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This was supposed to just be a short post on a couple of things God taught me during this week, but as it turns out, is not. 😉

1. Faith:

I finally learned what it means that Jesus is the author and “finisher” of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). It’s a term my Dad used a lot in his prayers and sermons, but I don’t think I ever quite understood it too well until this week. I’ve been learning a lot about faith lately, and I clearly understand that “without faith it is impossible to please God”. I also understand that God has made it easy for us to have that faith because He Himself is the “author” of our faith. He Himself puts faith in us when we accept Him into our lives, which itself is a step of faith.

The Bible talks about us having faith as tiny as a mustard seed, and even that little faith being enough to move mountains. So I went with that thought. I imagined a tall transparent glass with just one tiny mustard seed in it – pitifully tiny, insignificant and incapable of anything big in that large glass. That’s how my faith is more often than not. However, this is what I learned… that no matter how small, insignificant or incapable of anything our faith is, God completes it for us, in other words, he is the “finisher” of our faith. It’s as if He fills that tall glass with Himself and thereby makes all things possible. I imagine the glass being filled up with water (symbolic of the Holy Spirit). Try it practically and see what happens… you will see that the mustard seed no longer remains at the bottom of the glass, but rises up bit by bit to the very top and floats there. So it is with our faith… no matter how small, when we realize that Jesus Himself completes it, our faith rises to meet the challenge. We are emboldened with courage just knowing that He completes our faith and we are not in the struggle alone… and suddenly ALL things become possible for us.

2. It’s not about us and our capabilities; it’s about Him and His infinite abilities:

This sort of goes hand in hand with what I learned on faith, and I’ve seen this happening through this last week as I’ve ministered to people with various needs, most of them beyond me and my own understanding. I’ve seen God use me despite my inability in certain situations, and give me the right words at the right time for people that He brought my way in His perfect time. I know that none of those were co-incidences or mistakes, but divine appointments. In one particular situation I didn’t feel very “knowledgeable” regarding the situation, but God gave me His wisdom to deal with it. All it took was for me to say, “Here I am, Lord. I’m available. Use me. If you can use anything, Lord, you can use me!”

I was moved by a dialogue towards the end of the film, Prince Caspian (yes, I am a HUGE Narnia fan, in case you don’t already know that). After the war is won, when Aslan meets with the children, he tells Prince Caspian that the time has come for him to be King and rule over the land. Prince Caspian is overwhelmed and says something like, “But I don’t think I am ready yet”, to which Aslan’s reply is, “It is for that very reason I think you are.”

God is not looking for people who think they have it all together and are content in their self-sufficiency. God is looking for people who know they are not capable in and of themselves, but He is able. We need to always remind ourselves that it is never about us and our capabilities, but about Him and His infinite abilities! And be available for Him to use.

3. Obedience:

1 Samuel 15:22 says, “Obedience is better than sacrifice”. Along with faith, knowing that it’s all about God and being available for Him to use, goes obedience. We have often heard people say, “Delayed obedience is disobedience”. So true! I have been learning that too this week. It is better to obey God no matter how crazy it might seem.

Last night I heard God tell me something that sounded like He was out of His mind. I was like, “What??? No, no, no… there’s nothing I can do about it. Thank you for telling me, but I don’t see how I can help with that.” But I couldn’t bring myself to ignore God’s voice and eventually found myself doing the outlandish thing He told me to. Now, this involved another person too, and even if I had done my part in obedience, the buck stopped with her if she thought I was out of my mind. To my surprise, she not only took me seriously, but was also obedient to what she said was the Holy Spirit telling her not to just brush it aside as some nonsense like she would have normally done, but to act on it. What our obedience achieved, I am yet to find out, and I sincerely hope it saved a life. However, the point is not what we achieved, but that we were both obedient to God and his voice. John 10: 27 says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” What is God saying to you today? Are you one of His sheep? Are you following Him?

4. Look Inside Yourself!

The fourth thing I learned this week is something very personal, but I want to share it all the same, knowing that many struggle with this question. We often wonder why God doesn’t “show” Himself to us and reveal Himself visibly. Why is it that God shows Himself to some stranger who has never even heard of Him, ever, but won’t show Himself to me??? I remember reading once that God, more often than not, needs to show Himself to those that don’t believe and those who would find it hard to believe if He didn’t. However, for those of us that have a strong faith and believe in Him even without having seen him, it is not necessary for us to see Him. I made myself content for a while thinking, “Oh, I must have great faith that God doesn’t need to show Himself for me. Cool!” And that was cool… but there came a time not too long ago, when I asked the Lord to show Himself to me and He did in a very strange way, so much so that it freaked me out for a bit, wondering what the strange Presence in my room was. His Presence remained in my room several days, and I would see it every night. But after a while I stopped seeing it. Then the other night I asked the Lord to show Himself to me again, and this is what He answered, “Why are you looking here for me? Look inside yourself!” Whoa! That was pretty amazing to me, and a necessary reminder that He is inside of me, working in and through me. When others see me, I sincerely hope they see Jesus inside of me.

Now, I’d like to make it clear that God is very capable of showing Himself to anyone, and in different ways to different people. For me at this point in time, this is what He chose specifically for me. The only reason I am sharing it is because I know many people have the same question on their minds, and I hope to encourage you not to stop seeking after Him, but to wait patiently, spend time in His presence, and in His time, He will reveal Himself in His own way.

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I’ve learned in all my difficult circumstances to stop and ask God, “What do you want me to learn from this situation?” – something my Dad set a great example for. I admit that I haven’t spent as much time as I used to with God of late. I’ve been so caught up with travel and work that I’m way behind my Bible reading schedule too. So, is this Your way of telling me I need to focus on You and spend more time with You? Am I drowning You out in all my busy-ness and leaving no room for Your voice to be heard? Forgive me, Father. Speak Lord, Your servant is listening…

“I forgive you. You have to forgive yourself and let it go.”

I do.

So… I take my laptop for servicing, and they find that there is no external or internal damage, but it turns out the Hard Drive has crashed – that too, more likely because of my having installed Norton Anti-Virus than my dropping it! What a relief! Thank you, Jesus! So much for all that guilt and self-condemnation! Either way, lesson learned:

1. Don’t install Norton AV on a Mac and then drop it down a few days later.

2. Don’t be careless and drop your Mac anyways!

Retrieving data would cost a bomb, so I agree to having them reformat my Hard Drive. But then a couple of days after reformatting, it crashes again. So this time they have to actually replace my Hard Drive. Thankfully, my laptop is under warranty, so the next day I receive my laptop ship-shape, all updated and in working order, with a brand new HD only minus my files, and I haven’t had to pay even a single paisa!!! Whoa! I’m amazed! Datalogics is THE place to go for anything Apple in Chennai, and Mr. Diwakar rules!

(http://www.datalogicsindia.com/)

 

Then I stop to ponder how symbolic the whole situation is of my own life and where it has been. I had made a mighty big mistake but a few months back and put myself through the torture of blaming myself and trying to figure out what I had done wrong and what I could do to make things right. Oh, so much shame, pain, guilt and self-condemnation, not to mention the anger and bitterness! Over the months I had learned to accept my mistakes, forgive the other people concerned and ask for forgiveness myself – both of God and man. That done, I thought that I had learned all I could from my mistakes and that time would heal, but I was wrong.

Like my laptop I was at a fragile point in life and despite having taken all the precautions I thought necessary, I was on the brink of crashing under pressure. Nothing I could do in my own might could ever make things right – not the mind, not the will, not the knowledge or the power. Trying to reformat my system wouldn’t be good enough either, because somewhere there would always be a bad sector and time and again I would only keep crashing. Only He could take my corrupt, messy, wounded heart of stone and give me a pure, clean heart of flesh, a heart that could love again and be loved in return. All the trash of the past would be wiped out and I could begin again with a clean slate. No doubt it would be difficult to rebuild from scratch, but it would be well worth the effort. It was just a simple choice I had to make, and it would literally cost me nothing. I had a life-long warranty in Him.

So… I begin afresh by forgiving myself and letting go, giving it all up to my Maker and letting Him give me a complete change of heart drive.

