Wednesday, January 28, 2015


 Here is my desk after painting on canvases last night
in preparation for Art in the Park in March.

 I transformed Chef Rocco di Spirito
into a farmer. He's got a new career!!!

 "A farmer went out to plant some seed...Other seed fell on fertile soil and produced a crop that was 30, 60 and even a hundred times as much as was planted." Mark 4: 3-8
The seed here is the Word of God, and the soil is our hearts. There are different kinds of hearts. In 2006, I was very frustrated that even if I prayed early in the morning, and thought about what I read in the Bible, by 10 in the morning, I could not remember even the verse I read! My heart was like the footpath, where the birds just picked up the seeds and ate it!

Although the Word is spread far and wide- we can listen to it on TV, on Youtube, in prayer meetings, we can read it in on billboards, on websites, there is much more seed the enemy is planting! I think we have to think of more "creative" ways to plant the seed in our heart, to help it germinate and grow. We cannot allow the enemy to stifle it with all the work we need to do, to choke it with the lures of materialism, to drown it with the so many forms of entertainment, and our desire for a life of ease and comfort.

That is why in 2006, I decided to illustrate the Bible verse I read in the morning. I would just cut up pictures in magazines and glue it on to my prayer journal. It's helped immensely to embed God's Word in my heart. I can say it's not only helped me grow spiritually, and given me joy, but I also discovered I could paint! Truly, what God has planted in my heart produced so much more than I could ever had imagined!

 I joined this lovely group on Facebook
Most of us paint in this group on our Bibles.
Some of you may disagree with doing that,
but I try hard not to get too much paint so I can still read the Word.
Also, this is not my main Bible.

My main Bible is soooo full of notations,
from past studies -
 another way I try to place the Word in my heart,
and help it permeate my life!

 "I take joy in doing Your will my God, for Your law is written in My heart." Psalm 40:8
Obeying God is a true sign that we love God, that we are part of His family, brother, sister, mother (Mark 3:35) and His treasured possession (Exodus 19:5) Jesus obeyed the Father and gave all He could give, even His very life.
In the 10th chapter of Mark, there is the story of the very rich young man who asked Jesus, "What must I do to go to inherit eternal life?" When Jesus told him to sell all his possessions, the man left grieving, without joy. There is joy in obedience, and if we do not obey there is something that will hound you!

By contrast there is the story of Saint Matthew, the tax collector, who followed Jesus without hesitation. Before he met Jesus, he was greedy, hungry for money. When he obeyed and answered the call of Jesus, he was set free from that bondage. Saint Bede wrote that Jesus summoned Matthew away from earthy possessions to the incorruptible treasures of heaven. When we obey God, there is always joy and blessing in heeding His voice!

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


Monday, January 26, 2015

Like a Jedi

"Jesus...summoned those He wanted..." Mark 3:13
In the 3rd chapter of Mark, we see that Jesus selected the 12 apostles after He prayed up in the mountain. Now this motley band of ordinary men can be very reassuring for us "ordinary" men and women. He chose 4 fishermen, brothers Simon Peter and Andrew, who recognized Jesus as the Messiah and hastened to introduce Him to Peter. Then there's James and John, nicknamed (perhaps fondly by Jesus) as Boanerges or sons of thunder because they were impetuous and wanted to rain fire upon some villagers who refused them accommodation. Philip did not pass Jesus' test question of how to feed the five thousand. Nathaniel was initially skeptical of Jesus, scoffing, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"

Matthew was a despised tax collector who went on to write one of the Gospels. Then there's Thomas, forever famous or infamous for doubting and needing proof before believing. James is most known for being Jesus' "brother", meaning he was most probably a cousin by Jewish custom. Jude Thaddeus wrote one of the epistles, and asked Jesus at the Last Supper why He showed Himself to them but not to the whole world. Simon is known as a Zealot (or a political radical) in some studies, or the groom at the wedding of Cana. To Eastern Orthodox believers, he left his bride after the miracle of the wine! Either way, he was certainly a radical! And we all know what Judas Iscariot did!

 I don't have to be extraordinary for Jesus to choose me! He chose me in spite of my weaknesses, idiosyncracies, and failures! He knows me and gives me chance after chance to turn back to Him, to be fed by His Word like the apostles. He knows I am weak, that I deny Him (even more than 3 times!), that I doubt, am skeptical sometimes, even betray Him. But as long as I repent, turn back to Him, I can continue with grace, and finish the journey with Him in victory!

"It was fitting that we should have such a High Priest." Hebrews 7:26
The description of the garments of the Jewish High Priests were so specific and mysterious. There was a breastplate with different colored stones with engravings on them, and this had to hang from "remembrance stones" on the priests' shoulders. Even the means of securing the breastplate and the colors of the ribbons hanging from it were identified. The high priests could only go inside the Holy of Holies once a year to offer sacrifice. That was in the Old Testament.

