Inventory

One act of kindness I did:

One person I prayed for:

One thing I learned:

One thing I did to make the world better:

One thing I am thankful for:

One thing I am sorry for:

One moment when I was aware of God:

Offer It Up October 28th

The Miracle Prayer

Lord Jesus, I come before you,

Just as I am.

I am sorry for my sins,

I repent of my sins, please forgive me.

In your name, I forgive all others

For what they have done against me.

I renounce Satan, the evil spirits and all their works.

I give you my entire self.

Lord Jesus, now and Forever,

I invite you into my life Jesus.

I accept you as my Lord and Savior.

Heal me, change me,

Strengthen me in body, soul and spirit.

Come Lord Jesus, cover me with your precious blood,

and fill me with your Holy Spirit,

I love you Jesus.

I praise you Jesus.

I thank you Jesus.

I shall follow you every day of my life.


Offer It Up October 27th

World Youth Day at Six Flags (Texas) yesterday was more than an event. It was a celebration of what over 8,000 believers can do when they come together to worship and celebrate the glory of God. From the time we gathered at our parish and left with prayer till the time Bishop Farrell closed the celebration of Mass and sent us out to spread the Gospel ‘beyond our reach’, beyond the first twelve disciples, beyond the first few hundred at the gatherings that Jesus spoke to, there was fellowship, fun and all those things that make for discipleship in between.

Bishop Vann’s message during the homily brought the scripture into technology, merging facebook, text-messaging and email into his sermon. Throughout the books New Testament, Jesus lets us see His ‘face’, and how he spread His message of faith, hope and love; hence, the first ‘facebook’. Bishop Vann then referenced how the message of scripture was literally in text form to be handed over to generation to generation, so that we may have it here today… text messaging in its earliest stages! Finally, the Bishop talked of how one can send out an email to several people at once, an email blast or global email. That is how Jesus delivered His messages so that many would hear it and ‘get it’ at the same time so that they too could spread the Good News.

We can do the same in our walk. With or without technology.

Continue to spread The Word however you live, where ever you live, and who you live for.

Offer It Up October 25th

Do you want to make a difference in your prayer life?

No, wait. Do you want to make a difference in your real life?

You have to start somewhere and that somewhere is with prayer. We should all have some semblance of a prayer life and many of us do. Here is a method to use that is easy to practice that can improve or help someone get started with a daily regimen of prayer. It can serve as your own until you make your own method or you can keep it as your permanent daily prayer ‘method’. Whatever you do, do something.

Prayer changes things.

Start now.

We dare you.

First, begin your day—every day—by dedicating yourself to Jesus. Give him your heart and ask him to lead you and direct you. If you are facing specific challenges, ask for his wisdom and peace in those circumstances. It's simply a matter of telling him you want to rely on him and asking for his Holy Spirit to guide you. Then, listen for the ways he inspires you and leads you throughout the day.

Second, before you go to sleep, look back over your day. Ask the Spirit to show you how Jesus was present with you: Did he remind you of his promises? Did he strengthen you during a difficult situation? Recall also how you might have strayed from him, whether through sin or negligence. Remember: If you confess your faults, he is faithful to forgive you (1 John 1:9). Let his grace fill you so you can rest calmly and receive joy and hope for another day.

As you start to practice anchoring your day in Jesus, don't be surprised if you notice a difference. When you wake up in the morning, you'll be able to pray as the Psalmist, "I shall sing of your strength, and extol your love at dawn." (Psalm 59:17). Things will go more smoothly as his grace begins to flow into everything you do. Others too will see the change! When you go to bed at night, you'll be able to give your troubles to Jesus and tell him, "In peace I shall both lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me secure" (Psalm 4:9).

