What do you do with zero visibility? A man who posted this in the chat exclaimed that visibility was zero at that point but he was determined to get home in time to cook the family reunion dinner. Yes, a man rushing home from work so that he could give his family of grown up live-at-home working children a real treat.
He loves cooking and has owned food and beverage businesses in the past. His family persuaded him to retire and he has since gone into minor home expansion construction line. But he has not stopped cooking. He treats his own home like a cafe, rises extra early just to cook for the day before he goes out. The wife and children can eat them cold or heat them up after work. The soup and rice are always kept warm.
Daily I read a different menu across the ocean in the group chat. His heart has remained a chef. On special days (reunion, birthdays, Christmas, New Year Eve) he goes home early and cooks for his loved ones and old faithful clients really special dishes.
In writing too, at times, I ask if I should move on to a more leisurely field. Because writing an original story, like a chef cooking, is not a delegable job, and can become taxing as years go by. But then, I know because that is where I have laid my heart, one day, I too, may have to resort to making a menu for writing bite-size stuff for the sake of a few very old loved ones, a handful of friends, and even some faithful stranger-readers I have never met.
Today’s words are PROMISES (and SHIELD).
The wise poets in ancient days declared:
About God: He will shield you with his wings! They will shelter you. His faithful promises are your armor. (Psalm 91:4)
To God: You are my refuge and my shield, and your promises are my only source of hope. (Psalm 119:114)
I have thoroughly tested your promises, and that is why I love them so much. (Psalm 119:140)
I stay awake through the night to think about your promises. (Psalm 119:148)
The wise prophets looked into the future and proclaimed:
About What God has promised: “And all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land sparkling with happiness. These are the promises of the Lord Almighty. (Malachi 3:12)
Prophet Daniel’s prayer: “O Lord,” I prayed, “you are a great and awesome God; you always fulfill your promises of mercy to those who love you and keep your laws.” (9:4)
God likes those who keep their promises: Proverbs 12:22
God delights in those who keep their promises and abhors those who don’t.
Prophet Isaiah knows all about how God’s promises can come true:
So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help. (30:18)
Here are some Bible verses from the New Testament on “Promises” for meditation and receiving by faith!
So now, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith in his promises, we can have real peace with him because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.
2 Corinthians 1:20
He carries out and fulfills all of God’s promises, no matter how many of them there are; and we have told everyone how faithful he is, giving glory to his name.
And now that we are Christ’s we are the true descendants of Abraham, and all of God’s promises to him belong to us.
2 Timothy 2:13
Even when we are too weak to have any faith left, he remains faithful to us and will help us, for he cannot disown us who are part of himself, and he will always carry out his promises to us.
For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn; he will never go back on his promises.
The Power of the Holy Spirit is our shield today!
Galatians 3:5-7Living Bible (TLB)
5 I ask you again, does God give you the power of the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you as a result of your trying to obey the Jewish laws? No, of course not. It is when you believe in Christ and fully trust him.
6 Abraham had the same experience—God declared him fit for heaven only because he believed God’s promises. 7 You can see from this that the real children of Abraham are all the men of faith who truly trust in God.
Heritage means something that is handed down from the past: as a tradition, a national heritage of honor, pride, and courage; something that comes or belongs to one by reason of birth; ; something reserved for one: the heritage of the righteous; something that has been or may be inherited by legal descent or succession. any property, especially land, that devolves by right of inheritance.
It is no coincidence that I recently came across a small heritage through a relative. The items are not exactly that old. The original owners lived around the time when the formation of the Republic of China as a constitutional republic put an end to 4,000 years of Imperial rule. The Qing dynasty, (also known as the Manchu dynasty), ruled from 1644–1912. I brought some of them back to the heirs who have confirmed that they are not selling. The above photo shows two Chinese Swatow (Shantou) Pewter Tea Caddy Containers (possibly a hundred or less years old), a Vintage Chinese Hand-carved Cork Art and a collection of modern poetry published in 1987 included because they were found together.
