Monday, 29 December 2014

The Last Week of the Year 2014! 22-28 December 2014

My last week of the year 2014 would be from 22 -28 December.  I have been a home-body this week.

Got all dressed up on 24 December to attend church service and the taxi-driver couldn't pick me up at the last minute.  
His story:  the police up the road had detained him and were taking their time looking at his papers.  
My thought:  "Poor guy, I hope he makes it home early enough to celebrate with his extended family.  You see, he had planned a Christmas Eve dinner with his family".
My own reaction about not being able to participate in church service:  Disappointment which turned quickly to acceptance.  No worries.

25 December was really quiet - just me, God and a whole lot of peace.  That's what God promised when one accepts His Son, Jesus (romans 5: 1).  With the peace, there was a whole lot of joy.  Inevitable isn't it - joy in His Presence (Psalm 16:11).  My house in Honduras has nothing Christmassy about it - no real or artificial Christmas tree, no presents.  Just a humble nativity scene which I got from Diunsa (the store) for less that US$3.50!!  And a pot of quickly-drying-up poinsettias given to me a month ago.  They were fresh when I got the cheery, bright red flowers though. 

26 December, I was a bit emotional.  Seeing all those fun photos on Facebook was good and sad.  Good because I knew that my family and friends worldwide were celebrating the festive season and sad because they were all too far away from me.  As usual, like my earlier disappointment, my emo status didn't last 3 minutes.  That's me - I sort of have this attitude, "Hey, let's just move on!".  More than that, "Hey, Immanuel!".

27 December, a day before my birthday and one of my sisters and some friends began to wish me a very happy birthday on Facebook posts.  So many greetings came in on my 27th, I was wondering if anyone will wish me on 28th!  Thankfully, there were quite a few friends who did just that:-).  Thank you all!

I noted something today:  In all my life, I don't think I have read as much hate-articles as in 2014.  Well, mostly hate towards Christians but also towards various groups of people.  And I hate to say this but I also see "Christians" hating people.  Err..we are called to hate the SIN, not the person.  

And needless to say, and you know it's true, it seems like the whole world is embroiled in this hate and evil and we Facebook people try to hold onto our sanity with the little beauty in our lives.  We strive to make beautiful memories.  I think that's a good thing; there's enough sadness and problems to cause massive depression and we don't need to flood Facebook with it.  I mean, someone else is already doing it, right?  Plus in the light of major tragedies, my own concerns and challenges seem tiny.

Somewhere else across the horizon, it's already the 28th and friends started messaging me about the Air Asia disappearance and the floods in Malaysia.  Mercy, Lord Jesus!

28 December (no time-zone),  I wake up thanking God for my life.  It has been a great 2014 despite some challenges.  Oh yes, another year older.  Am I happier, wiser, stronger, kinder, more loving, more gracious?  Have I inched closer to my Lord Jesus Christ?  I like to say "Yes!" but I am not perfect.  I suspect most people would like Christians to be perfectly flawless.  Sorry to rain on your parade but that's not true at all.  We are imperfect people trying to follow a perfect Christ and His teachings with the help of the Holy Spirit.  Birthday greetings poured in - it's really nice to be remembered.  It's my day today and I want to share with you three lessons I learnt in 2014, before I go to bed:

1.  God is ever-loving, ever-present, ever-powerful and faithful.  He knows me like no other, and forever and forever.  I have no fear when I know the eternity I have in Christ.  I have a responsibility to live a life of faith, not fear.

2.  Word-power can cause division or unity.  Just take a look at the Media; words are primarily used to pit one against the other; to twist and sensationalize concepts and intentions; to curse; to devalue marriage between one man and woman; to offer 'alternatives' that in the long-run will create more problems to mankind.  My preference is to use words to encourage, cling to godly righteousness, to inspire others to be better or even to rebuke with grace.  I am responsible for how I speak, what I write and even how I listen to  grammatical power.  I am responsible for calling sin "SIN" and not sugar-coat what is clearly wrong by God's eyes.  

3.  Human life-value is decreasing.  No, it's not all about suicides.  It's really about how we treat each other's lives.  I am not talking about the polite niceties and mannerisms here.  I am looking at the ten-year-old who dares to shoot at another, the beheadings to satisfy personal religious zeal, the point-blank murders of policemen serving others or vice-versa, planting of bombs to dispose communities, pointing a gun-to-the-head when war-taxes are not paid, blanket approval to kill foetuses and babies, collecting women and young female children as sex-slaves and prizes, denying basic necessities to communities...etc. (Okay, a point to note - I am not a pacifist but I am against senseless murders and demeaning actions.)

Sick minds prevail because sick minds have no understanding of human life-value.  People with sick minds treat others as they see themselves - worthless human beings.  Really sad, isn't it? (I sigh, here).

There is love and hope!  Thank God!

We are worth every bit to God because we are fearfully and wonderfully made in His glorious image (Psalm 139: 14).

Here's my take on personal responsibility (works for me) as a follower of Christ:   
I am responsible for loving all those who stand against godliness but also responsible for standing against the ungodly actions of today.  
I am responsible for putting a high value to my life and other lives.  I am responsible for following the teachings of Jesus Christ all summed up in just one Great Commandment. 

Love God.  Love yourself.  Love others.  Value your life enough to deny selfishness.  May the next few days of 2014 and the New year of 2015 bring more Love, more Peace and more Joy to you.

Waltzing with Jesus,

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Immerse Me in Your Glory!

My helper Noella invited me to her church last Sunday.  Iglesia de Dios Olympica was re-dedicating herself to the Lord.  What a celebration it was!  The children, youths and adults celebrated with only one thing on their minds:  Sumergeme En Tu Gloria! Immerse me in Your Glory!

It was a long taxi ride for me but I am glad that I accepted this invitation.  This church which still needed some paint was packed.  Everybody worked to make things happen.  The pastor was very humble.

I was impressed with their children's ministry - they had a children's worship team and began the service; a seven-year-old was the intercessor and a five-year-old decked in a suit preached from Acts 2: 17 with authority and power!  
Acts 2:  17
 And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;

I love the fact that this church loves Israel and prays for Israel. It also supports missions overseas.  And to top it, this church has no qualms about dancing with flags or improvising a trumpet so that it is blown like the shofar.  

The youth worship team rocked the place! The twenty-year-old youth preached his heart out, crying out for God's glory.  The hunger was great and His faithfulness was revealed in His Presence.

I left the church after a sumptuous lunch cooked by the women/mothers in the church and served by the men / fathers in the church.  It was indeed a glorious day!

Thank you Jesus for a church hungry for Your Glory in this nation.
Blessed Season,