Sunday, December 31, 2017
Saturday, December 30, 2017
Friday, December 29, 2017
Thursday, December 28, 2017
“Herod is going to search for the child to destroy Him.” Matthew 2:13
Many forces today are “searching for the child to destroy him”. The family is being attacked left and right, sometimes blatantly, but most of the time, it is very subtle. What happens when children are brought up by strangers because the parents are too busy, or they are working far away? What happens when children go to school and they are not allowed to pray or to be taught about God and His love? What happens when lawmakers work to make it easy to dissolve marriages because of their own failed marriages? What happens when because of poverty and criminal syndicates, because of the proliferation of pornography, women and children are sold into prostitution or kidnapped to be sex slaves?
“According to some estimates, approximately 80% of trafficking involves sexual exploitation, and 19% involves labor exploitation. There are approximately 20 to 30 million slaves in the world today....According to the U.S. State Department, 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year, of which 80% are female and half are children.” (dosomething.org)
Just last month, 9 children from ages 2 to 9 years old, were rescued by the Intl. Justice Mission and local authorities in a remote island in Cebu. It was a relative who was offering the young children for online exploitation!
Throughout history the forces of evil march on to destroy God’s plan. Human sacrifice, abortion, sex trafficking, divorce, atheism, apathy, etc. What can we do, apart from pray? There are many things we can do, like writing our Congressmen, or supporting education for poor children, or finding ways to provide livelihood. What we should not do as a Christian is be indifferent and think we cannot do anything anyway, so why start?
Wednesday, December 27, 2017
Last night, I made some collages to decorate banks and a tumbler. I like doing collages cause it’s quick and easy as long as you find images you like!
Small Wonders, Testimony Tuesday, Titus 2 Tuesdays,
Count Your Blessings, Word Art Wednesday, Wildly Original
Cheerleaders of our Faith, Reflect
Wow Us Wednesdays, Sitting Among Friends
Tuesday, December 26, 2017
Monday, December 25, 2017
Sunday, December 24, 2017
Saturday, December 23, 2017
Friday, December 22, 2017
Thursday, December 21, 2017
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
On my desk today.
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Monday, December 18, 2017
Sunday, December 17, 2017
“My being proclaims the greatness of the Lord...” Luke 1:47
Today is Gaudete Sunday, from the Latin word for “rejoice”. Indeed we, like Mary, have much to rejoice about. Just like Mary, our simple “Yes” to God will open many doors. Today let us spend time thanking God that He rescued us out of the muck and grime of sin and gave us hope. He gifted us with a new set of Ephesians 6 armor, the belt of truth, the shield of faith, so we will be able to stand firm against the ancient enemy who wants to steal every ounce of joy we have.
By His mighty power at work in us,
He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think! (Ephesians 3:20) All that power and promise is like a potent seed that when dropped into the soil of our waiting hearts, will burst out, and bloom and flourish!
Yes, Lord! May my very being proclaim Your great love, mercy, and grace for all mankind!
Friday, December 15, 2017
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
“A great sign appeared in the sky...a woman clothed with the sun...she was with child...” Revelation 12:1-2
Today is the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, or in the original Spanish, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.
In the 1400s, Mexico was under Aztec oppression. In every town, there was a temple pyramid, where Aztec priests would offer human sacrifices to their god Huitzilopochtli. This god was the "Lover of Hearts and Drinker of Blood," and the priests would cut out the beating hearts of victims, usually adult men but very often children. Over 50,000 human beings were sacrificed each year. Then in 1523, Franciscan missionaries came and evangelized the Indian people.
On December 9, 1531, Mary, the mother of Jesus, appeared to a 57-year old simple peasant man, an Aztec convert, who was on his way to mass. Mary asked Juan Diego to request Bishop Zumarraga that a shrine be built in her honor on the site where she appeared. When Juan presented this request to the Bishop, the Bishop naturally asked for a sign. After several encounters with Mary, Juan brought the Bishop what he asked for. When Juan opened his tilma, his peasant cloak, beautiful Castillan roses, foreign to Mexico, fell out, but more than that, the Bishop saw an extraordinary image of Our Lady on the tilma. The Bishop wept at the sight. That tilma still survives today and thousands go to see it in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
We may be skeptical about apparitions and images appearing on tilmas. However, because Mary spoke to Juan Diego in his native language, and because she was wearing an Aztec dress in the image, this provoked millions of conversions to the Catholic faith in just under seven years.
Today, we may not have human sacrifices to gods, but 27 million women and children are being sacrificed at the altar of sexual trafficking. One woman’s story is particularly poignant. She gave money to some people who were going to help her get to another country where she would study nursing. Instead, she was forced to have sex with about 40 men a day. When she got pregnant and gave birth, they took her baby and sold the baby to pedophiles. Irene couldn’t take it anymore and leapt from the 4th floor of the apartment where she was held hostage. She was found, brought to A21, a foundation that fights sexual trafficking, and today, she is pursuing her dream of becoming a nurse.
There is too much evil in the world. But the vision in the Book of Revelation chapter 11 gives us hope. Because of Mary’s yes, because she gave birth to Jesus, and because Jesus gave His life for us on the cross, “Now have salvation and power come, and the Kingdom of God and the authority of His anointed.”
Monday, December 11, 2017
“Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Luke 5:21
The Pharisees liked to find something to criticize about Jesus, and they found much. It was a pity because Jesus will not work in our life, will not work miracles, if we do not have faith. In the 5th chapter of Luke, we find Jesus teaching and healing inside a house that was already full of people. Then a commotion. Tiles from the roof were being removed, until there was a hole big enough for a stretcher to go through. Men with big, strong arms lowered the stretcher, and lying on it was a paralyzed man. The first thing Jesus noticed was the faith of the men who brought the paralytic.
Often, we want to help others. We may have great ideas on how to help a friend with their financial problem. We might have thought of a way out of an officemate’s dilemma. Many times, people are sick, and we do not lay hands on them and pray for them. It may be that we are too busy, too lazy, but many times, it is because we have too little faith to make the effort. The men in this bible story had so much faith, they did more than enough for their friend to get Jesus’ attention. And Jesus, impressed by their faith, said, “Your sins are forgiven.” This tells us that to Jesus, forgiveness of sins is more important than healing any physical ailment.
We do not want to be like the critical Pharisees. Let us be careful not to find fault continually and lose our chance to get close to Jesus and have our sins forgiven. Instead let us be ever on the look out for ways to help others, love our neighbor, and grow our faith, so miracles may happen in our midst.