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    “Who do you say that I am?”

    “Who do you say that I am?” “Then He asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:15-16 NLT) Who do you say that I am?  As I write this simple question, my heart seems to have stopped. Tears threaten to crumble the dam, that I mindfully erected, long ago.  A protective dam – one that holds all my sorrows, my unmet- unvoiced longings, my fierce disappointments and my unanswered prayers are all kept at bay from connecting with my one-true heart. But today, I am faced with this one question, and this dam of…

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    A Touch of Mercy for The Oppressed

    Over the past seven years I have traveled to many local places throughout Manila, Philippines. Drawn to all things cultural and Filipino, I find delight in: a simple trike ride through local streets, a walk through the center of a neighboring Barangay, a trek along steep pathways where simple clapboard homes teeter precariously along cliff edges, a ride on a crowded unairconditioned train in which I am sandwiched shoulder to shoulder with the locals whom I have grown to love, a handkerchief covering my face from the polluted black belch of a jeep-nee I am riding in, the church that meets outside whose congregants greet me warmly with smiles that…

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    Stop the Masquerade: Unveil the Masks

       “Be yourself; everyone else is taken.” Oscar Wilde  Unveiling the Masks By continuously covering up God’s good and perfect design, we are shouting out the message; “God, your masterpiece is not good enough.” “God. You messed up when you made me!” As Christ followers I don’t think any of us would really believe that message; yet we subconsciously say it when we masquerade as something we were never meant to be, in order, to gain the appeal and approval of others.  “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10…

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    Fake, Fraud or Real: Personal Mask Assessment

      Hidden Identity:  During my elementary years my mother and I would often take trips to our local Salvation Army. It was always a highlight for me to get away from our country home and spend the day in our small city; as bargain hunting at a thrift store was one of my favorite activities. I loved to leisurely browse the racks for a new outfit, a great book title, a fun handbag or a new-to-me pair of shoes. Until one day, as I was engrossed in looking through the over stocked isles of used clothing, shoes and books; my eyes spotted another classmate. As our eyes locked, I was…

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    Learning to Live Out of Our True Selves  

      As I step softly into this new year many questions have already begun to occupy my mind. What keeps me from living freely out of my unique, God-created design? What paralyzes me from living out of my true, authentic self? What has me repeatedly running to others to earn validation, applause and approval? “The greatest battle we face as human beings is the battle to protect our true selves from the self the world wants us to become.” E.E. Cummings  Living Out of Our True Self:   The true self are those parts of you that are authentic, and flow from living out of the true identify you have…

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    Glory Came Down and Dwelt Among Us

    As a child I loved tinsel. Today it is nearly impossible to find a box of the ornamental silvery strands. In fact, just mentioning tinsel dates me. At Christmas time tinsel lined the shelves of the local five and dime stores, right in there with the large colored electric bulbs and the delicate glass-blown ornaments. I remember feeling horrified when I saw someone throw handfuls of tinsel at their tree, leaving large clumps, hither and yon. I guess to me there was something ceremonially reminiscent of the time of year, as we thoughtfully placed each strand of tinsel on the perfect bough. Each thin strand of metallic garland shimmered under…

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    The Giver of Hope Has Come!

    Ever so slowly the slightest hint of hopelessness rises, you wonder where it comes from as it tempts to break the surface of this peaceful Christmas season. Amid “all is calm – all is bright” thin slivers of loss threaten to destroy this Christmas cheer. Making Sense of the “Not-Yets” Lately I have found my soul arguing with itself. There are many impossible situations in my life that I just can’t figure out. Every once-in-awhile, a sneak attack slips in right between  “silent night-holy night” and the words “sleep in heavenly peace” and I find myself in turmoil wondering what I will do with what has not-yet-come. The future! Then I…

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    Fear of Authenticity: Listening to Wrong Messages

    When we are afraid of being seen for who we really are, we create appealing façades to hide our true-selves. We learn to promote someone who is likeable, agreeable, valuable and desirable. And we cover over areas we consider to be flawed, blemished or that may be rejected.  In this process of masking we learn to deny God’s standard to live freely out of who He created us to be and we appease the standards that we think others are setting before us; leaving us vulnerable to the enemy’s attack. We often deny our true ideas or opinions We hide our real feelings and emotions for fear that we will…

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    Knowing God is Enough In The Hard Places of Life

    God is Enough  During a recent visit to Hong Kong my husband Joel and I attended an English-speaking Chinese church where two years prior we had spent a short season of ministry. As we walked through the church doors, we immediately felt welcomed by the love of this sweet assembly of Chinese believers. One particularly welcoming friend was Ruth. As I write this I can still hear the lilt of joy in her voice and feel the warm embrace of Ruth’s hug. It was this Sunday that I would begin to hear the beginning of Ruth’s story. Later I would email her and begin to connect-the-dots of a small part…