Thursday, April 26, 2018

Begged for a King

“Then the people begged for a king...” Acts 13:21



In Acts 13 Paul and Barnabas were asked by the leaders of the Temple service to give the congregation a word of encouragement. Paul stood up and told them about Jesus, starting from how God led the Jews out of slavery with signs and wonders.

Usually, when we want to get to know a person, we ask a lot of questions and listen to the answers. The more we know, the deeper a relationship is formed. But sometimes we encounter a person who is very secretive, who does not like to expose himself, who evades all our questions with a one word answer or a shrug. 

Here in the Bible, we have the God of the Universe, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, humbly presenting Himself to us so that we can get to know Him if we want to. We do not have to ask. He already provides a means for us to have knowledge of His character, His ways, even how He thinks. He even allows us to reject Him just as the Jews rejected Him when they preferred a human king instead of God! “The people begged for a king!” it reads in Acts 13:21. Instead of appreciating the way God took care of them, delivering them from bondage and guiding them through the prophets, the Jews insisted on their way. They wanted a king even if he would oppress them, draft their sons into his army, force them to plow his fields and take away the best of their fields and vineyards. The Lord warned them how a king would demand a tenth of their harvest and flocks, but the people insisted they wanted a king to govern them and lead them in battle. (1 Samuel 8:10-18)

Is it any wonder today that we are in a mess? We continue to reject God as our King, and choose to follow man’s ways. Father, have mercy on us. May we put You on the throne again in our lives, in our country, in the whole world. 


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

WOYWW: Extraordinarily Extraordinary!


After making a mess, I draw a picture, then paint the background.


After I filled in the colors, I outline in a dark pen. 



“The favors of the Lord I will sing forever.” Psalm 89:2


I particularly like ordinary days. I don’t like excitement, change. I especially don’t like accidents, people getting sick, losing jobs, fires. Of course! Who does?


But I also realize there are no ordinary days. Every day is extraordinarily extraordinary! We are on a journey around the sun, for goodness sake! Every year we go around this huge mass of hot 5778 K swirling plasma! And just like that, my perspective changes. I am surrounded by miracles. Nothing is ordinary! Not the cactus sitting quietly on a pot beside me. Not the skin on my fingers. When I get paint on it, I can easily clean it off. No stains! How do I hold on to this miracle of life? 


Like the psalmist, I should always have gratitude in my heart. I should open my eyes, my heart, my ears to the favors of the Lord. I should not concentrate on what can happen, what gives me stress, negative things people say. The heavens proclaim the wonders of God. I am His creation. So should I! 




Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The First Christians

“It was there in Antioch that the believers were first called Christians.” Acts 11:26



From twelve disciples, to little groups of people scattered by persecution, the believers grew in number. It was in Antioch that they were first called Christians. They were so convicted that many were willing to leave their way of life, and even die for Christ. 

I can’t help feeling that we Christians today fall short of the standard set forth by Christ. It is said that a Christian’s life is the world’s Bible. 

Lord, may I live in such a way that even strangers who meet me will sense something different and will want to have what I have. 

Monday, April 23, 2018

In Our Image

“The sheep follow Him because they recognize His voice.” John 10:4



Jesus is the good shepherd. He has only our good in mind. Do we recognize His voice, or do we insist on making Jesus in our own image? Surprisingly many do make their own God to fit how they want to live. Sometimes I watch reality TV shows and it amazes me that many of the celebrities on it talk about praying to God but live lives so totally alien to what Jesus, the good shepherd teaches. 

But how about me? Instead of judging other people, I have to open my eyes to see where I listen to my own voice instead of God’s. In today’s first reading, Acts 11:1-18, Peter had to make a 180 degree turn in his way of thinking when he received a vision from God. He realized that God was granting life-giving repentance not only to the Jews but to the Gentiles as well. Jesus is the good shepherd to all people, from tribes in the hinterland to sophisticated heathens who do not find any need for God in their busy lives. He wants to call us all. If we recognize His voice, we will realize that we have a part to play in bringing His “other sheep” into His fold. 