In the New Covenant we have Jesus as our High Priest and intercessor. He offered The Sacrifice once and for all. Our High Priest is forever before the presence of the living God, and He "forever lives to make intercession" for us! (Hebrews 7:25)
I think of how people would line up for hours (some up to 10 hours), walk long distances, stand in the rain and shiver with the wind, only to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis. Then afterwards, they would say it was worth it! Can you imagine what it would be like to BE in the presence of Jesus forever and ever? To be eternally His friend? To not have to wait in line? We do not need to go through elaborate ceremonies, and wear different colored stones attached to "cords of wreathen work", "fastened to ouches on the shoulder", etc etc. Revelations 1:6 reads, "Jesus Christ has made us to be a kingdom and priests unto God." Jesus' Word and power and victory are available to us who believe!

 "...this was called the Holy Place." Hebrews 9:2
When we read the instructions of God about the tabernacle and its furnishings in Exodus 25 and 37, we see how specific God was about this Holy Place. The amazing thing is it all foreshadows and symbolizes Jesus and what He did for us. Back then there were 3 veils that separated God from men. Only priests could enter the Holy Place where the lampstand, the table of showbread and the altar of incense was placed. Only the High Priest could enter once a year into the last veil where the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy seat was hidden.

The bronze of the whole courtyard symbolized sin, and the gold inside the tabernacle symbolized God and His separateness from us. The lampstand clearly was an early representation of Jesus, light of the world. The light on this lamp could not be permanently lit, but we have the light of the Word which will never die. The table of showbread was specified to be made of acacia overlaid with gold, which symbolized that Jesus was both God and man. The bread on the table, which was also called Bread of the Presence, symbolized God's presence among us. God with us! The altar of incense is Jesus' interceding for us continuously. Blood was applied to this altar on the Day of Atonement! How obvious could God be about His plans for us?
There is so much richness in all God does. Even in the little things then, and the little things now. I really need to open my eyes, to read His Word, and take advantage of the many gifts He wants to give me in His Word and in His presence in my life!

 "Stir into flame the gift of God bestowed on you when I laid my hands on you." 2 Timothy 1:6
Today, January 26, is the Feast day of Saint Timothy, and this verse is part of a letter written by Saint Paul to him. I do not know how old Saint Timothy was when he accompanied Saint Paul in his travels but I like to think of him as a young man when he converted to Christianity. Saint Paul baptized and circumcised him.
"Stir into flame the gift of God" can be compared to the Star Wars greeting, "May the Force be with you". Luke Skywalker was told by his mentor, the Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, "The Force will be with you. Always." What was the Force in these popular movies? Obi-Wan explained to Luke that the Force was what gives the Jedi his power. It's an energy field that surrounded them and penetrated them. It held the galaxy together. I'm not an expert on Star Wars but the way I see it, when Luke Skywalker was sensitive to the Force, he was able to fight the Dark Side successfully.

We have the Holy Spirit within us. We should be in training like the young Jedis to sense God's presence, movement and guidance in our every day life. There are many dark forces, enemies that seek to turn us away from God. Even our busy schedule can keep us from praying and connecting with God. With the Jedis, the mightier the foe, the more the Jedi had to close their eyes, keep still and connect to the force before the battle. The same with us! The busier we are, the more we should find time to be still, talk to God and listen.

"The Word of the Lord came to Jonah saying, "Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and announce to it the message that I will give you." Jonah 3:1

It seems to me that the entire Bible is God's love song to us, His wooing us, His calling out to us. There are stories like Jonah, of how God uses prophets to convince men to return to Him. Then there are the stories of Jesus' life. How Jesus called and trained 'fishers of men' who in turn would call people to Himself. God's desire is we would all get to know Him, be part of His Kingdom as His sons and daughters, brothers and sisters to one another. But just like any adopted child, we would have to learn the values and the ways of our new family. That's what He is doing today, with all our trials and challenges. These are all ways to turn us into men and women who live with Kingdom values. 

The world lures us with its values of relativism and consumerism and selfishness. God lures us with His love and faithfulness. "Where else can I go, Lord? You have the Words of eternal life!"

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

WOYWW: Prisoners of Hope

 I have not posted for a week because I have been so busy!
Pope Francis was here in the Philippines from January 15-19.
If I was not Pope-stalking, I was watching him on TV
and tearing up from what he said and from all the filipinos
getting wet and waiting for houuuurs! 

Here is Pope Francis blowing kisses to the crowd,
and I am one of them.

 "...Jesus was deeply grieved that they had closed their minds against Him..." Mark 3:5
Jesus wept, lamented, mourned, grieved over loss, injustice, over sin, over people who closed their minds against Him. There is sooo much of that in the world today. We lose people to cancer or aids, even dengue. We watch helplessly on CNN how innocent people are kidnapped, beheaded, condemned to slavery, how children are taught to kill or made to do horrible things.

