Friday, April 21, 2017

COUNT THE YEARS NOT BY WHAT YOU HAVE LOST BUT BY WHAT YOU HAVE GAINED



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It's always a relaxing moment seated in a quiet corner of my favorite coffee bar which my daughter and I often frequent.. and just simply 'watch the world go by', so to speak. Nobody knows me except of course for the friendly baristas who consider me and my daughter as regulars to their store. With my favorite green tea frappe paired with a delicious slice of chocolate cake time simply slips by unnoticed quite peacefully. And I love it…

Until something catches my attention and shakes up my thinking cap.

Just a table away from me sat four middle-aged ladies. Apparently long-time friends and still at it through the changes of life and time. Have gathered that much from their conversation which trickled down in my direction. Quite obviously, no doubt. Alam nyo naman din ang Pinoy.. maingay yan kapag nagkikita-kita. Ang lalakas pa ng boses, akala mo sila lang ang tao sa kwarto o sa mundo. But you can tell they were having such great fun! So then it was difficult not to hear or ignore them sounding like that. Was quite amused by it all, in fact.

They were at it for some minutes until their mood turned serious; no more banter or laughter seen or heard from them. The talk turned different. So then I turned back to my drink and cake, too, while waiting for my daughter who had to run errands inside the mall now seen teeming with people chasing after promo sales.

A few minutes went by then I suddenly heard this lady from the group speak up loud and clear:

"Eto yun at tandaan mo: Don't look at how far you have to go, look at how far you have come!"


That made me smile. I've heard that line before, spoken by someone... and read it somewhere, too.

I think sometimes such familiar lines come to us at some point in our lives when confusion and frustration assail us. Although meant to inspire or encourage us yet it does not always work that way. Because when you’re hurting you cannot understand anything else but your hurt or pain. And all that you can see is that long tough journey still stretching out ahead of you and which makes you wonder just when or where it will ever stop or end. Because it’s truly tough --- you’re hurting and crumbling under its burden, and it feels like you have reached the end of your rope.

But here’s what…..

Breathe deep. Deeply. Just breathe. Tune in on your senses. Pay attention to what it’s telling you. What does it say? It says you’re alive! With eyes that see, ears that hear and listen, nose that smells fragrance and otherwise, hands that touch and feel, legs that can walk many distances, and your sense of taste that leads you to scrumptious food which ends up having heavier numbers on the weighing scale! (Geeez I agree!)

And being alive means......…

That you have new tomorrows waiting for you... that you can try again... that you can pursue your fond dream another way... that you can build and rebuild... that you can pick yourself up each time you fall – over and over – again and again... that you can find and meet new people who will be kinder to your dreams... that you can choose what to do next... that you can learn new things and grow with it... that you can create or recreate new opportunities for yourself to work on.

Being alive means that you don’t and won’t give up. Being alive means that you are darn so good but you can also be so much better or the best. And that is the goal!

Count the years not by what you have lost but by what you have gained. Big or small. They’re all significant. No matter what people may say, you deserve your glory. And keep counting because more is yet to come. God bless you!



Wednesday, April 12, 2017

WORK IS NOT ALL OF LIFE. NEITHER IS LIFE JUST WORK.








Here’s a thought……..

Work is good, whatever work you do. (We need it.) But truthfully it does not need you. Because if you can't do the job, it will find somebody else who can and will. There always is a long queu... a very long one... outside the company door waiting and wanting your job. Harsh but true.

So...

Work with your very best, give it your best shot but do not let life pass you by stuck at your desk or something. -- Work is not all of life. Neither is life just work.-- There's more out there in this big wide magnificent world... there's more you can do with who you are and with your God-given talents. There are people waiting to be part of your time -- of you (your family is one). Time becomes precious in good precious friendships, communities, etc.. Enjoy it.

Most of all God didn't say that life should be spent exhausting or slaving yourself over one thing alone. He intended you to enjoy life to the fullest (there is a verse in the bible about that). And that means to experience and relish life's vast potential for beauty and good. Bask in the glory of nature, such beautiful and amazing diversity. Connect and interact with good hearts and kind souls. And remember that living those wonderful moments with your family can give you a delicious taste of heaven here on earth. That’s a most precious gift.

Grow as you should but not only with charts, statistics, reports, data, or picks and shovels, etc. Grow as God intended you to grow --- in your fullest human potential…. being a delight to the people around you…… and most of all --- a bigger delight to His heart.

So what’s keeping you? Time waits for no one. You decide. :-)

May the good Lord bless you with the choicest of blessings, friends.
 
 

Friday, April 7, 2017

CHANGE IS A NECESSARY PART OF LIFE

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I was at the tail-end of my usual morning walk and was nearing this middle-aged woman who looked so intent in her task of sweeping up the dirt in front of her house. She was doing quite a thorough job of sweeping going through the grounds with her broom. As much as I admired her sense of thoroughness at the job, I cringed at the possibility that she could be sweeping away the tiny minute unseen-to-the-eye creatures of the ground. 

Anyway, I slowed down my pace as curiosity got the best of me. Just as I thought-- she left no stone unturned, no stray bit safe..... even the ground seemed reduced in size with the passing of her broom.

Now can you imagine this........

if we could sweep away the debris of our lives in a similar manner? Certainly it would have to take a magic broom, of course. But have you identified the ‘debris’ cluttering your life? I’ll bet you would put in a lot of ..... bad events, situations, experiences, people, bad habits, and other things besides in that category. How about prejudice, bias, attitudes, addictions, perversions, greed, and corruption? Oh yes, the ills of the world, too. Don't you wish that we could sweep them away too, right?

Sometimes ‘junk’ of all sorts seep into our lives and chip at our values too. Small things which may seem trivial at a glance thus ofttimes ignored and unnoticed. But these very small yet unpleasant things slowly gnaw at our values like termites do on wood. Pretty soon unknowingly bits and pieces are being altered in our minds and hearts. What used to be good, whole and wholesome has become shredded, tattered, and cluttered like garbage. Eventually turning into ugly debris stored up within and taking its hold or grip on us thus influencing our everyday lives.

We move around our lives carrying this garbage not recognizing it as 'garbage'. We utter words of hate and division.... we think thoughts of bias and prejudice.... we do things which hurt our neighbor, friends, and families for no just reason or cause. We transform into monsters of negativity, ill intent, lopsided views and opinions. And the sad thing about it is feeling good about ourselves! We think we're defending our right to be heard.. but has it also crossed your mind that you could be simply defending the.....ego? Ego knows no right or wrong, no good or bad. It's goal is self-satisfaction. Period. The termites have indeed done a good job of gnawing at the wood of our character.

We do need to be aware of our internal garbage and work to sweep it up out of our lives. Determine to throw it into the bin of extinction. Tough job, I know; but at least let it be said that we did try and will persevere until every last bit of garbage is gone! We take back our true selves.... as God originally designed.

Change is an internal job. Nobody will or can do it for you. We can work at change bit by tiny bit, one step at a time, one day at a time, pulling ourselves away from the unnecessary and unpleasant comfort zones of negativity and trash.

May God bless you with His love, peace, grace to do good things for yourself and others







Friday, March 31, 2017

PRAY TELL ME WHAT MAKES A MOMENT FOREVER

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A friend asked another "What is forever?" The other friend replied "It means for always." 

Experiences which delight the heart -- or expectations met -- or struggles rewarded -- and many more which take you up to cloud 9 in utter happiness, making you want to stay in that moment without end.

'Forever' has been carelessly thrown around and about in telenobelas, movies, celebrity interviews, chats, reminiscences, expectations, and is contained in young hopes and dreams and longing.

But life, in spite of its nuggets of wisdom and feel-good-lessons, won't always agree with you as you will discover soon enough. 

Because.......

Marriages and relationships crumble. Couples separate or divorce. Fortunes are lost. Financial charts perform dismally. Homes are broken. Families become dysfunctional. Health falters. Plans go awry at that point when you begin to think everything is going well. Good becomes bad. Laughter turns to tears.

Pray tell me then, what makes a moment 'forever?

Perhaps this ..... ? .....

--- When couples work hard to keep the relationship going,   when the team knock their brains out in solving problems at the workplace,  when a husband or wife work together to preserve family,  when options are created even if doors have closed,  when courage and strength is renewed again and again... and again!

And not because they have to or should, but because of what is felt in the heart. LOVE. Pure plain simple... love.

The love to help... to share... to succeed... to survive... to foster peace... to care and protect... to be faithful, truthful and honest... to rise with every fall... to pray unceasingly... to understand and act accordingly... to build and not to destroy. Love makes the doing special. Love makes it worthy. Love makes you want to do it over and over, again and again . And happily at that.

But, I think, still that does not assure forever in the external meaning of things or in the general expectations of many or most.


Rather it does this ------ it keeps the moment alive and strong for the longest possible time. The special and treasured moment lives on longer in the heart where it is nurtured and fed with love each time. Every minute, every hour, every day, every year of your life. Wonderfully enduring moments to last you possibly a lifetime if you strive to work at it.

Moments endure where love is.

May God bless you with His love, peace, and the grace to endure through life's journey. In Christ.



Thursday, March 30, 2017

LIFE IS A JOURNEY -- BE IN IT WITH ALL OF YOUR HEART, WITH ALL OF YOU

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Do we really need to get so worked up? ..... ??

Know that life is a journey. A time put there for all the stages of our life. Whatever stage you are in now, be in it with all of your heart. Live it with all of you.

Don't be serious; BE SINCERE.  Be sincerely happy, hopeful, content, positive, helpful, considerate, compassionate, supportive, understanding, funny, interested, loving, appreciative, kind, thoughtful, and prayerful. Put your heart into it. When the day is done, then you can say to yourself --- "I gave life my best shot!"

Blessings, everybody! :-) .May God bless you bountifully with His promises. Remember.... ask, and you shall receive.

May the good Lord bless you with His grace, love, peace, and balance in life. Blessings to you all, in Christ.


Friday, March 24, 2017

LIFE IS ALL ABOUT BEING KIND AND BEING OF GOOD COURAGE


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I got an early morning call from a good friend asking me what would I be doing today. Well, I wasn't expecting such an early morning friendly chat but I thought to spend a few minutes with her. So I replied... to start with, I'm going to sweep and polish the floor, dust the furniture, then take a bath and get myself a nice healthy breakfast. 

"Aren't you going out?" she retorted apparently not impressed with my litany of morning activities. 

"Oh yeah, later for a visit and a nice hair trim at my suki parlor." I replied ignoring her persistence. I was beginning to sense a quiet unease in her voice though. 

"Yeah, when I feel worn and weary I hie off to the mall. The shop windows can effectively shove your troubles to the bin. Even if only for awhile." she spoke.

"Okay, what's up?" I asked her straightforwardly. That's what friends do.... no masks, no pretenses, just simple good ole attention and heart. Mom taught me that.

"It's a lonely life. Nobody has time for me anymore. The children have all grown with lives of their own and husband is so dumb a___ insensitive that he makes me feel invisible. I feel invisible!" she moaned.

Whoah there! That's a lot heaped on my morning tray! (I thought)
"Get dressed. I'll meet you in an hour. Usual place." I retorted.

We did meet. We talked. A lot! We stayed for a wee bit longer than usual. Later, we hied off to the mall and window-shopped and ... yes, allowed it to shove her problems to the bin even if just for awhile. She'll probably take it up again when she comes home but this time apparently recharged, energized to face her battle once more.

But it made me think.........

"The children have all grown" --- So what does a mother do when her children have all grown and are living their own lives away from her? She copes with what she knows how. She gets busy or tries to get busy. She walks the long-winding-teeming-with-people halls of the mall. She takes up a new interest, hobby, activity, or tries her darn best to fill up the void left by her children. But she gets lonely.  In her heart she knows there will always be lonely days ahead without her children.

Do you know what would mean much to her now?


A phone call, a visit, spending time together, and shared expressions of love and affection. Make time for her. Share your life. You can.. if you darn try. It takes only so little but that little means the world to her.

"...he makes me feel invisible!" --- You might as well hit yourself with a rock on the head! Because nothing you'll ever do will make him "see" you. Until some deep issues are resolved. Every couple, every marriage has it in some small or large measure. Deal with it; how is all up to you.. or to both of you. But please be kind to each other. Be kind sana. It makes life easier for everybody. Be kind.

Take care, friends. Remember, life is all about being kind and being of good courage. God bless you!



Friday, March 10, 2017

A MIGHT HAVE-BEEN HAS NEVER BEEN, BUT A HAS WAS ONCE AN ARE


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I was sitting by myself with green tea frappe (but of course!) just watching people walk in and out of Starbucks (again but of course!). Why alone? Well, my daughter was running errands inside the mall. Now as I have told you before when in the midst of people I always turn-on my radar. The reason? People make for an interesting subject anytime anyplace. Perfect feed for the writing.

Not far from my table near the wall sat two friends engaged in serious conversation. Looking like in their early thirties and holding corporate jobs (their clothes tell me that). Of course accompanied by the usual laptop and cellphone. Funny thing is they spoke in voices loud enough for everybody to hear. I looked around but good thing though that the coffee bar wasn't that full yet with just four tables occupied. 

So couldn't be helped if snippets of their conversation trailed to my table and which immediately my dependable radar picked up (as expected heheh...).
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Friend #1:    Ginawa ko na ang lahat pero mukhang walang nangyayari. (I did everything I could but nothing seems to be happening)
Friend #2:    Cool ka lang! Mararating mo din ang mga pangarap mo balang araw. Tiyaga lang, pards. (Cool it! You'll get your dreams yet one day. Patience.)
Friend #1:    Kelan pa!? Inip na 'ko! (But when? I'm getting impatient)
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I turned off my radar at that point. No sense in leaving it on. That seemed to be the gist of their conversation anyway.

That person is just like anybody else anywhere in the world aiming for a dream or reaching for a star. Putting in blood-sweat-and=tears into the effort, into each day, into the fight.. A cliche would be apt for this....... 'crossing the highest mountains, sailing the seven seas, braving the fiercest storms' and what other hurdles or obstacles may face him at every corner or bend. The going gets tough and long and tedious but then sometimes it would seem like getting nowhere with it at all; like time drags. Just like friend#1 must have felt.

I can understand that. My younger brother had a dream but the dream died with him. At some point I think he too got frustrated by the slowness of things. I have mine and I don't know where the journey is taking me or what roads I would be traveling but its beautiful flame persists to glimmer. I am glad that it does. But of course I too sometimes wonder.

I know there are many others out there like me. Yup, been there-done that.
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Here's something to say to yourself when the temptation to give up creeps in............... keep punching, keep hammering, keep moving, keep believing, keep dreaming. Image the dream in your mind, feel the thrill and excitement in your heart, and look up to the heavens and say...... "Thank you for this dream!" And you know what else ----- HE just might say "Hmmm... I think I'm going to let her (him) have it!" with a hugely divine smile. That's awesome!!
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God loves you more than you'll ever know. God bless you.
Have a wonderfully blessed day, friends.




Sunday, March 5, 2017

ACHIEVEMENT MEANS DOING THE ORDINARY EXTRAORDINARILY WELL -- NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE


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Heard this said by Madame Secretary (in the TV series of the same name) ---- "Achievement is often anonymous." -- I liked those lines then and still do now. And I guess always will.
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So how is achievement defined?
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I know of several friends who give the word human being a good name. They highlight the beauty of life and living. Extending their hand of friendship and comradeship to all regardless of race, color, or creed....... exercising perseverance and determination in times of trial or struggle..... being joyful even during difficult times....... persistently stressing the good in men....... non-judgemental no matter how the situation or person can look so bad...... doesn't care who gets the credit being happy with the thought that the goal has been served and very well at that...... And even so much more like it.


Achievement doesn't have to be on a grand scale or grander, nor should it be up there for all to see and applaud. It doesn't necessarily have to be up for awards, recognition, certificates, trophies, medals, or plaques of distinction. (But those aren't bad in itself either. It all has its uses naman.)
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To my mind, achievement is something like this ........
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--being a good mother, wife, father, son or daughter, husband, grandma or grandpa, sibling or relative, friend, boss, school or office colleague, a brother in arms, a good neighbor, an honest vendor, cop, government employee, street sweeper, teacher or mentor, doctor or nurse, shoemaker, or whatever profession you have chosen for yourself.   It's being exceptional without needing an audience for it. It's right there in or from your heart where it truly matters.
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Maybe it's better said this way.......... It's someone doing ordinary things extraordinarily well and with a humble and sincere heart day after day after day.
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Nothing for show, nothing for money, praise, or fame. Not because everybody does it nor because it's the fad or trend. A friend puts it this way.....  "It's essence above form."
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It's simply doing the best with his or her god-given gifts. It's being authentic with 'who-I-am-and-what-I-have'. Humbly. Honestly. By Divine Design.


Sunday, February 26, 2017

EVERYTHING HAS ITS TIME AND SEASON --- AND REASON, TOO

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Woke up to a nice cool breezy morning. So I decided to go out to the patio and get me more of that nice cool breeze.. before Mr. Sun (now seen peeking behind the mountains) takes it away.. Saraaap!
 
That's when two teenagers came by apparently on their way to school. Wearing fresh uniforms, backpacks on their backs, and cellphones in their hands (but of course!). Engaging themselves in light banter as they neared the front of my house. Snippets of their chat flew in my direction quite easily as they drew nearer.

Teenager 1: "Hahahah.... si lola kanina o sinabihan akong magdasal lagi bago umalis ng bahay. Kahit daw anong gawin ko, lagi daw samahan ng dasal.. Kulit talaga eh! Hahahah..." --- (Grandma this morning told me to pray before leaving the house. That I should always accompany my activities with prayer. Amusingly pesky I should say... hahahah)

Teenager 2: "Hayaan mo na, matanda na eh! Ganun din nanay ko. Wala na atang ginawa kundi magdasal ng magdasal... magsimba ng magsimba. Ano pa ba ang gagawin nila kung matanda na. " --- (Let it be, she's old. She's like my mom. She does nothing but pray and pray..... go to church at the slightest reason or none at all. So what else can they do at their age!?!)
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The boys were long gone but their conversation seemed to have stuck to my brain. Because it really made me think.
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"So what else can they do at their age!?!" exclaimed the young boy.
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One thing the boys should try to understand..... life has its seasons. There's a time for everything in life. The time of childhood... of growing up... of youth... of studying... of working... of pursuing dreams.. of courtship... of marriage.. of babies.. of raising children.... of growing old... of sickness... of living... of dying.
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When you're young you do anything you want. Nothing can stop you. You are strong, smart, creative, brilliant, with resources at easy reach and surrounded by people. You do great things with who you are and what you have.
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Then one day you realize candles are getting more and more plenty and lit on your birthday cake. Then somebody (like these two boys) calls you 'old'.
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Sad. 


You try to look back to the past for assurance of your own importance and worth which you notice seems to be bit-by-bit diminished with or by every encounter with people, circumstances, and by time.
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But wait.......... there is also this big fact of life which is and has been a great comfort to us all (admittedly or not) --- it tells us that when the emotional, intellectual, and the physical areas of our small lives drain away..... the spiritual stands strong as one great pillar of courage which not even Samson can destroy with his puny human effort and strength! The spiritual is a life giver and a life saver. Somebody up there loves us so much He made it so.
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Everything has its time and season. (and reason, too, if I may add). Live it as required of you. Make it serve a grand or grander purpose ---- wherever you are, at whatever season you may be. This is all by God's design.
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Take care, friends. Live life one wonderful and precious moment at a time. God bless you all!