Jesus, help me to recognize Your voice. Teach me to love others as You love, to serve as You serve, and to be a light in the darkness of this world. Only in that way can I point others in Your direction. 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Pasture of Everlasting Life

“I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” 
John 10:14



It is no wonder that Jesus used the analogy of sheep and their shepherd to describe His relationship to His followers. When my husband Luigi asked a shepherd if he could feed his sheep, the man said something like, “You can try. That’s the problem you see. I can’t take a day off. The sheep only come to me.” Luigi held the bucket of food and called out to the sheep with no avail. Not one came near. 

In the Catholic Church, today is Good Shepherd Sunday. We celebrate the fact that Jesus laid His life down for us like a good shepherd. He knows each of us by name, knows our idiosyncrasies and frailties, and if we are a good follower, we know and love Him back. 

Thank You Lord, that if we recognize Your voice and follow You, You will lead us to the pasture of everlasting life. 

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Get up, Tabitha!

“Get up, Tabitha!” Acts 9:40



Ever since my mom got sick, I had this desire that God would give me the gift of healing. Like anything in life, I have found that sometimes one is born with it or one has to practice, practice, practice. I started embellishing my prayer journal every day in 2006. I started cutting up a magazine and pasting pictures and words on my journal to illustrate a bible verse. Then I started to make stick figures, painted faces, and now I trace magazine pictures and paint on my Bible. It’s a journey and God is there all the time honoring whatever effort we make. I believe the same is true with the gift of healing. 

In the 9th chapter of Acts, we read about the fledgling Christian communities in Judea, Galilee and Samaria.  Peter visited the new followers of Christ to encourage them and I can imagine that many sick were brought to him. In Lydda, he healed a paralyzed man named Aeneas who had been confined to his bed for 8 years. In Joppa, he prayed over a dead woman named Tabitha, and she opened her eyes. 

I do believe that like Peter we have a mission to heal the sick. After all Jesus said to His disciples, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.” Was He only commissioning the Twelve? Then why did He say in John 14:12-14, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father…If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

If we believe that God doesn’t hear our feeble prayers, we will not attempt to pray over anyone who is sick. But if we persist in praying over anyone sick who comes our way, whether they get well or not, God will meet us where we are. 

In the story of the persistent widow in Luke 18, Jesus teaches that we need persistent faith, faith that won’t give up even if the last person we prayed for died. We need the faith God will gift us with if we press in and on with God, faith that believes God’s Word and expects Him to act. Practice, practice, practice! 

Friday, April 20, 2018

Seek Me, Find Me

“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Acts 9:4



I’ve read the fascinating account of the conversion of Saul several times, how this man went from being a sort of Gestapo for the new Christians to one of the greatest evangelists for Jesus. He was unwavering in his mission, and founded several churches in Asia Minor and Europe, until he was beheaded like John the Baptist. 

New atheists dismiss Paul’s conversion experience with the blinding light as a textbook case of Temporal Lobe Seizure just as they explain away the numerous sightings of Jesus after His death as mass hallucination. I like science to explain phenomena as well as any man, but it is up to each one of us to come to a rational understanding of reality. 

There’s no such thing as mass hallucination for instance. There’s mass hysteria where people can be highly susceptible to suggestions but you cannot have even two people have exactly the same hallucination. 

As for Saint Paul, can one seizure change a man completely? Saint Paul’s writings show that Paul changed not because of a seizure but because he got to know Jesus Christ very well indeed. From the time Paul saw the light in the sky and heard Jesus ask: “Why are you persecuting me?”, Paul never looked back. He began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogue as the Son of God. We too can get to know Jesus, not only through the gospel stories, and the Acts of the Apostles, and the letters of Saint Paul. 

