Latest Entries »

“You are not far from the kingdom of God”
Mark 12:34

There are two extreme hardships we have as humans to deal with that rub against the last nerve in humanity that very few humans live out daily as a testament to their goodness and their belief in a higher power, that of God.

The first is accepting blame for a choice made that didn’t go through the steps necessary a good judgment which would have noted and accepted the damage it would cause others and yet would still placed into motion. Everything we do should be put through the trial run in our minds eye, filtered through the heart of hearts, the soul, and then demanded of its action or disposal whichever is truly appropriate.
“The devil made me do it” was cute printed on a T-shirt but will never be an excuse readily accepted. The devil may have been involved in laying that choice at your feet, but please take notice of the word ‘choice’…it is in that that we had a better, certainly more narrow road we could have opted for.
Laying blame at our own feet is a humiliation that garners no praise, and praise is something that we as humans seem to try to wear as a wreath but it is also something which we lack the ability to own without degrading ourselves with further need for accolades and fame.

The second hardship is praising another for our graces and awards in life. It is far easier to say “I made it” than to say “by the Grace of God, I made it”.  It is far easier and allows no humility to express that our sweat and luck processed an end result of riches or fame or even a simple ‘job well done’. Every door that was opened did open because we dared knock but, every simple breath of air we had taken once we stepped through that door was, and always will be, a gift from God.

 “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary,  I worked harder than any of them,  though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me”
1 Corinthians 15:10

It was Saint Paul, formerly Saul, the man who pulled early Christians from their homes, dragged them through the towns and lead to their being stoned to death in public for heresy that authored this letter to the Corinthian people after his conversion. As Saul, he truly believed in God and he felt it necessary to do these things to save his church from these strange beliefs. As Paul, he also believed in God but was lead to his conversion to Christianity by Jesus Himself. In fact, Saint Paul died a martyr because of this conversion, a conversion in which he would never revert from and chose death to a life without Christ.

“There but for the grace of God,go I”
This quote, often attributed to John Bradford, was said as he watched a group of chained prisoners being lead to their point of execution, something which he himself faced only years later. Certainly, as he was a deacon, this statement came from his memory of the letters from Saint Paul.

Accepting blame for bad choices made and having the humility to know that it is with Gods gifts to which we have attained everything in this life, from the next breath to the last, from every dollar, house, contribution to charity…we had very little to do with each and each at the very noticing of God.

God Bless you and keep you!

I wish you peace!
~b
Shine Today™

A cutting board has no use if there is no knife.

The knife has a short-lived use without the hone, but again, the hone has no usefulness without the presence of the knife.

Each with its own need(s) of the other(s) in their use and usefulness.

Which came first? In time, the stone. I have seen many artifacts of knives and/or arrowheads, which are indeed made to cut, maim and/or kill for differing reasons. But then I think about the knife or arrowhead and how they needed a sharpener and, again, stone are used…one harder than the other would seem right.

The cutting board would have never been devised had it not been to save the blade, or the cutting edge, from becoming less sharp from use. A butcher by trade would know how to cut up the animal so as to not engage fully with a knifes sharp edge toward the bone underneath. They would learn how to slide along the bones to remove, or segment the meat, one piece from another.

How does any of this come about?

I started this Sunday within the Book of Wisdom. This book is not contained within the Protestant Bible as Martin Luther had many removed…seven went to the cutting floor but from research it shows that he had actually intended for many more to no longer remain. I don’t understand why, of course, but especially when reading of this book, so many things become more visible to me, I read, I learn, I obtain more to seat myself in a more peaceful existence even when/ while I am also seated in trial(s), I can find peace within these trials.

I often scribble things as I read. Things come to mind as a question for further investigation or a word I don’t know or don’t comprehend in the way it is placed within a sentence. This is where my start was today…for some reason it popped into my head that a cutting board has no use without a knife and then etcetera, etcetera. I started to think on it and every single tool ever made, no matter poorly or through IT, everything came from some sort of wisdom or in search of more or better wisdom on how to do something better or with greater ease.

The butcher finds that he can slide his sharpened knife up along the bone to remove segments of the animal more easily but then comes time to hack at a part that needs removing. It destroys the blades sharpness and causes many sharpening sessions to complete his task. He walks into his friends’ furniture factory and witnesses a person cutting through great lengths and hardness of wood with ease…his first sighting of a band saw. He runs back to his shop and drags back a side of beef. Within minutes he has an entire side of beef quartered and cut to his customers needs/wants. His friend is none too happy about the blood and bone fragments on and within his band saw but he remembers his first witnessing the use of a band saw and understands his friends’ excitement at this discovery.

We now have two people who are more learned and will educate many more people in the use of a saw versus a knife in their work…it’s formally called…wisdom.

When I read, I often have to reread, as wisdom does not come easily to me often. I have to digest what is meant and if it is with a material thing I have to, literally, put my hands on it and take it apart and reassemble it to understand its works. I know this about myself…also called wisdom.

