Sunday, July 30, 2006

Seek Ye First


Have you ever spent the day with a song stuck in your head? I've had one of those days... woke up with it firmly playing in my brain. Of course, when we get these melodies rattling around, it's usually not the entire song, but just a few sound bites. In my case, it was the first stanza... over and over, with the mental image of the music sheet and notation for cello.

Well, if it's there, you might as well plug into it and allow the Lord to work through it. Thus... "Seek Ye First", which I believe was a 1970's Christian classic... at least, I can still picture those words off the sheet... by Karen Lafferty.

Seek ye first the Kingdom of God
And His righteousness
And all these things shall be added unto you
Hallelu, Hallelujah!

Man shall not live by bread alone
But by every word
That proceeds from the mouth of God
Hallelu, Hallelujah!

Ask and it shall be given unto you
Seek and ye shall find
Knock and the door shall be opened unto you
Hallelu, Hallelujah!

If the Son shall set you free
Ye shall be free indeed
Ye shall know the truth, and it shall set you free
Hallelu, Hallelujah!

Let your light so shine before men that they may see
Your good works and glorify
Your Father in heaven
Hallelu, Hallelujah!

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart
He shall direct thy paths
In all thy ways acknowledge Him
Hallelu, Hallelujah!

Other than being a fantastic song for Communion (our tiny choir hummed it at mass several weeks ago)... it really does speak to the heart. It flows like a Psalm of David. It teaches, even though many people never really pay attention to the wording, or bother to sing it all the way through. I'm not a fan of Christian radio stations, so I can't really say if this oldie but goodie gets much air time anymore, but really, it is a pleasing (to God) song with a valuable message.

We are to seek God in all things, depending upon him for our daily needs. When we seek his kingdom and righteousness, instead of trying to make our own righteousness, we find that God provides both. We can't live on our own egos, either. We have to rely upon our faith in the Lord, and the Holy Spirit, to keep our walks straight.

When times are troubled, and we find ourselves lacking, we need only ask the Lord for help. He will answer us. If we seek him, he will reveal himself to us. We just need to humble ourselves and knock upon his door. Like the parable of the Prodigal Son, our Father will rush towards us, wrapping us in an embrace, no matter how grizzly we look or how horrible we have been. Such is the mercy of God.

Jesus suffered and died so that our sins may be forgiven. He rose again to show the world the promise of that Salvation. God can not die. God is eternal, powerful and victorious. Once we have been given that freedom, God will never take it away from us. We will have that Truth until such a time as we decide, of our own free will, to turn away from it. The Truth, Salvation, does set us free. It is a wonderful feeling, to be cleansed by the Lord, and made anew.

Once we have embraced the Father, we can not keep that good feeling to ourselves. This doesn't mean we need to run out and give Salvation to others... we can not save anyone... we can only plant the seed (remember, it is Jesus that gives Salvation!) But, God charges us to go forth and spread his Good News. We are to be a beacon for others... the Light of Christ shining outward. Our words and actions should be for God. This doesn't mean adding 'Jesus' to every sentence we say. It doesn't mean judging others to see who lacks Jesus. It means that we are to be an example to the world. We have been given freedom, and it is only through the Grace of God that we are blessed. If others see our peace and joy, they may just ask us how they can obtain that feeling for themselves. Fellow Christians can see our walk and be re-inspired in their own walks. United through Christ, Blessed with Salvation, we are one body, one breath, one heart dedicated to the Lord.

Trust in the Lord, always, even when you feel you can't continue. He will direct you, lead you, and uplift you, now and for the rest of your days.

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Saturday, July 29, 2006

A One Book Meme, tagged by Moneybags.


A One Book Meme, tagged by Moneybags.

These are genuinely fun, especially since you get to peek into someone's life and get to know them a bit better!

1. One book that changed your life:
Diary of Saint Faustina Kowalska. It's the foundation for those who pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. A real inspiration!

2. One book that you’ve read more than once:
There are really too many to list!

3. One book you’d want on a desert island:
The Bible

4. One book that made you laugh:
War and Peace (seriously)

5. One book that made you cry:
Diary of Anne Frank

6. One book that you wish had been written:
The Intelligent Person's Guide to Dummys.

7. One book that you wish had never been written:
Harry Potter - gut oder böse, by Gabriele Kuby

8. One book you’re currently reading:
I'm working my way through the R.A. Salvatore series this summer, for kicks.

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read:
Pope Benedict XVI has a book published called The Europe of Benedict, in the Crisis of Cultures. It is a 152 page book written from 1992 to current times, right before he was elected Pope. The publisher Cantagalli Publishing does not know when an English translation will be available... so I will have to wait to read it.

TAG. If you blog, then post your own One Book Meme.

Captured Me: Sunday Scribblings - My Two Cents


I wanted to share this link with you today. captured me: Sunday Scribblings - My Two Cents

It is a powerful story, and Rachael has spun a tale that really makes the reader stop and think. Please visit her blog.