 Pope Francis said last Sunday in his spontaneous speech to the youth, "When the heart is able to ask itself and weep, then we can understand something. There is a worldly compassion which is useless. It’s a compassion that makes us put our hands in our pockets and give something to the poor. But if Christ had had that kind of compassion he would have greeted a couple of people, given them something, and walked on. But it was only when he was able to cry that he understood something of our lives."

 Jesus was one WITH US when He walked the streets of Jerusalem, Capernaum, in Galilee. We can't even conceive of what He had to sacrifice to identify with us, to understand us, to love us. How alien it must have been for Him, who needed only to speak a word and a new universe could be created! But here on earth, he was self-restricted by His body, by time and place, and by people of no faith. So yes, He grieved. He was deeply and utterly disturbed that His love and blessing could not reach fallen man because of our stubborness. And so, we must learn to cry too. Let us cry out to God for people in darkness and hopelessness, for people in need of the Savior!

 "Be strongly encouraged to seize the hope which is placed before us. This confidence is like a sure, strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls." Hebrew 6:18-19
Last Sunday I watched the poor little girl pose a question to the Pope, a question with no answer. I was suddenly overwhelmed with sadness for the many little girls like her who live with helplessness, in fear and little hope, not only here in the Philippines but around the world. She asked, "Why do children suffer?" She couldn't even continue her prepared sharing because she broke down in tears.
Really, only God knows the answer to that question. But yesterday, when she was interviewed on TV, gone were the tears, and in its place, a big smile. She and the other children with her, talked of HOPE. Nothing changed much in her life, but she was hopeful, happy, looking forward to the future, even giving encouragement to other children like her.
Living without hope is only half living. We live in a broken world, bodies that need healing, relationships that need mending, economies that need rejuvenation, values that need re-alignment...When we put our hope in the wrong things like wealth, power, ourselves, or other people, that is what happens. Brokenness. We have to put our hope in something unchangeable. Someone who is trustworthy.
We may be in the dark, not knowing what lies before us, but God knows. "I know the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare and peace, and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11) We need to become "prisoners of hope" (Zech. 9:12)

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


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

WOYWW: Looking for Jesus

 This is my desk as I start to illustrate my bible.
But first, let me show you my planner,
which I started decorating too.

 I even put a "tip-in" page using washi-tape.
I found out about tip-in pages
from joining A Documented Life last year.
It's free!

 To start, I chose a picture from a magazine
that I will make into Jesus and the disciple 
who disturbs Him while He is praying!

 I then traced this on to the bible page with carbon paper.

 Then, I put acrylic paint on it. 3 shades of flesh 
to shade the faces and hands.

 Then I pencilled in the words from Scripture,
so I can trace it over with a permanent pen.

 "Everyone is asking for you." Mark 1:37
In Mark, chapter 1, we see a glimpse of what Jesus' Sabbath was like. He would preach in the synagogue in the morning, and then take a meal at a friend's home. This time it was Simon and Andrew's home. When he found out that Simon's mother-in-law was sick, he went to her bedside, helped her sit up and healed her. She was the one who prepared a meal for Jesus and 4 of his disciples.
That evening, His work was not done. Many sick and demon-possessed people came to him for healing. To add to the noise and the melee, there were a lot of spectators, "usisero" in filipino jargon. So the next morning, Jesus went off by Himself before daybreak to pray. But Simon and the others found him, and urged, "Everyone is asking for you. Looking for you."
Instead of saying, "OK, let's go to them," Jesus says he has to go to other towns and preach there too. It wasn't like today, where Jesus could go on TV and everyone who wanted to listen, could listen. No, he had to go to remote places, so more people would hear the Word.
We are looking for Jesus, but He is looking for us too! He traveled far and wide, and all that he said and did cannot be contained in a library of books.But what we need to know is in the Bible. If we look for Him there, we will find Him!

"...perfect through suffering..." Hebrews 2:10
Charles Spurgeon, one of the most well known evangelists in the late 1800s said in one of his sermons, that "Christ is a perfect Savior; secondly, that he became so through suffering; and thirdly, that his being made perfect through suffering will ennoble and dignify the whole work of grace."
Jesus made perfect by suffering opens up a lot of questions for me. Wasn't Jesus already perfect? Yes, I am sure He was the perfect man. I think this only makes sense if we go back to the Garden of Eden when God said to Adam, "You will surely die," if he ate of the forbidden fruit. And we continue to choose to eat of the forbidden fruit. We continually do what we shouldn't. We continue to disobey.
Hebrews 5:8–9 gives the answer: "Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation."
"Being made perfect" equates to learning obedience. We too are being perfected by our suffering, our losses, our pains, our trials and challenges. We can learn that with obedience, we open up the door to blessing and grace!

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