I find in reading the Book of Wisdom that I have many more questions about people in positions of power and authority. Many seemingly have wisdom but lack the ethics necessary to improve things beyond their own lives. Our country is divided and divisive to an extent that seems irreparable from either side. This is a total lack of wisdom wherein they have made a profitable sum of not only money and fame but the power seems the intoxicating ingredient. (in-greed-ient)

I grew up in a time where our elders were highly figured and they were respected…in my immediate family. My grandfather was an amazing man who lived with my family throughout my teen years. This man knew and spoke eight languages fluently. He came to this country knowing a trade…he was a violin maker, or as he would humbly say, “I’m a fiddle fixer” in every one of the thirty-something news articles written of him. Anyone who played a stringed instrument here or abroad knew of Albert Litto. He had signed portraits of every important musician, most with a kind note inscribed before their signature. I remember him sitting in his chair with the Bible, the Torah and the Quran, flipping the pages reading each and telling me this, “they aren’t very different”. He made replicas of stringed instruments from pictures drawn during the Egyptian era. One of the most intoxicating times, for me and my Mom, was while talking to a man who owned a music instrument store; she had mentioned that her father was Albert Litto. The man turned white, and then pink and he stuttered while repeating his name. It was a very uncomfortable few moments. He then took my Moms hand and led us to the back of his shop and showed us his collection of my grandfathers signed instruments. I had goose bumps and I am very sure I had tears streak my face as did my Mom. It was uplifting and humbling at the same time. Grampa was quite a large influence in my life and I loved him dearly. He knew how to make me laugh, how to comfort me in times of distress and tears, he taught me kindnesses I had never known. He listened when I talked without interruption and he looked in my eyes as I spoke as though I was the only other person on the planet. He was said to have “suffered fools well”. I wasn’t sure what that meant until I watched him speak with someone who spoke great lengths about a subject they had apparently zero knowledge. Grampa listened and nodded, rubbed the mans hand as he was saying goodbye and without one word my Grampa allowed this man his moment, not allowing himself to humble the man as he well could have. I feel the man knew my Grampa knew he was full of BS but my Grampa still allowed him the warmth of a friend before he excused himself. That is wisdom combined with so many great qualities that if it were a cake and ingredients, it would have been the best cake ever.

Now we have people running (ruining) our country, who in their seventies and eighties, have no grasp of this. They pretend to be religious yet their choices and laws made directly break the laws and rules of the church they pretend to adhere to. If you have a religious belief, truly, then you could not allow yourself to break any of its laws and you surely would try to bring others in line with your thoughts and devotions to God. We will never convince anyone to become religious or to follow us into a church or place of worship that they don’t feel. (A Grampa quote: a man forcefully convinced is still unconvinced)

I own just short of a dozen guitars. I can’t play one song. I love how they look and how each sound a bit different but I am no musician, I am no guitarist.

Our president loves the look of the church building and he loves to go there and he takes Jesus in his hands at every Mass but he is no Catholic. Neither is Nancy Pelosi. Neither is Andrew Cuomo.
We can call a peach a pear, an orange, a grape or an elephant but it will never make it so. They have agendas but they left out a key ingredient in what they are baking to get to Heaven.

Wisdom.

Get yourself a copy. It’s really quite easy with the internet. It’s an easy read and I dare say you will enjoy it and, as I did, you will learn something essential that will bring you more peace…even during trials.

God Bless you in all you do!

I wish you peace!
~b
Shine Today™

Belief in (and the optimum use of) law is central to a kind and good life. Laws, at their base, are meant to establish ground rules for each of us to know where the curbs are and to allow others the ability to not be infringed upon their lives and, for us, the same.
The origin of laws certainly pre-dates the Ten Commandments* perhaps to the times of which person carried the biggest and most effective club. If you have a belief in God and His creation, there was but one law: Do not eat from one tree…which was also effectively broken. If you do not have a belief system in God, the first four of the Ten Commandments are moot, but the following six of the ten seem to lay out quite a good system, none the less.

  1. You shall have no other Gods before me
  2. You shall not make for yourselves an idol
  3. You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God
  4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy
  1. (5) Honor your father and your mother
  2. (6) You shall not murder
  3. (7) You shall not commit adultery
  4. (8) You shall not steal
  5. (9) You shall not give false testimony
  6. (10) You shall not covet

Humanity being what it is, there are always going to be power struggles and those of want for money and fame amongst a whole litany of other man-made wants, desires, less than necessary means to a good life. How many conquerors throughout history took up our school hours/days learning? I am not saying it isn’t necessary to learn of history. There is a saying: History repeats itself. I think this is mostly because we have not learned the more important lesson: Don’t do wrong.

We can move on to building the United States of America. We, the people, wanted separation from King George and the United Kingdom (England) so we set forth the Declaration of Independence. It is broken down into just three ideals* and, further, five principles**.
Ideals:
(1) God made all men equal and gave them the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;

(2) The main business of government is to protect these rights;

(3) If a government tries to withhold these rights, the people are free to revolt and to set up a new government.

Principles:
(1) All men are created equal. All people should be and have to be treated the same way.

(2) Unalienable rights. Given to by the creator.

(3) Purpose of government: Protects your rights.

(4) Power of Government: Comes from the people.

(5) Right of Revolution.

How very simple, although, it has found a way to compound into even more rules/words than the latter six of the ten commandments. So a governing body is set up and, again, rules implemented to help us understand said rules and governance. We, quite literally, broke the first of both the ideals and principles while establishing this nation. While slavery is noted even in the Bible and is seemingly regarded as “normal practice”, it is not right to put any human below, or above, any other human, ever. The Jewish people were the slaves of the Egyptians for a very long period of time. I am sure there were slaves well before even that time and it was seemingly precipitous**** even today.
There certainly is racism today. I am quite sure that it exists more in some hearts than others and not at all in a very few select individuals.

(Mother) Saint Theresa of Calcutta comes to mind. If we had a world full of like-thinking people, she would not have been known and I dare say, we would not have hunger or disease or another whole litany of the bad that is/has corrupted the world to this day.

I Google™(d):How many laws have been published in the Library of Congress? It means something to me when one very small item that passes through our elected officials ends up published in a 25,000 page document…and then they vote on it. It was Nancy Pelosi who was once quoted as saying (rightly or wrongly): You can find out what is in it once it is voted on. Not an exact quote, mind you, but you get the idea, right? How can something contain 25,000 pages to define what needs done and how to establish it?
Back to my original Google™ question and this is what comes as an answer from encyclopedia.com:
The Library of Congress, located in Washington, D.C., is the world’s largest library, with nearly 110 million items in almost every language and format stored on 532 miles of bookshelves…founded in 1800 to serve the reference needs of Congress, the library has grown from an original collection of 6,487 books to a current accumulation of more than 16 million books…

I could not find an answer as to how many of these items are artifacts or identical items written in differing languages but the answer astounded me. 532 miles of bookshelves…
We have gone too far. Litigation and any type of law making/writing/adjudication has made us a society of “you’re wrong”, “you owe me”, “You can’t step on my toes”, “you owe me”, etc. We can’t watch a television program without at least one commercial break about how to get paid for something that happened in your life from another lawyer or firm representing lawyers…because 532 miles of bookshelves said so.

All of this being said, I truly believe the United States of America is and will always be the greatest country in the world. There are none like it. We have some cleaning house to do and some straightening out but there is not one other country that has our opportunities or have made the progress we have made without having a dictator and/or some far-leaning religious zealots who really bring their country into deep despair and near zero equality…and no law, except their definitions of what is right and what will be killed.
God Bless all of our military members and their families. Being a Marine Corps Veteran, this past weeks tragedy in the endless warzone called Afghanistan hits hard. The average age of those killed by the suicide bomber was 22. I didn’t even have a clue of life at the age of 22. May they rest in Gods great peace! May that coward (and any other coward who pulls on a bomb vest) know that the burns they received from that explosion are nothing compared to those they will receive…for eternity. I pray for peace in the Middle East and the world. May all of our brothers and sisters in the military come home to our country and know we are in a better place because of their honor and duty to God, country and Corps.

Most everything that happens to us happens because of what we were doing or did. It started at the tree.

God Bless you and keep you!

I wish you peace!
~b
Shine Today™


*Exodus 20 in the Old Testament
**www.britanicca.com
***www.quizlet.com
****adjective. of the nature of or characterized by precipices: a precipitous wall of rock. extremely or impassably steep

The ten most important words in the Bible, issued by God, to God…that are incontrovertible by Gods laws…the ten commandments…that are presumed dead in most areas of society today. Those ten words were made for us, not by us, but were meant to be the highest degree of what we should be and do.

Sadly, such a large faction of humans these days are looking for a payday without proof, soliciting a false narrative that pits men against men, women against women, women against men and men against women. If there is ever a time in the history of humans where antagonism is key…we have found it, we procure it, we value it and we keep it to ourselves as though it is treasure AND we don’t believe this treasure claimed by another is as worthy as our own.
If I show you my penny and you in turn show me yours and then I claim that mine is better, more important, worth more because of my own reasonings, I now have a beef with which I can deny your worth in front of our common family and friends and, even worse, tell people you don’t even know how worthless your claims are. That is called calumny and we have forgotten just how wrong that is.

Let’s say I walk down the street ahead of you and I address a crowd of people and tell them just how horrible a person you are, truth or untruth, it is all the same.

“What if it is truth and it is meant as a warning?”
There is seldom (if ever) a story told that does not include embellishment. If there is one word placed inappropriately or for added flair to the story and that story centers on one individual (or a group), it has been embellished with calumny and calumny is wrong and is a sin. If we have ever told someone about another person and it has no will to protect or serve as protection, it is gossip, gossip is calumny and, again, calumny is wrong and a sin.

“What if it was backed up by fact?”
Joe Shmoe* spent six years in prison for armed robbery.
Joe served his time and was released back to public life.
You heard from Mary Canari that Joe was in prison and told John LeBonn, John told Chet, Chets wife told her friends at the guild, the guild passed it along to John Q. Writer whom owns the local paper who publishes that Joe is a thief released into their community and we should beware.
Joe can’t find a place to live, work, anything…and it happened the same way in the last three towns he attempted to live in.
Joe was wrong in the armed robbery event.
Joe lost contact with his child and is not allowed to see her any longer.
Joe was out of work when he robbed the store that had the medicine his daughter needed and had needed for weeks.
Joe was caught.
Joe served his time.
Joe applied himself in prison and obtained his GED and an Associates Degree in prison.
Joe ministered in prison and got other inmates to apply themselves in positive forms.
Joe was able to get ten men to get their GEDs and Associates Degrees. Those ten men didn’t get out of jail at the same time as Joe and were able to bring others to positive motion who brought others to the same motion and it continued perhaps through ever.
Joe had a mentor in prison who brought him to better himself.
Joes hard work and the work and ministry of his mentor have now been flushed down the proverbial toilet and none of the positive motion will be mentioned in the news that people love because we love to see failure beyond our own, especially grand failure with great gesture, embellished with fancy accounts (lies), even fancier build ups (lies) to the fancy accounts (lies) that end in a spray of fireworks (lies) that all draw the oohs (I bought it) and ahhs (I passed it on) of those involved. It was never even noted that the pharmacy owner found Joes needs, forgave him, got the medicine for Joes daughter and had asked the prosecutor to drop the charges against Joe. The forgiveness ended with the one person who was actually in harms way.

