Friday, July 03, 2015

Paint Party Friday: God Will Provide

 "God Himself will provide the sheep for the holocaust." Genesis 22:8
You never know what happens in a day, a week or a year. For sure Abraham would never have thought that God would bring him into a strange land. Then when he and Sarah were so old, God would give them the gift of a son. In Genesis 22, God asked Abraham for something He never asked anyone before or since. He said, "Take your son, your unique, precious son, Isaac, whom you love so much, and offer him up as a holocaust on Mount Moriah." If it was me, I would question God, plead with Him, get angry and adamant. Was He just like those other pagan Gods who demanded blood sacrifices????
But Abraham in obedience, brought Isaac up the mountain. Isaac unknowingly even carried the wood for the sacrifice. "Where is the lamb for the sacrifice, father?" Isaac asked innocently. "God Himself will provide it," Abraham answered. I cannot imagine the turmoil of emotions roiling around inside this man. 
When the time came to tie Isaac up, it is amazing that there is no record of a struggle. I am sure Isaac could have given Abraham a hard time, but Isaac was as meek as a lamb led to slaughter. My husband tells of a time he had to kill a lamb for a special meal, and he says it is true that lambs are very meek and go willingly to be killed.


 Does this image of Isaac as a meek lamb remind us of Jesus? It should. It is a foreshadowing of the willing sacrifice Jesus paid for each one of us. (Isaiah 53:7) Like Isaac, Jesus carried the wood on which He would hang. Our Heavenly Father watched as His precious Son, His unique, only begotten Son, was crucified for our sins and for our salvation. Yes God Himself provided the sheep for the holocaust. Abraham never needed to sacrifice Isaac because Jesus would offer Himself for us all. It is finished.
 "Do not persist in your unbelief, but believe." John 20:27

Never was a man more disparaged for his doubt than Thomas!  He will forever be known as "doubting Thomas"! But Thomas did not merely have doubts, he plainly, adamantly, did not believe. "I will NEVER believe," he insisted, "without probing the nail prints in his hands, without putting my finger in the nail marks and my hand into his side." If you think about it, all the disciples would have been the same. It's just that they were there when Jesus appeared to them, even if they had locked the door.  They saw for themselves that He was risen from the dead.  He showed them his hands and his side.


In John 20:29, Jesus urges us to make a leap of faith. "Blessed are they who have not seen and have believed."  There are times I think, "Why do I believe?" To a non-believer, the Bible can be a bunch of made up, absurd stories! I decided a long time ago that yes, Jesus, You are God, and I will follow You.  Because of that leap of faith, I have been blessed. Now I know without a shadow of a doubt, like Thomas, like the other disciples, like Paul who tried to destroy the followers of Jesus, that He is alive, He is God, and He holds the key.  



Wednesday, July 01, 2015

WOYWW: A Little Courage

 One day I will just have NO space to paint on.
I will just paint on my lap!

 Here is my Bible.

 After searching for a picture to paint on the 
other half of the Bible, I place carbon paper
in between the picture and my Bible.

 Here is the traced picture.

 I always start with flesh paint.
The Bible page is a bit wrinkly,
but it will dry.

 Some more paint added before shading the face
with darker paint and Prismacolor pencils.

 "The entire town came out to meet Jesus, but they begged Him to go away and leave them alone." Matthew 8:34
In Matthew 8, we encounter a very strange town. After Jesus exorcises a couple of very savage men possessed by several demons, all the townspeople crowded around Jesus and begged Him, entreated, pleaded with Him to go way, and leave them alone. Those men were so fierce and violent that people could not pass where they were. Back then, there was no Waze to help you find another alternative route. They would just have to backtrack. One would have thought that the town would be happy to have that menace removed from their midst. But no, they preferred the status quo. They preferred to be left in "peace". They did not want an outside Force to change the way they lived. They were already comfortable.

