Saturday, September 30, 2017

Listen to Him

I'm joining a mail swap and here's what I've got in the package so far. 

So happy that my son Josh has discovered the joy of drawing! 

"Pay close attention to what I tell you..." Luke 9:44

I wonder how many times Jesus told the disciples to pay close attention to His words? Even God the Father told them, "This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!" when they were up on the mountain of Transfiguration. When we pray, do we keep talking and talking? Or do we take the time to listen? If we regularly stay silent for a time and try to hear the Lord, we will eventually recognize His voice. That is His promise in John 10:27. Jesus said that His sheep hear Him. "My sheep listen to my voice. I know them and they follow me. They shall never perish." 

If we meet a new friend, and she calls us up, we may not recognize her voice right away. But if we talk often, we hear her voice all the time, then we will know who she is even if she does not give her name. The key is we have to take the time to listen. James Dobson, the Christian author, prays, "Lord, I need to know what You want me to do and I'm listening. Please speak to me through my friends, books, magazines, and circumstances." 

Most of the time, when I listen for God to speak, I do not hear anything. But there are many times He speaks to me as long as I tell Him I want to hear Him. He has spoken to me through the Bible, through the radio, when I am before the Blessed Sacrament, when I am at the beach, when I am in a garden, when I am alone or in a crowd. He has encouraged me, assured me of His love, admonished me, saved me from mistakes, and given me peace and joy beyond understanding. There is no downside to listening to God. Even when He shows me my sin, there is no condemnation. 

Dear dear Jesus, may I always take the time to be silent and try to listen to You. I so want to be Your sheep, to be part of Your flock, and learn all You want to teach me. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Jesus in My Heart

"Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins?" 
Haggai 1:3

The prophet Haggai was sent by God to encourage the Jews to finish the rebuilding of the Temple. "Consider your ways! He who earned wages earned them for a bag with holes in it!" What a vivid metaphor Haggai uses! Those of us who are busy earning money for ourselves are putting our earnings in a bag with holes in it. We cannot keep it for ourselves. 

That's why in Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus  teaches: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Haggai was speaking about a physical Temple. But today, Jesus wants us not only to build His Kingdom, but He also wants us to take care of our hearts so He can be more and more at home in it (Ephesians 3:17). It is unimaginable, but we are His house. We who believe in Him are His holy Temple (Ephesians 2:20-21)! Is Jesus comfortable in our hearts? Or is He dismayed that His Temple is dirty, and in ruins? 

Lord, may You find Your home in my heart. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Take Nothing With You

I am gathering bits and pieces of lace to make another journal. The light blue and white piece  on the right was one of my favorite blouses. A René Derhy. I bought it when I was still single, and now it has a lot of holes. 

"Take nothing for the journey..." 
Luke 9:3

My family knows that when I travel I make such a fuss about packing. The earlier I start packing, the more I bring. If I am going to a cold place, I think twice, thrice, four times about how many jackets, sweaters, blankets, thermal underwear to bring. I always pack so much, because I bring art materials, or a sewing kit, or both. But I'm not the only one who brings odd stuff on a journey. My brother once brought out some cheese and a cheese grater when we went to Coron. 

When Jesus sent the disciples on a mission to proclaim the good news, He told them, "Take nothing for the journey, neither walking staff nor traveling bag; no bread, no money. No one is to have two coats." The disciples couldn't depend on anything but what they learned from listening to Jesus, and asking Him questions. Obviously, Jesus thought they were ready or He would not have sent them out to be laughed at or ridiculed. They passed the test because verse 6 says they set out from village to village, spreading the good news everywhere and curing diseases. 

We should try Jesus' way sometimes. I don't really mean going off without anything at all, but without the baggage of needing to wait for the right time to talk to others about faith and how God is just waiting for us to approach Him. Wherever we go, there are so many hurting people in the world, needing to hear about our Savior who cares, and who loves us enough to die for us. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Opened Wide!

Sometimes there are just too many projects I want to do! I am making postcards for a swap, and still making fabric collages for purses. 

I also need to work in my planner! Where do I find the time to play with all my paints, needles and threads, washi tapes, stickers, etc.? 

"My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act upon it." Luke 8:21

When I was young, I liked pretending I was a princess, or daughter of some important person. I would imagine where I lived, what I wore, what I did. Sometimes my sisters and I would play make believe and choose what actress we wanted to be. I chose Debbie Reynolds and one of my sisters chose to be the more radical Jane Fonda. My other sister wanted to be the lady who advertised Sunsilk shampoo. Isn't that absolutely hilarious?

We can't choose our families, can we? But sometimes, especially when we are mad, we wish we could! In a very real sense we CAN be part of a royal family. Jesus tells us how in Luke 8:21. If we want to be REAL princesses and princes, sons and daughters of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, we need to HEAR God's word and ACT upon it. 

Imagine, the gates of the Kingdom of heaven are open to us! I definitely want to walk in! No matter how much of our creativity we use, we will never be able to imagine the treasures, the glory, the magnificence of the Kingdom we are invited to be a part of! Jesus' arms, the Father's arms are open wide for us! Lord, thank You!!!! 

Monday, September 25, 2017

You are My Light

"No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bushel basket..." Luke 8:16. 

If we think of absurdities, this can be one of them, lighting a lamp and then hiding it away. Another would be buying a car and pushing it to work! 

Jesus talks of putting a lamp out in the open, where it can be seen. He says this after telling the parable of the sower, where He explains the seed is God's message. 

Clearly Jesus is telling us that we can't keep the Word of God for ourselves. Psalm 119:105 says that God's Word is a lamp for our feet and a light for our path. Others need a light for their path too. David sings in 2 Samuel 22:29 that, "O Lord, You are my light, You light up my darkness." Shouldn't we be like David and not be ashamed to proclaim the goodness God does for us? Indeed, we should look for every opportunity to display the "light of the world" so that more and more people will find their way out of darkness. 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

What Meaning is there in My Life?

"I long to be freed from this life..." Philippians 1:23

Yesterday morning my husband and I attended a fundraising for RightStart, a foundation that seeks to provide poor children a creative space where they can reach their full potential. We were surprised because Hayden Kho and Vicki Belo-Kho were there. Apparently they were the proponents behind the event as part of their wedding celebration. 

Hayden Kho gave a testimony and told us that he had reached such a desperate point in his life that he tried to kill himself twice. He had been struggling with drugs for 7 years, and his friends abandoned him after a scandal. He confessed in a public Christian event where renowned apologist Ravi Zacharias spoke, "I am living with pain, shame and guilt, what meaning can I find in life?” Hayden then left his former life, travelled with Zacharias on his speaking engagements around the world in search for that meaning. 

The complete verse above reads, "I long to be freed from this life and to be with Christ, for that is the far better thing." Lord, I thank You that we do not need to hit rock bottom to know we can only find meaning in a life lived in You! 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Scatter it Far and Wide!

"The seed is the Word of God." Luke 8:11

I am wondering how many times I've read or heard Jesus' parable of the sower sowing his seed far and wide. It seems he does not care if the seeds fall on a footpath, on rocky soil, thorns, or on good soil. Shouldn't he take care where to throw the seed so it will grow well?

Most of the time I am like a sower who does not sow my seed until I find the right soil to sow it in. The problem is I really cannot tell. I cannot see inside a person's heart to find out if he is ready to receive the message that God loves him and has a wonderful plan and purpose for his life. I guess we just have to risk rejection if we want to follow Jesus' command to "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to everyone!" 

When my husband was young, he was part of Christ's Youth in Action and they had this exercise called random evangelization. One time a group of them were instructed to go around Luneta Park in pairs and just find someone to talk to about Jesus. My husband and the guy he was with walked around the park a long time trying to discern who to talk to. They were hesitant to approach just anybody until the time given them was almost up so they went near this guy who was just waking up. They started talking to him. Amazingly, they found out that this man was contemplating committing suicide! Because my husband and his friend talked to him, he believed that God was watching him and he was able to carry on with his life and his problems. Years later, my husband saw this man's picture in a newspaper with a short article about his success with his job. 

Lord, may I obey You and be like the sower who sows his seed everywhere he goes. There is a lot of seed! We need never worry about the supply! You will take care of the soil, and the sun and the rain! 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Good Fight of Faith

"Fight the good fight of faith." 

1 Timothy 6:12

When I think of faith, I don't really think of fighting. But then I remember the verse about putting on the armor of God: "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (Ephesians 6:13-17)

It is obvious that Saint Paul cautions us it is not easy to live in faith. We cannot just relax and be complacent. We cannot be at peace with everybody (Luke 12:51). Like Jesus, we have to make a firm stand. Everyone knew where Jesus stood. He made His moral code clear. Where there is evil, where there is injustice, where there is corruption, where there is perfidy, we have to fight the good fight of faith with God's people at our side. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Sinner to Saint

"What reason can the teacher have for eating with tax collectors and those who disregard the law?" Matthew 9:11

If Jesus was around today, where would we find him? He would probably be consorting with drug addicts, thieves, prostitutes and other sinners. We certainly would not find him with the self-righteous and those filled with condemnation with these "low life". Jesus can see our hearts, what fills our minds. He knows us better than we know ourselves. 

When He saw Matthew seated at his table in the tax collectors' office, Jesus saw not only the corrupt and hopeless sinner, but He saw the man Matthew could be. He did not only see this despicable man who collaborated with the Roman occupying force, but more, He knew Matthew would become His obedient follower, the one who would live and die for Him. Today we celebrate Saint Matthew's feast day. 

We can trust that Jesus does the same for us. He sees our potential, the saints we can become. He says the same to each of us, "Follow me." Lord, may I respond like Saint Matthew, so You can work in my life to bring out the best in me. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

WOYWW: Saint Andrew Kim Tae-gôn

I'm painting backgrounds for a mail swap I joined. So far, this is what it looks like. Just a mess of my favorite colors. 

"It is for Him that I die." 
Saint Andrew Kim Tae-gôn

Today, September 20, is the feast day of Saint Andrew Kim Tae-gon, the patron saint of Korea, and the first Catholic priest in Korea. His parents were Catholic and Andrew Kim was baptized at age 15. In 1839, he came to the Philippines to study in Lolomboy, Bocaue, Bulacan. There is a shrine there today dedicated to him run by Korean nuns. When he was ordained a priest in 1844, the Catholic Koreans were so happy because they could hear mass every day and receive the Sacraments. But King Yeongjo of the Joseon Dynasty outlawed Christianity and persecuted the Christians. Andrew Kim's father was martyred along with thousands of Christians who refused to give up their faith. 

A little more than a year after Andrew Kim became a priest, he too was martyred. At the young age of 25, he was tortured and beheaded near Seoul on the Han River along with many others. His last words were recorded to be: "This is my last hour of life, listen to me attentively...It is for Him that I die. My immortal life is just beginning. Become Christians if you wish to be happy after death, because God has eternal chastisements in store for those who have refused to know Him." Today there are about 14 million Christians in Korea and the Church there is one of the fastest growing in the world. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Rewriting our Stories

"Young man, I bid you get up." 
Luke 7:14

In the 7th chapter of Luke, Jesus, His disciples, and a crowd of people following Him, met another crowd of people surrounding a bier on which lay a dead young man. He was the only son of a widow. Jesus took pity on her and touched the bier. "Young man, I say to you, arise from death!" And he that was dead sat up and spoke. 

There have been some news of the dead being raised to life in Africa, in Brazil, in China, even in England. I do not know if these stories are true but I believe in the power of Jesus to resurrect dead people. I believe in the power of Jesus to bring people back to life. Sometimes we may be breathing, but we are dead because of the filthiness of sin. 

In Ephesians 2, St. Paul writes, "You were living in your sins and lawless ways. But in fact you were dead... But God loves us deeply. He is full of mercy. So he gave us new life because of what Christ has done. He gave us life even when we were dead in sin. God’s grace has saved you. God raised us up with Christ." 

We may not know it, but if we are soaking in sin, God sees us as dead, separated from Him. Timothy Rau's story is not special. There are so many Timothys in the world today. They are introduced to drugs and alcohol and a life of crime from a very young age. They are thrown into jail again and again. They become gangsters, thieves, even killers, until they allow God into their life through a book, a friend, a TV show, a dream, and their lives are changed forever. Timothy Rau said, "My life is truly a miracle and an incredible story Jesus wrote straight from His heart!" 

Jesus wants to rewrite our stories if we let Him. There is always a fountain of hope, grace and mercy available to us every day! 


"Just say the word, and my servant will be healed." Luke 7:7

In Luke chapter 7, we meet a centurion, who stands out because he cares very much for his slave who is sick and about to die. A centurion was an officer in the Roman infantry, and frequently commanded 80 to 1000 men depending on their rank. This man sent some Jewish elders to ask Jesus to save his slave. These elders pleaded with Jesus, and told him that this centurion loved the Jews and built their synagogue. 