"Jesus, I give you my heart and my life today. I want to walk every step of my journey with you. I say ‘yes' to your Holy Spirit and ask him to work in me as he desires." Italicized Borrowed…

Offer It Up October 24th

You can’t swing a wet mop these days without getting some business wet that doesn’t reward you with some sort of frequent shopper or frequent flier points for parting ways with your hard earned dollar with them. Shop here and get this discount when you spend this amount… stay at this hotel and earn double the points… bank with us and get free checking and no service fees on accounts with balances higher than… fly this airline—you get the point. Where ever you go, someone is leading you on in a way to get you to spend your money with them so you can earn more points to fly more often to stay at a hotel more often which leads to earning more points. It could give a person a headache thinking about all the points they could earn if they did as all the companies would want them to do.

What if God looked at our salvation as something that, through our good works, we could earn our own spiritual mileage points (SMPs)? Don’t laugh too loud. There are plenty of us out here that think our route to heaven is to be paved with as many SMPs as we can get. To be sure, it is through faith that we are saved and that through works, united with our faith, our love for Christ can more profoundly be transformed. And actions or works alone are not to be done’ just as something to do’. It is not so much the actions that we do but why we are doing them. This is where one's faith comes into play. Most anyone can go through the motions of a routine action. Just doing ’something’ is action; putting one’s heart into that action changes it for the good.

Our eternal reward is a 'both-and', not an 'either-or'. It’s both faith and works and why you do the work. It’s not a bad idea or a bad thing to ‘do good’ and earn those SMPs—just don’t plan redeeming them for your own eternal reward without your faith to go along with them.

James 2:14-17

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well," but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Offer It Up October 23rd

Lord, what would you have me do here and now?

How often have you heard yourself or someone else say something along these lines? Either out of frustration or in praise? How about when you are not quite sure what He wants—has it ever crossed your mind even once to say ‘Okay, now that I am here Lord, got any ideas what I do next?’

God has it all planned and in that plan, He has given us free will—to make our choices about ‘what we do next’ or not do (which in itself is actually a choice). These choices are ours in times when we are prosperous and those times when it feels as if all is going to hell in a hand basket. Whatever amount of faith that brought us to where we are could be flourishing as easily as it could be flushing… yep, like in the toilet. What’s it come to, then if faith can seem so fickle?


Trust your faith to grow. Trust God to be there with you as you share in His glory and trust His presence when you are at the depths of your sin. All the while, here’s one thing to know while you give it over into His trusting hands—be happy that He is trusting you to be His vessel, His channel, His warrior. He wants to use you for His glory—how incredible he chooses people like you and me to do the work He entrusted to Peter, John, James… Abraham, Job, David, Isaiah… Mary, Sarah, Ruth… They were never promised a glorious or easy life but it wasn’t ‘this’ life they were living for, either.

Offer It Up October 22nd

Heard a short sermon the other day on the things that are good in our life. (Fr. Hoa delivered it but claims only to be the channel for “The Teacher.”)

A teacher in an elementary school asked her class to write the word ‘Good’ at the top of the chalk board and then have them write all those things that are ‘Good’ in their lives.

The board started filling up with the usual response that adolescents offer—video games, mp3 players, my cool clothes, my dad’s car, my football team… and as it went a little longer, the thoughts did turn to family and friends and those things not so material.

The teacher’s point in all of this was made when she took out three letters from the word ‘Good’.

“When you take ‘God’ out of good, you basically have ‘0’, nothing left”, the teacher said.

I am not sure how the message came through to the youth or how long it lasted; certainly they grasped at least the most basic point of it. What I am sure of is this: when we take God out of anything in our lives, we are left with similar holdings… not much.

Be more mindful of those things God wants good for you, not so much of what you think is good for yourself.

"Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one's life does not consist of possessions." Luke 12:15

Offer It Up October 21st


For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope. Jeremiah 29:11

When I was a little boy, my mother used to embroider a great deal. I would sit at her knee and look up from the floor and ask what she was doing. She informed me that she was embroidering. As from the underside I watched her work within the boundaries of the little round hoop that she held in her hand. I complained to her that it sure looked messy from where I sat.

She would smile at me, look down and gently say, "My son, you go about your playing for awhile, and when I am finished with my embroidering, I will put you on my knee and let you see it from my side."

I would wonder why she was using some dark threads along with the bright ones and why they seemed so jumbled from my view. A few minutes would pass and then I would hear Mother's voice say, "Son, come and sit on my knee."

This I did only to be surprised and thrilled to see a beautiful flower or a sunset. I could not believe it, because from underneath it looked so messy. Then Mother would say to me, "My son, from underneath it did look messy and jumbled, but you did not realize that there was a pre-drawn plan on the top. It was a design. I was only following it. Now look at it from my side and you will see what I was doing."

Many times through the years I have looked up to my Heavenly Father and said, "Father, what are You doing?"

He has answered, "I am embroidering your life."

I say, "But it looks like a mess to me. It seems so jumbled. The threads seem so dark. Why can't they all be bright?"

The Father seems to tell me, "My child, you go about your business of doing My business, and one day I will bring you to Heaven and put you on My knee and you will see the plan from My side."             -- AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Offer It Up October 20th

Providence through Perseverance

You can’t really persevere later, can you? It’d probably be too late. Or can you pre-persevere, so as to store some up for future use? Umm, uh, not that I’ve heard of anyway. Face it, we are all in need to ‘hold on’ or ‘press on’ at some time, probably even right now, for a reason or reasons we share or don’t.

To hold on till the next time you see your family.

To hold on till you can talk to your good friend you rarely talk to.

To hold on till the next check comes to pay the bills.

To hold on till through the grieving from the loss of a loved one.

To press on when you don’t feel like the day is going to be worth it.

To press on when you hear it from everyone else that you won’t ‘succeed’ and you start believing them, even just a little bit.

To press on and hold on when doing what is right even when it isn’t popular.

Easier said than done, right. Yet if you persevere, the ‘said’ eventually becomes ‘done’, through the providence of God’s will. With a choice to listen to—and then follow—His will, the strength will be there to hold on, to press on and then rely on God’s awesome encompassing love to bring you through to the wonder and glory of His mercy and grace.

Run the race.

Stand the test.

Fight the good fight.

Fix your eyes on what is above.

Providence through perseverance.

God’s will. God’s way. God’s way. God’s will.

Offer It Up October 19th

Christian brothers and you treasure them?

Faith as a mustard seed.

Five loaves and two fish.

The woman with the two coins who prayed in the temple.

The little child that the Lord showed as an example of greatness.
Whenever we live for G4 (God's will, God's way, God's way, God's will")..the veils we place over our hearts are taken away and a difference is made.

What other differences do we make when we read God's Word? Are we making a difference in our circle? In our church? In our world?

Last night God's voice sent me a message of love and encouragement. To love my brothers (no matter) and sisters and it lifted my heart to new heights. How awesome are God's little things and how far they go when we let go and let God, yes? Baby steps! B.E.

Offer It Up October 18th

How often do we "test" Jesus? How often do we say, "If only you'll grant my request, I'll believe a little more, behave a little better, do more of what I'm supposed to do"? Sometimes we do this without thinking about it, without, perhaps, realizing that that is what we do.
But Jesus reversed the test. "Give to Caesar what belongs to him, and to God what belongs to Him." What is it that belongs to God? What should we be giving Him?
Short and simple answer: everything, but most particularly ourselves. Everything that is belongs to God; it is His creation and His effort. But all of that is nothing if He does not have our hearts and minds, our simple childlike adoring love. When we are tempted to test Jesus, perhaps it would be good to recall His test and see how well we are fulfilling it. In responding to His instruction, we will have the answer to our own questions. More important, we will live in His peace and love. Borrowed...

Offer It Up October 17th

“In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.” Romans 8:26

In the last few years, I have begun to understand and to realize a little more what St. Paul is talking about when he tell us to “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thess. 5:16-17) This is not to say that I have mastered it by any means. As a matter of fact, I have learned that I have the opportunity for so much more growth in this area. But there are a few things that I have learned.

God knows what you’re going to say in your prayer before your ever begin, and since prayer is communicating with God, why not be honest with Him, if not for Him, for yourself. In my own prayer times, I pray repetitive prayers such as the Jesus prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me, a sinner”, contemplative prayers, including the Rosary, prayers that I have learned based on Scripture and the Saints and prayers when I just want to let God know my opinion, usually “Why, God?” prayers.

With that being said, what I’m trying to say is that the more you do pray or put yourself in the habit to pray, the more different types of prayers that you will pray. If practice doesn’t make it perfect at least it will make permanent. As with all communication-and prayer is communication, there comes a time in my “talking with God” that I just listen. And in this listening, I believe that God is able to touch my heart in a wonderful way.

He lets me know His love for me.

He gives me the grace to honest with myself, as humbling an experience as that is. That is also why I have learned to appreciate and frequent the Sacrament of Reconciliation. God allows me to be honest with Him and with myself. When you clear your conscience with God as to who you really are, as He already knows, your spirit will be refreshed. It reminds me of what Ezekiel wrote, “I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts.” Ezekiel 36:26

I have a long way to go in the development of my prayer life but as long as I allow the Spirit to guide me, I know that I will continue to grow with a renewed Spirit. jim

“Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-17

Offer It Up October 16th

Isn't great when you are separated from a loved one to receive word from them? A letter from a loved one doesn't remain unopened we can't wait to open it and let the words bring us close to them.
Why not the Word of God, Jesus the Christ? To read his words each day with the same anticipation is a way of feeding the soul. As the body needs food and exercise, so the soul needs nourishment and exercise in loving and receiving love.
Today we can listen to the Word as delivered to the Galatians, the Roman, Ephesians and others—including us—by the Apostle Paul and we can in spirit be with Jesus when he tells his audience which includes us about trust and openness to the Spirit.
Paul is telling the Galatians and us to place our faith and trust in Jesus the Christ.
Law, trust in the trappings of a consumer age, ways of putting our trust in a system we can control rather than in faith in God are a continual temptation.
Holiness, what does it look like? It is tempting to believe it is in external appearances, but we are to remember God knows the heart and the motive of our living. For the Galatians who had been baptized in the Spirit and were now being swayed to put trust in the Law, in circumcision, and certain dietary laws, traditions that had been established to support faith, Paul recognized were leading them away from freedom in living and loving God above all.
If we allow ourselves the luxury of trying to trust in ourselves, or in technological systems, in wealth, to divide our loyalties with spirits other than the Holy Spirit, then too often they are allowed to gain sway over our actions and lead us into ..dare I say it ...SIN. Deacon Shrek

Offer It Up October 15th

Spiritual Leadership - The Ultimate Example

Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of spiritual leadership. When most people think of leadership, they picture a military officer giving out orders or an employer closely supervising his employees, making sure all the work gets done. These aspects can be part of leadership, but they are not the essence of spiritual leadership. Spiritual leadership is the opposite of what most people think.

Spiritual leadership is servant leadership. Jesus Christ Himself taught us, "Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:28). Jesus was most definitely a leader. He was the leader of the twelve disciples and a much greater group of followers beyond them (Luke 10:1-17). Jesus did not lead by giving out orders or by supervising. Jesus led by being a servant and serving alongside of His followers.

Spiritual leadership involves humbling yourself and doing the tasks that no one else wants to do. In Jesus' time, the act of washing feet was to be assigned to the lowest of servants. However, at the last supper, Jesus humbled Himself and washed the disciples' feet. Afterwards he declared, "Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me 'teacher' and 'master,' and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another's feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do. Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it." (John 13:12-17).

How can we develop spiritual leadership in our lives? First, pray to God for wisdom on how we can become spiritual leader (James 1:5). Second, ask God to change our hearts and to develop the character qualities in us that are required for spiritual leadership (1 Corinthians 3:4-7; Galatians 5:22-23). Third, rely on the power of God to give us the strength we need to exhibit spiritual leadership in our lives. Philippians 4:13 declares, "I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me."Amen? big e

Offer It Up October 14th

To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice. Proverbs 21:3

He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will himself also call and not be heard. Proverbs 21:13

These two passages struck me in a powerful way. I just couldn’t let them go from my thought. In the first passage, I hear that I am to “do” what is right. I am to act, not to passively look on and “watch”. I am called to be an active part of this world, this society in which God has placed me. Along with this, I am then told that if I shut my ear to the poor then when I call I will not be heard. In other words, this is a call to love others as Christ has loved me.

When reflecting on this then, I recall what Bishop Vann said about being called, and that is that when we are called we are chosen. I can take this a little further to see that my calling, even to service of my sisters and brothers, is a gift from God. Isn’t diakonia accepting that gift and lovingly serving others? Any call to ministry is a call that we are chosen to “act” upon. He chose us to be the one to act out His love for others. Oh, so that is what it is to be Christ to others, and in so doing I am able to find Christ in them.

I pray that I may continue to open my heart to accept the grace to do God’s will and that I may live it with a servant’s heart. jim

Offer It Up October 13th

If you, O Lord, laid bare our guilt, who could endure it? But you are forgiving, God of Israel.


Yes, you are a forgiving God. Thank you for reminding us so frequently in your Word. Even when we cry out to you from the depths you hear and answer our plea. Jesus today reminds us about then sign of Jonah,

the reluctant prophet who is a sign of repentance. We too are often like Jonah reluctant, finding it difficult to

say “I’m sorry” and admit my wrong headedness and hard hearted attitudes. Today, like every day, let’s strive to live joyfully fully responding to God’s gift of joy.

Hear my prayer, O God, rich in mercy. Pour out your abundant graces on all those whom I hold up to you. Let your healing graces envelop all those who are sick, be with all those who are in need and those with special needs this week. Let us all see your guiding truth with clarity. Let Faith, Hope and Love be like a halo of bright light around us all.

The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want.

Offer It Up October 12th

A bit late but it is still the 12th...

Today’s OIU is an offering from Linda, and she is using a recent page from the daily devotional “God Calling”. I think you’ll like it.

September 26 - Serve All

I am among you as one that serveth.

Yes! remember to serve all. Be ready to prove your Sonship by service. Look on all you meet as guests in your Father's House, to be treated with Love, with all consideration, with gentleness.

As a servant of all think no work beneath you. Be ever ready to do all you can for others. Serve. Serve. Serve.

There is a gladness in service, a Joy in doing My Will for others, in being My expression of all good for them.

Remember that, when you serve others, you are acting for your Master and Lord who washed His disciples' feet. So, in service for others, express your Love for Me.

And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant. Matthew 20:27

Why is it tht we are so happy and feel so fulfilled when we are serving others? When we are serving a meal to our family... when we stop to help someone who is stranded on the side of the road... when we help a family in need at Thanksgiving or Christmas-or anytime... We should live and act with a servant's heart.

Shelley and I were talking about this and she said "I believe we are happiest when we serve others because that is what God created us to do."

When we are serving the children of God, we are serving Him.

What could be better?

Offer It Up October 11, 2008

“You shall be my people, and I will be your God.” Ezekiel 36:28

That always touches me deeply within my heart.

God, Creator of all, wants me as His own and wants to be my Father.


God has walked with me as a friend and father. He has asked me to trust in Him and I believe that I am beginning to do just that. So why does it take me so long?

I feel that God has given me the answer in that He wanted the timing and all of my experiences to lead me to that unwavering trust. He truly has given me a “new heart”. When I thought I was really moving in an enriching direction spiritually, God reached down and lovingly accepted me as I was and then, in a way that only God can do, poured clean water on me and guided me to an even greater understanding of His presence in my life.

I am beginning to see each day that Jesus has invited me to a feast. This feast is life. Life is a festival. I am part of this festival even in those difficult times, which there are enough of them, in which God invites me each day to be a part. jim

Offer It Up                                                                             October 10, 2008

Lord teach us to pray.

Jesus responds by instructing us to say "Our Father".

How amazing can that be?

God the giver of life, of all that is good, the earth, the universe in all its wonder, Jesus tells us… begin by addressing Him as Abba. What follows is our acceptance of this revelation.

God is to be trusted as Father, life-giver, He who holds everything in His hand.

Our Father, yours and mine.

