Friday, April 25, 2014

Paint Party Friday: Times of Refreshment!

 "Repent...that The Lord may grant you 
times of refreshment..." Acts 3:19 
Who doesn't want to be refreshed? 
Reinvigorated, restored, rejuvenated? 
It's not cool to talk about sin and repenting, 
but that's the only way to get cleansed in our spirits. 
Much like our body needs to be washed every day 
so that we can feel good and free from dirt,
 we need to declog our spirits of the grime, 
the dirt that accumulates every day. 

Lord, may I see myself clearly, the way You see me! 
May I repent of my selfishness, being judgemental, 
whatever sin You see in me, 
that You may give me times of refreshment!

 "In Jesus name this man
stands before you
Acts 4:10

Jesus was dead, but Peter and John,
his disciples, healed a crippled man
in His name.
Not only could this man walk,
but his whole life was changed.
He could now get a job,
get married, have relationships.
He could have a purpose
and meaning in his life!
Previous to this, 
because he was lame from birth,
he could only beg
and was dependent on strangers
for his sustenance.

Sometimes we can feel inadequate.
We are not always enthusiastic,
confident, upbeat.
Yesterday I was so mean spirited because
I found out we would have to spend a lot
for our renovations for our
store in the Gateway Tower Mall.
I even told the lady I was talking to,
"Para kayong gobyerno!!!"
(You are like the government!)

But I realize today that I need not act that way!
I need not be stressed out.
If Jesus' name can heal the lame,
Jesus' name can bring life to any situation.
His Spirit can give power to an
ordinary person like me!
Because He died and rose again.
That is a reality if I CHOOSE 
to claim it EVERY DAY!
Dear Jesus, help me to be kind today,
help me to be loving, life giving,
helpful and generous!!!

I claim the life you died to give me! 

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

WOYWW: Burning HeARTs!

 What's on my desk this Wednesday?
Some beauuuutiful pouches!
I had this gorgeous quilted Indian vest,
which I never wore.
It is so hot here in the Philippines,
see my fan right there in front of me
when I work?
So I had the vest cut up and made into pouches!
I also painted some canvas
and had them made into pouches as well!!!

Want one?
If you say in the comments
if you prefer the Indian one 
or the painted canvas one,
I will do a raffle at the the end of the week
and pick somebody to receive
a small pouch from me. 

 After clearing up the pouches on my desk,
I started reading from the Bible,
and I read from Luke chapter 24,
the account were two of Jesus' disciples
were walking on the way to Emmaus.
(In case you were wondering,
that's Neil Patrick Harris
pretending to be Cleopas)

 They were talking and debating about all the events that
just happened, about how Jesus was crucified.
Jesus joined them but they did not recognize him.
"Then beginning with Moses and the prophets,
he interpreted to them
what referred to Him in all the Scriptures."
Luke 24:27

 When Jesus revealed Himself to them,
and left, they exclaimed,
"Were not our hearts burning within us?"
Luke 24:32

 What makes our hearts burn? excited?
Traveling? A new gadget? Jewelry?
Lots of apps in our iPad? Bargains?

What about the Word of God?

We have to find a way to make Scripture,
God's letters to us, exciting!
That's why I start my day with 
painting His Word.
So I can keep God with me throughout the day.
So I can be involved and enthusiastic and eager
about my prayer time, my time with
the most important person in my life!

How about you?
What can you do to make reading God's Word
and prayer more exciting for you?
Compose a song? Dance?
Read the Bible as if you were actually there,
an eyewitness?
Paraphrase scripture in your own words,
and make your own Bible?

YES! It is possible to make our hearts
burn for God!

"The promise is made to you and to your children
and to all those far off,
whomever the Lord our God will call."
Acts 2:39.

Sometimes people don't keep promises,
but when it's God who makes the promise,
we can be sure He means it.
We can possess what is already ours.
We can claim the inheritance that
Jesus dearly paid for with
His body on the cross.

I remember a story about a man, a man in rags,
found dead on a bench in Central park, New York.
When some people searched his pockets for his identity,
they found several uncashed checks.
A quite sizeable amount.
We would be like that man in Central Park
if we do not know our Father's promises.

