Wednesday, September 30, 2015

WOYWW: Of Shibori and Angels and Walls in Need of Rebuilding

 This is what's on my desk this morning.
I am trying something new!
Ever heard of Shibori?
Last night I stayed up till 10 pm
(really late for me!)
because I was tying up some cotton hankies and t shirts.
Later today, I will dye it.
Crossing my fingers I do it right!!!

 "I prayed to the God of heaven and then answered the king..." Nehemiah 2:4

I did not know much about Nehemiah, but when I read what he wrote, I really admired him.  He was the cup bearer of King Artaxerxes, meaning he made sure that the king's wine was not poisoned by drinking it to check it.  When he found out that the people back in Jerusalem were having big problems because the walls were torn down and the gates burned, he wept.  For days he mourned, fasted and prayed. How many times have I done this for my people, for my country, even if I know, we need so much help from God? Never! Most of the time I criticize our leaders, bemoan their lack of vision and get frustrated about the state of our country!

In the 2nd chapter, the king with the tongue twister name asked Nehemiah why he was so sad.  Instead of answering the king right away, Nehemiah stopped to pray, THEN answered the king.  Because of this, the king allowed Nehemiah to go join his people in Jerusalem. The king even wrote a letter to his forest manager to provide timber for the gates, the fortress and Nehemiah's house.  But when Nehemiah started his project to rebuild the walls and the gate, there was so much opposition. Again and again and again, Nehemiah would pray! The laborers would work with one hand, and hold a weapon with the other! Such was the danger they faced! But in spite of their enemies, the wall was finished in 52 days. Then the people held a solemn assembly. They fasted, the Book of the Law was read aloud to them for 3 hours, and then they confessed their sins. After that they dedicated the new wall of Jerusalem with songs of thanksgiving.  

O Lord our God, here I see how You answer prayers, even big prayers! Next year we elect a new President, Vice President, and other leaders. Instead of criticizing or losing hope, help us to humble ourselves, pray and seek Your face, confess our sins and turn from our evil ways. Then You will hear from heaven, and forgive our sin, and heal our land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
 "The accuser of our brothers is cast out..." Revelations 12:10
In chapter 12 of the Book of Revelation, we are in the middle of a war with a horrible red dragon with 7 heads, his tail big enough to drag down 1/3 of the stars, and we know how big the stars are!!! There's a woman about to give birth, and the Archangel Michael and the angels under his command beat the dragon and his cohorts and they get thrown down!!! Well, no wonder we are in so much trouble here!

In verse 10, it says that this dragon, this ancient serpent, this Satan, accuses us day and night, and it is only by the Blood of the Lamb that he is defeated. If we've ever felt unworthy, defeated, hopeless, guilty, insignificant, overlooked, unloved, unimportant, we know where that mean voice comes from. It is from the devil and his minions, who seek to destroy us. He knows, if we ever know the truth, how important we are in God's eyes, how loved and precious, he will be nothing, even here on earth. There is a spiritual realm around us, more real than this earthly realm with tangible things. That is where the eternal battle for our lives is being waged. We have to arm ourselves with eternal weapons- the Word of God and the Blood of the Lamb, or we will lose to the enemy who so desperately wants to win, that he prowls around us like a lion looking for the chinks in our armor.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

WOYWW: Never Lose Hope!

This is my desk today.
Quite absurd really, if you think about it.
There is more stuff on it than space for working!!!

 I needed to draw Ezra the Prophet from the Bible.
He is in anguish because the Jews are are disobeying God.
Couldn't find a man in anguish, so I used a woman.

I thought that today I will show the steps for anyone 
who has the inclination to paint on their Bible.
I just use ordinary acrylic paint, 
and as I am too lazy to mix paint, I buy them in different colors.

This is flesh, which I find so hard to mix!
Sometimes I mix in Acrylic Glazing Liquid
so the paint becomes translucent
as it is a personal preference that I can 
still read the words on my Bible.

After painting the flesh, I paint the blue so as to give time for the flesh paint to dry.

When the paint is dry, I use "Territorial Beige", a darker flesh color
to make the shading.

I add shading on the brow, the side of the nose, beneath the headdress.
I usually look at the picture to see where to add shading.

I use two brushes- one filled with paint,
and a second brush to remove the excess paint.
I brush over the dark paint so that there is no clear line,
and the paint fades away.

I painted Ezra's beard gray.
Actually I looked in the Bible for an indication of Ezra's age and could find none,
so I just made him old.
After all, for a man with a lot of responsibility, 
if he was young, he would have gone gray in no time!

After shading, I used a brown pencil to outline,
ad also add details- for instance the creases in the eyes,
and nose, the folds on Ezra's headdress, hair on the beard, etc.

So here's Ezra the Prophet.

"For slaves we are but...He has turned the good will of the Kings of Persia toward us." Ezra 9:9
If there was ever a people who could have claimed to be abandoned by God, the Jews could be that people. But only when you look at their history from the eyes of men and unbelievers, seeing how they have been exiled and exposed to evil men's whims several times. In the Book of Ezra, which was written by the Prophet in the 5th century B.C, the Jews are returning to Palestine after they have been held captive in Babylon, part of the spoils of war for decades. King Cyrus of Persia issues a proclamation that God appointed him to build Him a temple in Jerusalem! What an unlikely instrument God chose for His purposes!

It just goes to show that we must never give up, never lose hope! God will find a way for His purposes to be fulfilled- in our country, in our family, in our business, in our neighborhood, in our church. Wherever. He will even use the most unlikely people, unlikely events or timing! We just need to trust and to wait with hope!

