Faith based games for the family?

I am hoping to be able to gather some more great blog ideas for St. Dismas stories here at wordpress and I want to share a personal thanks to a lot of young authors who have picked up the pen to write their own faith based stories. I have had some time to read some of these stories and I think you are doing a fantastic job of composing exciting stories of good faith that will encourage many to gain interest in the word of God.

Recently I have picked up a lot of interest in faith based past time activities and would like to share a few of those here:

If you have a few minutes, check out some of the cool faith based games that are listed there. I am interested in getting my own Redemption cards going and maybe even finding some St Dismas cards somewhere in the mix! This might be an awesome career path down the line for someone who wants to develop their own faith based games for friends and family.

So here is to the ones who never give up the challenge of life, bringing the word of God everywhere they go without fear or hesitation, and a fun way to keep it going! God bless, stay safe and remember the message of the holy ghost:

“Love one another”

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The final days of St. Dismas

Dismas is awakened and greeted by a white dove which lands on his prison cell window. The dove drops some olives from a short vine which it was feeding from. The olives fall into the cell within reach of Dismas. Dismas quickly relives his hunger with the olives, knowing these are his last moments in this life before the day of judgement…

From one of the last pages of St. Dismas’s journal:

This may be my last journal entry, but I will write it anyhow as though my life had some good purpose. They have finally caught up to me. I am a prisoner of the Roman guard. I am sure they have been trying to keep up with me for some time, and that time has come for me. I am a prisoner waiting for my judgement. I know my time of sentencing is coming upon me swiftly. Somehow I feel I am charged with writing the last days of my life. I have awakened from a deep sleep just moments before I started writing this. I had a dream that told me these would be my last moments in this life. It was a dream that gave rest to my soul though. I will write it here, because I have been nourished by her, the holy ghost who brought me these olives. Last night I fell asleep, or passed out after being beaten by the guards. It was the deepest sleep I have ever felt. It was as though I had accomplished my life’s demands and my body was laid to rest. I dreamt I was awake with the holy presence. I was by an old tree I used to swing on by a rope as a child. The dream was like a heaven. She appeared and her voice was as the comfort of a silk laiden bed. She spoke softly, comforting my soul.

“Fear not, for I have not come to trouble thee.”

“For today you will witness your heavenly father’s grace which will comfort you in eternity”

I tried to speak to her after I heard this, as I recall in my dream…

“Who is my heavenly father? Why would he comfort me with his grace? I have done nothing to deserve that of which you speak…”

I was interupted, but not in jest…

“From the bowels of your heart will your mouth speak the words which the son of man WILL hear from you, and so shall you be saved by your own testimony.”

I tried one last time to speak to her as I tried to remember her heavenly image in my head. She was like no other I had ever known. She was like a heaven who would descend on her husband and keep him forever in her golden fortress. She sparkled like fine gems in the sun, a reminder to the prince she belonged to, that HE was the lord she served. Her beauty was not in vain, nor arrogant. It was a rare gem to her beloved…the one. I finally tried to speak one last time before the dream faded. Before she faded…

“What is my testimony? Who is the son of man that would hear my last words in this lifetime?”

Again, I was interuppted. This time when I was overcome by her voice, my soul felt as though it was overcome by an everlasting song which she sang. It was a new song which I had never heard before. The song was comforting to my soul and I felt grace within it. As I was being comforted, she spoke one last time to me before I awoke…

“Your heart will speak from the depths of your soul to your heavenly father who can save you. Only then, can you be saved through his grace…”

Then, in a fading voice of glory, she spoke to my soul in the most beautiful voice I had ever heard …

“I am……. the holy ghost….”

