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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The Reign Will Return

Ominous clouds grew more abundant, and the earth trembled beneath the old wooden cross. The winds didn’t whisper – they yelled His name, Jesus, the son of God! Wait – that was two thousand years ago… or was it?

Sitting in a cloud darkened room, I hear the rumble of the shaking heavens. The day was Good Friday, but what was so “good” about it? Religiously speaking, it was the day God’s son brutally lost His life. It was so sad! Jesus lived and died with the knowledge He was only here to fulfill a prophecy for mankind. The weight of the world rested upon His shoulders. Was His death in vain? Surely, I pray it’s not true!

One innocent man was sent to earth to change our thinking, but I wonder, what did we learn? This Easter weekend, the earth will recall the event of two thousand years ago. Astronomers announced a very rare occurrence – the moon will turn pink (of all colors) and a high energy field will surround the earth. Coincidence? I wonder and gasp at the thought of Christ watching to see who’s paying attention to His signs. Alone in my conscience, I tremble at the possibility.

Jesus didn’t live His life according to anyone else. The parables He taught was open for interpretation so He could communicate with listeners. He loved and believed in mankind with all His heart and soul. As in ages ago, amongst the belting rain and clapping thunder, can we sympathize with the saddest biblical day? For Christians, His death still vibrates in our lives, thousands of years later.

Good Friday… whoever connects “Good” with the death of our Savior? He came to release the sin Adam and Eve placed on us at the beginning of time. Jesus made a stance and was crucified to save the world. If you think you suffer today, examine the agony God put His only son through to offer us everlasting life. How can one ever repay the Lord’s mercy? How do we repent enough of our sin?

But, the sun rises on Easter, with the promise of a brighter day. The folded loincloth left behind, which covered Jesus’ face in the tomb, meant, “I’m coming back!” Let us celebrate a second chance to make it right for the Lord! As for myself, I can’t wait to stare in the eye of diversity and shake the hand of a man named Christ Jesus. We have nothing to fear when we do not question our faith.

Let the earth tremor, for our wonderful Lord created a man we call our King, who died to give us life again. The reign will return in His “Good”ness forever! www.danabicksauthor.com

May everyone have a wonderful and blessed Easter!

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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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Quintessence of Faith

She stood under the cross motionless and watched her son’s holy blood dripping upon her feet. Bitterness and tremendous grief overwhelmed her soul while she stayed with Him until the last minute. The reverence of heaven exists as we can only imagine what it’s like to witness your child brutally crucified at the hands of haters. But, Mary, according to scriptures, remained passive and resisted the temptation to protest the unfairness of Jesus’ prosecution.

It is often said there is nothing worse than outliving your child. I can attest to this as I watched my grandmother sob while her son laid dying on a hospital bed. I can only imagine Mary’s anguish as she witnessed the excruciating pain Jesus suffered from the stakes in His feet and hands. In her glorious strength, still, Mary fought off her own inhibitions to be first, a mother. She knew she would make the ultimate sacrifice when she accepted God’s invitation to give birth to a Savior for Simeon warned her of Jesus’ fate.

Mary was the quintessence of faith in God. As an inexperienced, pregnant mother, she knew the truth about her son’s existence. It was her destiny to deliver a child who would save the world. Throughout Jesus’ life, Mary often feared for her son’s life, but her intuition spoke He was in God’s hands. However, on Good Friday, she must have questioned why Jesus was sent to earth to save sinners, only to be killed by them. I’m sure she also wasn’t prepared for the method of His brutal death.

It is my observation, though, Mary is to be the ultimate example of strength for parents who lose their child to senseless religious crimes. When we defend our Creator, it becomes a movement towards the only ray of light which exists in this world’s darkness. We stand under the cross to eliminate chaos and bitterness, spreading the love of God. How can it be wrong?

Mary could have easily fallen into the trap of screaming and attacking evil-doers at the presence of Jesus’s injustice. But, she walked with loyalty to the Lord in gentleness, forgiveness, and peace.

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

What a model of discipleship Mary portrays to Christians today! Let us stand in strength, under the weight of the cross, and resist the shadows of evil.

Praise His holy name! www.danabicksauthor.com

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Off to See the Wizard

The highlight of my Easter season, when I was a child, was watching the nail-biting TV movie, “The Wizard of Oz.” I remember my tears flowing as Dorothy handed Toto over to Miss Gulch on the bike. But today, I look at this Academy Award Nominated motion picture in a different light. From a Christian writer’s perspective, the underlying message and morals in this movie are phenomenal! Let me take you for a walk down my yellow brick road…

DOROTHY

Dorothy was a character on a soul-searching mission. She was an orphan, adopted by her aunt and uncle in Kansas, yet she appeared to have a deep-rooted longing to find a true home. Insecurities plagued her because she didn’t fit in with the older relatives, and a mean Miss Gulch wanted to take her only friend, Toto, away from her. Auntie Em became frustrated with Dorothy’s antics and yelled, “Find yourself a place where you won’t get into any trouble.” Dorothy picked up Toto and said, “Is there such a place Toto? Not a place you can get to by boat or train.”

Aren’t most of us looking to fill an empty spot inside our soul – a place where there isn’t any sadness? Always seeking, we get mixed up in wrong relationships, addictions, and false idols. When we finally accept Jesus Christ into our hearts, we soon realize we have everything we need daily; and it’s not a place you can get to by boat or train.

But, Dorothy, like so many people, run from their problems. A tornado swept her from safety, and she entered another world. Her only path home was down the yellow brick road. The Good Witch of the North, Glinda, warned her to never venture off its path for darkness loomed in every corner. What a great metaphor! We must walk through life on God’s golden road only for Satan will quickly invade if our guard is down. Temptations of sin can fog a mind when difficulties become overwhelming; prayers are the answer to tackle the troubles. Seek God first before using your own solution.

The central theme of the movie centers on Dorothy’s quest to go to the Emerald City; she sought the Wizard of Oz’s help to take her back to Kansas. Along the way, the Wicked Witch of the West and her minions attack her and her friends. This is so like Satan trying to intervene in our life! By the end of the film, Dorothy discovered the Wizard was a phony, a false idol if you will. She is devastated until Glinda (her guardian angel, perhaps?) magically came to her rescue. “Dorothy,” she said, “You’ve always had the power to go back to Kansas.” What lesson did she learn from the whole experience? A heart’s desire isn’t any further than your own backyard (or in my case, a bible). The love and acceptance she wanted were always at her doorstep.

The moral of Dorothy’s story is God’s power makes our life fantastic for He is greater than any physical object or place we seek on our own. As we come to know Jesus Christ, we understand He promises to guide us because the love for His children is eternal. When we resist the enemy, we draw closer to Him, and He becomes our home. The solution to our problems is right under our nose.

SCARECROW AND A BRAIN

The first friend Dorothy met on the yellow brick road was the happy-go-lucky scarecrow who wanted the Wizard to give him a brain. It’s quite funny, often throughout the movie, he acted as though he had a brain and common sense. How frequently do we take action as if we don’t have sense? We beat ourselves up for the mistakes we make along the way and we lose forgiveness in the shuffle of stupidity. God forgives us our sins so why hold on to regrets? Did you ask God to clear your heart and mind of all the clutter which pulls your progress down? Did you diligently pray for forgiveness?

At the end of the show, it’s quite ironic the Wizard actually did not fulfill the scarecrow’s wishes. He only gave him a diploma of higher thinking. This character simply lacked self-confidence. The Scarecrow sought a higher power to confirm he could be smart. Little did he know, confidence comes from a relationship with Christ. Yes, we must be secure in God’s Word and not in our flesh. He gives us hope in times of adversity.


THE TIN MAN AND A HEART

A second character who befriended Dorothy was the rusted Tin Man. He wanted the Wizard to give him a heart, hence emotions. The Wizard of Oz told him “a heart will never be practical until it is made unbreakable.”  The Tin Man quickly learned what a broken heart was when he said goodbye to Dorothy.

Suffering hearts is a common thread among humanity. We have to trust God has a better plan for our life, thus healing us from the inside out. He replaces the feelings of rejection and abandonment with a sense of renewal. All we have to do is pick up the Bible and allow His words to soothe our soul. Once we connect with Jesus, everything changes and nothing or no one has the same power over us again. God forms a shield to protect our innocence.

THE COWARDLY LION AND COURAGE

Onward to Emerald City, the Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Dorothy trotted arm-in-arm. Suddenly a large curly-haired lion jumped out from behind a tree and tried to scare the trio. The ferocious lion growled and snapped at them until Dorothy slapped him. “You should be ashamed of yourself!” The lion quickly retreated behind his own tail and cried. Throughout the movie, his fear reared its ugly head. Could the great Wizard give him courage?

We sometimes experience scary situations in life – perhaps bullying, roadblocks, and other fear factors. Hard times are unavoidable, but we can count on God to pick us up, dust us off, and help us through these failures. An important message from this is Satan instigates fear. My favorite saying is, “Where there is fear, there is no faith.” Let us rely on God for strength to conquer our personal battles for He is always in control and will not abandon us. Be of good courage for the Lord is with us every step of the way!

OUR CHRISTIAN WALK

The Wizard of Oz, though not written with religion in mind, can teach us about our Christian walk with God. We should examine our relationship with the Lord and strive, every day, to be more like Him. Draw on the intelligence of our brain; maintain a heart open and sincere and pray for the courage to stand up for our belief. If we stray along the way to the Emerald City, known as heaven, our Lord Jesus Christ will be there to lift us up. Just as Dorothy had to “learn it for herself,” our journey helps us grow to be the best Christians we can be for eternal salvation. Everything we need is in the power of God, not the ruby slippers.

The next time you watch this excellent motion picture, look for the hidden Christian parables – you will be amazed at how many you’ll witness!

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/



Learning to Walk

All our life we live like we’re playing in a scrimmage game – time is on our side to make things right. But, along the way we suffer multiple hurts and wounds. We stumble and fall because we never really learned to walk in forgiveness.

