Monday, April 30, 2018
Sunday, April 29, 2018
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine grower.” John 15:1
Henry Francis Lyte wrote the hymn, “Abide with Me”. Some verses go: “Abide with me! Fast falls the eventide, the darkness deepens: Lord, with me abide! When other helpers fail, and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, O abide with me!
“Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day; Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away; Change and decay in all around I see: O thou who changest not, abide with me!”
Yes, all around may change and decay, but our God changes not. He is always there when we need Him. Nick Charles was a handsome man with a gorgeous mop of hair. He had been a playboy and enjoyed himself before he turned his life over to Jesus, and started peppering his conversations with “God bless you!” From his first job of cleaning rat feces on the floor, he became CNN’s first sportscaster. He got married to his third wife Cory who brought him closer to God, and had a little girl named Giovanna when he found out he had cancer of the bladder. He went the full round of chemo until his hair fell off. When the pain became so unbearable and he was so miserable, he prayed, “God, I’ve had enough. I don’t want to say goodbye to my family, but if it’s time, take me home.”
What happened was a light shone in the corner of the room, and a figure that could only be Christ, sat beside him on the bed. He said, “Nick, I’m going to call you home but not tonight. Just hang in there.”
When Nick Charles died, CNN wanted to make a feature about him but couldn’t figure out what to do with the story about Jesus Christ visiting Nick and comforting him, even though it profoundly affected many of the producers and staff. They finally did mention it in passing in the news.
At the time Nick needed Jesus, He came in a way that profoundly helped Nick. We can be sure if we abide in the true vine, He will come in all sorts of ways when we need Him.
Saturday, April 28, 2018
Friday, April 27, 2018
Thursday, April 26, 2018
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
After making a mess, I draw a picture, then paint the background.
After I filled in the colors, I outline in a dark pen.
“The favors of the Lord I will sing forever.” Psalm 89:2
I particularly like ordinary days. I don’t like excitement, change. I especially don’t like accidents, people getting sick, losing jobs, fires. Of course! Who does?
But I also realize there are no ordinary days. Every day is extraordinarily extraordinary! We are on a journey around the sun, for goodness sake! Every year we go around this huge mass of hot 5778 K swirling plasma! And just like that, my perspective changes. I am surrounded by miracles. Nothing is ordinary! Not the cactus sitting quietly on a pot beside me. Not the skin on my fingers. When I get paint on it, I can easily clean it off. No stains! How do I hold on to this miracle of life?
Like the psalmist, I should always have gratitude in my heart. I should open my eyes, my heart, my ears to the favors of the Lord. I should not concentrate on what can happen, what gives me stress, negative things people say. The heavens proclaim the wonders of God. I am His creation. So should I!
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Monday, April 23, 2018
Sunday, April 22, 2018
Saturday, April 21, 2018
Friday, April 20, 2018
Thursday, April 19, 2018
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Monday, April 16, 2018
Sunday, April 15, 2018
“Touch me, and see...” Luke 24:39
Jesus did not expect the disciples to believe in Him with blind faith. He showed them His hands and feet and bade them to touch Him. “...it is I, Myself. Touch me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”
The disciples marveled and were amazed. We too can marvel and be amazed for our faith is based on evidence. We do not believe in a god invented by man, or is a delusion as the new atheists insist. In an informal survey conducted in Hong Kong University, it was found that a majority of students believe that the world is a better place if people believe in God, even in a fictional god! Many people today believe that God is irrelevant, unimportant. I should think that we should want to discover for ourselves if God is real or an idea invented by man!
The Hebrew God is unlike any other in that He is the creator of the universe, but He broke into our world because He made us in His image and values each and every one of us. That is the reason for the cross, the most horrible punishment created by the perverted mind of man. Jesus hung on the cross, humiliated, beaten and bruised, the lamb sacrificed for you and me.
Irrelevant? We need to do better than that! There are things that are relevant for our life that we know nothing about, the square root of minus one for instance, which is one reason why we have smart phones. While I may never understand the concept of imaginary numbers, I can know Jesus because He wants me to know Him and the finished work on the cross. I can know Jesus by reading the Bible, and praying that He reveal Himself to me. I can know Jesus by reading dozens of historical writings by both Jews and Romans found on the internet. God made sure that the life and death of Jesus is amazingly documented. Yes, Jesus is still saying today, “Touch me, and see...”
