Friday, January 20, 2017

Show Us Your Kindness!

"Show us, O Lord, Your kindness..." Psalm 85:8


Is it not that everyone is kind to a bride on her wedding day? She can do no wrong, and everyone is so willing to be happy with her. 

When my sister and I had our double wedding 22 years ago, we did not have a wedding coordinator. I don't think they existed then! So we assigned our friends different tasks. We even had a back up car following our friends who had the rings, and other important things. When I asked a good friend to supervise the flowers, she asked, "That's all you need me to do?" She wanted to do so much more for us. The day before my sister Tina's wedding, my sisters and I were down on our knees fixing her vintage wedding gown. I think that is how God is with the Church, His bride. 


In the Old Testament, there is a story of King David, who had been hunted down like an animal by King Saul. But David loved Saul's son Jonathan. When Jonathan died, David said, “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”(2 Samuel 9:1) This is a picture of how God looks for ways to show us kindness, to bless us. 

We are as beautiful as a bride to Him, no matter how ugly we see ourselves! And sometimes, we are the ones who hinder Him from loving us. Under the steady gaze of His love and mercy, do we hide and say, "No Lord I am not worthy"? Or do we approach Him like an excited bride, hands open and willing to receive all His love? Yes Lord, show me Your kindness! Pour down Your favor!  

Thursday, January 19, 2017

To Do Your Will!

"To do Your will, O my God, is my delight..." Psalm 40:8


Many people start the year with new year's resolutions and good intentions. But I doubt if many write down: "Find out what God's will is, and do it!" I didn't! But when we come down to the nitty gritty, that's the only sure fire way to get permanent change and transformation to come into our life. A change of heart is what we need. And God is willing to get into the day to day messes we get ourselves in, the complicated relationships, the debt, the struggles with weight and alcohol and all sorts of addiction. He waits for us, standing at our door. He's eager for us to ask Him to come in, sit down and have a cup of whatever we have to give Him.  


Father, I know You love me with an inexplicable love, and I know You have a dream for me, a plan much better than I can make for myself! You can make 2017 the best year ever for me, if I surrender everything to You. Just like the little boy who gave all his loaves and fishes to You, I give You all my plans, resolutions, dreams, abilities, gifts, talents, resources, even my many weaknesses and shortcomings. I know that in yielding to You, I can only become a better and better version of myself! 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

WOYWW: Deeply Grieved!


This is my desk. 
I am working on my planner. 
This desk mirrors the state of my craft room!


My family and our business
were featured in Family Time magazine. 


Here's a picture of my dad, 
me and my two sisters Meldy and Peggy. 


Thank you, Family Time, for featuring us
during our 50th year anniversary! 



"He was deeply grieved..." Mark 3:5

What grieves Jesus? Most likely what grieved Jesus when He walked the streets of Jerusalem, still grieves Him now. In Mark 3, we see Him show up in the synagogue, a place where people go to meet God. Unfortunately, the Pharisees, when they see Him, follow Him with their eyes for the express purpose of catching Him doing something wrong. Jesus was deeply grieved that they closed their minds and hearts against Him. They miss encountering Jesus, and instead close the door to blessing and grace. They miss an adventure with the living God! 


I wonder how many adventures I've missed by being too careful, too judgmental, too finicky. Have I grieved Jesus because I closed my mind against what He wanted me to experience? When God shows up, using people to act or speak, have there been times I looked at them with suspicion? In Luke 9:50, Jesus said, "Do not forbid it; for whoever is not against us is for us." 

Lord, may I not grieve You by closing my mind against something new, something different You want for me. May I, like the man in the synagogue, stretch out my hand to You, in trust and openness, accepting all You want to give me! May I not put boundaries around what You can or cannot do in my life. 



Joining the lovely Julia Dunnit for a 
peek at desks and projects!

I find a lot of inspiration
visiting my friends here:

Blessings!
Patsy  

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Don't be Lazy!

"Do not grow lazy..." Hebrews 6:12


 
I usually sleep early but I was unusually lazy and tired last night. We ate dinner at  5:30 pm and I went right to sleep right after. It wasn't as if I had a back breaking day. We just went to visit our stores in Glorietta and Ali Mall! And what do I wake up to? This verse in Hebrews 6:12! God certainly has a sense of humor!

