GOD’s Favourite Hour

Time and time again in the Bible, have you noticed whesummer-clockjpg-65188d6577b92ac3n God shows up? 

Lets take the story of Abraham, he was an old man awaiting his time of departure when God decided to gift him at the age of 100 with a son, Isaac (God has given us laughter) that he so longed for. (Genesis.21:5-6)

What about Hannah, who was so desperately bullied by Peninnah because she was childless and when she was on the verge of breaking, God gave her a son, Samuel (God has heard).  (1Samuel.1-2)

Consider Daniel and his friends, they trusted God’s faithfulness right up to the pit of lions and firing furnace. And God didn’t fail them, He rescued them from the mouth of lions and firing furnace. (Daniel.3,6)

Elijah found God’s strength, when he though that he was condemned to death by Jezebel, hopelessly sleeping at the foot of a broom tree. (1 Kings 19:4-6) 

What about Lazarus (God is my help), who was left to die, so that the resurrecting power of God may be revealed in him! (John.11:38-44)

Have we noticed a pattern here? It seems that God remains quiet for a long time and for once we reach a point when we feel He is not paying any attention to us and all our groaning. It may seem that God only shows up when we are at the end of our rope, when we nearly give up. Why is that? Why does He allow us to reach almost breaking point? I believe its for a couple of reasons:

  1. God wants us to come to the end of our own strength and capabilities so we can fully rely on Him. If God answers our prayers as soon as, then we can end up being proud and puffed up and fall. 
  2. God wants to show us that He is able to do the impossible, where it goes far beyond human comprehension and reason. In such cases the only explanation to the situation is that GOD HAS DONE IT! So that all glory goes to Him alone and we do not glory in the flesh what so ever. 

Therefore we can say that God’s favourite hour is the last hour, when all seems at the verge of loss, when we hold our breath, at the pinnacle of uncertainty. God shows up in His majesty! 

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Live like a dead person

I know… controversial right? What came to your mind when you read this title? Isn’t death the end of living? Or is it…?

What comes to your mind when you read the following verse?afterlife-743492

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life,appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” – Colossians.3:2-4

What if I told you the first verse in that chapter says: Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Death in its physical term is the state of being unconscious, unaware, not listening, not watching or understanding about what is going on with you or around you. If you are dead you don’t feel the pain or hurt that some body caused you, neither do you take pleasure in the good things that happen to you or around you. We have all heard of the saying that “We only value what we have only when we have lost it.” And so I think we understand living better only when we die. Not die as in the physical terms but die to all material and worldly things that we hold dear. Why? Because, these are the very things that keep us bound, the very things that enslave us and the very things that stop us from true living. 

When we die to our old-self that was very self-centred, proud and all-about-me kind of person and start to live with the new-self that Christ gave us, which is Christ-centred, humble and all-about-Christ kind of person, then true living, true freedom begins. 

Once I read an awesome book called ‘Secrets of Victory’ by Brother Zac Poonen (You can read for free here: Secrets of Victory). In this book Brother Zac talks about how when our pride is ‘deflated’, the opinion and insults and back stabbing of others will never matter to us. Because In Christ we know who we are and all other opinions fade in the light of that truth. 

When I first heard of the term “a pebble in my shoe”, I thought about how this so small pebble can be soo irritating that at times you have to stop your walk to take it out of your shoe. I’m sure we all have these ‘pebble in my shoe’ moments every day of our lives. Small irrelevant ‘problems’ or even inconveniences that just irritate us so much because they are not how we want them to be. But what if we were running, what if there was something more important in our mind than that tiny pebble that’s making our journey a little uncomfortable? If our minds are ‘set on the things above’, these small petty things become so irrelevant and insignificant. Then we see our foolishness in getting so caught up with them. Then the fact that someone misplaced our book from its usual place, or the train was delayed a couple of minutes  or the fact that it rained when we didn’t want it, become so minute in the grand vision of what GOD has placed before us. 

Changing our perspective heavenwards in times when we are tempted to focus and be gripped by those situations will free us from unnecessary bitterness and time wasted arguing in things that don’t have eternal meaning. 

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” – Philippians.1:21

By the River Bank

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I am a wanderer in this world

So barren, dry and parched 

I am a journeyer in this life

Just passing by to my home in Heaven

 

So here I was 

Walking through this desert so thirsty

I found a River flowing to eternity

I run to quench my thirst

For Its water was giving life 

 

So I decided to continue my journey

By the side of this beautiful stream

That flows so gently and gracefully 

It never muddied, always crystal clear

It soon became my everything

It cleansed all my dirt  and quenched my thirst

It kept me cool from the heat overhead 

Its mirror-like clarity showed my exact image

 

As time went by I became accustomed 

I enjoyed Its providence and took It for granted 

So I started to look around

As the mid-day desert sun hit the ground

The sand further afield start to sparkle

And my curious mind start to wonder

While feet followed its swift order 

 

So, they walked and walked and walked

The closer they went the further it seemed 

 

As the sun went down, then I realised

It was just sand, no treasure to be found

Weary and thirsty, feeling so stupid

Where did I leave my River, my life?

Frantically searching with all my might

I hoped and prayed before dark arrived 

To find my River, never to part again!

 

On the verge of my giving up I saw on the horizon 

Something sparkle as in the first time

I wondered if I’m seeing things again

But this was my only chance, so I run

this faithful River has indeed twisted and turned

To meet me where I am, quenching my thirst again

 

So I decided, 

Never to leave my River until I reach home

For I am sure It will lead me there…

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters…” – Isaiah.55:1

Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” – John.4:13-14

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” – Matthew.5:6

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come ” And let the one who hears say, “Come ” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.” – Revelation.22:17

Choose Joy

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                  “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” – Philippians.4:4

In most cases, even us Christians have fluctuating feelings depending on our situations. These are God given feelings. God has given us all these feelings of happiness, sadness, love, empathy and even anger and hatred. It’s just a matter of how we use them, that makes it a holy/unholy behaviour. For example, we are meant to hate sin, we are meant to be angry when we see injustice or something wrong. It’s also about what we do with those feelings; whether we act on them or just feel them and stay quiet. 

Today’s subject however, focuses on joy and happiness. This is what God has been teaching me. For the major part of my life, in fact right up to recently, i didn’t understand the difference. 

Now as the Holy Spirit taught me to meditate on this, I learnt that happiness is conditional, but rejoicing is a decision. Situations determine whether we feel happy or sad. For example, if something bad happens, you’re bound to feel sad or upset and something great happens, like meeting a long lost family or friend, you are bound to be happy. 🙂 

Joy however, does not fluctuate with situations. It’s anchored deep in the heart as a founded truth. As Christians, Paul is reminding us in the above verse that we are to rejoice at all times. All times?? Even when we are going through tough time? I know a friend who’s going through a grieving time due to a loss of a family member. Am I to tell her, ‘you need to rejoice’? 

Paul the apostle of Jesus Christ, wrote this while he himself was in prison. He sure knows what pain and suffering is, because he says,

“Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked. I spent a night and a day in the open sea. In my frequent journeys, I have been in danger from rivers and from bandits, in danger from my countrymen and from the Gentiles, in danger in the city and in the country, in danger on the sea and among false brothers, in labor and toil and often without sleep, in hunger and thirst and often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from these external trials, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.” – 2 Corinthians.11: 24-28

To the outside world, it seems madness to say I rejoice in my suffering, for they see no reason to rejoice for in their moments of despair. But, as followers of the Risen Christ, as children of the Almighty, as a nation waiting for the establishment of God’s Kingdom, we have so much to rejoice for!! 

The Bible says: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, yet our inner self is being renewed day by day. For our light and temporary affliction is producing for us an eternal glory that far outweighs our troubles. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” – 2 Corinthians.4:16-18

There is so much joy in that, don’t you agree?! This great gift of salvation we have received, this everlasting love we have been loved, this mercy we have received, and this hope of His 2nd coming that’s placed in us… Don’t these make our temporary troubles minute? When we think of all that’s been done for us and all the promises that are yet to come, when we take our eyes off what surrounds and look up to that mount  to see the glory and peace and everlasting worship looking to the face of our Beloved, wouldn’t we jump for joy, raise our hands in praise and smile?

Dear reader, we all have our own struggles and pains in life, and we all have moments of unhappiness, but let us not allow those situations and the enemy to steal our inner joy – that is only found in Christ. 

Rejoice brother/sister, rejoice… for your King reigns high above all,

                                                          for you are a child of the King, 

                                                          for your God is Sovereign,

                                                        for you are honoured in His sight and the apple of His eye,

                                                         for you are engraved in the palms of His hands,

                                                         for you are carried on His wings,  

                                                         for your Lover’s life gave you eternity with Him. 

Amazing Grace!!!

Water Drop CrossWhen grace calls upon my weary soul

So thirsty and tired from all its toil

“Come and I will give you rest

Come, I will give you living waters

Health for your body

Healing for your bones”

 

Yes my soul thirsts as the dear for the water brooks 

The living God I sought to make my burdens light

For my soul is downcast from all its plight

 

Yes there is hope, there’s hope in Christ

Living water that never cease

Once  I drink from it, I know I wont thirst

Grace lead me, lead me to that place

 

Although my strength is weak and my bones feeble

My journey is long in endless searching

This grace is sufficient to lead me to His fountain

Oh love that never let me go

Held my hand and took me straight home

 

Amazing grace how I am favoured

To reach the arms of my Saviour Beloved

Amazing grace what mercy I found 

By His wounds I am healed and my soul renewed

Now that I found Him, I will never thirst

Jesus my Living water!

 

 

 

 

 

Meditating on the Cross of Christ

the-crossHave you ever wondered why Christians put so much significance on the cross? How can a symbol of horrific cruelty be the sign of unending love?? How can the wood on which our beloved Saviour was crucified be so worthy as to be the centre of our faith? 

This symbol of extreme pain and suffering tells a deeper truth than what was displayed merely on the outside upon Golgoltha’s hill over 2000 years ago. You see, the cross is right at the middle of the old and new testament; and  as the events of our Lord’s crucifixion took place during Passover, it was a sign of moving from one to another (from old to new).

The cross is made of 2 pieces of wood, one vertical and one horizontal. This signifies: the height, depth and width of God’s love that is freely given from past to future generations, to those who will accept it!  

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians.3:17b-19)

Jesus likened His crucifixion to what Moses used when he took a snake and hung it on a pole, to heal the Israelites that were bitten by poisonous snakes due to their disobedience (John.3:14; Numbers.21). How can this be? The cross was a method of death reserved for the worst of sinners/ thieves and murderers. Yet the Purest and Holiest took all our our sins, all our shame and all our curse and carried them upon Himself! The Bible says, He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we may become the righteousness of God!!! (2nd Corinthians.5:21) 

The cross signified all that is evil, all that is sinful and cruel, and JESUS became all of that for us! Isaiah in his 53rd Chapter describes the pain Christ had to endure: 

   He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
 he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. 

Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.  

The cross was so horrible that you would cover your face from it, there was nothing good to display upon it. Yet, just as the Israelites had to look upon the snake (signifying the curse of sin) on the pole to be healed, we have to look at the Son of God (who became sin and curse for us) to be healed and set free from the poisonous bondage of sin and curse. 

There are 2 reasons why we have to look at the cross: 

  1. When we look at the cross, we come face to face with our true human condition just as in a mirror. We see the wickedness of our heart, our sins, our shame and our curse. We realise that we need a Saviour. 
  2. On the same cross we find The Answer to the above problems. For He, who is displayed right before our eyes is the ONE who took all of them away and bought our freedom and healing with His precious blood!!

14 having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.  (Colossians.2:14-15) How beautiful!!!

