Time with God

We need to take time every day to quiet our many concerns, fears and responsibilities so that we can hear the Spirit’s whisper, oh so gentle in our hearts. “God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather of power and love and self control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

It is easy to be occupied mentally, to busy physically, to have excellent reasons why “now” is not a convenient time. Still, God is inviting you! He’s worth rearranging your schedule for Him, just as you would cancel all your appointments if you were invited to an important dinner or if you had the chance to meet someone, who you had always hoped you would, and now you get the opportunity.

Pray to God to stir your heart to make the changes and find that quiet time you will never stop or give up, once you have heard that whisper in “your quiet” time.

Conor
Find a way!

Emily the Elephant (MY Christmas Wish)

Emily was a couple of years older than Edward. She knew so much more than Edward and told Edward that every day. I mean everyday! That did not bother Edward though, as he really liked his sister. He loved her and liked following her all around the fields looking for food. He liked meeting all of her friends too. They were so nice to him. Sometimes better than Emily. She could be a mean sister!

One day as Emily was supposed to be watching Edward, she got involved with her elephant friends and lost sight of Edward. He must have wandered away, she thought. She looked around and did not see him. All of a sudden she got scared, as Edward was too young to be out here in the fields all by himself. She thought, “What am I going to do? Where do I start looking for Edward? Oh No! What have I done?

Emily was having so much fun with her friends; she had no idea how long Edward was gone. As often as she told Edward how much more she knew than him, she felt real bad about losing Edward. She became real sad! She was worried! She knows the danger with other animals here in the jungle.

Edward was off running around, and guess what! He found a bunch of puddles and could not wait to get in them. He was having so much fun just rolling around and getting muddy. Boy, did he love being muddy!

Edward did not realize that Emily was not around, because all he was thinking about was rolling in the water and dirt. He loved doing that and he liked filling up his trunk, again and again with water! But then Edward looked around and realized what he did—He walked away from Emily and got so involved with the puddles, that now he doesn’t know where Emily is. He cannot see her anywhere. Oh no! Where am I?

As Edward got up from the mud, he heard noises from other animals that he did not know. It sounded like quite a few animals. He heard elephant yelling too! They were yelling at each other and at the other animals too. What was going on? That is Emily and her friends!! I hear Emily screaming! I got to find her!
Edward started walking slowly towards all the noise he heard in the distance. He then started to run, because he was worried about his sister. What am I’m going to do? I’m scared! Then he remembered what his mother told him after he got in trouble last time with the puddles. She said, “It is ok to be scared. We all get scared sometimes, but we must be brave and always do the right thing. We must always help family and friends, and other animals too that need help. And yes, you always need to listen to what Mom and Dad tell you.”

Edward then started to run even faster now. The noises were louder and he could not stop thinking about Emily. She’s my sister! My sometimes mean sister! He got behind the trees and he could see 3 young lions running around the elephants trying to get one of them alone. They were much faster than the elephants, but the elephants were bigger. It looked like they were trying to get Arnold, my friend, one of the smaller elephants like me.

Edward just watch them trying to figure out what they were going to do next. Edward slipped around the side where there were more trees, so he could get even closer. He knew he had to surprise the lions, so the other elephants could help him chase the lions away.
Edward thought and knew what to do. He was so glad he did what he always loved doing in the puddles. He had filled his trunk up to the top with water. Now, he was ready!

Edward waited for the right moment and then charged the lions. Emily saw Edward, so she charged from the other side towards Edward. The lions were caught in the middle! The lions saw elephants coming at them from all sides. They knew they had to run and get away or they would be hurt.

It worked! The lions left. Emily could not wait to get to Edward and say how sorry she was for not looking after him. She promised that it would never happen again. And she told Edward she was sorry for always telling him she knew more than him. She was wrong. Emily also told Edward, that because of what he did, he saved everyone from getting hurt. Yes Edward, you knew more than me today. I am so proud of you! Thank you for helping and I want you to know, I love my little brother. She put her trunk around his head and gave him a hug!

The elephants all gathered together and started a line to go back home. Edward was feeling pretty good for helping, but it meant so much to him, to hear his sister tell him how much she loves him. Emily means so much to me and I love her too!

Edward now couldn’t wait to get home and tell Mom and Dad what he did.