Friday, February 24, 2017

THE BLACKSMITH, TRIALS, AND GOD



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This is a repost. (Written some time ago but a friend needs to see this today. Take care, dear friend.). So please bear with me on this one, friends. Thank you.
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"Try me in any way you wish, Lord, 
only don't throw me on the scrap heap."

I have singled out that line from the story. You see, that line means more to me and (I believe) to a lot of other people I know. And I guess there's more out there who hold questions in their minds and hearts about --------- 'Just what is God doing to me?'
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Here's how the story goes..... and to quote --
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"You perhaps recall the story of the blacksmith who gave his heart to God. Though conscientious in his living, still he was not prospering materially. In fact, it seems that from the time of his conversion more trouble, affliction and loss were sustained than ever before. Everything seemed to be going wrong.


One day a friend who was not a Christian stopped at the little gorge to talk to him. Sympathizing with him in some of his trials, the friend said.........

“It seems strange to me that so much affliction should pass over you just at the time when you have become an earnest Christian. Of course, I don’t want to weaken your faith in God or anything like that. But here you are, God’s help and guidance, and yet things seem to be getting steadily worse. I can’t help wondering why it is.”

The blacksmith did not answer immediately, and it was evident that he had thought the same question before. But finally, he said..........

“You see here the raw iron which I have to make into horse’s shoes. You know what I do with it? I take a piece and heat it in the fire until it is red, almost white with the heat. Then I hammer it unmercifully to shape it as I know it should be shaped. Then I plunge it into a pail of cold water to temper it. Then I heat it again and hammer it some more. And this I do until it is finished.
But sometimes I find a piece of iron that won’t stand up under this treatment. The heat and the hammering and the cold water are too much for it. I don’t know why it fails in the process, but I know it will never make a good horse’s shoe."

He pointed to a heap of scrap iron that was near the door of his shop.......
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“When I get a piece that cannot take the shape and temper, I throw it out on the scrap heap. It will never be good for anything.”
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He went on ......... “I know that God has been holding me in the fires of affliction and I have felt His hammer upon me. But I don’t mind, if only He can bring me to what I should be. And so, in all these hard things my prayer is simply this:
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TRY ME IN ANY WAY YOU WISH, LORD, ONLY DON'T THROW ME ON THE SCRAP HEAP."

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Great story, isn’t it? 

God's attention on us simply means that He cares. Oh I know it's an odd way of caring, to our puny human understanding. I had some trouble with that too. It isn’t easy – especially if you’re hurting real bad. That’s a huge Ouch-Ouch!! But as hard as that is to understand, it is THE explanation to our 'why me?!' --- a question we so often pose to GOD. 

BUT have we tried, even for just a moment, to imagine what we would be without God? Yup, maybe right there on that unfortunate scrap heap. 

And have we also tried to imagine what we would be or have become with God? The answer to that is ---- the best we could ever be.... and that work isn't even finished yet. Imagine the exciting possibilities and potential when HE's done with us. It can be awesomely mind- boggling!

More trials? Yet is there a life without one!? Let’s try to see it this way (we can always learn, di ba?) ------- What are they but simply God's loving and undivided attention upon you and me and everybody who believes. HE is making us even better (believe this) --- worthy of life and of Heaven. By God's design. Whom God loves he disciplines. Like a mother disciplines her child with the intent of seeing her child grow into a fine human being. Gold is made better when passed through the furnace or fire.

Hard to take that? Well, maybe it's time to try to see things from the eyes and heart of God. -- God THINKS you are special. God SEES you as special! The reason why He gives you His full attention and care. .God works not to harm you but only to make you better. (Check out the poster on Jeremiah 29:11)

YOU are SPECIAL! And GOD LOVES YOU SO MUCH!
Blessings to you all!