Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Just Believe.

"Fear is useless. What is needed is trust." Mark 5:36

In another version of the Bible, Jesus tells Jairus, "Do not be afraid any longer, only believe." Before Jesus healed Jairus' daughter, he told the woman with a flow of blood, "Daughter, your faith has made you well. It is your faith that has cured you." 

Faith. Trust. Belief. We can think of these as just abstract words or we can think they are action words that when applied, can bring about change, healing, transformation, success even. I love reading the Bible, and the lives of saints who put their faith into action. I also like to read and listen to people who have applied Biblical principles in the marketplace and have been successful because of it. Men like David Browne, CEO of LensCrafters, usually grow up believing that faith and business do not mix. But after a life changing encounter with Jesus, David Browne started following Jesus' servant leadership model, and changing the culture of his company. Revenues grew and the number of stores increased from 50 to 1200. 

Lord, I want my faith to grow, to be alive, to be a force that changes me and the people around me. Help me to trust You, to believe in Your words and obey You, not only in church or in a prayer meeting, but every where I am! 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Dwelling Among Tombs

"...he had his dwelling among the tombs." Mark 5:3

Jesus encountered many unclean spirits and people who needed to be delivered from them. Here in the 5th chapter of Mark, Jesus and his disciples were met by a man taking refuge in the tombs who had hundreds and hundreds of evil spirits. Even if he was chained, the man could break out of them and smash his shackles to pieces. Night and day, he would scream and hurl himself at the rocks. Jesus sent the two thousand demons into a large herd of pigs. The swine rushed headlong into the sea where they were destroyed. 

Do we believe there are demons abroad today? I know there are. And they do not hide in tombs. My husband gave a bible study to a prominent family living in an expensive neighborhood. One of the daughters needed an exorcism by a priest who said it wasn't an ordinary demon. Unfortunately she did not want to be exorcised. She wanted to continue with her sinful ways, leaving her husband and family for someone else, and consorting with people who could only do her harm. Although outwardly she was glamorous and popular, in a way she was much like the man in the tombs. She liked her chains and continued to smash herself against rocks. 

In 1 Timothy 4:1, we can read what Paul wrote: "Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons." 

In James 4:7, we can read, "Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."

And finally, in 1 Peter 5:8, we find, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour." 

Yes, unclean spirits are abroad today, and we must not allow them a foothold in our lives. Where there is hatred, unforgiveness, selfishness, envy, lust, promiscuity,  anger, etc., we give permission for our enemy to lay a finger on us. Lord, may I always be vigilant. May I keep my eyes on You. May I stay away from any darkness or chains of bondage, and live in Your wonderful light. 

    Sunday, January 29, 2017

    Here I Am!

    "... few of you were wise in the world's eyes, or powerful, or wealthy, when God called you." 1 Cor. 1:26

    This verse goes on to say that God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, the weak to shame the strong, and the lowly and despised to shame those who count for something. God's economy, what He considers important is very different from ours. I think of Saint Francis of Assisi who removed his expensive clothes and donned a coarse peasant's robe to roam the streets of Assisi begging for food. He did not remain alone for long, but became a force to reckon with. 

    Sometimes we think of ourselves as of no consequence. But God never thinks thus. Each one of us is precious in His eyes, beloved, cherished. It does not take beauty or wealth or intelligence for us to count in God's scheme of things. We do not have to be Miss Universe, a nuclear scientist, or even a Mother Teresa or Saint Francis. He can use us just as we are. Do we consider ourselves not so smart? He can use us. Are we foolish and weak? He can use us. 

    What counts is we make ourselves available. "Here I am, Lord, use me!" Are we brave enough to say that?  Christine Caine was. But the start of her journey with God was shaky. She had been sexually abused several times when she was young and thought of herself deep down as used goods, that God would never want her. Today she and her husband Nick are fearless crusaders. They founded the A21 Campaign, a worldwide anti- human trafficking organization that seeks to end slavery in the 21st century. 

    Lord, use me Lord for a mission greater than myself. Nothing is impossible with You! 

    Saturday, January 28, 2017

    Don't You Care?

