The potter’s love

we-are-the-clay-karinas-thoughtSo I was watching a programme a few days ago about a young potter. It showed the whole process of clay work. First she travelled miles to a river bank in a far away village to get the clay she needed for her work. Carrying it back home, she went through the whole process of cleaning it (separating the bad from the good). Through out, it required much energy and hard work, kneading it and preparing it before making it into a shape. 

It was not easy at all and it required much determination, hard work and getting her hands dirty. Once she started shaping her clay into different structures and pots, you can see the joy in her eyes. The sculptures were then put in an oven to bake them and allow them to dry and hold their shape. When they cooled down, she painted them and allowed them to dry. 

This made me think of how much God loves us. He left the comfort of heaven to come and save us. And continues to be so patient towards us even though we are hard work in the way we walk with Him. He never tires or gives up on us. He smiles and rejoices over us when we walk in His will and makes us vessels for glory to display His beauty. Now let us look back from where we came from… from the side of some river bank that nobody really cared about. Now fast forward to the present… we are precious treasure that Somebody really cares about! 

Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. – Isaiah.64:8

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Now we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this surpassingly great power is from God and not from us. – 2 Corinthians.4:6-7

 

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Not who you are, but Who you have!

11297Dear readers, I know I’m writing my new year’s post a little late. Nevertheless, this thought has been marinating on my mind, since before the new year…

First of all, I pray this year will bring you many blessings and much joy, as you get to know and experience the Lord even deeper! 

Below I have pasted a small paragraph from Exodus 33 where God was having a conversation with Moses, as He often did – ever since the burning bush. Please read it prayerfully…

“12 Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ 13 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”

14 The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”

17 And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”

18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” – Exodus.33:12-18  

I wonder how often Moses must have felt helpless to lead such a nation for the God of the universe. It’s quite a mission for an 80 odd years old man! Yet one of the beautiful characters of Moses is that he was always honest with God. Moses knew that neither his age nor strength will take this people any further and admitted his need for help. He asked, “whom will You send with me?” The answer was awesome! “My Presence will go with you…” What can be better than God Himself leading you!

Moses then reaffirms his faith by declaring that unless God’s presence go with them, there was no point in where they were going. Moses understood that God is the source of all good and purpose in life, and if He was absent from that story, the people were sure to perish in the desert.

“For who is God besides the Lord?
 And who is the Rock except our God?
 It is God who arms me with strength
 and keeps my way secure.”  – Psalm.18:31-32

It’s because God was with this nation that they crossed the red sea, escaped Egypt and survived the hot desert as though they were walking through a cool forest. And as a result, all nations trembled, they wouldn’t dare play with fire, upsetting the God of Israel. He, Himself was their Chief Commander. 

By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. – Exodus.13:21

Then God agrees with Moses, saying “I will go with you” and He adds a reason, “because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”  Here, Immanuel knew His people, not as some distant commander who just knows their names, but as a close friend and as one who really knows them from the heart. (John.10:14)

So dear readers, this new year we can make lots of resolutions and plans, but if God is not there, ask yourself ‘what is the point? and how far can I go, before I collapse in the desert’. We need His presence of cloud to shield us from the scorching sun of the enemy’s terror, His flame of fire to warm and comfort us from the chills of swayed politics and dislocated ethics of these days. Above all, we need His presence to guide us, navigating through the desert of a broken and difficult world to reach safely on Canaan’s land. 

May God’s presence never depart from you this year! 

http://worshiptogether.com/songs/we-will-not-go/

Secular dictatorship

You say countries run by dictators have little or no freedom of speech or practising their faith. Well it’s true, I come from such a country where you are not entitled to have a different view point or worship and express your faith freely.

Coming to the west, I thought I would have the freedom I once longed for in a closed country. As I progressed through school, college, university and work however, I have noticed how secularisation has dictated over democracy; where freedom and tolerance have been double defined. We are at an age where teaching Religious Studies in schools is not necessary but an option and being debated whether to completely be stopped. How can young people make a choice if they don’t know their options?

