Friday, May 26, 2017

Relief!

"...your grief will be turned to joy." John 16:23


After several months of working on his thesis for his last year in Computer Science, my son was finally able to submit the program and the 50 page report. Some days he would be so frustrated because of some problem he couldn't solve that he would think of calling his professor to ask what would happen if he couldn't finish it. But now, he is ecstatic because his professor accepted the thesis and is even prodding him to submit it for conferences. What a relief!

So is it a relief and a joy when after 9 months and then hours of labor, a mother is able to see the baby from her womb. So Jesus compares our travails here on earth. We all travel a different path, and some of us grieve more than others. But one day as Jesus promises, we will rejoice with a joy no one can take away from us. One day we will understand the purpose for our hardships and trials and pain. One day we will have no more questions that plague us. 

 
Thank You Lord for this promise of joy beyond understanding. How good it is to know You are our friend who travels with us through thick and thin. You are no farther than a prayer.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Priceless Gifts

"When they opposed him and insulted him, he would shake out his garments in protest..." Acts 18:6



Paul received a lot of insults for his perseverance to preach the Gospel. Just as Jesus said to Ananias, Paul would have to suffer for His name. Paul was beaten multiple times, stoned, arrested, put in prison for years, until finally, he was beheaded outside Rome in 67 A.D. 

Just two days ago, members of a group inspired by Isis burned down the Cathedral in Marawi. They took as hostages a priest, Father Chito Suganob, and his staff and threatened to kill them if the government forces were not called off. 

There is a poignant old story about a Chinese man named Bian He, who found a large stone which he presented to the emperor. The emperor thought it was some sort of trickery to be presented with a worthless stone, and ordered Bian He's left foot chopped off. When Bian He gifted the next emperor with the same stone, the emperor had his right foot cut off. When the next emperor was crowned, Bian He just stayed outside the palace, weeping, and holding the stone for 3 nights and 3 days. The emperor was curious enough to investigate. When he ordered that the stone be polished, they discovered the precious jade hiding inside the dirt. 


 
So it is that one day, people who persecute and torture Christians will realize that what they thought was worthless, are really priceless gifts from God. They do not know that faithful Christians bring blessings upon nations (2 Chro. 7:14). 

Lord, may You find us faithful. May we not be Christians in name only, but may we be earthen vessels holding the treasure of Your surpassing power 
(2 Cor. 4:7). 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

WOYWW: Groping for God!

My desk this morning. We had a super successful garage sale over the weekend for a friend's medical expenses. 
But I have still all this stuff to sell! So many generous people gave and even if I sold so much already, there is still so much more! 

These are the books I separated because I knew they would just be damaged in the confusion of a garage sale. I will sell them in Facebook just as soon as I have time to take pictures and post. And below, I will find stuff to sell in an auction. It's a lot of work, but so much fun! 



"They were to seek God, yes, to grope for Him and perhaps eventually to find Him- though He is not really far from any one of us." Acts 17:27



These were Paul's words as he addressed the Council in Athens. He was saying that they already had an altar "To an Unknown God", and Paul wanted to make Him known. He used an interesting word, "grope", which means to feel their way toward. Men, even in ancient times, had some glimmerings of God's story. 

Many Chinese Christians believe that one of the Magi came from China. The chief astrologer at the court of the Han Rulers at the time of Christ's birth disappeared for two years. This was after he discovered what the Chinese call the "king star". 

In 2002, many stone engravings in the artistic style of early Christian times, depicting the Bible stories were discovered in ancient tombs in 20 intact Han tombs. In the book, "Discovery of Genesis" by C. H. Kang and Ethel Nelson, they wrote that the original meaning of several Chinese characters show Biblical stories and principles. 

Also, legends about creation, a worldwide flood, and a family that was saved in a large boat have been handed down through generations, not only in China, but in most cultures around the world! Over the years, John Morris collected 200 of these stories from the Middle East, South America, the Pacific Islands, etc. But the clearest story with the most detail comes from the Bible. When we read from the Bible, we get the story from God Himself, the way He wants us to know what happened, the way He wants us to know HIM! 

Yes Lord, may we seek You and find You, not in any convoluted way, but straight to the source of truth.  

http://patsypat.blogspot.com

Monday, May 22, 2017

Bearing Witness

"You must bear witness as well..." John 15:27


This is one of a long list of instructions that Jesus left with the disciples before he was taken away to be tried and crucified. What does "bear witness" mean exactly? When one is called to be a witness in a trial, we have to tell the truth to the best of our ability. But when Jesus said we have to bear witness on his behalf, it is not just a matter of proclaiming to one and all that we are a Christian. The most important part is living as a Christian in the power of His Spirit. 