“What if nobody listened?”
Do you scroll through the news stories on the internet? Which stories stop you and make you read them? The more sensational or racy headline stops everyone who is looking for that gossip and even those who aren’t but have become intrigued. It’s human. I can open up Google™ for a recipe and the newsfeed follows and something catches my eye. I go to read it forgetting that I wanted my cheesecake recipe until I have read six other stories connected. Google™ made out with their advertising skills and got paid, I now have something to add to tomorrows coffee time at work and I forgot to make the cheesecake. There is a reason people like storytellers and music made by storytellers. If you stopped eighty people coming out of a concert and asked them the beginning four notes that were played in a certain song I would guess one or two people would know. Ask those same people the words to the song…I’d guess at near eighty would know them and sing them to you as best they could.
People listen, period. Choose your words as though you are speaking about yourself and the whole world is listening.

The man was turned over to the authorities for “a crime” that was purely posturing to remove him from being able to remove the comforts they had gotten accustomed to.
The authorities attempted to prove his guilt by beating him into submitting to what his accusers brought forth.
Even with his head bleeding and his skin and muscle being torn from the bone, this man never submitted
The authorities then attempted to release him. The cries from the throngs of people pushed forth that he must be executed for this crime (because of he said, she said) which he had been cleared of.
In an attempt to clean his hands of the whole situation the authority gave them a choice of releasing this man or releasing a murderer into their community. If you don’t think the media has control over the greater populations thinking and actions, you had best think again. They chose that the murderer be set free into their community.
The place where his death sentence was to be committed was a distance away. He was told that he would carry the very same poison that would take his life once he walked that road to its end. They lined the streets to watch. His sentence would be the end of their harshness and carelessness to an innocent man but they would get the most out of it that they could. He was within spitting distance so they spit upon him. (Just think about our returning servicewomen and men from Vietnam if you are sure this wouldn’t happen). They threw stones at him and they even tried to get his friends hurt. His friends were terrified they would be treated the same and all but one hid away. That one true friend we should all be! He not only carried that death potion but he was transfixed on his goal of getting to that station where they would apply it. He fell from his injuries but he got up each time and pursued that poison to be applied! Was he not sane? Had they knocked a screw loose in and during his beatings? Who runs towards death? Who would drag their beaten and bleeding body to the site of their own death…but someone who had to accomplish something greater than death. That poison, the cross, was applied with true animosity by pounding metal spikes through his body to attach him to that cross. He didn’t fight them. He allowed them. Did he cry out with pain? I’d bet on it. He was fully 100% human just as He was fully 100% God. He was not 50/50 as some would assume. He felt the pain as humans do but, only God could have endured all of the pain from the beatings, the thorned crown forced into the skin and bone on His head, the Green Mile He would trudge, fall and crawl. The emotion welled up within Him of being falsely accused of a crime and the same people who witnessed Him heal their own people then spitting on and cussing Him, laughing as He fell, knowing “that’s gonna leave a mark”.
Jesus told His Disciples this (from John 12:32) “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” Little did they know that it was not to be lifted up to a place of honor (do you watch the awards shows of whom people lift up actors and musicians with such fanfare?) but it would be nailed to a tree and that tree lifted up thus Him being lifted up…and that tree would not stay standing on the ground, so there was a pit dug into the ground where they would allow that tree with the person attached to it to fall into that pit until it stopped jarringly at the bottom. I can well imagine where His hands and feet were spiked to the tree must have ripped as it hit the bottom of that pit. And still, this Son of God, hanging between two thieves who rightfully were placed where they were, one to His right and one to His left. The one on His left continued to berate Him and scorn Him. The man to the right took to His defense telling the other to stop and realize they are in the midst of something (someOne) greater than themselves…and this criminal asks Jesus forgiveness. He knows he will die soon but he needed to know his eternity would not be the reckoning of his actions during his life here. Jesus not only forgives this man to His right but establishes that he will be in Heaven with Him this day!!!
Jesus looks out among the crowds administering to His death, all those who spat on Him and threw stones and insults. He remembers they freed a murderer instead of the Savior. He sees the soldiers who ripped His body with the whips and other tools of torture. He sees the soldiers who are now drawing lots for the clothing they removed from His body before attaching Him to that tree. The artists always place a wrap around His waste. You know that any humiliation would not have been complete without removing all of His clothing entirely, right?
I am sure that He saw and spoke to His mother and His friend Mary and His Disciple John as it was noted but even if there were a dozen people who admired Him at that time, in that place, they were well outnumbered by the vast crowd who wanted to witness His death. You and I both know what it feels like to be in front of someone who dislikes or even hates us. Imagine the town gathering to hate you…and before Jesus expires with the words “It is finished” He asks this:
“Forgive them Father for they know not what they do”
The ten most important words in the Bible, issued by God, to God…that are incontrovertible by Gods laws…the ten commandments…that are presumed dead in most areas of society today. Those ten words were made for us, not by us, but were meant to be the highest degree of what we should be and do.

