Archive for June, 2011

REFLECTION in the Garden : What are you growing in your garden?

Monday, June 27th, 2011

What are you growing in your garden?  I am sure avid gardeners would mention one prized flowering plant after another.  I would consider myself an avid gardener myself, but unfortunately, names don’t mean much to me.  Perhaps, much of it has to do with the fact that I am a DISCOUNT avid gardener and I always look for plants that are on sale.  I often go by the garbage dispensers of garden shops, peeking in to see if there is one plant or another that I could “rescue” by pulling and cutting off dead and/ or broken pieces and replanting them in fertile soil.  At times, the soil may not be as fertile as I would like, but a dash of fertilizer and a regular dose of water and sunshine go a long way… and the plant comes back to life and brings a surprising joy with the blooms that come forth the following year.

As we spent time together in His garden this morning, the Father taught much.  He reminded me once again that I needed to weed on a regular basis, excavating invasive plants whose seeds had imbedded themselves while I was not watching.  At His vegetable garden, He “pointed” to some of the lettuce leaves that had been partially eaten by slugs and to the other yellowing leaves on the surrounding plants.  He gently reminded me that these had to be pulled off so that the plants’ nourishments would not be wasted on those that would not be consumed, but the plants’ energy would be better used to nurture other parts that were healthy and green.

The Father explained that similarly, it was prudent for me to regularly weed away unhealthy new traits which I had picked up along the way, less they become habits that destroy my character.  The “holey” and yellowing leaves are similar to the negative, unhealthy traits which I continue to harbor in my life.  Nurturing these traits would do me no good as they take away my focus and need to cultivate those positive ones that would help me become a strong, healthy individual.

As I continued to garden, the Father brought my thoughts back to another e-mail which I had addressed before we ventured outdoors.  I had replied…

“Thank you for your extensive e-mail.  Based on what I have read, it is evident that you do NOT need any assistance.  You appear to know all and claim to know all.  I am sensing that it is best to move on.  I will also refrain from lifting you up in prayer, as even in my prayer, you have a very strong desire to challenge and debate.  I have no desire and time to take part in that.

The Father has called each of us to spread His Good News.  That is the Great Commission for each who are called by His name.

May the peace and love of God be with you XXX”

I wouldn’t be surprised if my friend, Mario, would “fall off his seat” once again when he reads this reflection.  Es bien mi amigo. Sólo me sigan manteniendo en vuestras oraciones.  (I didn’t write that… I used the Spanish translator!  Nevertheless, it is the translation for…  “It is well my friend.  Just continue to keep me in your prayers.)  I do ask for your ongoing prayers as well!

When I first began my conversation with this individual, I was under the impression that I was communicating with a young one who was searching for answers about his faith walk.  To my surprise, my correspondent now appears to be a man of years and he appears to be extremely set in his ways.  I kept reminding the Father that I thought he was young and the Father kept reminding me that it was okay.  He then expanded on it as we stood in front of His rose plants.  He asked me to look and see which leaves had been mottled with black spots.  I answered, “The mature thick ones.”  He asked why I was pulling them off and I answered “Because we don’t want the young ones to get contaminated with the
fungus that caused the same.”  He then asked, “Why are you making sure that you are removing every infected leaf from the soil below.”  I answered, “So that the soil does not get re-infected when these leaves disintegrate.”

As if in jest, the Father asked me to look at my left arm.  He asked, “What do you see?” “Age spots, Lord.” was my reply.  (The Father has a sense of humor.  That’s where I got mine from….right Pennie???!!!????)  The Father then explained that at times, older ones are set in their ways and there is really no point in arguing with them.  Like these mature leaves, they have already been “infected” by their ways and extensive chemical treatment would not remove these spots from them.  He reminded me that it was necessary to keep the “young ones” from these set ways and that I, too, needed to stay away from them less I myself become infected.  He then added that, I too, had to be vigilant less I be set in my own ways.

The Father then reminded me of how I tend to get lost when I stick to my pre-conceived notions.  Although it appears hilarious now, I always manage to drive to the wrong place because I fail to follow the driving instructions to my desired locations.  Believing that I know where I am going, I follow my pre-conceived driving route and I end up miles away from where I want to be.  Unless I can be otherwise convinced that I do not know where I am going, I will continue to insist that I know where I am going until my final destination proves that I really didn’t know where I was going.  I shiver when I think of this and the final destiny each of us may find ourselves in for eternity.

