Recognizing Humanity

As appalling current events unravel before our very eyes, an underlying message lies deep between the lines of the newspapers and social media posts. Christians must understand we need to stand up, today, for the Lord and His written Word. Be followers of Jesus, or live in the sinful realm of Satan!

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.  1 John 3:7

Are all people not created equal? Did God make one race superior over another? No! He made each person unique in His own light, and an “image of Him.” So, why is there a need for racism?

My first thought in recognizing humanity is the word equality. It engulfs the notion that every person, regardless of religion, race, or gender, has the same rights. I believe this to be true, but many in the United States have a tough time putting it into practice. I think the issue is not about equality, but a varying difference of opinions. Let me give you an example…

In today’s times, the Jews often dispute “the image of God.” They feel strongly that God was referring only to Israel’s nation, for they abide more so by the Old Testament than Christians. The problem with this is God didn’t create people to be more valuable than others, nor more deserving of His love than others.

We must come to grips with the fact that humanity will either accept God’s Word or not and live a life worthy of God. It is an individual choice – one which will be personally answered to before the Lord.

I find the greatest country on earth, oddly enough, is spreading the most immature behavior. Americans are like a box of crayons standing collectively inside a little cardboard box. Our colors bring vibrancy to creativity, yet the mean-spirited are determined to break us in half, creating separation through social justice. We each bring gifts and talents to the table, and all skin colors and religions are equal in the worth that God has given them.

My goodness! Isn’t it time to come together? Yes, I’m aware Satan has control over many; but it shouldn’t deter the rest of our communities from acknowledging the self-worth of man.

In the spirit of recognizing humanity, let us attend church regularly instead of rioting. If you want equality, then put God first. Yes, let’s recognize humanity! Instead of rioting and judging others for their race and religion, let us go to church on Sunday morning and ask for forgiveness. Pray for the lost that they may find solace in the Lord.

It is Satan’s unending motive to disenfranchise us from God, so why are we empowering him? The discrimination of racism begins in the heart, so give it to God! I ask you to recognize humanity for what it is – the Lord’s beautiful creations… born with many differences.


My You Tube channel began the new season of Blogging 2 Believers. Please join me this week for, “God’s Timing.” Learn how God’s impeccable timing changed the lives of two people.

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Goodbye 2019

Last night I told my mom. when she said she was grateful 2019 was almost over, there were good things which happened in 2019.

Be grateful for the good things in 2019 and leave behind the rest.

I say again: BE GRATEFUL FOR THE GOOD THINGS IN 2019 AND LEAVE THE REST BEHIND.

Going further, be grateful for the lessons learned from the bad things that happened in 2019.

Overall, move in 2020 with a grateful heart. Forgive the events, people, and perhaps most importantly, yourself. Gratitude for the what was and gratitude for what will be. This is the best way to progress into the next decade.

I end with my favorite Scripture. Philippians 4:4-9:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

One can Forgive but can one erase the bitterness ?

One can Forgive but can one erase the bitterness ?

When you forgive you don’t change the past but you do change the future.

Technically majority of us try to forgive, but 100 % of us forget that,we have forgiven, and somewhere the unpleasantness, haunts us for sometime, after all we are human beings !!

Some quotes…….

“Forgive other,not because thy deserve forgiveness,but because you deserve peace.” Jonathan Lockwood Huie

“It’s not an easy journey, to get to a place where you forgive people.But it is such a powerful place,because it frees you” Tyler Perry

Forgiveness releases the burden of a heavy heart Mathew 6:14-15

“Forgiveness is a funny thing. It warms the heart and cools the sting.” William Arthur Ward

“As long as you don’t forgive, who and whatever it is will occupy a rent-free space in your mind.” Isabelle Holland

When you forgive,you do not erase the memory.You simply choose to forgive to free yourself from the bitterness.

Thank you

Philosophy Through Photography

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Jesus’ Ministry

It’s the Holy Week for Christians, and I reverently remember our Lord, Christ Jesus. In the quiet of my domain, I search the Bible for answers to my questions such as what was Jesus’ real ministry on earth? Did Jesus practice a religion or was He a rebel who rode off into the desert eluding Roman authorities?

