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! 

 

Advertisements

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?

Image may contain: 2 people, outdoor

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 

Life in a dead hope

5613310391490960143She was his only daughter

A child like no other

On the verge of death

He left her to seek the Healer

“Don’t bother Him” they said

“She’s already gone” they cried

But Jesus increased his faith

Talita was raised from the dead

 

He was on the way to the grave

Her only son, her future now tainted

He is wrapped ready to be buried

When Jesus stopped the mourners

“Arise!” He lifted the boy’s hands

Helping him to his feet on the ground

 

The corpse stunk after 4 days

Death entered the house of Jesus’ friends

Lazarus was much loved until Jesus wept

Then He shouted, “Lazarus come out!”

Wrapped in grave clothes, he emerged to the light

 

Now here are these dry bones

Could there be hope for them?

Their flesh eaten by the ground

Their bones dried by desert sun

“Could these bones live?” He asked

“Only YOU know” I replied

So He spoke the word

Then these very dry bones rattled and joined

Tendons, muscles and skin

Then He spoke another word

A breath of life entered into the slain

 

Yes my God is Sovereign

Giving life to all His children

I choose to put my trust in Him!  

 

Though it tarries…

ecclesiastes-3-11

“For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay.” – Habakkuk.2:3

God tends to give us promises that might be near and far. Some seem too good to be true, like Joseph’s dream of being a king. But when we are absolutely convinced of His promises and that He will do them as He has planned, we have such confidence in His ability. As they say in the world ‘good things are worth waiting for’, God’s best are always worth waiting for. 

God’s promises to Abraham, Joseph, David… they all had to wait and hold tightly to that vision that He had once given them. 

Abraham had seen the vision of having a son when he was about 75 years. At this stage it was already impossible considering his and Sarah’s age. But God had to make it even more impossible by making him wait another 24 years, so that Abraham’s faith grew stronger and stronger until he was crowned ‘father of faith’ (Romans.4:16) 

“Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” – Romans.4:20-21

The same for Joseph and David; the kingdoms they were promised at a young age were only obtained after many years of suffering and pain. In the case of Joseph, contrary to his vision, he became a slave in Egypt. And in the case of David, he had to flee the very king he loved and who was also his father-in-law. These two men however, had such strong conviction that GOD never lies and that He has a time for everything. So they waited patiently for Him, avoiding the shortcuts the world had offered, for they feared and revered the Lord more than others and more than their dreams. 

For these great men of faith, the waiting was painful and the pressure immense. They often felt they were going in circles with no end point, just holding on to one end of the thread. But they knew one thing – that He who promised was faithful to keep His word! The waiting made the promise more precious, more beautiful and God used those years to build their characters so that they were equipped enough to accept those precious gifts. This is God’s way! 

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah.55:8-9

 

 

God’s refugees

2As we turn on the TV or scroll through news feed on the internet, all we can read is people fleeing the place where they once called home and often risking their lives to find a place of safety. These places of safety are called refuge or shelter and are often free and there only for one reason, to help the refugees. 

Psalm.91:1-2 says: 

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.””

There are deep and awesome lessons to be learnt from these 2 verses. 

  1. He is Most High and Almighty

These verses reminds us that God is above and beyond everything that we face in life. He is bigger, mightier and wiser than all, so running to Him for safety is indeed a very wise decision. Of course, why would you seek refuge from someone who can’t even protect you? But God is Almighty, He can do anything and capable of everything. 

     2. Dwelling in His shelter and resting in His shadow

In order to dwell in a shelter, you have to first acknowledge that you are in danger and that you need some place of safety. This world is full of dangers with fleeting temptations, sins and fiery arrows that fly from the evil one. And if a Christian does not have a secure dwelling place to run to from all these, he is sure to fall by one of these. Now a shelter may not feel like home but a place where you are forced to stay at until home is made safe again. But the place where God has given us as home initially has been permanently scarred by sin and disobedience that all we can hope for is a new home. And God offers this home right where He is, under the shadow of His wing. Not only is He offering us protection, but also love and care to allow us to grow and thrive. (2 Corinthians 5:1) We became His adopted children, joining the angels to sing, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD God Almighty”.  So we rest in the bosom of our loving Father, safe, secure and sound! 

“He will cover you with His feathers,
and under His wings you will find refuge;
His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” – Psalm.91:4

“But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You.” – Psalm.5:11

Just my heart

A few days ago, while I was doing some shopping, I happened to listen to a line in a song that was on the radio. The guy was singing something along the lines, “I’m in love with what you can give me”.  The world and all its associates are just interested in what they can take from us, as the Bible calls them, they are “ravenous beasts” (Psalm.57:4)

Our mindset sometimes follows that worldly pattern where we think that Christ is after what we can offer, so we run around making all sorts of sin, burnt, peace and praise offerings. We think that we have to do something to please Him. 

“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” – Isaiah.64:6

“But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” – 1 Samuel.15:22

Here’s God saying, “I’m not interested in all the stuff you do, I just want your heart, your devotion…” and us thinking there’s got to be more than that… 

“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.10:42

Mary chose to sit at the foot of Jesus, while Martha run around trying to juggle many things. 

He simply just wants our heart, then everything else will fall in to place. 

This song by Casting Crowns summarises it well…

No comfort by the graveside

lazarusSaul was once a man of God. He obeyed God and banned any idol worship and witchcraft. Yet, when he realised the Lord wasn’t with him, he thought of no other way than to turn to his old self and things that he once despised to find answers and comfort (1st Samuel.28). He awakened Samuel’s spirit, only to receive his curse and the worst things that lay ahead. 

We, like Saul were once children of darkness, waking in ways we thought best before our eyes. But, when Jesus came and gave us light, we died and were raised to a new life. Our oldself buried in Golgotha, while we walk in the freedom of the new Jerusalem. 

“For if we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be raised to life as He was. We know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.” (Romans.6:5-6)

So why is it from time to time we visit the grave of our old-person, hoping to find comfort? Is there peace or ease in death? I once heard a lady in church give a testimony. She said, “Although I’ve been a Christian for a long time, I find myself putting back on and dragging the chains Christ had already broken and removed from my life.”  It sounds strange to wish for the worst and harmful, when we have already seen their devastating and captivating effects. Yet, that’s what sin does…it waits close by and in your moment of weakness, it drags you from your home of grace back to the grave of your old-self. 

“If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis.4:7)

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1Peter.5:8)

The Christian life is a war, a battle of the mind and heart. Evil intentions of the past against the righteousness of the new spirit. To win, we must train hard (pray), know our battle strategies (the Word of God) and above all learn the voice of our Commander. So that in the midst of the chaotic battle, we may learn to understand His guide. 

“For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” (Galatians.5:17)

“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death. Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans.7:21-25a)

********* “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians.5:1) **********

***Rest***

He hears the voiceless

ishmaelHagar…what do you normally associate that name with? Have you even heard of Hagar before?

Hagar was a slave of Abraham and Sarah. When Sarah became old and didn’t have a child, she asked Abraham to give her a child through Hagar. But when Hagar became pregnant, she started to make fun of her mistress. As a result Sarah mistreated Hagar until she decided to flee. Hagar found the Angel of the LORD on her way, who told her that He has seen her misery and that He will bless the child she was carrying and that she should name him Ishmael (meaning God hears). Then He told her to go back to her mistress. (Genesis.16)

Hagar, “gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” – Genesis.16:13

A few years later, Ishmael grew and Sarah bore a son, Isaac. Since Sarah was still not happy with Hagar and her boy (as Ishmael was mocking), Abraham was forced to send the boy and his mother away. Although he provided them food and water for the journey by the time they reached the desert of Beersheba, they run out of supply. Hagar refused to see her son’s death, so she left him under a tree and started to weep at a distance. Again ‘the God who sees’ met her in the place where no one else could answer to her cry for help.  He promised her that the child will be a great nation and opened her eyes to a well of water, so she and her son lived and did not die. (Genesis.21)

Hagar was a slave, a slave is a property and has no legal rights. Even if she was to speak or cry, she was voiceless, alone and poor. But the God who sees the unseen and hears the deepest cries of the heart, He heard her and met her in her hour of need. He blessed the son of the slave as He blessed the son of the queen (Sarah). The Bible says:

“Before a word is on my tongue
 you, Lord, know it completely.” – Psalm.139:4

“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