What are you growing in your garden?  May the Father give us willing and open hearts to examine ourselves and recognize where we err and may he gave us the grace and the deep desire to change and become more like Him.

God bless,

Melissa – June 26, 2011

p.s.  Psalm 139: 23-24

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGPmMcDeRpM&feature=related <- Create in me a Clean Heart (musical)

Psalm 51: 1-4; 10 – 13

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.

Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.

Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speakand justified when you judge.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.



REFLECTION: Disappointment in ourselves and in our fellow man…

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

Why do we become terribly disappointed when we or our fellow man fail?  In his recollection last Monday, Fr. Soria gave a very interesting introspection.  It is because we try to play god.  He explains that “As a consequence of original sin, a terrible disaster came to earth.  There was a terminal disorder.  Sin was introduced into a universe which God created so pure and so good.  Man turned his will into God’s will.  Men began to have devious desires to be like little gods.  We act like gods in our families, in our work place, in our fantasies…  That is the reason why we become so disappointed when we fail… because we have attempted to play god.”

Fr. Soria’s profound and powerful insight had an immediate impact on me.  I began to see how the very thought of each individual attempting to play god could bring about so much destruction and turmoil.  Anger would immediately arise when others chose to do their own will rather than ours.  Been there, done that?  I think it’s a scary realization…

Most of us realize that we all are mere humans and we all are prone to error.  And yet, there are times when we forget that all our fellow men are mere humans.  At times, we unconsciously put some on pedestals, treating them like gods, so that when they fall, the world’s view of their error appears grander than when an ordinary person falls.

People in power and people in authority are among those who are often put on pedestals.  Unfortunately, many desire and expect to be lifted up to places destined only for God.  I suppose it is because they are lifted so high above others that they fall even harder.

I am under the impression that those who embrace the gift of humility and those who submit themselves to God are those who are able to keep their pride in check and who refuse to be put on pedestals.  Mother Theresa of Calcutta immediately comes to mind.  She was highly praised by many for the tremendous good she had done and yet she was able to continue on in her humble ways.  Similarly, Jesus, although He is God, chose the humble route.  I would very much like to walk in His ways.

Of late, I have heard a little more than I had expected about one who had risen so high and who had fallen.  I am not aware of this ones thoughts and sentiments, but I have been made aware of the sentiments of some who have followed him ever so closely.  Extreme anger, disappointment, betrayal, devastation and “so lost “ are among the words that express what is within some.  I can appreciate these sentiments to some degree, but it is the grandiosity in scale of how these sentiments are felt that bother me.

I asked, “Why are they so angry when they knew he was merely human?”  The answer perplexed me…”But who said he was a mere human?”  My mind had difficulty accepting what was said and yet I knew deep within that those who had followed were devout in their “pilgrimage” with this one.  They followed him to remote places that were said to be holy; they were willing participators in risky treks which he claimed would do them good…willing to camp out alone in the desert darkness; willing to “tight walk” high above trees to conquer their fear of heights; willing to cough out thousands of dollars and to abandon family in order to participate and to be considered his inner circle…so as to walk, sit and sup with him.

And yet he is a mere human who is now charged for gross negligence over the loss of 3 individuals…which included one who walked ever so closely with him.

Could they not see that he was a mere human?  What did he do to instill such a following, that they no longer questioned his integrity?  These were educated men and women who consciously chose to embrace his words, his ways and they were so willing to draw others and to train them to follow his ways.

And yet… why did they embrace his ways and not the ways of God?  Were his ways so radical that it brought immense good and joy into their lives?  Did they fail to see that by following him, they had compromised their roles as spouses, fathers and mothers, bringing havoc within their families and yet they believed they were living ideal lives?  Why did it require the death of 3 to shake them and awaken them from their “ideal, fantasy life” to clearly see the truth that many had seen so readily and yet they chose to deny?

Grief fills my heart as I reflect on things such as these.  A terrible disorder has fallen upon planet earth and yet many consciously choose to reject the simple, true and free Solution that God has offered the world.  Instead, many have chosen other ways in their fellow men to fulfill their needs and to attempt to fill the deep, God-shaped emptiness that is within themselves.

It is now too late for the 3 that have been lost, but my prayer is that the Father will open the eyes of the thousands who have followed him and that they will see that there is only ONE true God…the God who created the world and mankind and the very One who is calling mankind back to His heart.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; (Jesus said) I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.John 10:10

God bless,

Melissa (June 25, 2011)

p.s. – John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

REFLECTION IN THE GARDEN: How do we trust God in times of trouble?

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

I’m not certain why, but it is when I’m tending His garden that the Father speaks the loudest and the clearest.  Perhaps it is because I am not distracted by a hundred and one things and analyzing them simultaneously, that I hear a little more clearly.  Or, perhaps focusing on one single task rather than multiple ones helps too.

Before I wandered out this morning, I came across an e-mail from an acquaintance who had mentioned that a young man had lost his life to brain cancer.  Many of us had prayed for him several months ago.   I had an opportunity to speak to his mother while she was here and she mentioned that she believed he would live.  Things didn’t turn out as we had prayed for and my heart breaks for the one who had lost.  And yet, without my grasping why, my faith allows me to believe that the Father had given her the grace to continue to believe and to carry on.  Blind faith in itself would do no good, but true faith in the One who saves has, is, and will forever do wonders!

My thoughts moved on to the memory where she had mentioned that John was the one who had financially provided for her and her husband.  I have no idea how old they are, and I wonder how they are doing.  As I prayed, the Father reminded me of His promise…

“Do Not Worry

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns,  and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow.   They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we  drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your  heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his  righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”” Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV)

I whispered to the Father, telling Him that His promise was so easy to quote and yet, I  confessed that if I was in a similar position, I would probably be the first to fall and to worry.   I then asked Him to help my unbelief.  I told Him that it wasn’t easy to have faith when the world around us was falling apart.  He then reminded me once again that it was “not by (our) power, nor by (our) might, but by His Spirit” (Zech 4:6) that it is possible.  He then added…  “’My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Cor 12:9)

The Father was silent for a while as He permitted me to reflect and ponder over things. As I reached out for my package of seeds and I began to sprinkle them over the tilled soil, I began to gradually understand.

I had “faith” to believe that if I planted the seeds on fertile soil and if I watered them regularly and I ensured that they received sufficient sun rays, these seeds would eventually germinate, grow and bloom.  My job was to ensure that the seeds and fertile soil were brought together and to ensure that sufficient water was provided to support its life.  It was then up to the Father to do His part, to perform His miracle and to put and bring about life into the dormant seeds.

While buried in the soil, there is nothing else that I can physically do to help the seeds on.  Patience and trust is required and faith that a miracle would happen in God’s time.  If I chose to dig up the seeds every so often to determine how they were progressing, I would do more harm than allowing time to do its part.  My medling could and would most likely interfere with the mystery of God’s miracle, possibly tearing up microscopic roots and damaging other parts that would be crucial for its growth.

The Father then shared another insight.  Faith, hope and grace are like the seeds that are planted.  They have to be planted in fertile soil (in our willing hearts) in order for them to germinate.  Just as in the garden, we have to do our part in nurturing (developing)these gifts less they fail to reach their full potential. If we fail to water (spend time with God) regularly and if we allow stray seeds (doubt, fear, anger) to outgrow these chosen seeds, we fail to progress further than where we started.

But impatience often gets in the way and we often “pester” God, insisting that they be available sooner than later.  And yet, as we wait on Him, we begin to realize that the gifts have already been given and the Father has already begun to cultivate them in our lives.

Father God, we ask that you look after John’s parents.  We ask that you provide for their daily bread.  And Lord, guide us and teach us to turn to You in times of trouble and help us believe and trust that You are ALWAYS with us.  We pray for all these in Jesus’ precious name, AMEN.
God bless,

Melissa ( June 20-21/2011)

p.s. –

Matthew 13

The Parable of the Sower

1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil.  It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

The Parable of the Weeds

24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27
“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’


28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

The Parable of the Weeds Explained

36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”

37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom.  The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.


REFLECTION: The reaction…

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Ten thousand people gathered on the streets of downtown Vancouver yesterday afternoon to watch the 7th hockey game leading towards the 2011 Stanley Cup victory.  The game didn’t play the way the fans had hoped for and it was evident the local hockey team would take a loss.

Many a times, things don’t turn out the way we hope for and it is how we react to the unexpected turn of events that determines how our life unfolds.

Shameful, destructive and horrifying behavior quickly unfolded within minutes after the game and the violence grew as darkness settled in.  Cars were overturned and ignited, fights broke out, windows were smashed in and stores were looted.  The city quickly became a riot zone and deep shame fell over Vancouver.  The bird’s eye view taken by helicopter revealed what looked like a riot in a war torn country, but it was the wide smiles on the faces of many with their phone cameras at hand, posing amidst the destruction, that revealed the feverish hand of the evil one.

