Friday, February 24, 2017

A Heart of Compassion

"He wrote that commandment for you because of your stubbornness."  
Mark 10:5


Some Pharisees came to test Jesus about divorce, whether it was permissible. Jesus told them that Moses wrote that commandment because of man's stubbornness. In my other Bible it says, "hardness of heart". Then Jesus went on to say that no man should separate what God has joined, they are no longer two but one flesh. 

I am attending a workshop in Cagayan de Oro, in Mindanao, in a place where President Duterte is favored and loved. It's a great workshop, and the people I've met are wonderful and God- fearing. Only one thing has marred my peace and I have been pondering and praying about it. There are some Bible-believing and obeying brothers and sisters here who believe, like the President, that we should have the death penalty instituted and the senators fighting against the measure are in the wrong. 

I would have thought that when one believes in God and reads His word and obeys it, one would also believe that nothing is impossible with God and even the hardest criminal could turn his life around and make a valuable contribution to our society. Why would anyone deprive him of that chance? There are innumerable stories of hardened criminals who repented and turned their life around after an encounter with God. 

I have talked to many inmates in QC Jail, some of them have confessed to murder. But they are now attending Bible Studies and singing praise songs. One man was sentenced to life imprisonment for a crime he didn't commit. After God's intervention, he is now a driver for my sister's family. After his years in prison, he knows the Bible better than most people I know!  

Will God permit the death penalty instituted in our country? Only because of our hard hearts and stubbornness! 

Lord, may we see Your heart of compassion and mercy reign in our country. May we see Your face in not only the poor, but in the real pitiable, those who commit sin and make big mistakes because they do not know You. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Like a Tree

"He is like a tree planted near running water..." Psalm 1:3


Who is like a tree planted near running water, whose leaves never fade, who bears fruit in due season, and what's more, he prospers in whatever he does? They that hope in the Lord, they that delight in reading God's Word and obeying Him! 

I am attending a workshop about how to do business by following instructions from the Bible. We've been reading about Joseph in Genesis, about how from being kidnapped and imprisoned, he became the second most powerful man in Egypt. From when very young, Joseph sought to do good. Wherever he was, when he was a slave, when he was imprisoned, God would take care of him. In Gen. 39, it said that even Joseph's master, Potiphar, recognized that the Lord was with Joseph and blessed him greatly. When Joseph was thrown in jail, he eventually was put in charge of the jail, and everything ran smoothly.

After some time Joseph was called out of jail because Pharaoh wanted him to interpret his dreams. Pharaoh found out that Joseph was the only one who could tell him that after 7 years of prosperity in his country, there would be 7 years of famine. He put Joseph in charge of taking care that Egypt would survive the famine. Joseph had to find a way to increase production of food, and store it so that at the end of the 7 years of plenty, there would be food for the next 7 years. Fact or fiction?

There are many who believe that Imhotep, the vizier of the 3rd dynasty pharaoh Djoser, is in fact Joseph. Imhotep designed the first pyramid in Saqqara. What if he designed this step pyramid to store food? More research and debates are going on about this. But I think it is fascinating that a relatively unknown boy rose to power in Egypt and was able to help a whole nation, the Israelites, survive. 

Lord, may I continue to read Your word, and obey You, in my life, in business, relationships, in whatever I do. I want to be like a tree planted near running water, always getting my food from You, always fruitful until my old age! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Shepherd, Gardener and Friend!

Here is my desk today. 
I am attending a workshop
about business essentials
using Bible principles. 

For the first day, we did 
some farming for two hours! 


My hands and arms are still aching
from the effort! 

Our teacher is Dodong Cacanando
who learned how to do business
by studying the plant and its fruitfulness.



"The Lord is my shepherd..." 
Psalm 23:1


The Lord is my shepherd. He leads me where there is everything I need, peaceful water, and green meadows. He protects me from my enemies. 

The Lord is my gardener (1 Cor. 3:9).  He takes care that I am fruitful, that I will bloom in due season. He prunes away the dead leaves and broken branches. He makes sure I am healthy. 

