Posts belonging to Category Christian Success



The Strength to Handle Everyday…

CThe streght to handle everythigonsider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. 

This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These (trials) have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 

Though you have not seen him (Jesus), you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3-9

AMEN!!!

Calling Donny Osmond

PhoneThe Book of Esther

 

Have you ever had a situation in your life where you just knew that the hand of fate was upon you?

 

Well, it happened to me and my best friend Anjie when we were ten years old.  You see we had been on a serious quest.  We were attempting to actually communicate with Donny Osmond.  We had tried everything.  Our first effort was in written form.  This consisted of letters and home-made cards in which we expressed our devotion to him.  When that didn’t work we stepped it up to recordings.  Donny would surely hear the sincerity in our voices as we strapped a tape recorder to the handle bars of our bikes and rode around declaring our love for him all the while singing his hit solo “Puppy Love.”   When that didn’t succeed we decided that a gift was in order.  So we put our skills to work on a pillow case.  We crocheted a dynamite stick and words that said “Donny You Are Kid Dynomite” all in purple and pink yarn.  Even this masterpiece didn’t garner a response.

 

This is where fate stepped in.  There was no way that it was a coincidence.  It was right there in the Jackson County Public Library.  I was in awe as I held it in my hands; the city directory to Provo, Utah.  My fingers flew through the pages until I got to the “O’s” and I stared in shock; at least a dozen Osmond names and home phone numbers!  I frantically wrote down all of them in dizzy expectation of what was about to happen.   Anjie was not going to believe this!

 

We sat on our new found information until the time was right.  We waited until we knew no one was home and then we called those numbers one Saturday morning.  We dialed each one with such anticipation because at any time it might actually be “him” on the other end.  One after another we called and asked for Donny.  Finally we got a positive response, “He is in Disneyland.  Can I take a message?”  Then we did it, “Tell him that Anjie and Debbie called and we will call him back”.   We had actually left Donny a message!  Fate had led me to the library, fate had given me Donny’s number and fate would eventually find him at home one day!

 

A few weeks a later, our fate took a turn.  Anjie and I were sitting at her kitchen table when her mom told us she wanted to talk us.  She got up from the table and came back with the phone bill. She was sure it was us because we were the only ones who knew anyone in Utah.  We tried explaining that we had fate on our side.  Well she said we were going to need it to pay for all those long distance calls.   Not only did we have to pay the bill, I think I was the only 5th grader in my school ever grounded from the library.

 

Anjie and I were great at seeing the hand of fate in our lives.  What we didn’t realize is that there is no such thing as fate.  There is no mysterious force out there that enables ten year old girls to converse with Mormon celebrities.  THE ALMIGHTY GOD guides and directs our lives.  In the Book of Esther, HE did just that for a young Jewish girl.  HE put her in just the right place at just the right time.

 

Esther 4:14 is one of my favorite Bible verses.  For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”  God put Esther right where He wanted her and exactly where He wanted her to do His will.  He still does this today but we have to view the world and what happens in it through the lenses of the Bible.  Has He put you right where He wants you and just the exact time that He wants you there?  Look at your surroundings and what is going on around you.  Is there something here that God wants you to do?  Pray and put on your Biblical glasses and you will see it!

For another great article on Esther read 11 Bible Stories That Give Us Hope or Esther: For Such a Time as This

 

Does God Answer Prayer?

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God Answers Prayer

 

I have prayed ever since I was a child.  It started with the “Now I lay me down to sleep” prayer.  Then as I got older it advanced to “Dear God please let me be either Marsha or Jan Brady.”  I didn’t want to be Cindy because I didn’t want to speak with a lisp.  I also prayed that I would be stranded on Gilligan’s Island with the agreement that I could share Mary Ann’s hut because she was my favorite.  Then my prayer life took a drastic change which naturally corresponded with the purchase of my first Donny Osmond album.  This led to a concern for my future.  So my prayers sounded a lot like, “Dear God please let me marry Donny Osmond.” God in all His infinite wisdom answered my prayers with a great big “NO”.

Set aside from the fact that my prayers were based on television shows and Mormon singers they were actual desires of my heart.  That was the problem.  This is what I wanted and God had a different plan.   Praying to God is more than just presenting your “wish list” to Him.  In the book of Isaiah, King Hezekiah was in a lot of distress.  Jerusalem’s vicious enemies the Assyrians were right outside the city and they were coming for him and his people.  What did old Hezekiah do? 

And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord:  “O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth.   Incline your ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God.  Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands,  and have cast their gods into the fire. For they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed.  So now, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the Lord.” Isaiah 37:15-20

 When faced with this dilemma old Hezekiah made the right decision.  He humbled himself and his people before God and prayed.  So how did God answer Hezekiah’s prayer?

 “Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it. By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come into this city, declares the Lord For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.” Isaiah 37:33-35

Yes, Hezekiah did have an agenda with his prayer.  He wanted to save his own skin but he also knew that the Assyrian’s had basically spit in the eye of God.  This was about saving Hezekiah and his people but it was also about letting the Assyrian’s know who the One and Only True God is.  Often we turn to God when things are beyond our control or like me pray to God with a huge wish list.  We are all guilty of this.  God does answer prayer and He has three answers.  He answers yes, He answers no, or He answers later.  Success isn’t getting the answer we want from God it is getting the answer He wants for us.

 

When you’re up to your neck in alligators

Swimming with alligators. Art by http://www.fg-a.com/alligators-1.html

Swimming with alligators. Art by http://www.fg-a.com/alligators-1.html

There’s an old saying, “When you’re up to your neck in alligators, it’s hard to remember your job is to drain the swamp.”

One of the differences between those who enjoy success and those who don’t is the ability to keep the important thing as the important thing. Successful people aren’t distracted and derailed by fads, obstacles, cultural shifts, or environmental issues. They focus on the goal and they pursue that goal.

The apostle Paul wrote, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.  Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,  I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:12-14 NKJV).

Pau focused on the mission of God’s call. Did he have distractions? Absolutely! He listed many of them. “… in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.  From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.  Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;  in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;  in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:23b-28 NKJV).

But Paul kept the important thing the important thing through his trials. He writes, “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—   always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.  For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.  So then death is working in us, but life in you” (2 Corinthians 4:8-12 NKJV).

He also kept his goal in mind. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,  while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NKJV).

Did you get that? He considered being beaten, shipwrecked, imprisoned, crushed, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down as a light affliction!

What is hindering you from following Jesus today? What alligators are distracting you?

If Paul could succeed, then I know through the power of the Holy Spirit and the name of Jesus Christ, you can, too.

Jesus, The Creator

Jesus, the creatorIn the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days (now) he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. Hebrews 1:1-3

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord (Jesus) is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. Isaiah 40:28

For this is what the Lord says—he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited—he says: “I am the Lord, and there is no other. Isaiah 45:18

“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Isaiah 40:25-26

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. Jude 1:24-25

AMEN!!!

When we speak others listen

Let not unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for the building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)

When we speak others listen and if we complain others will complain; especially the children in our lives. We are role models for the little ears who hear our coarse language and they look up to us. We are growing up the next generation of Christians. Recently, the Lord convicted me of watching PG-13 movies that really hurt because I was looking forward to the movie Jurassic World. Every time I went past the Campus Theater it hurt and I voice a complaint to the Lord. The last time I did it I realized I grieved the Holy Spirit and that was not my plan. Sometimes we don’t realize that God has a bigger plan for us; then we know.  If we fill our hearts up with movie talk; that is what’s going to come out. Will we build up the church with movie talk? What I am trying to share with you is the evil of the times. Non-Christian movies can teach our children to swear and defile the home. The Lord said ‘no’ to me about PG-13 movies and my mouth grieve the Holy Spirit because I couldn’t get my way. You say ‘movies are innocent’. Today, it’s ok to have sex before marriage and it’s ok to live with someone. TV shows are blatantly showing this on prime time and we are watching it. What messages are we sending to our youth? We are sending them repeatedly that this is ok to do all these things. My favorite movie has been “Leap Year” and its rated PG. It has 3 swear words that blaspheme Jesus Christ and God; she is living with a guy; and meets a guy in Wales and leaves her guy for this guy. I never notice the swearing but the sleeping together; yes that I noticed.

Today’s children spent more time with non-Christian TV, computer, and books; which go down into their hearts and is role-played in their day-to-day interaction with others. The Lord says in His word “but I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. (Matthew 12:36)

We as parents or extended family play a part in this role of raising this next generation to edify the Lord. Are we doing our best to raise these children to love the Lord more than ‘Jurassic World’ or ‘Harry Potter’? Do your children get upset when they can’t watch their shows? Do they throw a tantrum and hit you when they do not get their way? We are to separate ourselves from this world not be a part of it. The word says “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”  (2Corinthians 6:17-18)

What does it look like to be separate from the world? We need to separate from this world’s sin and the desires of our flesh. So live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. (Galatians 5:16-18) What are the acts of the sinful nature? The word says the acts of the sinful nature are obvious: being sexually unfaithful, not being pure, taking part in sexual sins, worshipping gods, doing witchcraft, hating, making trouble, being jealous, being angry, being selfish, making people angry with each other, causing divisions among people, feeling envy, being drunk, having wild and wasteful parties, and doing other things like these. I warn you now as I warned you before: Those who do these things will not inherit God’s kingdom. (Galatians 5:19-21NCV) When you watch unlawful acts shown on TV it is like you are there feeding that desire within you. If you watch this repeatedly you will become desensitized to the acts and not know they are wrong. But, your children will see and they will become what they watch and read. Children will grow up wanting your desires because they love you. Do you not know that Satan is out to rob you of your children? It is Satan’s desires that rule in reign in our children until they desire to walk in another direction and ask Jesus Christ into their hearts. But if you only show them the world they will not choose Christ wholeheartedly. They will walk not in the Spirit but in the flesh all the days of their life.

The Israelites in the Old Testament struggle to live for God; but their flesh won out because they allow the world into their homes. The Jews enter into marriage agreement with non-Jews and follow their customs and gods. The Israelites began to live with each other and have sex with other partners. This displeased God. God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah which were evil cities who did evil things before the God. (Genesis 18:17-19:29) Throughout the generations Israelites failed God and only a few followed Him and not always faithfully.

So God devised a plan so that His people would not fail any longer. He sent His One and Only Son to be born of a virgin and be raised among the Jews. Jesus grew up a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away. And who can speak of His descendants? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people He was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death, though He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it was the LORD’S will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer, and though the LORD makes His life a guilt offering, He will see His offspring and prolong His days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in His hand. (Isaiah 53:2-10)

God never wanted His people to suffer He wanted them to prosper in the land He sent them. But, the people in themselves couldn’t change; so that is why God sent His Son to die in their place so that they can have this abundant life in His Son Jesus Christ. But, it is not just the Jews that this gift is for but everyone who comes and believes that Jesus Christ was born, died on the cross for their sins, and resurrected from the dead to be seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. We can’t live this life on our own we need help. We need Jesus Christ resurrected power in our life. He sent the Holy Spirit to help us. So, if you hear the voice of Jesus Christ calling you; do not reject Him but believe and repent. Surrender your life and ask Him into your life. He will come and make His home in you. He will give you the power to say ‘no’ to your sinful nature and help you to live that abundant life in Him.

Thank you, Lord that you came to die on that cross so that we could live a victorious life in you and that you sent the Holy Spirit. Thank you, Father for the plan to save your people of Israel and that plan included all people. Help us, clean up our life that we reflect the things of God. Let us not be a stumbling block to our children with our desires to the flesh. Hear, our prayer to you Jesus we desperately need you. Convict our hearts to the things we need to change and create in us a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within us. In Jesus Christ Name, I pray. Amen.

Alone with The Lord…

Alone with the LordYou 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

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. Psalm 139:7-10

How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—when I awake, I am still with you. Psalm 139:17-18

Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4-5

In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you. Psalm 33:21-22

AMEN!!!

Have you lost your voice?

 

Why does life have to be so chaotic? Why do we have to struggle? These are the questions silent in my heart? How long do I stay silent with the messiness of this life? The Lord has given me a voice; why do I not use it? In the book of Amos God judges the Israelites for their sins. He sends Amos among them to ask them to repent or perish. God wants them to repent of idol worship, immorality and injustice. But Israel was so imbedded in their sins that they could not hear, or see the predicament they were in. (Psalm 115:4-8) If you were to see Israel then you would see no difference from the pagan nations around them. You would hear the nations around them say, “Where is their God?” Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him. But their idols are silver and gold, made by human hands. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell. They have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but cannot walk, nor can they utter a sound with their throats. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them. (Psalm 115:4-8) The Israelites had grown accustom to the idols in their every day. The law forbids them to marry non-Israelites but they didn’t listen; the law forbids them to worship other gods but they didn’t listen; they conform to the people around and worship and killed their children for their gods; they oppress the poor among them; and because of this great sin judgment followed. Amos shouts in the streets: All you Israelites trust in the LORD—he is your help and shield. House of Aaron, trust in the LORD—he is your help and shield. ¹¹You who fear him, trust in the LORD—he is your help and shield. (Psalm 115:9-11) Amos cried out in the streets to bring back the Israelites to their God. They didn’t listen because their love of things were too great. God send a prophet among them because His love was so vast for the Israelites; He wanted His people to come back to Him. God sent an earthquake so that His people would call out to Him for help, but they did not. The Israelites had lost their voice.

Have I lost my voice?

Have I lost my voice because I got caught in adultery? Was I worshipping someone other than my Lord as Israel did during Amos time? Was I caught loving myself more than Jesus Christ? Was life at a loss because my eyes settle on my pain instead of the victory that Christ fought and died for? My worship of myself robs me of my voice, my sight, my ears to hear, and my feet to run away from evil. My obsessions with my pain not only rob me of my voice but my relationship with loving Father, Jesus Christ. Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. (Exodus 34:14) The Lord will do whatever He can to bring us home; just as He did for His beloved Israelites.

It is alright to grieve a pain but it is not alright when we become consume with feeding that pain. The Israelites became consumed with themselves; they forgot their traditions and their God and loved their new life. Each generation became addictive to the desires of their own heart and no longer the heart of their God. God used Amos to call His people to repentance and Jesus used my no jobs to bring me back. I have my own business and depend on Jesus to bring me my jobs. When they do not come; I have questions but my answers were wrong. I did not call out because I lost my voice because of my sin. Let me make this very clear with you: my sin did not stop me from reading my Bible every day and praying every morning and evening. Still, I was blind to my sin and still didn’t call out to God. My counselor was wrong because my pain cause a blindness that went very deep. The blindness kept me from truly seeing the truth in my situation. Not having enough does funny things to us and I finally found my voice; and cried out to God for more. God heard me in His holy throne and answered my prayer. See God loves me enough to draw me into His arms. We might not see that through our struggle but tough love remembers. Praise the Lord!!! The Lord messes with our life because of His great love for us. Jesus Christ watch His Father care for Israelites and now He does the same for us.

Israel was successful because of God, but their pride in themselves says ‘we did this flourishing’; they were blind to their own faults.  Amos was given two visions of God’s pending judgment on Israel. The judgment would be locust and intense heat but Amos cried out to the LORD to stop and He did. Then the LORD said, “Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer. “The high places of Isaac will be destroyed and the sanctuaries of Israel will be ruined; with my sword I will rise against the house of Jeroboam. (Amos 7:1-9) Israel rejected God’s word. The people did not listen ‘repent or perish’ and they didn’t call to God

Have you lost your voice? Call on Jesus Christ today and make things right. The Lord is calling His people home. Do you hear Him calling you? All you people trust in the LORD—he is your help and shield. House of the Earth trust in the LORD—he is your help and shield. You, who fear him, trust in the LORD—he is your help and shield.

Who is it that overcomes?

Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. (1John 5:5) Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in their heart. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1John5:10, 12) So, believe, repent or perish in this life. Surrender this life and ask Jesus Christ into your heart so that He can draw you close and clean the messes of this life.

Thank you, Lord for pursuing and catching me. Thank you, Father for your part in this great plan. I pray that we keep in touch with our heart, and we clean the secret rooms that keep us silent. I pray Lord that you will keep pursuing us and changing us into that sparkling gem. I pray that whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. (Colossians 3:23) In Jesus Christ name, I pray. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kingdom of Light…

Thw Kingdom of LightIn the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days (now) he has spoken to us by his Son (Jesus), whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. Hebrews 1:1-3a

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He (Jesus) was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. John 1:9-10

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Philippians 3:20-21

 

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6

Paul writes, For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves (Jesus)in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:9-14

AMEN!!!

The acorn is still on the mantle place

A work colleague once told me that her husband went out into the field and he bought back home  a gift, a large acorn, which she put on the mantle place. He also came back with some devastating news of leaving her and the twin boys aged below five. She didn’t tell me the reasons why he left her and his children and I didn’t want to prey into her business as it was far too personal for her. She was hurting. Twenty five years on the large acorn is still  on the mantle place and the twins have graduated from Universities. She still remembers him with fondness and it still hurt.

I was amazed that the acorn is still on the mantle place following her separation from husband. For most of us the acorn would have been thrown away and the small minority of us would have thrown it at the husband. On the contrary, this woman love for her estranged husband defies human logic and it goes beyond human understanding but it demonstrates the power of God’s love towards us. The well known bible verse Roman 8:35-39 highlights His love for us.

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: 

“For your sake we face death all day long;  we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

My work colleague love for her former husband became more clearer to me when I began to consider God’s love for us which is not dependent upon our past, wrongdoings or failures. Nothing can separate His Love from us and no can take a away the woman’s acorn from the mantle place.

Glory to God… Forever

Glory to GodLord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world from everlasting to everlasting you are God. Psalm 90:1-2

Hear this, all you peoples; listen, all who live in this world, both low and high, rich and poor alike: My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the meditation of my heart will give you understanding. Psalm 49:1-3 

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Corinthians 1:20-22

This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. 1 Timothy 2:3-6a

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 2 Peter 1:2

AMEN!!!

Saved from Hinduism

What follows is a testimony from a friend of mine who is a former Hindu. Although his parents may consider him a failure because he left their religion and gave up their wealth, he now heads a large ministry with international connections. In God’s eyes, he is not a failure, he is one of God’s success stories.

The seashore was familiar; the beach was crowded as usual.  I walked toward the rolling waves.  “They are just like me” I thought “so restless.” I would be restless until I knew who I was, where I came from, and where I would go. Not only were these questions troubling me, but my guilty conscience also was beginning to bother me.

I was born in a well-respected, high-caste Hindu family.  My mother took great pains to teach me unadulterated Hindu orthodoxy.  She got up at four in the morning and after a dip in the temple tank, went into the local temple to have worship her favorite deity.  Very often she dragged me along with her. I would be deprived of my breakfast if I did not myself pay a morning visit to the temple.

We had our own family shrine also.  In the evenings we worshipped there.  We had our supper only after the ‘namam-japam’  (chanting of verses worshipping various deities).  As a teenager, I regularly got up around 4 am and after my ritual bath (which was a purification ritual). went into the temple to worship and pray to the various gods and goddesses.

From my early childhood, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a militant Hindu organization, began to mold my thinking.  The RSS (as it is commonly known) founders borrowed heavily from the Nazi Youth movement methodology.  It is the only fascist organization in the world so far that has not seen a split all these years.  It has similar goals as ‘al-Qaeda’ and Taliban and ISIS. but with Hinduism as the religion.  I was made to believe that India, Hindustan, is for Hindus and our goal should be a ‘Hindu-Raj’ (Hindu nation).  They taught that a true Indian can only be a Hindu and non-Hindus should embrace the Hindu philosophy  or leave India.  So I grew up with a strong hatred for people who were not Hindus, especially for Christians and Muslims.

In my teens, I felt I should serve my country through the RSS. My mission was to bring back ‘defectors’ from the Hindu faith who had become Christians and Muslims.  If we could mange to get a non-Hindu man ‘purified’ to Hinduism, this was considered to be the height of achievement.

However, there was a vacuum within me. Life was a riddle. Questions concerning my nature and destiny plagued my mind. To drown my endless questions and cover up my fears, I tried to get ‘kicks’ out of life.  Before I realized it, I was a slave to un-healthy habits. I became desperate.  My sincere attempts to break my habits and find answers to my questions led me from one god man to another and from one temple to another.  The result?  Disillusionment. I finally concluded that there was no meaning to life at all.

At that time, one of my friends, a doctor, told me he had an experience with Christ. He was a notoriously evil man. I could not believe the positive change I saw in him.  He was very enthusiastic about his new found faith and most of the time he talked about Christ. I thought the whole thing must be the effect of the moon on his brain.

About the same time, I met a student who had been a communist leader.  He told me, “Jesus Christ changed my philosophy and made my life a meaningful one.” I was puzzled. Here I was, trying to ‘save’ my people from the clutches of Christianity, faced with two fellows who claimed to have met Christ.  Also they possessed what I did not have and what I was desperately seeking!!! And they kept after me, even though I tried to avoid them like the plague.

My active involvement in RSS and other socio-religious activities did not make me happy. I was getting more miserable day by day. So one of my relatives took me to a psychiatrist.  My Problem was beyond the reach of psychiatrists.

One day, I happened to be in my doctor friend’s room.  He was, as usual, telling me about Jesus Christ and how Christ was helping him in his life.  Not realizing why I did so, suddenly I said in my heart,  “Jesus, I do not know you.  I really do not believe you are a god.  For gods cannot be killed.  But if you are the true God, change me. Now. Not when I am sixty years old, but right now.  Give me peace. Reveal yourself to me. If you do that, then, I will  give my life to you as I wanted to give to the RSS.”

A little later when I left that room I found myself strangely different.  The questions that had been tormenting me had vanished.  My fears were gone.  I felt a remarkable calmness.  I had a new realization that Jesus was real and He was my God.  The hold my habits had on me, which I had been trying to break for months, was gone.  Instantly. I had no more craving for drugs or any such thing. My faith in the gods and goddesses I had worshipped vanished and in my heart, a strong and pleasant realization that Jesus is the true Lord and God of this world.  Christ alone is my Lord and my Savior.

My parents and relatives could not accept this change in me.  Can a high caste Hindu join this low-caste religion?  They soon found that they could not turn me from my lunatic ways so they became quite hostile towards me and disowned me.  It was a difficult experience. I felt that I should move to another town.  Also I thought that God wanted me to serve Him.

Within weeks of my coming to Christ, the Lord led me and ‘entrusted’ me to man a missionary from the United States of America.  He became my guru.  Since then, until his death, he has been my mentor, a ‘Paul’ to a ‘Timothy’.

The Lord has given me a very good wife; she is a committed Christian and has a definite call to serve God. We also have two wonderful children.

The Widow’s oil

The Widow was in  extreme poverty. She had nothing but a jar of oil (2 King 4:1-7). There was nothing of value left in the house but a jar of oil. Her husband had died and the creditors wanted to take her sons into slavery. She had already lost the love of her life and was about to lose the most precious of God’s blessings, her children when Elisha turned up on time.

Some commentators have suggested that she and her husband were in debt before he died and the debt were gradually growing worse over a period of time. Her husband was a god fearing man who was very much associated with the prophets.

Does this scripture bear any  relevance for us today? Yes, there are many Christians even today who are struggling with financial debts through making wrong choices when things were good. The message is don’t you give up on God who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us (Ephesian 3:20).

What today’s reading demonstrates to us is that when faith is mixed up with our talents we can overcome the harshest  challenges of life. The prophet asked her to borrow jars from her neighbours and to fill them the jar of oil. She believed God without questioning whether it was possible for an single  jar oil would have been able to fill several other jars. God goes beyond science and human logic. God  can use the little we have to create the miraculous. Jesus fed 5000 people with a few fishes and bread (Matthew 14 13:21).

When the widow acted in faith  in bringing in the jars He delivered her from poverty to affluent. He is the same God today who is your deliverer and provider.

Our Life Under the Sun

Our Life under the sunFrom one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. Acts 17:26-27

King Solomon said … then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun (on Earth). Despite all his efforts to search it out, man cannot discover its meaning. Even if a wise man claims he knows, he cannot really comprehend it. Ecclesiastes 8:17

Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him—for this is his lot. Ecclesiastes 5:18

Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. Ecclesiastes 9:9

For while we are in this tent, (our human bodies) we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, (immortality/eternal life) so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Corinthians 5:4-5

Thank you God, AMEN!!!

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I am not alone

 

I wish you were alive and still on this earth Lord so that I could be with you in the flesh. I need you to comfort me with real arms and wipe the tears of my past away. Help me put away the anguish and pain that follows me like a cloud. I know you are in my heart loving me as a father to a daughter who has lost every hope of a future with someone. I think who would want my highly sensitive person and the complicated past. Only you Lord want me. Only you Lord will love unconditionally. Only you will fight my battles. Only you will go before me. Help me Lord to forgive and leave my memories of my predators to you and the cross. Let me not lose the person you have created me to be. My Lord is my help and shield in time of trouble. I will trust that he has my best interest at heart as He takes me through the valley of the shadow of death; for He is with me. The Lord prepares a table before my enemies (predators). He anoints my head with oil my cup overflows; surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.

Sometimes I forget who I am when my past and the words of my attackers visit me the darkest times of my life. Those words that Satan whisper’s in my ear send me to another place and the visit is cruel. Why do I listen? I am no longer a victim but a overcomer. I had already healed from these words but new memories have surface and new faces and they have made me stumble because they are family. I had an inkling of the one but without the face in the memory I didn’t want to go there; but now it has been revealed as so.

The Lord has been good to me and bringing these memories He knew I would stand strong in Him. I would not forget what the Lord has already done for me. The Lord has been everything to me. He has protected, provided, and my warrior when I needed Him to fight my battles. But, the scope of the memories and people has broadsided me. The human body can withstand much punishment but I believe that my Lord was with me through my ordeals. My tiny fingers were held by my creator and as my fingers grew He was still there waiting patiently for me to cry out to Him for help. I was very angry child and adult and I took it inward. But, my Father in heaven reached out and drew me out and gave me a voice. My voice sets up my boundaries, calls to God for help, seeks good friendships, prays for others, reads out loud the Bible, my voice speaks truth, and my voice sings praises to a loving and forgiving God.

When drawn to the dark side it’s because I forget who I am. We need to help ourselves to remember who we are. I am a daughter of King. (John 1:12) I was adopted when I asked Jesus into my life. (Ephesians 1:5) I am born of God; the evil one cannot touch me. (1John 5:18) I can do all things thru Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13) Satan will do everything he can to distract and kill your soul. Do not let Satan in. Greater is He who is in you then he that is in the world. (1John 4:4) If your spirit acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that doesn’t acknowledge that Jesus Christ is not from God. (1John 4:2-3) We need to test our friends and boyfriends because many will deceive you into thinking they know the Christ; when truly they do not and they will rob you of your relationship with Jesus Christ.

Fight for your relationship with Jesus Christ when you are going through deep sorrow. Do not allow family, friends, and boyfriends to say you are making things up. Go to Jesus Christ and a trusted friend to pray with you through your hard times. Find a Christian Counselor who will speak truth and pray that the Lord will use them in your life. Do not feel that you are alone because Jesus will go before you and make a way. Do not be press into staying busy because you are suppressing everything down and not facing it. This is not going away if you do not face it; and the Lord only gives us what we can handle for the day.

Songs have helped me to grieve my lost. You know those songs and movies that will give a voice to your pain use them. Read the Bible for those scriptures that bring strength, trust, love, and deliverance. Neil T. Anderson, “The Bondage Breaker” will help you let go and forgive. Be nice to yourself, rest, and pamper yourself. This life is hard but it will get easier if you do not take this life out on yourself. Do not beat yourself up we have all fallen short of the glory of God; we are all not perfect. (Romans 3:23) Do not blame yourself give it to the Lord. I have a cross in my heart where I carve the names, sins, and the offenses committed on me. Why? It’s a reminder that I have already given it to Jesus, and that cross reminds me that Jesus died for ever sin, disease and offense.

God loved me so much that He sent His One, Only Son Jesus Christ came down to earth to be born and to die on a cross of wood. Jesus carried all our past, present and future sins, diseases and our sorrows on Him Self for us. I do not need to carry all my gruesome past memories anymore I can give them to Jesus and He can then change my dirty, filthy garment into a white robe that is washed in the blood of Jesus Christ.

If you are still carrying the past memories and they continue to bring hate and destruction. You do not need to take them any further because I know a man who was dearly loved by His father. This man took on the task because He knew we couldn’t make it on our own. We would keep feeding this sin against us and it wouldn’t make us happy. This man wants us to remember good memories and not bad. He wants us to live a life-like no one else. That is why Jesus Christ took the beating that stripped his back to the bone, he endured the shame of his clothes being taken from Him, and He endured mocking and more beating, and then the walk with the cross on His back that was stripped of skin. Jesus walked that walk for us. They nailed His hands and feet and HE was all alone as He faced the end. God had abandoned His Son because of sin. God couldn’t look on sin because He was pure. So, His Son had to endure the pain of the cross all alone. Jesus Christ died, and on the third day rose to be seated at the right hand of the Father to intercede for us. Because Jesus Christ endured the cross alone He doesn’t want ANY of us to endure loneliness and hardship. Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts but cling to His every word that He loves you and is calling you to come home. Believe that He came in the flesh so that He could die for us. Repent of holding on to the sins that were against you. Give them to Jesus and He will cleanse you. Ask Him into your hearts and take a step forward in your healing process.

Thank you, Father for your undying love for me. Thank you, for not letting go of my hand. Thank you for writing your name on my heart. Thank you, that I am not alone. I pray you will keep healing our hearts that we will not be afraid to seek help. Help us to find our voice and use it for you. Let us make new memories with you. I pray that you will bring back what the locust took from us and you will bless us with new hopes and dreams.

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

 

Ephesians 3:14-21