Butterfly in the Spring

Journey of Healing

Psalm 23 “Japanese Version” for the Busy Person by Toyi Miyashiro

The Lord is my pace-setter:

I shall not rush.

He makes me stop and rest for
quiet intervals

He provides me with images
of stillness.

Which restores my serenity.

He leads me in the way
of efficiency
through calmness of mind

And his guidance is peace.

Even though I have a great
many things
to accomplish each day.

I will not fret

For his presence is here.

His timelessness,
His all-importance
will keep me in balance.

He prepares me refreshment and renewal
in the midst of my activity

By anointing my mind with the oil
of tranquility

My cup of joyous energy overflows.

Surely harmony and effectiveness

Shall be the fruit of my hours,
for I shall walk in the pace of
my Lord

And dwell in His house forever.

 

More meditations from this site:

http://anitamathias.com/2011/08/25/psalm-23-for-busy-people-by-toyi-miyashiro-and-psalm-23-the-12-step-version/

Can I Again Love the Spouse Who Offended Me?

When the surrender of the spouse to the Lord is complete, as manifested by no longer being angry with news or wrong (enemy-incited) thoughts that come along,

when the Word of the Lord has transformed the mind to think of the Lord’s concerns instead of merely human concerns,

when the mind has understood the raging spiritual warfare and the devil’s scheme to own the husband, wife, children, other person(s), and everyone else along the way,

when I realise that God forgives me even after the subsequent times after the 491st  when  I confess my sins without having any assurance that I will not ever do the same foolish things,

when I know that that forgiveness is dependent on my forgiving others in the same way He forgives me

when I recognise that I am a recipient of God’s bottomless grace through Jesus Christ and merely a pass-through for it,

when I fathom that His great faithfulness is constant even in my own unfaithfulness to Him, and I am called to be a pass-through for it,

when I recognise that I am a recipient of Christ’s unlimited love and merely a pass-through for it,

when the eyes have been open to what Jesus has done for me, my redeemed life and it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me,

when the heart has been set on obeying the Lord,

can I love my husband?

I hear wives’ stoic declarations:  “I don’t love him anymore.” “I can’t force myself to love him. The love is gone.”  “I’ve been hurt too much.”  “I’ve reached the point of no return.” “I have forgiven X number of times before. Enough is enough.” “I can’t do this anymore.”

Should agape love be dependent on feeling?  If God said these exact same expressions towards me and you, where would we be? Genuine love (not Satan’s user-love) is a trademark of Jesus.  It is willing to sacrifice.  Love is a decision. An act of the will, a demonstration of faith, obedience, and surrender to God— a form of worship to God.  A life application of God-knowledge.  A transformation made out of information.  An action as unto the Lord.

Should God’s love be dependent on my deserving His love?
If God loved me only when I deserve it, then I would never have His love.

Matt 26:35 But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you,” And all the other disciples said the same.

Just after professing faithfulness to Jesus, His disciples —-who walked the earth with Him, who were personally taught by Him, experienced the miracles with their own eyes and knew who He was, who had close fellowship with Him—- failed Him.

Am I not like the disciples? Yet God love remains magnanimous, eternal, steadfast, holy, pure, reliable, unconditional.  How can any human being begin to deserve this love?  If I can’t ever deserve God’s love, how can I arbitrarily withhold it from those whom I perceive do not deserve it?

Biblical love is patient.  Keeps no record of wrongs.  Never gives up.  Never loses faith.  Is always hopeful.  Endures through every circumstance (but must remove self from situations where there is threat to life).  Biblical love hates what is wrong yet loves  and does good to even the one who has caused offense.

If I am receiving His love, am I not merely passing on that love to the spouse who offended me? If I am feeling angry and burdened, it is likely that I am not being a pass-through but I am attempting to rely on myself instead of God to do this humanly-impossible task.  With God all things are possible.  If I reach a threshold of pain and burden, I need to once again surrender the matter to God.

2Cor 12:9a  But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”

Matt 11:28-30 ESV  “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

When I come to Him, He will give me rest and give me an easy and light burden.

David Guzik says, “Jesus called those who sensed they must come to Him to relieve their need instead of living in self-sufficiency.  He says that according to Carson, “LABOR implies the burdens we take upon ourselves and HEAVY LADEN implies the burdens others put on us.” Guzik explains that taking Jesus’s yoke means that we are guided by Him. (Jesus has one side and we are on the other side of the yoke being guided by Him).

From Guzik’s commentary, I am picking up that we need to first unyoke ourselves from the yokes/obligations to society, to well-meaning loved ones, to old patterns and thoughts before we can put on the yoke of Jesus which He promises is easy and light.

Guzik continues: ” The yoke of Jesus is easy and light as long as we do not rebel against it. The yoke of Jesus has nothing to do with worries (As believers we are not supposed to worry).  The yoke of Jesus does not include the burdens we choose to add to it.  It is easy and light because Jesus bears the yoke. (Infinity in strength, Omnipotence in power, omniscience in wisdom, Omnipresence in availability are what Jesus offers when He offers to be the One we yoke with.)  Jesus described His gift to His followers as (all caps in NASB translation) “YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.”  This unmatchable gift should be considered the birthright of those who come to Jesus and are His followers.  Guzik quotes Spurgeon, “To Jesus himself we must come, by a personal trust. Not to doctrine, ordinance, nor ministry are we to come first; but the personal Savior.”

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Can I love the spouse who offended me?

Do I want Jesus to define me by my sin? Do I want Him to keep referring to me as the one who offended Him? More accurately, the one who offends Him… “The Sinner”, “The Idolater”, “The Proud”, etc.?  I want Him to refer to me as The New Creation In Christ.

Does that give me a clue as to how I should view my husband?  Then I should not refer to him as “The Adulterer” or “The Spouse That Offended Me.”

This is who my husband is in God’s eyes:  (Just like me and you)

My husband is God’s loved one for whom Jesus died.

My husband is God’s work in progress.  He who began a good work in him will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.  He is being made new in Christ.

If God loves and forgives my husband and if I am Jesus’s student and servant who is not above my Teacher or Master, can I love my husband?

I John 4:20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 

If I seek God’s will, if I have the Holy Spirit of God in me as my Guide, if I ask for the mind of Christ, if Jesus is my Lord and Master, if I am saved by grace and created in Christ Jesus to do this good work, can I love my husband?

By the power of Jesus Christ, in His name and for His glory, not only can I love my husband… I am called, chosen, commissioned, and coached by Jesus to love my husband.

Jude 1:24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and [a]forever. Amen.

 

5 Reasons You Can Surrender the Adulterers to God

One of the hardest things to master is the godly response when an atrocious sin is done against you.  Philippine law and the Old Testament  recognize adultery’s atrocity that both agree the offenders’ murder is warranted.  You might regard those who did this to you (in the physical realm) are abominably monstrously cruel.  In the higher spiritual realm, they are captives to do Satan’s will. They are prisoners of the devil.

While in the height of your emotion, you may completely forget that you love your husband and vowed unto God to love him for worse until death. Oh and that you really long to love and obey God.  Blinding anger may make the thought of the offenders in the fiery lake of burning sulfur a comfort.  But like a DJ in the swing of music, please  scratch that.

1 John 4:20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.

Hosea 3:1 says  The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”

This was an illustration of God’s love for us, His people, despite our spiritual adulteries and spiritual idolatries putting unworthy pursuits ahead of our love for Him.   When rage and revenge, regaining the spouse become more important than God to us, that is the spiritual parallel of one’s spouse committing physical adultery.  To God, I am the (spiritual) adulterer. I am the one needing grace. And He gives it to me.

God commanded that we love Him first and foremost above all.  A spouse’s adultery in some way can be a mercy for us to recalibrate the heart to see who has the top spot.  It enables us to release and detach ourselves from what unwittingly become our spiritual idols.  This mercy enables us to take care of our spiritual health instead of being so engrossed with the things of this world, in order to gain the necessary viewpoint about the Lord’s affairs, instead of the husband’s affairs.

Personally, I don’t believe there is any such human ability to love the adulterers.  It is the work of Jesus Christ in us and through us.

In John 15:5c, Jesus says, “Apart from Me you can do nothing.”

In Phil 4:13 Paul says “I can do all this through Jesus who gives me strength.”

He can transform our hearts and minds through His word.  We may continue to struggle with forgiveness until we understand that it is we who need forgiveness.

All (including we) have sinned and even though that sin may not be adultery, whatever those sins (unforgiveness, anger, bitterness, rage, etc) are, they earn us death, destining us for the fiery lake of burning sulfur.  But despite our sinfulness, God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to die for our sins that we may not perish but have eternal life. Jesus said that He is The (only) Way to the Father.  If we receive Him and believe in His name, He gives us the right to become God’s children, belonging in God’s home, heaven, where there is no death, crying, or pain.

When we confess our sins, Jesus Christ is faithful to forgive us our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness even though at the time that we ask for forgiveness, we cant’ give Jesus any assurance that we would not commit that same sin ever again. But He forgives us.  After He forgives us, He does not keep finger pointing or reminding us of the wrong we did.

Psalm 103:12 (CJB) He has removed our sins from us as far as the East is from the West.

Psalm 103:9-11 9 (CJB) He will not always accuse, he will not keep his anger forever. 10 He has not treated us as our sins deserve or paid us back for our offenses.

We are forgiven in the same way that we forgive.  If we want to withhold forgiveness, would that not mean that forgiveness would be withheld from us, the death wages of sin become fully ours with no grace extension such that the fiery lake of burning sulfur become our destination? Even if we didn’t commit adultery.  Here is a sobering checklist of sins that preceded “Do not commit adultery” among the ten commandments:

Checklist:

1. Have I ever had another type of god in my heart that took place the place of God as my first pursuit? (a person, a relationship, career, money, an emotion such as anger and unforgiveness, etc.?)

2. Have I ever bowed down to an image to worship it?

3. Have I misused the Lord’s name directly or indirectly in euphemisms like “omg”, “doggone it”, etc?

4. Have I always kept every Sabbath day holy?

5. Have I ever dishonored my mother or father in thought, word, or deed?

6. Have I ever been so angry with someone that I called them names like “idiot” which Jesus said was on the same scale as murder?

Here are more sins for the checklist:

7. Have I ever looked at a man other than my husband lustfully (having strong feelings of sexual desire)? Jesus said that is equivalent to already having committed adultery.

8. Have I ever taken anything that wasn’t mine? Or bought counterfeit goods? Or taken copyrighted material? Or watched an illegally obtained movie?

9. Have I ever fibbed?

10. Have I ever yearned to possess what someone has? Or yearned for someone else’s husband’s attention? Or someone else’s efficient assistant, helper, driver, or other employee, or anything else that belongs to someone else?

If we have committed any of the above sins against God and yet withhold forgiveness form the ones who sin against us, then we forfeit the grace and forgiveness we received from Jesus and will instead pay our own sin’s wage.

Having said that, now comes the question, “Are you willing to surrender the offending adulterers to the Lord?”

adultery photo Here are 5 biblical reasons to do so:

1. It is a spiritual warfare. You must know who your enemy is. It’s not people.  Don’t lose air fighting this spiritual battle in the flesh.

Eph 6:10 (Complete Jewish Bible) Finally, grow powerful in union with the Lord, in union with his mighty strength! 11 Use all the armor and weaponry that God provides, so that you will be able to stand against the deceptive tactics of the Adversary. 12 For we are not struggling against human beings, but against the rulers, authorities and cosmic powers governing this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm.

2. God Is Your Avenger.  You conquer evil with good. God will take care of those who do evil to you.

Rom 12:19 (CJB) Never seek revenge, my friends; instead, leave that to God’s anger; for in the Tanakh it is written, Adonai says, ‘Vengeance is my responsibility; I will repay.’”[a]  20 On the contrary, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  For by doing this, you will heap fiery coals [of shame] on his head.”[b]  21 Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.

3. God is The Punisher for Sexual Immorality.  Look at the verse below.  God punishes ALL who do such things.  If Almighty God will punish All with no one getting away, no need to put blood on your hands.  You are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ Himself, you are God’s Princess. Let your Abba Daddy fight for you.

1Thess 4:3 (CJB) What God wants is that you be holy, that you keep away from sexual immorality, that each of you know how to manage his sexual impulses in a holy and honorable manner, without giving in to lustful desires, like the pagans who don’t know God.No one should wrong his brother in this matter or take advantage of him, because the Lord punishes all who do such things — as we have explained to you before at length.

4. The Adultery is not rejection against you but rejection against God.  This can be a time for you to not take things personally.  Let your spouse and the accomplice adulteress learn to fear God, face God, face the consequences of their actions.  You can’t convince them but oh, God can! He knows how to instill a fear of Himself in people.  As you wait on Him, take care of your own walk with God.

1Thess 4:8 (CJB) Therefore, whoever rejects this teaching is rejecting not a man but God, indeed, the One who gives you the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), which is his.

5. Responding in meekness is in keeping with abiding in Jesus, The Vine, and grows you spiritually.  This race you are running is between you and God.  He is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble. Do not be the proud that He is opposed to.

John 15:6 Unless a person remains united with me, he is thrown away like a branch and dries up. Such branches are gathered and thrown into the fire, where they are burned up. “If you remain united with me, and my words with you, then ask whatever you want, and it will happen for you. This is how my Father is glorified — in your bearing much fruit; this is how you will prove to be my talmidim.

Guard against the natural reactions to adultery.  Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy, the devil, is looking for someone to devour and lays down offence baits/traps for you to commit your own sin responses and turn away from God.  Equip yourself with weapons of spiritual warfare. Keep praying and abiding in God.  He is faithful. His love endures forever.

The Kind of Woman I Want Each Of My Sons To Marry

I got mail today. My friend wrote, “Hi! I just read ‘Does Race Matter?‘ I have a hypothetical question for you: what if your sons would have a ________ (a race different from mine) girlfriend? Are you okay with it?”

Dear Friend, thanks for reading! I have a hypothetical answer for your hypothetical question!

God’s word is our guide. I don’t know what surprises He has for me along the way. I don’t know what my first impulse and processing of situations will be. What I know is that He knows best and will lead me accordingly.  My whole life it seems He’s constantly teaching me about how my notions have to be worked on by the Holy Spirit to submit to His wisdom and authority.  My personal desire is that my sons will wait for and find godly women who already follow/love Jesus.  (Since they were small, I told my sons that I would like them to “find someone who loves Jesus more than she loves you.”  Underneath that desire is the preliminary one that my sons would love Jesus more than anything or anyone else including me.)

I also have a wish list to have beautiful-inside-and-outside descendants. I don’t know how much God will grant His daughter’s desires but I know He is trustworthy and that He is the same yesterday today and forever.  He is good and His love endures forever!  If He says, “Ask and you shall receive, I will ask Him for daughters-in-law who have the Jesus-/ bible-believing culture and citizenship of heaven, in the spiritual bloodline of Jesus Christ.”

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What good would the “right” passport be if the woman is a not a citizen of heaven?
What good would be the “right” skin colour, face, and appearance  be if her heart is treacherous?
What good would be the “right” dialect that sounds like music to my ears if she does not know how to agape (unconditionally)-love my son?
What good would the “right” body parts be if they are used for lying, stealing, killing, destroying—Satan’s purposes?

What does God’s Word teach about finding one’s life partner? In Proverbs 31:10-31, King Lemuel’s mother taught him, concluding that fear of the Lord was the most esteemed quality of all. Race is not mentioned among the biblical criteria. Indeed, the noble wife is precious, far more than many a Ruby.

Proverbs 31:10-31 (NLT)

A Wife of Noble Character

10 [a]Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
    She is more precious than rubies.
11 Her husband can trust her,
    and she will greatly enrich his life.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.

13 She finds wool and flax
    and busily spins it.
14 She is like a merchant’s ship,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household
    and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.

16 She goes to inspect a field and buys it;
    with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She is energetic and strong,
    a hard worker.
18 She makes sure her dealings are profitable;
    her lamp burns late into the night.

19 Her hands are busy spinning thread,
    her fingers twisting fiber.
20 She extends a helping hand to the poor
    and opens her arms to the needy.
21 She has no fear of winter for her household,
    for everyone has warm[b] clothes.

22 She makes her own bedspreads.
    She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
23 Her husband is well known at the city gates,
    where he sits with the other civic leaders.
24 She makes belted linen garments
    and sashes to sell to the merchants.

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity,
    and she laughs without fear of the future.
26 When she speaks, her words are wise,
    and she gives instructions with kindness.
27 She carefully watches everything in her household
    and suffers nothing from laziness.

28 Her children stand and bless her.
    Her husband praises her:
29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
    but you surpass them all!”

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
    but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
31 Reward her for all she has done.
    Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

Me And His Shadow

Psalm 91:1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Photo from this site

Photo from this site

Whoever -Anyone, no one will be turned away

dwells – who chooses to live , settle in, stay, abide, follow, submits

in the Shelter – protection, shield, cover, shade, screen, safeguard, preservation, cushion, guard, insulation

of the Most High - nothing and no one else can compare. He is the Alpha and Omega, the Ultimate God

will rest – cease work or movement, have a break, relax, have breathing space, recover strength, refresh oneself

in the Shadow – Dark shape produced by a body in between light and a surface

of the Almighty – All-powerful, Supreme, Omnipotent

Thank You Lord, that You are an all-powerful God for whom nothing is impossible, for whom nothing is too difficult, to whom no one is beyond reach or hope. Thank You that when I choose to follow You specially when it is hard to do so or doesn’t make sense to, when I submit myself to Your all-knowing authority, I am protected. I can rest in You. I can recover strength and be refreshed because You take care of me. You are my Shield. You cover me. You are my Shelter. You guard me.  Help me to know how and empower me by Your Holy Spirit to choose to dwell in You in Jesus’s name amen.

Does Race Matter?

I have a dear friend who is sad and ashamed every now and then that she is born of Chinese descent—when for example she hears of news that Chinese businessmen cheat or do things that show no integrity, when she witnesses Chinese people say common expressions that demonstrate how they feel superior as a race and that other people not belonging fully to their race are inferior, she personally takes it as something she herself should be ashamed for.  Another Chinese friend shies away from any Chinese grouping because in her mind, they will gossip about her to the whole Chinese community so whenever I invite her to an event, one of her first questions is, “Are they Chinese?” Another person I know has a phobia against Chinese women because of traumatic experiences with a wrongly or rightly perceived proliferation of Chinese “wanton homewreckers who prostitute themselves in hot pursuit of rich married men.”  Another person I know is treated as a second class citizen because she is not “pure Chinese.”

These sentiments are not limited to the Chinese. If you feel hesitation to reach out to someone who is not from your own race, if you feel discriminated against for belonging to a certain race, if something someone of a particular race did to you makes you repulsed by that race, the bible gives life insight.

Col 3:9-11 says 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Taking off the old (ways, practices, notions, character, prejudices) and putting on the new as we get to know God more, as we become renewed day by day to becoming the person who is less like our old self and more like God (Christ-like), we grow to understand that what is acceptable is not based on race. To God, what matters is Christ.  The presence of Christ, the life of Christ in a person.

Dear Lord, please help us to see others from Your point of view. Please help us to be colour-blind to people’s race and rather look at people’s hearts. Thank You for Your Word that shows us that regardless of our race, we are one in Christ. Help us not to treat people by race but by grace.

Photo from MarthaOrlando

Photo from MarthaOrlando

 

 

Do You Desire To Not Pass On Dysfunction to Your Children?

Here is a video teaching from Pastor Jimmy Evans:

“God Does Not Command Wives To Love Their Husbands”

Emerson Eggerichs who co-authored the book, Love and Respect, with his wife Sarah, has this lesson for husbands and wives.

Hope and Healing for Heathen Hedonist History: Hayden

Are you or someone you know struggling with being stuck in a life in pursuit of pleasure as the most important thing in life? Watch this video of a 700 Club Asia’s interview of Hayden Kho who was previously involved in “sex scandals” that became national news.  He has since been “plucked out” by God from that destructive life and given a new identity in Christ, finding true love in Him that gives him the security and healing he had been seeking since the brokenness of his early years. The true God of Second Chances is transforming Hayden Kho’s life away from pride and self-glorification to a life lived for God’s purposes. 

From a heathen, hedonist lifestyle, Hayden is now hidden in Christ.

This was written by one of our dear pastors and his wife (Martin and Beth Sanders)

Who is Hayden Kho, Jr?

What a great encouragement to see yet another life transformed. No one is beyond God’s reach! God is at work!

You Can Share Your Faith Even If Your Life Is Not Perfect

Judges 6:12 The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, The Lord Is With you!” 

Sheri Rose Shepherd shares that “Gideon felt weak, he felt like the least, he felt nothing like a hero yet while he’s hiding in a hole, the angel of the Lord said ‘Mighty hero, The Lord is with you!’  God is addressing us as the body of Christ saying, ‘…Princess Warrior, … I need you to come out of that hole so that I can anoint your mouth to bring a message of life'”

Ann Voskamp says, “It’s the hurting and wounded who are always the ones called to be medics — to administer lavish grace, to cast the messy in the best, merciful light.”

Do you feel not qualified to share your faith?

No life will ever be perfect on this side of heaven.  In the Bible are stories of imperfect people (except for Jesus Christ) with imperfect lives whom God used to bring His message of hope, light, love, and faith.

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