The Lord is my friend (John 15:15). Everything He learned from our Father He has made known to us. He has taught us what we need to know. Even the hard things. We are not His servants He said, because if He was, He would not have confided in us! Imagine the privilege we have as His friend! 

But the Lord can only be my shepherd and gardener and friend if we continue to be intimate with Him. If we have a relationship with Him. Otherwise, He will just be a stranger knocking at the door (Rev. 3:20). "If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in, and will share a meal as friends." 

Lord, what a friend I have in You! There is no one like You! How humble You are that You do not barge Your way into my life! You wait until I invite You in! Lord, shine Your light into every corner of my home, especially the dark places! Be my Shepherd, be my Gardener, be my friend! Without You, I am wretched and blind and pitiable! 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Fruit of Love

"If anyone wishes to rank first, he must remain the last one of all, and the servant of all." Mark 9:35


I am 60 years old already and I still have not learned this very important lesson. To be a servant, one must have the heart of a servant. And no one better exemplifies that than Mother Teresa who spent her life giving love to the least of God's people.

David Kessler tells one of the nicest stories about how Mother Teresa helped him with his book, "The Needs of the Dying". When he visited India in 1996, he had the opportunity to meet with her when she was told he worked with Elisabeth Kübler Ross, a pioneer in near death studies, and was himself writing a book. He described her as having "kind brown eyes, intensely wrinkled skin, and the warmest of smiles." She treated him like an old friend, and told him that soon she would be dying as well. He said that she talked about God as if He was her dearest, oldest friend, and that she was so looking forward to being with Him. 

Before he left, Mother Teresa asked for his business card and she gave him hers:
The fruit of silence is prayer,
The fruit of prayer is faith,
The fruit of faith is love,
The fruit of love is service,
The fruit of service is peace.



When he finished his book, he sent it to her, and she wrote the most wonderful praise for the book. When he told a friend that he felt he didn't deserve Mother Teresa's good words, his friend said: "So you don’t feel you deserve it. Then here is what you have to do. Spend every day of your life earning that praise.” And that is what David Kessler tries to do. 

If Mother Teresa was able to provoke this man to a life of service, so should we try to spend every day of our life pleasing our Father. 

Lord, may I live my life such that when I meet You face to face, You shall say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Teach me to be a servant like You, Lord. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Help my Unbelief!

"I do believe, help my unbelief!" 
Mark 9:24


In today's reading, Jesus sees a large crowd standing around in an animated discussion, hands flailing in the air. When they catch sight of Jesus they stop and stare in awe. "What's happening?" He asks.

"Teacher," a man answers with excitement, "I have brought my son to you. He is possessed by a violent spirit that throws him down. He becomes rigid and foams at the mouth! Often this demon throws him into the fire! Just now I asked your disciples to expel the spirit but they were unable to." There's a lot of shuffling feet. Jesus' disciples hang their heads. 

"What an unbelieving lot you are! Bring him to me!" Jesus said. The father eagerly brings his poor boy to Jesus. "Please," the boy's father pleads, "If you can do anything, please do!" 

"If you can? Everything is possible for one who believes!" Jesus says. "I do believe," the father confesses, "Help my unbelief!" Jesus commands the spirit to leave and never come back again. 

Yesterday, we had our annual Community Conference. We listened to great talks about our Mission, Holiness, Unity and ended with a talk on Spiritual Warfare. Just like in Jesus' day, there are evil spirits around. They are not just out to tempt us into eating an extra slice of cake, or watch more TV. They are out to destroy us! Our speaker, Jim, said that to win the war, we need to know we are at war, we need to know who our enemy is, and we need to know what weapons and strategies to use against our enemy. Most of us don't even know we are at war! We are complacent, which is exactly what our enemy wants us to be! 