“Find a way.”
_Conor

Branch 2 *Perfection

Dear Souls,

I write as I once did to no one, and everyone, with God in Mind
and Spirit. The inner sanctum of our souls need to be strengthened
and nourished incessantly………

When you doubt someone’s love for you, you are also considering
your personal worthiness of love. You are asking if you are
adequate of praise and/or deserving.

God loves you because of His Grace and Mercy. He has the
discretionary honor of pardon. He shows us leniency. He is
tender, soft, compassionate and of course righteous. He is the
epitome of all things Good.

He didn’t say He would only love us if we like His favorite colors,
green or blue. He didn’t say He would only love us if we hang our
towel straight, eat all our vegetables, or take the garbage out
every Wednesday night. (smile)

God isn’t waiting for us to be perfect, because He merits
Perfection. Does that mean we can do anything we want? Certainly
not! We are told in 1st Timothy 6:11 to “Pursue righteousness,
Godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.”

*If our God can forgive our imperfection, exemplify us as worthy
of love, and we long for righteousness, couldn’t we do the same for
others?

“You couldn’t relive your life, skipping the awful parts, without losing what made it worthwhile. You had to accept it as a whole–like the world, or the person you loved.”

― Stewart O’Nan

All of Life

The Daffodil Principle

There is a story called, “The Daffodil Principle” that some of you may have heard. A daughter phoned her mother to come and see the daffodils while they were in bloom. Though reluctant to drive two hours, she nevertheless drove through the rain and fog, but was ready to go right back home as soon as it cleared. She relates this story saying, “My daughter asked if I would drive her to the garage to get her car before I left her, but her motive was to take me to see the daffodils, though it irritated me when I realized it.

We reached a small road near a church and when we turned around a bend in the road, there before me, was the most glorious sight I have ever seen. It was if someone had taken a vat and poured it over the mountainside in a cascade of colors. “Who did this?” I asked her. My daughter pointed to a modest house nearby, and on reaching it we saw a poster on the patio headlined—answers to the questions I know you are asking. The first answer is 50,000 bulbs—the second answer—one at a time by one woman, two hands, two feet and the third—began in 1958. This was the daffodil principle.

I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who for fifty years had brought her vision of beauty to an obscure mountainside, one bulb at a time. She had created something of ineffable beauty and inspiration. The “principle” taught me that learning to move toward our goals one step at a time—to love the doing of it, and to use the accumulation of time by multiplying small pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too can accomplish magnificent things and change the world. It makes me sad I said to my daughter, what I might have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or forty years ago and worked at it one bulb at a time. Just think of what I might have achieved. My daughter in her usual practical way said, “Start tomorrow. It’s so pointless to think of lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make it a lesson of celebration, instead of regrets, is to ask yourself, “How can I put this to use today?”

You all know of Blessed Mother Theresa’s famous words, “God doesn’t ask for success. He asks for faithfulness.” It isn’t necessary to perform great heroic deeds or accomplishments because nothing impresses God. However, God does ask us to use the wonderful gifts and graces He has given us to plant the Kingdom of God within ourselves, others, and the world. One bulb at a time. And these things can be accomplished without great effort on our part in three ways: First, by remembering to give thanks to God every day for the gift of life, and many other gifts of His creation, in some form of prayer. Second, to let our gifts of Faith, Hope and Love—especially Love, be manifested at home, in the workplace and in the world by our thoughts, words, and actions. And finally, never give in to fear, discouragement, or despair for these are the Devil’s tools, and we are children of God who need to understand, that we have to go through Calvary to arrive at Easter, for there is surely no person here who hasn’t or won’t go through some form of Calvary in their life in imitation of our divine Lord.

There is one last thing of which we must be conscious that tie together all of these things and that is TRUST. Placing all our trust in God. He will dispose of all things He sees fit, yet it is His will to dispose them to our benefit. We have to place trust in our loved ones, and in each other, else faith, hope and love become simply words in our vocabulary.

Not everything is always as it seems, and so it is here that trust comes into play. Remember, when our life is completed, there will remain in the end only these three – Faith, Hope, and Love, and the greatest of these is Love. Increase these gifts, place your trust in them and the Kingdom of God is already within you.
From excerpts of Deacon Bob.

Conor
“Find a Way!”

“Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.”