God promised if we seek Him, we will find Him. (Rev. 3:20, Jeremiah 29:13) “When you seek me, you will find me, provided you seek for me with all your heart.” 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

New Every Morning

“Do you really grasp what you are reading?” The Ethiopian eunuch replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” Acts 8:30-31



Just recently someone told me she could not understand the Bible even if she tried to. She would read in Pilipino or English, and she just could not understand. There is no shame in admitting that. If we really desire to know God and His word, God will send someone to teach us, just like the Ethiopian eunuch in the 8th chapter of Acts. An angel instructed Philip to “Head south on the road ...to Gaza, the desert route.” There Philip met the unnamed eunuch who was reading scripture by the prophet Isaiah. Philip, one of the seven chosen in Acts 6 to care for the poor in the fledgling Church in Jerusalem, helped the eunuch understand. The man was led to Christ and baptized. 

We may be the eunuch who does not understand, or Philip, sent by God to explain to one who does not understand. Usually we are both. I may seem like I know a lot about the Bible but nothing could be farther from the truth. Every day, when I sit at the feet of Jesus I am surprised at what He shows me. I start out by reading the daily Scripture guide and Anawim meditation. I expect Him to speak to me. When I start writing, my mind is blank, but I expect the Lord to meet me and like Philip, He does. We just have to wait and not give up. I have waited for the Lord every morning since I was quite young. After more than 40 years, there is always something new for me every morning.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is His faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Linchpin of our Faith

“I am the bread of life...” John 6:35



It is no surprise that after Jesus multiplied the five loaves and two fishes, and fed the five thousand until they were satisfied, crowds would follow Him. They would even get into a boat in search of Him. If that happened here in the Philippines today, I have no doubt that Jesus would have no moments peace. There would be people knocking on His door at night, creeping up to Him as He prayed in solitude, dogging His every step, trying to touch Him. All that for bread that would be moldy and smelly after a few days.

Jesus offers more, so much more than that. He says, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” Never is an “absolute”. Never means not in the past, not in the future, not under any circumstance. Only God can promise never, as only God can promise forever. We know we can depend on Jesus keeping His promises of forever because He rose from the dead. His claims that He is the bread of life, of everlasting life even, rise and fall on the truth of His resurrection. 

The truth we celebrate this Easter season is the linchpin of our Christian faith, the very heart of our faith. As Saint Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins” (v. 17).

Lord, may I not be satisfied with the bread this world offers, no matter its claims. May I hunger and thirst only for what You can give me! 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Food That Perishes

“Do not work for food that perishes...” John 6:27



Jesus said this after feeding 5000 people with loaves and fishes. These same people followed him, getting into boats to look for Him. Jesus is the only human with the unique perspective of literally seeing with God’s eyes the difference between perishable bread and His Words, the bread of life. 

Ravi Zacharias tells the incredible story of Hien Pham, his interpreter when he spoke to the troops in Vietnam. After Vietnam fell, Hien was accused of working for the CIA and incarcerated. He was forbidden to read anything but writings of Marx and Engels in Vietnamese or French. He was indoctrinated that there is no God day after day. One night he decided, “Tomorrow I am going to live as if there is no God.”

The next day he was assigned to clean the dirty, smelly latrines. He covered his mouth and nose as he mopped up the toilets. As he was about to throw out one bucket, he noticed a piece of paper in English. He surreptitiously cleaned it and put it in his pocket. That night when all was quiet, he took it out and read it. It was a page from Romans 8: “And we know that all things work together for good for them that love God.” No verse was more relevant for him that day and he fell to his knees. The next day he volunteered to clean the latrines again. Each day he would find a page from the Bible, clean it and read it eagerly at night for his devotions. It turns out the Commander had been given a Bible which he used for toilet paper.

When Hien was eventually released, he and 53 other people decided to build a boat and escape. A few days before they were about to leave, four fully armed Viet Cong arrived and interrogated him. He insisted he had no plans of escaping. When the four left, he asked forgiveness from God for the lie and promised to tell the truth if they came again. 

A few hours before he and his companions were to board the boat, the four Vietcong came and asked him again, “You’re trying to escape, aren’t you?” “Yes,” Hien Pham admitted, “Are you going to kill me?” “No,” they whispered, “we want to go with you!”