In the 24th chapter of Luke,
Jesus talks to the eleven disciples,
"he opened their minds to the
understanding of scriptures."
Luke 24:45
Then He said, "I send down upon you
the promise of my Father.
Remain here...until you are clothed
with power from on high."
That power is ours. BECAUSE GOD PROMISED!


Monday, April 21, 2014

Be NOT Afraid!!

 "We don't know where they put Him!" John 20:2

As a woman I can imagine myself 
in Mary Magdalene' place. 
I would not have had a good sleep...
who could, after seeing someone you love crucified! 
I would have asked others to walk with me 
to Jesus' tomb early in the morning,
 just as I walked to where my mother 
lay in her coffin at 4 in the morning. 
It was very dark and all I wanted was to be with her,
 just one last time. 
So I can fully understand Mary. 
 Perhaps she wanted to pour out her fears, 
her sorrow, her dashed hopes, despair even.

But because Mary went, she is given a gift. 
She does not know what it means at first. 
Sometimes, even most of the time, 
God's gifts are shrouded in mystery. 
And like all gifts, there is an anticipation
,a hope, then a revelation. 
We only realize its significance, 
its worth, when we stay close, 
trusting, and we ponder like Mary, 
the mother of Jesus. 
She whose heart was pierced, 
"treasured all these things and 
reflected on them in her heart." (Luke 2:19)

The revelation of Easter, Resurrection Sunday, 
is not something we should keep for ourselves. 
Like Mary Magdalene, after unwrapping the gift 
and realizing its value, we should go out and share it with others. 
 "This is what I found out! HOPE is alive! 
All Jesus said was true! IS true! ALL His promises!"

Because Jesus rose from the dead, as He said He would, 
we should go back to ALL He said and live 
the way He said we should live, 
so we can have ALL He promised we could have! 
Thank you Lord for this absolutely marvelous awesome gift!

 "Do not be afraid.
Go tell my brothers..." Matthew 28:10
This is the first time Jesus calls His disciples,
His brothers.
And he says to Mary Magdalene,
"Do not be afraid," because there is a very real danger
for Jesus' followers.
The men were evidently in hiding.
After all, their leader was just killed
for His subversive teachings!

 Today, even when there is no physical danger
for believers,
sometimes it is hard for us to be brave
and tell others about what we believe.
We want to wait for an "appropriate time"
or a more conducive environment.
Mary Magdalene was called by the early Church fathers
as the "apostle to the apostles".
The word apostle is from a classical Greek word 
meaning "one who is sent".
An apostle is a messenger, an envoy,
an ambassador.
Are we willing to be that to our brothers and sisters,
to a world badly in need of hearing
about the man who died
in order to save them?
"God looked at everything He had made
and He found it very good." Genesis 1:13.
What is the Creation story doing in the
readings for the Easter Vigil Mass last Saturday?
And for that matter, why are there
7 Old Testament readings
(including 4 from the Psalms?)
There used to be 12 readings from the OT.

Apparently, the readings for the Vigil Mass
are meant to be a "panoramic view of whole trajectory
of salvation history, starting with creation,
  to the testimony of the prophets
by which this entire history is directed
ever more clearly towards Jesus Christ.
In the liturgical tradition all these readings
were called prophecies.
Even when they are not directly foretelling future events,
they have a prophetic character,
they show us the inner foundation
and orientation of history.
They cause creation and history
to become transparent to what is essential.
In this way they take us by the hand
and lead us towards Christ,
they show us the true LIGHT."
(from the homily of Pope Benedict, 23 April 2011)

In the beginning, in Genesis 1:1, we read that
the darkness covered the abyss,
and I like to connect the Creation story with
the first verse in John's Gospel.
"In the beginning was the Word..
and the Word was God..
the LIGHT shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not, will not, will never overcome it."
(paraphrase by me!)

YES! God's creation is good! Very good!
And no matter what darkness, what twistedness, depravity,
the ancient enemy tries to cover us with,
LIGHT will prevail!
Jesus is risen, VICTORY ours!
And let us NOT be afraid to tell the world about it!

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