    "Doesn't it matter to you that we are going to drown?" Mark 4:38

    Yesterday I read a news story that sent shivers down my spine, about a Filipina and an Australian man. They would entice little girls with a good life, coerce them into doing awful things, torture them, and videotape all this to sell on the internet. These are the stories that make men into atheists. They ask the same question the disciples asked when they were on a boat with Jesus and a bad storm broke out. Apparently it was a really bad storm as these were experienced fishermen, as brawny as they come, and Jesus was asleep. "Teacher, doesn't it matter to you, don't you care that we are going to drown?" Jesus woke up, rebuked the wind, and spoke to the sea. "Be quiet! Be still!" Yes, God can make the wind, the sea, fire, volcanoes, earthquakes, tornadoes, explosive sun storms all obey Him, but He gave us, man, free will. He said He stands at the door and knocks! 

    It boggles my mind that God would "sleep" while horrors are going on in the world, in my country, perhaps even in my neighborhood. But another mind boggling thing is God created man to have a relationship with Him. You can't have a genuine, intimate relationship with a robot. I can't have a kinship, a connection with my computer. That's why God gave man free will, the freedom to choose to have a close bond with Him or to reject Him. God gave man a choice to choose evil. 

    But the whole Bible is a love story. It is His story of how He loved us even before we knew Him, even while we are sinners. It is a story of a God who is committed to us, who is willing to die for us. Yes, Jesus died for that awful woman and that pervert of a man who are now, thank God, in the hands of authorities. 

    The devil tries to make bulwarks of evil all around the world. It's easier now with the internet that can spread lies, pornography, anger, discontent just with a click of a finger. But we should never make the mistake of thinking God does not care. He is busy too, making bulwarks where we can be protected, and where we can venture out to "save" others in the clutches of darkness. Those bulwarks are the communities, prayer groups, churches, and congregations preaching and teaching the authentic word of God. 

    "And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near." That is what is said in Hebrews 10:25. God knows we need to be encouraged and inspired, and we need to be taught to obey the written word of God. It is very important that we are part of one of God's bulwarks. 

    Friday, January 27, 2017

    Mustard Seed Faith

    "The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed." Mark 4:31

    If Jesus were to start a business, I think He would have started small. He wouldn't have borrowed a lot of money. He would have worked out of his garage or bedroom. He wouldn't have looked for PhDs or business people with a lot of experience. He would have trained His people well, and He would have grown this mustard seed business slowly but surely. God never looks down upon small beginnings. In Zechariah 4:10, God asks, "For who has despised the day of small things?"

    We can start with a mustard seed faith, really tiny, but in God's hand, the Master Gardener, it can grow and develop into something so mighty, the devil cowers in fear before it. We can and should grow our faith. I remember listening to Aliss Cresswell. When she started on her journey, she had a mustard seed faith, but she wanted the gift of healing, and she would pray over people all the time. Nothing happened, and I think some people even died. But she kept at it. Now when she prays, 90% of the people get healed or some sort of miracle happens. 

    When someone asks us to pray for them, most of us will nod our heads and say yes. Seldom do we put out our hand and lay hands on the person. But laying hands is stepping out in faith, and telling God, "Here I am, use me!" If we do it more often, if we pull out our mustard seed faith out of its protective covering more often, we will see it grow. 

    Lord, here is my mustard seed faith! Help me to grow it into a mustard tree, mighty and pleasing to You! 

    Thursday, January 26, 2017

    The Measure You Give

    "In the measure you give, you shall receive and more besides." Mark 4:24

    Sometimes we give a kid some food, chocolate, popcorn, or french fries, and when we put out our hand to get some, the kid looks at us as if to say, "This is mine!" What that child fails to realize in his short sightedness, is that we who gave the food have the power to take it away, or we can give him a roomful, we can buy our own, and we don't actually need his food. Are we like that with God? He gave us everything we have. He has the power to take it away or bless us with more. He asks us to be generous with what we have even if He doesn't actually need it. It's not only money. God asks us to be generous with our time, energy, gifts and talents, with our words of encouragement and praise, and all the resources we have at our disposal.  

    Generosity is love in action. And just as I have to constantly practice loving, I have to constantly practice giving. At least with giving, I can see if I am getting better at it. It is measurable. And it seems to be a way to measure loving as well even if I can be generous without loving. But I certainly can't love without giving! I cannot aspire to be like Jesus without giving! In the Bible, the words pray, believe and love are mentioned about 1,350 times all together, but give is mentioned 2,152 times! What does that say about the importance of being generous! 