Then, I awoke, to write this journal page… I can hear the guards coming towards my cell to bring me to the light of day. This is my time…

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A short truth

In the end, the disciples backed out and made as though they did not know Jesus when it was time to hang on the cross. They knew they would hang just as well if they came out and claimed to know him when it was time to bring Jesus to “evil” justice. St. Dismas must of lived a humble life to be able to recognize Jesus as the son of God in the end considering how bitter Gestas was to Jesus. Gestas was still spitting in the face of God all the way til the end. People dont change from good to evil in the blink of an eye or at the last minute of their life. Good or evil is decided through the majority of our actions and what is in our hearts. St. Dismas knew according to the law that he should pay for his sins, but in his heart he had a love for life and others in it. If everyone had taken their crosses up when Jesus took his up the last day, they would of been promised paradise too. Paradise was the reward Jesus was trying to give back to his disciples for their hard journey with him. Life is about doing what you need to do and then entering the final rest (death). If you are doing the wrong thing in life, or you have a dirty conscious, then you may fear death. Fear can hold us back from entering into paradise much like it did the 12 disciples. In the end, a thief with a good heart was the only one who slipped into paradise with Jesus.

“Behold, I come like a thief ! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.” – Revelation 16:15

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Another page from St Dismas journal

We decided way back that the holy family knows best when it comes to figuring out the safest place to live. Afterall, if their son is indeed the son of God then they would definitely choose a safe town to reside. Gestas and I are on the run anyhow. Mary and Joseph seemed to be eluding some sort of authority themselves, so staying in their shadows has been our best bet when we got into trouble. The years have passed of course and Jesus has become a carpenter by trade. I did not watch him grow up, and we are not here to see him being back in Nazareth for awhile. Rumors of him being the messiah are in many conversations I overhear. I am not totally convinced myself, although it draws my interest, as well as many others here in Nazareth. I would not even bring their names up in my journal, except that they are the talk of the town. Anyways, I heard other rumors there was good business here in Nazareth lately, with ships coming and going with imported goods. I have a few connections myself, knowing some trade savvy fellows along the harbor. I came back to Nazareth to find out some more about these exquisite paintings that were being sold by a rich merchant. The word has made it  to my ears that there is a woman here with a fine talent for art paintings. I could not help but notice the rich traders at the harbor bragging about their expensive paintings – and how much they paid for them. If I could get my hands on a few of these paintings, I could be made for the next month or so. No hard feelings stealing from the rich either – they make it back in a day or so and still eat with their silver spoons.

(3 hours later)

I have found the young woman who is selling her paintings. I can’t just take them from the store front tables, so I have to wait around and follow her home. I find it easier to kill some time by writing in my journal, although I probably shouldn’t keep my journal too informational. But even if i get caught for anything just one time, I will be in enough trouble that all of my crimes would be justified. I am sitting under the shade of a tree nearby and it seems the woman is getting ready to close down for the day.

(1 hour later)

The woman traveled to Mary’s house to speak with her. Yes, Mary the mother of Jesus. Apparently, the woman purchases the wooden picture frames that Jesus makes. I overheard a conversation in the house as the woman was looking over some picture frames Jesus made and had sitting up against the house. It seemed like he was expecting her maybe. I remember Jesus telling his mother that it was his destiny to be crucified for the sins of mankind. Mary seemed very uneasy about the conversation, but I did not hear much before Jesus and the woman began talking. I was not eavesdropping, I just have good ears sometimes.

(3 hours later)

Waiting for the right moment. I followed the woman and found where she lives. She unloaded the frames and I am waiting for her candle to be dimmed. I wonder how many paintings I will be able to hold without making any noise. This is going to be my chance to make it or break it. I feel a little paranoid doing this now that I know who made the frames. But I have to make a living too and I am not going to steal from the widows and the poor. Afterall, I live around them and they are my brothers and sisters. We help one another often and its a general understanding that we do not take from each other. I do not live by any code, but I like to think I have morals in this wretched life I live. I have not even spoken to Gestas about this let alone have I seen him all day. I surely hope he is ok and has not gotten caught. We’ll meet up at the crossroads at morning light to share our discoveries. Anyhow, not too much longer now and I will make my move.

