Thursday, September 18, 2014

Alabaster Jar





I once encountered a little boy selling precious stones.  I had never seen alabaster before so I bought an egg shaped one.  It reminded me of a woman (of ill repute) who gave her all to Jesus.

This woman didn't care how people thought of her.  How they whispered behind her back.  How they gossiped about her mistakes and failures.  She was bold enough to go uninvited to the home of a prominent man.  

She had probably heard Jesus speak about love, forgiveness, and to cast one's burdens on Him.

She knew how out of place she was and she humbled herself, kissing Jesus' feet and wiping them with her tears and hair.  

She was judged for it even by Jesus'  own apostles.  They said what she did was a waste.

As low as she saw herself, Jesus exalted her deeds. 

"Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Luke 7

"Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."  





Monday, September 15, 2014

Lift Up the Cross



"And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him. " John 3:13-17



The Israelites were tired, hot and angry at God and Moses for bringing them out into the desert with only scarce food and drink.  They started to complain. (Nm21)

Sometimes we see only a minuscule part of the story.  God had a grand plan to save the chosen people from slavery in Egypt, but some were looking back.  The mere fact they had food and water was already a miracle.  It was unbelievable enough to survive in the harsh wasteland they traveled in.  But they wanted what was familiar, what they've been used to all these years.

When the going gets rough, we often complain.  We have everything we need BUT... If only we had this, life would be perfect.  We are in the middle of God's provisions, whether it be that job you worked hard to get, or the house you paid for, or the relationship you're in, or the children you have, or the government.

Sometimes we don't appreciate that where we are is already so much more than what so many have in their lives.  

"In punishment the LORD sent among the people saraph serpents,
which bit the people so that many of them died.
Then the people came to Moses and said,
“We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you.
Pray the LORD to take the serpents from us.”

Complaining is a call to crisis.  Our complaints draw us away from the Lord.  When we complain, we see more and more things to complain about and discouragement sets in.

On the same day this was part of the church readings, I spent some time watching the Asian Food Channel.  Anthony Bourdain went to Vietnam (where I quite recently was) and sampled cobra's heart (still beating), and eventually he ate all the other parts of the snake.  He felt quite strong afterwards.  Eeeeewww.

I thought that was interesting that in church there was a bronze serpent raised up and then I saw a show about snakes.

Snakes usually represent evil, sin, rebellion, fear, danger.  For me it speaks of temptation.  

"So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses,
“Make a saraph and mount it on a pole,
and if any who have been bitten look at it, they will live.”
Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole,
and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent
looked at the bronze serpent, he lived."

The Israelites were made aware that their complaining brought on the snakes.  They were told to look up at the snake and they would be healed and survive.

What does it mean for us today?  

People's hearts are full of evil, sin, rebellion, fear, danger and temptation.  Maybe we need to look at these things so we can be free of them.  Blindness to these things can be our downfall.

Someone wise and wonderful once said...

"Jesus took our sins to the cross and accepted crucifixion to save us from those sins.  We need to look to His glory on the cross and acknowledge that it is our sins which He bore there. Why is He there?  Because of our hardened, complaining hearts.  Because of our sloth, our anger--because of all of our sins.  Let us look at them and know that the price of those sins was Jesus' life.  At the same time, let us look at Him who "loved us to the end" in order to free us and in awe-filled gratitude determine to leave those sins at the cross for good and for all!"

We can be free to receive God's promises just like the Israelites who were able to reach the promised land.  So long as we lift up the cross of Christ our Saviour!
}

Monday, September 8, 2014

You Are Not Alone



Yesterday I met a lady who told me her life story.  It was a most moving testimony.

Ever since she was young, she never knew the love of a parent.  Her parents separated and she was passed on from one house to another.  Then she was maltreated by her step mother.  She had to fend for herself at a young age.  She didn't have any semblance of family as she was also separated from her brother since birth.  She needed to work at the age of 12 as she didn't have anyone she could depend on.  

When she fell in love and got married, she thought her days of feeling abandoned and alone were over.  She was wrong.  Her husband, though kind, loved to drink, and she ended up supporting his drinking along with their 4 children.

She said she had to work every day of her life, foregoing rest and sleep just to get her kids to reach college.

But all throughout her story she was thanking God.  She knew that she couldn't have done all this on her own.  She recounted stories of provision and super human strength as she toiled day and night out of love for her family.  She said that God answered all her prayers.  She was never alone after all.

Everyone has felt the sting of loneliness at some point in their lives.  Even surrounded by people who love you doesn't ensure this feeling goes away.  Robin Williams said "I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone.  It's not.  The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel alone."

This is probably the reason why God came as Emmanuel, which means "God with us".  He said in Matthew 28:20 "Behold I am with you until the end of the age"

There has never been one moment in your life that you have been totally alone.  God has been with you since the day He formed you.  His promise rings true that He will always be with you until your dying day.  You also have all the choirs of angels and saints praying for you and cheering you on.  

Friday, September 5, 2014

Today's Psalm

God's Word is rich with comfort, knowledge, blessing, guidance and most of all, signs of His everlasting love! 



Saturday, August 23, 2014

Love the Lord

Thank You Lord

"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."  1 Thessalonians 5:18

It is a particularly difficult time to be grateful in the world today.  News of persecuted Christianin Iraq are heart-breaking and war in the Holy Land rages on.  

Yet God says to thank Him at all times.  He knows each hair that falls from my head and your head and He is on control.  Even when we don't see His hand moving.

So I will thank Him for today.  

An unexpected blessing was a conversation I had with an atheist.  He said that whenever he talks to me he doesn't know why but he is at peace.  I told him it is the love of God that he feels through me.  He was not offended but seemed to digest the words slowly.  It's been years I've known him but I could only share buts and parts about my faith.  So today I hope I have planted the seed for him to know of God's redeeming love.

I was watching a film on Youtube "Evolution vs God" https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=U0u3-2CGOMQ.  I was amazed at people saying a rose was not intelligently designed.  It became clear to me that people were putting their faith on scientists instead of in the living God.


Friday, August 22, 2014

From Trouble to Trust

I'm sure you'll agree with me that the news is pretty disturbing nowadays.  Sometimes I think my sister is on the right track. She doesn't read the news.

My dad celebrated his 88th birthday last August 18 and in his wry sense of humor he let me sing the morose version of Happy Birthday.  Something that goes like this (but my voice is cheerier)  It's not my favorite version but it's descriptive of the times.

 War, oppression, trouble.  This was not the only time in history when people wanted to say "Why?".

The prophet Habakkuk was talking to God and asking why evil prevailing.  God told him to "just wait and see".  (Habakkuk 1:1-4)


I think Habakkuk realized that the question of suffering could only be answered by God and He went on to realize that God was bigger than all of this.


"See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright-- but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness"  Habakkuk 2:4

The righteous will live by faith.  They will put their faith in a faithful God.


My favorite verse from the Book for Habakkuk follows:

"Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the Lord,

    I will be joyful in God my Savior."
Habakkuk 3:17


God is faithful!  His promises are sure!

So when you are tempted to be problematic, just praise!
instead of worry, worship!
instead of be doubtful, believe!
instead of complain, claim His promises!

"The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all"  Psalm 34:19

For more inspiration for your journey:
Get regular reflections at Papemelroti's Facebook page
my sister's blogs - 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Great Faith Moves God's Heart

Just imagine wandering in the desert for 40 years.  The heat is excruciating.  To walk a few steps makes you weak.  The food and water is scarce and you never know, it might just run out.  Only by the grace of God do you survive.

But a promise of abundant green pastures, "a land flowing with milk and honey" stands before you. What do you do?

Sometimes a blessing comes our way.  An answered prayer and then just before we receive it, something tells us to "stop"!  This is too good to be true!  This is not for us!

We oftentimes let our doubt eclipse our belief and stop the blessing from coming into our lives.

This is what happened to the Israelites.  God promised to get them out of Egypt (which He did).  God promised to take care of them and feed them (which He did).  God promised them a land they could call their own (which He also gave and yet, the people stopped short of entering it).

In the past,we can see how God has helped us go through a lot of difficulties and hardships and we have come out unscathed.  Many of us who have given over our lives to the King of Kings have been taken out of darkness and brought into His marvelous light!

So why would we doubt God's goodness?  Why did the Israelites doubt?  They saw the way God saved them from the hand of Pharoah and saved them from slavery and yet they still doubted.

The Israelites saw that there would be a battle before them against the inhabitants of the land.  They seemed fierce and the looked like "giants".  They felt small (like grasshoppers).

The battle is there to be overcome.  Believe in the King who has already promised us victory.  The enemy doesn't want you to claim Gods promises.  He wants you as miserable as possible.  Do give him that satisfaction!  Fight and conquer your fears.  Claim the blessing He has in store!

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Mustard Seed

"He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”

Matthew 13:31-35


Every act of love is a sign that God is present since God is love.

Whenever you love, you are planting a seed that will grow to a bountiful harvest when the time comes.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Despite Doubt


Every day our minds are a playground for a whole variety of thoughts.  We have good thoughts and not so good ones.  Sometimes a day is going so well and then doubt creeps in and takes over.

It was the same for Jesus disciples.  They were fishermen, craftsmen, businessmen, ordinary men who thought ordinary thoughts.

Their leader, their hero had fallen and though reports of Him being raised from the dead circulated, followers were walking away.  They were discouraged, fearful and doubt reigned supreme.

Jerusalem was where it all happened.  They started walking away.

But Jesus was alive and He told them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for something big that was coming their way. (Acts 1:1-11)

How many times have we tried to be patient and wait yet only to let doubts tell us to just move on and to flee from desperate, seemingly impossible situations?

Or how many times have we felt unworthy of good things and let them slip away from us?  How many times have we run away from God thinking of how we've messed up and how He couldn't possibly want us back now?

If we choose to walk away from God and our experiences of Him, giving way to fear and doubt, we miss out on what He desires to give us.

The disciples who stayed received the power of the Holy Spirit.  They had changed minds and hearts that enabled them to change the course of the whole world.

Do we want everything God wants to give us or are we fearful of it?  

During the times we are waiting, we don't sense His nearness to us.  We think He isn't coming or He isn't going to do something - I need to.

But these times of waiting are essential to prepare us for His coming.  We grow in faith with waiting. 

The 11 disciples went up on a mountain and saw the Risen Lord.  Despite the unbelievable of a man coming to life again and their seeing Him face to face, the still doubted. (Matthew 28:16-20)

Even when good things happen, we doubt. 

Despite doubt, go with God.  Despite fear, go with God. Despite sin, go with God. He will bring us from glory to the next.


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