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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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.

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! 

The inadequacy

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