    If we are generous, we honor God (2 Cor. 9:13), it makes us more and more like Jesus (Luke 11:41), it shows God that we trust Him (Mal. 3:10), it reveals our heart (Luke 16:11), and is a cure for selfishness and materialism (1 Tim. 6:17-19). 

    What does God promise if we have a heart for giving? Blessings (Prov. 22:9, Dt. 15:10, 2 Cor. 9:7-8), happiness (Acts 20:35), influence (Psalm 112:9), prosperity (Prov. 11:25, 2 Cor. 9:11a), protection (Psalm 112:5-6), and the reward that surpasses them all- treasures in heaven (Luke 16:9, 1 Timothy 6:18-19)! Whew! That's all and more I want for myself!!! 

    Indeed, should we not train and discipline ourselves to be generous in the same way we study for other things? Lord, may I remember all these promises You have reserved for all whose hearts are loving and giving! May I look for opportunities to open my hand and be generous, and be a faithful steward of all You have given me! 

    Wednesday, January 25, 2017

    Why Do You Persecute Me?

    "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?" Acts22:7

    I wonder how many times Saint Paul told his conversion story, and to how many people? It was certainly dramatic, and did not need any embellishing. How many people were spellbound and turned to God because of listening to him? Today marks the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle. What marked him as a man that God wanted on His side? Perhaps it was his passion and bravery. Whatever he did, he did with conviction. God doesn't want us to be lukewarm, sitting on the fence, waiting to see which side will win. I am sure if he was alive today, Saint Paul would not be intimidated by trolls. 

    Saul never saw Jesus, never touched Him, never knew Him. Yet Jesus accused, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" Jesus was the man Saul arrested, had chained and scourged. Jesus was the woman Saul had dragged into prison. Jesus is the maid we talk harshly to. Jesus is the beggar we ignore. Jesus is the employee we vent our anger on. Jesus is the Muslim in his war torn country we do not even pray for. Jesus is the child in the womb with no voice we do not fight for. 

    Lord, how many times have I, like Saint Paul, persecuted You? Open my eyes, like You opened Saul's, and make me see what I can do for You and Your people. 

    Tuesday, January 24, 2017

    New Family!

    "Whoever does the will of God is brother and sister and mother to me." Mark 3:35

    There's no excuse today for anyone not knowing the Word. Even my phone and iPad can preach the Word to me. Bibles are given away, Christian books are available in every bargain bookstore. My friends on Facebook and Instagram post bible verses and bibles decorated with bible verses! 

    In the third chapter of Mark, Jesus was preaching to a crowd, when He was told His mother and family was outside asking for Him. And His response was the classic, "You are my mother and my brothers. Those who do the will of God are brother and sister and mother to me." 

    It was the inauguration of a new family to which we can be very much a part of. IF and it's a very gigantic IF, we obey the Father. Do we? We can listen to the Word on our phones day and night, we can post messages on social media every so often, we can be proud of our beautifully illustrated Bibles, and our extensive Christian library. We can wear crosses on our necks, and say, "Praise the Lord!", but  are our hearts right with God? Would He say to us, "Well done, my good and faithful servant?" 

    What we can be sure of is God never gives up on us, and we shouldn't give up on ourselves! I know someone who used bible pages to smoke marijuana in and whose biggest dream was to be an infamous drug lord. Today he has a big place where he takes care of street children. I asked him if he could give the talk on "Transformation in Christ" to our employees. To me, Joe Dean Sola is part of Jesus' family. He is brother and sister and mother to so many lost and desperate children in need of guidance. He continues to heed the Father's call to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, offer the Bread of life to the weary. 

    Lord, I want to be part of Your family. May I be sensitive to Your still, small voice, and obey what You want me to do. 

    Monday, January 23, 2017

    A House Divided

    "If a household is divided...that household will not survive." Mark 3:25

    Many of the posts on my Facebook wall show how deeply divided the American people are, much like what has happened here in the Philippines. Sadly there doesn't seem to be a place to meet in between. 

