The blessed stepping stones

8c10edeab66bc29273f744d236055105As a child, I absolutely loved going up and down stairs. Whenever I went for a walk with my dad, I had to go up and down every steps and every hill that we came across. But now that I am older, I try to avoid uphill steps wherever possible and choose the smoother path.

Let us all ask ourselves, don’t we all want to get anything in the shortest possible time with less effort? we can always learn something from our ‘little old self’ that was once a child, full of energy and enthusiasm for life. 

When we get older, we don’t walk around searching for those uphill challenges, but they find us. And God doesn’t give us hills without steps to climb them. Yet, the will and effort of lifting our legs and moving from one step to the other lies within us. Before we start, we look at the long and exhausting way that is between us and the top, we lose hope and become faint just with the thought itself! 

If we don’t have a prize that’s worth all the efforts of this uphill journey in the end, then where-in lies the motivation? What would be the purpose? If it’s not something that’s of worth, then what would keep you going to move forward from one step to the other?

The surety of your end goal makes your current journey not just bearable, but enjoyable. You don’t complain about the steps but thank God for them, because they are drawing you closer to the top. 

The surety of your end goal also prevents you from stopping halfway through your journey, being attracted by the beauty on either side. You know you have something much better to come and you keep that constantly in sight.

Jeremiah.30:21 says, “for who is he who will devote himself to be close to Me?’ declares the LORD.” 

What would we give to make this our end goal? What is the greatest goal in your life right now? 

Paul said, “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death” (Philippians.3:10) 

May the Lord give us grace to finish this race well! 

 

Content in want and plenty

3dfc0d4be3b31870274c925064da51f2I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” – Philippians.4:11-13

Have you ever considered how our desires are never ending list of things we would like to have or do? How often during that long journey do we stop and give thanks, how often do we say ‘I’m happy with what I have’? When we pass from grade one we pray hard and long to pass grade 2 all the way till we complete our education. One moment we are praying for bread and following that we pray for jam. We often find ourselves constantly stretching for something we haven’t got. The problem is not wanting to do well and improve your quality of life, but when we start to be blind to what we have and complain about what we don’t, therein lies the spirit of ungratefulness. 

Paul was a man who endured all hardship, more that what we could imagine. Often he went hungry without food and lacked all the basic human needs. Yet in those moments he learnt to be content. Sometimes he was supported by kind brothers and sisters and didn’t lack anything, other times he laboured to earn his living so that he wasn’t in want. In those moments too he was content. 

What does it mean to be content in plenty? Two things: As we discussed above, we could want many other things even though we just received what we were longing for. The other is knowing how to use the plenty God has provided you with. Surely wisdom is required even in plenty. Joseph knew that during the 7 years of plenty they needed to save some for the years of drought (Genesis.41). Its about not setting your heart in what you have but in the One who provides.

What was Paul’s secret to contentment in every season? 

Paul knew that whatever the circumstance, God was with him. Paul’s desire was solely God and His glory, so that earthly gain or wanting didn’t matter. Paul understood that God’s Sovereignty was greater than what he was facing- good or bad. He fully believed that God can give him all the best things and that God can also bring beauty out of the ashes. That’s why he always had a reason to praise, even when chained in a prison cell. (Philippians.4:4) 

Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.” – Psalm.73:23-26

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” – 1 Tim.6:6-7

 

 

Even the sparrow

St Augustine“Even the sparrow has found a home,
 and the swallow a nest for herself,
 where she may have her young—
 a place near your altar,
 Lord Almighty, my King and my God.” –           Psalm.84:3

 

There’s a place where everyone calls home

A dwelling place where they can thrive and grow

All of creation even swallow and sparrow 

To nest and rest their young 

Beneath the sun and shield 

Of Your grace and glory my God 

 

So I find my heart Lord

As it longs and even faints

For Your dwelling place and courts 

So it gathers all of its strength

Even through the valley of Baka 

Your grace is always sufficient 

When my heart is set on pilgrimage 

To find You in Your altar

 

I have become a wanderer on earth

Until I find Zion

Praising You with all Your saints 

In whom my heart delights 

Even if it’s one day in Your courts 

With Your blessed is where my heart rests! 

 

Quiet words

5c936730-5fe4-46ff-bef9-a942aae262b9When tears stream down and start to write

All the unuttered words of my mouth

Still You make sense of my emotional mess

Still You understand my quietness

 

One thing is for sure about my heavenly Daddy

 He is not interested how my words are untidy

Only wanting to see a heart of integrity

Being open before Him unreservedly

All my sins and failure confessing completely

All my weakness and pain poured at His feet in Galilee

 

 You draw closer and whisper

Words of hope, that You are my Helper

 You still my racing heart, from what makes it quiver

 Embracing me with love, the hour doesn’t matter

 Whenever I need You, You are always there.

 

“You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?” – Psalm.56:8

 

 

 

 

Resurrection Power

Dear reader, I would like us to meditate on these truths below as we think of Christ’s resurrection….

“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” – 1 Corinth.15:19-20

 “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” – Romans.8:11

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you” – 1 Peter.1:3-4

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John.16:33

“for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” – 1 John.5:4

Christ is indeed risen and sitting at the right hand of the Father now, but what does His resurrection mean to us, 2000 years later?

Christ’s resurrection has given us 2 things:

1. for the here and now  – we sometimes live such defeated and sad lives, because we forget the power that is given to us through Christ’s resurrection. We feel powerless. Yet, this amazing truth of His resurrection extends even to our daily lives now. We no longer need to be bound by fear or sin, because He has already defeated them on the cross. “having cancelled the debt ascribed to us in the decrees that stood against us. He took it away, nailing it to the cross! And having disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Colossians.2:14-15) We can now live and overcoming life here on earth, because He has already overcome! We are fighting defeated enemies, so the victory is ours. We get this power through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us and girds us to fight the good fight; we are given all the resources, but it’s up to us to use them. 