A heavy wave of evil hovered and spread over the city for at least 2 hours last night. It was evident violence had been organized by a small mob prior to the event, but what was appalling was how quickly the crowd was overcome by the mob mentality.  The violence enacted by a small group spurred many others to do the same.  When morning comes, will those involved ponder over what had happened?  Would many question what had overcome them and wonder why they had succumbed to such behavior?  Would many regret their involvement or would they claim victory in their participation and would they believe there would not be any consequence for their ugly behavior?  And then again, would many even consider pausing for a while to reflect on what went on last night?

A large majority of the crowd immediately veered away from the destruction and violence.  Those interviewed expressed embarrassment and disgust, one asking why a loss in a hockey game would cause some to destroy their OWN city.

Who were among those who engaged in the violence?  Newscasts confirmed that most of them were young men… the very ones who may govern our future while we, who are in the same age group as their parents, would have to submit to their leadership.  A similar prior event in 1994 echoed in the minds of many and effort had been pre-arranged to circumvent a repeat performance.  And yet, destruction and violence still revealed their heads.  Where did we go wrong?  Had we not learned from our past or was there an innate desire in some to repeat history?

As we (the Father and I) continued to “wrestle” over this matter this afternoon, different thoughts came to mind.  Have our young adults who had been nurtured and entertained by the violence in the computer / video games and over the television set become desensitized to violence and destruction?  Have they been exposed one time too often to such an evil environment that their participation and re-enactment last night was viewed merely as a virtual game?  Did they believe that they had 3 or more lives in store to resurrect them that they did not fear the danger they had engaged in.  Is that why the young man ran right through the top of a car that was engulfed by flames?

Earlier in the evening, a newscaster had been heard asking where the parents were of these young adults?  The question was asked if they knew where they were and what they were engaged in?  Two of mine were with the crowds and fervent prayers were lifted to the Father, pleading for their safety and for the safety of all the others.  Relief filled my heart when they arrived home safely and yet my heart continued to plead for those who seemed mesmerized and were lured to continue to remain out there amidst the violence.  What about the street folk who had no homes to return to and to seek refuge in.  Had they been drawn into the violence too or had they chosen to stay away?

Father God, we ask once again for Your forgiveness.  We each are so prone to falling and in the activity of our days, we forget that You continue to hold out your hand to bring us to Your secure and stable foundation.  Come Lord Jesus and fill us anew.  Teach us to pray for each other and for the children of the world.  Lord Jesus, you didn’t ask the Father to take your apostles out of this world, but You asked the Father to keep them from the evil one.  Father, we ask for the same.  Would you keep us and our children and the generations to come from the evil one?  Thank You for the lessons learned and we ask that you strengthen our inner man.  Father God, help us to finish our earthly race in victory so we may forever spend eternity with You.  We pray for all these in Jesus’ mighty name, AMEN.

God bless,

Melissa – June 16, 2011

p.s. –

Instructions for Christian Living

17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4: 17 – 32

REFLECTION: How will he find us?

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011


“For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be.  I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.”

How would you react if you received a letter as such?  When I came across these words for the first time, my heart grieved as I immediately wondered if this is what the writer would find in our communities today.

This letter was penned by the Apostle Paul and it can be found in 2 Corinthians 12:20.  Paul wrote these letters around 53 – 57 AD to the Corinthian Church.

Isn’t it sad to realize that we haven’t changed much?  Would you agree that it wouldn’t be surprising if this is exactly what Paul would find if he visited us today?  But what if he found the very like in our parishes and in our faith communities?  Wouldn’t it be better for Paul to find us this way than for Jesus to see us in this state?  Perhaps a spiritual inventory is in order for each of us so as to discern who and what we really have become.

Have we become too comfortable where we are and have we become complacent?  In her TV teaching (http://www.joycemeyer.org/broadcasthome.aspx – June 13, 2011), Joyce Meyer stresses that “Christians have become passive”.  She adds that “You can’t catch holiness, but just like a cold, evil can be caught if you stand around and do nothing.  If you are not aggressive and actively doing right, you will become like your surroundings.  The change comes gradually and you don’t realize that you have changed.”

John teaches the same in Philippians 2:12-13…

…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose”.

I’ve often questioned why we need to “continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling”, but of late, I am beginning to understand why.  The Father has brought me to the book of Jude to expand on this… (The scripture is long, but please consider reading it in full.)

3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. 4 For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. 5Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. (Even the angels are not spared.) 7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

8 In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings. 9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10 Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them.

11 Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion. 12 These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. 13 They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.

14 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15 to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” 16 These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.

A Call to Persevere

17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. 20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

May Jesus find each of us ready…


God bless,

Melissa (June 14, 2011)

REFLECTION: Games People Play (a teachable moment on Intercessory Prayer)

Monday, June 13th, 2011

I received a very interesting e-mail this morning from a woman who had asked me to intercede for her.  Here is a portion of her e-mail…

“Melissa, you were simply asked to say a prayer – no more no less.  So, you either say the prayer as requested and close it at that or, you don’t say a prayer, keep quiet, and move on.  Simple, easy, and end of the matter. Your added remarks were not necessary.

I hope you think twice before responding in the same manner to other requesting prayers from you.”

Ouch!

Through God’s grace, this is what I replied to her..

“Thank you for your e-mail.  Perhaps you do not understand intercessory prayer or prayer per se. Prayer is not a one way street.  A bigger part of prayer is listening to what the Father says in response to our request.  These are the precious moments when and where we learn from God and we hear Him guiding us.

It is evident that you are not pleased with my response even when I speak from my heart at the prompting of the Father. I would encourage you to examine your response…
What do you see there?  I pick up a lot of anger and manipulation.  You asked me to intercede on your behalf so you can move forward. Apparently you are not willing to take the counsel that is given to help you move forward.   That’s okay.  We each exercise our free will.

I would like to suggest that such an angry attitude will not help anyone move forward.  I used to be very angry before and I didn’t manage to get anywhere except get more infuriated.  It was only when I began to let go of my anger and my desire to control my life and my surroundings that I was able to see things in a different light.  As I humbled and submitted my will to the Father, He transformed me.

As we took a stroll last night, my husband mentioned that he hasn’t seen me so relaxed, happy and at peace since we got married almost 26 years ago.  We had many struggles and trials and we were often after each other’s neck, but it was by God’s promptings and directions that we were able to stay in our marriage.  I am a different person now than who I was years ago.  So is my husband.  We both have come so far because the Father had put the desire to change in our hearts and we each realized we needed to change.  The Father always provides the way and we merely have to choose to go one way or another.

May the peace of Christ be with you XXX.”

The Father then immediately reminded me of what Msgr. Greg had previously shared…  “If someone rejects you, take back the peace you had offered them and bring it along with you.”  In essence, Msgr. was reminding us not to leave dejected, but to leave with God’s peace in our hearts.  (As you enter the home, give  it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.” Matt 10:12-14)  THANK YOU LORD!

Your mind must now be wondering what is going on.  Without disclosing the individual’s identity and for the sole purpose of “teaching”, let me share with you how the story began…

“Good Morning Melissa (On Thu, Jun 9, 2011 at 8:44 AM, XXX wrote)

I am contacting you directly for personal prayer assistance.  I feel that you have a special gift, and at this time, I need one-to-one special prayers regarding obtaining employment.

I am working part-time at $10.00 per hour hence, this doesn’t take me very far and certainly  restricts my living ability as well as my moving forward.  I have also had to move-in with my daughter which creates addtional problems.

I have attended numerous interviews for human resource management roles with leading companies, up to and including this last week (Corix, Stuart Olsen, etc.).  Their response is that I can do the work technically however, I don’t fit culturally.  This means (as I am a human resource  person too and am able to interpret what they entail) that my age is a problem and/or that I don’t fit in with their work culture – usually very outgoing western cultures.

I need to work and I am now very tired from all of these interviews and the negative outcomes.  (I must recover from all of my losses:  health, work, finances, house and home, family, etc.)

My request from you:

Can you please pray for me that I obtain full-time permanent employment, in a position where I can utilize the talents, skills, work experience, and knowledge that God has blessed me with, for an outstanding organization. I must be earning more a higher wage and income to move forward.

I know that your prayers move mountains and that you have a personal communication with our Eternal Father.

(Please keep my request confidential). – I have not overlooked this.  The Father and I have talked this over extensively.

I need your assistance and will pray to the Lord that he listens to your requests on my behalf.

THANK YOU MELISSA AND MAY GOD KEEP BLESSING YOU WITH SPECIAL GIFTS TO HELP MANKIND.  AMEN

As the Father and I worked through this in His garden, I kept hearing the refrain of the Spinners song called “Games People Play”.  I began to realize that I was one of the “pawns” the woman was playing with in her game of life!  How sad…and it appears as if she was “playing” with the gifts the Father normally blesses His children with.

Father, forgive us.  At times we do not know what we are doing.  You very clearly teach us… “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chr 7:14)  Father, at times we play mind games, using You and other people for our gain.  Father, many a times, our pride gets in the way and we are unwilling to humble ourselves to You.  We forget, Lord, that as we humble ourselves before You, our stubborness, anger, and controlling spirit, which all come from the enemy,  slowly break down and we eventually are able find freedom from these heavy shackles.  Father, help us see with Your eyes and help us realize that we need You to help and protect  us from ourselves.  Father, we ask for your extra-ordinary graces and patience for those who You have called to intercessory prayer so that they can continue to break through the bondages of the enemy on Your behalf and to set those who are shackled free to live the life You have blessed them to the very fullest.  In Jesus’ name we pray, AMEN.

God bless,

Melissa – June 13, 2011

p.s.

7 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 8 When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 9 But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.”   Ezekiel 33: 7-9

– I have left the following on for those who are interested in my original replies to her…
– Please correctly me GENTLY if you do recognize where I have gone wrong.  Thanks.

Initial Response:
This is my initial response to your prayer request.  I will continue to pray about it to seek the Father’s guidance.

My initial recommendation is to ask you to attend the prayer ministry at Our Lady of Mercy this weekend.  They have many powerful prayer teams there.  If time permits, I will be there early so I can join in one of the teams.

I have received prayers there myself and I have received much guidance as the Father has revealed things to the prayer warriors.  This is what I would recommend from the top of my currently woozy mind. (head is kind of woozy at the moment).  I will send you the invite in another e-mail.  Nevertheless, know that I will pray fervently for you on my own so that the Father will give you the discernment and wisdom to know what and when to do things.  I believe He will guide you, but I am also sensing that there are things that you need to rebuke and turn away from.  That is probably the reason why you may benefit substantially by attending the prayer ministry at Our Lady of Mercy.

Take good care and please do not hesistate to write again.  May the Father continue to lead you and guide you.  (Jun 9, 2011 at 11:28 AM)

Second Response:

I am writing again as promised.  I have been lifting you up in my prayers and have been asking the Father to provide accordingly.

I hope you don’t mind my sharing some thoughts with you…

I have been praying for many others who do not have jobs.  There is a male friend who I have been praying for who has a young family of 3 children and his wife.  He has not had a job since the early part of May and of late, he is making do by tutoring.  I have another friend (she is a member of the St. Vincent de Paul group who had provided for you earlier) who is a widow and who is only making $8.50 an hour whenever she is given time to work.  As far as I know, both are ever so thankful for what they have.

In my opinion, I consider you truly blessed to have a job.  In today’s economy, many are finding it difficult to make ends meet and hence they are willing to take on whatever is available.  Even my husband has had to start from scratch and our family has had to learn to do without.

I understand that you have had higher paying positions and you were fortunate to hold distinguished positions in the past.  I do not know why or when you lost your previous high paying position, but in my opinion, it is not up to us to demand such from potential employers regardless of what our background is.  I am under the impression that you hold a high opinion of yourself and perhaps the firms that have interviewed you are seeking one who is humble and able to work readily with others in various trying circumstances.  If my memory serves me, I believe the positions you are looking for is in the human resource department and I am of the impression that to be successful in such a position, one needs to be amiable.  I am wondering if you are portraying some characteristics which are not in line with the position you are looking for?

As I had adviced you in my first response, I continue to recommend that you receive on going prayers from onsite prayer teams.  There is another healing prayer service that should be taking place soon at St. Mary’s Parish.  I will send you a separate e-mail regarding that later on.

I know my e-mail is not what you are hoping for nor is it one that you would like to receive.  Nevertheless, I dare to speak honestly with you from my heart.  I do not speak in malice nor do I intend to hurt you.  I am hoping that my words will help you search your heart to see where you really are in your life journey.  In my heart and in my eyes, humility goes a long way.  I pray that what I have shared does not hurt you too much and I pray that once the pain has lifted, I hope what I have shared will help you see things in a different light.