Forgive.
Seek forgiveness…even if the offended does not allow it, God will.
Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
It counts for and against us.
Count right!

I wish you peace!
~b
Shine Today™

*Joe Shmoe is a fictional character utilized to make a point in a fictional story that has many similarities to real life

“Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture, says the LORD”
Jeremiah 23:1

If we could only realize that it is us, we each are shepherds, each in our own special way. Yes, there are priests and rabbi, those who wear and are signified in their place as being teachers of the word of God, but we, too, are significant. If you have once been in the company of another human or passed just one person on the street, you are a shepherd. If you had or had not spoken to them, even in a small greeting, you have thus changed them as each lap of the ocean changes the sand under it and the rock against which it is pitched, perhaps this change cannot be measured by a caliper nor by the eye but know the change is noticed by God above, and not only noticed but noted.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations”
Jeremiah 1:5

This passage should well burn into the heart and soul of all men and women and should be taught to the child as the child will be left here to maintain such goodness and again to teach another child, heir to this same seat.
We were all once touched by the Creator. It was by His very thought we were created from dust.
What have we done with this gift?
A child drinks in all that is done around and about him. When we are busy making the bread they shall eat or pulling the water of which they will drink, they notice the bird in flight and the bug which crawls on the leaf, a stick discarded from the tree which may bring great joy to throw or to jab as a  warrior would, but they care nothing of your tasks which are done for the wholeness of their bodies to grow and become strong…but we do such things anyhow because they are right and good for them.

We teach the child to not eat dirt from the ground, something which my never really harm them physically but in what way do we maintain they not ingest by sight or sound those things which create more harm, lasting harm, transforming harm that can disfigure their path in life, and beyond that, their path in the afterlife?
So many today do not even believe in an everlasting life. They serve no god but they well serve their own needs and wants of this life. They are loud and with much pride and with little dignity. They become like a showman at a carnival waving their riches about and a good showman will have the entire crowds attention, even to where he wants you to cast your eye, you will indeed cast it. Will not the child who noticed a bug on a leaf not want to follow such a person? Of course they would…as do we with other things of this life.

“By the dreams they tell each other, they plan to make my people forget my
name, just as their ancestors forgot my name”
Jeremiah 23:27

Purchasing the newest 55” television only to be introduced shortly after to the 75” and then the 90” and we feel we deserve these things even without being able to afford such luxury, we become dissatisfied with what we hold even though what we hold works perfectly. We fit that 90” television into our vehicle (that is not well afforded) and then we pass by the man or woman with a sign begging for a dollar or for simple change so that they may eat this day. It is easier to pass them by, excusing them, because they may use the money for drugs but do we know that is where your dollar will go? We do not.

“Had they stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people; they would have brought them back from their evil ways and from their wicked deeds”
Jeremiah 23:22

By our simple life and activity, we teach. It matters not if we are good of heart or bad. It matters less if we meant to be this idol or to be a better example of what it means to be good and kind and fruitful. What we appear to be may not be what is welled up within us. I had watched a program on television where a man who lived in a mansion worth the sum of many millions dressed as a beggar and set himself with his sign asking for that simple donation from us and when the day was done, he would get back into his Porsche and return to his mansion. This is, he exclaimed, how he was able to afford such luxuries. Do we now assume he had done wrong by showing up as a beggar? I am not sure and would not pass this judgment but it has shown in my memory far too often when seeing others beg.

Can anyone hide in secret without my seeing them?

Jeremiah 23:24

Know that with each first waking breath, you have made a decision for your day. When we are driving and decide, this time, to take the road to the right instead of where it forks to the left as we have done always.
Where we find that extra dollar and pass the street side beggar and know it was found for him.
Find in your peace how God painted the sky today, within the rainbow or the sunset, as well, and marvel at what He can and will do. It is said that each hair on your head is accounted for, every tear counted and wiped away. The woman who gave two small coins to the collection basket had given more than the rich man because she had given all she had, not just a good portion.
Remember to be a good and faithful servant of God, even when you are laughed at, when you are in the midst of non-believers, when you feel embarrassed to tell of His wonders, when you are among friends and family and even when they have respect for you as a person but not for your God…tell them.

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house”
Mark 6:4

Jesus did and He was murdered in the most heinous way as if He were a criminal like the two who hung at His right and His left. We can certainly take scoffing and such where He was brought to the ultimate shame of humanity.
May the goodness of the Lords Blessings be with you today.

I wish you peace!
~b
Shine Today™

Happy Fathers Day to all of our Dads!

Fathers Day…it is something that my own Dad could not celebrate with his father as he was left orphaned at a very young age. I have two grandsons who can’t celebrate with their fathers as they have never even met. Funny thing,though, God sends in another with the armor. When my Dad was moved to Buffalo from the west coast he took up residence in a home with two women, sisters, whom had never married. They did this thing where they would take in troubled boys and make good men of them. They had a brother named George and George Hans had quite a turn on my Dads life, naming his second son, my brother, George after him. My Dad was a fine man and a good father. He wasn’t much of a hugger, except to Mom, but he did everything in his power to create and maintain a family. He went to war for us, well before our time and he held those things within him. If he ever had PTSD he never let it show, just as most of his generation never did. Imagine being kicked out of your home right after your Mom dies of cancer and then being kicked around as a foster child for the next 7 or 8 years…going to war in a strange country under the direction of General Patton in South Africa and then coming home to have 7 children in 8 years and really sticking to what a father does. Supported his wife and children without fail. Finding the way to make enough “extra money” to help us do our extra curricular activities and help to make a marriage work for the remainder of his lifetime. Remember that he never had a family unit to learn from until he was about 15 years of age and went to war about two years later.

