Wednesday, December 31, 2014

WOYWW: Only One Life!

 I have been going through the Instagram feeds
of people who do calligraphy
and this is me, starting to practice!

 And I am doing it on my lap, because my desk is full.
I am packing as we are going off to the beach
for a family vacation and planning meeting
to start the year right.

 "No one has ever seen God. The only-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father's side, has revealed Him." John 1:18

There are a lot of arguments about this passage.  One group of people claim it contradicts other bible passages. Another group insists it proves Jesus is not God because people of His time saw Him.  

To me, this passage just means what God said to Moses in Exodus 33:20, "No man can see God and live."  Man is in such a fallen, unholy condition that we cannot possibly be near enough to "see" a holy, mighty, righteous, immortal God and live!  We would be burned, consumed, destroyed!  

But God does make a way for us to see Him.  He allowed Job to experience Him in a whirlwind, Moses through a burning bush, and there are many instances when God spoke to men through angels. After Jacob wrestled with an angel, He claimed, "I have seen God face to face and lived!"  

God is so unlimited in His creativity that He comes to us in many forms.  Do we want to see God? Then we must feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit prisoners and the sick...

"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." Matthew 25:35-40

 "The world and its enticement is passing away." 1 John 2:17

Enticement. What a deliciously wicked word! Yes, the world has a plenitude of enticements! Why, just using an innocent photography app invites me to adultery with a foreign man! Window shopping can incite envy and covetuousness. A visit to my Facebook or Instagram feed can make me lust for a calligraphy nib or a new exciting book!

I like putting money in the stock market. For just P 5,000 pesos, I can "own" a really profitable company. What if I got a tip from a so-called "expert" that this particular company's stocks would go through the roof, and I sold my whole portfolio to buy it? And then the value went down, down, down? If I knew beforehand that I would have lost all my money, I NEVER would have done it!

The thing is, THIS world is passing away. To invest heavily in THIS world is a poor proposition! But our old enemy uses the enticements of this world to lure us ever deeper into loving the ephemera and detritus of this world.

Only One Life
By C.T. Studd

Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life's busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past, 
Only what's done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn,
And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,
Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say,"Thy will be done”;
And when at last I'll hear the call,
I know I'll say “twas worth it all”;
Only one life,'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.

Joining the lovely Julia Dunnit for a 
peek at desks and projects!
I find a lot of inspiration
visiting my friends here:


Monday, December 29, 2014

Sing a New Song!

 "Sing to the Lord a new song..." Psalm 96:1

The Jews for most of their history have been exiled, persecuted, and have suffered greatly. But in spite of all the pressures of living in a foreign land, they have managed to maintain their language, culture, identity and spirit. When the temple was destroyed and Jerusalem pillaged, the focus of their worship transferred from the temple to their faith communities. That was when the Torah was rediscovered and read afresh.

I can say I also live in exile, in a foreign land. I am, after all, a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20). And like the Jews, with their songs of lamentation, I complain about this strange land I live in. The world as I know it is changing too fast, and I can't say it's for the better! The people who are looked up to, change their husbands or wives like they change their cars. Politicians lie with audacity and have no compunction to steal from the hungry and the homeless. There are apps and sites that promote adultery, and people who are against abortion are insulted. Women jiggle and sing on TV in next to nothing! No, I do not feel like I belong!

 Yet I can still sing new songs to the Lord! For His mercies are new every morning! And I know in every dark shadow, there is a light shining...even in the remotest region of the world! I just need to open my eyes to what God is doing. He keeps His promises, and I wait in faith, and journey with all the other pilgrims, to my promised land!

 "What was from the beginning...we proclaim to you the eternal life...made visible to us..." 1 John 1:1-2

Today is the Feast Day of Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist. He was a pillar of the Jerusalem Church after Jesus' death and lived to a very old age. St. John is purportedly the author of the Gospel of John, the two Epistles and the Book of Revelation. Jesus thought so highly of him that he assigned St. John to care for his mother.
"The eternal...made visible" - When Jesus was born, the eternal collided with the finite. The eternal was made visible to us. Saint John experienced talking with the eternal, walking with Him, eating with Him, asking questions. I guess the closest we can get to the "eternal" while we are here on earth, is if we are told that we are going to die in a few months. Then, we begin to think about the "eternal".

Nick Charles, was a well-known CNN sportscaster having worked with the cable news network since it began. He was divorced twice and lived an indulgent life until he met Jesus. That changed him and he became a Christian. In 2009, he was diagnosed with an incurable bladder cancer and was given 4-20 months to live. He began to make preparations. He recorded videos for his children, especially for his youngest 5-year old daughter so she would get greetings from him every birthday.

One night, when he was in so much pain, he prayed, "God, please take me. I'm ready." Then he said he saw Jesus come and sit by his bed, and Jesus said, "I'll take you, but not yet." That gave him strength to go on. Nick Charles said, "Faith is fastening to what is unseen."

