Locks Of Love

Kirsten recently changed her hairstyle in a drastic way.

The extra hair was sent to Locks of Love!

As she prepares for her senior year of high school, explores college options, etc., the hair style change is just one symbol of changing and transition in life. She looks beautiful in her short hairdo!

Sins and Grace

Recently in the USA gay marriage was legalized for all 50 states by the US Supreme court.
I have to say from the other side of the world I was appalled by the "hate speak" I heard from "Christians" judgementally condemning the LGBT culture. This is no way to evangelize.
Christ, while here on earth and now, was and is all about relationship. He was friends with the sinners and tax collectors. I sometimes envision Him in a bar shooting pool or whatever they did in the bars back then. The point is He wasn't judging, He was wooing the lost to Him with love.
He tells us not to judge. He certainly didn't.

And He died for ALL because He loves us ALL - and we all have sins - for some it may be sex outside God-sanctioned bounds, for others it's gluttony, laziness, pride, judgementalism, pornography, self-harm, alcoholism, drug abuse, compulsive shopping or gambling....go on....there are numerous sins. And we are all broken.

"Judgement is a terrible evangelism strategy.
People don't line up to be judged."
Carey Nieuwhof http://careynieuwhof.com

And if we are tempted to judge anyone it should be ourself first. Shouldn't we deal with the log in our own eye before we help our brother/sister with the speck in their eye? (Matthew 7:3)

Jesus said God will judge us by the same standard with which we judge others.
(Matthew 7:2)

We've all been saved by grace, not by our own righteous deeds (Ephesians 2:9)

Amy Grant sings a song, "Better Than A Hallelujah", and the chorus says, "We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah"

People want love. People want to be listened to. Building relationships is so much better and Christ-like than judgementalism and hate.

So love people. Especially the people with whom you disagree.

Listen to them. Pray for them.

I've been reading a book titled "The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert" by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield. She used to be lesbian. And her book is her story of how Christ changed her life. It's a good read. She was drawn to Christ by love and acceptance, not hate and judgement.

The radical ethic of grace and truth found in Jesus is more desperately needed in our world today than ever before.

Christians have always flourished under persecution. Christ promised life would be hard. He also promised He's with us every step of the way.

So let's extend grace. Let's let His light shine.

Star Fruit and Spondias

Our new rental has a Star Fruit tree in the front yard. The fruit tastes a bit like a mix of crisp apple and sweet grapes. It's good!

Star Fruit

It's also known as Carambola.
It is native to the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

James in the branches of the star fruit tree.

Another fruit we recently picked up at the market for the first time is called spondias - also known as the Spanish plum. It's a bit like eating an apple in texture and taste. Lamay kaayo! (very good!)


We moved this past week from a rental on Copper street to a rental on Topaz. We are thankful to be in this new house which is bigger, has a yard and is very close to the school.

tying our freezer onto the back of the jeepney used for the

It's amazing what all you can fit into a jeepney. We made
7 trips with the jeepney loaded to get items from our old
house to the new one!
We had lots of help - Danny, the jeepney driver; Erick, Daydong, Kurt, Ben, Ben's friend Jadon, Mikayla, Kirsten,
Arlene, Daisy, Allie, James, myself.
So thankful for all the helping hands.
Moving is tiring and stressful whether its a big move overseas or
a local move to a different residence.

A big blessing is the piano in this rental. I haven't had a real
piano in all the years we've lived here and it's been an enjoyment
to play again. I've missed not having a real piano. I'm so
thankful for this blessing.

Our dog, Bear, loves not being on a leash all the time anymore.
At our other rental, since we were in a compound we had to
keep him on a leash.

Minerals in His Kingdom

We are, in Filipino terminology, transferring balay (house) soon.

Our current rental home is on Copper Street and we will be moving to Topaz Street.
As I thought about these elements and minerals I found my thoughts wandering to God's word and how He uses elements and minerals to decorate priests robes and the new Heaven and new Earth. (see Exodus 28:17, 39:10, Revelation 21).

I started wondering about the properties of copper and topaz and if there was any correlation between those and my own spiritual life.