― Pope John Paul II

Faith

Sharing the story

Have you reflected on your life recently to look back, and at the present, and see in honest eyes how you are doing and what you have done? Have you made a difference? Have you tried, changed and improved through your life experiences and maturity? Maybe the help came to you, and not knowing, you think you did it on your own. Have you used all the gifts granted to you or have you been focused on all the gifts and trappings of life for yourself?

Who we are and what makes us our own individual self, is all a gift from God. He expects us to use what has been given and to make a difference, and that comes in many shapes and forms. Can you name the gifts you have been given in this life, and how you are using them? The bigger question though, God has given you so much to make you who you are, so the question to you, what are you going to give back to God for those gifts given to you?

Depending on your belief system, there are different perspectives on end of life. More specifically though, is how are you going to meet judgment day? There are three areas I’d offer you to reflect on:

• Judgment – Our Lord asks you what you have done. Lord I did everything for you. I was honest, did not steal, was a good spouse and raised my kids to know you.” Our Lord asks again, what have you done for me/others? Lord I followed your commandments, made church every week. Again Our Lord asks, “What have you done for me?” I have been faithful to my spouse, never cursed or gossiped. “Yes I understand , but I have given you gifts to help the least of your brethren. Did you feed the hungry? Did you visit the sick and those in need? Did you help the elderly, the poor with their needs, the lonely? Did you not see me there with them? Did you not see me when you looked in their eyes? Did you not only love Me with your heart, mind and soul, but did you not love your neighbor as you would love me? “Those that are given much, more will be given.”

• Freedom – Were you not given your freedom? Did you not have a free will to do as you please? How was that used for others, but also for me? Did I not knock on your front door and you just said no to me. Did I not knock on your door and you just let me in the foyer? Did I knock on your door and you let me in the living room, but not the rest of the house? Is that how you did that to Me as I tried to be in your heart and be with you? Why did you not allow me to be totally in you, be with you always, day and night, and not just on a Sunday for an hour? Yes, I gave you freedom, but why did you lock me out?

• Grace – Did I not give you my grace to help you? Remember those times in need, those dark hours how you yelled out to me? Did I not get you through to the other side? Wasn’t I there when you were not interested in me, ignored me, and in fact forgot about me? Was that a yes? And yes, how about those times you hid things from friends and family, because you knew it was wrong and you felt ashamed. Did I not forgive you? Haven’t I always been there waiting for you? Haven’t I always been waiting to love you? Yes, love you and bring peace and happiness to you. Make you right. Make you a full person, a person you could be proud of and thankful? Make you an image of Me?

What is your answer after reflecting? Me too! Maybe not the time to pray to Him, but speak to Him, all by yourself from the heart. Yes, from the heart! No need to be afraid being alone with Him. God is the one that loves you and is always waiting on you. Always remeber, God Loves You!

Conor
Find A Way!

Questions and Love

Questions and Love

What comes from thanksgiving and blessings? What about the healing power of love and mercy? And yes, how does this apply to me?

Have I wronged a friend or treated someone unfairly? Been Disrespectful? Have I failed to show compassion and mercy because I was so full of pride? So full of me! Was I unkind to a family member, a neighbor or a work associate? Am I always thinking of myself and totally not seeing others? And I different now than I used to be? I wonder; do people see me differently?

Probably yes to most of these questions, and possibly to all of them. I cannot see the change, but I sense from my friends that they are starting to distance themselves, and others, well; they are pretending to be my friend.

“A friend loves at all times; and a brother is born to adversity.”
…………………………………………………………………….Proverb 17:17

How can I change? Yes, you and I need to make changes. It starts with a hello, a wave, not turning one’s back on another, the famous “pretending” not to see someone, giving a ear to listen to someone who may not have another person in their life today to talk too, a smile of warmth, holding a door with a smile, “Pardon me or please forgive me” instead of I am sorry. Hugh difference when you ask them to make the decision.

The most important change for you and I is a silent prayer to God thanking Him for all our blessings and telling Him you love Him. Yes, tell Him you love Him and ask for His strength and mercy we so need. You should always pray and ask for God’s mercy, as you should show mercy to those you love. You cannot ask for more than mercy from those who care for you; as a merciful person will share in your misfortune and suffering, and do whatever it takes to help you. And yes, this is what God’s mercy is for us.