 Sometimes we can be like that. We are OK with OK. Change is scary. And the change that Jesus can bring into our life is scarier still. It requires a little courage to say, "Yes Lord, stay. Change me. Change my life!"

 My friend posted about our Choices Seminar starting on August 8. He said on FB: "Dear Friends, come and join us. See for yourself. Meet great people, hear great talks and experience great food. And it's all for free. No strings attached. This might be the seminar that will change your life. It sure changed mine. "
Choices Seminar, August 8, 2:30-5:30 pm, PRRM Bldg., Mother Ignacia st., QC. Contact me for details- patsy.paterno (at) gmail.com.

 "Because of the increase of evil, the love of most will grow cold." Matthew 24:12
In Matthew 24, Jesus is telling the disciples about the future. I am sure they were fascinated as you and I would be. He foretold the destruction of the the Temple. "Not one stone will be left." The disciples believed Him right away and asked if there would be any sign that would signal the end of the world. And Jesus talked about wars, false messiahs, famines, earthquakes, pestilence, torture and killings. He said sin would be rampant, and many will turn away from God.

There is no doubt that God is a God of love. He identifies with the brokenhearted, the sinner, the downtrodden, the sick, those who feel excluded and shamed. But He is also a righteous God, a Holy God, One who is set apart from us who sin and reject Him. It is sad that many of us today break God's heart by our willful disobedience and insistence on our own ways. But this is not new to God. In Jeremiah 31:32, He says, "They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife." What did the Lord do?

"This is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel...I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people." (Jeremiah 31:33) Just as God does not give up on us, no matter what perversions we indulge in, we too should not give up on those we perceive as "sinners". There is always hope and blessing available in the well that never runs dry.



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, June 30, 2015

Keep the Faith!

 "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7
Saint Paul when he wrote these words to Timothy was almost at the last lap of his race. He was encouraging Timothy not to become weary in his own race. We are all in a race, and to be victorious, we have to remember to keep an eye on the prize and stay in our own lane. Can you imagine if you are a runner, and you are always looking in all directions to see how others are doing? How can you win? When King Saul started getting envious of David, his exploits, and the accolades David was receiving from the people, he became such a bad king that he wanted David killed!
I was just listening to Pastor Robert Madu, and he said that nowadays we sometimes look through feeds in Facebook and Instagram to see how we measure up. I was so amused when he came up with these little ditties: "Mirror, mirror in Facebook, Tell me how my life should look!" or "Mirror, mirror on Instagram, Tell me who I really am!" Really? Is this what modern life is like?

 I think what we need to do is concentrate on OUR race, and not look at what other people are doing. I can't be like my FB friends who are great at mentoring, or preaching, or making funny jokes! I love my friends who are wonderful cooks, have kids who are doctors, who have PhDs and I refuse to compare myself to them. Let them be the best they can be with the gifts and talents God gave them. I'll just be the best ME I can be with what God has given me! And if we can, let's help each other fight the good fight, finish the race and keep the faith!

 "Your daughter is dead." Mark 5:35
There's only one appointment that every man, no exception, has to keep, and that's with death. We have no choice or control over when that appointment is. Sometimes a person tries to kill himself, and is not successful. There is actually an association that studies suicide, The American Assoc. of Suicidology, and they report that there are 25 suicide attempts for every, and I guess this is the politically correct term, "suicide completion". 92-95% are failed attempts. A lot of those failed attempts are by celebrities: Brigitte Bardot, Drew Barrymore, Elizabeth Taylor, Drew Carey, Halle Berry, the list goes on and on.