Describing C S Lewis’ struggle with secularisation in his book – Pilgrim’s Regress, Ravi Zacharias explains, “handcuffed by the spirit of the age, not free but bound…how absolute freedom, can actually become a form of bondage in itself…”

Dr Zacharias continued to explain, “When secularisation has its full run at things… it will ultimately cease to have the ability to define distinctives and could ultimately produce a generation without a sense of shame.” A generation without a sense of shame! A generation so lost that it follows what it thinks/ feels is right! But surely there is one, single truth we ought to follow. Now we have reached a time where modern secularisation is stopping us from seeking that truth under the claim of tolerance.

Looking around us, what do we hear and see? “Do not speak about God, lest you offend somebody”, Nurse suspended from work for wearing a cross, another one fired for offering to pray and encourage the brokenhearted”. Where is the freedom? If we are not to offer the life giving gift to our neighbour, then we can question whether we are directing towards human robotisation.

Sometimes I worry more about the west than countries ruled by known dictators, for the slippery road is more subtle and dangerous in those that claim democracy. For when they forget the very Biblical foundation they were built upon, they are heading on the route to destruction. May God have mercy.

Only ONE of YOU- ever!

socialfeed-info-if-you-are-still-breathing-it-means-god-is-not-finished-with-you-yet“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” – Jeremiah 1:5

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” – Psalm 139:14

When God creates something, He doesn’t make duplicates, each person/creature has their own unique identity that makes them special. This means God doesn’t use the lazy copy+paste function, He places great value and care in each creation He makes, down to the molecular level. 

Now look into yourself. Every detail of your body, your mind, character,  your situation, where you are and the skills and flaws you have. Try to find someone who is exactly like you… Before you go any further, don’t waste your time, there is none. You are you and there was no one and will never be someone like you. Because God made this unique DNA code packaged with your name written over it. The day you were born, you entered the world with a special mission that only you can accomplish. Now your 1st task is to find what that mission is and secondly to accomplish it. It may not be major things like being a president. It could be just encouraging people, showing love to those around you or helping the poor. Yet, small changes mount up to  massive miracles.

Many young people suffer with depression and suicidal thoughts as they struggle to find meaning for their lives. They become driven by feelings and not self control and will making them volatile. Young people have so much potential to do great and awesome things, take the example of Joseph, Samuel, David and Daniel. Knowing this, the enemy has taken over those precious years for many and they struggle to go through those years without the need for pharmacological support. It’s really sad to see many youngsters on antidepressants and antipsychotics. 

Why am I writing this? Because as young people we have failed ourselves, our families and our nations. We ought to bring change, yet we find ourselves being moved by every wind of fashion and ideology that blows our way. We do not have unshakeable values that we are deeply rooted in, so we often find ourselves with the answer “I don’t know”, … I don’t know what I want… I don’t know what to do… I don’t know how to respond… We are a generation that’s fed lies with the screens of mass media and social networking sites on how we should feel about ourselves and who they think we are. And, unless we really know our identity, those lies will continue to consume young lives and eventual have fatal consequences with many unaccomplished missions. So next time you try to look or act like that some-body, remember that You-nique-body God has created you to be. 

The Bible says, 

  • You are the apple of God’s eye – Zechariah.2:8
  • You are engraved in the palms of His hands – Isaiah.49:16
  • He knows even the number of hair on your head – Matthew.10:30
  • You are a chosen generation – 1Peter.2:9
  • You are God’s co-worker – Ephesians.2:10
  • You are Christ’s ambassador – 2Corinthians.5:20
  • You are…. to know more about who you really are, read the word of God, the Bible. 

