When Philanthropy is Not Good Enough

[Image by United Nations Photos]

Straddling my coat close to my body, I walk into my home on St. Belizze avenue, relieved to finally return home after a long winter day's work. My young maid rushes to take away my coat and store it in the usual place. I smile when I see her, the familiar surrounds me once again. What I need now is a hot tub filled with spices and herbs, and decorated with scented candles all about. So I walk up the staircase with the excitement of turning this thought into the reality of an aromatherapy paradise.

As I sink into the tub, I get flashes of all the good I accomplished today. As the CEO of Mercy Cooperation, a well-known non-profit philanthropic enterprise, there are always tons of good to do in the world.

Today was another special day for me. I joined my staff in visiting an abandoned site where lepers live, away from the stabs of the society. I was surprised to see so many of them living in abject poverty. I had thought leprosy was a disease that was no longer existent. It now has a more modern name, Hanson's disease. We were able to distribute money, food, and medical supplies to these outcasts. After that, we visited an orphanage, closer to home this time. It's sad to see little children with no parents, in fact when one of the little girls came up to give me a kiss on my cheeks, I could not help but give way to my own tears. We gave them the same supplies we had. Their caretakers were extremely grateful to me for coming.

On a scale of one to ten, I would probably receive a ten for all the good I had done at sixty years of age. I never got married, but I have adopted children all over the continent. I have my own company and estates around the globe. But most of all, I treasure these deeds such as accomplished on this day. Nevertheless, with each passing day, I cannot help but think there is one thing I lack. Just one more thing to fit into the puzzle, something to make everything right.

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 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For [Jesus] Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. Romans 10: 2-4

Many times, people think that if they can just be 'good citizens' or if they can be the most 'philanthropic' souls, then that should be good enough.

Yet, no matter how much we try to be "good," our flesh has denied us the pleasure of attaining full righteousness in ourselves. Paul put it this way, "For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice...I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good...O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God- through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

No matter how much we try to be good, there is a constant battle between our sinful flesh and the part of us that wants to do good. This is why Jesus went willingly to the cross, as a sheep for the slaughter, to die for our sins, so that because of Him, righteousness will be ascribed to us. Our righteousness (the things we do with the goodness of our hearts) is only like a filthy rag in God's eyes. It can never be enough, because there will always be a part of us that struggles with doing the wrong things. Except we have Christ and begin to work in the Spirit so that we don't fulfill the lusts of the flesh.

The one thing the woman lacked in the fictional story above was Jesus. If she could only believe that only God could complete her righteousness, then she would be a perfect ten. None of us is a perfect ten by believing our philanthropic acts are good enough. Without the blood of Jesus, I am nothing. Without the perfection of God, I am imperfect.

So keep doing good deeds, for God will bless you tremendously when you do. Actually, if you are truly in Christ, good deeds will automatically be a part of your life. Yet, the message for today is that your good philanthropic acts will never be enough for you to ascribe righteousness to yourself. Our righteousness is not sufficient to save us, only God's righteousness can.

Question(s) for the Day: Have you ever believed that your philanthropic acts make you good enough? And that you don't need anything else?

Walking a Mile in Her Shoes

[Image by Jamelah]

I am resilient, a thousand men can't make me cry. Nevertheless, as I take each new step in her shoes, tears threaten to pour out like broken waterfalls on a picturesque summer day.

She holds my hands and leads me to the place where her story begins, a run-down shack well hidden in the middle of the woods. The door creaks, and we step inside. One step in her shoes. She points to the remains of what was once a mattress and a pillow, both on the sandy floor. "Over there," she says, "is where I cuddled my three children for ten long years after their father died."

She also points to a big black pot, broken and hidden in the shadows. All of their meals were cooked in it, there were no other ones like it lying around. Some days they ate bread without soup or meat. Other days, they were lucky to find a small animal trapped outside, so that they had meat for a couple of days.

Her youngest girls died on the same day. "A nameless infectious disease," she called it, as if it meant nothing to her. In one swift motion my tears are released. She begs me not to cry, saying she'd already cried enough for both of us.