Do not be lazy, Saint Paul admonishes the Hebrews. Do not be slothful, or become spiritual sluggards. Instead we have to be diligent and sincere in helping His people, in loving others. Indeed it is in loving that we show ourselves to be truly His children. It certainly is a mystery to me why God chose to make men and gave them free will. There's a saying that when a woman gives birth, it's like her heart is walking around in another's body. Isn't it the same way with God?



He loves each of us so much, that His heart and His Spirit dwells within us. I can't imagine how much pain that gives Him! In the Bible, we can read about how He loves, and forgives again and again until He bleeds to death from the effort! Can we love like that? I have no illusions about myself. I flat out can't. But God is saying to me, don't be lazy! 

Lord, may I continue to learn, to be diligent, to practice, and imitate the saints! 

Monday, January 16, 2017

New Wineskins!

"No man pours new wine into old wine skins." Mark 2:22

 
Having never seen an old nor a new wineskin, this analogy is lost on me. Nowadays Wineskin is an app you use so Windows software can run on the Mac OS. 

But what did Jesus mean? Wine skins made from goat, ox or pig leather are still in use in Spain and in the East. Old skins break easily if new wine is put inside because of fermentation. The new wine would swell and burst them open. I imagine myself listening to Jesus, following Him around. Would not His words be like new wine, exhilarating, fresh, original? Would not the words of the Pharisees and teachers of the law be in contrast, stifling, full of prejudice, and petty? I see Jesus healing on the Sabbath, and I experience freedom. I hear Him speak about the Kingdom of God and my heart sings. I listen to every word, and I follow Him. He doesn't turn me away. He wants me to listen. He heals the blind, the lame, the lepers! I too am made whole by His words, His touch. Nothing is the same! And the name too sacred to be spoken, Y-H-W?  I can call Him Abba Father now! 

Lord, I want Your new wine! Thank You that each one of us can drink from Your well, and never thirst! Thank You that You are as near as a prayer, and Your Spirit dwells in me!  

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Lion in the Lamb

"See that you never despise one of these little ones." Matthew 18:10


If I was one of Jesus' followers, I would never have been able to predict what He would say or answer. One day the disciples asked Him, "Who is of greatest importance in the kingdom of God?" I don't think I would ever have guessed that "a little child" would be His answer. But He's consistent. "Whoever makes himself lowly, becoming like this child, is of greatest importance in that heavenly realm." The lowly, the humble, the docile, the peaceful, the submissive, the obedient- these are all words that describe the God who was so humble He was willing to enter humanity as a little, defenseless child in a poor, nondescript family. 

But Jesus did not remain a lamb for long. There was a lion in Him, just as there is a lion in all of us. God's heart is fierce, and full of adventure. You can see that part of Him in the raging storm and majestic mountains. I think one of the reasons Jesus tells us not to despise the little ones, and that includes the poor, the downtrodden, those who have no voice, is He sees their potential. He sees what they can become. Each child, each man or woman has dignity as God's child. Each one is as important to Him as a CEO in a Fortune 500 company, as a brain surgeon, as the King or President of a mighty nation. God puts a seed of greatness in each one of us. He breathed His mighty Spirit into each one of us! Anything is possible for one who believes! 


Lord, You gave me so much! So many gifts, and talents, so many people around to look up to and find inspiration from. Help me to see them that I might bless others. Teach me to encourage others to see their worth and dignity as Your child. Help me to see them as You do! 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Living Word

"God's word is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword." Hebrews 4:12


Why do I believe that the word of God is quick, and powerful, alive energizing, and active? When my mom learned that she had cancer, she would have these bouts of depression, and I would read to her from the Bible. After reading for some time, she would tell me she felt much better.   

I had DVT before, deep vein thrombosis, and my doctor said I would need to wear thick awful stockings and drink blood thinners forever! Proverbs 4:22 says that the word of God is medicine, healing to our flesh. I recited and listened to healing verses, and today, I don't need to wear the fashion changing stockings nor drink warfarin anymore. 


I knew God was calling me to my community, Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon, that Ligaya was my Jerusalem, because of God's word that leaped out of the pages of my Bible (too long a story!). God speaks to me through my Bible. He confirms His instructions through His Word. If I am facing a challenge, I can look for His promises, and say to Him, "Lord, You said this...I am holding You to it. After all, You said Your word will not return to You void." 

Lord, thank You for showing me that Your word is alive. Thank You that You quicken my heart and mind every morning, when I read it and ponder it. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Into His Rest

"Let us strive to enter into God's rest." Hebrews 4:11


Strive. Be diligent. Labor. Be zealous and exert ourselves. Make every effort. So many words that seem the direct opposite of rest! 

