Live like a dead person

I know… controversial right? What came to your mind when you read this title? Isn’t death the end of living? Or is it…?

What comes to your mind when you read the following verse?afterlife-743492

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life,appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” – Colossians.3:2-4

What if I told you the first verse in that chapter says: Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Death in its physical term is the state of being unconscious, unaware, not listening, not watching or understanding about what is going on with you or around you. If you are dead you don’t feel the pain or hurt that some body caused you, neither do you take pleasure in the good things that happen to you or around you. We have all heard of the saying that “We only value what we have only when we have lost it.” And so I think we understand living better only when we die. Not die as in the physical terms but die to all material and worldly things that we hold dear. Why? Because, these are the very things that keep us bound, the very things that enslave us and the very things that stop us from true living. 

When we die to our old-self that was very self-centred, proud and all-about-me kind of person and start to live with the new-self that Christ gave us, which is Christ-centred, humble and all-about-Christ kind of person, then true living, true freedom begins. 

Once I read an awesome book called ‘Secrets of Victory’ by Brother Zac Poonen (You can read for free here: Secrets of Victory). In this book Brother Zac talks about how when our pride is ‘deflated’, the opinion and insults and back stabbing of others will never matter to us. Because In Christ we know who we are and all other opinions fade in the light of that truth. 

When I first heard of the term “a pebble in my shoe”, I thought about how this so small pebble can be soo irritating that at times you have to stop your walk to take it out of your shoe. I’m sure we all have these ‘pebble in my shoe’ moments every day of our lives. Small irrelevant ‘problems’ or even inconveniences that just irritate us so much because they are not how we want them to be. But what if we were running, what if there was something more important in our mind than that tiny pebble that’s making our journey a little uncomfortable? If our minds are ‘set on the things above’, these small petty things become so irrelevant and insignificant. Then we see our foolishness in getting so caught up with them. Then the fact that someone misplaced our book from its usual place, or the train was delayed a couple of minutes  or the fact that it rained when we didn’t want it, become so minute in the grand vision of what GOD has placed before us. 

Changing our perspective heavenwards in times when we are tempted to focus and be gripped by those situations will free us from unnecessary bitterness and time wasted arguing in things that don’t have eternal meaning. 

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” – Philippians.1:21

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FAITHFUL in February

Dear readers, here’s a great lesson I have been learning through this month amongst many other things. If there’s one character of God that really means a lot to me, it’s His faithfulness! I always said, “God is faithful”, but never understood the extent of what it actually really meant in my life. So now God showed me a glimpse of it, I pray He does the same for you through His words.

Bible verses on faithfulness

“God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” – 1 Cor.1:9

“The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.” – 1 Thess.5:24

“If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.” – 2 Tim.2:13

“Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” – 1 Cor.4:2

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” – Heb.10:23

“He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them – He remains faithful forever.” – Psalm.146:6

“But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” – 2 Thess.3:3

Faithfulness defined

“He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He.” – Deut.32:4

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Faithful implies: Long continued and steadfast fidelity to whatever one is bound to by pledge, duty or obligation.

God is all these things because, He is Love! His love compels Him to be faithful and His faithfulness compels Him to love.

 

  1. Constant

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” – Romans.12:12

God’s faithfulness does not change by circumstances, because His faithfulness makes Him constant, unchanging and unswerving.

Faithfulness requires remaining true to who you are and what you’ve promised. Thus, God’s faithfulness makes Him dependable and trustworthy, because you can be sure that no matter what happens, He remains the same.

“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

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” – Heb.13:8

 

1.1 Time

Constancy has an element of time and change as part of its equation. Yet this element (constancy) stays the same despite those two variables. Being constant requires time. If time didn’t move on, how can you say that something has changed or not changed?

Indeed time reveals many things in life. And being faithful means: even if time is passing, even if all circumstances change, you remain true and firm in your original word/promise/belief.

This means faithfulness requires patience. Because we don’t know what the future holds and we are almost certain that time and circumstances move/push against our constancy, faithfulness becomes a difficult battle.

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  1. Hope

“Many claim to have unfailing love, but a faithful person who can find?” – Prov.20:6anchor.png

Hope is the anchor on which faith is attached to. The stronger the anchor, the more secure the faith. It’s also amazing that an anchor is in the shape of a cross. It reminds us that the cross is our greatest source of hope. Because the cross tells us that we are now God’s children and our Heavenly Father wants the best for us. And because our Father is faithful, we find the courage and strength to be faithful.

 

2.1 Vision

anchor2Vision is the ground on which faith is planted on. This vision is God’s word and promise. Vision is where hope faces towards. Unless you have an end goal or destination, you are dropping your anchor on shallow grounds.

 

 

2.2 The wind and storms

The wind and storms are the forces mentioned earlier (such as time and circumstances) that try to move faithfulness from its rooted ground. With passing time, patience’s thread can weaken and with intensifying wind of circumstances, the anchor (hope) can be shaken.

Yet there’s one good news even in all this. The ground beneath on which the anchor holds on to, is constant and undisturbed by the wind and storms. This constant and unchanging faithfulness of our God is what makes a Christian smile and still able to say, “I’m good, by God’s grace.” This strong foundation is what enables a Christian to be faithful despite changing times and circumstances. And because of this, many of our fathers considered it pure joy to partake in His suffering.

 

  1. The reward

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” – Matt.25:23

Being faithful does not depend on the size or type of matter we are entrusted with. What really matters is how we have dealt with it; whether we have been faithful or wicked or lazy.

Christ is the perfect image of faithfulness. He remained faithful to His calling until the end, even when it cost Him His life. And as His followers, we ought to be faithful just as He is, whether in small or great tasks, whether in the storms or relative peace.

May we find great comfort in knowing that He is faithful to us at all times and may that spur us on to imitate and reflect our loving Father! Amen!

“This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep His commands and remain faithful to Jesus.” – Rev.14:12

“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True…” – Rev.19:11

Though it tarries…

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“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

 

 

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. 

 

Waiting

DSC04375Lord I wait for You as the clock ticks away

Yes I have been stood here all day

From dawn to dusk by the bay

I stand here and hope for the boat of answer

That comes with treasures from my Father

 

Lord I am waiting, as thirsty in a dry land

Feeble and weak reaching for Your hand

My feet fail me and say “give up running”

And my eyes “look away from that old

 rugged cross and look around ”

But Father I know You’ll keep my heart

 

Now this is my prayer Lord

That You keep me strong

And as I wait for You

Like eagles on wings I will soar

Though the vision seems slow

It won’t delay but surely come.

 

“For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come,
It will not tarry.” – Habakkuk.2:3