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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: “I see you…”

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

I see you.

Do you recall the first time you heard that phrase?  It was probably when you watched the movie, Avatar.  Based on Paul Frommer, the linguist who created the Na’vi language for the movie, it has two definitions.  The first pertains to seeing as physical vision while the other pertains to seeing in a spiritual sense… more in terms of I “understand” or “comprehend”.

I see you.

You see me?  Who are you?  What do you see?

Based on the circumstance when we are spotted, we either hide or we project ourself. We hide when we are afraid or ashamed.  We make ourselves more visible when we feel good and we know and we are sure of who we are.

I see you.

You see me?  Where are you?  Who are you?

I am God…

 

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.

 

Work in progress…

Friday, September 16th, 2016

 

“…you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.  And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things.  But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?   Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?  Romans 2:1-4

Did you read that?  Heavy, huh?  But my Bible study didn’t start heavy.  My eyes were first drawn to the last stanza… the realization that God’s kindnes, tolerance and patience were all intended to illicit repentance.  Is this why the bad seem to get away with murder?

As I grow in my walk with our Lord, I have become more and more grateful for his tolerance and patience.  It irks me when I fall, but when I realize how quickly I now recognize my errors, the more grateful I become because I know I have grown.  Practice makes perfect…  but undoubtedly, God continues to be more kind, tolerant and patient than I am towards myself.  Recently, I realized that although I have grown, I am grateful that I continue to stumble because it helps me see how much I need the help of the Holy Spirit.  Self reliance is tempting, but once my nose starts pointing upwards (with pride), God keeps my humble by allowing me to stumble once again…

Passing judgement…  Been there?  Yeah, I have too.  That in itself isn’t bad if we use our power of reason to make decisions to arrive at solutions or decisions, but if used incorrectly to act morally superior over another, problems arise.

 

Have you wondered what would happen if God left us to our own?  I assume many would think they would have more freedom and their lives would be less complicated.  However, without our recognition, it is the promptings of the Holy Spirit that keep us in check from falling into devastation.  S

24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for [a]a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed [b]forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is [c]unnatural,27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing [d]indecent acts and receiving in [e]their own persons the due penalty of their error.

28 And just as they did not see fit [f]to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,30 slanderers, [g]haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy,unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.  Romans 1:24-31

 

 

 

John 21:3 -8

Simon Peter *said to them, “I am going fishing.” They *said to him, “We will also come with you.” They went out and got into the boat; andthat night they caught nothing.

But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. So Jesus *said to them,“Children, you do not have [a]any fish, do you?” They answered Him, “No.” And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.” So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved *said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about [b]one hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish.

Mark 1:16-20 16 As He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. 19 Going on a little farther, He saw [a]James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who were also in the boat mending the nets.20 Immediately He called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went away [b]to follow Him.

Matt 13:31-32

31 He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field;32 and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the [a]air come and nest in its branches.”

John 15:16-17  16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

 

I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. (2 Corinthians 7:9-10)

 

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

 

REFLECTION: God delights in me?

Sunday, August 14th, 2016

Multiple years ago, as I joined two others in prayer ministry, we encountered an older gentleman who asked for prayer.  Delayed by a conversation with the previous recipient, I joined midway, informing the man not to be alarmed as I began praying behind him.  While the two in front ministered, I began to sense that our Father had a message for him  and so I said, “I am not sure why, but I am sensing our Father say He is so proud of you.”  The same promptings came throughout the session and as I received them, I repeated, “Sir, He still wants me to tell you how proud He is of you.”  At one point, the man lifted his right arm and he enbraced me while we continued to minister. By the time we closed, he turned around and said, “Iève never heard that before.”  To that I replied, He gave you a curve ball, didn’t He?  Just remember, God is so proud of you.”  To that, the gentleman, who arrived grumpy and with a stiff arm (I learned about it after the fact) cupped my face and said, “He is so proud of you too!”