But most people want to live. Some don't want to think about death. Some live as if they are not going to die. But I believe the best thing we can do about death is to prepare for it, and to prepare those we love for it as well. Death will not be something to fear if we know the truth about it. If we see our life on earth as a preparation for going though that door that leads to either eternal life with God, or if we reject what God has to offer, some other place which Jesus says will have weeping and gnashing of teeth. Ultimately, we really have to decide, whether we believe Jesus is God or not, that what He said is true or not. That's really the most important decision we will ever make in our life. If we sit on the fence and ho hum about it, we can't prepare well for death.
When my mom died, God gave me this very special gift of knowing in my heart heaven was real. Before she died, I thought I would be devastated, for we were very close. But when she died, I was ecstatic. I knew my mom was where she longed to be. All of us should long for heaven, shouldn't we? The alternative is just too terrible to bear! Are we preparing well for our appointment with death?
 "Please do not go on past your servant." Genesis 18:3
In this story in Genesis, Abraham was relaxing at the entrance of his tent, when he caught sight of 3 men standing nearby. Instead of being suspicious about what they were doing there, or getting irritated that they were "in his space", Abraham RAN to greet them and invited them to sit that he may SERVE them food and give them water to wash their feet. The strangers agreed and Abraham ran to ask Sarah to make bread. He had a servant prepare choice steer, and he himself got some curds and milk. There are many verses about being hospitable we can find in the Bible, and Abraham, our father in the faith, certainly practiced it to a large degree.

In Hebrews 13:2, Paul advises us, "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it." And certainly this became true for Abraham. The three strangers were messengers of God, and told Abraham that in the next year, Sarah would give birth to a son, even in her old age. Just as Abraham was hospitable to the three men, he was also "hospitable" to God's word. Like Abraham, we should create a space for encounters with God, who speaks to us through strangers, friends, family, events in our life, and through His Word. The more we are open to these encounters, the more we will grow and be fed. May Jesus find a place in the inn of our heart!!!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Paint Party Friday: Promise Keeping God!

 "Anyone who hears my words and puts them into practice is like the wise man who built his house on rock." Matthew 7:24
When we build a house, first we have all these ideas and an architect will try to translate our ideas and puts the plans on paper for us to approve. On paper, those plans may be beautiful, but what is more important is the land we build it on. Is it solid ground? In the city where I live there is what is known as the Marikina Valley faultline and there are around 70 villages and subdivisions that can be found along this line. The house we build could be attractive to other people, but if it is built on that faultline, that would be very dangerous in a strong earthquake. If it is build on low ground, then it could be life threatening during floods.

 Jesus said that on Judgement Day, we will be surprised because some people who "look good" to us, because they are religious, or preach magnificently to thousands, or have healing gifts, perform miracles, will not be let into heaven! I may paint on my Bible every day, and meditate and post on Facebook and Instagram, but that will not bring me into heaven. We may look good on the outside but it is very clear that what is essential is we read His Word and OBEY it! In Matthew 12:50, Jesus said, "For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." Do we want to be part of Jesus' family?

 "You and your descendants after you must keep my covenant throughout the ages." Genesis 17:9
Covenant. What is a covenant? It is an agreement, a commitment, a pledge. When Abraham was 99 years old, God told Abraham that He was El-Shaddai. He invited Abraham to walk with Him, and be trustworthy. And God, the Creator of the Universe, gave many amazing promises to Abraham. Kings will come from his line. Land. Blessing.

If we search the Bible, there are many promises that we too, as children of Abraham, may claim. As Paul writes to the Galatians in Chapter 3:7, "Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham." "If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Gal. 3:9) We are heirs, and as heirs, we have an inheritance we can claim. The term "gold digger" has a negative connotation, but if we mine the Bible for promises we can lay hold on, we are like gold diggers. The only difference is, we are sure to find treasure! We don't want to be "strangers from the covenant of promise" (Eph. 2:12), do we? But that is exactly what we will be if we are without Christ. The promise to Abraham of universal blessing is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. It is amazing if we are able to fully grasp that when God invited Abraham to walk with Him, we were in God's mind and heart as well. God said, "I will always keep the promise I have made to you and your descendants, because I am your God and their God." (Gen. 17:7) How wonderful that we have a promise-keeping God!

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