Archive for September, 2010

REFLECTION: Are you living your life to the full?

Monday, September 27th, 2010

This morning, my dear friend, Shawna, and I had a chance to chat briefly over the phone.  She mentioned that she realized how it was possible to live the full life that was discussed over this weekend’s conference.  In her case, it is fulfilling her call to share her living faith in the resurrected Christ.  Shawna described how alive and fulfilled she felt when she facilitated the Alpha course and how she couldn’t wait to continue the program this Fall.  I added that she probably felt so euphoric and she felt as if she was floating on air.  I then asked if she felt stuck and frustrated when she couldn’t share her faith.

You may wonder how I know what Shawna is experiencing.  No, it’s definitely not because I’m a psychic.  I know because I experience the same.

What would you do if you met someone who loved you more than anyone else in your life?  What if this someone was with you when there was no other words to describe the anguish you were feeling and he was there when you couldn’t reach anyone else?  What if that person consoled you and understood what you were going through and gently helped you stand once again.  What if this person encouraged and taught you to believe in yourself and he gave you the inner strength to face what you had always ran away from.  And what if that someone was willing to help anyone else who is struggling in the same way you once struggled.  Would you not want to run around and tell everyone that he/she could have the same?

Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (Acts 17:11)  Not only does He want us to have life, but He wants us to live it to the full!

This weekend, we were told to live in our heritage.  Shawna mentioned that, often times, the speaker ends there, failing to explain to the others what they are missing.  If you could hear Shawna express the love, the joy and the peace she experiences, you could very well say that she was so “smittenly” in love and she has fallen head over heals over her lover.  In fact, that is exactly what she is experiencing!

What many fail to understand is that many of us who are filled with the Holy Spirit experience the same loving, personal and intimate relationship Shawna experiences with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  As we spend more time with the Father, we hunger for more.

In her book “An Arrow in His Hand”, Maria Vadia writes “This is how a personal relationship with the Lord is developed and nurtured: spending time with Him daily.  This is how a friendship is cultivated.  This is is how we fall in love with Jesus more and more.  As this friendship and intimacy develops, the Lord promises to show us His covenant and we learn to recognize His voice.  We transition from servants to friends…’No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing: but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.’ (John 15: 14-15)  ..It is in that place of intimacy that we are changed and transformed; that’s where we hear His voice and we receive His vision and guidance; that’s from where His power and anointing flow.  …No wonder the enemy tries hard to keep us away from spending time with the Lord!”

Regardless of how much Shawna and I would want you to share our experience, we can only point you in that direction.  An intimate and personal relationship is required between you and Jesus alone.   Unfortunately, we can’t do the work for you.  He wants to know you intimately Himself.

May the Father give you the grace and the faith to say “yes” to His invitation to come to know Him personally and may He enable you to live your life to the full.

God bless,

Melissa

REFLECTION: Have you toyed with the occult?

Friday, September 24th, 2010

One evening, several months back, I came across a show called Rescue Medium.  Intrigued by the title, I decided to tune in and I watched and listened while the two ladies speculated on what they would encounter in their forthcoming rescue.  As they interviewed the family involved, the teenagers were asked if they had played with the Ouija Board.  Both girls immediately denied any involvement, but with further prodding, they eventually acknowledged that they had toyed with the board in their family home.  To my surprise, both ladies groaned with disappointment and subsequently commented that that is what opened the portal to the paranormal activity experienced within.

Not Christian based, I was surprised to hear a word of caution given so readily about the Ouija Board all throughout the show.  As God’s prayer warriors, we have been repeatedly taught about the dangers brought about by the occult and satanic involvement, and the Ouija Board has always been mentioned among those on top of the list.  The fact that these two ladies discussed the danger so openly on a reality show confirms that the threat and danger is very real and its danger is readily recognized even by those who do not profess to be Christian.