Would you imagine yourself returning home after a long day to 3

Did you know God delights in you?  Yes, you!  At times, it seems too abstract to fathom.  How can a God who I canèt see or feel love meÉ  Scripture teaches us that ÈGod is spirit, and His worshippers must workship in spirit and in truth.È  John 4:24.

REFLECTION: Anne’s Prayer…

Friday, August 5th, 2016

 

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It had been over a year since I last received an email from a friend of mine.  We aren’t very close and yet I have no hesitation calling her my friend.

Yesterday, I awoke to this e-mail from Anne.  It was penned at 4:33 a.m. ….

“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.”

Not knowing what state she was in, I rushed.  Thankfully God’s provisions were abundant and I had assistance in contacting the hospital to see if she was still with us and with directions to the hospital.  Knowing that parking would be difficult surrounding the vicinity of the hospital, God prompted me to ask for assistance and the lady of the house had offered me the space in front of her home.  She was good at giving foot directions to the hospital too.

In truth, I had no idea what to expect.  I had asked God to take over and I asked the Holy Spirit to fill me.  I ran, not knowing where to go, but God continued to provide by-standers who pointed me to the right place.

When I reached Palliative Care and I asked for Anne, a nurse pointed me to a bright eyed lady who was eating her breakfast while she sat on a wheel chair. I was both pleasantly surprised and amazed!  Here was the lady who had written she was going to be in paradise, sitting up outside of her hospital room eating her breakfast.  Undoubtedly she was weaker than I last saw her, but she looked good!

Not wanting to be kept away from the activities of the world, Anne asks to be situated where the action is. She still wants to be in contact with others and to be stimulated, while her desire to learn continues on.  When I prayed with her, I asked our Father to continue to bless her with low keyed adventures.  Anne was thrilled with that.

As I reflect and ponder the day after, I wonder why God had allowed me to go through this tailspin.   Normally woozy and light-headed without breakfast, God provided and He kept this body going right through lunch until mid afternoon.  Wit and physical strength was needed as I packed and carried her belongings to my parked vehicle.  Undoubtedly, His grace was sufficient for me (2 Corinthians 12:9) moment by moment, providing what was needed to help her move into hospice and allowing me to observe what went on in Palliative Care.

Before we left Burnaby General Hospital, I was introduced to Easter, the hospital’s social worker who  Anne had worked with over the last 2 years to support other cancer patients.  Aware that Anne would not be back, she asked if we could help her pen a prayer for their group, which she will call Anne’s Prayer.  Knowing that Anne would be tired and knowing that her fingers were no longer as dexterous and nimble as before, I offered to fulfill the request.

Father God, thank You so much for loving each one of us.  I thank You for blessing me with another day.  As I live through this day, give me the grace to see beauty in myself and in others, give me the grace to tell others how much I appreciate them and how much I love them.  Yes, this is the day the Lord has made, and I will rejoice and be glad in it.  (Psalm 118:24)

Lord, You know the very circumstance that I am in.  I don’t know what to do   At the moment, all I want is to feel and get better.  In the Bible You taught us to trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding;  In all your ways acknowledge Him (God) and You will make our path smooth.  (Proverbs 3:5-6)  Thank You that I don’t have to figure things out.  Thank You for watching over me and I ask that You take all my worries, my pain, my concerns; take them all Lord to the foot of Jesus’ cross and thank You for making my path smooth.

Lord, You said that nothing can separate us from the Love of God which is in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:38)  Even my pain and my fears cannot separate me from You.   Thank You for loving me so much!

You said, Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through  the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.Isaiah 43:1 Thank You that I am never alone.  Thank You for always being with me.   Thank You for loving me.  In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.

When Anne was wheeled to her room at the hospice, her first words to the nurse was “I’m hungry!.”  She didn’t like the egg sandwich she was given and before I left, she was wondering out loud whether the restaurant would deliver Chinese take out.  That girl still has her sense of humour and she continues to laugh out loud… I say out loud because she sure has a big, loud laugh!

Please keep Anne in your prayers.  She is just waiting for the last door to open at the time of her passing so she can enter into eternity with our Father in Heaven.

God bless,

Melissa – August 5, 2016

p.s.  – This is an e-mail Anne had sent over a year ago.  Undoubtedly, God continues to use her mightily right to her very end!

 

April 27, 2015

Dear All,

I hope you are doing well.

I had my 5th chemo on April 17th and radiation on April 20th.  The radiation is to zap the cancer cells on my right pelvis/leg away, so I can gain more mobility and perhaps have less pain (I am still on the pain meds, but a lot less now than a few months ago).  I only need one shot.  Last week, I was dealing with the side effects from both chemo and radiation…eeeks.  The chemo side effects are not as pronounced as the 1st time, nevertheless, there are hives, diarrhea, lost of appetite, fatigue, insomnia, dry skin, cold/flu symptoms…However, this week is much better.  Everything has a season and this shall be over soon.

When my radiation oncologist saw me, she was very pleasantly surprised that I am doing exceptionally well.  According to my radiation oncologist…most palliative patients don’t expect to live pass the 6 months.  She told me that I am outside the bell curve and I am a walking miracle!  Praise God the Father, who told me that it wasn’t His will for me to go, about 6 months ago.  Our lives are truly in God’s hands, not doctor’s.

As for the Burnaby Hospital’s faith workshop, it’s coming together.  Every time I get my chemo (I stay in the hospital for about 4-7 hours), we brainstorm on the next meeting.  This time we had a meaningful meeting with a very good friend of mine from church.  We cannot offer the religion that we don’t know.  I can only offer the faith that I know, love, believe and works for me.  Evidently, the patients with faith are doing better than the ones without faith.  If the purpose of this workshop is to help the patients to do better, then we must talk about the faith.  Christian faith is not about making bad people good, but to make spiritually dead people alive!  Our spirit goes on forever, it will never cease to exist.  My spirit departed from my body in early, I think it was on Oct. 2nd, 2014.  My spirit was in between this world and the next…I guess this is like the physical death, when our spirit departs from our physical body.  Yet, there is no fear, but with great anticipation to reunite with Christ.  In the darkness, there’s only one door with the light shone thru the door frame.  It was the only door that was partially open.  There was no other door and there was no other way…everything else was in silence and darkness.  This experience confirms, Christ is the only way to heaven.  I had all my senses with me; I could see, hear and understand.  I also had a body.  I remember I was going to pick up my robe and ready to run to the light.  There was no pain, but joy, great joy!   It’s so true that we are going to have a new body that’s pain free (Not like the one I have now).  I am very privileged to have this rare experience.  There is a heaven, we are going to have a new body and Christ is standing by the door to take us to heaven.  This confirms that everything in the Bible is all TRUE!

Our next meeting is on May 8th @ 2pm and it’s also my next chemo date.  Since the nurses are not going to let me get out of the IV room, so the meeting is going to be in the Burnaby Cancer Clinic’s board room.  I will be taking my IV pole with me to the meeting, it will be quite a scene!  If you know anyone who might be benefiting, from patients, caregivers, friends or family, please pass the invitation around.  They can contact Easter directly, 604-412-6117.

A lot of patients/people use the term of “fighting against cancer“.  I am not sure if I understand.  If we are fighting against something, what is our enemy?  Is it cancer or our own fear?  The science has not concluded the cause of cancer or having the antidote to fix cancer.  Cancer is not a visitor, but an invader.  It’s will never leave me alone, it’s here to stay.  My life has changed drastically and it will never be restored to the pre-cancer state.  I need to learn quickly of the changes, from the disease itself, medications, side effects, survival rates and so on…to the impact on my physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological, professional and the list goes on.  The impact has reached to every corner of my being.  The fight is not to get my old life back, but to make the most of it with whatever I have left.  When I survey whatever I have left, I am thankful and feel very blessed.  I can still function, take care of myself, learn, communicate and I still have all my senses.  I appreciate life itself and with the people God sent into my life.  I am alive!  Spiritually, my relationship with the Creator has grown much deeper.  Contrarily, my body has gone weaker to almost dead to being revived.   My medical/physical condition is beyond what the doctors can explain.  Only God can make all these happen.

The fight, is not for repairing or restoring of the old, but to replace with something new, like a brand new, heavenly operating system.  The fight is to accept what’s in my life, to let go of my old self and let Christ take it over.  I don’t know why should it be a fight, but I know my pride and sin nature will always want to put up a fight.

I thank you all for walking alongside of me.  Many of you have been praying and wishing me well.  I thank you and appreciate all your kind thoughts and prayers.  Please feel free to drop me a note and let me know how are you doing.

Blessings,

Anne

 

 

REFLECTION:  Blessing or curse?

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

ADHD… the acronym for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  Heard of it?  Lived with it?  Lived with one who has it?

I have lived under the impression that my parents considered the hyperactivity which has kept bubbling from within me a curse.  Both my parents were physicians… my Mom an Obstetrician while my Dad a Paediatrician.  Being a Paediatrician, I suppose living with this truth was more a trial than anything else for my father, perhaps because he may have believed Paediatricians should be able to control their children, let alone one single child.  I would like to believe he managed well with my 4 other siblings, but I think I was one wild wire that kept on going and going and going.  Discipline and punishment failed to do very much because those were not the solutions to the problem.

Yesterday, I had a wonderful time with Msgr. Greg.  I had gone in a tad skittish and my hands were shaking and so I had to ask him to pour me a cup of tea.  I had arrived with such a heavy heart because the purpose of our meeting was for a serious concern.  With God’s grace, Msgr Greg was able to help me understand and with that understanding, I was set free.  Doesn’t Scripture speak of that?  “Then you will know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”  John 8:32 

Msgr Greg helped me grasp something crucial.  Although I don’t totally agree with him on this, he mentioned that it was good to experience strong emotions.  Perhaps because I am a highly sensitive person, strong emotions are too much for me to handle.  I do well with mediocre, while I dread the lack of emotions that come with a bout of depression.    Msgr mentioned that if a situation is related to his family, it was normal for him to experience strong emotions.  However, if the situation was distant (you don’t know the person or the incident that has taken place is far away from home) he attempts to dampen his emotions for self-protection, although he still expresses concern.  As if he was able to read my mind, he said, “at the moment, you feel like you are trapped in the middle and you feel like a victim.”  Man, did he nail it on the head!   Having him help me distance myself from the situation brought so much relief!    I was so muddled in the situation I found myself in and I needed someone  more experienced and wiser to help me through.  I cannot say that Msgr is less emotional than I am, as he often claims he cries at ball games, but undoubtedly, his role as a Priest and his additional administrative roles in the Archdiocese have blessed him with wisdom I had yet failed to acquire!

As we drew closer to the end of our short time together, he mentioned, “Moving on to the street ministry work that we have been struggling with, I do want you to know that it is not me personally who is against what you are doing, but a few who I have asked for assistance admit that they like you, but they can’t handle how you function in a tizzy!”

OH THAT!  My outbursts of high energy and excitement have scared some people away!  I can handle that!  My best friend often mentions that I manage to do a lot of things, but always in a non-conventional way.

The previous night, I had listened to a prophetic teaching of Graham Cooke.  He had mentioned that some have Guardian Angels who have applied for a transfer.  He also mentioned that if your Guardian Angel is in counselling, then you are in real trouble!  I did mention the latter to Msgr Greg to explain the state that I originally was in, but the truth is, I think my Guardian Angel has applied for a replacement and /or for an assistant a long time ago.

Perhaps to some, the hyperactivity that bubbles out from within me is a curse, but to me, it is a true blessing.  It has taken me a long, long time to receive healing, but God has revealed that I am a gift from Him to myself and to the world.

Lord, thank You for who I am.  You’ve made each of us in your own likeness.  Some of us have more quirks than others, but Lord, we know we’re fine.  In Your word You said “nothing can separate us from the love of God which is found in Christ Jesus.”  Romans 8:38  You also said, “For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans NOT of calamity, but of welfare… to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11  Thank You for the wonderful plans You have for each of us!  And Lord, thank You, that He who began a good work in me will continue it until the day of Jesus Christ!”  Philippians 1:6  In Jesus’ name, amen.