We had our company Thanksgiving Party yesterday in gratefulness to God for the blessings of 2016. We wanted to celebrate with our employees and to thank them for all their hard work and sacrifice. Previous to the party, there was all the planning and thinking which we did since November last year. We thought that with 21 stores, we had to have a short participation from each one, a mannequin challenge! We started buying the prizes early. My sister thought of the sequence of the presentations, the game, the video, the raffle, etc. Everything had to be thought out in advance and assignments given. We had to buy a sound system so what happened last year wouldn't happen again. We had to follow up that the photo booth people would come with the right design for the picture. The different branches had to practice for their presentations, prepare their costumes, video their mannequin challenges. And on the day itself, so many had to do their assignments so it would all come together. Whew! What a lot of striving and laboring! 



Well today, I can rest! I am so happy it went well! The concept of rest in the Bible is huge, but we can think of it in the same way. We have to strive and labor now, so we can enter into God's rest. But we can also be confident that God has done everything we CANNOT do to get us into His rest. He has done His part. From the 1st chapter of Genesis up to the Gospels, and to Revelation, we are invited to come into the rest of God, to be restored. Thank You Father for the invitation. We can look forward to resting in Your love! 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Hearing God!

"Today, if you should hear His voice, harden not your hearts..." Hebrews 3:7-8



Obedience brings blessing and disobedience closes the door. But how can we obey if we do not recognize God's voice?  It seems as if the prophets in the Bible could talk to God, even argue with Him and bargain! 

 
The thing is if we want to know God's voice, we have to spend time with Him. It's like talking to a good friend on the phone. Even if we don't see him or her, we recognize their voice, we can even tell their mood! In a study conducted by Canadian linguists, they found that most people could identify a friend or relative's voice after hearing just 4 syllables. We should make it our aim to recognize our Father's voice. If we want to hear Him, He will find a way for us to hear Him. But first, I think we should get familiar with His words and promises, so when He speaks to us, we will know it's Him. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

WOYWW: Prayer


This morning, I was working on my planner.
I discovered that I am able to make use of it more
if I add embellishments! 



Here is the first week of January 2017 all done. 
If you see pictures of pirates,
that's because we all dressed up in pirates' costumes
for New Year's Eve.
Next year, we plan to be aliens.
Don't ask me where these ideas come from.



"Everyone is asking for you." Mark 1:37

Can you imagine how many people were looking for Jesus? Huge crowds of people from all over would follow him. Some came to gawk because of the miracles. The deaf, dumb, blind and lame would be healed. Then there were the demon possessed who would for sure add to all the commotion and noise around. It's a wonder Jesus would get any time to sleep and rest. 

In Matthew 1:35, we read that after all the work of healing and ministering, Jesus did get some sleep, but He awoke long before daybreak and went out alone into the wilderness to pray. It was very important for Him to connect with His Father. This shows me how important, how very essential prayer is. Prayer is not the work of women only, not the work of sissies or weak people. Prayer is necessary if we want to get the job done, if we want to get our marching orders, if we want things to happen! 

Prayer is how we "abide". In John 15:4-10, Jesus instructs us to abide in Him if we want to bear much fruit. Father Michael Scanlan died at the age of 85, just a few days ago. He helped revitalize the Catholic faith, and was called "the giant in our midst". He led so many into a deeper relationship with Christ and openness to the Holy Spirit. He is an example of what can happen if we abide in God, and become men and women of prayer. Sister Ann Shields said he was always in prolonged prayer. Father Davis said that he would have his daily planner open and he would ask God what he should do very early in the morning. 

Father Scanlan shared in his book, "Let the Fire Fall", that while walking through a hotel lobby in Michigan, he noticed a young boy screaming and rolling around the floor. A crowd was gathering much like it would have gathered around Jesus. Father Michael heard God asking him to pray for the boy for total healing. He was astonished because he suspected the boy had Down's Syndrome, which is a genetic defect. Every cell in the boy's body had an extra chromosome! But God asked him to pray and he did! That young boy is now healed and when doctors ran tests they could not find any trace of Down's Syndrome in his body!

Lord, may we learn to abide in You. May we be intimately connected to You. May I, like Jesus, learn to listen to You and obey You. 



Joining the lovely Julia Dunnit for a 
peek at desks and projects!