I may write everyday about the Bible, but that would be totally worthless if my friends, my family, our employees, my helper Lucy, see that I do not practice my faith! The Christian's life is the world's Bible, someone said. 



Lord, may I bear witness to Your saving love and the victory You won for us. May we live the life You have called us to, not just on a Sunday, or in our church, or prayer meeting, but always, whether there is someone who sees or not.  

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Not Orphaned

"I will not leave you orphans." 
John 14:18


In the Amplified Bible, it reads: "I will not leave you orphans- comfortless, desolate, bereaved, forlorn, helpless- I will come back to you." Jesus reassured the disciples of His abiding presence in their lives, even as He told them that He was going to leave them. He will send the Paraclete, a helper, comforter, counselor, intercessor, advocate, strengthener, and standby who will remain with them, and us, forever. 

Today I have a one track mind. Even as I am reading scripture, and meditating on it, I confess that half my mind is on the garage sale that is happening today. Why did I go through all this trouble of asking for donations, pricing the things, getting my house in a mess? Because I am part of a community, and my brother and sister in community need support and help with their situation. I see Jesus' Words come alive in our community. When our brother Arnold got into a comma, and was hospitalized, so many prayed, so many helped financially. So many visited and gave concrete support, taking turns watching in the hospital, helping our sister with decision making, etc. A fund raising concert was organized. I can not help but wonder how our sister is coping. It is very hard, yes, but on the other hand, she can see concrete evidence of God's love for her and her family. God did not leave her orphaned, desolate, comfortless, without people around to support and help her in the best way they could. 

 
Thank You Lord for Your Comforter who abides with us forever. Truly You did not leave us orphans. You surround us with Your love and presence even during trying and hard times. 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Pilgrim Journey

"...you do not belong to this world." 
John 15:19



What did Jesus mean when He said that we do not belong to this world? Sometimes I see myself as a pilgrim traveling with other pilgrims on the way to the Promised Land. Each year takes me closer and I can't wait to reach our destination. We are just passing through with our borrowed time, and possessions. The only thing we can take with us to our home country are the relationships we've made here. 

My brother in law has been talking about Pres. Marcos' gold treasure and all the amazing stories about it. Marcos may or may not have found Yamashita's gold bullions, but he certainly did not take it with him when he died! Neither can we take our jewelry, the money in the bank, our nice clothes, the cars, our business, our home. 


Lord, may I spend time with You, so I may get to know You and Your heart. May the things that are important to You be important to me too. And may I invest in relationships here on earth, the only investment I can bring to heaven. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

One Step at a Time

"Live on in my love." John 15:9



Oh to bask in the Lord's love forever and ever. To remain in His love (NIV), abide in His love (NASB), continue in His friendship (Aramaic Bible in Plain English), must be a joy and a delight. 

I think of all my dear friends in a hardship today. One who needs an operation and can't because he might lose his life if the doctors proceed. Another whose husband has been in a coma for weeks. Another whose son got into a motorcycle accident. So many in jail waiting for their promulgation even if they've served time for their crime. And so many of my friends have cancer. If only we can all learn to live, to abide, to continue in our Savior's love as He advises us to. Perhaps then we can fully trust, fully leave everything in His hands. Perhaps then we can be like Saint Theresa of Avila and let nothing disturb us. "Nada te turbe," she prayed, "God alone suffices." 

 
Jesus says we have to keep His commandments to remain in His love. "All this I tell you that my joy may be yours and your joy may be complete." (John 15:11) Isn't it terribly difficult, Lord, to keep Your commandments? we ask. And this is what Jesus has to say, "This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you." (John 15:12) All of God's commandments boil down to, can be distilled to its very essence: love. "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." (1 John 4:8). 

Lord, how difficult is it to love like You? So infinitely impossible. For You gave Your very life and blood for each one of us, even for those who hate, ridicule and despise You. But like Mother Teresa said we can start with just one. One hungry child to feed. One hug, one visit, one letter, one prayer, one gift, one hour.... Lord, let me see with Your eyes, and love with Your heart. It is not impossible when I journey one step at a time with You! 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

WOYWW: Of Vines and Sap-Sucking Bugs


I am working in the garden. It is usually very serene and peaceful here but I am still in the midst of pricing for a garage sale on Sunday. It's for the benefit of my friend who has been in a coma for several weeks. So all those books on the table are for sale. It's quite hard to decide on prices! 


Here are some of the stuff I haven't priced, and there are more in our garage. Below you can see one of three cats who keep me company. Hello Pepperidge! 

"I am the vine, you are the branches." John 15:5



We are branches grafted on to Jesus, the true vine. The Father is the vine grower. In the late 19th century, the European variety of grapes was nearly wiped out because of the plant louse phylloxera. It was saved when someone thought of grafting this European Vitis vinifera grape variety on to Native American varieties which were resistant to the bug. Up to now, any vine not planted with grafted rootstock is in danger of being destroyed by these microscopic sap-sucking insects. 

We too are in danger of being destroyed. The enemy does not want us to know that there is "phylloxera" damaging the way we think, the way our children think, the way our leaders think. This louse is everywhere in our society and there is nothing the devil wants than we are all unaware and oblivious. In the same way that phylloxera attacks the roots and prevents the flow of water and nutrients to the vine, the enemy wants to attack the very foundation of what we believe in. 

We only need to look to the Bible for the solution. Lord, may we be grafted to the true vine, and may we be taken care of by our Father, the vine grower. May we not be deceived by the enemy who wishes to destroy us by any means possible.  



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, May 16, 2017

So Few Friends

"We must undergo many trials if we are to enter into the reign of God." 
Acts 14:22



One time when Saint Teresa of Avila was traveling on a horse, her saddle slipped and she turned right around beneath the donkey's belly with her head down, and fell into the mud. She looked up to heaven in her dirty habit and complained. She heard the Lord reply, “Teresa, whom the Lord loves, he chastises. This is how I treat all my friends.” In her usual wit, she threw back the now famous “No wonder you have so few!”

Indeed, we wonder how God keeps His friends in China. There are many underground churches there. Many martyrs have been imprisoned just because they are Christians. Brother Yun, who has been imprisoned 4 times for the gospel, said that the Lord showed him that much of the ministry of Chinese missionaries will take place in prison. Many missionaries are being trained and studying foreign languages so they will be sent out to neighboring countries, where they will probably sent to prison as well. 

 
Lord, compared to the saints and missionaries, I can't say I undergo many trials for You. But like them, may I do my part where I am, with what I have. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Faith to Move Mountains

"...he had the faith to be saved..." 
Acts 14:9



I've read this passage before, but this time, this verse jumped out at me. While Paul was preaching in Lycaonia, a man who was crippled from birth was listening to Paul. Perhaps he had been listening intently. Paul then looked directly at him and saw that this man had the faith to be healed and saved. Paul then said, "Stand up! On your feet!" The crippled man jumped up and began to walk. 

What is faith? Even faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains and stop a storm. Unfortunately we can't place an order for even a mustard seed of faith on Amazon. But we can grow whatever size of faith we have. "Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.(Romans 10:17)" The crippled man listened to Paul and his tiny little seed of faith got planted in his heart and blossomed into a belief that saved him. In contrast, the people in Jesus' hometown listened but did not accept His words, and He could not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith (Matthew 13:58). Imagine that! Jesus couldn't do miracles because He didn't find faith in His neighbors' hearts!!!!!


We need faith every single day and that is why it is necessary to find ways to grow it. This whole weekend my son was finishing his thesis for Computer Science. He was having a hard time making the program work. I asked him, "Did you pray?" He answered, "Several times." I was confident he would get it to work because he didn't depend on himself alone. During dinner, he had a eureka moment, and thought of one little tweak that would solve his problem. My husband Luigi said programming is very humbling. One little comma can ruin everything. It's the same as anything in life. A friend asked me yesterday how we grew our 50-year old business. I could only answer that is was one miracle after another.  How could my family, a group of artists and designers grow a business without God? No way! 

Father, thank You for the gift of faith. Whatever tiny 1/100000 of a mustard seed I have, help me to grow it. May I continue to hear, read and study Your Word, so that my faith will grow and You can work more miracles in my life. 


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Deeply Spiritual Waiters

"...men acknowledged to be deeply spiritual and prudent..." Acts 6:3


Who were the apostles looking for that they needed men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom? In Acts, chapter 6, the Twelve needed help in the daily distribution of food. These men full of wisdom and the Holy Spirit were waiters! One of the men chosen was Stephen, the first martyr. This shows me that whatever our job, no matter how menial, we have to be men and women of integrity and excellence. We may think our work is unimportant, perhaps we are often overlooked by our supervisors or the management, but we still have to do our job to the best of our ability and God-given gifts. 



"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men..."(Colossians 3:23) God is our boss! I hope one day when I see Him face to face, He says to me, "Well done, good and faithful servant!" From the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ (Col.3:24). 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Trust in God Still

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still and trust in Me." John 14:1


Where does trust come from? Most of the time, it comes from knowledge. To trust someone, you have to know him. Does he keep his word? Is he dependable? Does he have integrity? Does he know what he is talking about? We need to have some past experience to bank on. Or perhaps someone to vouch for him. 

God wants us to trust in Him, to have faith in Him, to believe that if we place our lives in His hands, ALL things will better than if we don't. Most of us, instead of training our hearts to trust in God, go the other direction, and practice being anxious, even if most of what we worried about didn't happen. When I was pregnant, I would be anxious about all sorts of things. Something that kept me up at night just turned out to be hiccups! I didn't know babies had hiccups! But when I intentionally turned to God, and stilled my overwrought heart and mind, He comforted me. "When you hold your baby in your arms, you will see how much I love you." And true enough, everything turned out well. 

But what about those times when it doesn't? What if we lose our job? Our spouse gets a heart attack and the medical bills pile up? Our child gets into an accident? All the more, we have to turn to God, be still and trust in Him. 


Lord, may I always remember all you've done for me. You've answered my prayers, provided for me, surrounded me with good. During the hard times, may I not forget that You are a saving God, and You will save Your people. You will answer with Your saving strength (Psalm 20:6). 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Blessed if You Do Them

"If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them." John 13:17

What things? Jesus said this right after he washed the apostles' feet. He wrapped a towel around his waist, got down on his knees and did a servant's job. Are we supposed to go around with a towel washing other peoples' dirty feet and bunions? I doubt it. 

Most likely, we are supposed to take care of one one another. Serve one another. Love one another. Notice what others need and be there for them. It's not only feet that get dirty. Our hearts get tired, weary. If we see a brother or sister in need of some heart washing, we can be the one to provide it. We can pray for them, listen, give practical help, take them out, take care of the kids while they get some rest. Oh I wish I could be that person who notices! Who gets the towel out to wipe not only feet but blood, sweat and tears. 


Dear Jesus, what an example You gave for us! May we be like You, seeing what is needed and ready to serve!




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

I find a lot of inspiration
visiting my friends here:

Blessings!
Patsy  

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Mustard Seed of Faith

I have not been able to paint much as I have been busy pricing for our coming garage sale. A friend of mine has been in a coma for several weeks and we are looking for ways to raise funds for the medical expenses. These are what I have priced so far. 

These are a pile of stuff I have yet to price! There are still some more in my garage! Thank God for generous brothers and sisters! Our garage sale will be on Sunday, May 21. I'm praying for a lot of sales! My friend is a young father with 4 young children. One can only imagine how the wife is coping! She needs a lot of supernatural strength and grace from God! 


"Whoever puts faith in me believes not so much in me as in Him who sent me..." John 12:44

In another version, we read, "If you trust me, you are really trusting God who sent me." Jesus continues with the words, "Whoever looks on me is seeing Him who sent me." 

It's difficult to trust and believe in someone we do not see or hear. But in Malachi 3:10, God says, "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it."

If we can test Him in our giving of tithes, we can also prove Him when it comes to His other promises. There are warnings in the Bible that we should not test God like the Pharisees did. They wanted to look for a way to trip Jesus up with His answers. But a lot of God's commands come with promises attached to them, and when we obey, it's like putting money in the bank. Obedience brings blessing. 

Father, I pray that I may nurture my little mustard seed of faith. I want to be like Peter who obeyed You when You told him to put out into the deep. Even when he had been fishing all night and caught nothing, Peter obeyed, and was rewarded with abundance. 




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, May 09, 2017

Signs of Life

"I give them eternal life and they shall never perish." John 10:28


The Jews were always asking signs from Jesus. "The works that I do in My Father's name, these bear witness of me," He told them. Catholics are also fond of asking for signs. My dad is a Methodist and as far as I know, they don't do that. My dad is 90 years old, and my mom passed away 3 years ago. He misses her a lot. He's also not in the best of health these days, having fallen a month and a half ago. 

Last Saturday, he was looking at her beautiful pictures, and he asked in his thoughts, "Where are you? Can you hear me? Can you see me? Give me a sign now." Instantly a bird flew in, like a bullet, straight towards him, then flew back from where it came from. The bird did this twice then left through the open window. My dad, in telling us this story, emphasized he did it as an "experiment". Experiment or not, it gave him comfort, as it could not have been a coincidence. 


Jesus' words and what He did while He was on earth are signs of God's love and what He wants for us. But they did not stop when Jesus died. He continues to work in our life in many wonderful and inexplicable ways. 

Thank You Lord for the gift of eternal life that begins right now, when we believe in You and follow You. Thank You for the many signs of Your love and faithfulness that You give us each day!