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The majority of people that live in my apartment are extremely silly. Here’s why:

Our apartment has been having water problems in the past couple of months. We haven’t been getting water in our taps at all because there’s no water from the bore well. Instead, if we want to survive, we have to wake up at around 3:00 a.m. every alternate day, wait for the municipal water supply and store sufficient water for 2 days in our respective apartments. After everyone has filled all they can fill, if there is any remaining water in the sump, they pump it up to the overhead tank. But only one pipe downstairs has its valve open. So anyone who wants to fill extra water during the day has to fill what water comes out of this pipe. (Hope you’re still with me…)

But what happens more often than not is that in spite of having filled pot loads all night long, the same people line up early in the morning in front of the pipe with all the pots, buckets and cans they can find (where they find so many or have the place to store them, and what they do with the water they had filled just a few hours before I don’t know!) – so much so that those who come even a little later never get any water at all. In short, every neighbor of mine is nothing but pure selfish.

I struggled the past 2 months, lost the little weight I had put on, and have finally grown sick and tired of this ordeal – literally. I was more than grateful for the rains when they began, but that didn’t change my situation.

Finally I called the care taker and asked him why he wasn’t supplying water in our houses despite the rain, and this is what he had to say, “Actually, there is no water problem any more, but the others still want to go downstairs and fill water from the pipe. So when they do that, water from the overhead tank goes directly to the pipe and doesn’t come to the houses.”

!!! I was both dumbfounded and frustrated beyond words! I could not understand this senselessness that had overcome my neighbors! They would much rather climb up and down 2-3 flights of stairs, carrying heavy pots and cans of water some 10 times a day, and waste all their time and energy filling water from the pipe downstairs than simply having the water come right into their homes!

Hullo… Am I the only one that thinks this is stupidity?!?!? Why is it so hard for them to simply fill water from their own taps??? That way everyone will have enough and no one has to struggle to do it. It’s only fair! What’s so appealing about filling water from the pipe downstairs anyway??? Does it somehow give them the sense that they have filled more? Or do they simply enjoy the physical exercise it gives them? Or what?!?!? How thoughtless and selfish could one possibly get? Neighbors, fellow-humans, apartment-mates, why can’t you fill water from your own tap???

When I thought about this, I was strangely reminded of a verse from the Bible… “Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well.” – Proverbs 5:15. The context? Being faithful to your spouse and not being tempted into adultery. One mmight wonder, what’s the connection, but I’m not going to elaborate on that. I’ll leave it for those who read this to study the passage themselves and ponder over it (it’s Proverbs 5:15-23). All I have to say is this: Don’t be selfish and thoughtless like my neighbors. Please fill water from your own tap!

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Well, last night was more peaceful for me for the sole reason that I let go my fear of having the lizard running around my house or jumping on my bed, and decided to sleep no matter what. Besides, I was really exhausted after a long day’s work and some shopping in the sultry heat of summer.

However, I felt really low for some reason and found that I had a fever all of a sudden. Couldn’t think why I was having a fever for apparently no reason, and I was worried because I am just recovering from a second bout of hepatitis. I immediately thought of what my good friend Tara told me on Monday. She recently moved to Delhi and when I called her, she asked me if I’m doing ok health-wise and if I’m happy because she had a disturbing dream about me not looking very happy. When she shared it with her friend Christina, Christina told her to pray for me, and so together they had prayed for me. I really appreciated that. I thought it was very wise, discerning and thoughtful of them both.

Many times I myself have had disturbing dreams about someone I know, and I’ve learned that sometimes God gives you such dreams so you can pray for that person and either warn or counsel them.

Anyways, I text messaged Tara immediately telling her that I wasn’t feeling too well and to pray for me, and then I myself decided to pray. I searched my Bible for something on health, and the first thing that I found was the story of the woman who suffered from bleeding (Mark 5: 25 – 34, Matthew 9: 20 -22, Luke 8: 43 – 48).

Luke 8:43-48 (New International Version) www.biblegateway.com:

As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. 43And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years,[a] but no one could heal her. 44She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.

45“Who touched me?” Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”

46But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”

47Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 48Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

I was amazed by that passage. I’ve read the story ever since I was a small child, but for the first time, I realized that sometimes healing doesn’t come because of medicines that doctors prescribe (vs. 43: “but no one could heal her”), and neither does it come by extreme prayer and rebuking of an illness (vs. 45: Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”) – although those are good too. But sometimes, all it takes is just enough faith to touch the edge of Jesus’ cloak, and know that you will be healed. And the powerful words of Jesus are such a comfort, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

It took a lot for me to summon that courage and pray, “Lord, right now I’m reaching forward and touching the edge of your cloak in faith. Let your healing flow through me and heal my body, mind and heart.” And that was it.