Jesus spread the principles of entering God’s kingdom to all walks of life in Galilee, Capernaum, Judea, and Nazareth. He started at about the age of thirty at the River Jordan near Bethany-across-the-Jordan where He called His first five disciples. Though our Savior was Jewish, his ministry often taught parables and verses from the “sacred books” which we know today as the Old Testament. But, sometimes He referred to the Hebrew Bible, specifically the five books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy), the Torah, and the Book of Psalms.

As you may detect, Jesus disdained religious discord. He wanted people to love one another and love God. This was the basic concept of all His messages and the only way to heaven. Love and kindness is not a religion but an emotion, so He reached listeners through relationships rather than synagogues. When we integrate the theory of one religion into our life, God’s lessons often become overshadowed by hypocrisy, hatred, and division. Today’s religious persecution of humanity is such an example of this concept. Instead of loving one another and maintaining the state of our hearts, we fight to the end defending our religious rights. This was the exact reason Jesus’ ministry remained non-denominational – one church under Christ Jesus.

The parables Jesus taught became His primary method of speaking His Father’s words. He rarely used texts out of scriptures nor explained or commented on them. He considered this “preaching,” not teaching; instead, He left Himself open to interpretation and offered a story for listeners to ponder and ask, how can this get me into heaven? The Parable of the Mustard Seed was Jesus’ favorite.

THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF JESUS’ MINISTRY

LOVE

At the core of Jesus’ ministry were a few critical impressions which He consistently shared with everyone; foremost was love. Believers asked Him occasionally which commandment was the greatest, and His response stood with, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and all your strength.” His second favorite was, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love is the nucleus of everything right and perfect in the world. Jesus taught examples of love and compassion by healing the sick, restoring eyesight, and feeding the hungry. But, He emphasized loving our enemies for even though they are wicked, they also need love. “Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.”

FORGIVENESS

Forgiveness was the second most important concept to Jesus. He spoke we must repent of sins and ask God for forgiveness so God may forgive our wrongdoings. Jesus claimed we must forgive every time we are wronged. “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”

JUDGING OTHERS

Jesus also warned His listeners not to judge others since we are all sinners. Though born sinless, He still had mercy and compassion for mankind. He often told the story of an adulteress woman about to be stoned to death (found in John 8:1-30). Jesus told her accusers, “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her.” They all departed and Jesus told the woman, “Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more.”

WEALTH AND POVERTY

Jesus did not speak it is a sin to be wealthy, only that we give our riches back to the Lord and others in need. He spoke of the affluent becoming too attached to material possessions for when we die, our “objects of happiness” will mean nothing. Christ used the example of a rich man who lived by all the other commandments, and he approached Him to find out how to have eternal life. Jesus replied, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” The man became very sad because he could not part with his riches. Jesus later told His disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.” Doesn’t say much for the Powerball today, does it?

Let us analyze your strength, as a Christian, in this situation. If Jesus were to come to you today and ask you to give up your home and all possessions to follow Him, WOULD YOU DO IT? If the answer is yes, you may find eternal salvation in heaven. If the answer is no, it is time to question your faith and love of money and objects. What means more to you – living as one with God, now and forevermore, or exploiting the riches which cease after you die and you stand in judgment by the Lord? Will it be God or your self-centeredness?

HYPOCRISY

Jesus learned of hypocrisy by observing the Pharisees. They prayed in the streets and always attended the temple, but the inside, their contemptible hearts were made of stone. He loathed hypocrisy in any form. Our sovereignty to God is a private matter and not to be exploited in crowds. You may ask why this is imperative? Because we are sinners, our actions often fall short of God’s requirements. If we expose our praise and inner thoughts of God to outsiders, yet our daily activities show different, we become deemed a hypocrite and severely judged. Many non-believers will not follow the church because of this very reason.

PRAYER

Jesus often taught the nature and power of prayer. He emphasized “The Lord’s Prayer” and said it was not for show but a private matter. “When you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” Prayers are to be directed to God the Father only, not angels, saints, or Mary. Jesus considered chanting of prayers to be of pagan roots, now observed in Catholic and Orthodox churches. He asked we use prayers to develop a close, personal relationship with God.

