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Archive for the ‘Inspirational’ Category

One of the definitions of the word “filter” is: “any substance, such as cloth, paper, porous porcelain, or a layer of charcoal or sand, through which liquid or gas is passed to remove suspended impurities or to recover solids.”

In our human bodies, we have several filters; organs, whose main purpose is to filter out impurities in our blood. Here are some vital filters:

The Kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of a fist. They are located just below the rib cage, one on each side of the spine.
Every day, the two kidneys filter about 120 to 150 quarts of blood to produce about 1 to 2 quarts of urine, composed of wastes and extra fluid.
The kidneys are important because they keep the composition, or makeup, of the blood stable, which lets the body function.
Each kidney is made up of about a million filtering units called nephrons. The nephron includes a filter, called the glomerulus, and a tubule.
The nephrons work through a two-step process. The glomerulus lets fluid and waste products pass through it; however, it prevents blood cells and large molecules, mostly proteins, from passing. The filtered fluid then passes through the tubule, which sends needed minerals back to the bloodstream and removes wastes.
The Liver is a large, meaty organ that sits on the right side of the belly. Weighing about 3 pounds, the liver is reddish-brown in color and feels rubbery to the touch. Normally you can’t feel the liver, because it’s protected by the rib cage.

The liver’s main job is to filter the blood coming from the digestive tract, before passing it to the rest of the body. The liver also detoxifies chemicals and metabolizes drugs. As it does so, the liver secretes bile that ends up back in the intestines. The liver also makes proteins important for blood clotting and other functions.

The Spleen is an organ in the upper far left part of the abdomen, to the left of the stomach. The spleen varies in size and shape between people, but it’s commonly fist-shaped, purple, and about 4 inches long. Because the spleen is protected by the rib cage, you can’t easily feel it unless it’s abnormally enlarged.

The spleen plays multiple supporting roles in the body. It acts as a filter for blood as part of the immune system. Old red blood cells are recycled in the spleen, and platelets and white blood cells are stored there. The spleen also helps fight certain kinds of bacteria that cause pneumonia and meningitis.

When I read about these organs and their miraculous role in filtering our blood and keeping us in good health, I can truly say, along with the Psalmist, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And [that] my soul knows very well.” Psalms 139:14 (NKJV)

Just as our bodies need filters to protect our blood, organs, and ultimately, our lives, so we need a spiritual filter to sift out the impurities from our souls; impurities that come from the world (1John 2:15), the devil (1 Peter 5:8), and yes, even our own selves. Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV) The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it. One of the most vital filters that God has provided to us is His word (The Holy Bible).

Consider the following scriptures:

Psalm 12:6 (KJV) 6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

Proverbs 30:5 (KJV)
Every word of God [is] pure: he [is] a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

The word pure in this verse is the Hebrew word Tsaraph, which means:
to smelt, refine, test
(Qal)
to smelt, refine
to test
to test (and prove true)
smelter, refiner, goldsmith (participle)
(Niphal) to be refined
(Piel) to be a refiner
refiner (participle)

If we filter our choices through the word of God, we will prosper. The Lord has provided this navigation for us. “Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105. If we do not filter our decisions through the Word of God, they will chip away at our Christianity. Decisions and choices which may seem trite and harmless can have devastating ramifications if they are not in alignment with God’s will. How imperative it is to guard our hearts and minds with the Word of God. It is the revealed will of God, and a proven tool for filtering out lies and exposing the truth.

Proverbs 4:23 says, ‘Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it [spring] the issues of life.”

Ephesians 5:26-27 (KJV)
That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

 

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It was December 22, 1982; early in the evening. I was preparing to make lasagna for some friends who were coming to dinner. Suddenly, the lights and power abruptly ceased! We learned later that 70 MPH winds from a storm had caused this interruption. Power companies estimated that more than two million homes and businesses in California, Nevada and Arizona were without electricity as a result. As I gazed out our window, nothing but blackness met my eyes. The darkness was unsettling. Something I had always taken for granted was now gone. I began to ponder the vital part that light plays in our lives. Photosynthesis, for example; the process by which plants absorb sunlight and turn that energy into food. would not be possible without light. Our existence depends on it.

Just as light is necessary for natural survival, so the light of truth is essential for our spiritual well-being. Looking back, we can see how God placed lights; special people in our lives to guide us along the way. Our parents were the first. They nurtured us and illuminated our lives with good moral values, discipline, deep love and more. We owe them so much. Then there were others. Teachers, friends, ministers and pastors enlightened our paths as we left the nest. One light in particular who ignited our young lives was Lydia Miraflor-Thompson and her family. Lydia became a spiritual Mom to Mike and I. She took me in as an adopted daughter after I moved to California. Lydia taught us how to pray and walk close with God. Her young, twin grandsons showed me the importance of hiding the scriptures in my heart when they recited the 23rd Psalm to me. Because of Lydia, we learned to use wisdom. Her daughter Rachel and son-in-law Tom, were matron of honor and best man, and her daughter Evalani, sang in our wedding. All of her eight children and their families have been a blessing to us.

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The greatest Light of all, Jesus, came into the world and gave Himself so that whosoever would believe on Him should not abide in darkness (John 12:46). This light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehends it not (John 1:4-5). His light cannot be overcome by darkness. Whoever follows Him shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life. He is the Light of the World. The wonder of Christmas is its simplicity. This story holds no pomp and circumstance. Just the simplicity of the Divine. It is humbling to recognize that our human reasoning is often inaccurate, in that which matters. But it’s a good revelation to have. Because then we face the truth that God created us with limited perception, needing His direction, needing His Star in the darkness of night, to guide us. This Christmas, may the light of His life illuminate your heart to become a light to others.

Just one little flame in the darkness,
just one little flicker of light;
Just one small glimmer of brightness,
dispelling the darkness of night.
But, oh, what God did to the darkness
with one little flicker of light;
Oh, what God did with its brightness
When it touched just one other life;
Then two lights reached out with new brightness,
And soon there were four, and then more–
So quickly His light conquered darkness
as new lights flared up by the score.
No longer just one light in the darkness,
no longer just one tiny flame,
Now the world’s aglow with His brightness,
Since the Light of the world, Jesus came.
JESUS, THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD – by L. Wolfe

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Today, for the first time, our grandson Malachi James Mester climbed out of his crib. One minute, his daddy heard him over the monitor contentedly babbling and saying, “Da Da Da, and the next second, there was a thud and a cry of distress as if to say, “Help me, I’m not sure what I’ve gotten myself into”. When Papa Jeremy walked into his room, Malachi was no longer in his crib, but sprawled on the carpeted floor. A pretty amazing feat for an eleven month old who does not yet walk or stand on his own. Thank God he wasn’t hurt, but his little world and ours had been forever changed.
You see, from the moment a baby is born begins the long, arduous process of breaking him/her from dependence on mommy and daddy and eventually becoming a mature, responsible adult. Malachi is one baby step closer to that after today. In escaping the safe confines of his crib, he had entered a new world; one which isn’t as secure as his cradle.
Now Mommy and Daddy will have to lower his crib mattress to prolong the inevitable as well as childproofing not only his room, but the entire home. For with each new feat of independence comes a whole new set of risks and ensuing safety precautions to be taken.
My grandmother heart beats bittersweet today. I’m already missing those early weeks and months of caring for Malachi and feeling so needed when he was a helpless newborn. Now he feeds himself, crawls, drinks from his sippy cup and performs a whole host of other skills which he has learned in such a short time. The songwriter Wayne Watson summed it up in his song Watercolor Ponies, “Oh the pleasure of watching the children grow is mixed with a bitter cup, of knowing the watercolor ponies will one day ride away.” I guess that’s how I’m feeling today.
But at the same time, my heart beams with gratefulness for what happened today. As much as I would like to keep my grandson little and dependent and protect him from all harm, I would never want to deprive him of the potential to grow and dream and experience all that God has for him in this life.
So tonight Malachi, as you’re sleeping and dreaming your baby dreams, know that your Grandma Kiki loves you and rejoices with you in each new discovery and victory you attain to in life. I am here to support, guide, and augment your parents’ training. You are always in my heart and in my prayers.

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Today has been a day of contemplation for me.  I am home alone, recovering from a viral infection in my throat.  When you’re sick and have some down time, it gives you a chance to get off the merry-go-round of life for a moment and commune more with God and with your heart.  That has been the case for me.

Yesterday, when I was in the throes of agony with a swollen throat, aches and pains, I received a phone call from my friend Dana that kind of put things in perspective.  She had called me from the hospital.  I learned that Dana’s heart had stopped beating several times that day. The doctors were getting ready to perform surgery to implant a pacemaker/defibrillator in her chest.  43 years old is relatively young to need this kind of procedure, but such is life.  Sometimes it throws you unexpected twists and turns.  My family’s first pastor and his wife had an unexpected turn in their lives when their youngest daughter Brooke’s husband Wes, was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had to undergo extreme surgery.  The normal that they knew had been forever changed.  These circumstances may surprise us, but God, the Creator of all living sees the end from the beginning.  And He has a purpose for everything that happens in our lives.  “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Our task is to trust the Lord with all our hearts and lean not to our own understanding.  Not always an easy thing to do, but oh how sweet to trust in the Lord and find refuge in His everlasting arms.

Sixteen years ago, I wrote the following poem.  It was born out of a heart of grief due to the unexpected death of my father.  While dwelling here in the shadow lands of life, none of us are exempt from heartbreak and loss.  But as the Patriarch Job said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him…”  He knows the way that we take, and someday, He will wipe away all our tears and make all things new.

LESSONS IN THE SHADOW

There are lessons to learn in the shadow

That can never be learned in the light.

His rod and His staff they will comfort

And guide you through the night.

Be not anxious to get through the valley.

With its weariness and care.

There are lessons to learn in the shadow

For God will be with you there.

There are lessons to learn in the shadow,

That can never be learned in the light.

Restoration begins in the valley.

This is where God turns wrong into right.

There are lessons to learn in the shadow,

Though we long for the morning to break.

As you traverse the darkness remember,

“He knoweth the way that I take!”

There are lessons to learn in the shadow.

Do not pray for an easy time.

Ask God instead to be stronger,

And He will teach you to climb.

Yes, there are lessons to learn in the shadow,

That can never be learned in the light.

When the valley’s dark clouds overtake you,

We walk by faith, not by sight.

So study and learn through the dark times.

When you pass the final test,

The lessons you learned in the shadow,

Will gain you a city of rest!

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Thanksgiving 09

Originally uploaded by Kiki Karia.

2009 has certainly been a year of milestones for the Mesters. Mike turned 50, and we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. But the surprise turning point in our lives came when Jeremy and Molly told us we were going to be grandparents in 2010! Malachi James Mester should make his entrance around January 17. The arrival of a grandbaby signifies the start of a new generation in our family. It’s a time of wonder and excitement! We await his arrival with joyful expectation. And one thing is certain: Our lives will never be the same!

Some 2,000 years ago, God made His entrance into the world as a tiny baby in a manger in Bethlehem. Royalty lay in a robe of rags. Divinity had merged with humanity. Emmanuel, God with us. Prophets of old foretold of his birth, angels heralded his arrival, shepherds were witnesses, and kings worshipped Him. The God who spun the galaxies into space and spoke the world into existence had become one of us. The heavens could not hold Him, yet a body did. JESUS; God has become our salvation. He healed the sick, He raised the dead. He comforts all that mourn. He preached good tidings to the meek. He set the captives free. He gave us beauty for ashes and replaced our mourning with joy. And one thing is certain: Because of Him, our lives will never be the same. And for that, we Rejoice!

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Storms and Songs

The following excerpt from my devotional, “Streams in the Desert” spoke to my heart, and I would like to share it with everyone. May it be a source of encouragement.

“There are some natures that only a tempest can bring out. I recollect being strongly impressed on reading the account of an old castle in Germany with two towers that stood upright and far apart, between which an old baron stretched large wires, thus making an Aeolian harp. There were the wires suspended, and the summer breezes played through them but there was no vibration. Common winds, not having power enough to move them, split and went through them without a whistle. But when there came along great tempest winds, and the heaven was black, and the air resounded, these winds, with giant touch, swept through the wires, which began to sing and roar, and pour out sublime melodies. So God stretches the cords in the human soul which under ordinary influences do not vibrate; but now and then great tempests sweep them through, and men are conscious that tones are produced in them which could not have been produced except by some such storm-handling.”

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