For whatever reason, if a prayer is not possible right now, God would love just to hear your own words. Make it your own words and feelings your prayer to Him. Just open up and tell Him. Don’t hold back. Just talk from the heart!

Express your love to Him and ask Him to share it with all those in, as well as those, not in your life today.

“………………………………..the heart reflects the person.!!!!”

Conor
Find A Way!!

Virtues

Chastity___________________________ Lust

Temperance_________________________ Gluttony

Generosity_________________________ Greed

Diligence__________________________ Sloth

Forgiveness and Meekness___________ Anger or Wrath

Kindness___________________________ Envy

Humility___________________________ Pride

What Column are we in or making headway towards?

Conor
Find a Way!

God is loving and merciful; not sensible

Matthew’s gospel, (18:1-5, 10, 12-14)

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me… See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”

Is that the sensible thing to do? Leave 99 sheep and look for 1 and put the 99 at risk. In today’s world, do businesses that loses 1% focus on the 1%, or try to maintain and grow the 99% of his business? Many would say the sensible thing to do would be to managed the 99% and forget about the other 1%.

What about the parable of the Prodigal Son who takes his inheritance and squanders it away on fun, foolishness and prostitution? He ends up with nothing, whereby; he has nothing, “not even scraps that dogs get from their Master.” He is forced to go back home to his father and what does the father do? Does he lay in judgment of his lost son, or when he sees his son coming home, throws a celebration, slaughters the fattest calf, gets the finest clothes for him and welcomes him home with no questions, or no judgments of his actions? Is that what most people would do in the same situation?

Is the father acting sensibly? Just as our Lord was not acting sensibly, or doing what we might have done in the same situation, the Prodigal son’s father was not acting sensibly. He was doing what Our Lord expects us to do; to show love and mercy to all under all circumstances. No questions and no judgment of their actions!

God is asking all of us to be childlike; not childish. He is asking us to be humble, loving and trusting in Him, as children do with their parents. God is a God of love and mercy and that is why He had to find the lost sheep. That is why the Prodigal Son was welcomed home with love, mercy and understanding and no judgment of his actions.

How can we stop being sensible with those around us? How can we eliminate an eye for an eye when someone does something to us? That may be sensible or make us feel better getting even with others, but being sensible is not what we are call to do. How can we criticize people, judge people when we ourselves, are not judged by God?

The God of Love and Mercy.

Time for us to work on our changes?

Be Childlike; not childish.

Conor
Find a Way!

The World and The Church Today

As I sat in church last week, I happened to look up into the balcony, and then around to the side pews of the church, and it struck me how empty they were this day. My mind immediately drifted off to Christmas when there was standing room only. I have seen this many times before, but then it hit me why I was bothered.

Like most people today, regardless of one’s political beliefs, all are greatly moved by the scenes and stories of the persecutions of Christians and the other minority religious groups in the Mid-East. The genocide started last year in Syria, where 1.2 million Christians have been displaced and 130,000 people have been killed for failing to covert to Islam. Now this violence has spread to Iraq, with the continuation of genocide happening now for Iraq Christians’ and a fairly large religious group called the Yazidis.

The Christians and the Yazidis all have been forced to leave their homes with only what was on their back because of their refusal to convert. The other option facing them if they were unwilling to leave, was death by mass grave killings (either alive or dead), nailed to a cross or beheaded by the sword.

Their churches are being destroyed; papers, books and manuscripts dating back 2000 years are all being burned. Crosses are torned downed and burned, while others are used for crucifixions, while others head’s of those failing to give up their beliefs are paraded around town, photographed and put on the internet for all to see and witness.

Readers of history and those who study the bible could take these current events, and if the time line is unknown to them, could very easily think they were reading something happening 2000 years ago. But no, it is now!

We know how small the world is today, but how does one begin to understand what is happening a plane ride 7-8 hours away? How do we balance those situations with our own situations and our faith and daily lives? How do we reconcile those forced to die, as well as those willing to die for their faith, against the empty pews in church I witnessed last week? Where is the disconnect? Why such an expansive gulf? What don’t we understand, but just as important, what can we do?

“For all those suffering persecution for their faith and the love of you, our hope is in you Lord to find the answers to bring those people to safety and rest in your loving care.

Hear our prayer O Lord.”

Conor
Find a Way!