 I rejoiced when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord." Psalm 22:1
I was very excited when my mom said we were going on a Pilgrimage to Europe. Not only would we go visit Assisi and San Giovani Rotondo, Lisieux, etc., we would also see the Eiffel Tower again, the Louvre and Notre Dame. If we get excited to see places in Europe, or in other parts of the world, how much more would it be a thrill to go to the house of the Lord?

Indeed when my mom died last year, it was very difficult for us. But we also knew she was leaving us to be with the One who loved her first and the One who loved her best. We all have that to look forward to. Death for us should not evoke fear or anxiety, but joy!

Joining the lovely Julia Dunnit for a 
peek at desks and projects!

I find a lot of inspiration
visiting my friends here:


Monday, September 21, 2015

Why Matthew?

 "What reason can the Teacher have for eating with tax collectors and those who disregard the law?" Matthew 9:11
What possible reason did Jesus have for eating and drinking with tax collectors, these scum of the earth who betray their own people?!!!! This was the question posed to the disciples by the Pharisees. Obviously some of them had a high regard for Jesus. They called Him teacher, they listened to Him preach in the temple. Some even asked Him questions. But it puzzled them that He associated with the likes of Matthew the tax collector.
I like what is written in The Word Among Us today: "What did Jesus see specifically in Matthew that led Him to call him? How would this self-centered tax collector help Him bring about the Kingdom of Heaven? What specific gifts did He bring?

 "Maybe Jesus saw that Matthew had a stubborn persistence and persuasiveness. It can't have been easy to squeeze money out of people on a regular basis! Maybe it was his education; some people believe that the Gospel that bears Matthew's name is the most finely crafted and best written of them all."
Like Matthew, we too have gifts and talents that God sees because He is the source of it! He wants to call us, to use us, to accomplish His purposes through us. Are we open and willing like Matthew the tax collector to get up and follow Him?

 "If anyone wishes to rank first, he must remain the last one of all and the servant of all." Mark 9:35
Remain. That's the word that struck me in this passage. Being a servant should not be a one time thing. Being a servant, a helpful follower, an assistant, is not a role we put on today while we are at church or in our parish, and then relinquish when we are at work. Jesus told His disciples this because He noticed they were disputing about which of them was the greatest. Which of them was the most important, number 1, the top honcho. While reflecting on this, of course I realize how I am just like one of the disciples. I may not argue with someone about how important I am, but my actions will show how entitled I think I am. It can be depressing to think that after years of reading the Bible, and studying it, and meditating on it, the world has such a grasp on me that I cannot say I am the servant of everyone else!

Jesus continued teaching the disciples saying that, "Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes Me, and anyone who welcomes Me welcomes the Father who sent Me." This does not seem connected to the first teaching, but it is definitely connected to what Jesus says in Matthew 25:31-46. Here, Jesus clearly says that when Judgement time comes, those who gave food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, hospitality to the stranger, food to the barely clothed, those who visited the sick and the imprisoned, shall receive the inheritance of Jesus' Kingdom. It is certainly a good "investment" to work on being a servant ALL THE TIME!

Would you like to win this great package of prayer books?

Friday, September 18, 2015

Paint Party Friday: Love Much!

 "Little is forgiven the one whose love is small." Luke 7:47
What a dramatic turn of events in this chapter of Luke! Simon, a Pharisee, invites Jesus to dinner at his home. Jesus accepts, and as He reclines at the table, his legs and feet stretched out away from the table, a woman of some reputation comes uninvited. She is weeping, and she uses her hair to wipe away the dirt and grime of Jesus' feet. She opens her precious perfumed oil in its alabaster vase, and uses it on Jesus' feet. I can imagine Simon, with a little sneer on his mouth. He is a little amused by this, too entertained to put a stop to this intrusion in his home. He should have had her thrown out for her impertinence, but he likes seeing this so-called prophet and teacher being pampered by a "sinner"! During the first century, if a woman let down her hair, she could be divorced by her husband, and here, this woman, not only uncovered her hair, but was using her tresses to wipe Jesus' feet! If this man was really wise, he should know what sort of woman she was and would not have allowed her to touch him!!!!

 But of course, Jesus knows everything Simon is thinking, all the nuances, and He also knows what the woman is thinking and feeling and going through. Just as He knows our heart and mind as well! Oh the shame! Jesus sees all the condemnation and judgement in our mind. The lack of love in our heart. He knows when we look at others with indifference, when there is no charity in our spirit for others who need our help. What did Jesus say? "Little is forgiven the one whose love is small." Do we want to be forgiven? Then we have to tap into the well of love that God has for us and for all sinners like us. We need to see ourselves and others the way God sees us. Then there will be no room for condemnation, only compassion.

 "The twelve accompanied Him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and maladies..." Luke 8:1-2
My mom used to tell me a story of how one of her brothers had 7 demons, and her father, who had one angel, exorcised every one of those demons. I do not know how true this story was, because she was a little girl when it supposedly happened. No matter how we like to dismiss the reality of demons and angels, there is another dimension that affects our lives even if we believe in it or not. Paul told the Ephesians that "Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

Who were these women who accompanied Jesus and the twelve disciples? There is Mary Magdalene, from whom He cast out 7 demons. There is Joanna, who was the wife of King Herod's Chief financial officer, a wealthy woman of the court. There was also Susanna. We can assume they were following and listening to Jesus because He had freed them from sickness, or some addiction or bondage. What do we need to be free of? Sometimes we cannot do it on our own, no matter how many self help books we read. No matter how many times we speak to a psychiatrist. Have we tried everything to break free? In the 9th chapter of Mark, Jesus advises the disciples that there are evil spirits that can only be driven out by fasting and prayer. We are not handicapped believers. We have tools and we have the victory in Christ against whatever forces the enemy arrays against us. "No weapon formed against us shall prosper!"(Isaiah 54:17) Let us believe it!


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