Jesus went with them and when he was nearing the centurion's home, the centurion sent word, "Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof. Just say the word, and my servant will be healed." He then explained that he too was a man under authority with soldiers under him. These soldiers obey his command. "I say to a soldier, 'Go!', and he goes, to another, 'Come!' And he comes."

From what the centurion said, we know that he had been listening to Jesus and he came to the conclusion that Jesus was no ordinary man. He acknowledged that compared to him, Jesus had the real authority. That is why Jesus was so impressed with the centurion's trust, "Not even in Israel have I found such great faith!"  

We too are unworthy for Jesus to come and visit our home. But He does! He actually knocks and waits for us to say, "Come in!" Every day He waits, and He never gives up. Dear Jesus, thank You for not ignoring us as You have every right to! We are filthy, and sometimes we are the ones ignoring You! 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Memento Mori

"Remember your last days..." 
Sirach 28:6

We had an exercise before in a retreat I attended, where we had to write our own eulogy. It's a good way to reflect on how we want to live our life. Most of us would not want to be praised for how big our house is, how high our salary was, how many degrees we have, or how much time we spent at work. Usually we would want to be honored for our good relationships, how we helped and encouraged others, how we were generous, how we took time to be present for our family especially our aging parents, or someone who was sick, or in prison. 

In the book of Sirach, we read: "Remember your last days, set enmity aside; remember death and decay, and cease from sin! Think of the commandments, of the Most High's covenant; hate not your neighbor, and overlook faults." A lot of people don't want to think of death, but almost everyone wants to go to heaven. The thing is, to go to heaven, we have to think about death. 

Francis Chan, the preacher, told a story about his grandma. They were watching a play, and Francis asked how she was liking it. She fretted and said, "I don't know if this is where I want to be when Jesus returns." 

Do we think like Francis' grandma? "Memento mori" is Latin for "Remember you will die." It is good for us to think sometimes, "Is this where I want to be when Jesus comes for me?" 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

From the Abundance of the Heart

"Each man speaks from his heart's abundance." Luke 6:45

Yes, I would like to be that person who always spoke with wisdom, hope, peacefully, lovingly, with encouragement, patience and gentleness. I would like that when I said something, anyone I met would know I was a woman of faith and they could trust me. How can that happen?

It says in the Bible, that we speak from what fills our heart. Out of the abundance of our heart, the overflow, that is what we will say on a day to day basis. So we know that if a man curses all the time, speaks evil and wishes evil for others, that is what is in his heart. On the other hand, if a man uses his words to promote unity among his fellow men, to encourage and fill them with moral courage, to lead them on to accomplish great things, his heart is certainly bursting with goodness for others. 

Our heart needs to be a greenhouse where faith filled ideas grow safely. Our heart needs to be a treasure chest where we collect God's perspective, His way of thinking, the treasures of Jesus' heart. We can only do that if we fill our heart with God's words. Stinking thinking leads to more stinking thinking, and produces decay in the reality around us.  Divine thinking will empower us and others and transform the world. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

My Times are in Your Hand

"My times are in Your hand." 
Psalm 31:15 (NASB)

"In Your hands is my destiny." (NAB) I love this verse, but do I really believe it? Do I really believe I am not at the mercy of the capriciousness of nature? That I am not trapped in the hold of some blind force? That our whole country is not tossed about in a tempest of chance and whimsy? 

The psalmist is going through some dark times when he writes this masterpiece of a song. He asks to be rescued quickly. He needs God to ransom him, to be his strength, his rock and his fortress. He has enemies who have laid a trap out for him and he is in distress. He is like a broken vessel. Many of us are going through hard times. The challenge may be financial, or emotional. We may be wrestling our own personal demons or we may be torn in our decision making. Why, God, why do You allow these things to happen when it is so easy for You to change circumstances and the hearts of men? Even the king's heart is in the hand of God (Prov. 21:1), and yet He allows all these heartbreaking events happening around us! Jesus tells us that not one sparrow falls to the ground without the Father allowing it. Every hair on our head is counted, and when one strand falls He knows. So then, why?

Because God has His purposes for us. His heart has His own reasons, and they are always for the best. He is seeking to perfect each one of us He has called for His own. God is completely in charge of His world and He allows evil. His hand is hidden according to J.I. Packer, but God will always bring good out of evil, and evil will be punished. 

Yes Lord, my life is in Your hands, not a matter of chance, nor is my destiny written in the stars. If I walk with You, You will form me to be a part of Your people, You will train me in Your ways. There is nothing I want more! 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

WOYWW: Mourning

This is my table this morning. 
I'm still doing an auction for a friend in a coma. 
I put pictures of items up for bidding on this Auction for Arnold site.

