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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Wash Day

മലയാളം: Charcoal Iron Box for ironing the clothes
മലയാളം: Charcoal Iron Box for ironing the clothes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When I was growing up, my mother had chores for each day of the week, much like in the little poem below. Some of you may have seen it before, but the words are so cute and so worthy of reflection, I couldn't help posting it on my site. The author is unknown. Read and be blessed.

Monday - Wash Day

Lord, help me wash away all my selfishness and

Vanity, so I may serve you with perfect humility

Through the week ahead.

Tuesday - Ironing Day

Dear Lord, help me iron out all the wrinkles

Of prejudice I have collected through the years

So that I may see the beauty in others.

Wednesday - Mending Day

O God, help me mend my ways so I will not

Set a bad example for others

Thursday - Cleaning Day

Lord Jesus, help me to dust out all the many faults

I have been hiding in the secret corners of my heart.

Friday - Shopping Day

O God, give me the grace to shop wisely so I may purchase

eternal happiness for myself and all others in need of love.

Saturday - Cooking Day

Help me, my Savior, to brew a big kettle of brotherly

Love and serve it with clean, sweet bread of human kindness.

Sunday - The Lord's Day

O God, I have prepared my house for you. Please

Come into my heart so I may spend the day and the

Rest of my life in your presence.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Would You Like A Name Change?

Gheorghe Tattarescu - Magdalena,
Gheorghe Tattarescu - Magdalena, (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher).

Some people find it convenient to change their name for whatever reason. It may be because of marriage, divorce, or they may not like their name or for a host of other reasons. Some writers use a pen name or pseudonym to conceal their identity. Since the Bible is such a relevant book, it too features persons who had their names changed. The only difference is, they didn't do it, God did.

In the focus verse above, the woman referred to is Mary Magdalene, a woman who became a follower of Jesus after He delivered her from demon possession. Some accounts of her life state that she was a native of Magdala, a seaside city whose women were known to be prostitutes.  The Bible does not say that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute, but it does distinguish her from the other Mary(s) mentioned in the Bible by always referring to her by her first and last name.  

However, on that resurrection morning when Jesus arose from the grave and saw her standing there, her expression anxious and fearful, He said to her, "Mary." At that moment she was just Mary. Not Mary Magdalene, "out of whom went seven devils," (Luke 8: 2) or any past descriptions she may have had. Jesus put all of that aside and saw her only as someone who belonged to Him and someone whom He loved.

Hebrews 8: 12 says, "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." People will always remember your past, no matter how much you have changed. You can sing in the choir or serve on the ushers' board, but they still see you as Mary Magdalene. But Our Lord forgets our past, forgets our sins and doesn't bring them up anymore.  Know this: if you have given your life to Jesus Christ, you have a new name, "written in the Lamb's book of life" (Revelation 21: 27). You are not Mary Magdalene anymore, you are "Mary."

You can read more about Mary Magdalene in my book Women For All Seasons available  here

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Winners And Losers

FIFA World Cup 2014 logo.
FIFA World Cup 2014 logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Well, World Cup 2014 has just come to an end, and if you were following it, you know that Germany emerged the winner after more than 100 minutes of excrutiating, nail-biting play. While the German fans celebrate in the stands, the Argentinians wear long, sad faces. I even saw one of the players crying. I feel sorry for them because I know it's not easy to be on the losing side.

Soccer, sport, life itself always has its winning and losing moments. But for us Christians, we don't have to be sad, even when our team loses or we ourselves lose at something. Because in Jesus Christ we are always winners. Remember that the next time you face stiff competition and the odds seem against you. You may lose in this life, but as long as you accepted Christ as your Savior, you are a winner all the way. Your crown is laid up for you in heaven. Isn't that wonderful?

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Through A Child's Eyes

English: fireworks seen across the at Washingt...
English: fireworks seen across the at Washington, D.C., USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Fourth of July celebrations here in South Florida usually involve barbecues, picnics on the beach and, of course, watching the fireworks at night. This year, with all the rain we've been having, barbecues and picnics were out of the question. And when night came, we had to be content with trying to get glimpses of the fireworks from our patio.

Still, that didn't stop my five-year-old granddaughter from enjoying the display. Every time the fireworks burst into view, she would clap her little hands and say, "I love fourth of July." Her excitement was infectious, and helped to improve our mood that had been dampened by the dreary weather.

How easy it is for us adults to become dulled by the vicissitudes of life! Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and even Christmas have become occasions to just take a break from our normal routine, and little else. Can we look at a sunset, a beautiful flower or a newborn baby without feeling in awe of its Creator? If the answer is yes, then we need to take another look at ourselves, our values and our relationship with the God of the universe.

Jesus said,  "Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted , and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18: 3). On another occasion He said, "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (19: 14).

We are to become as little children. What does that mean? I think it means we must maintain our sense of awe and wonder at who God is and all that He has done for us. We must have that same childlike faith and trust that children have in their parents.  Many of us have become bitter, cynical and disenchanted with life. Nothing gets us excited anymore. Notice how a child runs to her parent with joy and excitement each time the parent comes home or picks her up from school. We are to run to our Maker in the same way. If we have lost that joy, let's ask God to "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit" (Psalm 51: 12).

Friday, June 27, 2014

Should Christians Feel Hopeless?

As Christians, we are expected to be strong at all times. Those who know we are
Christians may look to us for wisdom, support and even guidance. But are we always able to give it? Do we always feel we have it all together and can take on whatever life throws our way? I don't think so. We Christians crumble under the weight of everyday pressure just as other humans. The Bible has several examples of mighty men and women of God who were sometimes ready to give up hope.