I find a lot of inspiration
visiting my friends here:

Blessings!
Patsy  

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

What is Man?

"What is man that You should be mindful of him?" Hebrews 2:5


Worldometers claims that the current population of the world today is 7.4 billion with the Philippines contributing 103 million to that number. How can we say then that God minds each one of us, loves each one as if there is only one of us to love? Does He really? 

Beth Moore, a preacher I like to listen to, tells a story about when she was in a crowded airport hall, and a stewardess pushed in a man in a wheelchair. His hair was long and scraggly, and he was just a sight that everyone followed their progress. Beth heard God say that He wanted her to brush his hair. She was quite adamant at first and didn't want to obey, but God was persistent. So eventually she went over and asked the man in a whisper if she could have the honor of brushing his hair. He couldn't hear very well so she had to repeat her question several times until the whole hall could hear, and he said yes. She had to find his hair brush in his bag because she didn't have one. It took some time before all the tangles of his matted hair became smooth. Then she got up, kneeled down in front of him, saw his tears, and asked, "Sir, do you know Jesus?" 



"Yes I do. My bride said I would have to know Jesus before she'd marry me so I read the Bible and I got to know Jesus. But I've been in the hospital a long time and now I'm going home to my bride, and I thought that I must look a terrible mess and was feeling sad because I couldn't brush my hair by myself. Thank you so much. Thank you." By this time a lot of people, including the stewardess had tears running down their faces. 

Yes, God cares. He cares about what we care about. It's mind boggling to think that God would care about one man in 7.4 billion people, that He sent Beth to untangle his hair so he would feel he was presentable to see his bride. 

Lord, I know You care about me. I don't want to take for granted all the times You take care of me!  

Monday, January 09, 2017

Here is My Servant

"Here is my servant...not crying out, not shouting..." Isaiah 42:1-2

 
Jesus said, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth," in Matthew 5:5. Even if Jesus was meek, many do not want to be meek, as meekness is equated with being a whimp, a sissy, and who wants to be that? That is why we encounter many people who want to throw their weight around, who act entitled, and who get mad at the slightest offense. I can be like that, and if most of the time I am not, it is all God's grace! God and me, we are working on that together!

The Greek word for meekness means "the wild horse that has become obedient to bit and bridle, that has been broken in". So it is actually strength under control, under submission to the Master. Charles Spurgeon listed the qualities of a meek person, and he certainly is no whimp! He has to be humble, gentle, patient, forgiving, and content! So difficult to control our emotions, to have a mastery of self and be all those things! 

There is a story of George Washington one day talking to General Lafayette. An old black slave passed them, tipped his hat and bowed. "Good morning!" he said. George Washington stopped what he was saying, removed his hat, bowed and greeted the slave back. General Lafayette was surprised and asked: "Why did you bow to a slave?" And Washington answered: "I would not allow him to be a better gentleman than I!" 



It takes a strong man or woman to be meek. The best use of power is to use it over our lives, over our emotions, and over the words we speak. 

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Wise Men!

"Where is the newborn king of the Jews?" Matthew 2:2


The story of the astrologers or magi traveling from a far away land to pay homage to the newborn king of the Jews is the stuff of legends and amazing stories. Imagine, they actually followed a star that moved, that went ahead of them, leading the way, until it remained stationary above the manger where Jesus was born! Then there is the prerequisite villain, a powerful King who pretends to want to know where the baby is, to pay Him homage, but actually wants to destroy the baby!



The Magi, men from an ancient tribe, were the first Gentiles to worship Jesus and give Him gifts. Saint Paul says in the 3rd chapter of Ephesians that God's secret plan is now revealed. That we Gentiles are now co-heirs with the Jews, and sharers of all the promises given to them. WE can be the Magi, the wise men, who left their homeland and all that was familiar and comfortable in search of a far better kingdom, tribe and family. We are wise indeed if we spend our whole life in search of our King, in search of the One foretold in ancient scriptures, and finding Him, follow His way. 



 

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Do Whatever He Tells You!

"Do whatever He tells you." John 2:5


The story of the wedding at Cana is very exciting for me for many reasons. One of them is you see the interaction between mother and son. How many times has a mother asked her son to do something and he gives a reason why he can't? It is amusing to see the same with Mary and Jesus! Mary informs him: "They have no more wine." Right away, Jesus understands what she is asking of Him, but still He answers, "Dear woman, what is that to you and to Me? My hour is not yet come." 