I use the canvas board as a background for the pictures. 

"Blessed are you who mourn, you shall laugh." Luke 6:21

There are a lot of absurd things Jesus says. After all, the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Cor. 1:18). The thing about Jesus' words is one has to start with faith, or we can't understand it. The tendency would just be to scoff at what He preaches. 

I like to read about saints because in their stories the truth of what Jesus says comes alive. Saint Francis of Assisi gave up his luxurious life to live in total poverty. Blessed is Saint Francis who was poor here on the earth but received all the riches of the Kingdom. That is what Jesus died on the Cross to give us: the riches of heaven. To get it, we have to be poor in spirit, totally dependent on God. "The helpless put their trust in You" (Psalm 10:14).

As to mourning, why should we mourn? Mother Teresa mourned for those she cared for. She would stop her rickety van if she found someone abandoned on the streets of India. She would give time to the dying, the weak and the elderly. She could not bear for one to die without experiencing companionship and the love of Christ. So she would hold the feeble hand of one who was dying and accompany him to the threshold of God. Many times she has entered in solidarity with others' pain and suffering. "Harden not your hearts (Hebrews 3:15)". 

It's easy for us to get inured to the pain and suffering of others. We get used to seeing street children dodging traffic, families living in a cart, young boys being killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, prisoners wrongly accused. It is not enough to know God suffers with the suffering. We need to be a sign of God's mourning, and accompany those God sends our way. 

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


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Our Choice

"Jesus went out to the mountain to pray..." Luke 6:12

Jesus continued to pray all night, all alone up in the mountain. Then when it was daytime, He called His disciples and chose twelve, whom He named His apostles or His special messengers. He chose Simon, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the brother of James. Oh yes, he also chose Judas Iscariot who treacherously betrayed Him. How could Jesus choose Judas after praying the whole night?!!! 

I think it could have been any one of the apostles who turned Jesus over. Simon betrayed Jesus by denying Him three times but he regretted it bitterly. He wept knowing what He had done. Jesus could see his heart and asked Simon three times if he loved Him. When Simon said, "You know that I love you," Jesus asked him to feed His sheep. 

Jesus prays for each one of us.  "He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, because He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). Now, there is no time or space for Jesus, so we can depend on Him being our mediator all the time. It is our choice, just as it was Judas Iscariot's choice not to follow Him. It is our choice, just as it was Simon Peter's choice to follow Him. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Stretch Out Your Hand

"Stretch out your hand." Luke 6:10

Jesus healed many people and he used all sorts of ways to do it. He healed no matter what the time and place, even if he was very tired, or surrounded by crowds. This time it was the Sabbath and he went to the synagogue to teach. There happened to be a man there whose right hand was withered, useless. The gospel account made sure to point out that it was the man's right hand, meaning his working hand. It was very difficult for this man to provide for himself, much more so for his family. 

The Pharisees, instead of listening to Jesus preaching, were on the lookout to see if Jesus would heal the man on the Sabbath. Jesus stopped His preaching because He knew exactly what was on the mind of the scribes and Pharisees. Sometimes we can be like the Pharisees and scribes, in that we look for things to criticize others for. Sadly Filipinos are well known for our "crab mentality". Crabs put in a pot to be cooked can easily escape but the other crabs pull them down as they try to move upwards. 

In an organization, sometimes we find that instead of helping and encouraging one another, people badmouth the efforts of others and look for ways to bring them down. This certainly does not make for a happy environment. Instead of being critical, we should practice thanking God for each other. Instead of putting others down, let's recognize the unique gifts each one brings to the table and learn how to cooperate and bring out the best in others.    

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Where Two or Three

"Where there are two or three gathered in my name, there am I in their midst." Matthew 18:20

What an amazing promise Jesus has given His followers! Yesterday at our Pathways meeting, we prayed for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We were not just two or three, but more than 50 gathered in Jesus' name, asking for the gift that outweighs any other gift! There were no tongues of fire as described in the Acts of the Apostles, but the presence of God was palpable in the joy and exuberance of the singing as we worshipped, in the weeping, and the praying in tongues. 

In all of this, Jesus is the heart of the matter. The baptism of the Holy Spirit plants a very tenacious seed, but it has to be cultivated, just like seeds planted in a field. It needs the water of prayer, the sunlight of scripture, the oxygen of service and the good soil of being a part of a community of believers where Jesus will be present! 