Lord, help us to see with our spiritual eyes the work of our ancient enemy. There is so much disunity, confusion, anger, fear, deception, so much evil on a global scale. Help us to know that our enemy is not our neighbor, not even our irrational and crazy leaders, but the devil and his minions. Help us to read Your Word, to know the truth so we can live by Your truth in holiness and freedom. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Love your Enemies!

"Love your enemies!" Matthew 5:43


When we were young, my brother and sister were always quarreling. Any little thing, they would fight about. My brother could be so mean. He would be watching cartoons on TV, and when my little sister came in, he would change the channel to something she didn't want to watch. When she left the room, he would change it back to cartoons. 

My mother who got so frustrated, read this verse to the them: "Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen." (1 John 4:20) Amazingly, the quarrels stopped immediately! 

Do we have enemies? Our boss we don't get along with, or who claims our ideas for his own. A relative we got into conflict with years ago. The neighbor next door who gets on our nerves because of the many irritating things he's done over the years? 

In Leviticus 19, God said, "Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy. You shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart. You shall love your neighbor as yourself." If we want to be part of God's people, we should try to practice this. If we can't right now, we can keep reading these verses to deposit it in our heart. There is power in God's Word. 

God says in Isaiah 55:11 says " My word will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." Yes Lord, may Your Word accomplish the purposes for which You send it in my life! I want to be holy, part of the people You set apart! 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Spiritual Currency

"Faith is the confident assurance of what we hope for, and conviction about things we do not see." 
Hebrews 11:1


Without faith it is impossible to please God. That's what Saint Paul wrote to the Hebrews in chapter 11, verse 6. It's like spiritual currency. Just like we can't buy anything in the department store without money, we can't go before God, and transact our business with Him without faith. The wonderful thing is when we do have faith, nothing is impossible. 

Gene Neill was a Miami Mafia lawyer who got sentenced to 50 years in a maximum maximum (you read it right, double max) security prison. He lived the high roller jet set life of an organized crime lawyer until he got ratted on. Cellblock 10D had the tightest security of all the cells in the federal penitentiary in Springfield, Missouri. It was way underground and you wouldn't be able to get out, see outside, until your 50 years were up. You didn't have anything but toilet paper and the clothes you were wearing. You ate with your fingers and you talked to yourself and nobody else. 

But Gene Neill had a secret weapon with God's currency. His wife was a Christian and she prayed and prayed for him. One day, Gene went down on his knees and asked God for forgiveness. And God heard his agonized cry from beneath the ground in cellblock 10D. He was miraculously released from prison and spent the next 40 years of his life  telling everyone who would listen about Jesus Christ. He wrote the book, "I'm Gonna Bury You!" to tell his amazing story.  

Lord, may I have the faith to move mountains for others and for myself! When You see me, may I be pleasing in Your sight, because I have the confident assurance of what I hope for, and conviction about things I do not see. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Building a Tower

"Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower..." Gen. 11:4


There is nothing wrong with making plans, dreaming dreams, and starting projects. But we should make sure we are God's partner in those dreams and plans. In Joshua 1:8, we read: "This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it: for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success."

If we do not read the Bible and study it, we can come up with the most foolish plans. Yesterday a friend on Facebook was so frustrated. She wrote on her wall that a "friend" posted a curse that those devils against the death penalty in our country should be victims of heinous crimes. The comments on her post were all in agreement in wishing that those who were against the death penalty should be tortured. It's a good thing that these people were not in our Congress and Senate! They want the death penalty for people who commit horrible crimes but they also want to inflict those crimes on those who are against capital punishment! If we do not wash the way we think with the wisdom of God we can get very twisted and confused! 



Lord, help us to think rightly and walk with You! Help us to always lay our plans at Your feet, that You may prosper the work of our hands. 


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Who do You Say I am?

"But who do you say that I am?" 
Mark 8:29


I can imagine Jesus asking the same thing. We may answer as Peter did, "You are the Messiah!" but do our actions match our words?