    There is a fable about an old man, his successful family business, and his three sons who were always quarreling. One day the old man got so sick, he feared for his life and their business, and wanted his sons to be united in peace. He called them all, and asked each one in turn to break a bamboo stick. Each one was able to break the stick easily. Then he gave each one a try to break a bundle of sticks. Not one of them was successful. "You see how you can survive only if you are united?" 

    This reminds me of our family business. Many people have asked why we don't divide the stores among each other. But we each have different gifts and talents, and we work well together. It is the same for our country. We should find a way to work well together, or as Jesus says, "A kingdom divided against itself will not stand." 

    Lord, we pray for our country. We pray that we will be united under You. May we work towards the same goals of loving and serving one another in righteousness and justice. 

    Sunday, January 22, 2017

    Jesus' own Buttercup!

    "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light..." Isaiah 9:2

    I love reading books because I meet many people I would otherwise never know. In Stasi Eldredge's book, "becoming myself", she introduces me to her friend. Annie was born with asthma, and was sickly and weak, so she was left alone at home most of the time. Her parents and siblings were all athletic and had busy schedules, and they did not know what to do with her. She was left unprotected for hours and hours, and was sexually abused by a cousin. After all the neglect and being violated, she grew up believing she wasn't worth much. 

    When Annie was about thirty years old, she went back to her childhood years and all the pain, the messiness, all the muddy parts. She remembered her loneliness, but she remembered something else as well. She remembered she loved springtime, and how she would put on her boots, and tramp out to the swamp near her house. She loved seeing all the buttercups that came out at the first sign of spring. The thing about these fragile, pale yellow flowers is they only grow in mud. 

    Stasi Eldredge wrote: "Annie's childhood was muddy. And honestly, she is one of the most beautiful women I have ever been privileged to know. Beauty for ashes. Praise for despair. The phoenix rises, and Annie has risen too with a faith that is precious and contagious and lovely beyond words. She is Jesus' very own Buttercup."  

    Our past may be dark, messy and muddy, but we should never lose hope and give in to despair. God is always there. We may not understand why, but we can claim His promises, especially Romans 8:28. Thank You Lord that in all things, You work for our good! 


    Saturday, January 21, 2017

    Out of his Mind!

    "He is out of his mind." Mark 3:21

    In another version of the Bible, this verse is translated, "He is out of his senses!", and in the Amplified Bible, "deranged!" What made Jesus' own people, His kinsmen, say that? What made his family want to take Him away by force? It was because there were crowds of people  following Him around, so many people that he and his disciples could not even eat a meal peacefully. What would you expect? Jesus had proven Himself a maker of miracles. Many were healed of the unhealable. Many were unchained from their own hell. I am sure if Jesus walked the earth today, uncontrollable crowds would gather and many try to touch Him. 

    In 2009, an opportunity to serve and preach in the QC Jail opened up. My sister asked her husband Charlie if he wanted to go with her and do it. He turned to her quickly and retorted, "Are you crazy?!!!"  Well, Charlie apparently is crazy. He has been going almost every Friday since then to preach and interact with men with tattoos, and pasts that do  not bear examination. He knows self-confessed murderers, drug pushers, rapists, and innocent men put behind bars by corrupt police. 

    I know many insane men and women who serve God without measuring how much sacrifice it entails. Lord, may others call us crazy for what we do for You. May we not be lukewarm, sitting on the sidelines, that no one, not even our families know that we are Your followers! 

    Friday, January 20, 2017

    Show Us Your Kindness!

    "Show us, O Lord, Your kindness..." Psalm 85:8

    Is it not that everyone is kind to a bride on her wedding day? She can do no wrong, and everyone is so willing to be happy with her. 

    When my sister and I had our double wedding 22 years ago, we did not have a wedding coordinator. I don't think they existed then! So we assigned our friends different tasks. We even had a back up car following our friends who had the rings, and other important things. When I asked a good friend to supervise the flowers, she asked, "That's all you need me to do?" She wanted to do so much more for us. The day before my sister Tina's wedding, my sisters and I were down on our knees fixing her vintage wedding gown. I think that is how God is with the Church, His bride. 

    In the Old Testament, there is a story of King David, who had been hunted down like an animal by King Saul. But David loved Saul's son Jonathan. When Jonathan died, David said, “Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”(2 Samuel 9:1) This is a picture of how God looks for ways to show us kindness, to bless us. 

    We are as beautiful as a bride to Him, no matter how ugly we see ourselves! And sometimes, we are the ones who hinder Him from loving us. Under the steady gaze of His love and mercy, do we hide and say, "No Lord I am not worthy"? Or do we approach Him like an excited bride, hands open and willing to receive all His love? Yes Lord, show me Your kindness! Pour down Your favor!  

    Thursday, January 19, 2017

    To Do Your Will!

    "To do Your will, O my God, is my delight..." Psalm 40:8

    Many people start the year with new year's resolutions and good intentions. But I doubt if many write down: "Find out what God's will is, and do it!" I didn't! But when we come down to the nitty gritty, that's the only sure fire way to get permanent change and transformation to come into our life. A change of heart is what we need. And God is willing to get into the day to day messes we get ourselves in, the complicated relationships, the debt, the struggles with weight and alcohol and all sorts of addiction. He waits for us, standing at our door. He's eager for us to ask Him to come in, sit down and have a cup of whatever we have to give Him.  

    Father, I know You love me with an inexplicable love, and I know You have a dream for me, a plan much better than I can make for myself! You can make 2017 the best year ever for me, if I surrender everything to You. Just like the little boy who gave all his loaves and fishes to You, I give You all my plans, resolutions, dreams, abilities, gifts, talents, resources, even my many weaknesses and shortcomings. I know that in yielding to You, I can only become a better and better version of myself! 

    Wednesday, January 18, 2017

    WOYWW: Deeply Grieved!

    This is my desk. 
    I am working on my planner. 
    This desk mirrors the state of my craft room!

    My family and our business
    were featured in Family Time magazine. 

    Here's a picture of my dad, 
    me and my two sisters Meldy and Peggy. 

    Thank you, Family Time, for featuring us
    during our 50th year anniversary! 

    "He was deeply grieved..." Mark 3:5

    What grieves Jesus? Most likely what grieved Jesus when He walked the streets of Jerusalem, still grieves Him now. In Mark 3, we see Him show up in the synagogue, a place where people go to meet God. Unfortunately, the Pharisees, when they see Him, follow Him with their eyes for the express purpose of catching Him doing something wrong. Jesus was deeply grieved that they closed their minds and hearts against Him. They miss encountering Jesus, and instead close the door to blessing and grace. They miss an adventure with the living God! 

    I wonder how many adventures I've missed by being too careful, too judgmental, too finicky. Have I grieved Jesus because I closed my mind against what He wanted me to experience? When God shows up, using people to act or speak, have there been times I looked at them with suspicion? In Luke 9:50, Jesus said, "Do not forbid it; for whoever is not against us is for us." 

    Lord, may I not grieve You by closing my mind against something new, something different You want for me. May I, like the man in the synagogue, stretch out my hand to You, in trust and openness, accepting all You want to give me! May I not put boundaries around what You can or cannot do in my life. 

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

    I find a lot of inspiration
    visiting my friends here:


    Tuesday, January 17, 2017

    Don't be Lazy!

    "Do not grow lazy..." Hebrews 6:12

    I usually sleep early but I was unusually lazy and tired last night. We ate dinner at  5:30 pm and I went right to sleep right after. It wasn't as if I had a back breaking day. We just went to visit our stores in Glorietta and Ali Mall! And what do I wake up to? This verse in Hebrews 6:12! God certainly has a sense of humor!

    Do not be lazy, Saint Paul admonishes the Hebrews. Do not be slothful, or become spiritual sluggards. Instead we have to be diligent and sincere in helping His people, in loving others. Indeed it is in loving that we show ourselves to be truly His children. It certainly is a mystery to me why God chose to make men and gave them free will. There's a saying that when a woman gives birth, it's like her heart is walking around in another's body. Isn't it the same way with God?

    He loves each of us so much, that His heart and His Spirit dwells within us. I can't imagine how much pain that gives Him! In the Bible, we can read about how He loves, and forgives again and again until He bleeds to death from the effort! Can we love like that? I have no illusions about myself. I flat out can't. But God is saying to me, don't be lazy! 

    Lord, may I continue to learn, to be diligent, to practice, and imitate the saints! 

    Monday, January 16, 2017

    New Wineskins!

    "No man pours new wine into old wine skins." Mark 2:22

    Having never seen an old nor a new wineskin, this analogy is lost on me. Nowadays Wineskin is an app you use so Windows software can run on the Mac OS. 

    But what did Jesus mean? Wine skins made from goat, ox or pig leather are still in use in Spain and in the East. Old skins break easily if new wine is put inside because of fermentation. The new wine would swell and burst them open. I imagine myself listening to Jesus, following Him around. Would not His words be like new wine, exhilarating, fresh, original? Would not the words of the Pharisees and teachers of the law be in contrast, stifling, full of prejudice, and petty? I see Jesus healing on the Sabbath, and I experience freedom. I hear Him speak about the Kingdom of God and my heart sings. I listen to every word, and I follow Him. He doesn't turn me away. He wants me to listen. He heals the blind, the lame, the lepers! I too am made whole by His words, His touch. Nothing is the same! And the name too sacred to be spoken, Y-H-W?  I can call Him Abba Father now! 

    Lord, I want Your new wine! Thank You that each one of us can drink from Your well, and never thirst! Thank You that You are as near as a prayer, and Your Spirit dwells in me!  

    Sunday, January 15, 2017

    The Lion in the Lamb

    "See that you never despise one of these little ones." Matthew 18:10

    If I was one of Jesus' followers, I would never have been able to predict what He would say or answer. One day the disciples asked Him, "Who is of greatest importance in the kingdom of God?" I don't think I would ever have guessed that "a little child" would be His answer. But He's consistent. "Whoever makes himself lowly, becoming like this child, is of greatest importance in that heavenly realm." The lowly, the humble, the docile, the peaceful, the submissive, the obedient- these are all words that describe the God who was so humble He was willing to enter humanity as a little, defenseless child in a poor, nondescript family. 

    But Jesus did not remain a lamb for long. There was a lion in Him, just as there is a lion in all of us. God's heart is fierce, and full of adventure. You can see that part of Him in the raging storm and majestic mountains. I think one of the reasons Jesus tells us not to despise the little ones, and that includes the poor, the downtrodden, those who have no voice, is He sees their potential. He sees what they can become. Each child, each man or woman has dignity as God's child. Each one is as important to Him as a CEO in a Fortune 500 company, as a brain surgeon, as the King or President of a mighty nation. God puts a seed of greatness in each one of us. He breathed His mighty Spirit into each one of us! Anything is possible for one who believes! 

    Lord, You gave me so much! So many gifts, and talents, so many people around to look up to and find inspiration from. Help me to see them that I might bless others. Teach me to encourage others to see their worth and dignity as Your child. Help me to see them as You do! 

    Saturday, January 14, 2017

    The Living Word

    "God's word is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword." Hebrews 4:12

    Why do I believe that the word of God is quick, and powerful, alive energizing, and active? When my mom learned that she had cancer, she would have these bouts of depression, and I would read to her from the Bible. After reading for some time, she would tell me she felt much better.   

    I had DVT before, deep vein thrombosis, and my doctor said I would need to wear thick awful stockings and drink blood thinners forever! Proverbs 4:22 says that the word of God is medicine, healing to our flesh. I recited and listened to healing verses, and today, I don't need to wear the fashion changing stockings nor drink warfarin anymore. 

    I knew God was calling me to my community, Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon, that Ligaya was my Jerusalem, because of God's word that leaped out of the pages of my Bible (too long a story!). God speaks to me through my Bible. He confirms His instructions through His Word. If I am facing a challenge, I can look for His promises, and say to Him, "Lord, You said this...I am holding You to it. After all, You said Your word will not return to You void." 

    Lord, thank You for showing me that Your word is alive. Thank You that You quicken my heart and mind every morning, when I read it and ponder it. 

    Friday, January 13, 2017

    Into His Rest

    "Let us strive to enter into God's rest." Hebrews 4:11

    Strive. Be diligent. Labor. Be zealous and exert ourselves. Make every effort. So many words that seem the direct opposite of rest! 