So all fifty-eight escapees set out. In the high seas, there was a storm and the boat almost capsized but the four Vietcong were the best mariners they could have wanted and they all safely reached Thailand. 



When Hien Pham visited Ravi Zacharias in his home, Hien said during dinner, “You know you always think you’re going to manage it your own way. It never works. The most important thing is to find intimacy with God, and He will guide you and take you through safely in your journey as you walk hand and hand with Him. When everything comes together, you have wonder, truth, love, and security. That’s what gives life meaning, and you’ll find only God is big enough to do that for you.” 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Touch Me

“Touch me, and see...” Luke 24:39




Jesus did not expect the disciples to believe in Him with blind faith. He showed them His hands and feet and bade them to touch Him. “...it is I, Myself. Touch me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 


The disciples marveled and were amazed. We too can marvel and be amazed for our faith is based on evidence. We do not believe in a god invented by man, or is a delusion as the new atheists insist. In an informal survey conducted in Hong Kong University, it was found that a majority of students believe that the world is a better place if people believe in God, even in a fictional god! Many people today believe that God is irrelevant, unimportant. I should think that we should want to discover for ourselves if God is real or an idea invented by man! 


The Hebrew God is unlike any other in that He is the creator of the universe, but He broke into our world because He made us in His image and values each and every one of us. That is the reason for the cross, the most horrible punishment created by the perverted mind of man. Jesus hung on the cross, humiliated, beaten and bruised, the lamb sacrificed for you and me. 


Irrelevant? We need to do better than that! There are things that are relevant for our life that we know nothing about, the square root of minus one for instance, which is one reason why we have smart phones. While I may never understand the concept of imaginary numbers, I can know Jesus because He wants me to know Him and the finished work on the cross. I can know Jesus by reading the Bible, and praying that He reveal Himself to me. I can know Jesus by reading dozens of historical writings by both Jews and Romans found on the internet. God made sure that the life and death of Jesus is amazingly documented. Yes, Jesus is still saying today, “Touch me, and see...” 


Saturday, April 14, 2018

Be Not Afraid

“It is I; be not afraid...” John 6:20




After the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, Jesus went off on His own while the disciples took a boat to go across to Capernaum. It was dark, the waves were rough and rising high with the strong wind. When they had rowed three or four miles out, they saw but did not recognize Jesus, approaching the boat, walking on the water. They were terrified. I would be terrified as well! But Jesus said, “It is I; do not be afraid.” They helped Him into the boat, and proceeded where they were headed. 


Most times, we do not recognize God when He visits us. God comes while we are living out our ordinary every day life. He does not disrupt our days, MOST of the time. But sometimes He does, and if we take God at His Word, we will see it as a blessing, a gift, even if it is terrifying in some way. The apostles were experienced fishermen, well used to going out to sea in the dark, in fair weather and foul. This time they see something unusual and it terrified them. When they recognized it was Jesus, they calmed down and were happy to have Jesus join them. 


When I shared the Metro article about my brother Robert having cancer, I received many comments. Most were of course, promises to pray, but many were naturally about being shocked, sad and dismayed. Robert’s attitude is surprising because he sees cancer as a gift and blessing. 

Robert said, “I am so incredibly grateful for this life now. I used to hate myself. I used to think about taking my life all the time. That has completely changed now. I realize that life is short—I don’t have to rush things. Before you know it, life is over. I am now living the best life I’ve ever lived. I am so incredibly thankful for this cancer. It is indeed a gift.” 


God comes into our lives bearing gifts. It does not always take the form we like. Sometimes it terrifies us, dismays us, depresses us, makes us cringe. But sometimes, if we open our eyes and our heart, we can receive God’s gifts with joy.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Left Overs

“Gather up the crusts that are left over so that nothing will go to waste.” 
John 6:12



Does God still multiply bread? Is He still in the business of miracles? I believe so. Just like He used the little boy who gave his five barley loaves and two fish to feed five thousand people, He uses Joe Dean Sola who gives his all to feed thousands of street children. That was not Joe Dean’s plan at all. He wanted to be a drug lord and become rich. He used Bible pages to wrap marijuana in to smoke. But one day Joe Dean saw 2 street kids in a waiting shed. He gave them food to eat, and gave them a bath. On August 10, 1996, he founded He Cares for street children in his garage. He cooked food for them, and cleaned them up. 