Living in Christ is living in joy, in love, in peace. Faith is all this because it connects us to the source of all- God the Creator Himself! C.S. Lewis started out as an adamant atheist but he did not account for God being at the center of every question he asked. In his book, "Surprised by Joy", he wrote that, "Really, a young atheist cannot guard his atheism too carefully. Dangers lie in wait for him on every side..."

Lord, ambush me like You ambushed C.S. Lewis and Mother Teresa, and Saint Francis! Consume me with joy in Your presence as I gather with two or three in Your name! 

Saint Peter Claver

Saint Peter Claver, Apostle to Slaves and Human Rights Defender

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Peter Claver. Saint Peter was ordained a priest, and thereafter dedicated his life caring for the slaves brought to Cartagena, Colombia, then the center of the slave trade in South America. He and a few other followers would meet the boats that would bring in thousands of slaves, and they would care for them. They would bring water, food, and care for the sick and dying. Out of the 10,000 slaves brought in every year, a third would die in the ships because of the horrible conditions. Although Pope Paul III and Urban VIII issued papal decrees condemning slavery, the business flourished. Obviously, the slave traders did not see these black men and women as fellow human beings, or they would not kidnapped them from their homes in Africa, herded them into filthy ships, fed them once a day and allowed them to wallow in their own excrement and terror for several months. 

Today, there are still people who think  of fellow human beings as commodities, or collateral damage. Sexual traffickers kidnap children and women, destroying their lives for their own gain. And here in our own country, young and old are murdered in the name of an unjust war against drugs. 

Lord, may we like Saint Peter Claver, do whatever we can, wherever we are, to love our brothers and sisters, created in Your image, beloved by You. May we fight for the rights of those less privileged than we are, help in whatever way we can, that they might live in dignity. May we not be indifferent to the suffering of others around us, and may we have courage to speak out against what is so clearly wrong.   

Friday, September 08, 2017

Part of God's Story

"...his mother was Rahab." 
Matthew 1:5

In the genealogy of Jesus, there are very few females included. One of them is Rahab, found in the 2nd book of Joshua. She was a prostitute who protected the two men Joshua secretly sent from the Israelite camp to spy out the land they were going to invade. Even if she was part of an idolatrous people, the Amorites, God opened her eyes to see His plan. "I know the Lord has given you this land," she told the two spies. "The Lord Your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below." (Joshua 2:9-11) Rahab, the prostitute, married Salmon, one of the spies, and became the mother of Boaz, who married Ruth, another woman who made it into the genealogy of Jesus. Ruth also had some conviction that she should follow Naomi, her mother-in-law, and be part of Naomi's people. 

In Matthew 7:7, Jesus tells the crowd, "Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened." In the case of Rahab, she had obviously heard about God from the travelers she entertained in her house which was against the town wall. She knew He made a dry path through the Red Sea so the Jews could pass, how He helped the Jews conquer peoples and kings. With Ruth, she knew about God through her marriage to Naomi's son. Both Rahab and Ruth decided they wanted to be part of the story God was weaving. 

We can see that even if we come from a dung heap like Rahab the harlot, or if we're an ordinary woman with every day challenges, we can decide to be part of His story, and be part of His people. 

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Duc In Altum

"Put out into the deep." Luke 5:4

With obedience, comes blessing. Jesus said to Simon, "Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch." Now Simon and his companions had been fishing all night and had caught nothing, but Simon knew Jesus just enough to obey. "At Your bidding, I will go out and try again." So they left for deeper waters, let down their nets, and caught so much fish that their nets began to break! 

When I read these words of Jesus, I always think of my youngest sister Tina. God gave these instructions to her when she was discerning whom to marry. She really had to go into deeper waters because the man God chose for her lived so far away. Here she lived a protected and pampered life. She was surrounded by family, friends, brothers and sisters in our Christian community. She was busy with her work, and her service to street children. She lived in a big home, with helpers to cook and clean and wash. But God wanted her to leave all that, and go to a strange land, with no one to support her but her new husband and his friends. She had to learn a new language, and she had to learn how to cook! 

When we visited Tina and her husband Pat in their little apartment last July, I could tell they were very happy. Indeed the rewards of obedience far outweigh what we have to give up when we follow what God wants us to do. "Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock." (Matthew 7:24)