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/

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.

Rejoice with Habakkuk

 53627-dance-in-the-rainBe joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” – Romans.12:12

Consider your bad days, what do they consist of? The shower goes cold, the kettle doesn’t boil, you miss the bus or your car breaks down, you’ve made some silly mistakes at work (unintentionally), customers are not happy with you, it starts to rain and you haven’t got a coat… your life seems nothing but a mess! Sometimes right from the start till the end you may experience things that annoy you, upset or stress you.

Yet despite all this, we are asked to be joyful, patient and prayerful? How can you be joyful and your day is all gloomy and nothing seems to go right?  How can you be patient when all you are experiencing is bad thing after another?

The prophet with a funny name, Habakkuk once said:

“17 Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights.” – Habakkuk.3:17-19

I often asked myself the question why do such things happen and there could be a lot of reasons. But it seems that Habakkuk knew a secret that allowed him to ‘dance in the rain’ of misery as it were. Despite all the discouraging problems that he described, he said he “will rejoice in the Lord and be joyful in God my Saviour”. Why? There is nothing to be joyful about losing your crops and your animals! He answers it in the following verse; Habakkuk knew who God was to him. God was His strength that enabled him to tread on the heights, so he can see past the gloomy present situation.

Praise or thankfulness has a way of lifting us up to the higher grounds to see things beyond the momentary mess, because it reveals to us the greatness of our God and who we are in Him. Only then can we find the joy that Habakkuk described, the kind of joy that makes you dance in the rain. Praise is also a massive declaration of faith in God’s sovereignty.

Called by name!

So… one thing upset me recently and considering that it was small it really made me think as to why it bothered me a lot. It’s been almost 2 months since I started working, a colleague still doesn’t call me by my name. I noticed this last time when she shouted “Excuse me! Excuse me!” pointing towards me and later on referred to me as “this lady”. Such things don’t usually bother me, but I only understood why when I came across this verse today:

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.” – Isaiah.43:1b

Name is your unique identity that says a lot about you. And if someone calls you by your name it shows that they care about your identity, who you are as a person. I think that’s why it hurt when this lady I worked with for almost 2 months didn’t refer to me by my name.

The beautiful thing is, the Bible tells me that the God who flung the stars in the universe, the One who created the world we live in with all it’s beauty, the One created our most delicate and complicated body also knows me not just as a physical being with motion, but as a person, calling me by my name.

Psalm.139, one of my favourite chapters in the Bible puts it beautifully:

“You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.” – Psalm.139:1-4

Joy, joy, joy!

The month of July has been busy with so much joy that I haven’t experienced in a very long time. I truly felt God’s blessing shower over me as I partook in a summer re-union from my church back home (that rekindled my glimmering hope) and graduation. In all this I sought to glorify God and for Him to be seen in my life, regardless of how well or how bad I perform, because I am confident that my identity lies solely on Him. What a joy! No matter how much goodness and joy we experience in this world, it can never compare to the joy that awaits for us in heaven!!!

Just to share something that God taught me during the re-union. I went with an expectant heart that God would speak to me and on the first day, He did! A song by Casting Crowns – “I have a dream for you” was playing. It was the first time I was listening to this song but it really spoke to my heart as I really was anxious about what lay ahead following the completion of my degree. Isn’t the Lord wonderful?! He is never late nor too early, but just on time. He is definitely worth trusting because He is Ebenezer my God who brought me thus far and will carry me till the end. 

The crossroads

Everything has a beginning and an end, at least so it seems. One thing starts and once you took forever to adapt, it’s finally time to move on. Another thing starts, with its own highs and lows, but then again that comes to an end as well. Life seems to be a cycle of many events that start and end. And through this process, you meet various kinds of people and learn a lot of things that may help you deal with the next cycle better. I realised that these many cycles are not mutually exclusive, but actually a narrative of one event that is unique just for you. The narrator is God. I have also realised that there is one Strand that connects as these ‘circles’; He is Jesus. I am reminded of this verse in Hebrews.13:8 (the first English Bible verse I learnt by heart as a child): “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”

So as I approach the end of one chapter in my life and look with hope and faith in my Father for the future, I find rest and “peace that passes all understanding”. Because, wherever I am, there He will also be, blessed be His name. Amen! 

Greater treasures

When God asks us to give Him the gold we hold so tightly in our hands, our immediate response is often regret; as freed hands are not used to such liberty, we stretch them out trying to grab what may come in our path. Thus, that sweet surrender turns us to an even deeper bondage.

The reflex mechanism of the human mind immediately followed by letting go is quite interesting. We have to have something! How can God ask that of us? But His promise was never to leave us with empty, bare hands. As we open our clenched fists and give whatever we held so tightly, it is so that He can give us greater treasures, more precious than what we held so dear. Open hands can hold more than clenched fists.

May God help us to trust Him more and more as we face at our insecurities and questions each day. Amen!

The 21st Century Book of Acts

If there was a book to be written 

Of the plight, pain and persecution 

That my brothers and sisters are facing

Who has the gut to read from start to end

Who would reward them the crown of a saint?

 

They seem so ordinary or even less

Despised by all declared as fools

Why pay such a high price

Why waste your only life?

 

Tortured, beaten and crushed

Orphaned, despised and chained

With years of hard labour and ultimately death

 

It may be hard to imagine

From the comfort of our homes

But we are one body of Christ

Joint and knit together, we have a bond

 

If all their stories were to be told

And all their plight in detail

The fearful dark nights

The tears of losing loved ones

And the unity and love the Spirit provides

Would you read that book??

“There was once a fiddler who played so beautifully that everybody danced. A deaf man who could not hear the music considered them all insane. Those who are with Jesus in suffering hear this music to which other men are deaf. They dance and do not care if they are considered insane.” – Richard Wurmbrand, Victorious Faith 

NB- Richard Wurmbrand suffered severe persecution under the communist regime and once released started organisations to help Christians facing persecution around the world. 

For more information, visit: www.releaseinternational.org 

New year, renewed hope

2015-01-01 00.20.39-1“Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.” – ISAIAH.43:19

Its such a blessing to look back at the end of a year and ponder on the goodness of the Lord in your life. I could definitely say that without His love, care and providence I would not have made it to 2015 with a smile on my face. Yes there were many trials and failures and weakness but what I saw more brightly than them all is how God saw me through those times and how faithful He is. It’s also a time to rekindle a flickering hope. A time to trust again that perhaps issues being long prayed for will finally be answered.

Now as we enter this new year 2015, I know that there will be a lot of changes in my life. End of one chapter (uni) and beginning of another (work). One of my biggest weaknesses is worrying. This year I want to fully trust God, not just a head knowledge of His promises but believing with all my heart that whatever I ask in His name, He will do. 

And I pray the same for you dear fellow bloggers. I wish you all a blessed and peaceful new-year where you see all your prayers being answered. 

PS – thank you all for the encouragements in 2014 either by commenting or by the things you write in your blogs. They are a blessing to me and others. 

Happy New Year 2015! 🙂 

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” – Mark.11:24

 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” – John.14:13