We are His children members of a spiritual family, truly brothers and sisters called to life as one with the Trinity forever. When we pray as Jesus taught is there anything left to say? We pray to be completely in God's life, to be totally in conformance to His will,
to live each day with only our needs for the day, living in the hope of forgiveness for our failures because we forgive and extend the hand of mercy…always seeking that we will cooperate with His grace to avoid temptation.

May we find our joy in striving for holiness and in so doing, learning to love as Our Father loves.                                         Deacon Shrek

Offer It Up                           October 9, 2008

"In times of aridity when I am incapable of praying, of practicing virtue, I seek little opportunities, mere trifles, to give pleasure to Jesus; for instance a smile, a pleasant word when inclined to be silent and to show weariness. If I find no opportunities, I at least tell Him again and again that I love Him; that is not difficult and it keeps alive the fire in my heart. Even though this fire of love might seem extinct I would still throw little straws upon the embers and I am certain it would rekindle."

Saint Therese Lisieux, "The Little Flower"

Offer It Up October 8, 2008

Jeremiah 23:24-Can a man hide in secret without my seeing him? says the LORD. Do I not fill both heaven and earth? says the LORD.

We can't hide from God! We can reject Him and we can run from Him but, well you know the rest....I SEE YOUUUUU! How does that song go, "...I'm not holding on to You But Your holding on to me..." Amen? God created us and and He created where we live, yes?

As a famous character always says, "...and that's all I got to say about that!"

Your Brother In Christ, Eddie

Offer It Up October 7, 2008

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity. (But) these you should have done, without neglecting the others. Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel! "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may also be clean.

Matthew 23:23-26

Jesus really put it to the scribes and Pharisees in this reading from Matthew’s Gospel. As a matter of fact, in this particular chapter, Jesus calls the scribes and Pharisees “hypocrites” no less than six times. The scribes were the experts in the interpretation of the religious law and Pharisees were the group, in a close reliance with the scribes, who saw religion as simply observance of the law. They were really focused on more trivial things while neglecting judgment, mercy and fidelity.

So what was it about them that Jesus condemned? For one thing, their harshness and exclusiveness. When He sat down to eat with tax-collectors and sinners, the scribes and the Pharisees objected. When Jesus allowed a prostitute to put oil on his feet, the scribes and the Pharisees objected. Even when Jesus cured the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath, the scribes and Pharisees were there to question Him. Upon their questioning, Jesus tells them at this time that “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” (Matthew 9:13)

Our own misplaced focus can happen when we become too fixated on things and appearances ourselves rather than love and mercy. This is an area where we can be the biggest deceivers of ourselves. St. Paul writes to the Thessalonians, “Let no one deceive you in any way.”

Could it be us deceiving ourselves that he is referring to? There are some questions that we can all ask of ourselves: Do we get caught up in the self petty righteousness of everyday life? Do we make our trivial tithes for our own satisfaction? Do we judge or do we allow mercy? When the outside of the cup is clean and shiny, but the inside is full of self-righteousness and self-indulgence, then all the surfaces are tarnished. We have got to be honest with ourselves and come clean inside and out.

I don’t like to think of myself as a hypocrite, yet there are times in my life when my focus turns to those small things, to following the letter of the law while ignoring the spirit of the law. This is when I fall short of the fidelity of the concept of seeing God in all people. That’s when I’m reminded, that God has called me to be a witness to people, not their lawyer or their judge.

After all, God doesn’t judge a man until he is dead. So why should we?


Offer It Up October 6, 2008

Let my future be as God wants it.

I leave it in the hands of Him who cannot operate but for the good of all.

And this is enough to make me happy.

I do not know what He is preparing for me in the journey

I begin tomorrow.

I know one thing only,

if He is good and loves me immensely, everything else:

calm or storm, danger or safety, life or death,

are merely changeable and passing expressions of the beloved immutable, eternal Love.

Blessed Giovanni Battista Mazzucconi (1826-1855)

God, Your Way, Your Will.

Your Will, Your Way, God.

As the Daily Dose from Philippians gives us, so goes the prayer from Mazzucconi—I do not know what He is preparing for me in the journey I begin tomorrow.

