Archive for September, 2016

REFLECTION: Their story, our story….

Monday, September 26th, 2016

I have yet to meet one who does not enjoy stories.   Many stories are told and retold, from one generation to the next, not only because they are entertaining, but because there is much to glean from.  I’m wondering if you’ve heard this story…

“Like our ancestors, we have sinned.  We have done wrong! We have acted wickedly!  Our ancestors in Egypt were not impressed by the Lord’s miraculous deeds.  They soon forgot his many acts of kindness to them.  Instead, they rebelled against him at the Red Sea.  Even so, he saved them— to defend the honor of his name and to demonstrate his mighty power.

He commanded the Red Sea to dry up. He led Israel across the sea as if it were a desert.  So he rescued them from their enemies and redeemed them from their foes.  Then the water returned and covered their enemies; not one of them survived.

Then his people believed his promises.  
Then they sang his praise.

Yet how quickly they forgot what he had done!  They wouldn’t wait for his counsel!  In the wilderness their desires ran wild, testing God’s patience in that dry wasteland. So he gave them what they asked for, but he sent a plague along with it.

The people in the camp were jealous of Moses and envious of Aaron, the Lord’s holy priest.  Because of this, the earth opened up;
it swallowed Dathan and buried Abiram and the other rebels.  Fire fell upon their followers; a flame consumed the wicked.

The people made a calf at Mount Sinai; they bowed before an image made of gold.  They traded their glorious God for a statue of a grass-eating bull.  They forgot God, their savior, who had done such great things in Egypt –  such wonderful things in the land of Ham, such awesome deeds at the Red Sea.  So he declared he would destroy them.  But Moses, his chosen one, stepped between the Lord and the people.  He begged him to turn from his anger and not destroy them.

The people refused to enter the pleasant land, for they wouldn’t believe his promise to care for them.  Instead, they grumbled in their tents and refused to obey the Lord.  Therefore, he solemnly swore that he would kill them in the wilderness,
that he would scatter their descendants among the nations, exiling them to distant lands.

Then our ancestors joined in the worship of Baal at Peor; they even ate sacrifices offered to the dead!  They angered the Lord with all these things, so a plague broke out among them.  But Phinehas had the courage to intervene, and the plague was stopped.  So he has been regarded as a righteous man ever since that time.

At Meribah, too, they angered the Lordcausing Moses serious trouble.  They made Moses angry, and he spoke foolishly.

Israel failed to destroy the nations in the land, as the Lord had commanded them.  Instead, they mingled among the pagans and adopted their evil customs.  They worshiped their idols, which led to their downfall.  They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons.  They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters. sacrificing them to the idols of Canaan, they polluted the land with murder.  They defiled themselves by their evil deeds, and their love of idols was adultery in the Lord’s sight.

 That is why the Lord’s anger burned against his people, and he abhorred his own special possession.  He handed them over to pagan nations, and they were ruled by those who hated them.  Their enemies crushed them and brought them under their cruel power.

Again and again he rescued them, but they chose to rebel against himand they were finally destroyed by their sin.  Even so, he pitied them in their distress and listened to their cries.  He remembered his covenant with them and relented because of his unfailing love.  He even caused their captors to treat them with kindness.”

Have you heard this story?  I’ve heard portions of it from other books, but I must confess I haven’t read this story.  This story comes directly from Psalm 106 : 6-46  (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+106&version=NLT;AMP)  Perhaps it is not in the translation we are familiar with, but it is from the Bible in the New Living Translation.

Why haven’t we heard this story?  Could it be because we haven’t made time to open our Bibles?  We’ve all made one excuse after another.  We know the excuses we’ve made and God knows them.

What can we glean from this story?  Do you notice that the relationship between man and God is like a yoyo?  Man constantly tries to run away from God and while He remains distant, man stumbles and falls drastically.

At times, I wonder if man fails to recognize that God is his creator.  However scripture says…19 because that which is known about God is evident within them [in their inner consciousness], for God made it evident to them. 20 For ever since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through His workmanship [all His creation, the wonderful things that He has made], so that they [who fail to believe and trust in Him] are without excuse and without defense. 21 For even though they knew God [as the Creator], they did not honor Him as God or give thanks [for His wondrous creation]. On the contrary, they became worthless in their thinking [godless, with pointless reasonings, and silly speculations], and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God for an image [worthless idols] in the shape of mortal man and birds and four-footed animals and reptiles.  Romans 1:19-23 (AMP)

As I read this, all I could say was “Lord, have mercy on us all!”

Periodically God becomes frustrated and He gives man what he asks for.  Because of our shallow and narrow minds, I wonder if mankind truly grasps what we are asking  when we ask God to leave us alone?

24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their own hearts to [sexual] impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin],25 because [by choice] they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading and vile passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural [a function contrary to nature], 27 and in the same way also the men turned away from the natural function of the woman and were consumed with their desire toward one another, men with men committing shameful acts and in return receiving in their own bodies the inevitable and appropriate penalty for their wrongdoing.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge Godor consider Him worth knowing [as their Creator], God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do things which are improper and repulsive, 29 until they were filled (permeated, saturated) with every kind of unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice andmean-spiritedness. They are gossips [spreading rumors], 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors [of new forms] of evil, disobedient and disrespectful to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful [without pity]. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree and His judgment, that those who do such things deserve death, yet they not only do them, but they even [enthusiastically] approve andtolerate others who practice them.  Romans 1:24-32

I’m sure you recognize these symptoms in today’s world…  Once again I cry out from the depth of my heart, “Lord, have mercy on us all!”  and I plead with you to join me to cry out in one voice…

47 Save us, O Lord our God!  Gather us back from among the nations, so we can thank your holy name and rejoice and praise you.  Psalm 106 : 47

As we cry out in one voice, I sense our Father respond…13 If I shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or if I command locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence and plague among My people, 14 and My people, who are called by My Name, humble themselves, and pray and seek (crave, require as a necessity) My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear [them] from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer offered in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and sanctified and set apart for My purpose this house that My Name may be here forever, and My eyes and My heart will be here perpetually.” 2 Chronicles 7:13-16

As the yoyo recoils and we are once again close to our Father’s heart, we dare to respond… ” Praise the Lord!  Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!  His faithful love endures forever.  Who can list the glorious miracles of the Lord?  Who can ever praise him enough?There is joy for those who deal justly with others  and always do what is right.

Remember me, Lord, when you show favor to your people; come near and rescue me.  Let me share in the prosperity of your chosen ones.  Let me rejoice in the joy of your people;  let me praise you with those who are your heritage.  

48 Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who lives from everlasting to everlasting!  Let all the people say, “Amen!”  Praise the Lord!  Psalm 106: 1-5; 48 (NLT)

May God’s faithful remnant continue to intercede as Moses and Phinehas did, asking God not to allow humanity. living on planet earth, to pull away once again as a yoyo tends to do.

May God’s mercy and blessings be with us all,

Melissa – September 26, 2016

p.s. – NANCY!!!  Am at awe.  This took only an hour to type out.  Totally prophetic in nature.  We know whose hands were directing this.  Thank You Holy Spirit.

REFLECTION: The practise and the final run (Until we meet again, Anne…)

Monday, September 19th, 2016

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I turned the alarm off and joined the morning commute eastward, driving patiently as the traffic permitted and I arrived a few minutes before 9:00… only to realize that her memorial service was not until this week.  Since Anne’s passing the 30th of August, I’ve been anxiously waiting to take part in her celebration of life.  She had requested her friends wear colorful garments so we can truly celebrate who she was.  I was ready then, but the others weren’t.  I guess I can say that that was a trial run?

The same routine was repeated this week, but this time, the alarm was set half an hour earlier.  To my surprise, the alarm didn’t ring, but I still woke a few minutes after the time set.  I would have thought waking up a tad earlier would get me there earlier, but I still arrived at around the same time.

Anne’s memorial service was good, but it was different.  Perhaps it lacked Anne’s presence?  Unlike our traditional celebration of life in the Catholic faith, her remains were not present.  But even if her remains were with us, her spirit would not be present, would it?  In my heart, I knew Anne’s spirit would be present when we brought her recent memories back to life.

The first tribute given was  by Anne’s long time friend.  Their journey began at UBC and she revealed how much Anne loved to learn.  Other stories were shared, but what caught my attention was her love to cook and to decorate cake.  Her brother then shared some and so did her nephew.  I had arrived without even the faintest inclination of sharing, but I felt Anne’s last days needed to be mentioned.  So, teeter tottering up the stairs with heels and then to the podium, I explained that I was Anne’s friend, but merely a distant one.  I shared how Anne had beconed me by e-mail 27 days before her passing, greeting me with “What a glorious day!  I am going to paradise!”  This was Anne’s constant view of her deteriorating physical state.

Family and friends were informed that the first thing Anne said to the nurse when she arrived at the hospice was, “I’m hungry!”  Before I left that day, I heard her say “I wonder if I can order Chinese takeout?”  That was Anne.  Unlike the norm, her appetite continued to be enormous!  When I asked, our Father had said that her hearty physical appetite was an analogy of her hearty appetite for His Word.  Daily, Anne lavishly devoured the scripture passages she asked her guests to read out loud and the week before she fell, I had overheard her tell her visiting Pastor that her body was so tired, but she was still so hungry for her spiritual food.