If the link will not open when you click on it, please copy and paste the following into your browser:

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Master Carpenter and Us


I was browsing through a backyard project magazine today, searching for some inspiration for a few winter projects. The thought of creating a bench or other landscape feature is one that I have been toying with for a while, and to create something with my own hands would be not only a challenge, but a testament to my determination to add beauty to my yard without resorting to prefabricated junk from Walmart.

I am not a stupid person, and can understand the complexities of blueprints and diagrams. I did find, however, that I was at a total loss when pondering the diagram for a simple "easy glider" bench. And that is when inspiration hit me.

Many people would love to know the joy of creating something with their own hands, but many also lack the skills or experience needed to complete just tasks. How often do we valiantly struggle with something we do not comprehend, taking it a step at a time, and hoping things will all work out in the end? How often do we complete the project, only to step back and say "that looks like crap" if only because it does not resemble the picture in our minds? Many people do not know how to take the rough wood and transform it into something that will stand the test of time. The instructions are just too confusing.

Our spiritual walk is like this. We are not all master carpenters, and the skills needed are not programmed into us. We certainly are born with the desire to have perfection, and we can appreciate the beauty of the finished project. Yet, sadly, Our work is shoddy, and things fit loosely, and eventually falls apart.

I believe the best step we can take is to enlist the aid of the true Master Carpenter. It all begins with God. He designed the plan, He knows the plan, and He knows what the outcome will be. He will not build our spirituality for us, but He is more than willing to help us master the skills needed to build things for ourselves.

So we, as Christians, surrender to Him, and admit that we can't do this on our own. We beg him to forgive us for our past mistakes, to scrap our old horrendous work, and to bring us into His mercy. And He, being a loving and compassionate God, says to us "Ok."

What now?

God, our Master Carpenter, hands us a, Instruction manual - the Holy Bible. Oh my! It is complex! It is overwhelming! So many steps, and instructions, and insight - all to help us learn proper techniques! Do this, but don't do that! Behave like this, but avoid that! How can we possibly understand this thing? Are we freaking out? Sure thing! But, don't forget, the Master Carpenter is right there with us, hiding an amused smile and reaching out to help.

The first thing we should do is accept the fact that the Blueprints the Master Carpenter provides to us are ours alone. Other people have the same Instruction Manual, but unless we are master carpenters, we should accept that our Blueprints are our own special project, and learn to leave other people alone with theirs. You see, the Master Carpenter is working with them, too. So, forget about others telling you to skip steps 1 - 500, and concentrate on following each step accordingly.

Step one we have already done - enlisting the Master Carpenter as our Only One. There is a side note on this step; the Master Carpenter will make sure that there are other carpenters along the way who can help us grasp basic concepts, should we need to fall back on things we may have forgotten. These carpenters, or our pastors or ministers, are in place to see that we don't fall away from the plan. They will follow the blueprints exactly, as the Master Carpenter as set them, and will not try to confuse you or hand you a different set of plans. In other words, they will not try to place themselves as Master Carpenter, and will be humble enough to accept that they, too, were once novices like you and I.

Step two is the hardest step, but we have already done part of it. We have admitted that our past works were terrible. We must now vow to never fall back on them, even if we think it means saving time. These bad habits are what caused our projects to turn out poorly, and now that we have the Master Carpenter to teach us, we must accept that our old ways were sadly lacking. we can't bring these sins into the workshop with us. We must leave them at the door, and never pick them up again! In return, the Master Carpenter hands us new tools, and teaches us new techniques. We are starting over from scratch, renewed in Him. So, we wash ourselves, a baptism that expresses our commitment to the Master Carpenter. We dedicate ourselves to His purposes and instruction.

Step three - a big step - learn. Study the Instruction Manual. If you look closely, you will see that the Master Carpenter lays things out very simply. If you try to grasp the whole concept at once, you will miss all the little details. If you skim those instructions for things that you think apply only to others, you will miss the fact that all things within the Instruction Manual itself apply to your project, to your blueprint - to your life.

Step four is a wonderful one. This is where you begin your work. It is work done with you and with the Master Carpenter, along with His appointed carpenters lending you aid from time to time. You are at the point where you begin to build. What? Begin to build? What about this step, and that step, and the step everyone tells me I have to do before I begin to build? Hello? Stop reading ahead and follow the Blueprint and Instruction Manual already! You see, each step you take is according to the Master Carpenter's Blueprint for you! His plan is different for each person, even if the Instruction Manuals are the same. Does this confuse you? Think of it this way: the Master Carpenter is with you each step of the way. The Instruction Manual, the Holy Bible, contains all the basics you need to know as you work on your Spiritual project. The Blueprints are the plans God has for you. So, although we all can read the Bible, we don't all share the same Plan that God has for us. Your neighbor may have a comprehension of his own blueprint, but he can't see yours. He can advise you on things, but you should understand that his advice comes from his own familiarity with his personal blueprints. It's best to leave the Master Carpenter in charge of your project, instead of relying upon someone who thinks they know what your blueprint is.

Our project isn't something simple. It starts off simple. Over time, as we gain more and more skill, the Master Carpenter reveals more and more of the Blueprint to us. He unrolls it, bit by bit. Sometimes we take a look at the newest part and freak, because we think it's just too much, too intense. But, don't forget, we have already been working on gaining the skills needed to get through this next step. Nothing on the blueprint is so hard, or so confusing, that it can not be worked out. You have to have faith in the Master Carpenter, and you must trust in Him to get you through this.