Let us all adopt the attitude then. Keep putting on the face of Christ. Keep to the same course, His course.

Someone once said, “fake it till you make it”. In a way, if we keep expressing our lives in a manner that reflects our love for God, no matter the ‘calm or storm, danger or safety’, whether we feel it or not, we will eventually know that God is there and that it is His Will, His Way… His Way, His Will.

Offer It Up October 5, 2008

The Spirit is moving, and truly the wind blows where it will. There are so many possibilities it boggles the mind. After two weekends of Christ Renews His Parish we now have a solid number of potential leaders who can respond to a new Pentecost in our midst. Frankly, it is exciting as well as daunting. The question arises: “What next?” for some who have completed formation in Christ Renews His Parish. I say completed but that is not so, because it won't be completed until we reign with Christ.

Right now we are kingdom builders and it is for each of us to use our gifts in that process of Kingdom building. As Sons and daughters of the Church we can cooperate with our Pastor and Our Bishop to accomplish the mission of proclaiming the Good News and being transformed.

During the weeks and months of this year 2008 we have been involved in renewal directly and indirectly. I am sure that not only those men and women who came aside for a weekend and more were touched by the spirit but others around them have felt the wind, and fire of the spirit. What is happening is wonderful, amazing, fantastic, awesome as much so, as when the Apostles experienced Jesus and were set afire by the Holy Spirit that first Pentecost. Nowthe challenge for every single person is to stoke the embers, if need be, and prayerfully discover where God is leading them.

In determining "What now?", we all need to first come together more frequently for prayer and spiritual reckoning to learn where we are to do our part in kingdom building. Imagine if you will a construction site, and the team of people needed to complete the construction of a building. Carpenters, steelworkers, plumbers, electricians, overseers, engineers, architects, and on and on.

Building God's kingdom, we need, I submit, first holy Fathers and Mothers, building strong families who are the sound base of the kingdom. We need prophets, and teachers, storytellers who keep us on track and remind us of the solid foundation of faith that is ours. We are always in need of teachers, gifted lovers who are willing to devote themselves to helping all our children to open themselves up to the grace of God.

Saint Paul says it well in 1 Cor 12. One body, Many parts. We would all do well to take time to read this Chapter in 1 Corinthians and read it as written not only to 1 Corinthians but to Sacred Heart Church Wichita Falls. We are all leading busy lives. Perhaps we need to reexamine even our busyness in the light of Christ and sometimes ask if we need to reprioritize things.

Dying to self is not an easy road. But Our Blessed Lord blazed the trail and demonstrated that the way to glory is through the cross...dying to self.

(Jn 112:24, Unless a grain of wheat..............) We are those grains of wheat.

Don't forget to rest................Deacon Shrek

Offer It Up October 4, 2008

Zephaniah 3:17

The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; He will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love, He will sing joyfully because of you...

See! How cool is it that our Father in heaven loves to sing! He loves to share His lullabies with those who will reach out to Him. He gently rocks and quiets His us with His affectionate care. Christ is among us. When we receive communion, we are on Holy ground. Can you not hear the chorus of the heavenly choir? Our Father in heaven calls to us. He has paid the price for our sin by sacrificing His body and His blood. He washed us clean! He will come again to put us into the fullness of His grace and all His glory. Jesus Christ saved us from sin, from Satan, the every spiritual enemy. Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we have nothing to fear. We continue in His love, we are children of God, Amen?                    big e

Offer It Up                                                                           October 3, 2008

Psalm 56:3 (NIV) When I am afraid, I will trust in You.

Just a thought I had when reading today's (10/2) Offer it Up...
Why do we ever fear if we have Faith?

Shouldn't we take the good with the not so good?

For some reason we have tendencies to lose our trust in the Lord during our turbulent times. This is evident in our frustration and anger we display. During these turbulent times, we should hold strong to our Faith. This is what makes us stronger in our
Faith and gives us inner peace. shelley

Offer It Up                                                                           October 2, 2008

Matthew 14:23-32

…He went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone. Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore, was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. "It is a ghost," they said, and they cried out in fear.