She'd left the shack the night that they died and were buried, clutching the last child like she would never let her go, only seven years old at the time. She swore not to let death snatch that one away, it was her fault what happened to the other two.

Today, I found her on the road between Pennsylvania and New York, wearing a black sleeveless top, a mini-skirt, fishnets, knee-length boots, and shoulder-length earrings. I watched her as she sashayed under the dim light of the moon, beckoning to cars passing by, especially the flashy ones with rich-looking young men. She looked like she was ready to sell her body for one more night. Although she never raised her hand to stop me, I willed my car to stop and lowered my windows. I asked her if she needed my help, and she replied, "Not until you've walked a mile in my shoes, young lady." And then I took a long walk in her shoes, following her lead.

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Many times, we want to be the first to criticize others. We want to point fingers, without first walking a mile in their shoes. But all God wants us to do is to show love and compassion, not to criticize. He's right there, waiting for sinners to run back into His arms. He's right there waiting for the sons of God to embrace the world and show them the right way to get life, wealth, health, and all other good things from the Giver of life, especially when they try to get these things through sinful means. Sometimes, if we think about where a person is coming from, we would be less prone to pointing fingers too quickly.

"Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." Words of Jesus, Luke 6:37

"Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin." Romans 4:7-8

"God makes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust." Matthew 5:45

"There is none righteous, no, not one." Romans 3: 10

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." Romans 3: 23-24

"Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion." Romans 12: 15-16

Question for the Day: Have you ever walked a mile in a sinner's shoes? 

Are We There Yet? No, We're Still Here

[Image by Heart&Soul}
True Story:

He waited for me as I fished for what to wear in my closet. I grabbed my sweater because I envisioned a chilly night outside, with winds that would make me want to pop my collar. Well, I was wrong; as soon as we stepped out, the humidity and warmth seeped through my bones.

On the way back home it was silent for a while, at least until I blurted something that had been lurking in my heart.

"I feel overwhelmed," I said.


"Yes, I do."

"What exactly is making you overwhelmed?"

"I really don't know. Life, in general. All my activities, maybe."

"No, there has to be something more specific than that."

"Well, I'm trying to get to a certain level, and I feel I can never get there."

Silence. More silence. Then he replied.

"Someone once said that some people spend a lot of time trying to make the perfect product which they never get to make, while others make less-perfect products and work on it to make it better and better as they go along in their journey."

I smiled. That was exactly what I needed to hear. And then I blogged about it.

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And all, whatever ye may do--out of soul work-- as to the Lord, and not to men. Colossians 3:23 (Young's Literal Version)

Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men. Colossians 3: 23 (NKJV)

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. Colossians 3:23 (NIV)

Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from your soul), as [something done] for the Lord and not for men. Colossians 3:23 (Amplified)

Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you'll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Colossians 3:23 (The Message)

CONCLUSION: We make a lot of plans, but there is a right time for those plans to come to manifestation. If we can just leave our plans in God's hands He will perfect them. So in the mean time, whatever it is that God has placed in our hands, even though it is a "less-than-perfect" product, we need to put ALL of our hearts into it and be EXCELLENT, as though everything we're doing is for God and not for man. Oh bless the days of your little beginnings.

Question for the Day: Have you ever felt overwhelmed because you want to move to the next level in your life? Have you ever been the passenger in a vehicle and you had to ask, "Are we there yet?" Well, don't feel overwhelmed. You will get there, but in the mean time, be EXCELLENT at where God has placed you right now. Have the most lovely Friday ever. Thanks to every reader who took the time to grant me the award, "Most Positive Blogger." I don't think I can be positive without you guys, I thank you for being you. 

Enjoy this video which I can't stop watching, every time I watch it, I smile. One line says, "I just wanna say, I'm not afraid, I know that You are with me, always." Beautiful line from Psalm 23.

Selecting the Misfits in the Cave of Adullam:

[Image by Anna A. Liukas]
Cold, shaken, and frightened David arrived at a cave in the middle of mountains, seeking refuge away from his assassin.  His eyes widened as he did not expect what he saw next. What in the world? There were actually other people hiding away in these mountains too. Never for one second had he imagined that he would find a single soul here.

