Tag Archives: lifestyle

You only live twice

you only live twice

Make this life count for eternity.

Photo: Pinterest. I don’t own rights to it, and I’m not making any money on it.

And is there no God?

girlWell I guess some of us evolved. That’s how we behave pursuing instinctual, animalistic desires with no restraint.

I realize that many personify animals to believe they think like humans, but I don’t think they are capable of admiring beauty, of feeling such deep love, of identifying nobility.

When I look at this picture, a rush of admiration floods my heart: the innocence, the poetic grace, the delight of children playing. Animals are not capable of this because God created man different — with an intellectual and emotional level far superior to animals, levels that make no sense coming out of biological evolution, the crass survival of the fittest that we see in dangerous nature.

But, you become what you believe.

Picture source: The original comes from pinterest. I’m not making any money on it. I don’t own rights to it.

Be grateful

be gratefulAs a wordsmith, I’ve always envied the simple and compelling power of pictures. This one, of a gaunt, starved African child’s hand, speaks volumes to Westerners about the blessings we take for granted. No matter how poor you are, compared to other nations, you are rich, simply because you live in the First World. We ought to be grateful for the blessings GOD has bestowed on us.

Love does not boast

love does not boastLove puts another first. Pride means me first.

When you are boasting, you are wanting the world to pay attention to you. Love pays attention to another.

Here’s every element of the series:

Rejoice always

rejoiceRejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! — Phil 4:4 NIV.

Where every Christian should be

go out on a limb

Thank you http://www.gwynmichael.com for the image. I don’t own the rights, and I’m not making any money on it.

Go out on a limb… for God

Be led by faith.

Far gone?

far gone

image thanks to http://www.fanpop.com

Hope your family. Chance to get married. Dismal finances. Failing health. Forgiveness.

You may feel its too far gone. Happy days or wonderful dreams now seem other-worldly.

Such was the case of Jacob. His favorite son, Joseph, disappeared years ago, apparently victim to a savage animal. His other sons brought him proof of the horrid incident: a bloodied garment.

FOURTEEN YEARS later, Joseph surfaces in Egypt. He never was killed. He was sold in slavery. He’s been promoted to prime minister of Egypt. Jacob simply can’t believe his ears. He gave up hope so long ago and resigned himself to bitterness that now he dares not believe the report.

God has a way of bringing back to you impossibly lost days and dreams. That’s why you need to keep believing.

Above and beyond expectations

beyond expectationsSlaves were expected to perform grudgingly, only under fear of whipping, so when Joseph showed up whistling at his work, his boss was taken aback. Joseph made all the other slaves look bad because he did more work, did a better job, got things cleaner, cooked better. Whatever task he was assigned, he outdid expectations.

Eventually, Potiphar promoted him to managing director, in charge of his entire household.

As Christians, we should exceed expectations regularly. In our service in church, on outreach in the field, taking care of the needy of the world, we must strive for excellence and not offer a second-best or good-enough “sacrifice with blemish.”

At the end of 13 years of this trial, Joseph went from slave to vice president. God saw his faithfulness and excellent service and promoted him. We can expect good things if we exceed expectations.

Faulty (human) reasoning

faulty reasoningNicodemus can’t understand being “born again.” How can a man enter his mother’s womb and be “born again?” he asks.

Judas Iscariot reasoned that it was time to cash out on Jesus. He reasoned Jesus wasn’t going anywhere after all, and that he should make the most of three years of following the loser named Jesus.

Job’s friends reasoned against their friend. Instead of consoling him, they blamed him. You must have sinned because look at the proof: God’s not with you anymore.

The very same logical fallacies atheists accuse us of using, they too use! (When a pseudo-intellectual brandishes an exotic Latin fallacy, it tends to quiet the non-Latin speaker.)

As Christians, we too can “reason” ourselves out of the will of God. We can “reason” our way of out going to church, tithing, outreaching, our marriage, etc.

To avoid this pratfall, bathe your decisions in prayer. Make sure you don’t spend your time praying trying to convince God that He ought to approve your previously determined decision.

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If you seek, you will see

See seek

Prayer to Prevail

pray prevail

To prevail, pray.