Do we see the irony in Jesus’ instruction on praying? How many large churches, today, organize huge crusades and festivals to bring people closer to God? How often do we receive an invite on Facebook to join a Watch Party where someone is screaming out the name of the Lord and asking for forgiveness? The idea churches adopted prayer methods against Jesus’ teaching is quite a dose to swallow. They walk in total disregard of the foundation of God’s word!

Christ Jesus tested and prevailed in His ministry of love, right down to His last days. He was a sinless mortal man leading the way for humanity to follow in His footsteps. Yes, Jesus paid the ultimate price for His beliefs in love.

On this day, Good Friday, I plead my faith to Him, under the cross which He brutally hung on for me and all sinners. I also pray my Father will bless my ongoing ministry for all who come searching to fill a void in their heart with our Lord, Jesus Christ. And finally I pray, friends, you find God’s peace and love on this holy weekend. www.danabicksauthor.com

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A RESPONSE LETTER TO THE WOMAN I MISSED FOUR TIMES

How do you love someone who is fading away bit by bit?

I am sorry for the things I have done for the past months.  I have caused you sleepless nights and I wish I can lend you my shoulder for you to cry on and ease the longingness you have suffered.

Love,

Crisanto

Hello guys! This letter is just an Author’s POV. We know that untold words don’t get responses so to have a closure for the 1st letter, I wrote this. <3


“Paglisan”(The Leaving) is an animated musical dramedy of a middle aged couple trying to survive, together, despite fading memories and fleeting. The marriage of Crisanto and Dolores is falling apart. It is even more tested when Crisanto is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. All the while, Dolores is struggling with depression. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9344042/



Escaping the Darkness

“Say it!”

Philip’s fist impacted Henry’s diaphragm with such veracity that it lifted his feet off the ground and the chair he was tied to threaten to fall to the floor. At first, Henry struggled for his breath, but then he decided to let the darkness overtake his vision. His mind recalled a time he and Philip had been best friends.

The sun beat down on their lanky teenage bodies as they dragged their boogie boards across the sand to their waiting beach towels. Lewis stood there with his arms crossed waiting on the pair. His angry look told Henry there would be trouble. Lewis was a six-foot bully he and Philip had managed to avoid most of their childhood, but today Lewis had decided it was time to cross paths.

“Hey, Lewis, what’s up?” asked Henry.

Without a word, Lewis kicked sand over the boys’ towels. Philip bent over to pick his towel up and Lewis shoved him head first into the ground. Before he could stop himself, Henry had Lewis in a headlock. He quickly twisted his body and Lewis lost his balance and fell into the sand with Henry on top. Henry squeeze and Lewis gasped, his arms flailed against the sand.

A group of teens seemed to appear out of nowhere to gawk at the drama. Henry regained his senses and let go of Lewis’ neck. “I’m sorry, are you okay?” asked Henry.

Lewis gasped, coughed, and tried to regain his breath. “I was just kidding with you, man.”

Philip’s shadow cast across the two boys as he stood behind Henry. “No, you weren’t. You knocked me down on purpose. We weren’t doing anything, just enjoying some waves. Why can’t you leave people alone?”

Henry stood and offered Lewis his hand, “I’m sorry,” Henry said again.

Lewis slapped away his hand. “Whatever, man. Just stay away from me.”

A chorus of whispers from the crowd passed across the Pacific breeze as Lewis went skulking off.

A wave seemed to appear out of nowhere and envelope the group. Henry coughed and sputtered. The California sun disappeared and the dark, dank interrogation room in the midst of the reeducation camp came rushing back around him. The familiar smell of mold, urine, and decay filled Henry’s nostrils. The acrid smell of an old cigar wafted across the air and Henry could make out Lewis’ shadow in the dark corner.

“You can’t escape me that easily,” said Lewis.

Henry coughed and attempted to pull his arms up, but they were tied tightly to the legs of the chair. He doubled over and spit out as much acrid liquid as he could. A deep breath of foul air filled his lungs and he sat back upright. He looked over to Philip who glared at him and then flung the empty metal bucket used as a chamber pot to the ground.

“What happened to you?” asked Henry. “We used to be best friends.”

The sting of Philips open palm across Henry’s cheek lit the room in a momentary flash of white light. “Shut up, hater. You fooled me for so many years. Claiming to love and forgive. Do you remember that day you beat up Lewis, and for what? He was only joking with us. I bought into your lies, your religion. I believed all your garbage, but it’s all a lie. You marginalize anyone you disagree with. Well, now it’s your turn buddy. I’ll beat you until you admit you were wrong.”

A wave of darkness weighed heavily on Henry’s heart, and he shook his head. “When, when did I ever do any of those things?”

Henry’s scalp lit up with a hundred stings as Philip grabbed Henry’s hair and yanked his head back. The violent connection of Philip’s fist split Henry’s lip, and he felt it fall away from the front of his tooth. A shiver went through Henry’s body as he felt a portion of his lip laying against his chin.

“Liar,” screamed Philip. “If one is guilty, all are guilty. You will pay for your sins.”

Tears began to stream down Henry’s face and he sputtered past his torn lip, “Philip, I still love you, Jesus still loves you. I won’t ever change my mind, but you can give up your hate.”

A familiar cackle came from the dark corner where Lewis stood. “Haven’t you heard, Henry? We hate, hate, and that’s the best kind of hatred. We’re in the right here, give it up tough guy.”

A sharp pain lit up the top of Henry’s head, the room turned white, and then went black.

A strong hand rocked Henry’s shoulder back and forth. Henry wanted to keep his eyes shut. He said a quick prayer for his nightmare would be over.

A stranger’s voice whispered in his ear, “Henry Glendale, you need to wake up.”

Henry slowly rolled on to his back and opened his eyes. The pain that had filled his body for the past week seemed to be gone. His dark, wet cell glowed in a faint white light. Standing above Henry was an intimidating brown-skinned man. His black eyes twinkled, and his hair flowed to his broad shoulders. His biceps and chest appeared to challenge the silky looking black muscle shirt he wore. The stranger’s black slacks stretched around his muscular thighs until the pant’s seams looked as though they might give way. Henry was sure that his death would be long and painful.

“Get up,” said the stranger quietly, “it’s time to leave.”

“Who are you?” Henry whispered.

“I’m Pedro, get up, we must leave now.” Pedro’s voice sounded urgent.

Henry flopped his arm over his eyes, “Just kill me here. I can’t take another verbal and physical beating. Just be done with it.”

Pedro kicked Henry’s legs. Instead of pain, Henry felt nothing more than a nudge. He reached down and then looked. His jeans were no longer covered in blood or torn. The bruises on his arms had disappeared. Henry’s fingertips gently touched his lip, only to find it whole.

Henry looked at Pedro confused, “I don’t understand. What’s going on? Leave where?”

Pedro put his hand down, and Henry grabbed hold of it. Pedro lifted Henry’s body into the air and he gently landed on his feet. Pedro answered, “We’re leaving the prison, now.”

Henry shook his head, “Are you crazy? What sort of trickery are you trying to pull? Is Philip setting me up to shoot me for escaping? We’ll never get out of here.”

Pedro let a muffled chuckle escape his lips, and then put a strong hand on Henry’s shoulder, “Trust me, my friend. I have some experience with walking out of prisons.”

Henry thought for a moment. Shot or beaten, his nightmare would soon be over. To his surprise, every door they approached inside the prison block stood opened, and he and Pedro passed several guards who seemed not to notice them. As they approached the main gate it opened of its own accord. Henry was sure the end was upon him and he waited for the crack of a rifle shot.

He and Pedro passed through the gate. A middle eastern man stepped out of the shadows of the camp’s guard tower. He was no taller than Henry’s five-foot-nine-inch frame. His beard passed just below his neck and his dark hair fell in waves past his shoulders. His black eyes seemed to flicker with flames and his leathered brown skin bathed the trio in bright light.

The stranger’s expression quickly became a broad smile, and before Henry could say a word the man wrapped his arms around Henry. Love, peace, and joy all flowed into his very soul. Henry whispered, “Is it really, you? Are you, Yeshua?”

Yeshua released Henry, “Well done, faithful servant. You have held on to your faith.”

“I’m really, free?” stammered Henry.

“You are freer than you can possibly imagine, but you will understand soon enough. Just give yourself time.” Then Yeshua laughed and was joined by Pedro.

“I don’t understand,” Henry admitted.

Pedro answered, “Time. There is no more time where we are standing. Today is tomorrow, yesterday, and this moment. You are free of time.”

A whistle blew behind them, and sirens blared. Spotlights began to sweep the compound and guards rushed towards the worn brick building he just left. Yeshua spoke, “I believe they are finding what’s left of the old you.”

Henry was embarrassed to ask, but his curiosity was getting the better of him, “I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but why did I have to suffer like that? I was on my knees every night in my jail cell. I cried out with my heart to you for years before the world became so angry and dark. Why did I need to suffer?”

Yeshua nodded, “It’s a fair question, and you deserve an answer. Watch my son, and listen.”

Two guards dragged out Henry’s old, broken body and dropped it unceremoniously in the dust. Lewis walked over and kicked the husk of broken and bloodied flesh. “I hate you. Your death doesn’t change a thing between us. I will always hate you.” Lewis looked over to Philip, “Take this trash to the crematorium.”

Philip nodded and Lewis stomped away. Philip began to whisper, but Henry could hear every word. “I’m sorry, I am so sorry. I was wrong. Oh God, can I ever been forgiven?” Philip picked up Henry’s limp body in a fireman’s carry and trudged towards the decaying bodies piled up by the crematorium.

Henry turned to the two men. “What happened to Philip?” He jumped at the tap on his shoulder. Henry turned and found Philip standing behind him.

“Not my best moments,” said Philip.

Henry looked back at the camp, and then to Philip, “I don’t understand.”

Yeshua laughed, “Remember what Peter said. You are no longer bound by time. Philip gave his life to me and later died by Lewis’ hand. Lewis went into a fit of rage at the conversion of his most trusted man and wanted to make sure he made an example of him.”

Philip smiled and then put his arm around Henry, “What do you say, bro? Should we go catch some righteous waves for old times sake?”

Henry looked at Yeshua, “Are there beaches in heaven?”

Yeshua laughed, “Epic waves. Come and see what my unmolested creation looks like.”


Does your mind wander during prayers ?

grayscale photography of man sitting on grass field
Are you able to concentrate on God and Just God alone and pray without any thoughts interfering the prayers ? 1.Are you the one just doing the lip movements while praying,but wander in a different world  full of one thought jumping over to the next? 2.This split second intrusion of your thoughts (whether negative or positive) during prayers really haunting you ? Is this making you guilty ? If it is so, believe me …..you are not alone. Is it  because our brains have multiple components,each doing different jobs in quick succession, thus making us, difficult to concentrate ? Are these intrusive thoughts, a basic human nature ? ( since we can not stop thoughts from the brain) Can you control your mind when you are already burdened with your ‘Life’? (burden of life is a reality for all of us). Is it possible to override these thoughts ? How to solve this problem ? So many questions…..but I am finding very difficult to get one perfect answer (though plenty of answers are available on the net,which I am not convinced) which helps to really concentrate on God nothing but God . I don’t have an answer.Do you have one ? Please guide me. Some say Meditation helps
“The goal of meditation is not to control your thoughts,it is to stop letting them control you” theageofenlightement
Again I am not sure of Meditation and how it can help control ones’ mind,since mind sprouts the thoughts continuously.Mind won’t keep quite Even during the sleep, we are troubled by the thoughts in the form of Dreams! My guess is just ignore them.And Pray God to put an end to these interfering thoughts.Or  appeal to God for forgiveness and say “I trust you and I surrender”  Once we surrender with sincerity,God will appreciate. Please share your thoughts and any solution ( I mean based on your experience), if at all available.Thank you in advance. Thank you.   Philosophy through photography IS-pixel.com  

A Christmas Miracle

The middle-eastern stranger walked into the Baptist church located in one of the rougher parts of the city. Even by its tough standards, the man appeared poor, ragged, and beyond hope. His stained, dirty fatigue jacket had threadbare holes beginning to form where it had been slept in. A gray hoodie pullover lay hidden beneath the battered jacket, another layer to protect the lost and homeless against the cold cruel night of the mid-Atlantic. The hoodie itself partially hid the man’s face from view.