(2 hours later after the robbery)

Well thats the last time I will be doing that. I am still shaken by the moment I gazed upon one of the pictures. I will write it down to calm my nerves. To start off with, I made it inside. For such a wealthy family, the lock was rather poor quality, or poor security I may say.The house was beautiful inside and I found where she kept her paintings easily. I crept through the house with my stockings on and made sure that everyone was snoring before I entered. The empty wine bottles on the table gave me a bit of confidence nobody would be waking up either. Well back to the paintings I found. As I was rummaging through the paintings and slipping them in a bag of mine, I came across one that literally sent chills down my spine. Of course I had to browse the paintings because I needed to make sure they were finished and signed. The one I picked up that was not finished was unique and glowed in the moonlight. Maybe it was her choice of colors, but I kept looking at it because I knew it would be a prize when it was finished. For a moment I admired the woman’s work as I made out what she painted. 3 crosses on a hill, with one man crucified hanging on the middle cross with a crown of thorns on his head. The plaque said Messiah above his head. The two crosses on each side of it were vacant, but it was obvious she had intentions of finishing them. The symbol above each of those two crosses translated to “thief”. Why she would draw 2 crosses next to a messiah being crucified on his cross – I have no idea. Then it struck me in the face – if I get caught doing this, I will be crucified this same week. My nerves reacted to my feelings and I started to tremble as I put the picture back down amongst the other unfinished works. I got nervous and the picture slid off of another and hit the ground coming to a halt as it lay up against a chair. The thud was loud enough to bring her out of her snoring and she coughed for a few seconds. I had to get out of there. I took what I had under my arm and walked very fast towards the door. The last thing I heard before the door shut was the woman yawning as though she sat up on her bed. My heart was racing so bad I must of ran a mile before I stopped. But, I did make it out with a few paintings. Perhaps it was fate I received a premonition to leave when I looked at the painting of the crosses. Anyhow, I am safe now and I have what I came for. Tomorrow we will head back to the docks to make some transactions. I will be away from Nazareth for awhile. A long while…

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A page out of the journal of St. Dismas (In the words written from Dismas himself)

It has been a long night and I am still shaking from my earlier encounter with the messiah. Today I felt a strong spirit come about me, something unusual. It all started when I was at a gathering with a crowd listening to Jesus preach about the blessings of God. I could not help but stay and listen with the crowd cowering in the back. I did not want him to notice me. I must admit I have been more and more curious about Jesus ever since I had bribed my cousin not to rob his family on their way to Egypt. I cannot call what I am doing as spying since I am not against this man. Afterall, I think that I deserve a little credit for saving his family the grief of being robbed. That was a long time ago and Jesus has grown since then. Gestas and I have been following him in search of more wealth. Now that he is older and making a living as a carpenter, we feel if the wise men bring him another horde of wealth it is in our best interest to take a bit. These are hard times. I get a headache everytime I hear Jesus speak about the blessings of God. I have personally given up on any more wealth being brought to this man myself and I am starting to think it is a bad idea afterall. Gestas still pilfers the locals waiting for something bigger to come up. He is convinced that wise men bring Jesus and his family silver and gold all the time. I am starting to think that maybe this is the son of God myself despite the wealth we are after. So many people call him messiah and I am starting to call him the same in conversations with others. I have so many regrets up to this point and I want a better life that Jesus talks about. Its too late for me to go back to my father who is a wealthy merchant and become like him. He knows of my crimes and will not welcome me back so easily. Especially not if I show up with Gestas who has been by my side ever since we left our homes when we were 15. This is nearly 19 years later and we are getting older. Jesus has grown up so much over time and I should know. I feel as though I have been stalking him all these years. But, his family just smiles at me. We did help them make it to Egypt, but parted ways when we got there. I wonder if they are shocked to see us now and then. I simply tell them our paths cross because we have similiar interests of good intent and helping others. It hurts sometimes to lie all the time. I know these people mean us no harm and it feels good to be accepted by them and not looked upon as a thief. I wish Jesus would accept me as a better person and consider a wretch like me to enter into his paradise. But I cannot join his cause because I am no holy man. My crimes are too great to come clean in a day. And if Jesus is indeed the son of God, then he knows my crimes as well. I am too ashamed to bring up them up and risk embarassment and rejection from Jesus. I wanted to make a point to Jesus that I could be of worth and wanted to live a better life. So I did a little job that I did today that I felt was a just cause. Not just any job that pays either, a job that most people would frown upon. I wanted to do it just this one time, so that Jesus would have a better memory of me, just in case he really was the son of God. I have so much doubt in my heart these days, I cant always be sure. But I hate to waste an opportunity to show someone that I am more then just a worthless thief.