The way I read books is a little at a time. I get to finish a lot of books that way. This morning I read about a man named Daniel. Before he attended a church in Southern California, he lived in Uganda, when Idi Amin was President from 1971-1979. At that time, he was caught and tortured brutally for being a Christian. For several days at a time, a guard would hang him from his feet and whip him. One night as the guard was leaving, Daniel said, " Have a nice evening."

The guard turned back to him, and asked incredulously, "How can you say that to me? After what I have been doing to you?" Daniel then told him about Jesus, about the blood shed on the cross for him, about freedom, about how he had been forgiven and loved. A few days after that, the guard helped him escape, brought Daniel to his house, fed him and let him share about Jesus to his family. 


Jesus won't have to ask Daniel, "Who do you say that I am?" Jesus already knows the answer by the life Daniel lived and continues to live. 
How about us?

Lord, may I be faithful to Your calling. May I live in such a way as to show You that I know You, love You and obey You. May others who know me, know as well that I am Your servant. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

WOYWW: A Second Time

Here's what's on my desk-
a painting that's not finished yet, 
and nice things from last night's
Valentine party. 
My sister Tina had a game
where we could choose gifts. 
Isn't that great?
We had so much fun! 

Here's another painting 
that I have yet to decide whether
it's finished or not.

This one is finished.
I like it already!
But the one below though!
It definitely needs some tweaking! 


"Then a second time, Jesus laid hands on his eyes..." Mark 8:25


Most of us have the idea that when Jesus healed, He did so instantly. Here Jesus shows us a different way. When He and His disciples reached Bethsaida, a blind man was brought to Him for healing. Jesus took the man's hand, led him outside the village, and laid hands on him. "Can you see anything?" He asked. 

"I can see people but they look like trees!" Then Jesus laid His hand on him again, a second time, and the man was blind no more. Doesn't this clearly show us how God works in our life? Sometimes we get so impatient when we pray. We want instant answers, instant results, but what happens here clearly shows us that sometimes, maybe most often, God works in His time. He wants to take us by the hand, to lead us, where we can be with Him, just the two of us. There He will minister to us, helping our faith to grow. 


Imagine if the blind man pulled away as we sometimes do? No, Jesus, I don't want Your way! God, take Your hands off my life! I want to do things my way! Can the miracle we want happen? 

Lord, may I follow where You lead. May I trust in You even when the answers are slow in coming. May I not lose hope. May I learn all You want to teach me! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Do You still not See?

"Do you still not see or comprehend? Mark 8:17


It is reassuring in a way that even if the disciples were always with Jesus, they still could not understand some of the things He taught them. Many times when things happen in our life, we ask, "Why, Lord? Why me? Why now?"

In many ways, we are like His disciples, traveling with Him in this boat called life. Sometimes we think He is sleeping and cannot hear us. There's a storm and thunder and He still doesn't wake up. There's a terrifying diagnosis, a wake up call, dire straits in the office, a child gone wild. Lord, we cry, what are You teaching me? I do not understand!!!

Although God does not cause the trials, He is with us throughout the trials, all throughout the storm and terrifying noise of it. In Hebrew 13:5, God promises, "I will never abandon you." The original Greek translates to a triple negative, never never never. Ever! We can hold on to that in the times we do not understand. We can trust Him. The mother of Stasi Eldredge suffered much throughout her long years of cancer, but she chose to trust God amidst her pain. When she died, Stasi found this note amongst her things: "I had an unexpected diagnosis, and it has been the most awesome, rewarding, and glorious time God has ever given to me." 


Lord, may I see Your face in all the events in my life. May I, even in my confusion and lack of understanding, continue to trust You, knowing You will turn everything around me into good because I love You! 

Monday, February 13, 2017

My Brother's Keeper

"Am I my brother's keeper?" 
Genesis 4:9


Cain and Abel may be the most famous brothers in history. Cain was the older and he was a farmer. Abel tended sheep, and God was pleased with the several choice lambs he would offer to God. Cain on the other hand, brought God leftovers. A Jewish writer said he offered hemp seed or flax, trifling things. One wonders why he bothered to bring anything to God at all! And God made His displeasure known. 