As he walked slowly into the cave, he saw a fire. About six men were gathered around with their hands stretched to draw warmth from the flickers of light. One of them turned to look at him, making the others turn their heads as well. They got up and drew their swords. 

"I come in peace," David quickly said.

A man ran up to him. "Hey, I recognize you. You are David, son of Jesse. Did you not kill the Philistine giant?"

As soon as the man asked, the others ran up to David. They peered at him closely and began to nod their heads. He was surely the hero of Israel. But what was he doing here, in a cave? 

"Yes, you are right. I am David. I did not expect to find any man here." 

Then he asked the men what they were doing there. The first man began to speak. He told David about their distress. Each one of them had come here individually because they were running away from the society. They were MISFITS and no one wanted them around anymore. Some of them could no longer afford their homes and had been driven away by their landlords. Some were suicidal, and just did not want to live anymore. Others were just literally discontented with the society. But here, they found others who were like them. 

As David listened to their stories, he found treasures in them that they did not know they had.

"Would any man choose to become part of my army?"

They looked at themselves, shocked that David would even ask them such a question. "Yes, mighty David. We will." 

That day, David became captain over 400 men who were misfits of the society. And they became a mighty army.

*This is a fictional account based on a true story as written in 2 Samuel 22:1-4*

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Your Flaws Might Become Your Testimonies:

Many times we look at ourselves in the mirror and think about how we don't really fit into the society. We compare ourselves to people in the world, and wonder why we're so different.

Some day we will understand that these unique things about us can be used for God's glory. No, you were not designed to become a carbon copy of someone else. You were created to be YOU. And the you that you are right now can join forces with others in the body of Christ, and we can become a mighty army. Mighty sons of God. Never look down upon your uniqueness. Even your flaws can turn out to become your biggest testimonies, just like the misfits David found when he ran to the cave of Adullam. 

Question for the day: Have you ever looked down upon your uniqueness? 

Your Soul Hanging On a Very Short Leash: LIES

[Image by Ingirogio]
Mind tricks slip into your soul like drizzles of rain entering a street gutter on a rainy day. The world and all its pleasures play tricks on your mind. They tell you that as long as you are sane, you have the right to claim your power to RULE as GOD. For why should you allow any external influence? Far be it from your God-ship, O King. No one can control you. No one can tell you what to do. You ARE your own God.

All you need is a MasterCard, Visa, or American Express to control the money. To be seen cruising around in the finest cars ever made in history is the mark of a God. A resident of the famous Hollywood 90210 might not be a bad idea. Oh, the ability to be multilingual will look good on your resume; English, Spanish, French, Dutch, Mandarin, and German; these should be merged into a giant mass of fluidity on the tip of your tongue. The acquisition of estates and frequent flyer miles. The comparison of your aura to gold. The life coach with over 100,000 followers. The neurosurgeon with the power to solve the deadliest mysteries of Siamese twins. Extremely ruthless with the opposition, taking no prisoners. In fact, you have so many decisions to make and very little time to make them. They say you are your own God.

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These are some of the tricks that the world can use to put your soul on a short leash. And they are lies. You can never be your own God because you did not create yourself, nor did you structure the universe. You cannot see the entire universe with the eyes of God. You can only see a small part of the big picture, but He sees everything. You have the things you have because they are only gifts. You will depart this world without any one of these accumulations. The minute you believe that these things can make you your own God is the minute you become a prisoner to lies. You are not God, and you will never be God. You are gods though, the offspring of a powerful God. Yet, you will never reach that level.

One day, a great man called Job questioned God, and God answered Him out of the whirlwind (Job Chapters 38-41):

Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Who determined its measurements? (38:4-5)

Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place? (38:12)

Have the gates of death been revealed to you? (38:17)

Have you entered the treasury of snow, or seen the treasury of hail which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war? (38: 22-23)

Has the rain a father? Or who has begotten the drops of dew? (38:28)

Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the belt of Orion? (38:31)

Who has put wisdom in the mind? Or who has given understanding to the heart? (38:36)

 Have you an arm like God? Then look on everyone who is proud and bring him low. Then I will also confess to you that your own right hand can save you. (40: 9 & 14)

Who has preceded me that I should pay him? Everything under heaven is mine. (41:11)

Recommended Read: I read Seye Kuyinu's Post, "If I Were God" yesterday, and I think you'll enjoy it too.

Question for the Day: Which of these verses from Job Chapters 38-41 made you almost do a double flip or a backside flip? 

The Most Beautiful Rest: My Hands in His

[Image by Life in Blue]
Marriage came as a gift secretly packaged in the most amazing way. God carefully placed the gift in a precise alignment, and then He wrapped it up in my favorite colors-- purple, orange, red, yellow, and all other colors that brighten my day.

He gave me the most beautiful rest, my hands in His. In the moments when I am away from the world, I have his shoulders to lean on. To me, that's a perfect rest. To know that I can run from one part of the earth to the other end, and still come back to find my gift waiting for me. This is rest. Just like God rested on the seventh day. I believe when He rested He was satisfied in watching His creations do His bidding. He marvels in His own rest when He sees husbands and wives fulfilling the purpose why they were created for each other, to not be alone.

The essence of not being alone is that of having someone to share your views, but not only that, to embellish those views. Having someone to hold always. Having a shoulder to lean on. Having someone to drive you to achieve your potential. Having someone to reflect on the Word of God with. Having someone to give 100% support. God has already helped this process of rest by providing a partner that I'll spend the rest of my days with. It's His rest, and it has become my rest too. Rest is not in slacking off, it is being satisfied with having the maximum confidence of achievement, without worries of rejection from the one person that truly matters.

I don't share my burdens alone. I always have a listening ear. This is rest.

I don't complete tasks alone. There's always a helping hand. This is rest.

In a day when I need that moment of verbal release, where all the words bottled up inside me come out, he's right there like a ceramic bowl waiting to receive the drops of rain. A ceramic bowl that is not broken, so all the drops are collected and I can always go back and quench my thirst.

The knowledge of this is "rest" in itself. No longer do I walk alone. I am not just myself. I have someone to share myself with. It is truly a Godly thing to have this beautiful satisfaction of rest for the rest of my days. May you find that rest too. Amen.

This post was inspired by Ann Voskamp from Holy Experience. I will also be a Guest Blogger on Chichi's Blog, "From Now Till I Do" really soon, so keep your eyes open for that. Hope you enjoyed this and see you on Friday. 

Stranger in My Own House

[Image by Ashley Adcox]

*A Repost*

I am walking around without my socks and slippers, every tip toe counts. It is dark and I don't want to turn on the switch to the light bulbs in the patio, so I skulk and move around stealthily. I push the sliding door open, but I do it very slowly so that the screeching sound is not heard in the next room. As I stand there pushing slowly, I hear a distant sound coming from the basement. I panick. My heart is beating louder and faster now, like a wild horse galloping on a rodeo show. What was that brusque sound? I listen again, and I hear the same thing. Sounds like someone hitting a box. Or perhaps someone walking up the stairs...

I abandon my task of pushing the sliding door and I bend really low, as if ducking to avoid a water ball, and then I crawl on all four limbs to hide behind the sofa. There is a blue and red striped accessory pillow on the carpet. I pick it up and hug it, pulling my knees upwards towards my chest. I close my eyes. I am in a ridiculous predicament, a senseless limbo. Who is walking up the stairs? I stay there for a while, eyes tightly shut and hoping that no one catches me in this house. I do not want to be caught. I just want to get out of here. The sound stops and I start crawling towards the sliding door again. This time, instead of standing up, I try to push the sliding door from my low position. It's not moving half as fast as I want it to...

All of a sudden, the light comes on. Oh no, it's my father. I AM in my own house!

"What are you doing honey?"
"Daddy, I...errrr...I was sleep-walking again."