Gestas and I have gotten use to spying on the local guards to keep track of their whereabouts. Its always good to know where they will be and what they will be doing. The local guards are not what anyone would expect. They are filthy whoremongers. I have seen them late at night with their mistresses, sometimes 3 or 4 women to one guard entering into the private section of the barracks. Oh yes, I have my ways of finding out what goes on behind closed doors, and I am very good at climbing rooftops after all these years. The wicked life that these so called officials live is not something even I would consider doing. But of course I am the bad guy because I have no other way of living. I suppose I chose my way of life in some ways, but it feels more like society has molded me this way. Well, tonight was the night I decided to do something more daring alright. Everynight one of the guards comes into the private building with their women, they drop off their gear and head to a smaller room which I guess has a bed in it. I can only see the main section through the hole in the ceiling. They have not even fixed the roof yet after many months. there is an interior cover on it and I would say the hole is about 3 inches in diameter. I am thinking tonight was pay day for the guard who came in. They usually bring some drachmas to pay the women which I see them doing when they are done. This guard tonight dropped about 400 drachmas on the table. They were in a bag of course, but I can count drachmas just by the sound of the jingle. I have been listening for the jingle of change all my life. And just by looking at the bag I knew this would be a score for me. I wondered why he brought so much. Maybe he worked overtime or was a captain. Anyhow, I knew I had to get the bag and I started to climb back down before he got finished with the scarlets. I knew the door would be locked but of course I have my own keys to get into places. I have always used the same lock picks I had since I was 16. My cousin Gestas had given them to me when we did our first break in on a rich merchant years ago. We ended up taking about 200 drachmas that night. Never bothered me though. The old man was cheating on his wife anyhow. So back to the locked door on the barracks, well I got in of course to make a long story short. Took me about 3 minutes. I had to keep looking out for a guard who was posted nearby. Luckily he was talking to some scarlets waiting for the guard inside to get done. The door made a creeking noise when it opened and I started shaking. If I got caught, they would cut my hand off right now. The guard in the next room with the women must of heard me entering the first private section. He yelled out something like “Karl is that you?”. I guess that was the name of his other buddy on shift. I gave no answer as I was frozen up. I shut the door quietly and then I heard the women laughing and teasing the guard with them. I think he forgot all about the noise after they started moaning. I did not get distracted by their situation either. I have always stay focused on my job. Thats how we always make it. As I was making my way out the door, the women were walking away from the guard outside. I shut the door quickly and bolted around the other corner from the guard. I swear I heard him shout “HEY YOU!”. My head was ringing from the excitement of pulling it off so I could not tell. A few blocks away I started counting the drachmas. I could not help but notice the strong smell of freshly baked bread, or bread being baked while I was fishing through the bag. Some old lady who sold bread was preparing her batch for the next day nearby. She did not see me and I am glad about it too. I have taken bread from her so often, even though I have tried to give back to her as much as I can. She is only a widow, her family long gone, noone to talk to. Sometimes she looks at me strange when I give her a bunch of drachmas for a loaf of bread. I just tell her to keep it, hoping she would never know I have bad days and have to steal from her. She always smiles at me , telling me I am a nice young man. My thoughts started to clear up a bit at the smell of the bread baking and I reached into the bag to start counting. 