In 2013, he challenged the street toughies who sniffed rugby to give him their 5 pesos instead of using it to buy rugby. He promised to build them a house. True enough, the construction of the 3 story building started in April 2014. In Sept. 19, 2015, the structure which can accommodate 100 boys was finished. 

Joe Dean answered God’s call to give his all for God’s precious abandoned lost children. Today, the caring center on no. 9 Mines street, Project 6, QC, feeds thousands of kids, sends about 500 to school, and has brought them all back to the love of the Father. 

Today, Joe Dean is working on making his dream of a farm for the children come to fruition. Nothing stops his enthusiasm to serve His big God. And God continues to supply what Joe Dean needs. If you would like to give your loaves and fishes, visit http://hecaresmission.com/ and help with school supplies, and other basic needs. I am sure there will be scraps left over for even more street children to be taken care of. 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Better for Us

“Better for us to obey God than man!” Acts 5:29



Many people today obey man rather than God for different reasons- political expediency, political correctness in the name of tolerance, money, popularity, convenience, selfishness, etc. The apostles were different. Even in the face of death, arrest, or jail, they stood their ground.  “We must obey God rather than men!” Where did they get their courage and strength?

They knew Jesus, they were witnesses, and they had the helper Jesus sent, the Holy Spirit. Sometimes people think it is easier to follow the ways of the world. An unwanted child in the womb? Get rid of it. A tax problem? Give grease money. Caught in dilemma? Lie. Lie. Lie. Follow the path of least resistance. It is not easy to obey God’s laws. That is what the world wants us to think. But that is only when God is out of the equation. 

God is bigger than our problems, our dilemmas, any trouble facing us. I confess that I can be anxious about even the most absurd things. I worry about our BIR problems, the future, our business. Then I stop short and go back to God’s promises and I can relax when I obey Him. “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:18) “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Phil. 4:6) “With God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26). 

Like the Apostles, we can know Jesus by reading about Him, talking to Him and listening to Him, and following His wise ways. And with the Holy Spirit, we can be victorious and obey Him rather than men. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

WOYWW: New Life



I am making a sample for my papemelroti Artisans workshop on the 25th. “Beauty for Ashes” is all about using the scraps we have accumulated and creating a garden for the Lord. Or about how God uses the detritus of our life to give it meaning. Still a work in progress. Like me and you.



“Go out now ... and preach... all about this new life.” Acts 5:20

Peter and the Apostles were thrown in jail by the high priest and the Sadducees because crowds followed them and listened. The sick were brought out into the streets and laid on mats so the mere shadow of Peter would fall across them. But an angel came in the evening, and set the Apostles free. He told them, “Go to the Temple and tell the people everything about this life!” 

Charles Colson has said repeatedly in his preaching, “I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren't true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn't keep a lie for three weeks. You're telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.” 

Charles Colson, would know. He was Richard Nixon’s Special Counsel. He used to be a very powerful man but in 1974, he was imprisoned for seven months for his part in the Watergate scandal. After his imprisonment, Colson founded “Prison Fellowship Intl.” in 1976, an outreach to prisoners and former inmates and their families. Colson preached about his conversion to Christ, and because of his first hand experience, he claimed that “the lesson of Watergate is that a lie cannot live for long.” 