Once you have gained enough mastery of the basics, the Master Carpenter might ask you to help someone out. He does not intend for you to build the other person's project! Nor does He want you trying to confuse that person by imposing your own opinion on them concerning their level of skill, their experience, or their current place in the steps. We are not to belittle someone for not having as much skill as us, because we, too, once lacked the skills needed! Instead, the Master Carpenter wants us to share our own trials and errors, to be humble enough to admit that we were just as lost when we first started out. He wants us to share the Instruction Manual with others, and to remind them that the Manual contains the very same Promise that was given to us. He doesn't want us blasting someone for holding the drill wrong, or for not using the sander correctly - teaching that is the job of the Master Carpenter! Rather, he wants us to stand next to that person, and to show them through our own efforts, how using the tool correctly helps us to work on our own project with ease and mastery... perhaps the person will see this example and have a desire to listen to the Master Carpenter. We should also refrain from trying to tell others that they have incorrect Blueprints. Those Blueprints were given to them by the Master Carpenter, and if they are on a certain step on those plans, we may be unaware of what the past steps were or what the future steps will be. Meddling in God's plans for others only causes confusion. We don't know what the future holds for that person. If we harp on them too harshly, they just may walk away from the Master Carpenter altogether - we will have helped to push them away, by trying to impose our will upon them.

Never forget to speak to the Master Carpenter daily. Communication with Him helps keep things positive. Trust in Him to guide you as you work. Remember to thank Him when you make advances in life, when you are blessed. And thank Him for the challenging parts of the Blueprint, also, because it means that you have grown enough to not only undertake that challenge, but also because He knows you are ready for that test of your skill.

Monday, July 10, 2006

How God Responds


The readings for today are taken from the Book of Hosea and the Gospel of Matthew.

In Hosea, we hear of God's promise to us - a covenant of peace, as well as how the nature of things will flow. It seems so simple to follow, if only we place our trust in Him. Yet, in the Gospel of Matthew, we see that it is not always easy for others to place full trust in the Lord.

A ruler came before Christ, full of faith that the Lord only had to lay His hand upon his dead child for her to live again. A woman approached Jesus while he walked to the ruler's home, and the Lord paused with her, in a moment of healing, simply because her faith was great enough to believe that a mere touch of His cloak would bring that healing. Upon the Lord's arrival at the ruler's home, all the household were in the pangs of mourning that death. But Christ admonished them, telling them to go away because the child wasn't dead. In response, they laughed at him, but they did leave. Christ told the child to rise up, and she did.

God responds to us on His own timetable. There are some days where we feel that God is not going to respond at all - that all is lost, because He is busy elsewhere. Throughout the Old Testament, we are reminded that, in His due time, things will unfold. In the New Testament, Christ shows us that great faith in God includes understanding that we can't always have what we want when we ask for it. Things will happen, if it is His will, at a point where they will have the greatest impact on our lives. For the woman who touched His cloak, the impact was immediate. For the ruler, the impact came later, as not only a miracle but also a lesson in patience.

Hosea 2:18, 21-22 (NIV)
18 In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety.
21 "In that day I will respond," declares the LORD - "I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth; 22 and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and oil, and they will respond to Jezreel.

The Gospel of Matthew 9:18-26 (NIV)
18While he was saying this, a ruler came and knelt before him and said, "My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live." 19Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.

20Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21She said to herself, "If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed."
22Jesus turned and saw her. "Take heart, daughter," he said, "your faith has healed you." And the woman was healed from that moment.
23When Jesus entered the ruler's house and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd, 24he said, "Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep." But they laughed at him. 25After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. 26News of this spread through all that region.

Saturday, July 08, 2006



New template asked for - new template installed. Many glitches! Haha.

You will notice that you are directed to the old template format, should anyone wish to post a comment while I am debugging.

Introducing... a change of hands


Summer overwhelms. It overwhelms to the point where ya just can't do everything you want or need to do without reaching out for a little help.

Thus, you will begin to see entries from others on here. Don't freak! Dang, my readers are finicky! The blog format won't change. It will be the same spiritual messages. Same research being put into it. Same Holy Spirit moving. Well, the template may change. >big grin<

It was a prayerful decision to combine stuff. I chose folks who not only were of the Catholic doctrine... it is a Catholic blog, anyway... but also those who I knew were really experienced with the blogger format. If Blogger works like we think it might, then the author's name should appear under the entry, once they go ahead and accept the invitation and we get them set up on this account. Going to tinker with the email, too, so that it is sent to those who are online more often!

God bless!

Monday, July 03, 2006

One Of Those Kinds Of Weeks


Did you ever have one of those kinds of weeks where you just can't seem to get ahead, even tho you're trying really hard?

Yeah, it's one of those kinds of weeks!

I'm still mostly too busy to do anything online, but I'd thought I'd leave you with a picture for today. I call this one "Kitty Food." Cat... the other white meat!

At least I learned how to use the photo tool for blogger!