When others doubt you…

genuine person

Genuine yet regarded as an impostor — 2 Cor. 6:8 NIV

Despite your sincerest efforts, people will doubt you. It happened to the Apostle Paul. He was accused of being a false apostle because he didn’t want gentiles to get circumcised. (He was vindicated by the head honchos in Jerusalem, but still itinerant preachers cast doubt over his person.)

If it happened to Paul, to Job, to Jeremiah, to Daniel, to Amos, to David, to … to JESUS, why be surprised if it happens to you.

This is not to say that you, or anyone, is perfect. It is only to say that we live in a fallen world, and we are not the only ones to possess a cynical sin nature. Others can view us how they want.

In those moments, may our God strengthen us to keep fighting the fight of faith, to keep trying, to not give up.

Greatness in the seed

seed apple treeHow does something so small as an apple seed produce something so big as the tree that produces sweet fruit that nourishes and delights?

Never despise the small beginnings of a seed. Do small things today towards a great result.

In memory of Robin Williams (voices in your head)

voices in my headFor many people, the negative rant you hear in your head actually goes audible. And science can’t adequately explain it, so they pretty much dismiss it. It’s wonderfully consoling to know that you are not going crazy. Those voice are actually real. Robin Williams confessed to hearing voices in an under-reported interview: “You have an idea there’s a dark force when you’re in that space, and it’s totally the opposite of doing the right thing… You’re standing at a precipice and you look down, there’s a voice and it’s a little quiet voice that goes, ‘Jump!’” Unfortunately, he ultimately listened to those voices and hung himself.

Those voices are demons. They hate all humans. They come to us because of sin. They literally want to take you and me to Hell. In the name of Jesus, you can rebuke them, and they have to flee. Read the Bible. Confess your sins to God. Get some mature Christian to help you with prayer. Begin to director your life more and more towards God and away from sin.

My mom was a counselor in the Sylmar juvenile hall facility in the L.A. area, at the time, the largest in the nation. Kids would come to her to share the frightening secret: they were hearing voices. Frequently, those voices were telling them to kill, either another person or themselves. Guards and psychologists had told these kids they were crazy. My mom no. She prayed for them. They got free from the voices. They had opened themselves to hear those voices from their gang activities (violence, drugs, murder, other things).

As we saw from Robin Williams, you don’t have to be a gang-banger to wrangle with demons. The further you stray from God’s plan, the greater the danger you can actually to start to hear these mean voices.

I feel for the girl who’s cutting, the guy who’s taking anti-depressants, the alcoholic who’s gone over the edge. You can be a supposed mirth-filled person (like Williams) and be struggling privately with deep melancholy. Whatever the case, Jesus IS the answer. Doping people up doesn’t help. Counseling can help. But the real solution is God.

In case you don’t know…

nothing can separate us from the love of GodAbsolutely nothing can/will/shall separate us from the love of God.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,fn neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Rom. 8:28-29 NIV.

All of human history summed up

God'spartySatan tried to crash God’s party.

Dive into the depths

divingWhether its natural treasure or Spanish gold coins, you’ll find it in the depths. You can’t remain on the surface.

So too, a superficial understanding of grace and God misses the treasures. The man who is content to skim the surface, totally ignores the incredible richness he would discover if only he would dive into the depths.

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Live Love Laugh Lord

live love laugh lord

When my soul becomes parched

desert

God turns the desert into lush forests.

If you are passing through a desert — a time of trials, of lack of finances, of marital strife, of sickness, of despondency, of dryness of soul — God will turn it completely around.

New and old followers of Christ


It has been four years since I was missionary in Guatemala. As the years pass, there are old dear friends still in the work — and they warm my heart. Then too, there are new friends, also a joy. The video is of Andrea, who shyly explained what she liked about the school, el Liceo Bilingue La Puerta, that I left working in Guatemala. I’m proud of her.

German Giants

usmntPundits predicted that America OUGHT to win against Ghana, MIGHT tie with Portugal, but STOOD NO CHANCE against Germany. Tomorrow we shall see in the USA´s last World Cup group stage game if the red, white and blue can pass to the next round.

Germany´s football was like their engineering: precise, inerrant, mechanical. America on the other hand had scrapped together what it could, a ragtag band of players, only a few of which were from top leagues around the world.

Clint Dempsey's 34-second goal against Ghana. I don't own the rights to this photo, and I'm not making any money on it.

Clint Dempsey’s 34-second goal against Ghana. I don’t own the rights to this photo, and I’m not making any money on it.

Against Ghana, the USA scored an early goal and weathered a storm of shots for 90 minutes. They were sloppy, lethargic, unambitious. They couldn´t maintain possession. By a miracle of God, they won 2-1.

Against Portugal, America improved greatly. They played open football (that’s soccer, for the uninitiated), maintained possession and set up goals with creative passing. Unfortunately, Michael Bradley gave up the ball to Portugal and a U.S. defender failed to track back with his mark, and that’s how Portugal tied in the last minute.

Germany's goal against Ghana. I don't own the rights to his photo, and I'm not making any money on it

Germany’s goal against Ghana. I don’t own the rights to his photo, and I’m not making any money on it

It was a disappointing end to what would have been an upset (led by Christiano Ronaldo, Portugal is a football powerhouse). But I was happy because the U.S. did much better.

Germany dismantled Portugal but struggled to eke out victory against Ghana. Their mythic precision was off.

Will the Yankee Doodle dudes beat Goliath? Part of the answer lies with belief. They mustn’t cower in fear but like David defy their opponents’ depth of experience, speed and accuracy. They must concentrate without a millisecond of slip-up.

That’s how we Christians should face everyday in God too.

Tear up your prayer list

medical mission The Gambia airport

As we deboarded in The Gambia airport on our recent medical mission.

When most of the requests are already answered by God, there comes a moment of great joy like a graduation.

When your relationship is almost entirely healed. When your children come back to God. When you finally get out of debt. When you finally get into ministry. It may take months or years. But when that day comes, tear up the list and celebrate with a cappuccino.

African children

They were happy just playing with two sticks, smacking them together like drumsticks.

Then make a new list. We’re moving forward and making progress. Today’s satisfactions fill us with hope and faith for tomorrow’s needs. Christianity is a forward-looking faith. Your petitions become praises. You get new petitions. It’s never stagnant, not static, always dynamic.

I am Judas. I am Peter.

002-jesus-questions-peterYou are Jesus. You are the god of your life.

I am Judas. I have betrayed Jesus.

I am Pilate. I have looked for the easy way out.

I am in the multitude. I have preferred my sin and shouted down my Savior

I am Peter. I have run from and denied my Lord.

But as Peter, I will get a second chance to repent and declare my love for Him.

You are Jesus, the god of your life. Good luck at resurrecting yourself.

I worship Jesus. I’ll be waiting for Sunday, the day of the resurrection.

 

Off to Africa

Social scientists can’t understand altruism.

Africa medical missionsMost of them chalk it up to “wanting to feel important.” This makes me laugh. If I just wanted to feel important, why wouldn’t I make a lot of money and be important? There is more to altruism than they want to recognize.

A number of us are going to Africa Thursday to participate in a medical mission. By any measure, it’s not tourism. It’ll be a whole heck of a lot of inconvenience, uncomfortableness, hard work, sweat, and endangering our own health. So why are 50 people WANTING to go on the Lighthouse Medical Mission’s trip this year to Gambia and Guinea Bissau?

I was packing vitamins last week with Dal Basile, whose self-effacing service to humanity inspires me. She’s the nicest lady, but she’ll turn feisty if you so much as drop one vitamin on the floor. They cost 20 cents each, she says. Donations cannot be wasted at all. Thankfully, I didn’t drop a single pill.

If you wish to donate to Africa medical missions, feel free to go to this webpage.

But I admire her fortitude

ScarletLetterBasically, they find grist to throw stones at the Puritans — and by extension, consciously or unconsciously, at all Christianity — from The Scarlet Letter. But I think they’re missing the major plot focusing on the minor theme.

Hester Prynne is a heroine. She reversed her fortunes by overcoming. When they branded her an adulteress (she got pregnant, not by her husband, who was traveling away from her for two years), publicly shaming her, Hester made the extraordinary decision to stay in the same town and bear the stares.

strength from weaknessInstead of running away, she confronted her detractors. Instead of meeting with open rebellion the unjust and hypocritical reviling, she quietly and unassumingly dedicated herself to help the poor of the town. After 7 years, the red “A” on her bosom came to mean “Able” in the eyes of all the town. She journeyed from sinner to saint.

I can’t throw dynamite sticks at the Puritans. Instead, I want to live the life of Hester. I want to quietly show the work God is doing in my life. I want to do the works of God and demonstrate fruit of repentance. No, I haven’t committed adultery. Her example transcends one sin and speaks about the human virtue of overcoming adversity and the triumph of change. She shows how strength can come from weakness.

Help me get to Africa!

Lighthouse Medical MissionsActually, I already have the airfare, but I’m missing supplies. Recently I revisited my ministry in Guatemala. Now God is sending me on the Lighthouse Medical Mission to Guinea Bissau, and I don’t have supplies. A few hundred is all I should need for food, mosquito netting and the like.


Someone donated for the whole airfare already! Thank you! I’m not a doctor but a reporter. I want to spread the good news of this endeavor through various online media. Once I was a reporter for the New York Times, and I want to put those skills to God’s service.

Africa Medical missionDr. Robert Hamilton’s medical missions bring the only care many people get in years — some, in a lifetime. Acute chronic poverty keeps the huddling masses out of medical care in Africa. They even perform minor surgeries. They have saved lives.

Not only do they disburse free meds, the also give soccer balls and the like to bless outright kids who have never known a Christmas gift. If you would like to helps sponsor me, click on the donate button.

If you would like to donate to Dr. Bob’s missions in a bigger way, check out their website here.

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Build upon the good things.

Build

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We can all get along

getting along

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Add sparkle to your life

sparkler girl

How do you define Christianity?

ChristianityCertainly “truth” would be another area for definition. But my faith in the Truth impels me to act. The same love of the Savior buzzes in me, and I cannot stand myself if I am not about Jesus’ business.

Parenthetically, I renounce the idea that I am trying to earn my salvation. I am saved because of Jesus’ work on the cross. Because of Jesus work on the cross, out of sublime gratitude and with joy, I work to alleviate others’ suffering.

And you? How do you define Christianity?

Winners and losers

winner or loserWe divide people into winners and losers.

But in Christianity, we are all losers (because we are all sinners), and Jesus invites us to join the winning team (His).

Jesus was the only Person who was without sin. He triumphed over sin, over Satan and over death.

So we Christians MUST not view anyone as “losers.” Because that’s what we all are. We have been made winners not by our individual accomplishments but by what Christ did for us, adopting us into His kingdom.

To anyone who has not yet become a follower of Christ, I invite you. It can be frustrating trying to be a “winner” in this cruel world. Somebody is always better. Sooner or later, someone will always beat you. Jesus accepts all “losers” and makes them a valuable part of the winning team.

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Keep waiting patiently

Wait on God

Worst enemy

worst enemyI beat myself up more than anyone.

Maybe it was somebody else who had the unrestrained tongue. Why do I rehearse it in my head?

God wants to free us from the rants in our heads. He wants to redeem everything thought and line it up with the loving truth of Christ. The world and the devil will try to slam you. Don’t help them out.

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Sparkle

light

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More than Hercules could

Herculean feat

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That awkward moment

awkward moment

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Success?

Success

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Be careful (with life too!)

reckless

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Pray Like You Mean It

Pray Like You Mean It

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What else is there to do with life?

meaning of life

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See people differently

eyes of eternity

Completely turned around

completely turned aroundIs there anything more beautiful than a life completely turned around?

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True love

true love

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Strive for the prize

Prize in Jesus

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Wouldn’t you open it?

Bible

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Happy New Year!

FocusFuture

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Merry CHRISTmas

emptytomb

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Flip it

bad situations

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Why so many problems?

problems

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The first king sized bed

ATT00257