Down the street from us is a gate that leads into a cemetery. Cemeterys here are like parks in the USA - people exercise there, have picnics, bury their loved ones, hold family reunions, sleep overnight at the grave site on special holidays, etc...
I enjoy morning walks there. First view is of the mountains (Mount Apo and a few others.) It is a visual reminder to me of my Saviour's love and care for me....even if there are clouds blocking a clear view of the mountain, He is always there - in every storm of life. The visual reminder is His loving grace to me.
I lift up my eyes to the
hills. From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
The other amazing thing to witness in the cemetery is how the graves are dug - all by hand -
early in the cool of morning - spade by spade - earth moved to make room for the box and body of some family's loved one....
8 The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
One of my favourite songs, especially in this Easter season, is Steve Green's "Embrace The Cross". This is passionate song, reminding me of His suffering for me and my call to follow in His steps for His glory....My life is not my own...it is His.
I am crucified with Christ Therefore I no longer live
Jesus Christ now lives in me
Embrace the cross
Where Jesus suffered
Though it will cost
All you claim as yours
Your sacrifice will seem small
Beside the treasure
Eternity can't measure
What Jesus holds in store
Embrace the love
The cross requires
Cling to the one
Whose heart knew every pain
Receive from Jesus
Fountains of compassion
Only He can fashion
Your heart to move as His
Oh, wondrous cross our desires rest in you
Lord Jesus make us bolder
To face with courage the shame and disgrace
You bore upon Your shoulder
Embrace the life
That comes from dying
Come trace the steps
The Savior walked for you
An empty tomb
Concludes Golgotha's sorrow
Endure then till tomorrow
Your cross of suffering
Embrace the cross
Embrace the cross
The cross of Jesus
One of the many benefits of living in the Philippines are the guys who come around to sharpen knives or fix fans. No needing to drive somewhere to find a shop.
Yesterday, the knife sharpener was on our street.
I asked him to sharpen our kitchen knives and our bolo.
He saw that the handle of our bolo was not good (it slipped off easily - not good when swinging it back to cut a shrub or something!)
he fashioned a new handle for us out of two empty 1-liter toyu (soy sauce) bottles that were made of heavier plastic than pop bottles.
He used one of the bottles as the core of the handle; melting the plastic over the flame of our propane burners and molding it onto the bolo knife blade.
Cutting the plastic melted onto the knife blade
Shaping the handle over the heat of flame
Cooling the handle in water
The finished product!
And isn't that what Jesus does to us? Puts us in the flame of trials to melt us into Him image; to shape us into His likeness! Refiner's fire!
Malachi 3 For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver.
Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness,...
1 Peter 1
6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.