Category: Christianity


shamrock-wallpaper-for-pc_1152x864_7735331All seemed lost. All seemed hopeless. A people who once had carried great hope in their hearts, had long given up and no longer looked toward Heaven for mercy. They went about their lives doing what needed to be done to survive. An oppressive government caused people great hardship. A heavy tax and census was laid upon them, and their lives were disrupted to appease those who ruled over them. In their duty and compliance, life went on…

Yet, unknowingly, in the midst of it all, a divine interruption occurred. An angel brought word to a young, humble teenager. What was promised at the beginning of the age in the beautiful garden was being kept by the Perfect, Glorious Creator in Heaven. Though none were found deserving, though all had failed their God, in the quiet of an ordinary night, a baby who embodied all love, all grace, all mercy and compassion was brought forth from Heaven.

Far away from city life, angels filled the sky bringing the great news to lowly shepherds. Even farther away, wise men wondered about a brilliant star that danced in the sky and chose to follow and seek where it led.

Revealed to those whose hearts were open, the Savior of Mankind, the Light of the World, God’s Greatest gift, came to earth and the redemption of man was set in motion that starry night in Bethlehem. And as the story continues, this little Prince of Peace grew and gave Himself on a cross, bearing our sin and shame.  With that one particular act, man was reconciled with the Perfect, Glorious Creator in Heaven to have fellowship once again as in the days of old while in the beautiful garden.

Now 2,000 years later, the rest of the world goes on, distracted by doing what needs to be done to survive. With heavy taxes and census laid upon them, they grapple to appease those who rule over them. Yet, unknowingly, in the midst of it all, a divine interruption is about to occur.  Another age old promise is soon to be realized. Crowned now as the King of Kings, those whose hearts are open to Him await the return of Jesus Christ, the faithful keeper of promises who carries victory in His hand. He will conquer evil and make everything new. He will reign with truth and justice for ever and ever.

Is your heart open to Him? Are you longing for more than what this world has to offer? Say yes to His promises and receive the miracle of Christmas in your heart by praying this prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,
I confess that I’m a sinner.  I repent of my sins and ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You sent
Your Son, Jesus to die on the cross in my place to pay for my sins, and that He rose again from the dead, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. I invite You, Jesus, into my heart and ask that You would wash me and cleanse me in Your blood. I thank You for Your love and mercy.  I make You my Lord and Savior. Amen.

Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas and Blessed and Happy New Year!  God bless you!

 

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First and foremost, I want to say that September 23, 2015 will be a day that the Lord has made.  If you’re in Christ, you can rejoice and be glad in it, because God will most certainly take care of His own no matter what is happening in the world. If you don’t know Christ as your Lord and Savior, I wrote this for you.  There has been a lot of activity going on in social media about this particular day.  Most people are too busy these days to really look at what’s been taking place in world events, never mind connecting it to Bible Prophecy.  On the other hand, there are people who have been watching the signs of the times, and are either prepared, excited or both.  I already knew that Yom Kippur falls on this day.  This will be the last Jewish Holy Day before the fourth Blood Moon (which will also be a Super Moon with a lunar eclipse), that will occur on the first evening of Sukkot, the 27th.  Yom Kippur, the day of atonement for sin, is also considered to be the Holiest Day on the Jewish calendar.If you are familiar with the teachings of Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, author of the books The Harbinger and The Mystery of the Shemitah,  you know that the end of the Shemitah occurs on Elul 29, the last day of the Hebrew calendar, and historically much has happened on that day. This happens every seven years and that date fell on September 13th.  The attack on the World Trade Center happened at the end of the Shemitah.  Seven years later, there was the economic crisis of 2008, which was the worst financial crisis since The Great Depression.  At the same time, here in Houston, we were hit by Hurricane Ike and coping with its aftermath.   This year, the date landed on a Sunday when Wall Street was closed, and nothing  happened.

I then began to read about CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) and the Large Hadron Collider that is scheduled to be turned on to its highest power so far on this date.   In 2012, they believe they discovered the Higgs boson, also know as the God particle, that was key to the Big Bang Theory.  Or something like that.  I confess I really don’t know anything about quantum physics.  However, many believe that this will effect the electromagnetic field over the earth, even possibly attracting asteroids to hit the earth.  There is some mention about dark matter that is created from it, possibly causing a black hole to open up and destroy not only the earth, but even the universe.  At the very least, it may open portals to another dimension or lift the veil that separates our world from that of the spiritual realm.  Tom Horn has done much research on this and his videos can be found on YouTube.  He goes further into explaining the Nephilim and their return to earth, as well as covering other prophecies.  He became widely known when he, along with Chris Putnam, accurately predicted that Pope Benedict would step down and when.  Whether you believe his teachings or not, it’s still very interesting and fascinating!  Getting back to CERN, I’ve tried to confirm the connection to September 23rd, which I so far haven’t been able to.

This past summer, I heard about a huge concert that takes place in Brazil called Tomorrowland.  It stood out, since it was around the time the Disney movie Tomorrowland was released in the summer.  I wondered if their was a connection.   I really don’t know much about this event except that they consider themselves to be the people of Tomorrow changing history today.  It may simply be a modern day Woodstock that gathers around a “Wizard of Oz” type setting at center stage, or it may be more. There is an elaborate light show as the music is played, and young people are jumping to the music and pumping fists in the air.  You would think it was another outdoor music festival except for the symbol depicting the eye of Horus, an Egyptian sky god .  His eye is personified in the goddess, Wadjet,   That event took place in August.  So what does that have to do with September 23rd?  Well nothing, except there is a similar event called Tomorrowworld, which takes place in Atlanta, Georgia on September 25th, 26th and 27th.  This falls between Yom Kippur and Sukkot.  Coincidence?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

I also found out that Pope Francis was coming to the United States and meeting with President Obama on September 23rd, addressing the United Nations General Assembly, and appearing at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia .  I’m not Catholic, but I believe that the role of the pope is to head the church, much as Peter did, after the ascension of Jesus Christ.  Pope Francis surprised a whole lot of us, when he confirmed Palestine as a State, striking a big blow to Israel.  Most Evangelical Christians believe in the promise God made to Abraham in Genesis 15 regarding the land of Israel, and His promise to bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse it.  The United Nations will also be launching the new Agenda 2030 and it seems that Pope Francis is aligned with this agenda.  It is believed that he will speak about the environment and the need for stricter regulations, which is the same stand that the U.N. takes.   There is an interesting Catholic prophecy about a final pope, and some believe that Francis may possibly be him.  Saint Malachy, an Archbishop, had a vision of 112 popes, while visiting Rome in 1139 A.D.  The final pope would turn away from the teachings of Christ.  Pope Francis is number 112.  As mentioned earlier, Tom Horn and Chris Putnam, have researched this and have written a book called Petrus Romanus, if you are interested on learning more.

So, if that’s not enough to get your attention, consider that September 23rd is the first day of fall, the autumnal equinox when day and night are equal, followed by a shortening of days to come and a lengthening of nights.  This is a day celebrated by Wiccans and other Pagan religions.  It is also a Holy Day to Muslims in the Middle East celebrating Eid al-Adha.  This day honors Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his promised son, which they believe was Ishmael, and not Isaac.  And finally, it is International Celebrate Bisexuality Day.  No explanation needed for this one.   There is no doubt this day holds a lot of significance for many groups of people globally.  Some think the rapture of the Church may occur around that day, which would be our greatest hope, but Jesus told us that no one knows the day or the hour except the Father.  Whether it happens that time or not, our world is about to change.  Russia, who is in an alliance with Iran, is building up it’s military in Syria which is Biblically prophetic.  There is also a Syrian refugee crisis as thousands flee their home to escape Isis, as country after country in Europe has reached its limit of intake, and are forced to shut down their borders.

Now I bring all of this up, not to cause a panic, but to wake people up!  As excited as I am as I see these things happen exactly as prophesized in the Bible , my heart is heavy with knowing so many loved ones don’t know Jesus Christ, or once did, but have turned away. The thought of anyone being left behind or outside of His hand of protection during these difficult times, breaks my heart.    Now is the time to get your heart right with God!  God will protect those who follow Him.  We are in the palm of His hand and nothing can snatch us away.  If you wait, it will become more and more difficult with time.  Jesus loves you and took your punishment upon Himself.  He died in your place. There is no greater demonstration of love than this.

I truly hope this has touched someone to make a decision to invite Jesus into their heart.  If so, please pray the following prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,
I confess that I’m a sinner.  I repent of my sins and ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You sent
Your Son, Jesus to die on the cross in my place to pay for my sins, and that He rose again from the dead, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. I invite You, Jesus, into my heart and ask that You would wash me and cleanse me in Your blood. I thank You for Your love and mercy.  I make You my Lord and Savior. Amen.

God bless you!

Change happens. There is no way to get around it. Sometimes change is by choice, other times it’s not. Sometimes change is for the better, other times it is not. One thing I am discovering about change is that it is much harder to handle when you’re older. You work diligently to arrive to a certain way of life, to meet goals, to realize dreams and you have the expectation that you are on a course that you can stay on until the end. Your future is sure and you have done everything possible to maintain what you have worked for, when suddenly something unforeseen happens that is beyond your control. I’m going through a huge change in my life that was not welcomed, even though it was necessary.

The book of Job tells us in 1:21 that “the Lord gives and the Lord takes away.” Job is an excellent example of someone that is confronted with sudden change on every level. He has great wealth, great children, great health and a great life, when calamity strikes and he loses everything. He’s not aware that Satan has accused him of only being faithful to God because of the many blessings God has bestowed on Job. God allows the enemy to test him and take everything except Job’s life. Job is devastated with the tragic loss.  His friends give their own thoughts to Job about why these terrible events have taken place and what to make of it. His wife flat out tells him to curse God and die, which Job, being a righteous man, refuses to do. When Job continues to give praise to God even after all he has lost. God restores him and blesses him even more than before.

Thankfully, most of us have never had to go through the devastation that Job went through, but it does remind us of the sovereignty of God, and that every gift and blessing we have is only because of Him. He knows exactly what we need, what we don’t need, and the perfect time of when to receive it, or let it go. For sixteen years I was a teacher to bilingual Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten students in the inner city of Houston. It was the toughest and most challenging job that I ever had, and I loved every minute of it. However, the demands of education changed as society, technology and ideology led the way into a new direction. Everything flipped and my greatest strengths in teaching now became my greatest weaknesses. I was forced to part ways with my former employer.

I had planned to eventually retire with this assignment, but I’m still a few years away from qualifying for retirement. I was sure I would have been married by now, but have not yet met the right person. So then, what’s a girl like me supposed to do? I’m supposed to walk by faith and not by sight.  It’s time to trust and not lean on my own understanding, time to listen, time to let God be my provider, my guide and my Heavenly father. I know without a doubt that my earthly dad would have let me move back home and helped me out.  How much more I can believe my Heavenly Father, who created all things and has a good plan for my life, to take care of me. 2nd Corinthians 3:18 says that He transforms us from glory to glory. I can trust that if I keep my eyes on Him and stay in faith, that God has something even greater in store for me.

Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve felt a tug on my heart to a life in ministry. I wasn’t quite sure how, but I thought that I would have a preacher or missionary husband and that I would handle all of the music. Now, all these years later, I’m in a place where I have been forced out of the boat, and now I can either walk on water, find another boat to climb in, or drown. In order to remain on the water, I have to draw out the gifts and talents that God has given me and put them to use. I’m kind of excited and cautious at the same time.  Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:8 “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”  I sense the wind is blowing me in the direction of writing so I’ve decided to publish a book using a collection of my blogs. Stepping out in faith, I published a Kindle ebook that is available on Amazon for $2.99 called Life Kissed By Heaven. To continue stepping out in faith, I’m seeking to get my book published.

Recently, a friend of mine lost a young family member to suicide, and no one knows why.  He was a bright young man and was to enter his senior year in high school this fall.  He had everything to live for, but in a solitary, desperate moment, he came to the wrong conclusion that his life was worthless.  He then imposed a permanent solution to a temporary circumstance.  I want to do all I can to prevent this from ever happening again.  I want the message of Job to be known by all, that difficult seasons are only temporary and that seasons of joy will come once again.  I want the painful lessons that I’ve learned in my own life, along with the increasing knowledge of God’s goodness, to be used to encourage others that feel their lives are hopeless.  In order to raise the funds for a publisher, I’m selling T-Shirts with a Masterpiece Message that everyone has been created and designed by God. I specifically chose orange because it is the color to wear to show support for persecuted Christians. I’m also going to donate 5% of the profits to International Christian Concern which ministers to the persecuted Church all over the world.  I would greatly appreciate your support, but even more importantly, I ask you for your prayers in following God’s will.

He also has a good plan for your life, and I pray that He reveals His will for your life.  If you haven’t yet made Jesus the Lord of your life or need to rededicate your heart to Him, you can click on Make Peace with God, to find out how.

Love and blessings to you all, my friends!

Life Kissed By HeavenT-Shirt Picture

shamrock-wallpaper-for-pc_1152x864_7735331Once there was a group of young men on a break from college hiking up a huge, vast mountain. They had just finished taking exams and were ready for an adventure. Another man and his wife who were both in their early forties were hiking up the same mountain, but on a different path. The couple had a map that they were using to guide them. The wife had relatives who had grown up near the mountain and had drawn a map for the couple of all the best places to see the most spectacular views and breath-taking scenes. About half way up the mountain, the couple came upon an open shaded spot with two paths that continued onward.

One of the paths was wide with lush foliage lining the way. In the distance they could hear the sound of rushing water beyond the trees. The other path was very narrow, with rocks and boulders strewn about that would make it difficult to pass through. They stopped to take a look at the map to see which one was the right path. They saw that the wider path would lead them to a waterfall, but a huge red X was drawn over that path with the word NO circled underneath it. When they saw that they would have to go up the narrow path, they decided to rest before tackling the challenging climb. They knew that once they reached the top, the view and scenery as the sun was setting would be something to treasure for a lifetime and they wanted to be ready to take it all in.

Moments later they heard the voices of the young men making their way to the clearing. When the group arrived the husband greeted them with “Hello there” while his wife smiled and waved. The young men avoided eye contact, and ignored them. The group paused briefly to look at the two paths. One of them pointed to the wide path and said “There must be a river or something over there. Let’s go jump in it to cool off“. When they headed in that direction, the husband stood up and called out to them. “I wouldn’t go there if I were you! That’s the wrong path!” One young man, wearing an orange baseball cap with a hawk on the emblem, spit on the ground and looked at the man. “Maybe wrong for you, but we can handle it. We’re not old like you, grandpa.”

Hurrying toward them, the husband again warned them. “It’s not safe! I’m telling you! It’s too dangerous! The other path over there will take you to the mountain top! “ The young man replied “How do you know? Have you even been on this mountain before?” The husband said “No, I haven’t, but that map my wife has in her hands says the right path is over there!” and pointed to the narrow, rocky path. The wife quickly whisked the map over, pointing to a red X on it as her husband stood in front of the group to stop them from going further. The young man swatted the map away and said “That’s just a made up piece of paper! Who drew it? A two year-old? You’re probably just keeping people away, so you can have the place all to yourselves! Well, too bad! We’re about to get this party started!” The other boys snickered and turned to each other and bumped their fists. The wife, picking up the map off the ground said. “Listen here, young man! My relatives grew up here and drew this map! They have been over every area of this mountain! If they say it’s dangerous and to avoid it, then that’s what my we’re going to do! I trust them because I know they love us and don’t want anything bad to happen to us!” The young man looked straight at her and said “Lady, your relatives were probably as boring as you and your old man here with no sense of adventure! We’re here to experience all that life has to offer! You only live once and we may as well make it as exciting as we can! Now back off! “

The couple again jumped in front of them as they both pleaded, “Don’t go! Please! You’re going to end up dead if you go that way!” The young man in the orange hat suddenly shoved the husband to the ground and out of the way. As his wife went to help her husband, another young man in a black T-shirt stepped in between to block her, causing her to fall to the ground. The young men slipped away from the couple and laughed to each other “Like they can really stop us!” and they mocked the words of the couple.

The man got up and reached his hand out toward his wife. “Are you okay, honey?” She replied as she took his hand. “I’m little sore, but okay. How are you?” “I’m fine, but those boys won’t be…” as he looked helplessly down the path where the boys had disappeared from sight. The couple could still hear the young men laughing and yelling in the distance. Suddenly they heard a loud rumbling and crashing sound and the young men swear, before giving way to silence. The only sound was the rushing waterfall.

The couple looked at each other and, quickly and cautiously, made their way to where they heard the sound. The path began to turn rocky as they got closer to the waterfall. The husband stopped suddenly and grabbed his wife. He pointed to the sudden drop off along the path that had crumbled as the boys had crossed it. As they looked down all they could see was a pile of rocks on the edge of the shore next to the waterfall. There was no trace of the boys. The husband called down “Hello? Can any of you hear me?” No one answered. The husband called down again, this time his voice breaking. “If you can hear me, please answer!” Again, there was nothing but silence. The wife began to cry softly as her husband sadly shook his head. In silence they hurried to make the long trip back to alert the park rangers.

A rescue mission was put into place to search for the young men. Right before nightfall the bodies of three of them were found under the pile of rocks from the avalanche. No one spoke as the team cleared away the rocks off the boys. They were identified by the ID in their backpacks and their families were called. As their grieving parents arrived on the scene, the boys were gently placed on stretchers, and each one was put into a separate ambulance. The young man who had argued with the couple was still missing. The next morning, his parents stood on the shore, weeping as they peered up at the waterfall. The couple who had last seen the boys walked further down the shore, filled with sorrow as they shared their thoughts about the day before. “ If only I had tried harder to convince them, they would still be alive and their families wouldn’t be dealing with all this.” said the husband. His wife gently put her arm around her husband. “You did everything you could. They chose not to listen.” They continued to walk further down the shore away from the scene, until suddenly the wife stopped and whispered, “Honey, look…” An orange baseball hat with a hawk on the emblem had washed ashore. They knew at that moment that he had fallen into the waterfall and carried down the river, and most likely, would never be found.

The End

No, I didn’t write this story to depress people.  I wrote it to make an analogy as to what it’s like for Christians. Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Friday, Christians have been labeled as haters.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  If the case had involved a man wanting to marry two women, Christians would have been just as opposed.  It is Government infringing on the freedom of religion for Christians.  As a Christian the Supreme Courts decision makes as much sense to me as if a group of people insisted passages from the Qur’an be read at every church service, or a statue of Buddha or a Hindu goddess in every church.  I don’t want to give anyone ideas so I’ll stop there, but you see my point!

The husband and wife in the story represent Christians.  The map represents the Bible and the young men represent unbelievers.  Now imagine if the couple felt that they should mind their own business and let the boys go their own way without saying a word?  Or if they thought all groups of young men were up to no good and decided the boys deserved to die.  Would that be love?  I mean, they’re leaving the boys alone and letting them enjoy their lives, right? Absolutely not!  Stopping the boys and telling them about the danger of the direction they were heading was the most loving thing they could have done.

Notice their response after the boys died.  They didn’t gloat and say “Haha, they learned their lesson!”  No, no, no! They grieved for them and the great future they could have had once they reached the mountain top.  They grieved for the families who had to deal with the pain of loss.  It’s the same for Christians.  We want everyone to make it to the mountain top.  We see the danger ahead as stated in the Bible and we love everyone enough to tell them the truth.  Even more than that, we see the amazing future that God has for us through Jesus Christ, and we want everyone to be a part of it.

If you’d like to find out more on how to make peace with God, Click on this link https://godfixministries.com/making-peace-with-god/ link on. Remember God created the universe and He loves you so much!  Blessings to you!

shamrock-wallpaper-for-pc_1152x864_7735331“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.”  – Proverbs 13:12

How often do we settle into a routine, turn the volume down on our hopes and dreams, and brace ourselves to live life as usual?  We believe in God and His Word and that someday in the far off future, He will deliver on His promises.  I know I have.  Five years ago I surrendered myself to this way of thinking.  Both of my parents had become critically ill within months of each other, and although I desperately prayed and believed for a miracle, God took each of them home instead.  During this time, I was in a relationship that I truly believed was an answer to prayer and to bring comfort,  but it only added to the hurt and heartache I was already going through.  So I had reasoned that in the Age to Come, I would  see the promises of God fulfilled in my life and not a moment before.  I knew God loved me and was good because I could sense His presence in my life. I knew God could answer prayers at any time, as I had seen in the lives of others and heard in their testimonies, but year after year when life became a cycle of work, sleep, work, sleep, church, work, sleep, work, sleep, church…with my prayers seemingly unanswered, I stopped expecting to see God ever move in any major way in my life.  Little did I know that during that time, God was setting things up to blindside me with a HUGE, Over-the-Top blessing!

I’ll never forget Thanksgiving of 2013.  I was sitting in a Cracker Barrel restaurant by myself, eating my holiday meal.  My family lived very far away and my friends were celebrating with their families and relatives.  I wasn’t sad to be alone or anything like that, I had simply accepted that this is how my life was.  Had anyone said to me that day that I would spend next year’s Thanksgiving Day, sitting in a living room on the other side of the world, drinking Turkish coffee with a group of some of the most incredible, wonderful people you could ever meet, I would have looked at them like they had lost all sense of reality.  Yet, that’s exactly what happened!

A few weeks into the 2014 year, I decided to attend a Missions Meeting at church.  They would be talking about the various trips where they planned to send teams  I wanted to see if there would be any affordable trips to a Latin American country that coincided with my summer break from school.  I had gone on missions trips many years ago in the past, which led me to major in Spanish in college and become a Bilingual Teacher.  There weren’t any.  I was a little disappointed, but continued to listen about the other trips in the fall.  As soon as they mentioned the  details of the trip to Israel, I felt a spark of excitement on the inside, as if I had suddenly come to life!  It had been many years since I last felt that way, and it was incredible!  I knew it would be nearly impossible to get the time off from school, especially during one of the busiest times of the year.  And yet this feeling that I was supposed to go, superseded all of the many reasons “of why I shouldn’t bother trying to go”  playing out in my mind.

20141123_153048I picked up the application as soon as they were made available.  I held on to it, wondering how I could approach my boss about this.  The trip was scheduled to return after Thanksgiving and Kindergarten would be gearing up for standardized testing.  That meant that I would be gone during the test preparation time and return just a couple of days before testing started.  Then it was announced that the Stanford would be replaced by the Iowa test in our school next year, and there wasn’t any indication of when it would take place!  That announcement was by no doubt, in my favor!  As the due date drew close, I was still trying to think of a way to bring up the trip, but then the perfect segue into the topic opened up at our Family Science Night.  My colleague and I had chosen to present the experiment in how to make an egg float to the top.  It was an experiment regarding the density of water.  My principal came in the classroom to observe how our experiment was going and began asking questions.  As I answered his questions I thought to myself that now would be a great time to mention the trip, but how??  As he was wrapping up the conversation he mentioned how our project explained why everything floats in the  Dead Sea.  BINGO!  There it was!  As he was turning, I said “Speaking of the Dead Sea, I wanted to talk to you about this opportunity that I have…”   Even though he didn’t give me a solid  yes, he encouraged me to go ahead and get the application in before the deadline.  With that, I began my adventure.

I got the application filled out and turned in just in the nick of time.   I then had to wait to see if I would get called for an interview.  Weeks went by and I didn’t hear anything.  Eventually I came to the conclusion that I was not selected and felt disappointed.  After I had finally given up, I received a call a few days later to contact them if I was in the building to conduct the interview that was scheduled that day.  After combing through my inbox, I saw the email informing me of the date and time of the interview, and I had missed it!  How could I have let this happen?    I was closing out the school year and didn’t check my personal email.  I sent a message back explaining what had happened and asked for another interview, which thankfully was granted.  The interview seemed to go well, but again it was time to wait.  I got the  call a week later that I was selected.  I was beyond excited!

20141125_114137I really felt that the Holy Spirit helped me to get to the first meeting!  I had the wrong date written down in my calendar.  Our team leader sent a text to remind us about the meeting that morning.  She had my home phone listed as my cell phone.  For the first, last and only time ever, I received the message on my landline.  I scrambled to get ready and go, thanking God the whole time,  that the text came through on that phone and not my cell phone.  I  often wait until later in the day to check my cell phone for messages and would have missed the meeting entirely.  When I got to the church, the 11:00 service was letting out.  I had to park in a garage about a block away which made me late.  As I hurried into the church and in the area that we were to meet, no one was there.  The meeting was held in a conference room in which you needed to be escorted by someone with authorization.  I turned on my cell phone to notify the team leader that I was there, but my battery was dead!  I couldn’t believe it I stood there not knowing what to do and started praying for a way to get there.  Within five minutes, I noticed a female custodian heading in that direction.  I went over to her and let her know that I was there for an Israel trip meeting and before I could ask if she could let someone from the team know that I was there, she simply took me to the area and let me in with her security pass and rushed away.   I thanked her at the time, but I was so very grateful that I wanted to again express my appreciation after the meeting was over, since I knew this wasn’t ordinarily done, but I couldn’t  find her.  In fact I never saw her again and I sometimes wonder if she was an angel.  Had she not done what she did, I would have left thinking God must not want me to go and pulled myself out of the team.  Whether she was from Heaven or not, she was definitely my angel and I knew God was orchestrating everything!

I arrived and got to meet the other members of my team and was blown away by this great group of ladies.  I couldn’t help but think, “What am I doing here?  These ladies are incredible and so spiritually mature…I’m just the daughter of a factory worker…”  But they made me feel very welcomed and that I was a definitely a part of the team.  We had trainings and scheduled events to take part in leading up to the trip and began to bond as a team.

While preparing for this trip, there were many obstacles that popped up that made it seem like this trip would not take place.  I got a new boss who gave me a bit of a hard time about going in the last week before the trip (even though I talked to her about it when she first arrived on campus), the Iowa testing schedule was announced and Kindergarten would be taking the test after Thanksgiving (same as  the test before);  my position was changed to teach regular Kindergarten instead of Bilingual  in the second week and everything I had was in Spanish (I would have to create all English materials myself) .  The biggest obstacle of all, was that in the summer, Hamas began attacking Israel.  This led to  Israel having to defend itself,  resulting in the One Hundred Day War. This ended before the trip, but tensions were still high.   I won’t even mention the conflict Israel had with the United Nations over whether to lower sanctions against Iran, which  would give them  liberty to progress in their Nuclear Energy Capabilities.  Okay, so I guess I did mention it, but that’s all I’m going to say.

20141128_090530The trip went as smoothly as can be!  We got to see  many of the famous landmarks, hike up Mt. Arbel, sail in the Sea of Galilee, float in  the Dead Sea, pray at the Western Wall, and much more.  My favorite was visiting the Garden of  Gethsemane and  going inside the tomb believed to be where  Jesus was buried –  EMPTY , of course!  We also  got to meet, encourage and bless many wonderful people along the way.  My team members were a major source of inspiration  to me and I learned so much from them!

All of this brings me back  to the verse quoted at the beginning in Proverbs 13:12.  This trip was a dream come true for me.  It woke me up from a deep slumber and revived my spirit  and faith!  God really is good, and He wants to give good things to His children!  When asked by a friend to describe what this whole experience was like, they only words I could use to describe it were I felt like my life  was kissed by Heaven!  If you feel like you’ve been put on a shelf collecting dust, don’t  fall for the lie!  Don’t you dare give up and lose hope!  Wait on God with patience, faith and expectancy!  He has much, much more for you!  If He fulfilled this long time desire of my heart for me, He will  fulfill the desires of your heart as well!

I pray that in this New Year of 2015, your life is kissed by Heaven over and over! God bless you!

shamrock-wallpaper-for-pc_1152x864_7735331When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.”

While searching for a quote on peace, I came across this little gem by the famous Jimi Hendrix.  Although, I’m not familiar with his music and career, I do know he is highly respected and celebrated as one of the great musicians in the history of modern music.  Since there has been much talk about peace and the possibility of achieving it worldwide, I wanted to look at why we have so much conflict over it.   Islam, which has dominated news headlines in the last few years, says that it is a religion of peace.  Members of the Jewish faith lavishly bid one another peace in every greeting of “Shalom”.  In Christianity, peace and goodwill toward men is highlighted in the Christmas celebration and its many carols that are sung.  Even those that don’t believe in any religion, atheists, wear the “peace sign” on jewelry, clothing, and anything that can display a symbol…so then, if everyone is for peace…why is there so much strife, fighting and war going on?   I believe the reason is all based on how one translates the word “peace”.

As I thought about what my interpretation of peace was,  my first thought was it means “no fighting” and images of a tranquil, calm scene came into my mind.  I looked up the word on an online dictionary site Merriam-Webster.com and read that the full definition of peace is

  1. a state of tranquillity or quiet: as  a :  freedom from civil disturbance  b :  a state of security or order within a  community provided for by law or custom <a breach of the peace>                                                                    
  2.  freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions  
  3.  harmony in personal relations     
  4. a :  a state or period of mutual concord between governments  b :  a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity 
  5. used interjectionally to ask for silence or calm or as a greeting or farewell.  

So I was pretty much right in the traditional sense of the word, but my love for word origins took over and I began to read further…

Middle English pees, from Anglo-French pes, pees, from Latin pac-, pax; akin to Latin pacisci to agree.

Hmmm…that got me thinking about what the meaning of peace is according to the Bible in the original languages it was written.  I  looked up the verse in Isaiah 9:6 where it says the Coming Messiah would be called the “Prince of peace” in the Interlinear Bible.  It shows the Hebrew word  shalom  which in Strong’s Concordance is defined as “completeness, soundness, welfare, peace.”  I also looked up  the verse in Philippians 4:9 “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.  In that verse, which was written in Greek, the word is eiréné  which in Strong’s Concordance is translated as “one, peace, quietness, rest”.   Right below it on the page was the HELPS Word-Study from HELPS Ministries, Inc.  which added:   (from eirō, “to join, tie together into a whole“) – properly, wholeness, i.e. when all essential parts are joined together; peace (God’s gift of wholeness).

So what does all of this mean?  It brought me to this conclusion:  the true meaning of peace is completeness, wholeness and oneness when joined or tied together with…God. But, how does someone become one or in unity with God, the Creator?  Easy…by believing on the Prince of Peace referred to in Isaiah 9:6 which is Jesus Christ and receiving Him into your heart as Lord and Savior.  But, how do you know that verse is talking about Jesus?  I know because 2 Corinthians 5:18 tells us that God reconciled us to Himself through Christ. The reconciliation between God and man opens up a person’s soul to experience peace.   Furthermore, it is illustrated in the most popular quote from the Bible, John 3:16  “For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”  There is no other faith that has a Savior that atones for the sin of man.  There is no other faith that brings a message of grace and mercy from a Heavenly Father.  There is no other faith that offers salvation or freely gives everlasting life.

So there you have it!  I don’t know where Mr. Hendrix stood in regards to his faith, but his quote was quite profound and true.  The power of love comes only from God, because “God is love” (1 John 4:16).  By believing in Jesus Christ, that He died for the atonement of our sins, and rose again three days later, we are now one with God through Christ.  Peace is the result of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Experiencing God’s presence here on Earth is equal to nothing else.

So then, in answering the question “Will the world ever find peace?”  It’s all in how the world looks at it:  if it’s looking for an absence of conflict, no.  If it’s looking for true, everlasting peace,  it’s already here and available to those who call on the name Jesus Christ, the Prince of peace.

Have you receoved Jesus Christ into your heart as your Lord and Savior?  If not, and you would like to, please pray this prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,
I confess that I’m a sinner.  I repent of my sins and ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You sent Your Son, Jesus to die on the cross in my place to pay for my sins, and that He rose again from the dead, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. I invite You, Jesus, into my heart and ask that You would wash me and cleanse me in Your blood. I thank You for Your love and mercy.  I make You my Lord and Savior. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

May you be blessed and enjoy His peace and presence!
 

shamrock-wallpaper-for-pc_1152x864_7735331Life is full of surprises…Anyone who has experienced life for any length of time is clearly aware of the “suddenlies” that can happen, changing life as he or she knows it forever. Tom Hank’s character in the movie Forest Gump famously quoted “My momma always said ‘Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Indeed, we do not. These surprises can be for the better, bringing joy. Or they can be challenging, a trial that we must face and go through, in order to grow and build character. As a believer in Jesus Christ, we must hold onto our faith and trust, knowing that He has the best plans for our life.

Today is Easter, marking the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, forever conquering sin and death, reconciling us forever with the Father. In the past few days, while observing Passion Week, I think of all the “suddenlies” that took place during the very first one, beginning with Palm Sunday. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, while the enthusiastic crowd cheered “Hosanna” and “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” while spreading out their cloaks and Palm branches before Him. Suddenly, He entered the temple, and angered by those who were taking advantage of earnest Jews trying their best to serve God, He threw over the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. All of this, of course, got the attention of the religious leaders of the law, and the Pharisees, and thus led to the beginning of their questioning of the authority of Jesus. If you went to church today, you most likely heard the events that took place 2000 years ago. There was another lesson while reading about the crucifixion that caught my attention, which involved Peter and his denial of Jesus on that fateful Friday that changed eternity.

What stood out to me, was how Peter reacted to all of the “suddenlies” that took place during that time. Peter was no doubt committed to Jesus. He left everything to follow Jesus as His disciple. He and his brother Andrew were the first to be called. It’s obvious throughout the gospel that Peter was a strong character who was often led by his emotions. He was the first one to declare Jesus the Christ in Mark 8:29, only to take Jesus aside moments later to rebuke Him for talking about what He was to endure. He was responding as any human would, but Jesus strongly rebuked Peter “Get behind me Satan! he said, “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men!” in verse 33. Peter got the message, though he didn’t understand.

At the Last Supper, when Jesus broke the bread and offered the wine, telling the disciples what it symbolized, He to told them that they would all fall away on account of Him, as scripture foretold. Peter assured Jesus that he would never fall away. Even after Jesus told Peter by that very night, before the rooster crows he would deny Jesus three times, Peter declared “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” (Matthew 26:35) I don’t know about you, but I can almost hear the sincerity of Peter’s words, and his desperation of trying to convince Jesus of his commitment to Him. Hours later, what Jesus said would happen came to pass and Peter denied Him three times. It’s not that Peter wasn’t being honest at the time. Peter reacted to the events of Jesus arrest, as any human would. It’s easy to say you’ll “never do this or that” before it happens, but when reality hits, fear is a very powerful force to be reckoned with. Peter was afraid. Even after walking with Jesus for three years, seeing countless miracles and healings, and listening to Jesus’s teaching, Peter could only respond with what was in his heart, his own will and the logic of mortal man.

The good news is, that was only temporary. Peter wouldn’t stay that way, because you see, the next day, Jesus died on the cross. To the things of men, that was terrible, but to the things of God, it was VICTORY! The veil in the temple separating the Holy of Holies was torn in half, and man was now reconciled to God. Jesus not only bore the sins of the world at that time, He became sin, causing God the Father to forsake Him. HALLELUJAH! We will never be forsaken by God because of Jesus. We have a relationship with our loving Father, that was only possible through the sacrifice of Jesus. When word got back to Peter that Jesus had risen, he was the first disciple to run to the tomb.  Although John outran him and arrived there first, Peter was the one to enter into the tomb to see the strips of linen lying by themselves, no Jesus in sight, and he left wondering what happened (Luke 24:12). Later that evening, Jesus appeared to the disciples who were behind locked doors in fear of the Jews, and they were all overjoyed!

Jesus appeared to the disciples a third time, after an unsuccessful fishing trip. Jesus called to them to cast the net on the other side of the boat, and they experienced a miraculous catch of fish. After hauling them in, they ate with Jesus, and Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him, allowing him to once again declare his love and commitment to Jesus. Jesus said each time to Peter’s response “Feed my sheep.” Each affirmation canceled out Peter’s earlier denial, reinstating Peter and Jesus prophesied how Peter would glorify God in his death. However, Peter once again showed his human spirit by asking about how John would die, which Jesus basically said that wasn’t any of Peter’s business to know. There was still one more “suddenly” that Peter would have to go through, to become all He was meant to become on this earth.

Before Jesus ascended up to Heaven, he instructed the disciples to go and wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit. In the days following Jesus’s ascension, Peter stood up among the believers as a leader. They drew lots to replace Judas Iscariot, who had betrayed Jesus, and then went to wait in the upper room. It was there, on the day of Pentecost, that the Holy Spirit arrived like the sound of a mighty rushing wind, baptizing the 120 followers that were gathered there with fire. They began to speak in other tongues, as the Holy Spirit enabled them. Suddenly, Peter was emboldened to speak to a crowd that had gathered due to the commotion. He spoke with the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit, and three thousand new believers were added to their number, thus marking the beginning of Christianity.

It was a series of events that occurred 2000 years ago, one day at a time, that made the difference for what the Church is today. We still have future one days that will further impact the world. Suddenly one day, Jesus will come back for the church. In the meantime, in our own lives, we can see the one days that can transform us to becoming more like Jesus — personal “one days” that make a difference in lives today. One encounter with God, and the Holy Spirit can make the hardest heart pliable, the fearful heart bold, and the faint in heart strong. From this point on, this side of the cross, Peter never again fell away from his faith, and carried the message of Jesus Christ, as a rock that the church could be built upon, that the gates of Hell could not prevail against…ever! (Matthew 16:18)

When you pray and seek to be filled with God’s power from on High, you can be confident that the Holy Spirit will empower and equip you, just like Peter, and you will have the ability to overcome anything that comes against you.

If you haven’t first prayed to receive salvation, please pray the following:

Dear Heavenly Father,
I confess that I’m a sinner. I repent of my sins and ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You sent
Your Son, Jesus to die on the cross in my place to pay for my sins, and that He rose again from the dead, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. I invite You, Jesus, into my heart and ask that You would wash me and cleanse me in Your blood. I thank You for Your love and mercy. I make You my Lord and Savior. Amen.

Have a Blessed and Happy Resurrection Day, everyone!

shamrock-wallpaper-for-pc_1152x864_7735331But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” – Galatians 5:22-23.

I’ll never forget the early days of my Christian walk when the friends I connected with at church were very big into street ministries. This meant going into some very rough areas on a Friday or Saturday night with handfuls of Christian tracts. We would go outside of bars and nightclubs, heavy metal concerts, and adult bookstores to witness to people. The guy that headed this up had a real passion and drive to bring people to Christ and never wanted to miss an opportunity to talk to people about Jesus. Anyone who knows me, knows that approaching strangers and engaging in conversations isn’t one of my biggest strengths, so this was a real stretch out of my comfort zone. I just wasn’t a talkative person, although I’ve grown a lot in this area. I think back to a time when God tried to break me of this, on my first summer missions project with Teen Challenge in New York City. At the initial meeting where we were given our instructions, I was so relieved when I found out we would be going out in groups of three. Everyone else was so extroverted and out-going, I figured I’d be the one to pray quietly in intercession, while the other two did all the talking. The funny thing is, by the time the leader got to assigning me to a group, there was just one other person left, and he was even quieter than I was! Uh, Oh! How did that happen? That’s when I discovered the sense of humor of God. So I was in a position where I had to be bold and approach people, and I can’t tell you enough how mightily God used that trip to influence my life for him.

So right from the start, I learned that it was our mission to tell people the good news about Jesus Christ. I would do my part and always try to maneuver every conversation with anyone who didn’t attend church on a regular basis to the plan of salvation. After awhile, the guy who led our group at home went off to college and everyone else’s life went into different directions and so we stopped going out. I would occasionally find groups from other churches going out and would connect with them sometimes. Most people were open to us coming out and talking for the most part, but there were others not so cool with it. One time, we came up to some young people acting silly and playing around. Before we even said hello to them, one of them came up and threw a bucket of water on us. He immediately felt bad and apologized and spent a few minutes talking with us afterward, but after that incident, I did less street evangelism and began to focus more on witnessing in my everyday life.

As I was finishing up with college, I did my best to always bring faith into the conversation, but by that time, the world had begun to change. It was during the 500 year anniversary of Christopher Columbus discovering America. My University had a conference depicting him as an evil person who brought ruin and destruction to the Americas. I had to attend because it was part of my grade as a Spanish major, even though I saw things from a different perspective. It was then, however, that there seemed to be a shift in the opposition toward Christianity. Long-time friends from college began to press me for answers on controversial subjects and then suddenly cut off their friendships as I answered with what the Bible said. It began to get very difficult. It didn’t help that I was also facing many other difficulties in other areas of my life. Businesses, including the one my dad worked for, began to close and move south after the North American Free Trade Agreement passed. My dad was blessed in that he just barely got his 30 years in, and received his pension and retirement package. Others he worked with were not and lost everything after 29 years of dedicated hard labor. It made for some tense times and it was harder and harder to keep talking about the plan of Salvation when emotions were so raw and ran so high. I began to grow very anxious about even opening my mouth at all since it meant certain ridicule and disdain, but I thought I could please God by continuing, so I did. Then one day, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and it made all the difference in the world for me. In fact, had He not spoken this to me, I probably would have burned out as a believer a long time ago.

It took place in an ESL classroom for third and fourth grade students, where I was called in as a substitute teacher from time to time. This particular lesson was a science lesson on fruit. I was going over a worksheet with the class that the teacher had left. As I pointed out to the students how the seeds were in the fruit, the Holy Spirit suddenly spoke to my heart at that moment and showed me that it worked the same way in the Spiritual realm as well. The seeds that we as Christians plant in the hearts of other people comes from the fruit of the Spirit that grows in us as we abide in Him. Jesus said in John 15:4-5 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” So much clicked for me at that moment. If we truly want to plant seeds in the hearts of people, we need to have our fruit developed which only happens when we abide in Him. It is in our developed fruit that yields the seeds that are to be planted. God has made it so that His Word is spread through us. The Word of God is powerful enough alone, as it is alive and does not return void, but when we deliver the Word, along with the words of our personal testimony of what God has done in and for us, demonstrated by the fruit of the Spirit that we bear, there is no denial of the power of God and that He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

This is further demonstrated by what the Apostle Paul said in I Corinthians 13:1-3 “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” Love is a fruit of the Spirit, and without that love behind our words and motivating us, we will not be effective for the cause of Christ.    We only bear fruit from a true relationship with Him, through time spent daily in His presence and yielding our will to His.  It is knowing Him personally that we are compelled and want to share, no matter what, the wonderful, satisfying, strengthening, enriching love relationship that keeps us going day after day after day.   It’s the love, joy, peace, patience,  kindness, goodness,  faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control that people see and are moved by.  It’s what sets us apart from non-believers and will draw those seeking for something more to us.  The more I grow in Christ, and understand how He gave His all for me, the more I want to give my all for Him.

If you have never invited Jesus Christ into your heart to make him, please pray this prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, I confess that I’m a sinner. I repent of my sins and ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You sent Your Son, Jesus to die on the cross in my place to pay for my sins, and that He rose again from the dead, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. I invite You, Jesus, into my heart and ask that You would wash me and cleanse me in Your blood. I thank You for Your love and mercy. I make You my Lord and Savior. Amen.

You are loved!  Be blessed, everyone!

shamrock-wallpaper-for-pc_1152x864_7735331“You raise me up so I can stand on mountains. You raise me up to walk on stormy seas. I am strong when I am on Your shoulders. You raise me up to more than I can be.”

Every once in awhile you come across a song, a poem, a phrase that makes a deep impression on your heart. There is a song called “You Raise Me Up” that was made famous by the very talented Josh Groban. It was written by Brendan Graham and Rolf Lovland. I received much comfort and strength from this song while going through a very difficult time in my life. A few years back at my church, I heard a version of it that took my breath away like never before. The singer was a very gifted man of God, Steve Crawford, and he was backed by the choir. It was the most anointed version that I’ve heard! I was able to find this video recording of Steve singing it and I hope it blesses you as much as it has blessed me:

Steve has been singing since he was a little boy and has ministered over the years along with his sister Da’dra Crawford Greathouse in the Christian group Anointed. Both Steve and Da’dra are now worship leaders at my church and I am blessed beyond measure week after week as they use their talents to serve and glorify God.

Steve is getting ready to start on an exciting new project and record his first solo CD. We have the opportunity to share in this event by funding the project on Kickstarter. He’s received a lot of support already, but is still short of the goal. There are two days left to back Steve on this project and I truly feel that this CD will touch and minister to many hearts that are reaching out and seeking God for their lives. If you feel led to join me in supporting Steve, please check out his page: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1959319832/steve-crawfords-first-debut-cd.

God is with us and for us. In 2 Corinthians 9:11 Paul wrote “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” Let us do what we can to lift up the name of Jesus Christ to a world that needs to know His great love and mercy. We always receive much more back from God than anything we give to further His kingdom.

Be blessed everyone!

shamrock-wallpaper-for-pc_1152x864_7735331“The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.” ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.   Every summer, as another chapter comes to a close on a school year, I can often look back at a particular moment, when something happens that tugs at my heart.  It’s a moment when I think to myself “Yeah…that’s why I’m glad to be a teacher.” Most of the time, it’s something a child has said or a picture that they have drawn for me. The previous year, that moment came on graduation day, and it involved five students. For graduation, students were allowed to dress up for the special occasion. The little girls came into the classroom looking like little princesses in their fancy dresses with little bows and ribbons adorning their hair. Some of the boys came in looking very handsome and suave, wearing a suit and tie, and others wore a very stylish shirt and nice pants. They were all so excited that their parents would be coming to see them sing and receive their certificates that afternoon; all, that is, except one little girl and four little boys. They came wearing their same old school uniforms. I called their parents during a break to remind them about the program, but the numbers were either disconnected, not in service or unanswered.

After the ceremony was finished, several parents wanted a picture of their child with the teacher, so I spent a few minutes posing for photos. After several minutes, one of the five came up and very excitedly said “My turn!” and stood next to me and put his arm around me. When no one responded or lifted their camera up, he said “Come on! Someone take a picture!” Gently, I had to tell him that they were only taking pictures of their own children. It broke my heart to see the disappointed look on his face. He said “My parents didn’t come.” and went back to sit down and wait with the other four children. After everyone had left, and it was just the remaining five kids and myself, we went back to the classroom and I did my best to celebrate the kids and take a group picture of them holding their certificates. We ate cookies, I let them pick out  whatever sticker they wanted, and then it was time to go. They seemed content as they left, and I was so grateful to have the opportunity to be there for them, but I knew that none of it could take the place of having their mom and dad there.

Every year, there are those one or two students in class that are very shy and keep to themselves. They sometimes come in with their clothes unwashed, or their hair uncombed. Their parents don’t come to the special events when invited. For whatever reason, their parents don’t seem to take or have the time to nurture them and show them how special they are. These kids are usually very quiet, and try not to attract attention to themselves.  They are, unfortunately, either ignored or picked on by the other kids.  It is these very children that keep me going as a teacher.  I could relate to these children on so many levels.  I was in sixth grade when I was singled out, made fun of and bullied in class by several students.   I was very shy, and every time someone called my name, I would blush a bright red color.  I also was a straight A student, so that was another strike against me.  No matter what I did or how I tried to fit in, I was teased mercilessly.  There were some difficult situations going on at home, so I never mentioned anything to my parents.  I continued to do my school work and even allowed some students to copy off me, so that they would maybe like me.  Of course, it didn’t work, and on the last day of school, a group of girls decided they wanted to beat me up after school.    I tried to ignore their taunting, but in the last half hour of the day, I broke out in tears.  The girls then felt bad and apologized.   I was very relieved and grateful the next year, when I was placed with a whole different mix of kids and made good friendships that year.  It brought a lot of healing.

In today’s culture, there is a criteria  set that people must meet in order to be considered valuable and successful.  People are judged on what they do, how they look, and how they handle themselves in social settings.  Women are judged on their appearance and what they wear.  More and more, there is a lot of emphasis on performance and competitiveness.  There is a time and a place for a healthy dose of these things in certain events; however, never ever should performance be a tool to measure a person’s worth and value.  Unfortunately, it is very rampant in our society.   Our educational system is set up in a way in which national tests determine which of our students are the best and brightest.  Those that don’t score well risk being labeled as low performers or “not as good” as their peers.  With tests now being given in Early Childhood Education, the competition and labeling is beginning before children even have a chance to develop their thinking skills.  In this data driven environment we now live in, they are burdened with working harder and studying more instead of exploring and discovering the world about them through play.  People are challenged to do as much as possible in a small amount of time.   Faster is considered better, which leads to more careless mistakes, less creativity, and lower quality overall.  There is a standard that is set by the world and those that don’t fit in or conform to that standard, are cast away or ostracized by society.  If one cannot produce something the world considers important and necessary, they are considered useless and throw-aways.   Pregnant women who discover that their unborn baby has a defect are strongly encouraged, if not down-right pressured to end the pregnancy.  Our senior citizens, whose health and strength begin to fail or slow down, are sometimes placed and abandoned in nursing homes.   It doesn’t matter that they have a wealth of wisdom, history or insight to share, they are left and forgotten.  It becomes a type of “survival of the fittest”.  The strong set the standard and the weak get left behind.  It would seem hopeless to live in a world so harsh and cold, but thankfully, we don’t.  There is a God of love, mercy and grace who sets the ultimate standard.  His standard is the only one that matters.

We can catch a glimpse of the nature and character of God towards those the world deems unworthy and rejects through a story in the Old Testament.    One of my favorite stories in the Bible is when David sought out and showed kindness to  Mephibosheth.  Mephibosheth was the son of Jonathan, David’s best friend.  Even though Jonathan’s father, King Saul, grew jealous and sought to kill David, nothing could diminish the close bond that David and Jonathan shared .   David had been forced to be on the run, living in caves and hiding from Saul, but he and Jonathan’s friendship remained rock solid through it all.  When Jonathan died in battle against the Philistines, David grieved heavily for the loss of his dear friend.    Sometime later after David had become King, he asked “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness to for Jonathan’s sake?”  (2 Samuel 9:1).  Mephibosheth was brought in from where he lived and stood before David.  David spoke kindly to him and restored all the land that belonged to Saul.  Not only that, but he told him that he would always eat at his table, giving him high honor before everyone.  Now, Mephibosheth had grown up with two big strikes against him.  Mephibosheth lost his father, Jonathan, at the tender age of five.  The role of a father is so important, especially to a young son.  He had no father to turn to model what a true man is, no father from which to receive love, advice and guidance through life.   If that wasn’t hard enough, Mephibosheth was crippled in both feet.  His self abasement was clearly evident when he answered David with “What is your servant that you should notice a dead dog like me?”  It did not matter to David, he was the son of Jonathan and that superseded anything else.  It’s much like you and I, and every soul created by God, He loves us all and invites all of us to come to Him and receive our inheritance, our favor and our blessing from Him.  That invitation comes by believing in His Son, Jesus – His death on the cross and His resurrection.

The story of Mephibosheth resonates with the deep compassion of what God’s standard is.   His standard is that every human being is created in His image for a divine purpose.  He has a plan for each and every life that comes into existence.  He places gifts and talents along with different strengths and weaknesses in each and everyone of us.  He never looks at the outside appearance, but looks at the heart.   Nothing can separate the love of God from His children.  He promises that His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.  His heart reaches out to the lost, the hurting.  He cares for the widows, orphans and the alienated. He is closest to those who are broken hearted and crushed in Spirit.  When Jesus walked on this earth, His ministry was for those who were sick.  He healed the lame, the blind, the deaf, the mute.  He made lepers whole again.  He reached out to those that were socially unacceptable.  Wherever He went, those He touched were made whole and healed of all afflictions and infirmities.  He sees those that feel invisible, and He walks with them.

We need to value the lives of others and see them through God’s eyes.  We need to defend those who are weak, speak for those with no voice, and seek justice for those who have been wronged.   Jesus said  in Matthew 25:40 “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”   Our prayer should be that God would gives us eyes to see the invisible, that we may reach out to them.  We as believers can overcome evil with good, and show kindness and compassion to others, no matter what the circumstances are, through the power of the Holy Spirit.  We have God dwelling on the inside of us, and God is love.

If you are one that feels invisible, know that the Creator of the universe sees you, and He cares about every concern you have.  Things may not make sense now, but a day is coming when they will.  If you haven’t invited Jesus into your heart or made peace with God, please pray this prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, I confess that I’m a sinner.  I repent of my sins and ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You sent Your Son, Jesus to die on the cross in my place to pay for my sins, and that He rose again from the dead.  I invite You, Jesus, into my heart and ask that You would wash me and cleanse me in Your blood.  I thank You for Your love and mercy.  I make You my Lord and Savior.  Amen.

We have the victory in Jesus!  Be blessed, everyone!