This made Cain very angry. We can see how unbridled anger leads to bigger and bigger sin. God tells Cain to control the demon lurking at the door. "You can be its master!" God instructs. But Cain succumbs to his rage and murders his brother! 

In the next scene of this tragedy, God asks Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" Doesn't God know where? Of course He does, but just as in this whole narrative He chooses to teach His truths patiently, He asks this simple question. Cain answers with the disingenuous , "Am I my brother's keeper?" Am I supposed to keep track of everywhere he goes? Am I responsible for him? 

In Ezekiel 33:7-9, the Lord makes clear we are responsible for our brothers and sisters. We are supposed to warn them when they are sinning! We are supposed to be in good relationships with them, taking care to reconcile with them before coming to offer sacrifices on the altar (Matthew 5:24). It is obvious here that God did not accept Cain's offering because it was not first- fruits, but also because there was something festering in his heart against his brother. 

Lord, You made us stewards not only of what we have, but also of our relationships. We are supposed to watch out for each other, call each other on as we journey towards heaven. Help me, Lord, to see if there is anything festering in me that needs to be uprooted, cleansed and exposed that I may be pleasing in Your sight! 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Smallest Letter

"Whoever is angry with someone will be liable to judgement." Matthew 5:21


We have all gotten angry with someone at one time or another. Anger is defined as a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure or hostility. It can go from rage to irritation or a slight exasperation. Before Jesus said this about anger, He gave this strong proclamation: "Of this much I assure you: until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter of the law, not the smallest part of the letter, shall be done away with until it all comes true." 

How much more emphatic can Jesus be! Does this not mean that every little yodh (the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet), and the tiniest serif (stroke at the end of a letter), is inspired by God and has His imprimatur, His official approval?!!! We definitely need to understand clearly what Jesus means by anger because He says that anyone and everyone who grows angry with his brother will be liable to judgment the same way that a murderer is liable to judgement. If we are abusive with our maids, if we belittle our employees, if we show contempt for others, feeling they are beneath us, this all falls under Jesus' definition of anger. 

I was listening to someone recently describing a woman in church. She knew her as such a nice and gentle person, she said, but she was shocked when she visited her at home. She treated her maids with disdain and would shout at them!  I suppose there are parts in our character we are not aware of, shadows that can't bear examination. 

Lord, make me aware of whatever there is in my life that is not pleasing to You. Help me to surrender all to You. It is impossible to obey all the yodhs and serifs of the law, but my hope lies in You. You are my righteousness! 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Banished!

"...He expelled the man..." Genesis 3:24



Expelled. Drove out. Cast out. Banished. After the man and the woman disobeyed God, He told them the consequences of their rebellion. There was only one rule God gave the couple. He told them not to eat of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil. One rule! And they couldn't obey! And so now they had to work and labor for their food, and for the woman, labor in childbearing. Not only that, they would return to the dirt they belonged! 

But why so harsh? Banishment? From a beautiful place God prepared specially for them? Why? We may never know why, and perhaps we can ask God when we meet Him face to face. After all, He has many secrets from us, and rightfully so. We will never be able to bear knowing everything! 



Deuteronomy 29:29 says: "The LORD our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions." The operative word here is "accountable". Imagine being accountable forever for what God has revealed! But do we read what He has revealed? How can we obey if we have not read what He has revealed? Imagine all the people who go around oblivious of all God has revealed!? Chasing after rainbows that disappear instead of the pearl of great price? 

And I think that was why we were banished, cast out from Paradise where the Tree of Life stood in all its splendor. God in His mercy, compassion and all seeing love, did not want us to be forever in this miserable plight of poverty, sin and pain. It is ironic that most men want to hold on tight to this life on earth, when it is counterfeit gold compared to the real treasures awaiting us.  

Lord, may we always realize that whatever You do, You do in love! Sometimes we complain about things that happen in our life. May we learn to trust in Your wisdom, and continue to study the things You have chosen to reveal to us. 