As you mention, you have a lot of potential.  Humble yourself before the Father and submit to His guidance.  He may be testing your faith and He may be purifying you at the moment.  It is difficult to accept, but know that He causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.  (Romans 8:28)

Father God, I lift XXX up to you.  I ask that You guide her in the way she needs to go.  Help her see that You have not abandoned her and that You are there every moment of her life.  Father, I ask that You give her the grace and the desire to seek Your will for her life and for her future.  You alone know exactly what she needs and I ask that You provide Father God.  Teach her Your ways and draw her close to Your heart.  We thank You for the victories that have already begun and we thank You and we glorify you.  In Jesus’ name we pray, AMEN.  (Jun 12, 2011)

REFLECTION: Love in the midst of turmoil

Sunday, June 5th, 2011



Several days ago, an urgent prayer request was sent out for a friend in need of prayer.  Although we are not family, a few of us knew that fervent prayers were needed.  An e-mail request was subsequently sent out without revealing the name of the recipient, and yet sufficient information was given so others would be able to pray accordingly.

The following day, an e-mail came by from an unknown individual who specified that prayer requests needed to be more specific.  No additional information was sent back in reply to this one, except for “We did not receive the family’s permission to send a prayer request out.  Nevertheless, we encourage you to pray as the Father knows who you are praying for.”

I am not sure about you, but my immediate emotional response to this e-mail was hurt.  Perhaps I have an extreme sensitivity to these things, but my heart immediately asked, “Father, where is the love?”  How would a family member who had wished to keep the family situation private feel if he/she received this e-mail.  In my heart, I believe more anguish would have been added to what was already there.

The Father and I had continued to wrestle with this and I sensed Him pointing to 1 Corinthians 13:

1 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.

2 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.

3 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.

The Father blesses us with many gifts from the Holy Spirit so that we can reach and touch and, perhaps, bring healing and comfort to another.  However, if we do not exercise them in love, NOTHING good can come out of them.

In the Catholic faith, those who ask for prayers, but who are not ready to share in greater depth, are welcome to ask for intercession for a SPECIAL INTENTION.  No additional information is required and those who are led to pray and who choose to pray immediately pray as the Holy Spirit leads.

While we continued to “wrestle”, I asked the Father who was the one that needed to know the details.  It was definitely not Him.  Sad to say, it is normally the person who has received the prayer request, who’s inquisitive mind begs to know.

John 14:26 teaches...”But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

1 Corinthians 13 continues with…

4 Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

5
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

6
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love.


May the Father give us the grace to die to self and may he give us the supernatural grace and strength to reach out to each other in love.

God bless,

Melissa – June 4, 2011

REFLECTION: Death…

Saturday, June 4th, 2011
.
Death has revisited our parish community and the pain flares up once again.  I am still numb from the discovery of  her sudden illness and deterioration and now, even before the previous truth can be embraced, we face her death.

My mind cries out “why?!?” and yet my spirit knows why.  They had already transfered her to another hospital because her organs were shutting down, knowing that the worse was yet to come…  and yet many of us who were lifting her up in prayer believed her miracle would come.

Her “miracle” did come, but not in the form we had prayed for…and yet her miracle came.  She no longer is in pain and had she survived her ordeal, would she and her family have been faced with her on life support or other long term treatment?  Although it hurts so much while she leaves us behind on planet Earth, the Father knew that she would be better of with Him.

And yet Lord, what about the loved ones, her two children, who she has left behind?  What about them Lord?  She is now in a better place and she is now with Murphy, but what about the other two?  Father, please extend your love, mercy and grace over them.  PLEASE, PLEASE let them find You and let them hang on to You.  You do understand that they need an answer… an explanation… and perhaps someone or something to blame.  Father, it is so difficult for them to deal with another sudden loss.

I am merely an outsider looking in and yet the grief that I experience is horrendous.  What more about them?  Father, I am sure what they feel is more than they can handle.    Father, remember your promise that You would not allow them to be tempted beyond what they are able.  I am waving the white flag for them Lord.  Father, I ask for your merciful grace and I ask for your loving comfort and your peace for each of them.

PLEASE give them the inner peace which the world cannot give and which the world cannot understand because it comes from YOU alone.  Father, please, PLEASE take good care of them.  In Jesus’ name we pray, AMEN.

God bless,

Melissa

p.s. – Please pray for the deLaSalle family and for the reposed soul of Patti and Murphy.  Thanks.