Eager to surprise him despite his busy schedule, my husband brought it over and my son was delighted to see the unexpected gift.In a way, we all laughed about it knowing how big of a difference to see his early masterpieces compared with what he knew now. He found a spot in his room. And put the "reminder" of a humble beginning.
I never noticed...Yeah... Those parts of our tiny plants we strategically placed in our house. The leaves were green. But as I tried to look closer, I noticed the dried, dead, skin-like hanging from some branches. I slowly pulled them with minimal effort. How rejuvenating to see that the branches were brought back to its original, fresh, lively state after the wilted membranes were plucked!
It's amazing with moments like that when our minds and hearts realize the spiritual lessons we could muster in each experiences.
How true that in our lives, we need to evaluate what in our lives need rejuvenation, of cutting off which ones are not productive and allowing God's hands to pull away those dead parts from our Christian lives. How wrong we must be to show off and think we are okay because our eternal destination is guaranteed! While the deeds we must be doing are producing nothing for God's Kingdom. Are they really for God or for our own benefits?
May the Lord's double-edged sWORD search each of our hearts...
I always enjoy waiting at the lobby. Thinking it's the absence of noises from a throng of patients, I realize it's the view in the lobby that calms me as I gaze at the horizon on clear days like today.
"Already here at the clinic. .." I texted my son one time. Inserting a pic I took of the same vista. But I added it was a beautiful scenery, enjoyed by patients inside the hospital or the clinic.
I hope that every sick person enjoys the view and focus on the panorama than what ails them. In reality, we are all sick people going through tough times, be it health scares or financial problems, going through divorces or other broken relationships. And many more differing degree of life's woes.
I keep gazing up... So clear... So bright.. So serene...
There's no point to looking back. The past is gone.. There's no reason to look ahead. For no one knows what the future holds.
Except God. He has the future secure.
I gaze some more, wiping my fogging up glasses with the soft, blue cloth. Putting it back to continue to savor the view... To look up ahead... Most importantly, to LOOK up. In doing so, I don't see the things down below that offer no peace the way the skies do.
When calamities of life are on its greatest, LOOK UP...
"I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." - Psalm 121:1-2 (NIV)
You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. - 1 Thessalonians 5:5 (NIV)
Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. - 1 John 2:8 (NIV)
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. - Matthew 5:14 (NIV)
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light. - Ephesians 5:8 (NIV)
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. - John 8:12 (NIV)
We, who believe in Jesus, are being called each day to walk in the light, not in darkness. The battle begins the moment we open our eyes until each day ends. We battle with our own minds and hearts when we make decisions or choices. May the Lord guide us all and give us His gift of discernment.
I didn't know what right words to say. It wasn't enough to say "Nice." "Beautiful." "Good job!" But all of those I said to him. His mother's heart overflowing with joy knowing that he wanted to dedicate something to the One Who made all the transition for his higher education possible and smoothly despite the anxieties we faced with all the unknowns.
"Where are you planning to put this art?", I asked. Pointing to "We walk by faith..." He replied so fast as if he had already envisioned the perfect spot even before I asked. "Mom, right before someone walks out the door..."
"Perfect," I said.
Perfect because I know that it is a strong reminder not only for us but for anyone who will come to visit him that there are so many unknown in this life's journey. But how important it is to run first to Jesus before we can understand how to "walk by faith". To know more about His wonderful promises that this broken world can never offer. Only then we will truly understand that it's truly possible for anything when we believe, despite the trials we may be in and storms that we may face. I have nothing but joy to know that my child knows the importance of having faith despite facing difficulties or uncertainties in this short life. That's the only way to go forward. And because Jesus is faithful, how wonderful to hope that in the end, that must be so awesome to "walk by sight" where He is...
The Lord is my shepherd.
I will always have everything I need.
2 He gives me green pastures to lie in.
He leads me by calm pools of water.
3 He restores my strength.
He leads me on right paths to show that he is good.
4 Even if I walk through a valley as dark as the grave,
I will not be afraid of any danger, because you are with me.
Your rod and staff comfort me.
5 You prepared a meal for me in front of my enemies.
You welcomed me as an honored guest.
My cup is full and spilling over.
6 Your goodness and mercy will be with me all my life,
and I will live in the Lord’s house a long, long time. ~ Psalm 23 (ERV)
I saw his reflection on one of the squares of the long window glasses that drew someone's eyes to the wonderful view of trees and hills nearby. His left hand with a plastic cup moved up and down in a rhythmic fashion, maybe nervously rubbing against his left thigh. I didn't know him. I just happened to be in the lobby at the same time. Waiting for my friend and her loved one in the Wound Clinic they visited each Thursday. Since when....I didn't remember. He was calm on the phone. I assumed he was talking to a close family member. "They couldn't save my leg anymore," he uttered. With the silence that enveloped us in that roomy lobby, I didn't have any choice but overheard his statements. "I'm in a bad shape. Just wanna let u know, I need to be admitted in the hospital now...,"he continued.