As I closed, I wondered out loud why Anne had tried to get out of bed on her own that Saturday, when in the past, she had always been cautious about falling.  Perhaps… just as the preliminary run I had last week… perhaps Anne had a glimpse of Jesus beconing her and so she decided to get up and run to Him? Anne passed 3 days after her fall…  that was her final run and I imagine she was escorted by her Groom, the One who she adored the most, into Paradise.

Until we meet again my friend…

God bless,

Melissa – September 19, 2016

p.s. – Because I shared, several, who I did not know, approached and thanked me for doing so.  Many had asked which Church I attended and if not mistaken, many were surprised when I said I was a Catholic.  One in particular began to give me her speel of what she “knew” about the Catholic faith and she made sure she told me that we shouldn’t pray to Mary and the Saints.  I gently explained that we do not pray to Mary and the Saints and that we ask them to intercede and pray for us.  She asked why we didn’t go directly to Jesus and I told her that we do, but just as we ask others to intercede for us through prayer chains, we also ask Mary and the Saints to do the same.  (“Then another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, along with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. And the smoke of the incense,with the prayers of the saints, rose up before God from the hand of the angel.Revelations 8:3-4)

She then quoted from John 14:6“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  I agreed with her and I told her that we believe the same truth, but we worship our Father in a different manner.  I did stress that our Catholic faith is based on a personal relationship with Jesus.

She thanked me for sharing.  Lord, thank You for our dialogue!

For those who are unfamiliar with the Hail Mary, I share…

Hail Mary, full of grace.  Our Lord is with thee.  (Luke 1:28)
Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.  (Luke 1:42)
Holy Mary, Mother of God, (Luke 1:30)
pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

 

REFLECTION: She’s now in paradise…

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

She had typed…

“Hi Melissa, what a glorious day it is going to be.   I’m going to be in paradise.  I am waiting at Burnaby General Hospital for the hospice and if you can come by and visit me, that would be great,  see you later; bye bye.  I am currently at A to Z right now, but I’m scheduled to move pretty soon.”    

The e-mail was typed at 4:33 a.m. on August 3rd.  Anne passed on August 30 at 4:00 a.m.  She is now in paradise!  Now liberated from her feeble body that was once weakened by cancer, I imagine her running freely with her hair flowing once again, laughing in excitement as she sporadically runs back to our Father, asking Him about an incident or another of her journey here on planet earth.  If it is possible to be hungry in Heaven, I can also imagine Anne asking for food.

As far as I know, Anne’s appetite never ceased to dwindle.  I once asked our Father about it and I sensed Him say it was symbolic of her hunger for His living Word.  Anne was always so hungry for spiritual food.  Two Saturdays ago, as her young Pastor read to her from the book of Revelations, Anne had mentioned that her body was so tired, but her mind and heart were still so hungry for her spiritual food.  On my last visit with her last Saturday, on the day of her fall, I left Anne with her friend, Bob, reading to her from her Bible.

Several weeks ago, I wasn’t sure why Anne had specifically asked me to read to her from the book of Hebrews.  As I reflect and read through the scripture passages once again, I begin to understand.  She had specified she had wanted to hear about the promises given to each believer.

Hebrews 6.But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way.10 For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

17 In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, 20 where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews 11  13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15 And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.

Today, these scriptures speak to me of Anne’s life.  I still question why, out of the blue, she decided to invite a distant friend to take the journey with her during her last 27 days here on earth.   Perhaps it was to record the victory of her life?

Through her, I had witnessed one who was graced with the steadfast hope on Jesus and the refuge and anchor He had given to her soul as she patiently waited to enter paradise.  While she waited, she  ministered to those who came to visit, bringing about laughter, amusement (as she consumed huge amounts of food – especially cake), and especially blessing them in return with prayers before they left.  Through her, each one who was asked to read passages from the Bible recognized the strength she drew from God’s living Word.  I am now reminded of her “hmmm” after several passages were read… as if to signify that she had chewed on the Word and now had devoured it.  Anne realized she was merely a passing visitor through planet earth and her desire was a “better country…that is, a heavenly one.”

As if by chance, Bob read the following passage to Anne that last Saturday together…

Jeremiah 31:34  34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord.  For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

Having heard Anne pray repeatedly for her loved ones, I claimed that passage for them… that soon, no longer would anyone need to tell Anne’s family to “know the Lord, for they all shall know Him.”

Father, this was one of Anne’s last wishes.  May Your gift of faith be received by each of her loved ones so that, one day, they will all be reunited in Heaven.  Lord, we praise You for being glorified in Anne’s life.  We lift up her reposed soul to You.  In Jesus’ name we pray, AMEN.

God bless,

Melissa – August 31, 2016