We too have a mission. The same mission given to the Apostles, and the same mission God gave Charles Colson, “Go out and tell everyone about this new 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, April 10, 2018

New Name, New Identity

There was a certain Levite from Cyprus named Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas, meaning “son of encouragement”. (Acts 4:36)




When God changed a person’s name in the Bible, it was usually to establish a new identity, a new mission. Abram meaning “high father” was given the name “father of many nations” in Genesis 17:5. God said, “I will give you millions of descendants who will represent many nations. Kings will be among them.” Abraham’s wife, Sarai, meaning “my princess” was given a new name too- Sarah, meaning “mother of many nations”. In Genesis 32:28, God changed Jacob’s name, which meant "supplanter," to “Israel,” meaning “having power with God”. 


It would therefore not be surprising that with the believers, it would also signify a new identity and mission when one’s name was changed. There was a new believer, a Levite from Cyprus. His name was Joseph, and the apostles nicknamed him Barnabas, “son of encouragement”. He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles for those in need. There are men and women like him today who give of their time, treasure and talent to build God’s kingdom. One man gave a very valuable property to our community so our Christian school could flourish. I am sure God has a special name for him in heaven. 


How about us? Do we have a special name reserved for us? Are we taking on our new identity in Christ, and moving forward in the mission He entrusted to us? 

Monday, April 09, 2018

A Sign

“Ask for a sign...” Isaiah 7:10





In a somewhat surprising turn of events, God sent a message to King Ahaz through the awesome prophet Isaiah. “Ask me for a sign...” He said. Ahaz at this time was worried and afraid of the enemies arrayed against him. “You do not believe me? If you want me to protect you, learn to BELIEVE what I say!” God said. 


Today, there may not be prophets of the stature of Isaiah, but I believe that we all can speak to the Lord, hear Him and know His mind. Our Father would desire nothing more than His children come to Him and ask for what we need. Jesus left the earth so we can have the greatest gift of the Holy Spirit and we can learn to live in a way that the Spirit can work powerfully in us. We just need to read and study the Bible to unlock this great power available to us. 


“And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my Spirit upon ALL flesh; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men see visions: And also upon the servants and handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.” Joel 2:28-30


Do we want to be part of the outpouring of God’s Spirit? I do. The Bible is not just a bunch of fairy tales and legends. In it, God reveals His mind, how He loves us, and wants to anoint us. But it’s not going to happen if we don’t take the Word of God seriously, if we fill our minds with the unceasing chatter on TV, the memes on social media or gossip from our friends. 


Lord, teach us how to walk in Your supernatural, world-changing, healing, creative power. I ask that You give us a sign, a revelation of how we can align ourselves with what You are doing in the world right now. 


Sunday, April 08, 2018

Conquering Faith

“The power that has conquered the world is this faith of ours.” 1 John 5:4



Now that is a pretty bold claim! This was written by Saint John the Evangelist in Ephesus in AD 95-110. 

In another version we can read, “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”

There are many businessmen and world leaders who are already super successful, super powerful, but keep wanting more and more. Nothing this world offers is enough for them. There are many sports stars who have achieved the pinnacle of success and found they were still searching for more. One of them is retired cornerback Deion Sanders. His list of career highlights is so long, I got tired of scrolling down the page.  He was one of the biggest, most famous, richest superstar athletes in the world with a $10,000 bed in a $5.7 million dollar home and a collection of luxury cars, but he just felt empty. He said he had nothing until he found God. He felt so empty and lonely even if he had everything and achieved everything he could ever want. 

One day, after searching and talking to his Christian friends, this happened: “ I was lying there in bed about four o’clock in the morning when I was awakened by these awesome lights in my room. I say it was like a 747 had landed beside my bed, and there was this incredible rush of wind that felt like a helicopter had come in with it.” 

“I remember opening my eyes just the slightest bit and saying, “God, if that’s You, take me! Take me, Lord,” and I was trembling all over. Before long it was silent and the lights disappeared, and later that night I got up and opened my Bible to a passage that said, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10). The words hit me like a ton of bricks. I knew they were meant for me and at that precise moment I was delivered.”

Now he is so vocal about how he got saved, and he puts in time helping troubled youth find meaning in their life. Lord, may we not believe that conquering the world lies in getting all we want from it. May we not be captivated by all that is enticing in the world. May we go after the one true treasure, You! 