The old deacon saw all he needed to see. The man’s matted long hair stuck out from beyond the hoodie. It’s greasy, brown strands lay against the hood and the man’s neck. Disgusting, thought the deacon to himself. As if he heard the deacon’s thoughts, the stranger looked from the back of the church directly at the church official. The stranger’s dull, brown eyes appeared sad. The deacon gently elbowed his friend as they stood at the front of the church preparing to accept the offering.

The middle-aged man whispered, “John, look back there at what just walked in. I told you we needed to lock the doors to keep out the homeless.”

“Shhh,” said John, and then he whispered back, “Please Frank, it’s Christmas Eve.”

“Humph,” responded Frank. “I’m putting an end to this now. There are homeless shelters at the end of the block after all.”

Frank handed John his offering plate and quietly walked down the aisle as the church continued to pray for the offering and those in need. Frank walked up, pointed at the stranger and motioned with his finger for him to follow. The two walked out of the front entrance of the church together. Even though Frank was three feet ahead, the homeless man’s body odor made Frank gag.

Once beyond the door, Frank spun around and faced the stranger, “Look, buddy, you can’t just come crawling in and interrupt our service. If you want to get warm, head on down the street. They got coffee, food, and cots. They even have showers, and taking one might do you some good.”

Frank got a better look at the bedraggled stranger. His face seemed to fit a man in his thirties, but the sadness in his features caused him to look far older. His pants were marked with mud stains and stains that Frank did not want to imagine the source of. The lost man stuck out his hand. His fingernails were cracked, long, and black underneath.

The grimy man finally spoke, “Hi, my name is Joshua.”

Frank looked at Joshua’s hand for a few seconds and finally stuck out his own and shuddered as their hands met. Joshua’s hand was warm and calloused. Frank turned Joshua’s hand slightly back and forth to look for needle marks. He noticed a large scar on the back and front of Joshua’s hand.

Frank released his grip, “How’d you get that scar.”

Joshua smiled for the first time, and Frank swore his appearance got younger. “Oh, that happened a long time ago. I got it helping out my father.”

Frank nodded and asked, “So, you’re used to working hard?”

Joshua laughed slightly and gave Frank a friendly smack on the shoulder. “If you only knew half of what I’ve had to do. Hard work is a welcomed break.”

Frank shook his head confused, and then asked, “I don’t get it. Why were you in the church to get warm? Why are you homeless? Somebody like you should be doing much better.”

Joshua smiled and nodded. A light seemed to flash for a moment behind his dull, brown eyes. He reached out and took Frank’s hands in his. Frank wanted to pull back in disgust, but the warmth of Joshua’s hands and the peace that suddenly fell over him chased away all thoughts of the stranger’s sullied appearance. “I didn’t come to church to get warm,” said Joshua. “I came to worship my father.”

Frank wanted to protest. He wanted to call Joshua a liar, but something inside was stopping him from saying a word.

Joshua continued, “Frank, I see what you’ve been doing for me here. I know that people can be thankless and cruel. I know what it feels like to be used just to get a free meal, but you are doing my work. The shelter up the road is full of men you have helped. Did you know they are planning to come here after the service with a gift for you?”

Tears begin to flow down Frank’s cheeks. He slowly moved his head side to side as he spoke, “I didn’t. How do you know all of this? Who are you?”

A smile spread across the dirty man’s face, “Oh, Frank. You know who I am.”

Frank looked into Joshua’s eyes, and fear struck his heart. His knees began to buckle and Joshua slid himself underneath Frank’s shoulder to hold him up.

Joshua chuckled and walked Frank over so he could sit on a bench in front of the church. “Easy, Frank. We don’t want to make a scene. Just rest here a moment. I came to tell you not to become jaded. Keep doing the work you have been created for. Through you, many of the outcast of this world will come to know me and their lives will be changed. In turn, they will reach many men and women. Don’t lose your faith in me.”

Frank put his head in his hands and quietly wept for a moment. He took a deep breath, wiped his eyes and looked up. Joshua was gone. Frank looked down at the dirty street, took a deep breath, looked towards heaven with a smile and said, “Thank you.” As Frank walked back into the church he joined the chorus of men, women, and children singing “Mary did you know?” He joined his friend John near the rear of the church and took back his offering plate with a broad smile upon his face.