Saturday, April 14, 2018
“It is I; be not afraid...” John 6:20
After the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, Jesus went off on His own while the disciples took a boat to go across to Capernaum. It was dark, the waves were rough and rising high with the strong wind. When they had rowed three or four miles out, they saw but did not recognize Jesus, approaching the boat, walking on the water. They were terrified. I would be terrified as well! But Jesus said, “It is I; do not be afraid.” They helped Him into the boat, and proceeded where they were headed.
Most times, we do not recognize God when He visits us. God comes while we are living out our ordinary every day life. He does not disrupt our days, MOST of the time. But sometimes He does, and if we take God at His Word, we will see it as a blessing, a gift, even if it is terrifying in some way. The apostles were experienced fishermen, well used to going out to sea in the dark, in fair weather and foul. This time they see something unusual and it terrified them. When they recognized it was Jesus, they calmed down and were happy to have Jesus join them.
When I shared the Metro article about my brother Robert having cancer, I received many comments. Most were of course, promises to pray, but many were naturally about being shocked, sad and dismayed. Robert’s attitude is surprising because he sees cancer as a gift and blessing.
Robert said, “I am so incredibly grateful for this life now. I used to hate myself. I used to think about taking my life all the time. That has completely changed now. I realize that life is short—I don’t have to rush things. Before you know it, life is over. I am now living the best life I’ve ever lived. I am so incredibly thankful for this cancer. It is indeed a gift.”
God comes into our lives bearing gifts. It does not always take the form we like. Sometimes it terrifies us, dismays us, depresses us, makes us cringe. But sometimes, if we open our eyes and our heart, we can receive God’s gifts with joy.
Friday, April 13, 2018
Thursday, April 12, 2018
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
I am making a sample for my papemelroti Artisans workshop on the 25th. “Beauty for Ashes” is all about using the scraps we have accumulated and creating a garden for the Lord. Or about how God uses the detritus of our life to give it meaning. Still a work in progress. Like me and you.
One More Time, Dream Together
Small Wonders, Testimony Tuesday, Titus 2 Tuesdays,
Count Your Blessings, Word Art Wednesday,
Cheerleaders of our Faith, Reflect
Wow Us Wednesdays, Sitting Among Friends
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
There was a certain Levite from Cyprus named Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas, meaning “son of encouragement”. (Acts 4:36)
When God changed a person’s name in the Bible, it was usually to establish a new identity, a new mission. Abram meaning “high father” was given the name “father of many nations” in Genesis 17:5. God said, “I will give you millions of descendants who will represent many nations. Kings will be among them.” Abraham’s wife, Sarai, meaning “my princess” was given a new name too- Sarah, meaning “mother of many nations”. In Genesis 32:28, God changed Jacob’s name, which meant "supplanter," to “Israel,” meaning “having power with God”.
It would therefore not be surprising that with the believers, it would also signify a new identity and mission when one’s name was changed. There was a new believer, a Levite from Cyprus. His name was Joseph, and the apostles nicknamed him Barnabas, “son of encouragement”. He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles for those in need. There are men and women like him today who give of their time, treasure and talent to build God’s kingdom. One man gave a very valuable property to our community so our Christian school could flourish. I am sure God has a special name for him in heaven.
How about us? Do we have a special name reserved for us? Are we taking on our new identity in Christ, and moving forward in the mission He entrusted to us?
Monday, April 09, 2018
“Ask for a sign...” Isaiah 7:10
In a somewhat surprising turn of events, God sent a message to King Ahaz through the awesome prophet Isaiah. “Ask me for a sign...” He said. Ahaz at this time was worried and afraid of the enemies arrayed against him. “You do not believe me? If you want me to protect you, learn to BELIEVE what I say!” God said.
Today, there may not be prophets of the stature of Isaiah, but I believe that we all can speak to the Lord, hear Him and know His mind. Our Father would desire nothing more than His children come to Him and ask for what we need. Jesus left the earth so we can have the greatest gift of the Holy Spirit and we can learn to live in a way that the Spirit can work powerfully in us. We just need to read and study the Bible to unlock this great power available to us.
“And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my Spirit upon ALL flesh; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men see visions: And also upon the servants and handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.” Joel 2:28-30
Do we want to be part of the outpouring of God’s Spirit? I do. The Bible is not just a bunch of fairy tales and legends. In it, God reveals His mind, how He loves us, and wants to anoint us. But it’s not going to happen if we don’t take the Word of God seriously, if we fill our minds with the unceasing chatter on TV, the memes on social media or gossip from our friends.
Lord, teach us how to walk in Your supernatural, world-changing, healing, creative power. I ask that You give us a sign, a revelation of how we can align ourselves with what You are doing in the world right now.