Happy Fathers Day in Heaven, Dad! You were spectacular!

My brothers, all, have been fantastic fathers and I am lucky in that two of my daughters have children by wonderful men and these two men will be remembered as their happiest moments and the strength of what a man brings into the equation.
Happy Fathers Day to Mike and Jesse!

I also get to enjoy being the father-figure to my two oldest grandsons. They have brought more Blessings into my life than a man deserves. I get Fathers Day gifts and cards from them every year even though I am the “Grampy”…which is what my first grandson was able to call me and it carried through.

I am so thankful that my children were able to teach me so very much and the Blessings they bestow made me a father. Each had their own way and each gave me a very different lesson. When and where I did well, I have to be thankful to God for showing me how. The guidance and love of the Holy Spirit surely had a hand in everything I did well. Where I tripped up and fell and didn’t do so well, God provided it in their hearts to forgive and to hold me close again and again.
Without my childrens Mom I would not have these wonderful kids and memories and I thank her for putting up with me,too.

Let us never forget the first Father and we need to try to be thankful for Him and pray to Him not just in the times we find ourselves stuck in the mud of life. It is very easy to pray in bad times, to ask for help from above when we have dug a hole too deep to be able to get out on our own but how many times have we been thankful for getting a job or being able to maintain a job? Even the education that brought us to that ability…it was all a gift from Him. Our ego tells us that we did the work and that we got the job and we maintained the job and we deserved the promotions and security. Once we are able to let go of ego, we learn more important lessons, lessons like being thankful and giving those same thanks to a Creator none like we will ever meet here, although we are guided in His presence from our very beginning.


In Jeremiah it is written: I knew you before I formed you in the womb.
Each child that graces the earth was first touched by God Himself…even those who were so sadly aborted and sent back to Heaven without a chance to do what they would have done here on earth.
In the Gospels Jesus teaches us how to pray:
Our Father, who art in Heaven
Hallowed be thy name.

I wish all fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers, all adoptive fathers and all who had the ability to transform a childs life in whatever way you have touched them and made them happier and better people to know their Blessings. We all can make a difference!

It only takes love and pure guidance from Heaven…with “those who have ears ought to hear” The Word of God.

God Bless you!

I wish you peace!
~b
Shine Today™

In reading of the prophets of the Old Testament we find that what the prophets have coursed through their words apply once to the land of Israel and Gods chosen but they echo still to this day like the spoken word in a deep cavern repeating and repeating for many ears to hear. We could shout with great vigor into a bottle or box and immediately cap it or close off its chamber but once we release that lid or chamber, the voice we had held captive is dead, it lasts no longer than when we had placed it.
The Word of God today is, in many places, doomed to such bottles and boxes. Do not leave your parish church as though you have closed up that very word to keep it but bring it as a sproutling in good soil and give it to those you pass, one by one, and plant it all about your yard, especially near where all those who pass may look upon its beauty and without one word spoken, this beauty will affect their brain with the glory of God Himself. They may not think of the seed or root, the soil or the watering, the time it took to sprout or to grow to the point of leaves and a full bloom. They may not know how it was required to be planted or fertilized, whether it had need for sun or shade but its beauty will remain implanted in their mind, filed from a sheer visual moment, and at some point in time that visual will be revisited and when it is it will bring the exact same devoted joy, even if only for a nanosecond in time.
This is how the Word has survived from the beginning, and in the beginning was God.

From the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, God plants a tender shoot He has torn from anothers crest, the shoot grows into a majestic cedar. It fascinated me that the word majestic was placed to describe this particular cedar. Then this:
“Birds of every kind shall dwell beneath it, every winged thing in the shade of its boughs”. Please insert the words human and soul for birds and winged thing, respectively. We are a world of “every kind” of human but we are one humanity. We need to stop the differentiation and understand that we are one. We truly have leaders and followers, rich and poor, owners and laborers but what we need keep in mind is what is read next in Ezekiel:
“And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the LORD, bring low the high tree, lift high the lowly tree, wither up the green tree, and make the withered tree bloom. As I, the LORD, have spoken, so will I do.”

This, in fact, was proven in the Gospel of Mark 11 in the chronicled story of the fig tree that was in leaf but had not yet produced its fruit. Jesus had cursed the tree and a day later as they were passing by…guess what…Mark 11:20,21:
“ In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”

We don’t have the physical Son of God walking with us, although we do have Him in the Eucharist each Mass, we need to feel Him walking with us as exclaimed by Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians:
2 Cor 5:7
“for we walk by faith, not by sight”

Follow me now, please, into the Gospel of Mark 4:26-29:
Jesus said to the crowds,
“This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and through it all the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.”

