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Saturday, May 20, 2017

I UNDERSTAND YOU



I understand you. I understand that all your life you have just gone through the motions. As a child, no one has told you about God. 

Alternatively, for some of you, God was shoved down your throats so you learned to hate Him, hate church, and could not wait to get out on your own so you can make your own choices. 

Once you left, you heard others say that the world was your oyster. You set out to make a name for yourself. You got a good job, made good money, maybe even met the person of your dreams. You lived the life you've always wanted to live. You got married, bought a house, had a couple of kids. Life was great. You look around you with a nod and said, "I did all this on my own. I am a strong person. I can handle anything else that comes my way and come out a victor!"

Years later, tragedy struck. The firm you worked for filed bankruptcy. You found another job, but it was not as golden as the last one. Because you are older now, competition was tight. But you take the job anyway because you needed to support the family. The children are older, they needed more. Your spouse suddenly went cold and you find out about an affair. You get divorced. The custody and support problems drag you down. Property needs to be split, which means you will soon lose your house. The kids are stressed about the situation. Money is now tight. All of a sudden, your world feels like it's crumbling around you. And it is. Because soon you need the help of family, friends, anyone who will just listen. On the surface, they did. But you only got advise. You hate to burden your family and friends with your problems knowing they got some of their own.

Suddenly, you feel alone and dejected. You think of the worst. But if you were gone, the kids would have no one. You certainly could not do that to them. They need you! Now more than ever. But who do you turn to when there is no one there?

Without warning and as if on cue, you look up to heaven. But instead of asking the God that was shoved down your throat when you were young to help you, you curse him instead. You scream at him, "If you are who you say you are, why did you let these things happen to me? How can people worship such a punisher?" 

You then realize what you just did. Just like a wayward child would lash out at their parents with blame, they still run to them when life gets tough. We always hurt the ones we love and who we are comfortable enough to know love us unconditionally.

Suddenly, a sweep of calmness envelops you. This calmness is the Holy Spirit, the protective God, the one that was given to us by God the Son. God let's you feel his love at that time. He said that He is all you need. He loves you and gives you peace. He says He will take care of you even though you have turned away from Him all these years. You surrender. You give your life to Him and ask Him to take your burdens from you because He promised it to you. You repent. You ask for His forgiveness and He you is merciful enough to give it to you wholeheartedly because He said that is why JESUS died. He died so you can be easily forgiven. He died so God the Father would not cast you to the pit of hell for any sin. JESUS is the buffer between you and God. JESUS gave His life because God sacrificed Him to us. His precious baby boy! For you, undeserving wretched sinner. But He understands because He created you in His image to love Him back. He wants you to spend eternity with Him! But He understands that you will never be perfect. And yes, even after you return to Him. However, because of His forgiveness, you try to live a life that is pleasing to Him. You will try to see others through His forgiving eyes and heart. So sin becomes less and less tempting to you. 

You start seeing things in a different light. You now want to do what he has done for you to help others like you. You take your life and place it in His hands. You let JESUS take the wheel. Now you are not responsible for anything bad happening in your life because nothing but good will transpire. Because you trusted Him. And that is all He wants.

Yes, I understand you, because I am you.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

BEAUTY OVER PAIN


MY VERSION OF A RENOIR IN PENCILS

Pierre August Renoir, a master of Art suffered from severe rheumatism.  Although painful for him to continue to paint, he continued on.  A friend asked why he wish to torture himself.  Renoir responded, "The pain passes, but the beauty remains."

Like Renoir, Van Gogh suffered from a mental illness as described by professionals in his time.  Although it may be partly true, in my opinion, half of his quirky character was because he was misunderstood.  You see, Van Gogh was a genius and had a deep relationship with God.  Often, we as Christians, are invalidated because secular people do not understand how having a relationship with God could be possible.  Jesus said, we, who are His people will be persecuted in His name. 

We see in all around us in current times and has become much more prevalent.  I compare it to an ant hill.  As long as the hill continues to be left alone, the worker ants and the colony are fine.  However, once the ant hill is demolished, the ants become discombobulated.

For years we have lived in a country where speaking of and about God was silenced by the progressives.  They were allowed to do whatever they want whenever they wanted.  Life was cool.  As soon as God stepped back in our lives, ever loudly, they have become discombobulated.  But like God has done in the past, we in this time will once again be led by God to fulfill His plans that have been set in place even before the beginning of time.  The upcoming events will be manifested whether we like it or not.  God's power is stronger than all of ours put together.  It's just a matter of time when beauty once again blankets our world.

For now, we exercise patience.

Until my next rant... LOVE ONE ANOTHER!




Saturday, May 6, 2017

THANK YOU




Imagine if you will that you were always the giving person, ready to care for and help others.  Your sole purpose in life, you have decided, was to be the oak tree that people relied on.  It's just in your nature to nurture.  It made you happy just to know that you have helped out in some way or another.  You don't usually expect anything in return but a token of appreciation, such as a simple thank you, would suffice.  Although you do not expect it, it would still be hurtful if you don't get that appreciation for all the effort you put out.  After all, you are only human.  We all need that validation to keep us motivated to continue to do for others.


Imagine how God does of so many of us day in and day out.  We are in full focus when we have favors to ask but sometimes our human nature kicks in and we forget to praise Him when our prayers are answered.  Although God is ever powerful and faithful to us, He is also a jealous God.  He wants to be the center of our lives.  He is well-deserved to be.  Praise is a habit we need to learn to do always for the pure development of our souls.  Psalm 147 says, "Praise the Lord!  How good to sing praiser to our God!  How delightful and how fitting!"  We have to be resolved that God is the ultimate problem solver.  He is the one we turn to when all avenues have been taken into account.  He willingly answers our prayers that line up with his Will but yet we forget to appreciate Him for what He does for us.  


We need to make appreciation to God and learning to praise Him a vital part of our lives.  I mean from the littlest minute thing to the biggest and boldest solution He has given us.  When we do, there is a sudden change in our own personal lives when we deal with others.  The appreciation spills over to other people we have relationships with, no matter who they might be.  In turn, the act of appreciation becomes contagious as others are inspired by them.  


Until my next rant... LOVE ONE ANOTHER!




GOOD MORNING, NAPA!




Gardening succulents to propagate! Using delft blue tea cup.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

WHAT EXACTLY IS THE CHURCH'S ROLE?




Everything worldly is a double-edged sword.  One cannot simply depend and focus their energy on any one thing on earth.  Some people, especially new Christians, are solely in need of guidance through the learning of the spiritual life of a Christian that they solicit the help of those who have been conditioned in the faith.  

But one cannot rely on or use as a crutch any church establishment in the strengthening of their faith.  Just as we learn the steps for Zumba, and afford the help of a personal trainer, eventually we get into the groove and are able to do it by ourselves to reap the benefits of getting fit.

The process is the same with spiritual strength.  New Christians are led to God, and eventually, through the help of the Holy Spirit, their relationship with God grows stronger and stronger every day.  Eventually, they become wise believers and like a bird departing from its nest, has the wherewithal to fly on its own and succeed.

I do not minimize the role of the religious organizations as a necessary stepping stone and in providing valuable services, but their role stops there.  It is when we begin to ripen to rot in the church but are not able to fly on our own that we encounter stagnancy.  No longer are we growing spiritually but fall back into the worldly existence, again surrounded by fallible people.  We need to recognize if we are to volunteer and be active in the church organizations that our service is for the furtherance of God's kingdom, not for people or to appease them.  

Those types of people or cliques become the cancer that sends the church crashing down turning new christians sour about the church.   The church members' role is to bring people together and not cause separation from each other and eventually from God.

Until my next rant... LOVE ONE ANOTHER!





Friday, April 28, 2017

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL



I love hot air balloons and they make my day when I see them flying above Napa every morning!  But I have never seen them this close.  Praise God for such blessings!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

SPIRITUAL DROPOUT



Christians know, or should at least be aware, that prayers lined up with God's will are answered.  The tricky part is the "when." God, in His infinite perfection, only knows the right timing of answered prayers.  Full surrender to Him breeds patience in us.  Patience is difficult for our human understanding, especially when what we are praying for is perceived, by our own minds, to be urgent.

When tragedy strikes, in our sadness and sorrow, there are a few choices to make.  In our despair, we may give up, use temporary aids to forget, or turn to God. 

In our lifetime, sorrow is part and parcel of our makeup as humans.  It is inevitable in this wretched world, but our reaction of survival to troubles or sadness, is what makes us stronger. Situations may look hopeless but submerging ourselves in the presence of God and praying for his protection and guidance may only be manifested through spiritual strength.  A wise person will turn away from bitterness to God because he/she knows who is larger than, or more powerful than, any problem that exists.

We never should give up.  God will take care of the "when" in His time and He is the only help available in our time of need.  God is the end all, be all.  We have to stand by His blessed assurance.  God will always come through for us.

As Paul said, "Therefore, put on every piece of God's armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil.  Then after the battle you will still be standing firm."  Ephesians 6:13

Until my next rant... LOVE ONE ANOTHER!