Hagar…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
Our life is a blank canvas upon which God can paint a picture as only He sees fit. 14 years ago today, I accepted Jesus in to my heart and not a day has passed where I regretted that decision. That day, I received the most beautiful gift I could ever have and joy unspeakable filled my heart.
Today, as I pondered upon the Lord’s work in my life, it was orchestrated in such a way that only He could have done it. I noticed God’s hand at work in every step of my life. Before I was born and even before the world begun, He called me by my name and said that His Son should die for me that I may find this beautiful life that’s found in Him. When it was finally time for me to enter the world, God rejoiced over my birth and was so patient to wait for me until the day when I said, “YES!” (by the grace of the Holy Spirit) to His calling of salvation. Yes there were some dark shades on that picture and at the time, but God used those to beautify and brighten up even more the lovely flowers that He was painting. He is the greatest Artist, giving beauty for ashes and a faithful God.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you. ~ Psalm.139:16-18
Now an artist requires the canvas to remain still so he can paint the picture properly. There were times when this canvas of my life moved about and shook, distorting the painting that He’d started, yet God being the patient Artist that He is, He made sure these little smudges were turned into little leaves that support the beautiful petals. He has a way for everything and He is faithful.
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” ~ Psalm.46:10
This little art work is not yet complete but seeing what’s been painted so far, makes me want to see what it will look like in the end, but I have to remain still. Yet, I know God is faithful and He will finish this beautiful thing He has started.
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.
“Give it a try, you got nothing to lose” a phrase we hear quite often. Yet it is in those moments that the true feelings of our hearts are revealed. Why don’t we try? Because we are afraid of failure. I absolutely detest that word, as I know everyone does. Failure reveals that we are weak, that we haven’t got it all together, that we are somewhat unable and inadequate. It’s not a great place to be, because it’s uncomfortable and because we are not in control.
We like structure, organised schedules and chaos is something we try to avoid, because we lose control. But that’s what we are, chaotic people. Even to the most organised people who think they are in control, there’s times when things just get out of hand. That’s the world we live in.
Nevertheless, we can dance in the rain, we can glory in our weaknesses, because, His word says:
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.” – Matthew.5:3
Again Paul says in his writings:
“I take pleasure in weaknesses, in reproaches, in hardships, in persecutions, and in distresses for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” because Christ told him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” – 2nd Corinthians.12:9-10
When we haven’t got it all together, when we feel lost of a plan and which way to turn, He is faithful to show up and do the leading. We may not like it cause we are only led one day at a time, we don’t see the end from here, but all we need is FAITH as small as a mustard seed.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord.
For 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
WE CAN TRUST HIM.
So here at the end of me, where all my knowledge and my plans can’t help me, i can trust in HIS great wisdom. Amen.
Having been finishing work quite late, I have learnt to acquaint myself with getting home in the dark. I never really liked darkness, somehow it masks and veils what is there and limits your view. Today I finished early and the sun was shining, everything looked beautiful!
I have discovered that people’s mood are completely different in the cold, dark days of winter compared to the bright, warm summer days.
Likewise, life without Jesus is like a dark room. No matter how much stuff is in it, you will never know what exactly is in there and what to do with it. Lets take the example of surprises. When we want to surprise people, we hide their gifts in a dark room and once they put the light on, voilà!
Surprisingly, one of the major issues we face as young people is the freedom of choice. We have many options but we lack direction as to which road we ought to take. We worry because we are uncertain of what each path has on its way and what would be the outcome. We become gripped by fear of failure that we don’t dare to even try. Trying becomes risky and foolishness.
The truth is, we are not omniscient. We will never know the consequence of our choices before we get there and so we might have to just poke around in that dark room as though we were blind and try to figure out what stuff we have and how best to use them to make our living.
The wise readers might think, why don’t you just turn the light on? Then surely you will know what you have in that room, the value of each item and how best to use them. Well that in itself requires a choice. Many young people walk around in that dark room thinking that they’ve got what it takes to face life with out the need for a light bulb.
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – John.8:12
Accepting Jesus, the Light will give us a clear direction of who, where we are and what we are ought to do with these valuables that we have been entrusted with in our rooms.
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” – Psalm.119:105
With Him, there are no nasty surprises, He leads and never disappoints! What an assurance!
So today, you have to choose – will you give your life to the One who knows it well and live it to the full, or are you going to keep poking in the dark hoping things just workout?
I CHOOSE JESUS ❤
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!
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!
As I continue reading the exodus story in the book – Sons of encouragement by Francine Rivers (Yes, I am going very slow), I never really understood what it meant for Moses and Aaron to lead a nation through the desert. There was a lot of complaining, a lot of grumbling and a lot of questions. I got to see the feeling of these elderly men (in their 80s)- inadequacy, misunderstood, weak, insignificant and yet chosen to do a massive task. It’s overwhelming!
One of the lessons I have learnt from this story so far is that, it’s not who you are or what you can do, but what HE can do through you. God enjoys putting to shame all that this world holds dear and it’s standards. He chooses the weak, the young, the old and the despised, the shy, the timid, the insecure, the illiterate so that His name may be glorified through it and honour those whom the world had ignored and despised.
Thus, our weakness as Paul would put it, is a reason for boasting, our inadequacies are the grounds upon which we allow God’s power to shine and His glory to be manifested in our earthen vessels.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – 2 Corinthians. 12:9
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” – 2 Corinthians.4:7
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