Jesus came to sow the seed of The Father. Jesus sent the Apostles out to sow. The Apostles sent their disciples out and it continues on to this day, the sowing of this seed, Gods Word. It is for you and for me to do now and by our sown seed will grow others to sow when we are gone from this earth. We know there are others sowing seed of weeds and heresy into the fields, as well. Today we have university professors (Not Prophets) sowing these weeds of contempt for the Lord and they root and they produce bad seed as well that will be carried by the wind and planted all around. Take an example of the dandelion…it is a weed to most and when the flower dies off it turns into the seed that is blown across the land and takes over another yard and another yard. Remember this,too…that same weed can be used for food, it is also used for bees to continue to live so I think in this…even when a professor is tilting the ear of a young person away from the Christ, he has to mention the name of the Christ in order to attempt to remove Him. In that these people in high and trusted places are still spreading the name and in that, still spreading the seed. It will be upon the student to feed on the salad or hate the weed…and in that I will finish by circling back to Pauls letter:
2 Cor 5:9,10
Therefore, we aspire to please him, whether we are at home or away. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.

“Whether good or evil”.
Keep that in mind as we sow.

May you be and feel Blessed today!

I wish you peace!
~b
Shine Today™

Happy Birthday to my brother Kevin! Truly good seed, well planted!

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

This day we celebrate the Solemnity (a formal, dignified rite; a ceremony) of the Triune (Three in One) God. Through time we have been allowed witness to the three, each in His own time, but given to us for reasons in their own time. We believe God as The Father, the One who lead Moses to recover the Jewish people, Gods own chosen, from Egypt, out of slavery and eventually to their own land which was given to them “forever”…not just for a while…forever*!

Deuteronomy 4:40
that you and your children after you may prosper, and that you may have long life on the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you forever”

God, The Father, made Himself known to Moses and the Prophets throughout time. In Christianity we celebrate Him each time we make the Sign of the Cross over our body in the first point, on the forehead and in baptism by calling Him out first. I enjoy thinking I am baptized each and every time I make the Sign of the Cross whether before Prayer or before a meal, stepping into my vehicle to drive or whenever I think of it.

We believe God as The Son, Jesus. He was often thought of as a Prophet by others, especially during His own time here on earth because the length and breadth of His wisdom was far beyond the teachers and Holy men and women of that time…even from the age of 12 when Mary found Him in the temple and so many were astounded at His wisdom. How many twelve year olds can this be said of?
Jesus lived His life in the land given by The Father, He healed from here, He preached from here, He was taken, beaten and crucified from here. He could still be thought of as a criminal except for the following act…He was raised from the dead here. Crucifixion was a mainstay at the time for criminals and they even had a place for this to take place; Golgotha, the place of the skull. Think of it as what we know “The Green Mile” to be.
We know Him to have been raised from the dead from within many book but I will note here:
 
The Book of Matthew 28:1-3,5-10,16-20:
“1 After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning,* Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.

2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it.

3 His appearance was like lightning and his clothing was white as snow.

5 Then the angel said to the women in reply, “Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified.

6 He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.

7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ Behold, I have told you.”

8 Then they went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce* this to his disciples.

9  And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage.

10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

16 The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.

17 When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.

18 Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,

20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

We believe the third person of God to be The Holy Spirit. Spoken about by Jesus Himself (above, Matthew 28:19) and whom was given to the Disciples on Pentecost as Jesus breathed upon them and flame set upon each of their heads, allowing them the gifts and abilities needed to spread the Word of the Father and of Jesus. In “the gifts” they were able to speak to every nation in their own languages and in their “abilities” they had been given undeniable courage and fortitude to “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations” leading eleven of The Twelve and Paul to be martyred for Gods glory and here we are 2000 years after and still They reign in Heaven and on Earth (and below the earth).

Never forget those last words as they should be engraved into your mind, heart and soul:
“And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Celebrate your faith in the Trinity. Pass The Word of God in any form you can as I try to do here and in my life, even through failure.

Godspeed! I wish you peace!

~b
Shine Today™

*forever was Israel gifted to the Jewish people as acclaimed in the
Book of Deuteronomy 4:1
” Now therefore, Israel, hear the statutes and ordinances I am teaching you to observe, that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land which the LORD, the God of your ancestors, is giving you”
Book of Deuteronomy 4:39,40
This is why you must now acknowledge, and fix in your heart, that the LORD is God in the heavens above and on earth below, and that there is no other. And you must keep his statutes and commandments which I command you today, that you and your children after you may prosper, and that you may have long life on the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you forever.
As a Christian we believe that Israel will forever be the home of the Jewish people by the command of God through Moses and we should forever keep this lamp lit. In these days we hear of people trying to take away this land and allow others to stomp on these rites and we, as Christians, should always stand loud and clear on the principles we know and trust from our Lord and God. Anything else is from satan.

**Photo credit Munir Alawi

Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple area.
He looked around at everything and, since it was already late,
went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

The next day as they were leaving Bethany he was hungry.
Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf,

he went over to see if he could find anything on it.
When he reached it he found nothing but leaves;
it was not the time for figs.
And he said to it in reply, “May no one ever eat of your fruit again!”
And his disciples heard it.
Mark 11:11-14

When evening came, they went out of the city.
Early in the morning, as they were walking along,
they saw the fig tree withered to its roots.
Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look!
The fig tree that you cursed has withered.”
Jesus said to them in reply, “Have faith in God.
Mark 11:19-22

It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
John 15:16

Written by two separate Apostles, Mark and John, and, seemingly, have not much to do with each other in time or fashion…yet they have everything in common. Trust me. I know it’s quite a bit to read and to digest but would you mind reading it once again? I had missed something written that was very, very important to note but perhaps you did not miss it and it makes all the difference. If I shorten the story a bit and highlight some of it, it may read to you the same way it used to read to me. Let me know if this is how you read it, too.

Jesus and the Twelve entered Jerusalem and it was late so they went to where they would stay for the night. They got up the next day as they were leaving, Jesus was hungry…saw some fig trees…there wasn’t any fruit on the tree and He cursed it and they moved on. Later, Peter notices the tree that Jesus cursed was now dead…I am understanding “withered to its roots” as dead. That isn’t what I wanted you to notice but it the second most important part of this passage.
I am telling you I could read it and read it, again and again and I had never noticed (*or paid attention to) the seven very important words I need you to notice and (like me) not ever be able to pass by them again.
Here they are:
it was not the time for figs

Jesus cursed a fig tree for not having figs to eat and…again…it was not the time for figs! He cursed the tree that was out of season…doing its “normal” leafy season thing before the fruit comes…cursed it and it dies. Everyone knows how plants work, and trees, right? They leafy and then they flower and then they fruit from the flower. At this point we can pluck and eat. We can enjoy whether we are hungry or not.

What season are you in? I had been in a very long leafy season. No fruit. Twenty seven years of leafy season…longer if we count the time I was growing up and didn’t pay much attention to God, Mass and the Homilies of the Pastors. If you owned a fruit farm and your plants or trees had taken 27 years off (or longer), what would you have done? If this same fruit farm was how you made your living, how you fed your family, how you paid your mortgage, bought shoes for your kids, birthday parties…
I would bet you would not have bothered cursing them and would have uprooted and replaced them in a very short time.

Two things I need to note here:
One~ God doesn’t uproot us nor does He replace us because we have not been bearing fruit. He doesn’t need us for anything. God is already completely Divine and in that, needs nothing. There are not too few of us who have tried to barter with God…”If You_______, I will ______”. Ever wonder why He doesn’t hear you when you attempt to barter/promise? Me too. Even to save someones life that we love? He heard you. He heard me, too. His knowledge is unquestionable and surely mine is.

The second thing to note is from the third passage above:

It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.

He was speaking to the Apostles but just as in everything He said to them, it was also meant for us. He chose me to type this out tonight and He chose you to read it and He has something more for you to do and, God willing, there is much more for me to do, as well.

Break out of that leafy season.

God Bless you and keep you.

I wish you peace!
~b
Shine Today™

Pentecost Sunday
On this day we celebrate (and I renew) the day of the Holy Spirit coming upon the Apostles, being sent directly from the Father to glorify the Father and the Son, and to guide us in our lives in the ways of the Christ so that we may, too, obtain Eternal life.

From John 15: 18-26

18“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.n19If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.o20Remember the word I spoke to you,* ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.p21And they will do all these things to you on account of my name,* because they do not know the one who sent me.q22If I had not come and spoken* to them, they would have no sin; but as it is they have no excuse for their sin.r23Whoever hates me also hates my Father.s24If I had not done works among them that no one else ever did, they would not have sin; but as it is, they have seen and hated both me and my Father.t25But in order that the word written in their law* might be fulfilled, ‘They hated me without cause.’u

26“When the Advocate comes whom I will send* you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me.

The “Advocate” is the Holy Spirit. He has been sent and is within us, those who have or will have accepted Him as truth will have denied the world and all of its drawstrings and drawstrings have one purpose…like a garbage bag…they tie us up. Remove such things and be renewed this day and evermore. We sin. It is engrained in us to be drawn to such things as physical pleasures whether they be food in gluttony or sexually and alcohol or drugs. We have these passions within us and we need to root out the ones that are not of the Spirit, The Advocate, and live a more pure existence.
Sin happens…but we also have recourse to these!

John 20:21-23

21* [Jesus] said to them again,l “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”22* And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,m “Receive the holy Spirit.23* n Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

“Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them”
“Whose sin you retain are retained”
Two very explosive (and quite often fighting words between Catholics and others) statements given us by Jesus Himself. This is why we believe in the acts of Confession, a Sacrament, placed upon us by the Son of God.
We don’t just all get a pass, folks!!
The waters of Baptism are wonderful, also a Sacrament, but we need to be cleansed before we can be with those who care the most for our souls, God the Father, His most Holy Son, Jesus, and the Advocate, the Holy Spirit…and our families and friends.

Do you remember Saul? He chased down and enslaved the early Christians and had them terribly murdered by stoning and such. Well, Saul was converted by Jesus Himself and was then Paul, and Paul had a most difficult message for all of us, too!

Pauls letter to the Galatians 5:16-25 tells us all exactly what we need and don’t need:

Gal 5:16-25

Brothers and sisters, live by the Spirit
and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh.
For the flesh has desires against the Spirit,
and the Spirit against the flesh;
these are opposed to each other,
so that you may not do what you want.
But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are obvious:
immorality, impurity, lust, idolatry,
sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy,
outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness,
dissensions, factions, occasions of envy,
drinking bouts, orgies, and the like.
I warn you, as I warned you before,
that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, generosity,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Against such there is no law.
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh
with its passions and desires.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.

I wish you peace!

God Bless you this day and evermore!
~b
Shine Today™

%d bloggers like this: