Learning From Children 

Last week, I heard the most pitiful, heart melting cry from the other side of the cash register. 

Coming from just below height level of the counter, a plea for mercy from a four-year-old girl. “But. Mom. I…really..love….I reeeeally wanted.that..mooovie..”
Just as straightforward as possible, her mother replied , ” I’m sorry. I want to get that for you but you didn’t listen.”
As they finished checking out, this sweet little girl just let it all out. Sobs and snivels to outright bawling. Clearly she had some attachment to this movie. Her world was shattered. 
There are parents who might have caved in. But this mom held her composure, even though it was obvious it hurt her just as much!
“I’m sorry” she said again. “I know you really wanted that. Maybe next time if you behave.”

More wailing as she ushered her daughter out the door.
Just like that they left. And just like that I was shown how the ultimate proof of love a parent has for their child can be to not give them what they want. 
In a similar way maybe, my Heavenly Father delights in giving me the desires of my heart. But more than that, there are prayers that lovingly and tenderly go unanswered, or things that he painstakingly takes away… so that he forms my heart, instead, to have the right desires.  

I’m trying to be mindful that it is there, in the unfailing plans of my Father, where I will experience real abundance.

“Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7: 9-11‬ ‭KJV‬‬

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Though The World Grow Dark, You Will SHINE As Promised

I can confidently say at this point that this nation is in spiritual turmoil: a tipping point of hostility toward all things Christ, and stark hatred against all principles of Biblical faith. If I had to illustrate what I see, America has traveled so steadily along the rapids of apostasy and is like a canoe hanging precariously off of the cliff, just seconds away from plummeting bullet-speed right down into absolute wicked destruction.

I would submit, that if you confess Christ in this age and at least a few people in your extended circle haven’t already come against you both in spirit and in words, there might be cause to worry about where you stand in the Lord–because Jesus told us ahead of time the type of division and animosity would be directed at his followers when we see these things begin to take place.

I think back to just a couple short years ago, when Pastor Saeed was thrown into prison and can see the increasing progression of trials regarding Christian Persecution on al levels. There has been headline after headline…and so many in the recent months ALONE.
But I have posted the passages below because an alarming number of brothers and sisters being attacked for their faith.  And to address this new status quo where the unpopularity for standing on the Word of God is unprecedented, I will say this:

You are not standing in the fire alone. You have the King of kings with you, you have eternal life, you have the whole true body of Christ rooting for you in prayer, and a mighty God listening and acting on your behalf.
Receive your blessing and your reward. Because “If you were of the world, the world would love it’s own”. And boy do they ever love their own. but truly I tell you they already have their reward, and it is sad really :(. they are well-spoken of and have the praise of men. But you…YOU the lift up your eyes to the hills, far beyond that valley and see from Where your Help comes from: A KINGDOM THAT CANNOT BE SHAKEN, and you shall receive the praise of God. What a marvelous day that will be ❤ Shalom.
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Luke 6: 22-28

Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.

Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.

Rejoice ye in THAT day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.

But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.

Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.

Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,

Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
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John 16:2-3

….yes, the time is coming
that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.
And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me.
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from Matthew 10

16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;