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:11-13 

Do not sit on stolen idols

teraphim“When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father’s household gods.” – Genesis.31:19

Genesis 31 tells the story of how Jacob fled Laban’s house (the place where he served for decades). During this flight, Rachel decides to steal her father’s household idols without telling anyone. Later in the chapter when Laban finds out they had fled and that his idols were stolen, he follows them. Although he didn’t harm them as he was warned by God, he searched everywhere for his precious idols. “Now Rachel had taken the household idols and put them in the camel’s saddle, and she sat on them. And Laban felt through all the tent but did not find them. ” (verse 34) Scripture does not explain why Rachel stole those idols, but we can see she was not willing to give them up.

As children of God we are called to leave all our idols and trust wholly in our heavenly Father. Yet, how many times do we peak into those stolen idols when we think God is not looking. We know that anything we put trust above God has become our idol (how many idols have we collected like this), ones that give false sense of security. How long until we get up from our seat, take those idols and throw them off our tents and lives? God is all we need, He is our sufficiency and who makes us complete. Those stolen idols were never ours, we are children of the light, so lets not covet the things and ways of the world.

zero without JESUS

As I begin a new chapter of entering the world of work, this is a subject that the Holy Spirit has been constantly reminding me these past couple of weeks. Whatever I have, whatever I achieved is all from God. As Job once said, empty we come from our mother’s womb and we return to the earth empty; nothing that we have gained through our lifetime on this world will stick with us for the after life. The writer of the Ecclesiastes understood this and called it vanity. All is vanity without Christ!

Paul said, “Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.” – (2 Corinthians.3:5) Whatever was gain to him, he counted as loss, because he realised that all these are a gift from God and he has nothing that he can boast about.

So what is it that we think we have? What gifts have we received from the Lord? Knowledge, wealth, energy… lets put Jesus before them and confess our nothingness. Then, only then can we utilise those gifts properly and save ourselves from vanity.

For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.” – Romans.11:36

This video explains it perfectly:

Is faith blind?

 spectaclesNow faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” – Hebrew.11:1

This is the first verse that comes to our minds when we think of faith. The chapter goes on to list all the fathers of faith who did awesome things simply by having faith in God. Verse 6 explains how faith works: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” This little faith they had moved mountains, endured hardships, split the Red Sea, obtained promises, concurred lands and became victorious in battle. 

Was this faith blind? Was it just a pure day dream and simple hope on luck? No; this faith is confident and assured that what God has promised, that He will do. Yes, we do not see it yet, just as an athlete doesn’t see the finish line at the beginning of the race, but he hopes and believes that there is a finish line and runs towards it. If faith was blind, it would fall at every pitfall it comes across its path, but the Holy Spirit guides its steps and faith leaps over the pitfalls and stumbling blocks stood on its way. Faith doesn’t stop at every cross road, to determine whether that was really the finish line, it knows fully well what it should look like and sees the distractions along her path long ahead to leap over them. So faith is not blind, in contrast faith is where we have the clarity of vision! Faith is the ability to see clearly that which is not seen by physical eyes. 

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” – 2 Corinthians.4:18

If faith is that spectacle that clarifies our vision, why shouldn’t we get it?

Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.” – Matthew.17:20. How faithless are we when we doubt God? If only we had that ONE mustard seed! May God help us believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, Amen. 

 

Sing over me

6358748036944186621892622963_musicMusic is powerful; the words that hang with the sweet or strong melodies could have a life saving or life destroying effect. David used songs to praise, worship and plead with God; the psalms are true testaments of how important songs were to David (Psalm.1-150). God can use various methods to speak to His children. One of the many ways for me is through songs. God uses specific songs for each season and occasion of my life that is so relevant either to encourage, uplift, teach me or just to praise and worship Him. Thus, I have many songs that I associate with a certain time in my life and how God has been so faithful to me through those.

Songs are used for various reasons these days and it’s worrying to see that the world is using it as a main tool to clear the path to hell for many vulnerable people, particularly children and youngsters.  Music has a power to affect our emotions and how we feel about the words spoken within the songs. Whether we are just loving it because it has nice beats or just for mere enjoyment, the words will stick to our minds and some how affect our way of thinking on the subject being sang about. 