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Believe It!

“They refused to believe it.” Mark 16:11



When Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was a child, he would listen to his father talk long into the night about the disasters befalling their beloved country Russia. Always his father would end with, “Men have forgotten God, that’s why this has all happened.” 

In 1983, the Nobel Laureate and Russian dissident gave a talk and explained how an atheistic mindset and a turning away from Christian morals led to the Russian revolution that murdered 60 million of his people and the communist takeover. We see that in our country today there is a growing secularization, a turning away from God, faith and right reasoning. This should be a warning for us all. 

In Jesus’ time, there were people who believed in Him and there were people who ridiculed Him, sold Him, abused Him and crucified Him. Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher, wrote that, “God is dead”, and was widely quoted. Yes, Jesus died on the cross, but He lives. 

Do we have to see to believe like Thomas and the other disciples? When Jesus walked the streets of Nazareth, and there was no faith, Jesus did none of His miracles. I prefer to believe even if I do not see Jesus in the flesh. In my 61 years of existence, I can attest that God is alive, and cares about every little detail of my life. He walks with me in my joy and in my challenges. He shows that His promises are true, that in my weakness He makes a way where there is none. To me, every day is a miracle when I am aware of God’s saving grace.   

Friday, April 06, 2018

It is the Lord

“It is the Lord!” John 21:7




After Jesus’ death, Simon Peter decided to go back to his fishing. This shows me that he was not yet aware of what Jesus wanted him to do. Thomas, Nathanael, James, John, and two other disciples went to go fishing with him as well. But they caught nothing, zero fish.

Despondent, they rowed back to shore and caught sight of Jesus but they did not recognize Him. “Children, did you catch any fish?” When they answered no, Jesus told them, “Throw out the net on the right-hand side of the boat and  you’ll get plenty of fish.” They obeyed and went back to shore. “There were 153 large fish and yet the net had not torn.” 

John was the first to recognize Jesus. “It is the Lord!” He cried. It was curious to me that they had obeyed Jesus even when they did not know who he was. They were that desperate. They got a big catch. That was a miracle in itself because how could they find so much fish in shallow water? Another curious thing about this story is that  when Jesus asked for the fish, only Peter dragged the net from the boat to the shore. They had caught 153 large fish and yet the net was not broken. 

This event is clearly a foreshadowing of the work of Jesus’ followers. We are called to be fishers of men. We will only be successful even in the shallow water of our own inadequacies, if we follow His leading as the disciples did. The net is a symbol of God’s church and the 153 counted fish? We are each, everyone one of us, counted, important, precious in God’s eyes. 

Peter alone dragged the net to Jesus because Peter had a special role to lead the fledgling Church. After the meal of bread and fish, Jesus told Peter to take care of and feed His sheep. The people Jesus chose to start His Church show me that God does not choose the best and the brightest. He doesn’t select great speakers, or even the nicest people. They all had faults and weaknesses but they were willing to rely on Him and follow Him. If we are willing to do that, He will use us. 

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Look at My Hands

“Look at my hands and feet, that it is I myself.” Luke 24:39

Jesus appeared to His disciples, and followers several times. It is plausible that He appeared many more times than what is written in the Gospels. After all, in John 21:25, John the disciple attests that Jesus did and said so much more than what he wrote down, that if everything was written in detail, the whole world would have no room for all the books! 

In one of those occasions when Jesus showed Himself, He ate and drank with His followers, even showed His hands and feet. “Touch me,” He invited. He spent time with them to open their minds to understand the scriptures, from the writings of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. No wonder they overcame their fear and were ready to go forth and proclaim the Good News! Atheists claim that all the appearances of Jesus after His death were mere hallucinations. How could many have the same hallucination, and how could a figment of the imagination produce such stalwart and determined men and women willing to die to defend their faith? 

Jesus was single minded in His mission. He spent all that time after His death to commission His followers to “Go forth to the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” If we are His true believers, that is what we must do. 

I find a lot of inspiration
visiting my friends here:

Blessings!
Patsy