I ask my son Josh to do something, and he has all these excuses. But a mother knows things her children don't. A good mother won't push a child to accomplish things he or she is not prepared for, not ready for. A good mother sees the potential in her children, encourages, gives them the tools and the opportunities to let them bloom and bear fruit. I was happy that one of the things Josh honored me for on my birthday was that I believed in him, and always encouraged him. 



In the wedding at Cana, Jesus performed His first miracle. It took the prodding of His mom who did not listen to his excuses! The result? Jesus turned water into wine, and showed the world who He was! As parents, we need to recognize our children's gifts and talents. We must help them, especially while they are still young, to use their charisms and not be afraid. And should they fail, or make mistakes, we must help them get past it and move on. I know of a parent who kept telling her son he was dumb, didn't know any better, because he kept failing his subjects. My sister told her to change her tactics and make him believe in himself. The mother followed her instructions, and her son did so much better in school. 
 
Lord, our children may not be able to turn water into wine, but we pray that they will use the many gifts, talents, and resources You have lavished them with. Thank You for loving them more than we parents ever could! Thank You that You have a plan for their lives. Help us to be good and loving parents. We pray that in all respects, our children will prosper even as their soul prospers (3 John 2). 

Do Whatever He Tells You!

"Do whatever He tells you." John 2:5


The story of the wedding at Cana is very exciting for me for many reasons. One of them is you see the interaction between mother and son. How many times has a mother asked her son to do something and he gives a reason why he can't? It is amusing to see the same with Mary and Jesus! Mary informs him: "They have no more wine." Right away, Jesus understands what she is asking of Him, but still He answers, "Dear woman, what is that to you and to Me? My hour is not yet come." 


I ask my son Josh to do something, and he has all these excuses. But a mother knows things her children don't. A good mother won't push a child to accomplish things he or she is not prepared for, not ready for. A good mother sees the potential in her children, encourages, gives them the tools and the opportunities to let them bloom and bear fruit. I was happy that one of the things Josh honored me for on my birthday was that I believed in him, and always encouraged him. 



In the wedding at Cana, Jesus performed His first miracle. It took the prodding of His mom who did not listen to his excuses! The result? Jesus turned water into wine, and showed the world who He was! As parents, we need to recognize our children's gifts and talents. We must help them, especially while they are still young, to use their charisms and not be afraid. And should they fail, or make mistakes, we must help them get past it and move on. I know of a parent who kept telling her son he was dumb, didn't know any better, because he kept failing his subjects. My sister told her to change her tactics and make him believe in himself. The mother followed her instructions, and her son did so much better in school. 
 
Lord, our children may not be able to turn water into wine, but we pray that they will use the many gifts, talents, and resources You have lavished them with. Thank You for loving them more than we parents ever could! Thank You that You have a plan for their lives. Help us to be good and loving parents. We pray that in all respects, our children will prosper even as their soul prospers (3 John 2). 

Friday, January 06, 2017

My Beloved Daughter!

"You are My beloved Son. On You my favor rests." Mark 1:11


In another version, we find: "Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well-pleased." And in the Amplified, in Matthew 3:17, it says, "This is My Son, My Beloved, in Whom I delight." I went through different versions because I imagined myself, during my baptism, with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit being present along with my parents and godparents. God looked down and said, "This is my beloved daughter! My favor rests on her! I delight in her! She pleases me well!" Blasphemy? Indeed no!


Jesus paved the way for us to be part of His holy family. We are adopted sons and daughters of God. In 
Matthew, we see a longer retelling of Jesus' baptism than that we find in Mark. We see that John the Baptist protested strenuously to Jesus' request to be baptized, but Jesus insisted. "This is the fitting way to fulfill all righteousness, to perform completely what is right." (Matthew 3:15, Amp.)


Jesus went into the waters of baptism just like any sinner. He joined with us, sinful humanity, and shared the travails, weakness and death of ordinary human beings. Because of His obedience, the Father was well pleased with Him. In His baptism, the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, were present. In our baptism, Father, Son and Spirit were present as well. We are one family, one church. And when Jesus was baptized by John, even though He did not need it, He was saying to each one of us, I am one with you. I will be with you through thick and thin, I will journey with you, I will see to it that you finish the race. I will do everything, even to dying like a common criminal, so that the good work started in your baptism will be carried to completion (Phil. 1:6). 

 
Thank You Jesus for everything! You made the impossible possible for us!