So my friends, He ain’t done with me yet!

God bless,

Melissa – July 27, 2016

p.s. – in response to my thank you email, Msgr responded with the following… “We are actually quite good working together (your virtues more than mine) despite our different approaches!

There’s a wonderful story about the future Cardinal McIntyre of Los Angeles when he was vice-chancellor of the Archdiocese of New York. He had charge of the Dorothy Day ‘file’ and was forever denying her permission for lovely-sounding things (like having a Midnight Mass in a manger) that were against the rules. But she obeyed him without complaint and mutual respect developed despite their very different perspectives (McIntyre was famously conservative).

When a somewhat reactionary group in the States petitioned Rome to place some kind of restrictions or censure on Dorothy (who is now praised by one and all, including Pope Francis) they stood a good chance of succeeding. But McIntyre came to her defense and nothing came of it…

Though let’s be clear: I am not a future cardinal, and you are not Dorothy Day!  We just do our best to please the Lord in our own ways.”
God is so… good!

REFLECTION: Oh Canada, will we stand for thee?

Saturday, July 2nd, 2016

Yesterday, Canadians celebrated Canada Day.  I was one of them.  As I walked around the garden in the early morning, I thanked God for the freedom I have and the immence joy I constantly experience because of my ability to exercise my freedom  That joy was cut short when suddenly, the thought of Bill C-14 came to mind.  For those who are unaware, Bill C-14 became law on Canadian grounds on June 17, 2016 and medical assisted suicide is now legalized in Canada.

Anguish filled my heart as I began to realize that the doctors’ and nurses’ freedom to fight for life, the very reason for their professional integrity, could now be forcefully taken from them as they are legally dictated to assist another with their right to assisted death.  Imagine, forcefully taking the rights of one so as to execute the rights of another…

Yesterday we sang our beautiful anthem…

O Canada! Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!

Will we eventually be forced to alter the lyrics of our national anthem because it no longer speaks of the freedom our forefathers have fought for this land?

The rest of the our national anthem declares our new battle cry…

From far and wide O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

God bless,

Melissa – July 2, 2016

p.s. –
Sirach 38 /  Ecclesiasticus 38

1 Treat the doctor with the honour that is his due, in consideration of his services; for he too has been created by the Lord.

2 Healing itself comes from the Most High, like a gift received from a king.

3 The doctor’s learning keeps his head high, and the great regard him with awe.

4 The Lord has brought forth medicinal herbs from the ground, and no one sensible will despise them.

5 Did not a piece of wood once sweeten the water, thus giving proof of its power?

6 He has also given some people knowledge, so that they may draw credit from his mighty works.

7 He uses these for healing and relieving pain; the druggist makes up a mixture from them.

8 Thus, there is no end to his activities; thanks to him, well-being exists throughout the world.

9 My child, when you are ill, do not rebel, but pray to the Lord and he will heal you.

10 Renounce your faults, keep your hands unsoiled, and cleanse your heart from all sin.

11 Offer incense and a memorial of fine flour, make as rich an offering as you can afford.

12 Then let the doctor take over — the Lord created him too — do not let him leave you, for you need him.

13 There are times when good health depends on doctors.

14 For they, in their turn, will pray the Lord to grant them the grace to relieve and to heal, and so prolong your life.

15 Whoever sins in the eyes of his Maker, let such a one come under the care of the doctor!

 

REFLECTION: Sign or miracle?

Saturday, June 11th, 2016

Perhaps you’ve heard of it, but this isn’t one of those stories which you would have listened to from a regular children’s Bible story book.  Did you know the prophet Elijah had put out an extra-ordinary challenge to the prophets of Baal?  Grab a cup of coffee because this is definitely an interesting one!

Ahab sent to all the children of Israel and had the prophets assemble on Mount Carmel.