18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.

~~~Yes, this happened to the first apostles, and it is again being fulfilled in our generation around the world and has already begun for us. ~~~

21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.

22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.

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Revelation 2:10
Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you might be tested; and you shall have tribulation ten days. Be faithful unto death, and I will give to you the crown of life.

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Matthew 5:11 Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me……

Matthew 24:9 “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10″At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 11″Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.…

Luke 21:17 And you shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.

John 15:18,19 If the world hate you, you know that it hated me before it hated you…

John 17:14 I have given them your word; and the world has hated them, because …

1 John 3:13 Marvel not, my brothers, if the world hate you.

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A Time To Clean, A Season for Every Purpose Under Heaven

fall cleaning

It’s time to do some intensive Fall cleaning.

I walked around our home this morning and took inventory: cluttered closets, cobwebs, dusty corners and neglected nooks, and I felt overwhelmed. I was amazed how quickly it all became disorganized and, well, not clean.

Yet if I had determined to spend even 15 minutes each day to attend to those overlooked areas, I am certain it would not seem this insurmountable a task in this season of the year when I have the least amount of time to face it.

And then I realized how accurately this example compares to every area of my life, such as raising children, and my relationship with God.

If you’re anything like me, taking an honest look into these areas can be a challenge. However, if I ask myself, have I been investing my time, my relationships, focus, my talents, and my gifts to the best of God’s purpose for me? The short answer is No.

I have been asleep at the wheel, so to speak, and at best I have been distracted and veered of course. Some where.

And I know in my heart and in my soul I need a spiritual awakening. Maybe this is true for you, too.  If so, let this be your prayer for the morning. ” Heavenly Father, thank you for a new day. I have fallen short of your best for me, and I need your forgiveness. I come to you and ask: teach me to walk in your Truth. Show me the places that need cleaning up- in my spiritual life. Be my strength as I work. Lord, remove any confusion in the way put there to slow me down. Show me clearly the path you have set before me. Cause me and my family to dwell safely in the fullness that you intend. Help us to honor you with how we live and the words we say, and work through us. In Jesus’ most precious name, Amen.”

The Message Bible  Psalm 16: 2,5-6, 9-10, 11

I say to God, “Be my Lord!” Without you, nothing makes sense.
    My choice is you, God, first and only.
    And now I find I’m your choice!
You set me up with a house and yard.
    And then you made me your heir!

I’m happy from the inside out,
    and from the outside in, I’m firmly formed.
You canceled my ticket to hell—
    that’s not my destination!

 Now you’ve got my feet on the life path,
    all radiant from the shining of your face.
Ever since you took my hand,
    I’m on the right way

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Don’t Take it Personally (They don’t hate you. They hate Christ, in you)

The narrow gate is a road of suffering. It is also a faithful promise of great reward.

The fact that we are not wanted here, in this world, to us should be living evidence that we belong to a different Kingdom.

The fact that we are reproached for the name of Christ, alone bears witness that we are sealed with His name.

What does it mean to be sealed with His name? In the book of Revelation chapter 7 we read that there are angels who are actually commanded to “…[seal] the servants of our God IN their foreheads” (vs.3; emphasis mine). And in chapter 9, when the scorpion-like-locusts arise, they are forbidden to harm those men who have “…the seal of God in their foreheads” (vs.4). So I believe this is both a literal event, and a spiritual one.

Interestingly enough, a study published in 2012 using neuroimaging technology, discovered that there is a specific brain region linked to one’s level of desire to conform to societal “norms”. This region happens to be called the lateral orbitofrontal cortex, located centrally above and behind the eyes, or, in the forehead. (http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/02/21/brain-region-linked-to-social-conformity/35087.html)

Although as humans we seem to be born with a need to belong and be accepted, I can say from experience that placing your confidence in the approval of the world is a sure path to destruction. But what should trouble any born-again believer, is if worldly groups who are attached to material idolatry and pride-lust mentalities, embrace and accept you as their own.

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” (1 Peter 4:12-14)

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Define Success.

I think success depends on who you are. Literally. What defines you? What is it that you or I believe gives us significance?

