Crashes

CIMG2483

A long time ago I heard that when an airplane crashes, other aircrafts will crash too.  Well, it seems that these days, that old saying has become true.  While I watched the news and cried my eyes out watching the numerous children that were killed in these flights and all the stories of the parents and relatives mourning their loved ones, I could only pray for them.

What else can we do?  The human being is only capable of supplying the physical needs; but who reaches the broken hearted?  Sometimes the pain of loss is unbearable, and lots of people can’t stand the pain and end up ending their lives because they have no one to rely on.

That’s why we pray; because if we can’t reach them at least God can.  Even though we know that life is hard and it will get harder we can recite the Word of God seeking comfort and increasing our faith.  We live by faith not by sight.  Faith helps fight despair and hopelessness in our lives.  It’s funny how the most important things in our lives are those that we cannot see.

That’s just a small demonstration that all of us; even those who don’t believe in God, have to recur to the invisible to seek happiness and fulfilment in our lives.  If love is real….and God is love….then God is real!

BTW, I have to stop watching news about airplane crashes; I live just in front of an airport and it doesn’t do me good.

 

Do You Sow Discord or Unity?

This has a lot to do with the last post that I wrote….

christiancounselorpastor

Today, God directed me to Proverbs 6:19, which says God hates those who sow discord among brethren. God has made me very aware of how much He loves unity and how much He hates division.

What does it mean to sow discord among brethren? The first thought that comes to mind are those that love to plant doubts about what they hear from the pulpit. It could be that there is resentment regarding the spiritual leader or even resentment regarding how God wants us to live as opposed to what some think are personal rights that God should not interfere with. An example of the latter would be those who favor same sex relationships even when God calls them an abomination. The word for abomination in Strong’s Concordance means destestable. The very same word is used in Proverbs 6:16, where scripture says that the things that follow are things God…

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Backbite

 gossiping

Ms. C was a middle-aged woman who was very skilled, had studied hard and had many outstanding experiences with the Lord.  She was by far not perfect but she humiliated herself constantly before God just like King David did in Psalm 51.  Even though she was not famous; God knew who she was because she was a “prayer warrior”.   She would find herself talking to God in those wee hours at 1, 2 or 3 AM; or whenever God would wake her up.  She had seen visions of the Rapture, had spiritual fights with demons, joined intercessions with other spiritual warriors for the healing of the sick, the deliverance of the strong held and the petitions of the weary.  God had forgiven Ms. C’s many, many sins; and she was very, very grateful.

“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven-for she loved much.  But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”  Luke 7:47

Ms. C joined a church where she wanted to work for the Lord.  She was happy to offer her many skills and knowledge for the service of God’s work.  Her new pastor was happy to have her join the church.  He was well-known by many people in different ministries.  He had always served the Lord.  He used to have a huge ministry but was now a pastor.  At first, he started letting her participate actively in lots of activities.  Ms. C was content on doing something to please the Lord.

One time during a night service, a young preacher visited the church and gave Ms. C a message from the Lord: “Work and obey Me…OBEY, OBEY”.  For some reason, Ms. C could never forget that message.

Meanwhile,  the pastor wanted to reorganize the church and have a new leadership at church.  It seemed that many things were going on and old leaders were being rivaled by a new group that had joined the church.

Many of the new members at church had their own agenda, they wanted to have the better positions, they wanted the titles and all the leading roles at every activity and the pastor backed them up.  When the new organization ended, old leaders were seated down and new leaders were named and took control.

Unfortunately, Ms. C was overlooked and ignored when the time came to give the most important positions in church.  Even her professional background was not considered when naming came in a leadership position where she knew that she could further her work for the Lord.   The pastor’s son was named to the position that she was professionally and spiritually prepared for.  She thought that there was nothing wrong with the pastor wanting to further his son’s ministry at church, but the truth was that the youngster lacked the experience, the knowledge and the spiritual growth needed for that relevant leadership position.  She was disappointed; but at 3 AM the next morning she was praying and crying before the Lord.  She was comforted and decided to keep working.  The Lord backed her up in everything that she did, even if it wasn’t much.