I adjusted my glasses falling from my nose. I looked up and saw the blue, clearest skies I'd ever seen. A clean slate from one end of the horizon to the other that served as the background for the tall trees with its branches dancing with the warm,humid winds. That was when I saw his reflection on my right side. He was calm upon being told about his condition. Maybe he wasn't afraid...Then again...what if he was? His wry smile masking the possible fear brewing in his heart.
I haven't been working. Consider it a break for me for working as a nurse. At times, I felt this was my early retirement after working as a night owl for 25 years. But I have been a Christian who wouldn't retire from what my Father leads me to do...In my heart I felt His leading. To pray for the man in denim pants and blue plaid polo shirt who was about to lose one of his legs. Quietly, I felt my lips moved for words I didn't know just flowed. Praying for this man to first be drawn into His grace and mercy. Then, to overcome...
In many days that pass by, I often pray for the Lord for what He wants me to do at this point of my life. I can't complain to the blessing of being a mother and a wife who is given time to take care of my family's needs. But I know, there's always so much more to that. God,sometimes calls His children to step out of their comfort zones in order for them to reflect His light to those who are still in darkness. To pray for anyone even if I don't know them and feel they have the need to be prayed for, so the least I can do.
"I have traveled a lot," his voice echoing down the hallway that leads to the Emergency Room as the hospital was just next door. "Ohhh..." answered the nursing student learning the ropes, as she pushed the wheelchair where the man was sitting. He remained calm and in a positive mood, despite the brewing storm he was about to face. The voice was long gone. There I was still looking at the horizon and glanced at the window glass where his reflection was before. Maybe his heart had already weathered many storms and was calmed by God's hands many times. That he knew Who to trust in times like that.
If only I could find out... I would agree thousands of times. Because God also calmed my mind and heart many times. He saved me from many troubles. He reminded me that whatever I would lose or already lost, there was no limit to what He could give. And in the manner of losing something or even someone dear to my heart, my doubtful, worrisome mind and heart are being driven to rush to the calling of His forgiveness, grace, and mercy.
But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.- Matthew 6:15 (ESV)
May you hear the knocking in your heart's door.
May you see the unseen love already given to you.
May you see that surrender to the cross does not mean a loss but an unfathomable gain...
That of which is eternal...
For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past. - Romans 3:25 (NLT)
The Attacker (5/15/09)
The sun was just peeking from the Eastern skies.
Out in the prison’s yard, some huge Sheriff’s buses were illuminated by the soft glow coming from the lights all over from the tall lamp posts. Their engines were turned on, warming up, before the buses would take the inmates to the different courts where they would have their trials.
Orange-uniformed men were lined up in pairs, joined together with handcuffs and chained, forming a long line. They already had their breakfast and had their morning medications prior to going to courts. Some were fidgeting, as they waited to board those buses.
All of a sudden, all hell broke loose! Two men were engaged in a fight, using weapons they made secretly for a while. Deputies called for help on the radio, both for custody back-up and medical staff, as well.
When the air was cleared and the other inmates were secured, one man was down on the floor. He sustained multiple gashes but two of them were deep. One cut was vertically etched from his left ear going down to the jaw line. The other dangerous cut was horizontal on his left neck, close to the jugular vein. Pool of blood dripped all over the floor. Holding his bleeding neck, he was pointing at the other inmate few feet away, being guarded by the other deputies.
The other man being accused was not hurt. There were no lacerations nor any other signs of trauma. He was obviously very agitated as he was being questioned by those deputies, while the medical staff started treating the other man on the floor. They cleaned the wounds and controlled the bleeding. That man was sent to the nearby hospital.
When the investigation was finalized, it turned out to be that the “downed man who was accusing the other inmate” was the attacker and the other one who didn’t have injury was the one attacked. The deputies found out that it was the second attempt to attack the unhurt man. Both attacks on him failed. He was well-prepared after the first attempt on him, that when the second attempt was done, he was able to defend himseld and ended up injuring his attacker severely.
[Source: Life Application Bible]:
We also have an “accuser of the brethren.” Satan and his army of demons are the enemies of God and of everything good.
“Because God’s children are human beings – made of flesh and blood – Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death.” –Hebrews 2:14
Because of what Jesus had done [dying on the cross], we, who live in constant fear of death shouldn’t be afraid anymore. Jesus had freed us from that fear so we can live for Him. When we belong to God, we know that death is only the portal that leads into “eternal life”. [“Thank You Lord!].
Paul warned us, too that we also battle against the evil forces of Satan, who is a vicious fighter. But to be able to withstand their attacks, we must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of His armor. We face an army whose goal is to defeat Christ’s church. When we believe in Christ, they become our enemies. They will try any device to turn us away from the Lord.
Fear not! For God has provided His supernatural power to defeat Satan and his army, through His Holy Spirit within us. So, arm yourselves with God’s armor.
Let us be strong in the Lord's mighty power. Let's put on His whole armor to resist the enemy's attacks: put on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that we are well-prepared. We will need faith in every battle as our shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed by Satan and his army. Let us put on salvation as our helmet, not forgetting the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Let's pray at all times, on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. We must stay alert and be persistent in our prayers for all Christians everywhere. [Ephesians 6:10-18].