Now this sign of evil, sin and curse has become a sign of indescribable, unending, unchanging and unshakeable LOVE!!! God has truly made “beauty out of the ashes”, “Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet.” (Isaiah.61:3; Judges.14:14)

And that’s why we glory in the cross –

THE CROSS OF CHRIST, the image of INDESCRIBABLE LOVE! 

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” – Galatians.6:14

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” – Romans.1:16a

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” ” – 1 Corinthians.1:18

                                           

FAITHFUL in February

Dear readers, here’s a great lesson I have been learning through this month amongst many other things. If there’s one character of God that really means a lot to me, it’s His faithfulness! I always said, “God is faithful”, but never understood the extent of what it actually really meant in my life. So now God showed me a glimpse of it, I pray He does the same for you through His words.

Bible verses on faithfulness

“God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” – 1 Cor.1:9

“The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.” – 1 Thess.5:24

“If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.” – 2 Tim.2:13

“Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” – 1 Cor.4:2

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” – Heb.10:23

“He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them – He remains faithful forever.” – Psalm.146:6

“But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” – 2 Thess.3:3

Faithfulness defined

“He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He.” – Deut.32:4

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Faithful implies: Long continued and steadfast fidelity to whatever one is bound to by pledge, duty or obligation.

God is all these things because, He is Love! His love compels Him to be faithful and His faithfulness compels Him to love.

 

  1. Constant

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” – Romans.12:12

God’s faithfulness does not change by circumstances, because His faithfulness makes Him constant, unchanging and unswerving.

Faithfulness requires remaining true to who you are and what you’ve promised. Thus, God’s faithfulness makes Him dependable and trustworthy, because you can be sure that no matter what happens, He remains the same.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” – James.1:17

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” – Heb.13:8

 

1.1 Time

Constancy has an element of time and change as part of its equation. Yet this element (constancy) stays the same despite those two variables. Being constant requires time. If time didn’t move on, how can you say that something has changed or not changed?

Indeed time reveals many things in life. And being faithful means: even if time is passing, even if all circumstances change, you remain true and firm in your original word/promise/belief.

This means faithfulness requires patience. Because we don’t know what the future holds and we are almost certain that time and circumstances move/push against our constancy, faithfulness becomes a difficult battle.

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  1. Hope

“Many claim to have unfailing love, but a faithful person who can find?” – Prov.20:6anchor.png

Hope is the anchor on which faith is attached to. The stronger the anchor, the more secure the faith. It’s also amazing that an anchor is in the shape of a cross. It reminds us that the cross is our greatest source of hope. Because the cross tells us that we are now God’s children and our Heavenly Father wants the best for us. And because our Father is faithful, we find the courage and strength to be faithful.

 

2.1 Vision

anchor2Vision is the ground on which faith is planted on. This vision is God’s word and promise. Vision is where hope faces towards. Unless you have an end goal or destination, you are dropping your anchor on shallow grounds.

 

 

2.2 The wind and storms

The wind and storms are the forces mentioned earlier (such as time and circumstances) that try to move faithfulness from its rooted ground. With passing time, patience’s thread can weaken and with intensifying wind of circumstances, the anchor (hope) can be shaken.

Yet there’s one good news even in all this. The ground beneath on which the anchor holds on to, is constant and undisturbed by the wind and storms. This constant and unchanging faithfulness of our God is what makes a Christian smile and still able to say, “I’m good, by God’s grace.” This strong foundation is what enables a Christian to be faithful despite changing times and circumstances. And because of this, many of our fathers considered it pure joy to partake in His suffering.

 

  1. The reward

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” – Matt.25:23

Being faithful does not depend on the size or type of matter we are entrusted with. What really matters is how we have dealt with it; whether we have been faithful or wicked or lazy.

Christ is the perfect image of faithfulness. He remained faithful to His calling until the end, even when it cost Him His life. And as His followers, we ought to be faithful just as He is, whether in small or great tasks, whether in the storms or relative peace.

May we find great comfort in knowing that He is faithful to us at all times and may that spur us on to imitate and reflect our loving Father! Amen!

“This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep His commands and remain faithful to Jesus.” – Rev.14:12

“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True…” – Rev.19:11

Christ is my…

Image result for Jesus and his lambI may be poor, but Christ is my greatest riches

I may be weak, but Christ is my strength and shield

I may be naive to the ways of the world, but Christ is my wisdom

I may be small and insignificant, but I’m the apple of His eye

I may feel like a shadow in the dark, but He knows me from my mother’s womb

I may be one person among billions, but God knows me by name! 🙂

I may be a lost sheep, but Christ has found me

I may be dead in my sins, but in Christ I’m raised to a new life

 

I’m loved, I’m known and I’m cared for

In the loving arms of my Father

 

Rest assured my soul

God’s got it all together when you feel lost

Praise to the God of my life and my Father forever

Hallelujah, Amen! 

 

Joyful hope!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans.15:13

Dear readers, 

A very late happy new year to you all! As we pass from one year to another, its good to consider our lives, be thankful for all that passed and pray for what’s to come. The above verse keeps coming back to me every so often and each time with such power. I don’t think I have fathomed the depth of it just yet! 

I sometimes wonder how different my life would be if I never knew Jesus. In those moments I struggle to imagine, like a fish can’t imagine life outside the sea. I also think of those who don’t know Christ and how much they despair and feel really sorry for them. If only they knew they were made for so much more than mere living, for even that animals do. If only they knew they were not a random collection of atoms that happen to be here, but rather are created in the image of the Almighty, created to reflect His glory! 

What I am trying to say is that because of Christ, we have such a great hope! And our God is the God of hope because He is One that never breaks His promises. And when we fully accept that truth, we are set free from uncertainties and anxieties of what will become of our lives, our future, our families… As a result we find joy and peace, because we also know that the God of love “who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? ” (Romans.8:32)

Therefore dear brothers and sisters, a year may come and go, but we have a God who is constant and unchanging. You may never know what this year holds for you, but you can rest, no… even rejoice and be at peace, because you have a loving Father who wants the best for you. Sit and wait at His feet, He will never disappoint! 

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” – Romans.12:12

What about me?

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Over the past few years I have had the joy of watching the Spirit-driven and well versed videos of this man, Nabeel Qureshi. He was a former Muslim who converted to Christianity through careful investigation of the truth of the Bible alongside the Quran with his best friend David Wood (pictured with him above). In the end, He concluded that Jesus is who He claims to be in the Bible – the Son of God and that life and true freedom are only found in Him.

As I read Nabeel’s biography, ‘Seeking Allah, finding Jesus’ 2 years ago, I understood the deep conviction He received from the Lord that He indeed is “The Way, The Truth and The Life”. One of the things he wrote that I will never forget is, when he decided to follow Jesus and sat down to count the cost. He asked God to give him few days to mourn his family, because he knew that when he tells them this news that he has become a new man in Christ, he may be as good as dead to them. 

In the years that followed, Nabeel became a great Christian teacher, apologetic and writer, amongst many of the things he served the Lord. Yet, last year at the age of 33 he got diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer and after a year long battle with the disease, he passed into the eternal rest of His loving Father on 16th September 2017. Since he got diagnosed, Nabeel posted regular vlogs, sharing genuinely and honestly what he felt, what God taught him and progress of his treatment right up to the week before he died. I was one of thousands of Christians across the globe who followed his progress through his vlogs and joined in prayer for healing. However, we know God is Sovereign and it was His good will that Nabeel goes home to be with his Heavenly Father.  

There are many brothers and sisters around the world, some that I know personally and some that I hear about with my ears only, who are facing similar trials as Nabeel or risking their lives everyday to advance the work of the Gospel. 

Although Nabeel died at such a young age, his life and the lives of those who risk everything to follow Jesus, who endure all by looking to the joy that is set before them, has and is making me consider my life. 

What about me? What about you dear reader? Are we living a surrendered life? May God help us to know our purpose and live a life worthy of our calling! 

“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” – Hebrews.13:7

His story can be found here: http://www.nabeelqureshi.com/ 

His vlogs & lectures: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCepxnLs6GWAxAyI8m2U9s7A