Friday, June 23, 2017

Special Treasure

"It was not because you are the largest of the nations that the Lord has set His heart on you and chose you..." Deuteronomy 7:7


It was not because you are the most beautiful that the Lord set His heart on you and chose you... It was not because you are the smartest, the most industrious, the tallest, the most talented, the most eloquent speaker, or even the one who prays the longest or studies the Bible the most diligently. Indeed the Lord set His heart on us and chose us simply because He loves us (Dt.7:8) and because of promises He gave. 

It says in verse 6, that God has chosen us to be His own special treasure, a people peculiarly His own. He declared this to the Jews, but by adoption, we share in His treasures, "for everything He gives to His Son Jesus, is ours as well" (Romans 8:15-16). As anyone who has adopted a child knows, it is costly not only monetarily but emotionally. How much more for God who gave His only begotten Son so that He could adopt us (Galatians 4:5). God sent Jesus down on earth so we could be free. 

Thank You Lord for choosing me. Thank You for doing everything so I can be Your beloved daughter, precious in Your sight. I know You will do everything to bring me into Your Kingdom. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

WOYWW: Secret Prayer

I finally bought one of these.
I was going to wait till IKEA came to the Philippines, but it's taking forever! 
I wanted the cute turquoise Råskog trolley but settled for this grey one instead. It was on sale and only P2000 ($40). If I bought the IKEA one online, it would have cost me P5900 ($118). 

(Below) This is what's on the top- paints and brushes and a big pack of tissues to clean up! 



"Abba, Father," Matthew 6:9


When we come to God in prayer, do we talk to Him like a child trusting in a Father's goodness and His desire to give us His best? Do we believe He is truly listening and our every petition, big and small, reaches His ears and commands His utmost attention? Do we know that we have access to Him even when we are unworthy, dirty, and at odds with seemingly the whole world? 

I read somewhere that the "Our Father" was only taught to the first Christians after years of learning, and after their baptism. It was a sort of secret prayer. But we learned this as a child, and it has become so familiar that we recite it without much thought. Back in Jesus' day, and even today, Jews couldn't even say God's name, the four letter YHVH. They even write G_d, instead of spelling His name out. 

For the Jews, a name is not just what somebody or some thing is called, but a name conveys the nature and the essence of the person or thing. It includes even the reputation and the history. So when G_d's name is on a piece of paper, the Jews have to treat  that paper with respect. 

Perhaps that's one reason why the Pharisees wanted to destroy Jesus. They thought He was a radical out to destroy their cherished beliefs and traditions. They missed out on what He wanted to give them and us- access to an intimate relationship with our Abba Father! 

Abba Father, may I get to know You more and more each day! Thank You Jesus for teaching me a secret prayer. Many know it now, but if I keep praying and listening to You, I am sure I will get to know more and more of Your secrets! 



Joining the lovely Julia Dunnit for a 
peek at desks and projects!
I find a lot of inspiration
visiting my friends here:

Blessings!
Patsy  

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Not Like the Dead Sea!

"He who sows sparingly will reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will reap bountifully." 
2 Corinthians 9:6


How wonderful it is that God gives us His secrets generously. We need only to sit like Mary at his feet and listen. How did Saint Paul know that if we sow bountifully, we will reap bountiful fruit? Because he delighted in spending time with God. I can imagine that in one of his missionary journeys, while walking in the fields, the Lord would point out a farmer sowing seeds. "Look at that man and remember this," Saint Paul would hear the Lord tell him. "A farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop."    

Saint Paul passes on this valuable secret in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians, and we get to benefit from it if we practice it. There are many ways to plant seeds to bless others so we in turn will be blessed. We can give time, talent and treasure.  Those who are stingy with these gifts from God will be like the Dead Sea, only receiving, never giving. The Dead Sea is desolate, no fish can thrive in it. Even if fresh water continuously flows into it, it's 9 times saltier than the ocean because there's no water flowing out. The sun just makes the water evaporate and leaves the salt there. 

In 2 Cor. 8:7, Saint Paul exhorts us to "excel in the gracious ministry of giving." God cannot be outdone in generosity! Last April, a brother in our community fell, hit his head and went into a comma. I know that Arnold had been very generous in serving not only his family, brothers and sisters in our community, but he also gave of himself in our outreach for the poor. He had a heart for the poor because he himself used to live among them. When we called for help in medical expenses, there was such an outpouring of love. Brothers and sisters gave time, talent and treasure. A concert was organized, which was very poignant because Arnold's young children played in the orchestra. We held a garage sale and are still holding weekly auctions. And prayers! So many prayers reaching God's ears like incense! Of course God will answer! 

Lord, may I not be like the Dead Sea, only receiving continuously from you! May I have Your heart, Your eyes, and Your ears, to love, to see the need around me and to hear the cries of the people You cherish. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

One Body, One Spirit

"Is not the bread we break a sharing in the body of Christ?"  
1 Corinthians 10:16


My sister Peggy and brother-in-law Charlie attended the Golden Jubilee of the Catholic Charismatic renewal in Rome two weeks ago. Representatives from the Evangelical and Pentecostal churches were present as well. After all, the renewal started in Duquesne University in February 1967, during a student retreat, when they invited a Pentecostal to speak about what happened in the Book of Acts and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. During that retreat, God poured down His Holy Spirit and students began experiencing Him in a new way. Patti Gallagher Mansfield's face glowed like Moses after she encountered God's presence in the upper chapel. Some spoke in tongues. Some cried. Some laughed. Some felt a burning sensation. Some, like David Mangan, experienced little explosions going on in his body. 

 

Previous to that, the charismatic Pentecostal way of worship made its way dramatically to mainline Protestant churches, and then from there to the Catholics. After that Duquesne weekend, God's 'current of grace', as Pope Francis calls it, travelled around the world and changed millions of believers' lives and faith. In unity, with one body, great things are accomplished. There is more that unites us than separates us. We have to learn from one another's strengths, and recognize the gifts God wants to give us. The Holy Spirit is not a spirit of uniformity, but unity in diversity. One body, one Spirit. 


Lord, may we desire more of Your Spirit. May we not be complacent with what we have right now, but may we always want more of You! 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Treasure in Earthen Vessels

"We hold this treasure in earthen vessels..." 2 Cor. 4:7


Imagine finding an old jar, covered in thick mud and moss. When you remove the caked grime, there are hairline cracks in places that show glimmers of what's inside. It's like liquid sunshine is trapped and wants to burst outside. That's how Saint Paul describes us.

We have this precious treasure, light and power shining within us, but we are perishable containers, weak and easily broken. This treasure, this glorious power is from God and can in no way be credited to us. When we feel so much is against us, troubles assail us on every side, we have to remember that there is within us this immense potential waiting to be tapped. 

We can read of the amazing perseverance of the saints and martyrs. I am awestruck at how a modern day martyr in China, Simon Zhao, was able to survive 31 years in prison. He was beaten and tortured every day for 31 years and never denied Jesus. Once, during a severe winter, the prison guards threw Simon out and forced him to stand in his underwear out in the snow. "You believe in your God!" they mocked. "Pray to him to keep you warm." 

When Simon cried out to the Lord to help him as the cold wind 'tore into his flesh like a razor', he felt a tremendous warmth. Sweat dripped off his body and the snow around him started to melt. But miracles didn't happen often and Simon had to persevere by God's grace. He was sustained by the knowledge that whatever happened, God was with him.

Lord, may we tap into Your power and grace that You make available to us through Your Word. May Your presence beside us be so real that whatever happens, we can be witnesses of Your saving power.  

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Battleground

"Their unbelieving minds have been blinded by the god of the present age..." 2 Corinthians 4:4



I can see how the god of the present age is ecstatic with the internet. In no time has it been so easy to spread fake news and get so many people angry and riled up about an incident that never happened. Pictures taken years ago are used to propagate lies. Armies of trolls are organized to stifle free speech. Fake news and propaganda manipulate the results of elections and misinformation sways public opinion. Satan wants us angry with everybody all the time. That's how he gets us to his turf. Will we allow him? 

We should know we are always at war and should never be complacent. Whatever weapons the devil uses, and wherever he wants to fight, we counter with spiritual weapons Christ died to give us. We should counter hate and anger with the weapons of praise, worship and prayer. We should fight lies with the truth. The strongest ammunition we have is the Word of God. The internet as well as any other battleground can be harnessed for good, and wrested out of the hands of the enemy. 


Lord, we know when we fight with spiritual weapons, we have already won. Thank You for we are victorious with You by our side, behind us and before us. By Your cross and by Your blood, we are more than conquerors. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

WOYWW: Not One Smallest Part!

Here's my desk. I am still making patchworks 
of what my sister calls my "Boho project." 

Here are some of my scrap cloth which I placed 
in a little rolling suitcase 
so I can take it with me easily. 

And here's some tea dyed lace and cotton. I love using these! 


Something I did last night.



And this as well. 


And something I am still working on. 


"...not the smallest part of a letter, shall be done away with until it all comes true." Matthew 5:18

In the Jerusalem Bible, we read Jesus' words: "I tell you solemnly, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke, shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is achieved." 

One dot in a Hebrew word can indicate a change in pronunciation from a sound of i to a w, which is obviously entirely different. It can change the pronunciation of a syllable from hard to soft. Jesus was saying that not even one dot in the Law could disappear until it is fulfilled, does that mean we are all still bound by all the rules in the Old Testament? I think it was Jesus Himself who fulfilled all the requirements of the Law for us. As He Himself said in the verse before, "I came not to abolish, but to fulfill it." We can never do it on our own! 


Father, how unfathomable is Your plan to save us, Your children. Because we cannot save ourselves, You sent Your Son to take our place. You sent Your Spirit to soften our stony hearts and bring us light and understanding. Help us to hear and obey You.  




Joining the lovely Julia Dunnit for a 
peek at desks and projects!
I find a lot of inspiration
visiting my friends here:

Blessings!
Patsy  

Monday, June 12, 2017

Poor in Spirit

"Blessed are the poor in spirit..." 
Matthew 5:3


Why would being poor in anything be good for us? Especially in spirit. I would think we should aim for being full to overflowing in the spirit of God. But Jesus meant something else entirely when He said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit." Perhaps we should take a look at Mary as an example of poor in spirit. Even if she was chosen, and certainly special to God, she knew that did not mean she was entitled to special treatment. As a matter of course, she went off to her older cousin Elizabeth upon finding out she was pregnant as well. She took upon herself taking an arduous 90 mile journey to Ein Karem in order to accompany Elizabeth during her time of need. 

No matter how special we are, and no one can be more special than the vessel chosen to carry Jesus for 9 months, we should know that we are spiritually poor, bankrupt before the Almighty God. We have absolutely nothing to offer Him aside from our sinful selves. Still He calls us to Himself, worthless as we are. As His children, we are given robes of royalty in exchange for rags, beauty for ashes. Hallelujah! 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Why Him?

"God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it." John 3:17


On June 5, some 52 million in cash and 27 million in stale checks were found by some young Marines while flushing out Maute fighters in Marawi.   Every cent was turned over to their Commander. The leader of that brave and honest battalion was 26 year old 1st Lt.John Frederick Savellano. His parents, members of Couples for Christ, received word on June 9 that their son had just perished in battle defending the country. 

Some reacted saying why him? When there are so many evil men in the world? Why exchange his acts of honesty and bravery with death? "Biruin niyo after the super good deed that 1st Lt. John Frederick Savellano did, ang sukli ay kamatayan? Napakalupit ni Lord di po ba?" was the message circulating around. 

God's ultimate goal is to take us to heaven, for us to be with Him forever, to give us the most precious gift of eternal life. Why would He take evil men when He wants to give them all the chances to change their life and save them? It seems to me that 1st Lt. John Frederick Savellano was rewarded for his good deed, freed from all the harshness and ugliness of this world. 

