Monday, October 24, 2016

WARNING: THIS IS THE ONLY EVACUATION ROUTE

I know this is a sensitive subject right now.

I know many people are still suffering from the effects of hurricane Matthew.

I know over 850 people have died because of it.

I know homes and cities have been destroyed.

This is very serious.

It is very sad.

It is something we will never forget.

My heart aches and I can't imagine what people are going through.

I feel helpless and unworthy of the blessings I have received.

Over the course of the storm, I had a lot of time to think.

Most of us were stuck in our houses for several days.

Personally, I evacuated further inland, away from my home near the beach.

My family stayed behind in a hurricane shelter.

It was scary.

It was a time that tested our faith.

We prayed that trees wouldn't fall and waves wouldn't flood.

We prayed for safety and protection.

There's something very unsettling about knowing something destructive is coming that you can't control.

Before the storm came, people were anxious.

They rushed to the gas stations and the grocery stores.

They urgently gathered what they needed to survive in the worst case scenario.

Water and bread disappeared from the shelves.

Gasoline ran out.

I almost wrecked multiple times on my drive home from the store.

People were running straight through red lights.

They were cutting each other off.

Their minds were solely fixed on what they needed for their families.

Nothing would stand in their way.

The air felt thin.

Everyone was on edge.

I had never seen such urgency in my entire life.

I couldn't help but think about something it reminded me of.

It's something I hesitated to share with you all.

I've been waiting for the right time.

Again, I know this is a sensitive subject right now.

Nevertheless, I am going to share the analogy that came to my mind throughout this disaster.

What if,

What if, we were all told that something much worse than hurricane was coming.

What if, we were told that there was only one way to evacuate and if we didn't, then we would surely die.

Of course, we would take it right?

Not only that, but we would want to tell everyone to get out...now!

We would be urgent.

Nothing would stand in our way.

Yet, we would also have a sense of peace and safety because we knew we had a place to go.

We would have hope and assurance.

We would want everyone to have it too.

It would be our responsibility to tell everyone how to get out, or else they would be left in the rubble.

I share this scenario now because it has never been more real for me.

When I close my eyes and think about it, I can feel a similar feeling to the one I just had previously during the hurricane.

Do you feel it?

Ok, now that you feel it, I have some news.

That scenario is true.

It is happening right at this moment.

That urgency we feel should be felt everyday.

Why?

Well, the honest truth is that we are all facing destruction.

The earth will be completely destroyed soon.

When?

I do not know.

In fact, God says in His Word that no one knows the date.

Still, it is coming.

So now what?

Now, we can do one of two things.

We can choose the evacuation route or the route to destruction.

We can choose to accept the saving grace of Jesus or reject it.

The only way out is through Jesus.

If we don't follow Him, then we will die.

It sounds extreme, I know, but it's the cold hard truth.

I know because I've read it right in the Bible.

Here are just a couple of examples:

 "He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you." 2 Thessalonians 1:8-10 NIV
"This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. “Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked." Matthew 13:49-51 NIV

Clearly, we must believe in Jesus and obey Him or else we will face punishment.

Yes, that means hell.

For those of us who already believe in Christ, we will be able to enter the presence of The Lord one day.

Now the question is, why aren't those of us who know the way to heaven urgently telling people how to be able to come with us?

Why aren't we letting everyone know that destruction is coming?

Why aren't we giving them the evacuation route?

Why are we scared to talk about this subject and why do we keep it to ourselves?

It should be like a hurricane warning.

We should be helping people evacuate, fast.

We shouldn't be solely focused on ourselves and what it takes for only us and our families to survive.

We might not be able to see the coming destruction with our own eyes, but we do know that it's on its way.

I absolutely love this quote spoken by a popular atheist.

"I’ve always said that I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and a hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward—and atheists who think people shouldn’t proselytize and who say just leave me along and keep your religion to yourself—how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that. I mean, if I believed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that a truck was coming at you, and you didn’t believe that truck was bearing down on you, there is a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that." - Penn Jillette

He is saying that he respects Christians who at least try to save people from hell.

He respects people who talk about it because if they didn't, then that would mean they don't even care that the people around them are facing eternal destruction.

So even if you are reading this and you don't believe in Jesus, then know that I only want to help you.

It's kind of like I am a weather woman on the news.

I am just a messenger, telling you the facts I have learned from the doppler radar.

If you don't believe what I say, then go to the main source.

Go to the Bible.

Go learn about Jesus as a person.

Go research the historical proof that He lived and was crucified 2000 years ago.

Sometimes, even if someone claims there's a storm coming, we still want to see it for ourselves.

We aren't satisfied with just seeing a person talk about the weather on the news.

We like to see the visual evidence.

We like to watch the radar for ourselves before we really believe it and that's totally understandable.

Moreover, if we already know Jesus and want others to know the facts too, then we need to be urgent.

We need to do whatever it takes and not let anything stand in our way.

This is the most important thing and it's time we take it seriously.

Passion is in the doing, not just the feeling.

We may feel passionate about our faith, but if we don't do anything with it, then we've lost our purpose.

This is our purpose for living.

We are here to follow Jesus and share the gospel to the ends of the earth.

We are here to experience the saving grace of Jesus and share it with others.

Our time here is short and we must use it to let people know the only evacuation route.

The hurricane is coming.

Let's be urgent.

Yes, those of us who know Jesus already have hope and assurance of our safety but we can't rest in that.

We must act...now!

pic: disaster.salvationarmy.usa


Always love,

Darcy





Sunday, October 2, 2016

HAVE COURAGE AND BE KIND

Everyone paused in awe as she ascended down the palace staircase.

"Who is she?" they whispered.

"Is she a princess?" they asked.

The prince stood at the far end of the ballroom, astonished, almost star-struck.

The crowd split in two as she reached the bottom step.

Slowly, the prince walked toward her.

Her eyes met his gaze.

They looked closer at each other, as if no one else existed.

Gracefully they began to dance across the open floor.

The guests stood in a circle around them and marveled.

Something was different about the girl.

Though she looked undeniably beautiful outwardly, something shown from within her as well.

She smiled humbly and carried herself with a gentle grace.

It was not as though she wished to impress, but rather she was content as she was.

"She must be a princess. Yes, she must." they mumbled amongst each other.  



Most of you can guess what movie I just finished watching a few minutes ago.

Yes, Cinderella.

Not the cartoon, though that one is always a gem.

No, this time I watched the real-life version.

Ok...ok maybe it's my fourth or fifth time seeing it...not counting in theaters..

If you've seen it, you should agree with me that it is quite enchanting and even inspiring.

If you haven't seen it, hopefully some inspiration will carry over into this post.

Oh, and you really should see it,

But before I begin I would like you to know, I am not paid or sponsored by Disney.

Although with all the promoting I do for them, I really should be. Just saying.

Anyway, not only am I inspired by their lovely, royal-sounding accents in this film, but also their characters.

By this, I mean the actual self-character of both Cinderella and her Prince.

Believe it or not, we can all learn a lot from these two,

Whether we are ladies or gentleman.

Deep down, most of us want to be like them.

We want to have good character.

We want have integrity and the strength to do what is right.

We want to find true love and happiness.

We want to have courage and be kind.

We want to leave a legacy and be remembered as someone who loved unconditionally.

These are the qualities of princes and princesses.

In fact, I've noticed a pattern with every princess movie I've watched.

I've realized that each princess goes through a time of very difficult circumstances.

Perhaps, her whole life has been a struggle.

She may have a broken family or a situation at hand that she can't control.

Still, she finds a way to control one thing.

That is, the way she reacts to her life.

Instead of being miserable, she is the opposite.

She is happy and content.

She takes what she has, and does the best she can with it.

She comes up with creative ways to use her time and works hard everyday.

Of course, she dreams of better days to come, but she doesn't waste away her thoughts wishing constantly.

She hopes, but she still lives in the present.

She smiles and sings.

This is what makes her so beautiful.

This is why we admire her and secretly want to be like her in real life.

Not to mention, the greatest part of all is, even though she is happy where she is, she ends up much happier in the end.

She ends up with more than she ever dreamed of.

Then, we all watch and smile at the screen because we see that out of all people, that girl deserved to be a princess because she went through such a hard time, yet remained true to her character.

She didn't react harshly when people treated her poorly.

She was kind to every person and even every animal.

She stayed true to her promises and never ever gave up.

Of course her Prince did the same.