2. for the future  – hope of our own resurrection, to those of us who believe in Him. We all don’t like to think about death and what might follow afterwards, but for us Christians death is only the door to the home we long to be, with our Lord and Saviour. Christ being the first to rise, He has shown us the glory that awaits those who believe in Him. His resurrection makes us  strong, His resurrection makes us joyful, His resurrection is our hope! All glory to the risen King!!! 

Set Apart – be a remnant

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“Then I heard another voice from heaven say: Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues.” –  Revelation 18:4 

Dear friends, may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus be with you all. Despite the fact I wasn’t able to post a blog last month, the lesson I have been learning is carrying on until this month, so all is not lost. This lesson is a very important lesson for all of us Christians living in this 21st century of modernism and globalisation. This lesson always reminds us of the litmus test we are to apply in our daily lives, whether we are living our names ‘Christians’. This lesson is also very timely because it comes in such a time as lent, where we don’t just give up something we like, but more importantly use this time to test our lives and  intentions in light of God’s Word and aim to correct any crooked ways.

Brothers and sisters, I want to remind you that we live in the last days now, its not time to sleep and be carefree about what we see. Its time to examine ALL that we see, hear and receive, “…because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish…” (Ephesians.5:16-17). We all see the evil that surrounds us, how the devil has controlled the world at his fist, whilst many don’t realise it. Much hatred, fighting, killing, drugs, abuse, politics…. Yet these are the obvious that everyone sees. Even those who don’t know God understand these evil works. There is something more that shocked and saddened me – when the Church opened its doors for the enemy, not just to enter, but to control all its activities, making it look no different to the world outside! And he has succeeded in a number of churches globally. 

The Bible says: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans.12:2) This means we are not follow its ever changing dress code, holiday celebration, way of speech, conduct, manner and its ever compromising morals. Some follow this pattern to try and show the world how ‘friendly’ the church is. The church is not friendly, it is loving and caring, not defiling itself with a single streak from the abomination of the world. We do not need to imitate the world to draw people to Christ. Christ is most beautiful and attractive enough to those with eyes to see. We do not need to sandwich  His teaching with worldly materials to make it more appetising and palatable. King David once said, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm.119:103)  

This lent, let us not merely follow the crowd, let us separate ourselves, from all that defile us and lets run after our Holy God and be holy. Let us take courage and cut out the dead pieces that don’t honour God from our lives and churches, even if they “have a form of godliness.” (2 Tim.3:5) 

May His Holy Spirit lead us into all truth, giving us discernment as we earnestly seek to glorify Him in our lives, Amen! 

Rest at His feet

jesus-feet“Martha, Martha,” the Lord replied, “you are worried and upset about many things. But only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, and it will not be taken away from her.” – Luke.10:41-42

May the grace of the Lord Jesus, who was and is and is to come be with you all dear readers!

As this is the first blog of 2019, I wondered what to share with you and decided that what the Lord is teaching me of what really matters in life is this topic of resting at His feet.  We often find ourselves running around here and there, some of it is what we call God’s work and the rest just trying to live our lives. How often do we take a spiritual sabbath? How often do we find ourselves taking our shoes off (a picture of leaving the world behind), forgetting all our worries and just be at the feet of Jesus.

There were a couple of ladies in the Bible who sat at Jesus’ feet and found rest and healing. One of them is Mary, Martha’s sister. Mary knew that more than anything in life, her relationship with her God and just listening to His word was the most essential, and the Lord applauded her for that.

Another one is the woman “who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind Him at His feet weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.” – (Luke.7:37-38) This woman knew the healing to be found by pouring out her heart at His feet and indeed she was forgiven much, because she loved much.

What do we learn from these women then? There is a pure joy, delight, and abundant feast to be found when we sit at His feet. There is rest from all our labours, worries and fears as we hear His voice and awe on His might. Jesus knew what it meant to rest in His Father, sleeping through the stormy sea (Mark 4:35-41). And when we practice such faith, our trust in Him grows and we can sleep through any storm in life. All glory to Him! 

Praise & move on…

d56955_75dc3237639b43b2b8ccdc3c027b61bemv2Grace and peace of our Lord be with you all dear readers. As we approach the ending of 2018, many of us have much to be thankful for and to look back and consider all that has passed. How many hurdles have we passed, how much evil has the Lord shielded us from? How many answered prayers did we receive and how much unexpected goodness and love have we gained? Some of us may have had a really tough and difficult year, still we are alive and God has guarded us from a lot of harm and we can praise Him for that. How has God used those tough times to mould and shape us to be better people? To give us greater visions beyond our self-contained dreams? 

As we think through this past year, we have two options: 1) look back and wallow in our loss, our failure and “what could have been”s OR 2) repent of our wrongs and failures, shake off the dust and as Paul said in Philippians.3:13-14 “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Which one will you pick? 

I have made this conscious decision that I will thank God for all the good things He has done for me, even  how He held me close in those tough times and trust Him with my tomorrow. Because we have a LIVING GOD, we don’t have to fear, we will overcome all. But now, now is a time to raise our heads from the dust, lift our hands, praise and  forgetting the past, so we can press forward with a free spirit. 

May you find God in the most amazing way this coming year as you draw closer to seek His face.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES! 

 

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! 

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