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

 

 

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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/

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. 

 

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

 

 

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.

Still i will praise You

my eyes may grow dim

Gazing on the sky

Watching and waiting

For clouds that may never appear 

 

Still i will praise You

Your faithfulness is true

i know You will come through

 

The fig tree may fail to bud

And no grapes be found on the vines

When the earth is all dry

And fail to produce the crop

While the stalls and pen give away

Their sheep and cattle

As it’s all left barren

For everything is broken

 

Still i will praise You

Your faithfulness is true

i know You will come through

 

The Father of lights shines through

To mend every broken heart

To straighten every crooked path

To breathe new life

To the cold and empty land

 

Still i will praise You

Your faithfulness is true

i knew You would come through

 

If You hadn’t risen

i would be most pitied

But now i live to tell

The glorious splendour

Of Your majesty and grace

 

Again i will praise You

Your faithfulness is sure

i knew You would come through.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOVE

During one of the many days that we discussed deep life matters with a friend, she asked me to define ‘love’. In this modern world, love has taken so many faces and meanings, often associated with romantic love. I replied to my friend with a Bible verse, quoting Paul from 1st Corinthians.13

“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Yet  today, I thought more about the origin and life of love and here is what I have meditated on:

Love was born in the lowliest cot

When Love deserved a king’s court

Love came not to be served

From birth Love was servant hearted

 

Love was obedient to lay down the crown

To step aside from the throne, for the sake of man

Love didn’t argue, Love was full of trust

Love was very much aware of the Father’s heart

 

Love grew, in grace and height

Love learnt to speak, read and write

Love’s language was a beautiful sight

 

Love was humble and meek

Cared for the poor on the street

Hugged the outcast and destitute

 

Love didn’t have a home

Love dwelled in the hearts of the congregation

Love faced hardship and rejection

But never gave up, love had strong conviction

 

Love was not afraid

Love confronted the evil and wicked

Yet love was full of compassion

Love renewed the broken hearted

 

Love was betrayed and denied

As the Father turned His face aside

Love was alone for the first time

 

Love cried for alternative plan

But knew the deal only Love could suffice

Love chose in the Father’s arms to abide

 

Love took the lashes

Love faced the shame

Love was rejected

Love had to pay the ultimate price

 

Love didn’t see the bleed in His hands

Love was still chasing your lost heart

As the thorns pierced through His skull

Love called you by name and said “it is done!”

 

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! 

Spiritual dementia

Currently I am reading a book called ‘Sons of Encouragement’ by Francine Rivers. The first character in the book is Aaron and the story describes the events that lead to the redemption of Israelites, from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. 

Now I am on the section where Moses (or I should correctly say God) has lead them out of Egypt and they are approaching the Red Sea, so they start complaining to Moses as to why he took the long way and leading them to a dead end (the sea!). They start to complain that they were better off in Egypt where they can at least be buried and not abandoned in the middle of a desert. 

If not familiar with the story, you may think that they have some right to complain. However, these are people who saw the mighty hand of God striking the entire Egypt from the king’s house down to their herds, in order to save them from the hands of their oppressors. 

Just a few hours ago they heard the cry of every Egyptian family, wailing for the death of their first born, while the Angel of God spared the Israelites. Now that they have seen one scary beast – the sea, it seemed as though all that had happened was of no use. 

Again, despite their unbelief, God does something incredible! He splits the entire red-sea in two, and they passed “passed the sea as by dry land.” 

Looking in my own life, I haven’t learnt anything from the past, one scary moment God sees me through it, I praise Him and I am back to my worries and fears.

Dementia is a horrible thing, though the person may look completely fine, inside they are in a mess. How much worse is a spiritual dementia? When our souls forget all the great things that God has done for us, what hope are we to offer to a hurting world? 

We all have testimonies, we all have miracles, whether we acknowledge them, recognise them or not. Let us use those as a propellant to drive us forward, let us bring that hope to a dying broken world through those stories of God’s faithfulness. 

27 By faith he (Moses) forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the first-born should touch them. 29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned.” – Hebrew.11:27-29

11 Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” – 1 Corinthians.10:11

God’s promise or my imagination?

I am currently on a busy placement, but thankfully I get an hour break for lunch, during which I reflect on a lot of things. Well last time God reminded me of the story of Joseph.

When God promised Joseph in a dream that he will be a king, he must have felt very sure it was God speaking. This lead him to sharing this good news with his family, who ended up ridiculing him for even thinking such a thought. I wonder if at that point he started wondering, “Is this from God, or just my imagination?”

Despite of what God showed him, everything that followed after seemed to go in the opposite direction to his dream.  He was sold a slave to Egypt, far away from the land he thought he’d be ruling soon. There God blessed his work and honoured him in his master’s house. At this point Joseph must have felt that he may earn enough favour to gain his freedom to return to his homeland. But it wasn’t going to happen, for soon he was sent to jail for a crime he didn’t commit! At this point Joseph was at his lowest, a slave prisoner, what hope does he have of even being free man, let alone to be king?? He must have felt stupid for even thinking and believing such thing, yet he knew God’s voice clearly and despite the odds he chose to believe the impossible.

God did promise, and even in the place where his dreams were as dim as a flickering candle light and so far away from happening, He  had greater plan. Joseph wasn’t just to rule over his father’s house but over the greatest kingdom at the time and thus to save nations from a famine that struck after a few years of his reign.

God’s plans and thoughts are higher than ours, and in the days when all hope is gone, we can hold on to the truth that God never lies.