Even though Ms. C was totally capable of being a leader; her pastor and other churchgoers always questioned her capabilities and knowledge.  Remembering the message that she had received, she wanted to do God’s will not man’s will.  She tried to keep herself away from comments when she noticed that some things were wrong.  For some reason,  it seemed to her that it wasn’t in their best interest that she should have a relevant role at church.

Then, God opened a door where she could study the Word of God and further herself in a serious ministry.  But, unfortunately her pastor didn’t like that.  Telephones were ringing, bad intended comments started spreading and other leaders frowned at Ms. C as if she was doing something wrong.

But the time came when she was tired of being overlooked and not appreciated for her skills, experience and knowledge.  She felt stuck….she wanted to help others who felt the same way.  Other talented churchgoers were also seated and ignored.  She wanted to do much more not just be a back stage lackey for other leaders.  Then, something happened….

A time came when she didn’t want to work anymore.  She went to church, sat down, heard the service and then went home.  She kept praying and wondering….was that “it”?  What had happened to all of the promises that God had made to her?  She had a lot of free time and there was a lot of work to do at church.  But she didn’t want to work there no more.  She loved the people there….but she hated the constant backbiting coming from the altar.  So she did what many others do when the gossip and the lack of work affects a Christian:  she stayed home.

The only difference was that she kept praying and working at her own pace.  She wasn’t proud of staying home but at church she wasn’t being spiritually nurtured.  She felt tortured….  Months went by but she kept praying and reading her Bible.

“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”  Hebrews 10:25

One good day, Ms. C encountered an old pastor she knew from way back.  They started talking and she sent her regards to his wife; whom she knew well.  The old pastor invited Ms. C to his church.  Her heart was trembling….how much she longed to go to the Lord’s house to praise Him.  She missed that so dearly.  She accepted the invitation.

Long story short:  she now works at church, helping with her knowledge and using her God-given skills to further His work.  Her skills are growing so she can give unto others from what she has been given.

“For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance….” Matthew 25:28

The church where she serves now grows constantly. They fast and pray every week; they have services every other day, Bible studies, different ministries that work hard for His glory. Her pastors are humble servants who have never been famous but seek His guidance and appreciate each churchgoer letting them be fruitful.  Ms. C is now content; free of the backbiting, the stockiness and the spiritual hunger.

Meanwhile, the church she left… isn’t growing.  Lack of fasting, praying and wasting time in gossiping can do that to a church.

“Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.”  Matthew 25:28

 

 

 

 

Rediscovering yourself

Music

Have you ever thought that you can rediscover something about yourself?  I’m still on that process but I never knew that I could achieve to play the piano.  Yeah….I have a bachelors in music education but I could never learn how to play the piano.  Strange, huh?

Well….here’s the sad story.  When I started studying music more than 20 years ago, the only instrument that I could play, like a beginner, was the guitar.  I had taken private lessons with a teacher and I learned basic chords.  I used that knowledge to play the guitar at church.  It was useful at that time.

When I started studying music to achieve a degree, my focus was on singing and theory/solfege.  Well, in the theory classes that I took, I gained a lot of knowledge about harmony, major, minor, augmented and diminished chords.  I had all that knowledge and I could see it in the piano but I could never play it to accompany someone or even myself.

My piano lessons were limited to scales and playing while reading the music.  So I did learn the major, minor, diminished and augmented scales.  I learned to read music and play it, after practicing like 100 hours, of course!  I was never good at that, honest.  All of this instruction can’t help you play in the secular world, unless you know how people do it “in the streets”.

A good musician knows how to play by ear.  Even though I have good ear and I can imitate with my voice any sound I hear….when it had to do with the piano: I was totally blocked.  I felt like I had all these empty spaces in my head: insecurities and fear.  But I do love that instrument.  It has always been a dream of mine to sing while playing the piano.

After studying music, completing my degree and seeing that my knowledge about the piano had not increased; I was resigned to think that I could never, ever, play the piano to accompany anybody.  Well….that was until last night.

I saw a video on YouTube about this young man teaching how to play Worship music by chords in the piano.  I watched the video several times and I watched it this morning again.  I memorized the coordination and movement of his hands.  I didn’t have to memorize the chords that he played because I already knew them by heart.  I even knew more chords than the young man who was teaching!

Well, I sat in front of my keyboard awhile ago.  My hand coordination was a little hazy at first, but then I was amazed at all the chords that I could play.  All I needed was the perfect rhythm and someone to point me in the right direction.  I was actually playing a song in the piano.  Now I feel more confident that I can actually do more in my music ministry.  I know that if I keep this up, I can play anything by ear.  Praise the Lord for that!

Sometimes we don’t know our own potential until we try to do something.  Maybe you have a hidden talent that you don’t know of, until you try doing something different.  Probably somebody asked you if you could teach a class, do some community service….but you were afraid to do it because it was out of your comfort zone.  Why don’t you challenge yourself and say “yes” for a change?

You might even surprise yourself for the things that you may be able to do.  All you need is someone to point you in the right direction.  Maybe it’s God himself using someone to tell you:  try it because I will help you and I will use you for My Glory.  He is the Giver of Talents, you know…

God Bless You and keep working on your talents.

 

 

We Failed Her…

Mercy

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me….”  Matthew 25:35-36

This is the story of an old lady named Iris V.  She was my neighbor; lived only one apartment away from mine.  Her only living relative was a brother, but she lived alone.  I think she was divorced but never had children.  She took care of her sick mother.  She would often share her experience about how her mother passed away on her arms.

She spent her lonely days sewing, knitting and making all sorts of beautiful handicrafts.  She was a member of a nearby church.  Even though she was my neighbor, I met her at a Bible study in the apartment below mine.  Her pace was slow and so was her speech.  But she understood everything clearly; her mind was alert and she had lots of memories to share.

On a very sad day; she fell in her bedroom and broke one arm.  Nobody could hear her screams for help; she couldn’t get up.  She spent all night crying with pain on the cold floor of an empty apartment. The next day a lady neighbor from the floor below was the one who discovered what was going on because she was the one who visited Iris V. constantly to check on her.

Iris V. was taken to the hospital and after a while there; she was back in her lonely apartment.  But soon after that, she fell again and this time her brother made the decision of taking her to a nursing home.  Iris V. was happy because she thought that she would continue with her handcrafts; at least she wouldn’t be alone anymore.  She was wrong.

She wasn’t allowed to do anything, just lay on a bed all day.  The nurses said that if she did anything she could hurt herself or hurt somebody else.  The Bible group visited her once in September of last year.  We sang to her, read Bible verses to comfort her but the group leader made the mistake of promising her that the group would visit her at least once a month.  There were plans of visiting her; but for one reason or another; those plans never materialized.  No visit for Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or New Years.  There was no visit for Valentines not even on the Holy Week.  Now summer is here…

Today I saw my next door neighbor Maria.  She told me that she went this past Saturday to visit Iris V at the nursing home.  There she was informed that Iris V. had passed away since June 7.  Her brother had taken care of all the funeral proceedings and never told anyone about it.  Why would he, right?  If her church didn’t bother to visit her, her pastor didn’t even call or send anyone to comfort her, her old neighbors were too busy with their lives….why should he call?

I feel guilty because I only saw her once.  I’m not proud about what I did and I regret not being a good neighbor.  I wasn’t even a good Christian.  And I know I’m not the only one who should feel like this.  She had a church, she had a pastor, she had people who promised to seek her but failed to keep their promise.  Nobody came; just one neighbor who’s not even a Christian.  Shame on us!

While God forgives us this sin; let this be a lesson on how to treat our neighbors.  God really meant it when He said: “Love thy neighbor”.

It would have made a whole lot of difference in the last days of Iris’ life.  We would have obeyed His word….  RIP Iris V.