I mean, I could be a successful business woman, but if the business went under I would be a “failure”. Was that true success? …..This is not to say we should not desire to achieve things, or that I don’t desire that, but that I should not invest total stock value of my identity IN these types of accomplishments.

I didn’t do it. IT doesn’t define me, IT was a gift; but who gave it and… why? I think the definition of success is in the answer to this.

This is what the devil works so hard to stop you from knowing. This is one of the reasons that critical words from other people sometimes make us really doubt ourselves.

But the truth is, if I hold on so tight to temporary things, I have potential to become insecure about losing them. Even, live in fear that all of our security could one day vanish.

BUT……….once you know who GOD says you are; once you can see yourself the way GOD sees you, it changes you.. no-thing can ever take that away. Then, your circumstances can radically change because you have been radically changed.  Because then, you have purpose. You have a mission and know that you know what God has called you to do. In this place, you are able to forgive yourself and see the truth: that there is no one left to condemn you. In this place you are able to move forward in complete strength and gratitude.

 I pray today, whoever you are reading this, that you begin to understand: that this battle for significance…this struggle for success…God knows it and He knows what you’re up against. It has been going on before time began, but the Lord Himself had already placed your rank in His army before you were even conceived. Don’t fight against Him and chase all of the temporary things this world says will give you fulfillment. Chase forever things. Chase things that you could never possibly lose. Chase things that no one can take away from you.

He has nothing but the best of plans in store for you. And for me. This is true fulfillment. This is how I define success.

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.…The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John chap.2 verses 15-17

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They were all leaning to the left.

The picture frames. The notebooks. The bottles on the shelf.

Or was it her? She sat up, hugged her pillow, and straightened her gaze as she looked around the small cottage bedroom. She could smell the beautiful Aerides orchids outside the open window near her bed.

It was her.

Judging by the newborn light peering just beyond the Cagayan Valley, it must have been before six AM. She was surprised to be up so early, but she had slept well. It had been two weeks since setting foot in these rich surroundings that she had previously known as only the Philippines, and she could not yet tell if it was the land, or the people that she admired most.

She stretched her legs, reaching the yellow chenille slippers Rosalind had welcomed her with, and tip-toed toward the hallway.

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Somewhere Between Safety and Confusion

I already wish that I did Never waste a moment in Fear.

In selfish pursuit. Trying to build an Image.

Chasing after emptiness.

Trying to catch the wind; Leaving the richness of the shelter of Love-

that embrace of the bonds that could Never be broken

for the freedom that bears confusion; so often it wears, but Never is spoken

yet suffers quietly with much Smiling and the cover of laughter

so as not to be found.

deranged are the eyes that dare to question and quickly look down.

so as not to be found.

Am I somewhere between God’s safe shelter and the questions that whisper so loud?

That small moments of thanksgiving and Truth make the madness stand out…

6/5/14

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Approaching the Fire

In this dark winter of my heart

In this strange season I am kept apart

In this great nation where I live

the snow piles up like our sins

We shake our fist at the ice; will we scream in the flame?

because summer is coming, and my God is a consuming fire

Come King Jesus, come

I will be waiting for You if it costs me my life

I will stand up and be counted; I will fight this fight

kingdom that cant be shaken

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Snowflakes in My Coffee Cup

snowflakes

Snowflakes in my coffee cup

the stillness in my heart fills up

The clouds hang thick

and branches sprawl

the skyline dead in silver mist

the chill creeps to the marrow of my frozen finger bones

but my coffee cup, still warm.

Like a place I called my home.

It was summer once inside its doors

our laughing feet had danced its floors

in hope-filled beds my children sleep

while dinner’s dishes graced the sink.

Not again will I fear noise or mess,

or things I thought went “wrong”.

While sufferings come, the seasons change

-like snowflakes, melt with warmth.

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Missing Redemption’s Song

If I stood before the throne would I hear “Well done.”?

Or would I fall, that my works were all rags in Your sight?

Did I, in confusion forget my first Love?

is Your face turned away from my soul’s dark night?

Have I raced for redemption in my own strength?

Have I sought Your forgiveness in vain?

Have You not saved me when I was a child?

 Am I missing the Savior I’ve known?

now to swim in the fire of lukewarm and mild

Have I wandered too far to come Home?

I want to be brave, I am cowardly

I need Your strength, I am weak

I am carnal. I focus so outwardly.

But know all the right words to speak

In traditions of man do I compromise,

yet form lists of laws from Your grace?

You could righteously judge me a hypocrite

and know not what to make of my faith.

 

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