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Not Good!

"It is not good for man to be alone..." Genesis 2:18

 
God is so involved in our lives that He sees our needs and meets it. What God did for Adam in the garden visibly, He does for us today invisibly. He saw that Adam needed a partner, a helpmate suitable for him. He made a woman and in v. 22, God "brought her to the man". Brought. It's in all my Bibles. God brought Eve to Adam. He is the first matchmaker! He certainly brought me to Luigi (big smile)!

I do believe God brings people into our lives because it is not good for us to be alone. He knows we need friends, mentors, helpmates, encouragers and people who support and appreciate us. It's good to have a spouse, friends, loving relationships that God brings into our life. BUT people change and may disappoint us, relationships can be risky, messy and costly. WE change. No one, not even our spouse, can fully satisfy us, truly understand us, accept us, and give us everything we need. 


But there is ONE who can. Lord, I know that I can come to You in my brokenness, with all my idiosyncrasies and failings and sins. You accept me as I am. You are my true forever and ever friend! And I can be a better wife and mother, a more sincere friend, a more loving companion to others because of Your overflowing mercy and grace. I look to You first to fill me up so I can be a channel of Your love to others. 



Wednesday, February 08, 2017

WOYWW: The Tree of Life

This is not really my desk
but I forgot to take a picture at home
of my messy desk.
This is where we take flat lays at the office.
There's my planner (last week's spread)
and the mini paintings I've been working on
for the Art in the Park.


"...with the tree of life in the middle of the garden..." Genesis 2:9


The whole Bible is God revealing Himself to us. It is the invisible God made visible. Ultimate love observable. 

When God created man in His image, He made them the perfect environment, with everything they needed and could ever want. But alas, He also gave them the gift of choice. "You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. From that tree you shall not eat; the moment you eat of it you are surely doomed to die." 

Put a kid in Disneyland. It's huge. So many exciting things to do. Almost an infinite number of delights to experience. Then you say, "You can do anything, eat anything, have anything, just don't touch THIS!" All of a sudden, his desire just zooms into touching the forbidden! Our rebel hearts are just like that kid's! 

I read in The Anawim Way that the first garden we are given to cultivate and care for is our own soul. We have choices to make every single day, whether to nurture our spiritual life, or make it a desert. The Cross is the new "tree of life in the middle of the garden". 

Thank You Father that although You banished man from Paradise, You made a way for us to experience fellowship with You again through Jesus. Your love breaks through our rebelliousness, our willfulness, our sinfulness. 



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, February 07, 2017

Enthusiastically Creating!

"God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good." 
Genesis 1:31


God saw me, and behold, He thought I was very good, exceedingly good in the original Hebrew. In the New Living translation, He saw that I was excellent in every way. God saw YOU and He thought YOU were excellent in every way! 

How wonderful is it that God is love, and He is disposed because of that love, to see goodness in us and in all creation. That is His first reaction, His inclination. He created us and delighted in us, much like our parents delighted in us but even more, much more! 

Should we not try to cultivate this quality of God?  Should we not greet each new day with wonder and thanksgiving? Can we welcome a friend, an officemate, the garbageman, created in God's image, with happiness and delight? How beautiful this world would be if it was filled with people committed to love others with purpose, working together in peace that defies understanding? 

When I give a talk on creativity, I never fail to point out that God thought His creation was good. He even thought the ugly aye aye, the gross star-nosed mole, the beastly southern elephant seal, were 'worthy to be praised'. He didn't destroy them to start again! So should we appreciate the work of our hands! God enjoyed the work of creating so much He gave us that precious gift as well, and we should use it. Let us fill the earth with our creations of music, art, dance, cooking, dissertations, project proposals, ventures, plans and ideas! Our gracious God gave us a mind and body with so much potential!

Thank You Lord for Your precious gift of creativity and life! May we be enthusiastic, "en theos", in God, filled with You, as we greet each day with all its possibilities and purposes. May our energy and passion color the world around us, and may we always be filled with hope! 