    We had our company Thanksgiving Party yesterday in gratefulness to God for the blessings of 2016. We wanted to celebrate with our employees and to thank them for all their hard work and sacrifice. Previous to the party, there was all the planning and thinking which we did since November last year. We thought that with 21 stores, we had to have a short participation from each one, a mannequin challenge! We started buying the prizes early. My sister thought of the sequence of the presentations, the game, the video, the raffle, etc. Everything had to be thought out in advance and assignments given. We had to buy a sound system so what happened last year wouldn't happen again. We had to follow up that the photo booth people would come with the right design for the picture. The different branches had to practice for their presentations, prepare their costumes, video their mannequin challenges. And on the day itself, so many had to do their assignments so it would all come together. Whew! What a lot of striving and laboring! 

    Well today, I can rest! I am so happy it went well! The concept of rest in the Bible is huge, but we can think of it in the same way. We have to strive and labor now, so we can enter into God's rest. But we can also be confident that God has done everything we CANNOT do to get us into His rest. He has done His part. From the 1st chapter of Genesis up to the Gospels, and to Revelation, we are invited to come into the rest of God, to be restored. Thank You Father for the invitation. We can look forward to resting in Your love! 

    Thursday, January 12, 2017

    Hearing God!

    "Today, if you should hear His voice, harden not your hearts..." Hebrews 3:7-8

    Obedience brings blessing and disobedience closes the door. But how can we obey if we do not recognize God's voice?  It seems as if the prophets in the Bible could talk to God, even argue with Him and bargain! 

    The thing is if we want to know God's voice, we have to spend time with Him. It's like talking to a good friend on the phone. Even if we don't see him or her, we recognize their voice, we can even tell their mood! In a study conducted by Canadian linguists, they found that most people could identify a friend or relative's voice after hearing just 4 syllables. We should make it our aim to recognize our Father's voice. If we want to hear Him, He will find a way for us to hear Him. But first, I think we should get familiar with His words and promises, so when He speaks to us, we will know it's Him. 

    Wednesday, January 11, 2017

    WOYWW: Prayer

    This morning, I was working on my planner.
    I discovered that I am able to make use of it more
    if I add embellishments! 

    Here is the first week of January 2017 all done. 
    If you see pictures of pirates,
    that's because we all dressed up in pirates' costumes
    for New Year's Eve.
    Next year, we plan to be aliens.
    Don't ask me where these ideas come from.

    "Everyone is asking for you." Mark 1:37

    Can you imagine how many people were looking for Jesus? Huge crowds of people from all over would follow him. Some came to gawk because of the miracles. The deaf, dumb, blind and lame would be healed. Then there were the demon possessed who would for sure add to all the commotion and noise around. It's a wonder Jesus would get any time to sleep and rest. 

    In Matthew 1:35, we read that after all the work of healing and ministering, Jesus did get some sleep, but He awoke long before daybreak and went out alone into the wilderness to pray. It was very important for Him to connect with His Father. This shows me how important, how very essential prayer is. Prayer is not the work of women only, not the work of sissies or weak people. Prayer is necessary if we want to get the job done, if we want to get our marching orders, if we want things to happen! 

    Prayer is how we "abide". In John 15:4-10, Jesus instructs us to abide in Him if we want to bear much fruit. Father Michael Scanlan died at the age of 85, just a few days ago. He helped revitalize the Catholic faith, and was called "the giant in our midst". He led so many into a deeper relationship with Christ and openness to the Holy Spirit. He is an example of what can happen if we abide in God, and become men and women of prayer. Sister Ann Shields said he was always in prolonged prayer. Father Davis said that he would have his daily planner open and he would ask God what he should do very early in the morning. 

    Father Scanlan shared in his book, "Let the Fire Fall", that while walking through a hotel lobby in Michigan, he noticed a young boy screaming and rolling around the floor. A crowd was gathering much like it would have gathered around Jesus. Father Michael heard God asking him to pray for the boy for total healing. He was astonished because he suspected the boy had Down's Syndrome, which is a genetic defect. Every cell in the boy's body had an extra chromosome! But God asked him to pray and he did! That young boy is now healed and when doctors ran tests they could not find any trace of Down's Syndrome in his body!

    Lord, may we learn to abide in You. May we be intimately connected to You. May I, like Jesus, learn to listen to You and obey You. 

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

    I find a lot of inspiration
    visiting my friends here: