Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Funny how the topic of marriage has become an increasingly popular and often discussed one among many of my friends, more so in the recent past. I suppose the older we get with our statuses unchanged, the more pressure to be married by hook or by crook, to find that clichéd Mr. Right (or Miss. Right) and live happily ever after. I can understand this well in our Indian culture, with me being in this category myself – well, not exactly, but somewhere there… Anyway, all this talk about wanting to find the love of one’s life got me thinking and I decided to blog some of my thoughts.

To most of you reading this blog post, it is no news that I have been down that road many a time only to be hurt & disappointed (and vice versa to the concerned parties, I’m sure). I am presently at a point in life where I am just content to be single & let Jesus take that place rather than face more hurt & disappointment, although that is easier said than done. However, that does not mean I have been written off the “charts” or am no longer a fish swimming in the deep, wide ocean. The difference is, I’m no longer desperate to “get hooked” or to go find “the one” because I’m pretty confident anyone worth marrying is going to come find me! Moreover, like I quoted an unknown person some time ago, I do believe “A girl’s heart must so be hidden in Christ that a man has to seek Him to find her.” That’s the only kind of man I want to marry after all of my bitter experiences, and nothing short of that will do – a man who first seeks God & the kingdom of Heaven and finds that all the rest falls in line.

One of my friends recently asked me, “What do you girls expect? Jesus?!?” I thought about it, and the truth is, yes! :o) Well, at least for me… I sometimes wonder what a hot dude Jesus must have been while He lived on earth – son of a carpenter and carpenter Himself… I don’t think He ever needed a workout because the natural must have been gazillion times better. 😛 What??? Call it blasphemy, burn me at the stake if you like, but I’m pretty sure Jesus was HOT, in fact way HOTTER than any currently existing piece of male flesh for sure! He totally burned it up, and He still does for me, for real. No, I’m not kidding. I really mean that. I am completely in love with Jesus, and if anyone wants to win my heart, they’re gonna have to beat Him. So there! Ha! 🙂

That said, let’s be practical… marrying Jesus ain’t gonna happen as long as I’m on this earth, so here’s the next best option: a dash of Jeremy Camp, a pinch of Lincoln Brewster, a whole lot of Jesus on the inside, and I’m good to go. Wishful thinking? Maybe… but what am I going to lose by thinking?

So… to tie the knot or not? That is the question… As I pondered this, God showed me a fruit tree with a ripe red fruit hanging on it. I felt like that fruit myself, ready to be plucked. Now, let’s not allow our imaginations wander away & border on disgusting here… but a ripe fruit is good for several things: to be eaten as is, or to be made into a jam or juice or jelly or some other edible product. And with that, a ripe fruit would have served its purpose. But what if… what if… nobody actually plucked that ripe fruit? Would it have failed and not served a purpose? Over time it would fall to the ground, begin to shrivel, rot, and gradually become nothing but dirt. Sad.

I think the analogy is pretty clear, the plucked fruit resonating with the much-desired, fanciful married life while the rotted one represents the unmarried life of misery. But wait… what’s that I see? Several months, maybe even years, down the line I see a shoot springing up from the dirt. Tiny, green, easily mistaken for a weed, but a shoot nevertheless… In a few more months or years, I see that shoot grow into a large tree itself, bearing flowers, fruit & being a home to many a bird… much more than it could ever have achieved, had it been plucked and eaten or made into some other fancy foodstuff. Did the uneaten fruit not serve a purpose? Indeed not! I believe both the eaten & the rotten served their purposes just as had been destined even before the world began.

So here’s my conclusion: to be married some day remains a great desire. However, let not anyone who might not ever get married assume that his or her life is meaningless and has failed its purpose. In fact, God may be able to achieve greater, mightier things in and through your singleness than He could have ever achieved through your marriage. And for the married or marrying, I’m not done yet… eaten fruits must also have their seeds or cores discarded, which at some point reach the dirt too… and we all know what happens after. Therefore, eaten or rotten, you serve a purpose; serve it well! To tie the knot or not, it matters not.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

kite_runner

I’ve been catching up on all the reading I missed out on the last several years for a variety of reasons (mostly time, resources and other distractions) and just got done with The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Having already watched the last quarter of the film I imagined I had spoiled it for myself, but on the contrary I must say I quite enjoyed the latter half of the book. It has been one of the best-written fictions from the East that I have read in a while (that list including The White Tiger, Slumdog Millionaire or Q & A, and Three Mistakes of My Life). I must also add that I appreciate that Hosseini could describe rather dark incidents without the grossness that authors like Aravind Adiga thrive on, a grossness that completely puts me off.

The book to a large extent deals with the father-son relationship and the concept of redemption. Usually books affect my mind and sort of have a cathartic effect on me, particularly because I tend to identify with some character in the book. This time, however, the character I identified the most with was probably Sohrab who makes his entry only in the last few chapters of the book. The reason being, in the past I too have often slept my worries off, or chosen silence over communication… I too have merely resigned myself to my fate, like a lamb lead to the slaughter and felt “tired”, as in sick and tired of life, wishing I could have my old life back. But no, I have never attempted suicide or even considered it an option. I am thankful I no longer feel that way, my life having radically taken a turn for the better. Still, I could understand Sohrab’s character and emotions more than any other.