Copper is both an element and a mineral. It's found in oxidized zones of copper deposits; in hydrothermal veins; in cavities of basalt that have been in contact with hydrothermal solutions; and as pore fillings and replacements in conglomerates that have been in contact with hydrothermal solutions.

It was probably one of the early metals worked by ancient people. Nuggets of copper could be found in streams and its properties allowed it to be easily worked without requiring a processing step. Copper coins were common. Jesus refers to the copper coins in the story of the widow (see Mark 12:42).

As I pondered how easy copper is to work with I thought of my own spiritual life. Am I a vessel willing to be worked for my Father's Kingdom? Am I a humble clay willing to be molded into His likeness? (Isaiah 64:8)

Copper is easily stretched, molded and shaped. Am I a willing vessel in my Father's hands to be molded into His likeness? (Romans 9:21, Hebrews 12, 1 Peter 2:21)

Copper is resistant to corrosion. Corrosion is the gradual destruction of a metal. Am I staying vibrant in my walk with Christ? Am I guilty of losing my first love (see Revelations 2:4) Do I bear patiently and endure for His name's sake (see Revelations 2:1-3) Do I stay humble, willing to be led in His way (see James 4:5-10)

Copper conducts heat and electricity efficiently.

Am I allowing His light to shine through me? Jesus in the light of the world (see John 8). Am I freely sharing His light with others in this sin-darkened world? (see Matthew 5:16).

Light does not get hidden under a basket. Matthew 5: 15 - 16 says "Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket,
but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the
same way, let your light shine before others, so that they
may see your good works and give glory to your Father who
is in heaven."

God yearns jealously over the spirit that He has made to dwell in us. And He gives grace. He opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. We are to submit ourselves to Him. We are to resist the devil (corrosion). We are to draw near to Abba and He will draw near to us. (based on James 5)

"Topaz is a very hard mineral. It is used for the standard hardness of eight in the Mohs Hardness Scale. Some minerals of great hardness can be broken rather easily. Topaz has a perfect basal cleavage making it vulnerable to breakage. This cleavage makes topaz a somewhat fragile gemstone...."(geology.com)

And isn't that how we should be?
Strong in the Lord (see Ephesians 6:10), yet humble and malleable in Him? (see 2 Chronicles 34:27, James 4:10, Psalm 18:27, 25:9.)

God adorns the new Heaven and New Earth with jewels. He has made us in His likeness.
Let's not become corroded in our faith. Let us constantly shine His light in a sin-darkened world, conduct His love to others, stay humble and malleable in Him, stay strong in Him, knowing that He is our strength.

It is not flesh and blood we wrestle with but spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore we should take up His full armour, His word, walk in His grace, bless those who curse us, be a lamb as Jesus was, ever entrusting our souls to Him who never slumbers or sleeps.

My pondering about minerals and jewels led me to recognize that while silver, gold, copper, topaz, and other minerals have value, what God really desires is for us to humbly seek Him
and walk in His wisdom.

Job 28 tells us "Surely there is a mine for silver, and a place for gold that they refine. Iron is taken out of the earth,
and copper is smelted from the ore. Man puts an end to
darkness and searches out to the farthest limit the ore in gloom and deep darkness.

He opens shafts in a valley away from where anyone lives;
...Man puts his hand to the flinty rock and overturns mountains by the roots. He cuts out channels in the rocks, and his eye sees every precious thing. He dams up the streams so that
they do not trickle, and the thing that is hidden he brings out
to light.
But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place
of understanding? Man does not know its worth, and it is
not found in the land of the living....It cannot be bought for
gold, and silver cannot be weighed as its price. It cannot
be valued in the gold of Ophir, in precious onyx or sapphire....The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it
,....From where, then, does wisdom come?....
*God understands the way to it,*
and he knows its place.....And He said to man,
'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to
turn away from evil is understanding.'"

Proverbs 3: 13 - 17 tell us "Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her
is better than gain from silver
and her profit better than gold. She is more precious
than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her.

Be a conduit of His love....
"...let your light shine before others, so that they may
see your good works and give glory to your Father who is
in heaven." Matthew 5:16