The Lone Cypress Tree

"We live by faith, not by sight." ~ 2 Corinthians 5:7

I woke up this morning, feeling better from the symptoms of sinus pressure and right ear pain. I ended up going to the Urgent Care yesterday and the doctor told me that it was a good thing I did because my right ear was starting to get red, that was why I was feeling pain on my right jaw, close to the ear. He said he could tell my allergy was bad just by looking at my eyes. He gave me a nasal spray and a 3-day course antibiotic. Which I took immediately as soon as I got them on my hands.

With faith, I asked the Lord to bless those medications and at the same time, thanked Him for all His provisions and bringing in His children who love to intercede right away.

Thank you to all of you for your encouragement and for immediately folding your hands together and bending your knees to lift me up to His throne of grace.
This morning, for some reason, I started going through these old photos as I opened the cabinet on top of the computer monitor and saw this picture I took from one of my family's vacation in Central California:

The verse caught my eye right away! And the truth to it just penetrated my heart!

"If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all." ~ Isaiah 7:9

And the picture brought me back to that day when the Lone Cypress Tree had my jaw almost dropped to the ground in awe because of its beauty. It was by itself on that huge piece of rock, overlooking the ocean with unpredictable, strong currents sometimes. The thought it evoked of how it continue to thrive despite the roots being so far from the water and had to thread through those pieces of rock. Yet, for so many years, it was gazed at by millions of visitors that made the place famous.

And how true it is, that in our lives, if we remain standing on the Rock, living by faith will make us fare better than by fulfilling rituals or rules. Because God commanded believers to live by faith not by sight! As we do so, this challenges us to grow more in faith and to live in obedience to God each day. And as we face many unpredictable currents of trials, it is only by standing firm on this Rock that will make us weather any storm.

"For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith."
~ 1 John 5:4 [NLT]

"But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind."
~ James 1:6 [NLT]
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The Attacker (5/15/09)

The sun was just peeking from the Eastern skies. Ephesians 6:12 [37 kb]

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 himself and ended up injuring his attacker severely.

[Source: NLT 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].