380 drachmas to be exact. I was 20 off this time. Still not bad for someone who is on the rooftop of the guard barracks and counting drachmas by the sound of them hitting the table. I thought to myself what I wanted to do next knowing I had a little wealth to spend. Something Jesus said earlier to the crowd I was behind came to mind as I thought about this. He said give to the poor and the needy and you will be blessed. But if I start handing out these drachmas everyone will know I took them when the guards put up the post for the crime. The guards post crime bulletins on the walls when something happens like this. Plus I did not want to give everything away. I had a plan but I had to wait awhile til it got dark. I knew about what time the old widow went to sleep and I thought I would pay her a nightly visit after she went to bed. As I was waiting I started thinking to myself about the years Gestas and I wasted evesdropping on Mary and her family, thinking wise men would come deliver more gold. I am convinced the wise men only gave them enough to make their journey and establish themselves here. Of course we got stuck when we arrived and starting making our own living on the streets so I cannot feel that bad for wondering about them now and then. After I was thinking about this for awhile, I realized it was time for me to do what I needed to do. I quietly snuck over to the old widows house and entered through the back of her house. She was the only one on the street that had a backdoor for some reason. Of course her home was older and the newer homes probably did not have back doors to reduce the number of break in attempts since robberies had increased over the past 10 years for some reason. Just one more thing that would make it easy for me to get inside. I was not here to rob the old widow though, but to make a secret exchange with her. I knew she would be selling the bread she had for money, so I started to estimate how much she would make by the bunch she was selling. She also had fresh honey that was going to be sold with the bread. I was being careful not to touch anything that she needed to use. The last thing I would want to think is the old woman crying because someone took her food. I did some quick math and started to quietly gather up the bread and the jars of honey. What she was asking for each item I left her triple the amount in drachmas where the bread and honey was at. I still felt a little bad about what I was doing and as I heard her snoring in the background, I used a quill she had on the table and started writing on a clean parchment to her: “My dear lady, please excuse me for my hasteful intrusion, but I have an emergency I must attend to. I must travel quickly and I needed some food for my journey. The merchants are closed, but I smelled your baked bread from outside and it won my curiousity. Please accept these drachmas as a token of my appreciation and apology. I will not be back.” I put the note underneath the bag of coins, grabbed a gift basket near the back door and snuck out of her house. I grabbed a gift basket that was near the back door. A good distance away was where Mary and her family lived. I wanted to go there and deliver the bread and honey as a gift. It would be to Mary because Jesus may reject it knowing who it came from, but I know that he and his family would enjoy it if Mary accepted it. I filled the gift basket with bread and honey and left it on their porch. “To Mary and her family, a gift of friendship to remember through the years – from Dismas”. It was not a big deal for me to do this. Many people who listened to Jesus speak would bring him gifts and leave them on the porch. Noone ever said anything about it. It was a common practice. Anyhow I wanted my name to be in front of them when they got it. And I wanted Jesus to see it too. Now I am tired and falling asleep. What drachmas I have left will be spent quickly when Gestas finds out. I cant help but fall asleep with a smile tonight. The expressions on the faces of those scarlets when they find out they would not be getting any drachmas tonight from the guard has got to be priceless. Of course I would not want to be anywhere near that happening, but it would be nice to be a fly on the wall sometimes. I will fall asleep tonight thinking about the old widow waking up to find she does not have to stand out in the sun tommorrow, or for the next week for that matter. I accidentally gave her 5 times the amount for her bread and honey now that I recount the drachmas. What was I thinking? What came about me. Pehaps the guilt of invading her privacy, or just the fact she has never done anything wrong. I dont know. I guess I just count wrong when I get nervous. Well, if Jesus is the son of God then he will know the money went to an old widow instead of prostitutes. He says do not steal, but I think that when money ends up in the hands of those doing wrong, that is thievery in itself.