As one preacher said, “GIGO – Garbage In Garbage Out”, whatever we fill our minds that is what we will produce. You cannot grow what you haven’t sown. Let us allow God to fill us with His praise, allow Him to use songs to comfort us in times of need and to fill our hearts with shouts of praise in times of joy. 

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans.12:1-2

Wandering child

running20away20-20little20girlShe is but a curious child, adopted from a painful past to a glorious present. Although most kids have a vague memory of their childhood, she vividly remembers every detail of the stench from which she was rescued. Yes she was born into the lowliest and most horrible place called sin. This shanty town offered her the momentary comfort of shelter in the shack she called home. It offered her friendship in the secrecy of gossips that turned to bite her with their stings and bad habits that were norm in its streets. She was hurt but it was the only place she knew.

Across the river she gazed every morning to the skyscraping towers and sparkling streets of the city, yet she never understood what happened or even how to get there. One beautiful morning as she gazed towards that city as usual, her mother summoned her in. There she found an old rich man with a wide smile upon her entrance. This girl suffered slavery in her own home, her mum was willing to essentially sell her. As she looked between the eyes of this old man and her mum for clues as to what’s happening, she could but only see silence. Finally, the old man opened his mouth and with a surprisingly gentle voice that she never heard before all her life he said, “my child, you will come to stay with me. I have paid the full price.” As he uttered these words, she looked at her mum who was holding the bag of money and refusing to look back to this child or say a word. This child never understood what was happening but she knew well enough in her heart that going with this old man was the best decision she would ever make in her entire life. She stood and as he stretched out his hand, she lifted hers to hold them. 

Now many years have passed and the morning view has changed. Now she woke up every morning and as she looked across the river to where she came from, she was grateful for this kind old man. Yet one warm afternoon, she missed her past, she missed the momentary happiness and what seemed freedom that  her town called sin offered her. She wandered off from the gates of mercy and paths of grace and righteousness towards the isle of temptation that lead to her past. The sky was getting dark, the path grew more ugly, when she suddenly had a flash back of the day when she was rescued from that town called sin and the kindness of the old man who loved her as his own. How he must be weeping over her disappearance? Has he withheld any good thing from her? Has she lacked anything? None. She was just curious child dipping her feet to the fire of her past. 

It didn’t take long for this wandering child to realise that she better get back home. She didn’t stop to think whether her father will let her in, she knew his kindness and love well enough. She run back, back to her place of safety and peace. 

“For my feet were close to slipping….
You spoke to my heart in time….
You have promised, and I do believe….
You won’t forget this wandering child….” – Bethany Dillon (So Close) 

“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” – 1 Corinthians.10:12

“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” – Romans.6:11

“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” – Colossians.3:3

“Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules” – Colossians.2:20

Possible is not impossible

 

impossible-just-wordI once read a phrase 

Something that a word uttered

“I’m possible”, said the Impossible

The first part made it difficult

“I am”, signified my ability

When I saw matters

Through the eyes of probability

0 in 1 was the chance

A place where hope can’t be found

 

I had to drop the ‘I am’

It only revealed my weakness and shame

Making my impossible possible

Chaining all my hope in its jail

 

But where can I find this ‘possible’

If looking inside me has made me crumble?

 

I gazed up to the heavens

And faced towards Him

“With man it may be impossible” He said,

“But with God, all things are possible”

 

For Him,

No distance is too wide

No mountain is too high

No burden is too heavy

Nothing can make Him weary

 

For He is,

Strong, powerful and mighty

Sovereign, kind and holy

Awesome loving and wonderful

Just and faithful

That is my King!

 

So it’s no longer ‘I am’ but ‘Him’

For with my God all things are possible!

“For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” – Romans.11:36