"Look At Me"

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
   his love endures forever.” – Psalm 107:1 (NIV)

My husband and I joined our hands in prayer before him leaving for work. As we started our whispers of petitions, his one-liner praise drowned my own as I started lifting up our needs:

“Thank You, Lord for Your grace, love and mercy…” was what I heard as my heart was asking Him to heal my son’s lingering coughs since he got sick, about my work that had been discriminating me, my achy neck and other physical symptoms and the uncertain future of my career once my charge against those people in higher positions would start.

My prayers became silent feeling a little embarrassed with everything that I was asking for. Instead, I found myself asking God in which He alone would hear, “How can I thank You despite what’s going on in our lives?”

“How can I thank You if physical healing seems to be not happening?”

“How can I thank You knowing I didn’t deserve the unfair treatment at work?”

“How can I thank You knowing how those people abusing their power seem to be getting away with everything they do that makes everyone at work not happy and treat us without any regard to our needs and capabilities?”

“How can I thank You knowing a lot of family and friends are going through tough times?”

I slightly peeked at my husband who was nearing to end his prayers of thanks, thinking that he said something else to me.

“Look at Me…”was what I heard audibly, except it didn’t come from my husband’s lips. It was whispered into my heart.

And in that split second, I was taken back to that time when the Egyptians were pursuing the Israelites after leaving Egypt with Moses. Moses’ faith-filled reassurance to people about God’s help prevailed more than the fearful cries of pleas from the Israelites. With God’s help, the people were able to cross the parted Red Sea while the Pharaoh’s entire army was swept away when the waters returned. God’s providence did have a bright and pleasant side toward His people.

My neck pain? How would it compare to Jesus’ wounds and what He had to endure on the cross?

My son’s lingering coughs? They were not bad after all. The doctor must know he would need his inhalers temporarily and God had been awesomely providing for our needs. Despite my work limiting my hours and giving me a hard time, God had provided us enough to pay for our bills, food, and other things.

The unfair treatment at work? Nothing any one of us does would ever slip His justice because in the end of our journeys, we would all face God.

The suffering loved ones and friends? Relationships are His gift in the first place. Through sharing grief and other pain, the burden becomes lighter for one carrying that heavy load.

How can I give thanks when facing all these storms of life? I can…Knowing that behind those dark clouds, the Son is always shining. God’s love is never far from us. It’s always close, waiting to be accepted in a person’s heart…For what God had done to show how much He loves us, that alone is suffice to always be “thankful”…

How can I be thankful? I should be…because of Jesus…Like those Israelites saved by God out of slavery (Egypt), Jesus truly sets us free!

Let us look only to Jesus, the One who began our faith and who makes it perfect. He suffered death on the cross. But he accepted the shame as if it were nothing because of the joy that God put before him. And now he is sitting at the right side of God's throne.” – Hebrews 12:2 (NCV) - (emphasis is mine)
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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].