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Dismas’s younger year

This is a continuation of the story from the catholicismpure blog. I was sitting outside on this Friday the 13th thinking some more about the childhood of Dismas and I could not help but get in that dreamy state of mind again where my imagination runs wild, trying to fill in all of the missing story that is not in the bible. I try to keep it realistic and sometimes the story I am thinking of gets very deep because alot of the people in the bible are closer together then some of us would imagine. So, I started thinking about the way Dismas grew up as a young boy and what children back then would do in their own spare time since they did not have electronics such as we do in this day. It came to mind that perhaps they were just like most kids nowadays who do not have much money and gadgets to play with, so they played outside. Then for some strange reason I thought of Judas Iscariot hanging himself on the rope at the end of his life. The rope was tied on an old oak tree that had been there for many many years, oh say about 40 or so. Then my imagination went back to Dismas when he was 8 years old, swinging on a rope with other kids laughing and playing. It was, that very same rope that Judas Iscariot would hang himself on years later. The children playing that day would never know what would become of the rope however. Awhile after they found Judas Iscariot hanging on the rope, some of the people who came to witness the suicide were the same people who were once the same children who use to play with Dismas, swinging on that rope. They stopped and thought to themselves – wow, I remember when I was a young and use to swing like Tarzan on that rope with Dismas. So, perhaps this may be incorrect because of the locations of everyone during those times. So where did Judas hang himself? And is it possible that Dismas did live in the area at one point with his family where he swung from that rope? Remember, Dismas’s father was a merchant and most likely traveled a lot. So it is possible that this could be true. Now, if it was proven to not be true, for the screenplay, I think that a flackering image of Judas Hanging himself goes between Dismas as a young boy swinging on a rope. And finally, an empty rope with a noose at the very end with noone around, which turns into a final scene with a young boy who walks up and looks at the rope and starts swinging on it which happens right after Jesus is crucified. If anyone would like to share their thoughts about this, please feel free to do so. I cannot say whether or not I will start writing and piecing together this story, but I would like to have some facts from people who are interested and at the same time keep it entertaining. The whole idea of the story is to give people something new to read which leads to the gospel of Christ in the very end. I see some people hear about the bible and they get this look on their face that its the same old same old. I believe it is time that we expand on bible stories in a very informational and educational way. I would like to call this book “Remember Me” since that is what Dismas said to Jesus in his last breath. It will be a book that is friendly for children and adults of all ages to enjoy. Well, all ages who can read at least 🙂 God Bless everyone reading this who has taken the time to seek out St. Dismas and his story of salvation.

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Did Dismas regret his entire life?

I was sitting outside enjoying the night

time weather about a week ago thinking

about whether or not Dismas regretted

his entire life. We all know at the end of his

life on the cross he expressed sorrow and

remorse, seeking forgiveness from Jesus.

He made it cleared that he lived his life

the wrong way. Perhaps he might of lived the

majority of his life the wrong way, but by

whose standards? The Roman empire’s?

The same empire which allowed gambling

and prostitution amongst its own soldiers?

I sat and pondered this for awhile to the point where

I envisioned myself looking at a scene in

Dismas’s life. What my imagination, or perhaps

my spirit showed me was very intriguing.

I was looking through a crack in a wall where

soldiers were on break, partying with ladies

of the night. I was not focused on the women however,

I was so used to seeing the filth and disguss

that went on in the guard barracks. I wanted to see

who all was on break so I knew who was on duty for

obvious reasons. Some guards were better at spotting

people during the nighttime then others. I couldn’t

help but notice a golden bar on the old wooden table

that beheld 666 imprinted on it. I thought nothing of that

either, never accepting prophecy or anything people

had to say about it. I made up my own fate with my

own decisions. And most of all, how can I regret what

I do when I see filth like this go on every night

with the people who are to look after us. These

guards are our elders and watchers? Pfft..

The golden bar was what I remembered. People’s love

of their money and their pleasure. I could not help but

think that perhaps Dismas couldn’t of helped but not

have any regrets about his life when he saw these things.

To continue his life the way he did, knowing that

he did have a conscious as we all saw at the end of his life,

He had to of known there was evil in the world, maybe just

maybe like the one described above.

This was a short story, I know, and I kind of narrated

it as thought I stepped into Dismas’s life for a few

moments. Its worth considering as well. I do

believe that Dismas was motivated to do some

of the things he did because of bad influences.

And I can’t help but decide that some of those bad

influences were of the golden empire that governed

his era. Even in today’s modern world, with police

officers committing crimes more and more as

they grew in the news, and people rebelling in the

Eastern world overthrowing their own corrupt

government (Egypt, Libya) just who are the ones

to make the decisions in life that will be right.

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