Elijah appealed to all the people and said, “How long will you straddle the issue?  If the LORD is God, follow him; if Baal, follow him.”  The people, however, did not answer him.  So Elijah said to the people,  “I am the only surviving prophet of the LORD, and there are four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal.  Give us two young bulls.  Let them choose one, cut it into pieces, and place it on the wood, but start no fire.  I shall prepare the other and place it on the wood, but shall start no fire.  You shall call on your gods, and I will call on the LORD.  The God who answers with fire is God.”  All the people answered, “Agreed!”

Elijah then said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one young bull and prepare it first, for there are more of you.  Call upon your gods, but do not start the fire.”  Taking the young bull that was turned over to them, they prepared it and called on Baal from morning to noon, saying, “Answer us, Baal!”  But there was no sound, and no one answering.  And they hopped around the altar they had prepared.  When it was noon, Elijah taunted them:  “Call louder, for he is a god and may be meditating, or may have retired, or may be on a journey. Perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.”  They called out louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom,  until blood gushed over them.  Noon passed and they remained in a prophetic state until the time for offering sacrifice.  But there was not a sound; no one answered, and no one was listening.

Undoubtedly, Elijah must have been filled with the Holy Spirit because he was definitely one brave fellow.  Although he was the sole survivor of God’s prophets, he taunted and teased 450 prophets of Baal!  450 and he was one measley man!  The man had guts!  Having watched these prophets call out and hop around their alter from morning to noon, Elijah began to taunt…“Call louder, for he is a god and may be meditating, or may have retired, or may be on a journey. Perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.”  In spite of their large numbers, the prophets didn’t maul Elijah.  Instead… they called out louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom,  until blood gushed over them.  Noon passed and they remained in a prophetic state until the time for offering sacrifice.  But there was not a sound; no one answered, and no one was listening.

Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.”  When the people had done so, he repaired the altar of the LORD that had been destroyed.  He took twelve stones, for the number of tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the LORD had said, “Your name shall be Israel.”He built an altar in honor of the LORD with the stones, and made a trench around the altar large enough for two measures of grain.  When he had arranged the wood, he cut up the young bull and laid it on the wood.  “Fill four jars with water,” he said, “and pour it over the burnt offering and over the wood.”  “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again.  “Do it a third time,” he said, and they did it a third time.  The water flowed around the altar, and the trench was filled with the water.

At the time for offering sacrifice, the prophet Elijah came forward and said, “LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things by your command.  Answer me, LORD!  Answer me, that this people may know that you, LORD, are God and that you have brought them back to their senses.”  The LORD’s fire came down and consumed the burnt offering, wood, stones, and dust, and it lapped up the water in the trench.  Seeing this, all the people fell prostrate and said, “The LORD is God! The LORD is God!”  11 Kings 18:20-39

Spectacular wasn’t it?  As a prophet, Elijah proclaimed the will of God.  He said… let it be known this day that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things by your command.  Answer me, LORD!  Answer me, that this people may know that you, LORD, are God and that you have brought them back to their senses.”

Undoubtedly, Elijah walked ever so closely with the Father!  He must have experienced one revelation after another from our Father so that his faith was built up to such a degree!

Had Elijah not proclaimed the Father’s intent, would the Israelites have believed?  Would they have simply witnessed a spectacular miracle and then dismissed it after a week or two?  Sadly, miracles occur daily, but many fail to recognize their relevance nor do they recognize the Father’s hand in these personal revelations.  A sign expands and defines the significance of a miracle.  Otherwise, the miracle simply becomes a spectacular event that has taken place for the purpose of entertainment, and its significance and impact on the lives of others are lost.  Notice how the grandeur of fireworks are lost after watching them numerous times?

Father, forgive us for not recognizing Your hand in the daily miracles in our lives.  They happen so regularly that we have began to them take for granted.  Lord, we ask that You open our spiritual ears and hearts and we ask that you open our spiritual eyes at the appropriate time.  Lord, this time, we do not ask that you open our eyes immediately, but we ask You to open our eyes at Your proper time because You alone know when we are ready to receive Your message.  In Jesus’ name we pray, AMEN.

God bless,

Melissa – June 10, 2016