He was determined and strong.

He was patient and genuine.

He was sensitive and caring,

...oh and charming, might I add.

The point is, these are the qualities we all wish to have.

This is the story we all want.

Sometimes, though, we only see the end result and we don't look at the struggle it took to get there.

Let's say, somebody out there didn't know Cinderella's full story.

They may assume, "Oh, that's just all fake, nobody gets their lives handed to them like that. All princess movies are just tricking people into thinking they can get whatever they want without working for it".

In reply I'd say, "Cinderella had a very difficult life and she worked very hard. Ultimately, her love and kindness brought her what she gained in the end and that is more deserving than anything else".

Just so, your life might look like Cinderella's did in the beginning.

You might be working very hard everyday, and remain unnoticed.

You might be scrubbing the floors and cleaning up messes or working at job where people mistreat you.

You may have a broken family or you may have to carry the burden of loss.

This is real-life.

We all have stories of hardship.

Cinderella offers us her secret though, and that is,

"Have courage, and be kind".

Through all of it, we must be able to find joy in our circumstances.

We must remain kind, and that takes true courage.

Here's the problem, though.

We don't live in a fairytale world.

We live in a fallen world.

None of us can live up to a perfect character.

None of us can truly love, without some form of self-seeking.

There was only one Prince who lived, and did this perfectly.

He had all of the qualities we strive for.

He kept every single promise and He never stopped pursuing us.

He waited patiently for us.

He was kind to every person He met and He had the courage to even sacrifice His own life for love.

His love for us.

His name was Jesus.

His name is Jesus, and He rose victorious.

He now stands at the right hand of the Father, The King.

One day He will return for us on a white horse and rescue us from our brokenness.

Until then, we must be able to build His kingdom here on Earth.

We must do the best with what we have and find joy through it all.

Life definitely isn't a fairytale but heaven is even better than a fairytale.

It may seem hard to believe, but it is true. Heaven is real and it is where we will go if we decide to follow Jesus in this life.

We can have hope in the days to come and the only way we can find true, real love and power to remain courageous is by knowing Jesus while we are here on Earth.

The more we know Him, the more we know of His qualities.

We may look at the movies and be inspired by characters,

But Jesus is real, not fiction.

He has all of those qualities, perfected in reality.

With Him, we can have them too.

We can love others, even when it's hard.

We can be kind, despite cruelty toward us.

We can have the courage to press on,

And we can only do this fully with Jesus, not on our own.

Then in the end, after our toil is done, Jesus will take home those of us who believed in Him, and we will end up in a kingdom far greater than any we could have imagined.

The King will look at us and say "Well done, my good and faithful servant".

He will see Jesus and consider us deserving.

He will smile at us and be pleased.

Not because of our work, but because of Jesus.

We will enter His gates and it will be like a fairytale beyond what our human mind could have ever comprehended.

Until then, we must keep going and have hope in what is to come.

We must let Jesus shine through us, so that people see His kindness,

So that the world can see Him and also receive the courage we've found.

Of course, God's blessings on Earth will come to us,

But we don't have to wait around expecting a "better" life,

Rather we can be content as we are, and where we are.

We can sing and have joy, praising Jesus for saving us.

We can be princes and princesses, because that is exactly what we are.

We are daughters and sons of God, the one true King.

So let's live like we are.

Let's possess the qualities of Jesus.

Let's bring heaven to earth, as we allow the Holy Spirit to work through us.

Let's smile and have joy that seems like something out of a Disney movie.

Let's have courage and be kind,

Because we know Jesus would.

He is who we should really want to be like.

His character is what we should really want to have,

And as we walk down the staircase of life, people will look at us and see something different shining out from within us.

They'll say to us, "There's something different about you".

Then we'll say, "Well it's definitely not anything we've done because without Jesus we all would have tripped and fallen down every single one of those steps, literally and metaphorically".

"Oh..so you're not royal?" they'll ask.

"Well technically we are but that grace you see isn't from ourselves, that grace is from Jesus."



Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Matthew 25:21 ESV 

His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ Matthew 25:23 ESV

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11 ESV

If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. John 12:26 ESV

Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:2 ESV


Always Love,

Darcy






A photo from my visit to the beautiful (very royal-like) city of Lima, Peru! :)