George looked out over the city skyline. His high-rise condominium offered him a view of the city’s steel and concrete canyon. In the blackness of Christmas Eve the city’s lights were especially festive, and yet George felt empty. He hated the black tux he was wearing. His father always avoided such stuffy events. George’s eyes misted at the thought of his deceased father.

Dad, you died way too soon, thought George. He turned and looked inside his condominium. He did not know half the guests he saw milling about. Plus ones for a room full of people who were there just to be seen. George turned back and talked to the cold night air, “It’s not lonely at the top, it’s desolate.” George looked up towards heaven, “Dad, I would give all of this away if it meant you could’ve lived longer. Thank you for giving me everything you did, but what I really wanted all these years was time with you. We could have lived on less.”

George heard the sliding glass door open. A middle-eastern stranger he had not been introduced to walked through the opening and closed the door behind him. His black tuxedo was tailored and silk. It seemed to almost glow against the pail city lights and moon. His black beard was trimmed perfectly, and his hair, although down to his shoulders was freshly styled and washed. George knew he needed to put on a welcoming face. He never knew when a stranger could turn into a business ally or enemy.

George stuck out his hand, “Hi there, George McGovern, but you can call me George. I don’t believe we’ve met yet.”

The stranger nodded and took George’s hand. In contrast to the vise grip and limp handshakes of the evening, the new party goer’s handshake felt warm and welcoming.

“I’m Joshua,” said the stranger.

“Joshua, a pleasure. Who did you come with?” asked George.

Joshua leaned up against the railing and the sliding glass door opened. A caterer walked on to the balcony and offered a tray of red wine. Both men took a glass. Joshua took his time sipping his drink. His brown eyes seemed locked on George as George took a sip from his own glass.

Joshua removed the wine glass from his lips and spoke. “I’m afraid this is a bit embarrassing.”

George raised his eyebrow and interjected, “Oh really? Why? Did you crash my party?”

Joshua shrugged, “Perhaps, although you invited me.”

Both men placed their glasses down on the small table just behind him. George faced Joshua and spoke, “I invited you? I’m not sure how that can be. I don’t even know you.”

Joshua nodded, “That’s true. Although, you want to know more about me. I saw you crying in the cemetery as you spoke to your dead father over his grave. Do you remember when he used to take you to church as a child?”

George’s hand shook slightly as he raised it and rubbed his chin. “How do you know these things? Are you some sort of private investigator?”

Joshua shook his head and smiled. “Look into my eyes, George. Tell me, what do you see?”

George looked into the kind brown eyes of the middle eastern man. There was something familiar about them. He had never seen them before, but George could recall Joshua being there with him as he prayed in the church as a child. They were there when his mother had passed. Somehow, Joshua had always been with him.

George’s voice spoke with a slight quiver, ”Are you, Him?”

Joshua smiled and calmly reached down for his glass and took a sip of wine.

George continued, “I don’t understand. I quit going to church after mom died. I just couldn’t bring myself to believe in you anymore after she left this earth.”

Joshua put down his glass, “Everyone passes eventually, George.”

George shrugged, “I know. I don’t know why I never returned to my faith.”

George startled as Joshua suddenly wrapped his arms around George in a hug. Peace filled George’s soul and the balcony felt as though it was bathed in light, even though the city lights were still shining brightly against the night sky. Joshua released George.

“It’s okay, you’re forgiven,” said Joshua. “That’s why I’m here. You need to remember you are forgiven of all your mistakes. I have important work for you to do.”

George’s forehead crinkled, “You want me to quit the company and go into ministry?”

Joshua let a short laugh pass from his lips and George suppressed the urge to giggle along. “No,” Joshua said. “This company is your ministry. All your wealth and power, use it for the widow and orphan.”Joshua pointed below towards a dark gap in the city’s light show. “Down there, the people need your help. There is a Baptist church, a men’s shelter, and family shelter. I want you to go to the church and ask for a man named Frank. They are in need of financial help, and on occasion a helping hand.”

George nodded, and then pointed over his shoulder with his thumb. “What about these freeloaders? Surely, they don’t need anything.”