I woke up this morning as fit as a fiddle, no fever, no pain, no worry of falling ill again.

This little instance has taught me a powerful prayer of healing. I hope someone who desperately needs healing, be it in their bodies, minds, or hearts, will find the same healing in Jesus that I did just by touching His cloak.

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I’m a very impatient person by nature. I love things done on time and absolutely hate it when people arrive late for a meeting or keep dilly-dallying before they can get a job done. For me, things should be done as and when I ask for them.

Many of us are this way when it comes to things we need. We want this and we want that… and we want it immediately! When we find it hard to make both ends meet, we want a raise in salary that very month. Even as kids I’m sure we demanded toys and chocolates on the dot… “No, now!” is what we would have cried, throwing tantrums if we didn’t get our way.

Seems like impatience is imbedded in the veins of every human being, and to get it out of our system is quite a complicated task!

This is especially true when we demand things of God. Often we pray with the sincerest of faith, expecting miracles to happen – but nothing does (at least that’s the way it seems). We ask God for healing from a sickness, for help in a relationship that’s all messed up, to do well in our studies, or for good friends. But very often God does not seem to be listening.

That’s when we begin to doubt if God even exists and if there’s any use in praying at all. We get all worried and anxious about our situation and cause others around us to worry as well. In our impatience we sometimes even make wrong choices that we end up regretting later on in life. But then you ask, “What else are we to do???”

The Bible tells us not to be impatient. It says, “Wait patiently for God and He will come and save you. Be brave and courageous. Wait and He will help you.”

Well, I guess you think that’s better said than done. But have you ever tried it? Have you ever said to God in a tough situation, “God, I don’t know what you’re up to, but I’m not gonna lose hope. I trust you and I’m simply gonna wait for you to work things out for me.”?

Now don’t get me wrong, waiting does not mean just sitting and hatching eggs, it means waiting proactively. The Bible also says, “Don’t be impatient for God to act. Keep traveling steadily along His pathway and in due season He will honor you with every blessing.”

Wow! That’s something to think about! Waiting means being patient for God to answer you, but carrying on in the mean time with what we’re supposed to do. And there’s a promise that follows – that God will honor us with all the blessings we need – if only we will be patient.

Isn’t that awesome? I bet none of us wanna miss out on those blessings by being impatient and trying to get things done our own way, do we? No way! So if you’re in a situation today that is getting you all impatient and worried, leave it to God. Wait and He will answer you in His time.

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If you, like me, dread lizards and wonder why God ever took such pains to create them, you’ll understand this better…

I spent half my evening just chasing a silly lizard from room to room until I finally ended up with a severe headache! I would chase it from a corner in my bedroom to corner in the living room, and when I tried chasing it out of there, instead of running elsewhere, it would run right back to the same corner in my bedroom where I had found it in the first place! Back and forth it ran, with me running behind it, stick in hand (!!!) until it finally got the right idea and decided to run for its life – so fast, that I didn’t even have a clue as to where it had gone!

I guess we sometimes, like that lizard, run back and forth between problems and situations, with God chasing after us. He chases us out of corners in our lives that He knows aren’t the best for us, but oftentimes we run back to the same habits, relationships and lifestyles that He took so much pain chasing us out of.

Sometimes we run out of confusion and sometimes out of fear, but little do we realize that if we just allow Him to lead us, He will take us where we ought to go.

Hebrews 12:6 says, “Whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” I’d like to rephrase that as Whom the Lord loves He chases.” (for reasons of this illustration only.)

Most times we question God as to why He is chasing us around with seemingly no aim. The truth is, God is the only one who knows fully well what is best for us. Therefore, He sometimes has to be strict with us, chasing us with a rod in hand. At other times he may be gentle with us, carefully leading us out of situations.

As much as it might seem cruel of God to be chasing us, the fact that He does so only because He loves us is truly amazing. In our distress we fail too see the blessings God has in store for us, but only when we allow Him to push us to where He wants us to be, can we find true happiness, fulfillment and freedom.

I now realize that God must have created creatures such as lizards just to teach us poor ignorant, unseeing humans such valuable lessons as this.

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