At once (Jesus) spoke to them, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid."

Peter said to him in reply, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water."

He said, "Come."

Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how (strong) the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" After they got into the boat, the wind died down.

Is it just me or are there any others out there wondering that, after Peter was out of the boat, what were the other disciples thinking? Were they all watching as he stepped toward Jesus or were they cowering back in the boat, wondering if this was it, their last night on earth as the waves were crashing over them? After all, their first thoughts of what they were seeing were that of a ghost, before Jesus had spoken to them and told them to “Take courage”. But when your boat is taking on water, the waves are twice the size of your masts, and your captain has just decided to go for a walk, just how easy was it for them to listen to His words?

Jesus knew their hearts like He knows ours. Sometimes we don’t get the message clear enough through words alone and we want the security of having someone ‘in the boat’ with us. What happened after Jesus caught Peter’s hand and they got in the boat?

“After they got into the boat, the wind died down.”

Isn’t that what we want, for the storms winds to stop, the waves to smooth out over the lake and for our lives to be calm again? If you’re like me, we want to have that in our life whenever we want it, which means giving up control and getting back in the boat with God—all the time. Not just when we step out and want to get back in when the waters are over our head and the life preserver is floating farther and farther away.

God’s hand is never so short that it can’t reach us and pull us back in. All we have to do is ask.

Offer It Up                                                                           October 1, 2008

My dad was a pioneer in the prayer card laminating business… a typewriter, mimeograph machine, cardstock and scotch tape were his tools of trade early on before actually using the laminating services of a local print shop franchise. Oh, he kept with the typewriter and did eventually move up to copy machines though he never made the technological leap to computers and printers.

As I was reading a devotional page today, it also struck me how he was a pioneer in so many other things with our family. Having ten sisters and brothers, (six ladies, four guys), he and our mother had to be or there would have been less food on the table, less comfort in the home, and fewer surprises at birthdays and Christmas. Pioneers in every family-sense of the word a pioneer can be.

"My mother and my brothers are those who

hear the word of God and act on it." (Lk 8:21)

Maybe your folks were pioneers in their own way—tending to the needs of others, raising a family and all the while trusting that God would deepen their faith and bring them where they needed to be, all the while being everything they could be to their children. It takes great strength to be those types of parents, those types of modern day ‘prayer pioneers’ to guide and support a family. If so, be thankful for what they brought you to. And if not, be thankful for that too, and also thankful that you are here now, all by the grace of God.

No matter how or what else, they could not have done it without prayer. Though I cannot vouch for my first five or six years, I can attest to my last 48 that not only did my parents vocalize their prayers, they actualized them. A quote on one of the many prayer cards my dad made reads like this:

          “What is discouraging is the awful gulf between prayer and behavior—

not being able to    ‘live more nearly as we pray’.”            Rose Macaulay

Our parents did live more nearly as they prayed, handing down to our generation a method, if you will, to cross that ‘awful gulf’ between how we pray and what we do. It is as simple as putting into action, through a more prayer-filled life, what God wants for you.

Still don’t know what that is? Here’s a hint… pray.

And if necessary, use words.

Offer It Up September 30, 2008

Eddie-The Big E- has begun our "Offer It Up" page with these few words about our journey and walk-and how it finishes here on earth. Thanks, Big E... nicely done.

As I just heard KMOC 89.5 FM's Keith Sanderson say, “…it’s the journey that matters…” I always spatter around saying, "it’s not how you start that counts but how you finish." How you finish? Many a time you hear about last rites, people coming to know Jesus on their death bed. Isn’t that it? Regardless of where we were in our lives, that we had the courage to seek out our Lord, to come home and ask for forgiveness? Aren't these the very peeps we pray for? Referenced in the scripture below:

Matthew 13:44-"The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

We muster up the courage, the strength to purchase that field, to come to our Lord in a humble way, “forgive me Father for I have sinned…” Matthew 11:28-"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest." Christ purchased our sins with His body and blood and our treasure is buried in His field of love and forgiveness, Amen? Big E

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