Joshua gently turned George to face the glass wall and his Christmas party guests within his condominium. “What do you see?”

George sighed and took a look. His executive assistant, Vanessa and her husband Lewis were chatting, but neither seemed to be paying attention to each other. From across the room, David from accounting was leering at Vanessa who was exchanging glances with him, both would occasionally allow their lips to slightly curl up with each flirting gaze.

George gasped, “Vanessa and David are having an affair?”

Joshua nodded, “Yes. She and her husband have fallen on hard times since he lost his job. David has been lonely since his wife’s untimely death. Unfortunately, they have taken solace in each other.”

“What can I do?” asked George.

Joshua shrugged and said, “I’ve given you a large company and powerful friends. Help Lewis get back on his feet, and spend some time with David. You both have lost people you love. You can empathize with his pain and perhaps make a trusted friend.”

George nodded and continued looking around the room. Some guests were laughing as others stood around with bland or sad looks in their eyes. George began to realize how large the task was before him. He turned to Joshua, but Joshua was gone.

George looked heavenward, “You’re asking more than I think I can handle.”

Inside his heart, George heard the response, “We can do this together.”

A tear gently rolled down George’s cheek. He wiped it away and walked back inside. Making a beeline for David, George stepped in front of David’s view of Vanessa, He shook David’s hand gently and spoke, “I’m sorry I haven’t had time to say hello before now. I believe we have something in common. We have both lost our families. I don’t know about you, but I could use a friend to get together with, especially during the holidays. Are you up for dinner and a few rounds of pool this week?”

David stammered, and then said, “Yes, that sounds great.”

“Terrific,” responded George enthusiastically. Then he turned to his guest and grabbed a glass of wine from a nearby tray sitting on an end table, and raised it.

George’s smiled lit up the room, and he said, “Merry Christmas to all!”

“Merry Christmas,” all replied in unison.

Mending

Mending cover

It’s the eve of another year past. Life changes and different anatomical pains arise. I made some new friends this year and reunited with some old acquaintances. There were some I wished well and sent them on their way. But, in a summation, I wish I knew where life would find me.

I’m not sad or alone, decrepit or incapacitated but instead, I feel young and vibrant; blessed with vitality and youthfulness. It makes me wonder, because, at my age, I shouldn’t be going ninety miles per hour. If God is making an example out of me, well… He’s doing a pretty good job! So it’s time to reflect on the past hurricanes ravaging my lingering memories. That’s all left to stand.

I ask God to lead me in an effort to comprehend life’s twists and turns. My future path is anyone’s guess, but I can say He’s made miracles happen which are out of my control. I have to decipher my own handwriting when He fills my head with messages. I only wish I could dial the heavens and share the joy with Mom and Dad.

Materialistically, a loss is a sign of weakness, but spiritually speaking, any catastrophe brings strength in times of adversity. Outside forces controlled my earlier years. But for the second half, I’ll return to the point God first touched me. I’m mending this section and my days left in it. I only ask of my Father to protect me. May joy accompany my life, and friendships blossom, yet praise the “love” who kept searching for me. Mending the past to the present is heaven-sent – this makes sense. I only wish I figured out the signs He was sending me thirty-four years ago for there’s no telling the direction my life would yield. Today, a gravitational pull beacons my spirit as God is now my priority.

I’m older tomorrow by one year, and I wonder how many more God will give me to enjoy? Though I lost my parents when I was young, He watches over my hurts and fills my soul with peace. But, how can “sorry” help if no one ever listened to my hurts? Only forgiveness sends messages to the deceased. To patch my broken years, I would have to fill the voids; however, there’s no home remaining, nor church which captivated my soul – just the first place I came in contact with the Almighty.

Mending a broken past with joyful present memories brings me a craving of jubilation. Jesus knows my heart.

Thank you, Lord, for my life!


EDITOR’S NOTE:

God bless you, my sweet husband! Your walk in life is the most inspiring I’ve ever witnessed. You are a joy and inspiration to our family and friends! Each day spent with you brings another smile and blessings bountiful. How can we ever thank you enough for “just being you”!

Thank you, God, for the glorious messenger you brought into all our lives!