Society’s fascination in the occult today has increased exponentially.  Perhaps the need for a heightened “wow” factor has arrived and/or perhaps the enemy has dared to reveal a little more of himself under the guise of theatrics.   Regardless of reason, what would happen IF society fails to stay alert and what IF society fails to recognize that the devil exists?

May the Father open our spiritual eyes so we may see…

God bless,

Melissa

p.s.

http://www.keydeliverance.org/MINISTRY/renouncingoccult.html

“Many Christians do not realize the strong entrapment that results from exposure to the occult. Often the infection from exposure goes undetected until severe consequences manifest.

Many Believers mistakenly assume all effects of such contact are automatically removed at conversion. Like curses, however, we must act if we want total freedom.

Understanding is needed:

First: realize how abominable the occult is to God. It is distinctly rebellious to acknowledge the help of evil spirits even as a joke. For this reason God requires us to renounce every occult contact individually.

Second: understand that direct association is not required for oppression from occult spirits. Ignorance will not protect you in the presence of evil. Oppression can come by simply being in the presence of occult practice. Satan doesn’t play fair.

Third: understand that such exposure has allowed unclean spirits or demons to enter you. You must cast out these occult spirits. To renounce the occult spirits or practices is not enough. The demons must specifically be told to leave.

Fourth: because some of these evil spirits are strong, you may need help to break completely free.

Occultism is participation or involvement in any way with fortune telling, magic practices, spiritism, or false religious cults and teachings. Contact with the occult may have occurred in childhood. Sometimes people completely forget past exposures. Occult involvement can also come from previous generations involvements. An individual can inherit psychic ability or a familiar spirit. (See Deut. 5:7-9)”

Further links:

http://paranormal.about.com/library/weekly/aa012102a.htm

http://www.allabouttheoccult.org/experiences-with-the-ouija-board-faq.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvDeysgjOe8&feature=related <- The Danger of the Ouija Board – CBN.com

Reflection in the garden: Will you shine?

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

I had no intention of writing today.  In fact, my mood was rather rotten and I had warned my husband about it.  Unable to vent an unexplainable frustration that appeared to be brewing within, I ventured outdoors once more in hopes of soaking a little bit of sunshine and perhaps digging and pruning a little to expel nervous energy.

Although my mind had recognized that summer was over, my spirit and my body didn’t seem to embrace it yet.  Perhaps wishful thinking for an extended summer has such an effect, but reality finally sunk in when I began to cut down spent flower stalks that once gaily lifted aromatic, breathtaking blooms.

The Father briefly reminded me of a testimony that I had briefly skimmed through just before I headed outdoors.  Under regular circumstances, I would have devoured every single word, but my agitated mood prevented me from appreciating what was shared.  The Father then reminded me once again of the changing season and gradually, things began to fall into place.

Seasons come and go and likewise, we experience good times and difficult times in our life journey.  Although we may  carefully plan for grand, exciting moments, what we actually experience may not exactly coincide with what we had anticipated.

This summer brought much sorrow for several of us.  Our parish and school community had lost two members much earlier than we had expected.  Although the remnants of the pain and sorrow still linger, a new school year has begun and life continues on.

How does one carry on when so much pain and grief hold us back?  At times, responsibilities forces us to move forward and we are able to put aside the pain, and activity and mobility help us on.  Often times, focusing on the needs of others rather than one’s own does wonders.  But what happens in the darkest and loneliest moments of the night, when no one is around and when nothing seems to alleviate the pain?

My fervent prayer is that God the Father will find us there, crying and waiting for His help.  I don’t believe that comes easy though.  Often times, it is only after we have cried and remained in our torment for hours, days, and even months that we are truly ready to receive what He is offering.  What happens in the mean time?  I believe the Father sends others who have similarly experienced and hurt our way to encourage us on.  Perhaps because He knows we won’t accept him at the moment, he sends others who have met Him on their own journey to guide us along for a while.