Lord, thank You for not condemning us forever for our sins. Thank You that You gave Your life so we may have eternal life! 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

#chrissysentme

"They gave from their surplus wealth, but she gave from her want, all that she had to live on." Mark 12:44

 
I can imagine this poor widow in heaven now. Imagine, Jesus pointed her out to the disciples as someone to emulate. She put in a meager 2 small copper coins as her offering, while the wealthy poured in substantial amounts. Jesus said, "She contributed more than all the others who donated to the treasury!" 

What kind of calculator does Jesus have if 2 small copper coins is worth more than ALL the other donations? 1 Samuel 16:8 shows us: "For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 

Others may find us generous but God sees if we have an ulterior motive. After all, we cannot hide anything from Him! 30 year old Chrissy Archibald was one of the people killed in the London Bridge attack recently. She used to serve in homeless shelters. She is described as kind-hearted and she cared especially about homeless people struggling with addictions. 

Instead of reacting with bitterness and hate, her family has decided to spread love and generosity by asking people to remember her by either volunteering or donating to homeless shelters. The hashtags #chrissysentme and #chrissysentyou is spreading on Twitter.  "Make the world a better place." Many have responded with donations and volunteering their time and effort. 

Lord, help us to fight the evil in this world with Your weapons: love, hope, prayers, generosity, truth, and unity. Nothing is impossible with You! 

Friday, June 09, 2017

Why does God allow Suffering?

"Because it was He who scourged me, and it is He who has had mercy on me." Tobit 11:15

 
The Book of Tobit only appears in the Catholic Bible, and tells of a righteous, law abiding Jew who went through some trials after he buried a dead body. He slept outside, and because of sparrow droppings that fell on his eyes he became blind for several years. It was only when his son came back from a journey with a wife, the angel Raphael and some fish gall which he applied to his father's eyes, that Tobit was able to see again. 

Why does God allow suffering? How many times has this question been asked. How many people have become atheists because they did not find a satisfactory answer? God has a perfect will for all of us, and that is we would become saints and live with Him forever. He assures us that He is always with us, He will never leave us nor abandon us whatever we go through. If we allow Him to be with us in our trials and suffering, He will show His face and He will redeem the hardship. 

"Accept whatever happens to you and show endurance in adverse circumstances. For gold is refined in fire and the elect in the furnace of suffering." Sirach 2:4-5


It is our choice whether our sufferings make us desperate, angry, and hopeless. Or like Viktor Frankl allow God to redeem suffering to give meaning to our existence. "We were at work in a trench. The dawn was grey around us...grey the rags in which my fellow prisoners were clad, and grey their faces. I was struggling to find the reason for my sufferings, my slow dying. In a last violent protest against the hopelessness of imminent death, I sensed my spirit piercing through the enveloping gloom. I felt it transcend that hopeless, meaningless world, and from somewhere I heard a victorious "YES" in answer to my question of the existence of an ultimate purpose!" 

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Not Far from Heaven

"You are not far from the Kingdom of God." Mark 12:34


How wonderful for anyone to hear this from Jesus! Especially for one of the scribes that Jesus routinely called hypocrites or even vipers! For one thing, this scribe genuinely wanted to know which was the first of all the commandments. 

Jesus answered that it was to love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength. The second greatest is to love our neighbor as ourselves. "There is no other commandment greater than these." The scribe then agreed with Him, saying, "Excellent, Teacher! You are right in saying thus. Loving God and our neighbor is worth more than any burnt offering and sacrifice."

Can we love a God we do not know? Can we love a neighbor we do not know? Perhaps it is time to put more effort and time into getting to know God better so we will not be far from the reign of God. In getting to know the Lord better, we will want to express that love by loving our neighbors, even the ones we do not know, just as Mother Teresa did. 

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

WOYWW: Teach Me Your Ways!

I am working in the garden. 
I decided to do an auction
to help with the medical expenses
of my friend who has been in a coma
for several weeks now. 


I took pictures and put a minimum bid.
I've sold several items already. It's fun but a lot of work! 
Here's one of the things I'm selling for 
a minimum bid of P100 ($2.00).
See Auction for Arnold to take a peek!


"Your ways O Lord, make known to me; teach me Your paths." Psalm 25:4


What a wonderful prayer to start our time with the Lord! Even if we've been reading the Bible for years and have gone from cover to cover, we will never be able to say, "I already know Your ways. I can stop reading and learning now." 

Even monks, nuns, and preachers have to ask God to continually guide them and teach them His ways. In St. Benedict's Rule for Monks, there is this important dictate: "Listen, O my child, to the precepts of the Master and incline the ear of thy heart." 

There was a beautiful, very successful actress in the 50s and early 60s named Dolores Hart. She made movies with Elvis Presley, Montgomery Clift, Anthony Quinn, and other famous leading men. Just when she was going to sign a contract which would have made her even more successful, she stunned Hollywood to become a Benedictine nun in the Abbey of Regina Laudis.  She is now 79 years old, and has been prioress in the Abbey since 2001. She listened to the ear of her heart, which is also the title of her autobiography. 



Faith is a journey, an adventure. We need to be courageous, listen to God so He can lead us, and open up possibilities we would never even dream of! 



Joining the lovely Julia Dunnit for a 
peek at desks and projects!

I find a lot of inspiration
visiting my friends here:

Blessings!
Patsy  

Saturday, June 03, 2017

The Unexamined Life

"And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books which were written." John 21:25

 
"The unexamined life is not worth living," Socrates claimed during his trial for impiety and corrupting the youth. Jesus' life seems to be one of the most examined lives in history. And here John writes that much much more could be written about what He did and said. The more important point is all the Gospel writers believed Jesus was the Son of God. They were inspired by God to write down Jesus' history the same way the Old Testament authors painstakingly wrote about how God chose a special people and revealed Himself to them. 

 
Thank You Lord for going to all this trouble for a recalcitrant, stubborn, disobedient people. You don't give up on us, never will! May I learn as much as I can of what You have chosen to reveal about Yourself. 

Friday, June 02, 2017

Do You Love Me?

"Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" John 21:15, 16, 17


Why did Jesus ask Simon Peter if Simon Peter loved Him 3 times? Is it not because Peter denied Christ three times? Jesus gave Peter the chance to take back those awful words, "I am not one of Jesus' disciples!!!!" Jesus knew exactly what Peter needed to redeem himself. He gave Peter his confidence back. 

When we sin, or fall short, one of the last things we need is for our boss, leader, mom, or spouse to focus attention on our weakness. I remember when I was in Grade IV, I was the favorite of my teacher. One of my responsibilities was to check attendance. One day, I forgot to do my assignment. My teacher looked at me with a disapproving eye, and took away the attendance book in front of the whole class. I am so happy Jesus is not like that. We are all sinners. We all fall short. But when we do, Jesus doesn't give up on us and say, "From now on, you can't help Me build My Kingdom. You're a failure!"   

Lord, thank You for Your forgiveness, and teach us to love and forgive others as well. 

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Path to Life

"You will show me the path to life, fullness of joys in Your presence..." Psalm 16:11


It's easy for me to speak of the joy of the Lord. Ever since I was young, I would pray, "Lord, treat me gently", and He has for the most part. One day I was before the Blessed Sacrament during a singles' retreat in our community. God gave me a vision, my first and only one. He showed me a beautiful garden and Jesus and I were walking on the path. He said, "I am the gardener here. I take care of all these plants. I prune each and every one of them." 

"I will show you a plant I do not prune," and He took me to a decaying, ugly, dying stump of a tree. He was in effect telling me that He had to prune me, He could not treat me gently all the time. In order to bloom, Jesus had to cut off what was not pleasing to Him.

 
Sometimes we do not understand what God allows in our life. Sometimes it seems just too hard. Yesterday I was talking to one of our suppliers who just had another operation. She always needs dialysis and the doctors had to surgically create an access to remove and return her blood during hemodialysis. She undergoes pruning regularly. I can see her as a gorgeous, magnificent rose plant in Jesus' garden. The path to life, to fullness of joys in Jesus' presence requires that we see the eternal invisible with the eyes of faith. 

Lord, help me to see with Your eyes. Your pruning brings life for it cuts off the dead places in me, and allows for new growth.