We don't have to wait until we have a few months to live to "fasten to the unseen". We only have to read the Bible, read the Words written by men who walked with the ETERNAL MADE VISIBLE.

"The child grew and became strong..." Luke 2:40

Yesterday we celebrated the Feast of the Holy Family. There were many pains that pierced Mary's heart as Simeon foretold in today's reading. "And you yourself a sword will pierce." No mother should undergo what Mary had to go through. But before Jesus went into public ministry, she had watched him grow, and become strong and bright. How her heart must have rejoiced in Him! 

My son Josh is now 19, so big already! I look back and remember him as a baby, a toddler, going to school, and I can't imagine giving him up like Mary had to give Jesus up. After all, Jesus had His own mission, His own God-given purpose.

Like Jesus, our children have their own mission too. 
We can only do so much. Give them just so much guidance and protection. 
Eventually they have to find their own way. 
There's a saying, God has no grandchildren. 
Our children have to have first hand faith. 
They have to discover God on their own, and have a relationship with God. 
We can't hand it down to them. 

Even if we're not perfect in any way, we can be a model to them, 
and show that a life of faith is a life worth living. 
It is also important that they know that far more than 
good grades or being excellent in sports or computers or whatever, 
the priority is their relationship with God.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Paint Party Friday: The Light Shines in the Darkness!

From our home to yours...
A very blessed Christmas season!
May the light of the world illuminate
your home and your family!

"...the light shines in the darkness..." John 1:5
The day before Christmas, Luigi and I visited some friends and we got to talking about common challenges in our businesses. Sometimes dealing with the government agencies can bring you to some dark places! It can be easy to just give up, but the thing is, sometimes God does bring you to dark places because that is where growth occurs.
"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies, it bears much fruit." John 12:24
If we leave seeds in the packet, it will just be seeds. But if we plant it in soil, it will grow. God is our gardener and we are His garden, it says in 1 Corinthians 3:9. Our gifts, talents, dreams and goals are just like seeds. Sometimes, we can only see the growth and blooming after it is planted in a time of darkness, of frustration, and even failure. Our resourcefulness, ingenuity, creativity, comes forth in new life.
Yes, if we stay in faith, trusting God, refusing to get bitter or pessimistic, God can bring new life out of darkness. Just as He brought new life from Mary's dark womb on the first Christmas morning, and new life from Calvary's tomb.
So if we are seeing some darkness now, the message of Christmas is "the light shines in the darkness". It is not time to despair or feel defeated, but time to rejoice! New life is coming!

 Today is Saint Stephen's Feast Day!
He was the first martyr of the Church.
Many debated with Stephen,
and he was even dragged to face the Sanhedrin.
They all noticed he had the "face of an angel"
(Acts 6:15), as he defended the faith, fearlessly.

Jesus told his disciples in the 10th chapter of Matthew,
"When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak...
You will be given at that moment what you are to say."

This reminds me of the many times my mind has been blank,
and I did not know what to say, or what to write.
But in those times, God has always come to my aid!
Even if we are just ordinary people,
we can depend on God
to give us the words to say or write when we need it! 

Linking with
So many WONDERFUL blogfriends 
to discover here!

Thank you for dropping by!
You are appreciated!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

WOYWW: The Way of Peace

I was making backgrounds last night.
I got a little crazy with those dots!!!! 

 Another thing on my desk is this book
by Lesley Riley.

 I have a page in it all to myself!
Hope she gives me a chance to do this again!

 " our feet into the way of peace." Luke 1:79

The infamous typhoon Haiyan that devastated parts of the Philippines in November last year, was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded. As I watched helplessly on CNN, I saw swathes of water enveloping cities, felling trees, moving huge boats inland. My sister-in-law in Coron, Palawan, reported being terrified of the strong winds and rain which blew through the open windows of their house. And then, suddenly, peace. The eye of the storm.
In our life, there will always be upheavals, challenges, frustrations. For me it came when a supplier did not come through for a Christmas delivery, when a salesgirl fell off the ladder and hurt herself, when the BIR examiner assessed we need to pay 5 million in taxes even if we already paid the correct taxes! So much to disturb our peace.

In the same way that in any typhoon, there is the eye where one can find calmness, God has also provided a place for us to meet Him. In Psalm 46:10, we read, "Be still and know I am God." Even if all is raging outside, we should not permit the rage to come into our heart and mind and spirit. I picture a boat in the middle of a stormy sea. As long as the water does not get into the boat, it will be all right. As long as we do not allow the storm to affect our emotions, our attitude, our thinking, we will be all right.

Exodus 14:14 is one of my very favorite verses: "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still, you shall hold your peace." Our part is to keep still. If we manage that, God will keep the water out of our boat, even if Haiyan does its worst!

Joining the lovely Julia Dunnit for a 
peek at desks and projects!
I find a lot of inspiration
visiting my friends here: