Wednesday, May 27, 2015

WOYWW 312: Happy Faces!

 I'm cheating, I know! This is not my desk this morning!
I had an art workshop last Saturday for my friends in our community.
We are celebrating our 40th anniversary, and one of the activities is an art exhibit.

 I decided to hold art workshops so that everyone who wanted to, could join.

 I love these happy faces!

 And the best thing? Right after our workshop, they went out and bought more canvases so they could continue painting!!!

In spite of all my good intentions, I was only able to make two ATCs!!!
Hoping to make more, so if you want to trade, leave me a message,
and I'll get back to you by going to your blog when I have an ATC to trade!!!
Thank you Julia and all my friends at
What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday!
this is an awesome group!
Happy Anniversary!

 "Anyone among you who aspires to greatness must serve the rest." Mark 10:44

James and John, the sons of Zebedee in the 10th chapter of Mark, are just like us.  I find it comforting that after 3 years of going around with Jesus, listening to His teachings, seeing His example of washing their feet, and not resting because He pitied the people following him, that they would ask Jesus, "We want to sit in places of honor next to you!"  Don't we feel entitled a lot of times like these two disciples? I know I do! When I am impatient waiting for my turn at the doctor's office or in the bank, or in the ladies' room. When I get mad at the person taking my call for making me wait, or the security guard for questioning me.  They are only doing their job, but I feel they don't give me enough importance! Dear Jesus, who am I anyway!??

In Philippians 2:7, Saint Paul said that Jesus "emptied Himself by taking the form of a slave and by becoming like human beings."  God becoming a slave to us all! If we aspire to greatness, we must have servant hearts. I don't aspire to greatness in the sense of being above others, or being exalted. But I do want to live an extraordinary life.  I do believe that God created us to be extraordinary! In Genesis 1:27 of the Message Bible, we read: "God created human beings; He created them godlike, reflecting God's nature." He created me to be godlike, like Him.  We can only be godlike by His grace. I certainly can't be godlike on my own. Everyday, I see the earth I'm made of!!! My weaknesses and my idiosyncracies. We can either be frustrated and feel impotent about that, or we can be like Saint Paul.


 When Saint Paul pleaded with God to take away His "thorn in the flesh", God said to Him three times, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Co. 12:9) Like Saint Paul, we can confess, "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest on me." Having a servant heart and mind requires much from me, but I stand on God's promise that His grace, His empowering presence in my life will give me the ability to go beyond what I am naturally unable to do on my own. 

"Wherefore, receiving a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us have grace, whereby we may offer service well-pleasing to God." Hebrews 12:28

 "With each contribution show a cheerful countenance..." Sirach 35:9
The book of Sirach is not found in every Bible but is accepted by many christian religions. It is the longest book about wisdom preserved from ages past. In chapter 35, we read: "Keeping the Law is worth many offerings... Returning a kindness is like a grain offering; giving to the poor is like a thanksgiving offering... Praise the Lord by making generous offerings to him; don't be stingy with the first of your crops. Be cheerful with every gift you make, and when you pay your tithes, do it gladly. Give to the Most High as he has given to you, just as generously as you can. The Lord always repays and will do it many times over..."

We should give alms, not only during Lent, but all throughout the year. Alms comes from a word which means mercy, and therefore includes not only giving coins to the poor beggar on the street, but any act of charity. We need to do this because it is part and parcel to the command to love our neighbor. Do we want to lend money to the Lord? It is possible! Proverbs 19:17 says that if we are gracious to a poor man, it is like lending to God, and God will be the one to repay! 


There are many famous philanthropists. One of the differences between philanthropy and alms giving is that in alms giving, we give because of a person, Jesus Christ, who identifies Himself with the poor and needy. He said when we give a party, we should invite those who cannot repay us. (Luke 14:12-14) Have we ever considered that that is the reason why we are invited to His party? We cannot ever repay Him for what He has done for us. 

Sometimes our material possessions blind us to the truth that we are spiritually impoverished. There are many admonitions to tithe and give alms in the Bible, so that we can more focus on God's generosity and mercy to us. The ancient spiritual practice of alms giving and tithing is really for our benefit, and we should learn to do it cheerfully. And I do believe we can only accomplish this by practicing it one step at a time.



Joining the lovely Julia Dunnit for a 
peek at desks and projects!
I find a lot of inspiration
visiting my friends here:

Blessings!
Patsy

Monday, May 25, 2015

So Many Books!

 "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!" Mark 10:25

I was tempted to just recycle my take on this last year (you can see it here).  This is just such a hard story to understand. On the one hand you see Jesus looking at this rich young man lovingly.  Then right after, condemning him to a life of eternal damnation just because he would not sell all he had and give the money to the poor.  How many of us would be able to do that at the drop of a hat?  Not many, I'm pretty sure of that! I was thinking if only that man stayed and listened. If only that young man followed Jesus!  He would have heard Jesus' teachings, and little by little, he would have desired to do what Jesus wanted him to do.  


 Jesus said to His disciples, "Everything is possible with God."  We shouldn't give up on ourselves just because we can't follow Jesus perfectly! Just because we can't give up everything and go to the ends of the earth and spread the Gospel. Just because we get impatient with little things and are ungrateful or cannot really forgive.  Jesus already paid the price for our salvation.  We just need to follow Him day after day, and we will change slowly but surely.  

St. Paul wrote to the Philippians: " And I am certain that God who began the good work within you will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns."

 "There are still many other things that Jesus did, yet if they were written about in detail, I doubt there would be room enough in the entire world to hold the books to record them." John 21:25
There is a quote I like which goes: You can't have too many books. Indeed I have so many, I haven't read most of them. But the Bible is a different kind of book. So much wisdom, guidance, stories to ponder distilled into less than 80 books! Even if you read the Bible a thousand times, you'll get even more insight and understanding from its pages. Because the more you read, the more God gives His Spirit! You will see that there is so much beauty and truth in the Bible! Can you imagine what John the beloved disciple said? There were so many other things that Jesus did, and of course said, that even if the whole world was a library about Him, it could not hold all of it! Why? Why did Jesus do all that, and say all that, and not have it all documented?

 Jesus' Word will not go back to Him void, without fruit, without effect (Isaiah 55:11). Jesus showed that when He curses something, it dies. I am almost sure Jesus blessed and confessed growth and healing and strength for all those who believe in Him. In John 17:20, He prayed for ALL those who WILL believe in Him throughout the ages. His Word has power, and that is why in spite of persecution, there is an explosive growth of Christianity today, especially in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Isn't it a miracle that the teachings of an obscure rabbi changed the world, and changed the way we measured time? If His teachings can do that, can you imagine what it can do for me and you?

 "Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roar of the mighty wind..." Acts 2:2
Today is Pentecost Sunday. Does that have any significance whatsover for me and you? Yes, of course, for today marks the birthday of the Church,
On the day of Pentecost, 7 weeks after Jesus' resurrection, Jesus' followers were meeting as they usually did. But this meeting turned out to be so different, it changed their lives. God manifested Himself visibly with a mighty wind, tongues of fire and the gift of tongues. From that time on, the followers of Jesus, who numbered about one hundred twenty men and women, went out to proclaim His message and to teach His way of life. Colin Smith, in one of his broadcasts, said that God does visibly for some people what He wants to do invisibly for most people. It's like a visual aid, a teaching tool. In Genesis, God shaped a corpse, and breathed His life into a skeletal frame to bring Adam to life. In Acts 2, He breathed not on only one person, but on all the believers present, men and women. He wanted to breathe His life into the Church, He wanted to give them power. That is what He wants to do for us as well. ALL of us, not just the leaders, not just the good speakers, not just the theologians. ALL of us.

God does not change. His Spirit does not change. His purpose does not change. Jesus said in John 17:21, "Father, that they may be one..." The gift of the Holy Spirit is a uniting force. When the Tower of Babel fell in Genesis 11, the people were scattered by different languages. During Pentecost, the people of different languages could understand one another, to speed up the advancement of God's Kingdom. When God spoke to Moses through a burning bush, He wanted to give Moses a purpose, to bring freedom to His suffering people. During Pentecost, each one of the disciples had his own self-sustaining fire. God wanted them to each go out and bring His message of freedom to Jerusalem, to Judea, to Samaria, to the ends of the earth. That is our mission too. And we have to remember that Jesus is with us, and He gave us His Spirit with which to do it successfully. Come Holy Spirit, come!


Friday, May 22, 2015

Paint Party Friday: Do You Love Me?

 "...that they may be one, as We are one- I living in them, You living in Me..." John 17:21
Jesus' ways are really far above our ways! Imagine desiring to be one with us! Jesus prayed for us to be united with Him, and with each other. And He prayed this just before He knew He was going to be arrested and taken away. He said,"I pray for those who will believe in Me..."- that's you and me! He wants this so much for us, for us to be united! Why?
Because we can't move forward without unity. We can't grow. Just like in any organization. If there is so much competition between departments and internal conflict, if there is no cooperation, people will not want to work together, won't even want to talk to each other!
I thank God for our family business! I remember when I was young, I was speaking to someone whose family had a business, and she said she would never want to be part of it! She and her parents could never see eye to eye!


 Yesterday, I could see unity and cooperation at work in our business. We were fixing up a new branch, and each one of us was doing what we knew best. My sister Meldy and niece Elyse were directing where to put what and our staff were following and working hard. My brother Robert was drawing on the glass windows. Our driver Brian was buying stuff needed, putting hooks, and hanging merchandise in hard to reach places. I was coordinating with the admin and our contractor to make sure we could open. And we were successful! Our new store is beautiful, and people were almost pleading to come in and buy! We were selling before we even officially opened!
Yes, Jesus' way is best! Unity is powerful and the enemy knows this. That's why he tries so hard to frustrate any plans for unity and cooperation! That's why we need God's Spirit to unify us!

"Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" John 21:15, 16, 17
Why did Jesus ask Peter three times if Peter loved Him? Is it because Peter denied Him 3 times? Is it to give Peter a chance to make up for His betrayal? It must have been devastating for Peter having failed the Lord! Perhaps that's why he went back to fishing. He must have been filled with remorse and guilt. He probably was so harsh on himself.

Then Jesus appears on the beach after a fruitless night of fishing. He instructs them what to do, and they catch 153 big fish. Peter then realizes it is Jesus, and he can't even fish successfully without the Lord's guidance! Peter jumps into the water to Jesus. After a breakfast of fish and bread, that is when Jesus asks Peter 3 times if Peter loves Him. Jesus knew Peter loved Him, but He wanted Peter to confess His love to restore His confidence, to reinstate His place as the leader Jesus knew he could be. Loving Jesus with phileo love, unconditional love, which is what the Lord asked of Peter, should be the starting point of our service to others. If we want to be confident to go out and help and encourage others, perhaps we need to start with confessing that we love Jesus unconditionally. Then, like Peter, who was known for his impulsiveness and his 'cowardice', we can rise above our failings and become the person Jesus knows we can be!

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

WOYWW 311: Of Gold and Pearls and other Treasures

Here is what's on my desk this morning!
I needed an illustration of a woman with a book
and I turned her book into a Bible.
I also turned her mini skirt into a too long skirt! 
With her closed collar, I think I turned her into a nun!
Well, sort of, she doesn't have a veil.

 “I commend you now to the Lord, and to that gracious WORD of His which can enlarge you…” Saint Paul, Acts 20:32
God's gracious word can enlarge you, build you up, and give you an inheritance with all those set apart for Himself. Sometimes I rush through reading the Bible because I have read it all before several times. But when I slow down, I see gems like this verse. When I am able to savor God's Word, I see it as a treasure room full of different finely set jewels, intricate gold pieces and the finest pearls. Just like that room in National Treasure but only bigger, limitless!
Many people through the ages have sought after gold, pearls, and jewels. Some have gone down deep into the sea to salvage pirate's treasure. Kings hoarded gems, explorers bravely set out to find cities of gold, pioneers spent years prospecting the elusive metal. Legends have grown around famous pearls. One particular pearl, the La Peregrina, has an illustrious 500 year history! After being found by a slave in Africa in the 1500s, and worn by Spanish queens and English nobility, it eventually ended up in Elizabeth Taylor's extensive jewelry collection. Once, she recounts in her book, she was so scared because she lost it. It was eventually found in the mouth of one of her puppies! The most perfect pearl in the world being chewed by a puppy!!

 One day, all these worldly treasures will be worth precisely that- nothing! Years and years of prospecting something that is worth nothing! So much time, money and effort spent searching for some elusive treasure under the sea worth nothing! What do I spent my time, effort and money on? Does it have eternal value or will it be eventually worth nothing?
Jesus said we should store up for ourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where our treasure is, there our heart will be also. (Matthew 6:20-21) Let us dig in the vast treasure of God's Word and let it enlarge us, build us up and give us an inheritance worth far more than all the earthly treasures throughout the ages!

 "Glorify Your Son so He can give glory back to You." John 17:1
What is glory? In the world glory may mean being famous, having notable achievements,eminence, being able to break Twitter with a single photograph of your backside, etc. When Jesus said, "Glorify Your Son so He can give glory back to You", what did He mean? I doubt if we can understand this fully with our finite minds. Glory seems to be some fullness, heaviness, beauty of God's character that we cannot really define.
In Isaiah 43:7, we read this prophecy: "Every one that is called by My name: I have created him for My glory, I have formed him: yea, I have made him." Can this be our purpose, our destiny? To be God's glory?

In Paul's letter to the Corinthians, he writes: "Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." (1 Cor. 10:31) Can whatever we do, our work in the office or clinic or schoolroom, our washing the dishes and cleaning the floors, our tedious tasks every day, can they all be for the glory of God? Apparently yes. We can't add to God's glory that's for sure. He is already perfect and full and complete. But we are not. Perhaps our destiny is to be united with Him in His glory? When Jesus' work was finished on the earth, that is when He said, "Glorify Your Son..." Perhaps He was saying, "I want to be united with You once again! I yearn to be one with You." And that is exactly what He prayed in John 17:5: " And now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with the glory I had with You before the world began."
We can't pray that prayer but perhaps we may pray, if we do all our work for God's glory, "Father, thank You for creating me, forming me, intentionally for Your glory. I yearn to be one with You, united with You, bring me home!"



Joining the lovely Julia Dunnit for a 
peek at desks and projects!
I find a lot of inspiration
visiting my friends here:

Blessings!
Patsy