Perhaps blind faith isn’t what is needed to give us strength and healing.  Perhaps it is the living experience of another with Jesus that will help us realize that He does understand what we are going through because He, too,  experienced pain and agony  himself.  And perhaps that is why the Father reminded me of the testimony I had briefly skimmed through, to show me that He is still with me even when my sullen mood attempts to hide  Him from my sight.

May the Father give us the courage to share what He has done in our lives and may He give us the grace to allow His light to shine through us, so that others may come to know Him too.

God bless,

Melissa

p.s. – For those who wonder, I often have no idea what the contents of my reflections will be until after I finish writing it and I have a chance to read it myself.  Full credit must be given to the Holy Spirit because I am often amazed at what I read.  As my best buddy, Nancy, would say…”We know when the Holy Spirit takes over.”  May all the praise and glory be given to the Holy Spirit!

REFLECTION: A lamp unto my feet?

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Today, my dear “boing” friend (“boing” because we both have Tigger-like personalities), Pennie wrote…“Speaking of thoughts… just a wee side note… seems you are focused on the weeds… sometimes the weeds in our lives get too much focus, don’t you think?  Least the ones in my life do, far too often, when my focus should be on the answer… Jesus, the living Word and Truth.  He has provided all I need for everything I need.”

Pennie speaks the truth and hence my reason for sharing her thoughts with you.  Although I haven’t asked her yet, she already functions as one of my accountability partners and I am indebted to her and my few other dear friends who hold me accountable for my thoughts, words and actions or lack of them.  I believe I am truly blessed to have a few who care enough for me that they dare to point out my blind spots in a gentle and loving manner.  They could very easily berate or nag at me, but we all know that wouldn’t get any of us anywhere.  However, as we lovingly share and correct each other, we know that our willingness to see and to correct our ways is just around the corner.

I must confess that at times, I function blindly, perhaps because I am immediately reacting to raw emotions rather than bringing my baggage to the Lord while we talk and “hang out” together.  Without realizing it, many of us carry too much baggage around and we either forget or we don’t realize that we can drop everything off at the foot of Jesus’ cross.  Isn’t that the reason why he said…“Come to me, all of you who are weary and loaded down with burdens, and I will give you rest.”?  (Matt 11:28 – Intl Std Version)

Pennie reminds me to “focus on the answer…Jesus, the living Word and Truth”.  She knows that as we focus on Him, healing and counsel take place.  Perhaps because she is a “boing-boing” herself, she knows that I move around a lot and perhaps she knows that it is difficult to focus on one thing  if I am moving in every direction in such a short time span.  And the Father says…“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)  I hear myself asking the Father, “Be still?  Me?  Be still?” and the Father gently answers…”Yes, you my child.  Be still.”  I no longer have to ask how because scripture and experience has taught me “Not by power nor by might, but by my Spirit” says the Lord. (Zech 4:6)  As I choose to surrender myself and my will to Him, things begin to flow more easily.  Nevertheless, we do need to keep in mind that the devil, the enemy, continues to lurk around, trying to convince us that we don’t need to focus on God nor is it “cool” to surrender oneself to him.

Perhaps some of you have already began to notice that I have high-lighted some sentences in black.  I do so, hoping that it will help us all identify the words of life found in the Bible.

May the Father give us the grace and desire to read His word of life and learn to use them so that we can eventually claim…“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”

God bless,

Melissa

REFLECTION in the garden: Stop toying with my mind!

Friday, September 17th, 2010

I woke up with a cluttered mind this morning.  When this happens, I often find myself drawn to the garden to weed.  Yup, you heard right, I head out to weed.

I became a big threat to weeds many, MANY years ago during  one of my earlier bouts of depression.  Depression and I first came face to face after our second was born.  My hormone levels may have gotten a little wonky in the process of the short cut to child birth ( a.k.a. a c-section).  I’ve had 3 and with each one, my extended arms (extended to take my vitals)  flutter as the epidural concoction charges through my body.   Perhaps the epidural mix caused havoc and my hormones got “lazy” and they hibernate from time to time.

During the tail end of one bout, as the Father exposed a few critical items that were hampering my health, I headed out to the garden and I began to pull weeds.  As I pulled and pulled, the Father mentioned that the roots had to come out so that new growth would NOT come about once again.

Today, as I began to weed, the Father, once again, began to reveal some items that needed attention.  Although healing had already taken place, there were still multiple  layers that beckoned to to be pulled out and remnant roots were disclosed.

While at it, I noticed some floral and greenery overgrowth and I decided it was finally time to transplant them elsewhere.  I realized that many “branches” were tangled and as I began to untangle them,  thoughts came to mind.  The first one was about that massive tomato plant that I had to untangle in the midst of  summer.  I began to ponder over why my plants seemed to get themselves tangled and immediately following that, a nasty thought came by.  The strong accusing thought clearly stated “It’s because of YOU.  You’re no good and that’s why your plants get tangled!”

I scratched my head for a moment and then I realized where that thought came from.  It was from the accuser.  Perhaps many are not aware that the biggest battlefield on earth is between the ears of humans.  The devil, our enemy, is very real and he loves to accuse us and to destroy us.  How do I know?  Many others have spoken about it and with that knowledge and through practise,  I’ve learned to recognize it when it happens.

Care to join me in an analysis?  What message doesn’t fit in with my original train of thought?  Which thoughts hold no truth and were implanted to make me doubt myself?  “It’s because of YOU.  You’re no good and that’s why your plants get tangled!”  Isn’t it interesting to note how those thoughts came out of no where and how destructive they are?

Scripture clearly states… “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”(1 Peter 5:8)While Jesus says” The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”  (John 10:10)

IF I didn’t have fore-knowledge of scripture and teaching and IF I didn’t recognize the schemes of the devil, I could have very easily succumbed to the lies that were planted and continued to entertain them until I felt defeated.

May the Father give us the desire to learn and to study Scripture so that we can be ready when the devil pounces.

God bless,

Melissa – September 17, 2010

p.s. –

For further reading please refer to: http://www.victorious.org/devil.htm


REFLECTION in the garden: We’ve got bear poop!

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Since the new school year has begun and my “chauffering” skills are needed once again by our youngest, early morning walks through our garden are limited.  While Guan is back home, the task is shared, and this morning, I wandered off into the garden with a peanut butter sandwich in hand (“not so little one” didn’t want it for breakfast) and a mug of coffee.  The cool, morning fresh air invigorated my mind and the surrounding beauty brought about so much peace and joy.  And then, like the comedies on film (Your imagination for a loud screech is needed here…COME ON, we need  drama!) my eyes caught sight of the toppled “bungeed secured” garbage can with many discarded items “masterfully” pulled out of it.  My first thought was the neighbour’s dog.  As I wandered off to the backyard, and as my eyes scanned the beauty the Father had blessed us with, a distinct large, brown blob over the luscious green grass caught my eye.  Dog poop was the first thing on my mind, but as I examined the dropping carefully, I immediately realized that we were visited by a bear.

It breaks my heart to realize that one has come down this far and is now, perhaps, wandering around our neighbourhood.  If the bear continues it’s walk here, a massive bear trap would be brought in and hopefully, the bear will find itself behind temporary bars rather than meeting it’s final day with a stinging bullet.

Have you noticed that, at times, the life we live “rolls out” similarly?  Hopefully, exciting events meet us each day and then suddenly, a threat brings us to a screeching halt.  “Stranger danger” bells start to ring and we are on guard and alert for a possible intrusion.   “Regular” life often doesn’t flow in that manner though.  We normally carry on with our lives with very little defense security put up and eventually, if our eyes are open, we begin to notice “unseeded plants” sprouting in our lives.  Many of us don’t slow down for long enough to notice these unwelcomed sprouts until they grow larger and they purposely manifest their presence.  Often times, because we fail to look out for the tell-tale signs and we failed to weed these seedlings out earlier, we are hit hard and we finally realize that trouble is imminent.

Many times, as the Father draws me to His garden, I’ve notice that many unwanted seedlings have sprouted here and there.  I’ve often asked the Father how the seeds manage to embed themselves and He reminds me that at times, those “invisible” seeds are scattered by the wind (society and environment we live in) and they have landed in “open” areas before I had laid down any protective bark mulch.  Today, He clearly reminded me how much we need to be aware of what is and has been going on in our lives because consequences from UGLY bad habits will eventually surface.  The Father also stressed that extensive focus on doing good deeds, as in bringing in a variety of new plants into the garden, while ignoring the weeding process (reflection, confession and turning away from bad habits and moving towards better ones…) will eventually bring trouble.

May the Father give us the grace to recognize tell-tale signs that would help us prevent calamity (IF we would only heed them) and may He give us the mercy and grace to choose to pull the “weeds” out and correct our wrong.

God bless,

Melissa

p.s. – Isn’t it interesting that when we focus more on “what I have done”, it is eventually “what I have failed to do” that gets us into trouble?

PENETENTIAL RITES.

I confess to almighty God and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and what I have failed to do.  And I ask blessed virgin Mary and all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God, AMEN.

REFLECTION in the garden: Have you benefited from someone else’s prayer?

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

As the days grow longer and as the evening temperatures begin to dip, many of our perennial plants are gradually changing color and dropping their leaves in preparation for Winter.  Animals that hibernate are noted to eat more voraciously now to store up fat, while insects, such as the “energizer” ants that keep going and going, begin to “harvest” and store their winter meals.  I believe our aboriginal brothers and sisters did the same in the past.

Because of the advancement of technology, many of us are no longer required to plan ahead, to gather and store what we need for darker days.  Rather than engaging in preparation, many of us continue on, busily running here and there in attempt to keep up with our tight, demanding schedules.  I often wonder how we manage to keep up with filled calendars, but a step or two backwards has allowed me to look at the bigger picture and has helped me realize that if we CHOOSE to slow down and if we CHOOSE to minimize scheduling future events, our lives would be so much simpler and we would be able to live more relaxed, healthier lives.

In the journey called life, no one, not even Jesus, is exempted from trials and difficulties.  In Mark 1:35-37 we learn the following...”Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.  And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him.  When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” Rather than sleeping in or joining in the gaiety of the morning with his disciples, Jesus slipped away to spend time alone with the Father.  Did Jesus know something that his disciples had not known?  Perhaps by reviewing the previous scene we will discern what was to come…“That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed.  The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases.  He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.” Mark 1:32-34.  I believe Jesus knew that in the proper time, His identity as the Son of God would be revealed and He was well aware of the persecution and torment that would follow.  In my mind’s eye, I believe Jesus knew He needed encouragement and so He chose to slip away so He could spend time with the Father.

When our days are bright and the journey of life is smooth, I believe many of us find no reason to spend time in prayer and we continue on in our merry way.  Very often we forget that dark clouds eventually come and when the torrential downpour begins, we find ourselves totally lost and confused.  And when we no longer are able to function self-sufficiently, we humble ourselves and call out for help.  We often find ourselves running from one to another and when we are totally defeated because no other can give us what we need, we ask another for prayer.  PRAYER… a very special, intimate moment when one chooses to come before the Father.    We may often find that we don’t come to prayer ourselves because we don’t know how and because we don’t know  our Creator.  We may have often felt that we didn’t need to because we had handled everything on our own.  But now, when we realize we can no longer help ourselves and others fail to do any better, we seek for those who know the Father so that they can intercede for us.

Because someone or many others prayed, healing comes, accompanied by a new found freedom and overflowing love.  A cross road is reached and a new question arises.  Should you now choose to come in prayer and acquaint yourself with your Healer or should you return, once again, to the way it used to be, leaving those who had prayed for you to intercede for themselves and perhaps to intercede for you again in the future?

God bless,

Melissa – September 14, 2010