Job was one of them. After being tried by Satan and losing everything he had, including his children, "Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth" ( 3: 1). Notice he didn't sin, neither did he curse God, but he cursed the day of his birth. Meaning, he wished he'd never been born.

Have you ever felt that way? Are the pressures of life so overwhelming that you feel you cannot make it through another day? Jesus said, " In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer ; I have overcome the world" (John 16 : 33). The Bible also tells us, "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us" (Romans 8 : 37).

It's not easy to focus on God's promises when you are feeling hopeless, but know that as a child of God you are never alone. He  knows your thoughts from afar off. He knows the very hairs of your head and you can never flee from His presence. The psalmist said, 
     "Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 
   If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.  
 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;  
 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. 
  If I say , Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Psalm 139: 7 - 11.

Do you feel hopeless? There's no need. He is with you in all things. Here's a song to remind you of that.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Let It Go

4th generation Nissan Maxima
4th generation Nissan Maxima (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
1973 Nissan Motor Company (Int'l)
1973 Nissan Motor Company (Int'l) (Photo credit: IFHP97)
This weekend I finally bit the bullet, to use a cliche, and bought a car. My old Nissan had been showing signs of old age, and was really begging to be laid to rest. But our relationship spanned thirteen years and three states. She'd never let me down, until recently when I had to take her to the doctor more often than I was comfortable with. As soon as I fixed one thing, something else would go bad. Then last week when she had a convulsion and came to a sudden stop in the middle of afternoon traffic, I finally took notice of  what she'd been trying to tell me.

So on Saturday, I said an almost tearful farewell to my faithful friend. I hope she finds a good home. Have you ever had to say goodbye to something or someone? Or maybe you are holding on, afraid to let go, because he, she or it has become so familiar, so comfortable?

Many times we hold on to people or things that are draining us of our energy and resources and are keeping us from being or having what God has in store for us. What are you holding on to? Friends who are taking you on a downward path? Sinful, destructive habits that put a rift between you and God? A relationship that is not right in God's eyes? Or one that has become so toxic that you are afraid of what might happen if you did let go?

Like I did with my old car, you might be saying, it's not that bad, it satisfies my needs, I don't think I can live without it. I'll hold on a little longer. And the more you say this, the more you deprive yourself of the joy that comes from letting go and letting God take control of your life. 

The enemy feeds you those lies to keep you in bondage. Remember the children of Israel? They had been in bondage for four hundred years and had cried out to the Lord, but when He sent Moses to deliver them, they didn't want to leave. Even after they left, they still murmured and wished they were back in Egypt.  They said to Moses, "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt?" (Exodus 14: 11).

Paul said, "Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3: 13 - 14)

It's time to let go. From my experience with my old car, I know it's not easy.  But you know what you need to let go of. Why not ask God to help you put those things behind you  and press on to the goal He has for you? He will.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Memories Of My Father

Writing this blog post is not as easy as the one I wrote about my mother a few weeks ago,
reason being that my father passed away when I was just ten years of age, therefore my memories of him are vague. I can't remember his face, but I do remember him being a handsome man, who took great pride in his appearance. I remember him touching up the gray in his hairline and viewing himself in the mirror to make sure he looked impeccable. We had no photographs of him because back then photography was not a common thing, and Daddy did not like taking pictures.

 In addition to being employed in the oilfield, my father was the only shoemaker for miles around, and people came from everywhere to have shoes made or repaired. And he made shoes for me. I was the only little girl in our village who had a pair of shoes to match every dress. I still love shoes to this day.

I think my father enjoyed working in his workshop. We would hear him singing while he pounded his leather, or sewed on the machine, but whenever I went into his shop, he would have the newspaper waiting. He wasn't a storyteller like my mother, but he loved to read. He would point to an article and say, "Read that." After I'd read the article, he would have me spell some words. To this day, I remember his favorite word was "circumstances." By the time I was eight, I could spell that and many other "big words."

I loved going out with my father. He took me to church and other places. I don't remember him having a lot of friends, though. His work, his shoemaking business and his family consumed his life. Then one Sunday morning - I remember it well - my mother woke me to tell me that Daddy had died. I ran into their bedroom and saw  my father stretched out on the bed, eyes closed, looking very much like he was sleeping.

Dead? I threw my arms around his neck. His body was still warm. He couldn't be dead. People were coming to the house and saying things to my mother and to me, but I didn't listen to them. How could Daddy be dead? He'd worked in his shop during the day, and in our little store the night before until late. I had stayed with him, while my mother baked bread and did the other things she usually did on Saturday nights. An intoxicated man had come to the store, acting silly, and my father had escorted him to the road and told him not to come back. Daddy knew how to handle unruly people.

 Even though I am now much older, there are times when I wish I still had my parents, to drink from their fountain of wisdom and love. Still, I thank God for the sweet memories I have of my father, and even though he was with me for such a short time, he helped to shape the person I am today.  I believe I acquired my love for reading and my spelling ability from those times when Daddy had me read and spell words from the newspaper.

 Meanwhile, I have my Heavenly Father watching over me and providing me with all the shoes and whatever else I need. For those of you who still have your dad, thank God for him everyday, and let him know how much you love him. If you don't have a relationship with your father, you can still pray that God will bring you two together, because God does not like division.

God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land. Psalm 68: 6

My prayer for you this Father's Day is that you will enjoy a wonderful day with your earthly father, if you have one, as well as with your Heavenly Father.