According to China Daily, Shantou people “drink more tea than anyone else in China. Shantou became a city significant in 19th-century Chinese history as one of the treaty trading ports established for Western trade and contact, sited both American and British Consulates. Today the historic quarter of Shantou features both Western and Chinese architecture. Online source states that about 2% of the population belongs to an ‘organized’ religion, with 40,000 Protestants, 20,000 Catholics and 500 Muslims.
What are the real values of heirlooms? No one can place any intrinsic value on any item except the heir herself/himself. In this case, I have checked the websites of some auction houses and found varying values have been cited on similar items. But the final word is from the heirs and they say, “No, we intend to just keep them.”
I try reading up the history of those who fled the strategic trading and battle port occupied by the Japanese army during 1939-1945 and moved to the rest of the world. I cannot imagine how they could have carried and preserved heavy tea canisters and other intricate sets of silver and beautiful fragile bone China tea sets which I have also found in that house.
There are many things we do not understand about the generations before us. I cannot understand their values and priorities. Perhaps I am too engrossed in the modern technology-savvy world in which we give high value to anything close to ‘weightlessness’. We grumble about a laptop weighing 3lbs and above. On the other hand, we do not mind going to the gym to lift heavy metal to get our muscles in tune.
Well, here are some realistic observations from a book I am reading, by a futurist.
“…For example, today’s high school students have a hard time understanding why Columbus risked life and limb to find a shorter trade route to the spices of the East. Why couldn’t he simply go to the supermarket, they ask, and get some oregano? But in the days of Columbus, spices and herbs were extremely expensive. They were prized because they could mask the taste of rotting food, since there were no refrigerators in those days. At times, even kings and emperors had to eat rotten food at dinner. There were no refrigerated cars, containers, or ships to carry spices across the oceans.) That is why these commodities were so valuable that Columbus gambled his life to get them, although today they are sold for pennies…”
Yet, on the other hand, the futurist admitted this, “…The point is: whenever there is a conflict between modern technology and the desires of our primitive ancestors, these primitive desires win each time. That’s the Cave Man Principle.” ”
― Michio Kaku, Physics Of The Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny And Our Daily Lives By The Year 2100
Agree. I would rather take a cup of hot tea with a spot of fresh milk than staring at the cold laptop in the cold, unheated cave. You know, the value of a laptop easily depreciates to zero within a couple of years. But a tea canister appreciates its value with decades/centuries and is still going strong.
Cherry On TopThe day was like any ordinary day. We were all set to go to a hot spring and this picture was taken from a coach. The guide said we would go near the mountain but not too near. At that time they were speculating that it might have some volcanic activities unsuitable for travelers. It had not erupted since the 18th century. But we were told to be cautious. Anyway we had a good ride to the place famous for its hot spring. The idea of a sleepy mountain suddenly woke up and erupting into an inferno was a bit unsettling for the travelers.
But the company was good and some sang songs to cheer up the rest.
We started early in the morning but arrived in the evening due to slow traffic and closure of certain stretches of the highway. There was no road rage even though traffic was crawling and we moved practically in terms of inches. I looked out of the window and saw other drivers and passengers unperturbed and calm sitting in their cars and waited to inch forward. As a mere traveler I could only look at the people superficially. The mountains looked beautiful from afar. And we were told not to go near. I did not visit the country again after December 2007. In 2011 it was struck with the most powerful earthquake ever recorded to have hit Japan, and the fourth most powerful earthquake in the world since modern record-keeping began in 1900.
I quote below passages from the wikipedia: “Japan has also been the site of some of the 10 worst natural disasters of the 21st century. The types of natural disasters in Japan include tsunamis, floods, typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. The country has gone through many years of natural disasters, affecting its economy, development, and social life. The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami were devastating.On 10 March 2015, a Japanese National Police Agency report confirmed 15,894 deaths,6,152 injured, and 2,562 people missing across twenty prefectures, as well as 228,863 people living away from their home in either temporary housing or due to permanent relocation. The tsunami caused nuclear accidents, primarily the level 7 meltdowns at three reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant complex, and the associated evacuation zones affecting hundreds of thousands of residents.”
An internet blogging Japanese friend who used to work and stay in Tokyo lost contact after the disaster. We used to share one common interest: We were both avid fans of Kazuo Ishiguro (who created remarkable stories of love, loss and hidden truths in The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go.) and we both liked the movie Australia. His website remained the same as many years ago and froze in a space and time. I gave up visiting his web blog eventually.
This traveler continues this journey on spiritual rough waters with a positive word. Not smooth but it’s worth it.
‘First’ is a word commonly associated with performance superiority. Where an individual considers a thing of positive value to him, he wants to be first, to gain an advantageous position, and it means acting before all others. In a competitive environment he wants to be the winning one when compared to others in the same arena. The competition may be real or imagined on the part of the person who is required to perform, often with a stated corporate goal (with his own personal agenda) within stated corporate parameters. In a modern competitive economy based on scarce and limited resources, there is no way anyone who wants a reasonable and sustainable living without being measured by parameters set for performance in a corporate society.
In summary, often we (earth dwellers) want to be first only when there is a competition for scarce resources. There is a finite limit no matter how advanced we may currently are in ‘creative’ technology and science. The resources of the earth are finite. Parameters set by human and enforced by those with authority and power can restrain mankind from harmful ‘excessive consumption’ within the known and predicted limits of time and space and power. Increasingly the ‘war’ to control resources will intensify in quantity and frequency.
Enough for the discussion of physical natural ‘doom’. How can Christians be hopeful for exemption from this inevitable natural constraint for all earth-bound mankind? For the spiritual (supernatural) Christian, the word ‘first’ could mean quite opposite in the spiritual dictionary. The focus makes a paradigm shift to a set of limitless parameters. Parameters not bound by scarcity of resources. Let us read some positive meanings of ‘first’:
First thing first: Whom we believe (limitless and preeminent -above all)
So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.”
Matthew 20:26-28 6 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
Hebrews 12:22-24 2 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstbornwho are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
Two role models who scored ‘first’ in faith in action:
[ Promised Rest for God’s People ] God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it. For this good news—that God has prepared this rest—has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God. For only we who believe can enter his rest. As for the others, God said, “In my anger I took an oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest,’” even though this rest has been ready since he made the world. …(Hebrews 4[Full Chapter])
Sometimes we take the sky for granted. We do not look up unless it looks like it’s going to rain. When it rains we pay more attention to the wetness of the water-soaked ground or the forgotten laundry in the backyard. We do not look at the sky or the rain. We look at things affected by the wetness. We also think about the inconvenience like the expected traffic jam on our way home after work or after school when all cars slow down due to the slippery roads or due to other more trivial reasons.
We look at our watches. We think about the possible lateness in appointment, the potential missed opportunity of pleasing someone dear or important to us, the probable mishap that might occur due to the delay, pros and cons of profits and losses in terms of resources spent or not-spent due to the delay in the traffic jam etc.
We think of loved ones waiting with disappointments and perhaps anxieties.
We think of the cold dishes we would have to force ourselves to eat when we eventually reach home. We think of the shower we badly need. We think of the bed…
It could be unpleasant to be caught in a traffic jam in heavy rain.
On the other hand there are a few who feel comforted by the rain. They look at the weeping sky. They see things that others do not see. They see an opening of the storehouses of water. Unseen hands unlocking and pouring. Unseen faces smeared with tears. Unseen eyes swollen with crying…with them as they cry in the cars or at the windows somewhere away from home or having none to return to.
There are also a few who like being in the rain. To them, walking in the rain is like taking a nice, cool, long shower. They enjoy the touch of the water droplets on their faces. They love the music of the wind and rain orchestra. They stroll leisurely and unhurriedly. They watch the others stuck in the cars, anxious and bored faces watching them in return. Sometimes they sing and dance along with the raindrops.
The sky is neutral. We put labels on it whenever it suits us. The sky weeps. The sky smiles. The sky is friendly. The sky is hostile. The sky is foreboding. The sky is welcoming…labels.
Today when you happen to be near the sky look up and see what you want to see.
There are words which appear simple and yet are physically impossible to practice. The word ‘abide’ is such a word. I would take the following meanings for the purpose of this post: remain, continue, stay, dwell. When the word is used for a physical abode it is simple. But when we are required to carry out the phrase “abide in Me’ by God (who is Spirit) we may be stuck with the seemingly impossible.
ABIDE IS A POWERFUL KEY TO ANSWER OF PRAYERS
Here is the requirement and promise from God:
John 15:4-9 New King James Version (NKJV)
4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing… 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will[a] ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.
How to abide or dwell in a zone or realm which is unseen and spiritual?
THE ANSWER: BECOMING SPIRITUAL.
How to become spiritual? For the believers of the holy God, here are the Bible verse that give clear answers to this question.
BE BORN AGAIN AS A SPIRIT
We can be born as a spirit who can then communicate and connect to the unseen spiritual God.
GOD EEXPECTS US TO DO SO
God actually expects us to do so. It is a possibility. We can abide in God through His Spirit and His Word.
Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God isSpirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
ALL WHO COME TO JESUS CAN RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT
John 7:37-39 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive;
THE SPIRIT AND THE WORD OF GOD BRING US INTO ABIDING IN THE SPIRITUAL REALM OF GOD
tell someone something positively or confidently to dispel any doubts they may have.
make (something) certain to happen.
If you assure someone of something, you need to be in the position (power) to make it happen. The word is often used with confident authority. without authority over the matter you cannot possibly assure others it will happen the way you say it will.
We can mean well when we assure someone of the good and avoidance of the bad. But unless we can make it happen or not happen, we are actually giving a false hope to the party to whom we are giving an assurance.
In human history, there are countless incidents of false assurances, especially over matters that involve intrinsic values. For example, in relationship human feelings and emotion change overtime. In matters of life and death too, no human can predict 100% accurately the actual outcome.
Yet, there is the existence of such a word, ‘assure’, despite the chance that it may bring disappointment of a failed promise.
So who is qualified to use this word freely? Who has the final say over what will happen? Yes, only One, God.
Matthew 5:18For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
John 3:5 Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.
Matthew 18:3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
John 5:25 “And I assure you thatthe time is coming, indeed it’s here now, when the dead will hear my voice—the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen will live.
Matthew 21:21 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt,you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done.
Matthew 17:20 So Jesus said to them, “…for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.
Matthew 18:18 “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
Matthew 19:28 Jesus replied, “I assure you that when the world is made new and the Son of Man sits upon his glorious throne, you who have been my followers will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Luke 23:43 And Jesus replied, “Iassureyou, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Luke 18:28-30 New King James Version (NKJV) 28 Then Peter said, “See, we have left all[a] and followed You.”
29 So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God,30 who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
The divine breakthrough has finally when the words of truth is being obeyed and applied in our daily lives in Christ. The mindman has discovered.
The revelation: Why are souls so easily held in captivity by the enemy from the spiritual realm? Because the mind is idle and embraces anything that does not require mind function.
It started with TV program. There is no requirement of the mind to be involved. A variety of ‘entertainments’ has become easily accessible and readily available at any point of time. Unlike books or even newspapers, there is no effort on the part of the viewers.
Now the screen is at hand in the form of mobile phone or similar digital smart pads/tablets. One can access to anything which does not require mind work at any point of time at anywhere!
The limits of time and space have been overcome. A false sense of…