Monday, February 06, 2017

Exceedingly Good!

"God saw that it was good." Gen. 1:4,10,12,18,21,25,31


God saw that what He created was good- light (v.4), land and sea (v.10), plants and trees (v.12), sun, moon and stars (v.18), fish (v.21), animals (v.25), man and all he had made (v.31). 

It wasn't enough to say that God saw what He made and it was good once, twice, three times. In the first chapter of Genesis, it is repeated all of 7 times! And the original Hebrew translation is not only good, not only very good, but "exceedingly good". 
But how can we describe the world today as exceedingly good? Even nature cannot be described as good! Tsunamis, earthquakes, storms, fires, even comets and asteroids can bring disaster in a matter of hours! Add to that the Canadian killer whales, boa constrictors, Giant Pacific Octopuses, Cone Snails whose one little drop of venom can kill 20 people! Good? How about cancer, degenerative brain disease, Alzheimer's, and other debilitating diseases? Exceedingly good? 

The thing is, this world we live in is NOT what God created. Animals in Eden ate plants, and did not kill other animals or men. Nature was ordered, not out of order. And Adam and Eve would not have gotten sick or died. But they chose to disobey God. Chose to follow the enemy instead. It's useless to blame them because we choose to disobey God the same way they did. And so sin and death came into this beautiful, exceedingly good earth God prepared.

How sad that many people see this broken world and ask, "If God exists, if God is good, why does He allow all these atrocities to happen?" It's like when we talk to our employees after they've committed a serious offense. They know the rules as they read it and signed a memo about it. If they break the rule and get sanctioned, we say it's not us who put you in this position. You are getting a suspension because you did what you did. 

Father, thank You that You made a way for us to get into Your good graces again! Thank You that You sent Your Son to redeem us and open the door to everlasting life! 



Sunday, February 05, 2017

Luminous People!

"You are the light of the world." Matthew 5:14


Pope Francis said in his 2014 Angelus message that Christians should be luminous people who always give off light. We should be shining lamps, burning lamps in a dark world. How?

I think it should be by discovering our spiritual gifts, developing them, practicing and using them, and even asking God for more gifts! Yesterday my wonderful sister in Christ, Menchie, talked about spiritual gifts and I became aware of how many they were. Administration, celibacy, craftsmanship, discernment of spirits, encouragement, evangelism, faith, generosity, healing, helping, hospitality, intercession, word of knowledge, leadership, mercy, mission work, music, pastoring, prophecy, service, teaching, voluntary poverty, wisdom, writing, tongues and interpretation of tongues, and probably many more! I get excited going through this list because it is God's way of empowering us to be channels of His goodness, His truth, His loving presence in the world! Imagine receiving a gift from somebody and not opening it. Highly impossible if it was me! I love opening gifts!


Imagine receiving many gifts from God and not knowing about it, not opening it, not using it! Lord, may I be determined and purposeful in finding my spiritual gifts! I want to use them and be a light of the world! Thank You for all my gifts and may I help others find their gifts as well! 

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Rest a While

"Come by yourselves to an out-of-the-way place and rest a while." 
Mark 6:31


How wonderful is Jesus that He even thinks of this? That we do need to rest, to cease work to find refreshment, relaxation and recover strength. Just thinking about being at leisure and taking it easy after a busy week, after all the meetings, and late nights, gives us pause. We need to recharge our batteries. That's why God gave us His example of resting on the 7th day (Genesis 2:2). 

Indeed, we all long for different things. My heart yearns for something completely different than yours. It's ironic that one woman would give her soul for love and companionship and another wishes for nothing but to be left alone. One man works day and night to get ahead and another slaves to feed lepers. 


Ultimately, the best way to rest is in Him, who invented rest. Saint Augustine who sought restlessly after many worldly things until He found God, concluded, "Our hearts are restless until they find rest in Thee." 
May I rest in Thee O Lord, keeper of my heart and soul.