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Please join us on Blogging 2 Believers! We are discussing “Learning to Walk” and forgiveness. Just click this link: https://youtu.be/NxTaCRiJez4

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In my younger years, I believed, somehow, God and the Bible would magically erase my aches. Yet the pain I suffered, and inflicted on others, was crippling to my soul. The art of putting one foot in front of another was difficult to grasp, especially with forgiveness.

The Bible is full of verses about our mental health. Forgive others and yourself, and it stabilizes your disposition; for only the strongest shall learn to walk in the presence of God’s holiness. It may not be part of your daily curriculum, but it’s the healthiest antidote for your mind, body, and soul.

Forgiving Others

Forgiveness is a complex thought and requires many baby steps, but God is absolutely clear about it:

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins”~ Mark 11:25

 “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” ~Colossians 3:13

I was confused the first time I read the first verse. Why should I forgive someone who terribly wronged me? How could I say to them, “I forgive you?” To clarify this bible verse, forgiving others does not justify the deed or the person; nor does it offer God’s forgiveness for their actions. It also doesn’t mean coming face-to-face with someone to tell them you forgive their behavior or action. Instead, we are to move forward from our past, silently asking God to forgive them. Allow Him to handle their sins. Then you will release the deep hurt and heal from the inside out, taking your first step in learning to walk with the Lord. After all, we are all sinners and need God’s forgiveness.

A true testimony to forgiveness was a murder trial aired on TV and the internet last year. A mother’s son was brutally murdered, and she suffered for a year with anxiety, hurt, and anger. She sought professional help from her minister who explained to her the true meaning of forgiveness. As the convicted assassin took the stand for his death sentence, she spoke to the courtroom; she told the murderer she forgave him because that is what God desired for her heart. Then, she stood up and hugged him! She later told the media that as she spoke the words to her son’s killer, God at once filled her with peace. Ideally, the Lord does not wish for us to confront an abuser or sinner, but for this broken-hearted mother, it was the answer to her prayers. Here is her story: https://www.today.com/news/how-do-you-forgive-killer-mother-moves-past-tragedy-4B11203330

Forgiving Ourselves

The flip side of forgiving others, and the most difficult, is forgiving ourselves. God promises to pardon us if we believe in Jesus Christ, and our sins are no more. (Jeremiah 31:34) Some sinners, though, never heal from their self-inflicted pains; they limp along in life carrying the guilt of their own misgivings. Yesteryears become part of their present life while anger, hatred, self-pity, and depression lurks just around the corner. It’s exhausting! The energy they give to negativity robs them of the good deeds they need to become the person God wants them to be. Look for a silver lining because “what doesn’t kill you, will make you stronger.”

God sends the lessons we learn from our mistakes. The storms might be furious in nature, and some may be hurdles still left unfinished, but He placed them there to teach us a lesson. Learn from the shadowing experiences, pray for forgiveness, and move forward… never to repeat the errors.

Learning to walk in unison with our Father takes great maturity and courage, but necessary to heal the pain. Stop beating yourself up and accept God’s hand. Experience His peace for Peter exclaimed, “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality” (Acts 10:34). You are free!

www.danabicksauthor.com

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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.”


Do You Know if You’re in God’s Grace?

An unknown truck pulled up in front of my home, and I wondered about their intention. A young man stepped out, introduced himself and said, “I’m here to mark the ground for electrical lines, do you mind?” Our conversation quickly moved from generic to personal all in the same sentence. One thing led to another, so I invited him inside to meet my wife. Marking the yard was the least important topic to talk about at that moment. We found significance in our impending dialog because he saw we were new to the area. He knew nothing about me but he still kindly invited us to join him at his church along with his family members.

Our conversation deepened as he told us about his father who spent time in India doing God’s work for seven years. He and my wife swapped mission stories as she, too, served in Africa. You see, when you’re in God’s grace, things just seem to generate for the best. He places people in your path, shining His grace and approval.

I ponder now about Moses in the book of Exodus of the Old Testament. He was an arrogant and stubborn man who murdered another person. He constantly doubted God’s word. Though Moses failed to trust God by not speaking to a rock, the Lord nevertheless guided him. How gracious was this? God’s grace is perpetual, even to the unaware.

Do you know if you’re in God’s grace? I can describe grace, in a biblical sense, as God’s unmerited favor – a blessing we don’t deserve because we are sinners. To be in His grace is a gift.

Like Moses, grace is redemptive. How many of us follow our own path in life, ignoring God’s requests? Do you drink, experiment with drugs, have sexual taboos, gamble, or struggle with eating disorders? Because some choose the wrong path doesn’t mean God isn’t willing to take your hand and lead you to a better way; but you must allow Him to do so. He will do this through His personal love and grace for you. But remember, God’s grace is conditional so we should pray often but also refrain from repeating our immoralities. The Bible contains repeated warnings against using grace as a pass to continue in sin.

If you are in our Lord’s grace, take a sigh of relief for you are right where you should be in His eyes. Realize life is truer than fiction. Just as this young man’s visit to our home, you will feel God’s love showering down on you. We serve an amazing God. Sometimes, standing still is all that is warranted to receive His guiding messages and ultimately His gifts. God is ready to extend His grace to those who are called to follow Him in the name of Jesus.


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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