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There have been times when we are conscious, at least enough to realize that the kingdom is ours, and ours for the taking. At times like that we act like royalty...kingly, priestly, and very bold. In fact, we refuse to see or accept defeat, because our plight is only victorious. 

But what about those times when everything seems bleak? So bleak that you begin to act like a stranger in your own household. It feels like you're just sleep-walking in an unfamiliar territory, moving in a strange land. In times like this, you need to WAKE UP.

WAKE UP! WAKE UP! The land is still yours and you still have a heritage in your daddy's house. WAKE UP! The whole earth is groaning for your manifestation. WAKE UP! It is time for your mighty prowress to be seen in the world today. You need to realize that you are not a stranger to God, but you're His SON or DAUGHTER. You're royalty in His eyes, but you live like a hot mess. You're intelligent in His eyes, but you keep living like a scatter-brain. How about you wake up and turn on your light bulbs? Let these words be a lamp unto your feet even as you awaken to today's new dawn...

Joel 3:9 "Proclaim this among the nations: “ Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, Let all the men of war draw near, Let them come up..."

Joel 2:7 "They run like mighty men, They climb the wall like men of war; Every one marches in formation, And they do not break ranks..."

Mark 9: 23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

Luke 9:1-2 "Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick."

John 14: 12-14 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it."

John 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

Question For the Day: Have you ever felt like you were a stranger in the Body of Christ, even after you gave your life to God? Remember God's Word and don't be a stranger in your own house.

God is Not With Me When I Make My Bed in Hell

[Image by SusanNYC]
The soles of my shoes slap the ground as I drag my feet into the nearest McDonald's. I need to get a new pair of shoes. But how can I? How can I even think of it when the voices of my bills cry out to me each night I lay my head on my pillow? How can I even think of shoes when I'm drowning in the noisiness of a traffic-infested street and this has become my new lifestyle?

The smell of deep-fried potatoes fills the atmosphere. It is so pungent that it wipes off memories of the carbon emissions from the busy street. My eyes scroll down the list on the dollar menu and I reluctantly make my crappy order.

"Anything else ma'am?"
"Yes. Can I get a small cup of water, please?" To me, that meant no extra charges.
"Sure ma'am," she answers. "Coming right up."

Soon enough the one dollar burger is plunged right in front of me, along with the small cup of water to drench my thirst. I look to my left and right hoping no one saw the order, and then I grab my items and turn to leave. Due to the fact that there is no lid on my small cup of water, the water decides to splash on my white shirt in one swift motion.

"Darn it," I shout. I fling the cup and the rest of its contents into the nearby thrash. I can do without them, they are cursed. I run out into the street and a car almost hits me since I am blinded by my own tears. And as I stand waiting at the bus stop, I mutter these words in fear: "God is not with me. No, He isn't."

*Flash Fiction*

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Where can I go from Your spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. Psalm 139:7-10

There are some experiences we go through in life that make us question whether or not God is with us. Even more hurtful are those moments where we watch a broadcast, maybe of Joel Osteen or T.D. Jakes, and they keep talking about "a miracle-working" God.

But let me tell you something that you may have forgotten: the fact that you're sleeping in hell right now does not mean God has stopped being a miracle-working God. Your own miracle is on the way. Do you know that Psalm 139 also says that the darkness and light are both alike to God (verse 12)? David understood it, that's why he said so. That dark situation you're in right now is the same as a situation filled with light to God. It's because He sees the bigger picture. It's because there's that small glimmer of light in your darkness.

Large Scale Vs. Small Scale: 

What do all these mean? Answer: miracles don't always come in a large scale. They may just come in the form of a young lad who will ask you for money on the bus, and you will give him the wretched burger you just got from McDonald's instead. He might not have had breakfast that morning. Your burger may be the young boy's miracle, and you gave it to him. How you can give of yourself when you have nothing is another small-scale miracle.

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 1 Peter 5:10

Question for the Day: Have you ever wondered where God is hiding in your (or others') sufferings? Always try to get a glimpse of His face in the little things. He's the God of heaven and hell, and the God of both light and darkness. Who can comprehend His sovereignty?