Quite a few times in the book I stopped to think about how different my values are compared to some of those related in the book, particular the concept of redemption that runs like a jugular vein through the entire story. The extent to which Amir had to go to redeem himself in the book is rather sad… sure, it makes a good story, and I applaud the fact that he was able to give Sohrab a new lease of life almost at the cost of his own, but Amir’s main motivation being one of self-redemption worries me.

The concept of being redeemed by our deeds is something I have never been able to bring myself to terms with. To me, it completely defies the very existence of God and His work in our lives. At the least, it makes God out to me a mean, unforgiving being who derives sadistic pleasure from our suffering – an image of God I simply cannot and will not accept simply because it is too bizarre to be true. I have always been taught and do firmly believe that Christ Himself redeemed us by shedding His blood for us on the cross, thereby paying the penalty of death for our sins once and for all. There is nothing more we can do to be “redeemed”, other than believing in what Christ did.

I found the following stuff on redemption on www.gotquestions.org:

Everyone is in need of redemption. Our natural condition was characterized by guilt: “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Christ’s redemption has freed us from guilt, being “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).

The benefits of redemption include eternal life (Revelation 5:9-10), forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7), righteousness (Romans 5:17), freedom from the law’s curse (Galatians 3:13), adoption into God’s family (Galatians 4:5), deliverance from sin’s bondage (Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 1:14-18), peace with God (Colossians 1:18-20), and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). To be redeemed, then, is to be forgiven, holy, justified, free, adopted, and reconciled. See also Psalm 130:7-8; Luke 2:38; and Acts 20:28.

The word redeem means “to buy out.” The term was used specifically in reference to the purchase of a slave’s freedom. The application of this term to Christ’s death on the cross is quite telling. If we are “redeemed,” then our prior condition was one of slavery. God has purchased our freedom, and we are no longer in bondage to sin or to the Old Testament law. This metaphorical use of “redemption” is the teaching of Galatians 3:13 and 4:5.

Related to the Christian concept of redemption is the word ransom. Jesus paid the price for our release from sin and its consequences (Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:6). His death was in exchange for our life. In fact, Scripture is quite clear that redemption is only possible “through His blood,” that is, by His death (Colossians 1:14).

The streets of heaven will be filled with former captives who, through no merit of their own, find themselves redeemed, forgiven, and free. Slaves to sin have become saints. No wonder we will sing a new song—a song of praise to the Redeemer who was slain (Revelation 5:9). We were slaves to sin, condemned to eternal separation from God. Jesus paid the price to redeem us, resulting in our freedom from slavery to sin and our rescue from the eternal consequences of that sin.

I am fully aware that to many minds, the idea of one NOT having to DO anything in order to be redeemed is practically unthinkable. There has to be SOMETHING I’ve got to do in order to redeem myself from my mistakes and my sins! Well, I’ve got both good news and bad news for those who think that way. The bad news first: there is NOTHING you or any other human can do on your behalf in order for you to be redeemed. The good news: “There is a way to be good again” – because Jesus has already done EVERYTHING that could ever be done to redeem you – it’s simply a matter of accepting that and walking in that faith. Too easy? Well, yes it is… And I thank God, He made it so easy for me to be free of my past, to no longer be bound by my sins, to be forgiven, to be redeemed! Today, no matter where I’ve been, no matter what I’ve done I can hold my head up high and live my life to the fullest, knowing that Christ has already paid the price and has set me free.

That said, I don’t mean to say that had I been in Amir’s position I would not have made the effort to rescue Sohrab and give him a good life. The difference would have been that my intention of doing that would not have been to redeem myself. Rather, I would be doing it simply out of love for another human, the same self-sacrificing love that Christ was an example of, the love that caused Him to lay Himself down so that I could be free, the love that Christ not only commanded to show a fellow-human but also flows through my very being, with Christ Himself as the centre of it.

I know all of this probably sounds strange to some. The other day I was confronted by someone on Facebook who commented on my friend’s status about having had a great talk with Jesus. Her comment was, “You make Jesus sound like a real person!” and my response was, “But He is a real person! He lives… He walks with me and talks with me… you ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart!” I was on fire that moment, and all I longed for was for the other person to see how true and real Jesus is to my friend and to me… I wanted her to experience it too. And that still is my prayer for the millions across the world who have never had that experience. I pray that people will be able to taste of it themselves and know it is true and real, to find forgiveness, release, acceptance, freedom, redemption, and a “way to be good again” in and through Jesus!

Read Full Post »

How many times in life do we ask, “Why, Lord, why??? Why me? Why now?” I’ve asked that question more times than I can count, and I’ve learned it’s a good thing to ask, because God always answers. He always shows and teaches me knew things through every dire circumstance I go through.

I was listening to CBN’s Spiritual Gifts Seminar online when Gordon was teaching about Moving in the Power of God, and what he shared really touched me and taught me something I needed to hear regarding a situation I have been struggling with.

(I am adding my notes from Gordon’s teaching in another post for anyone who is interested in reading them. Of course, you can also watch the teaching yourself at:

http://event.cbn.com/spiritualgifts/event/?EventID=114120)

Here are the key passages Gordon spoke from:

 

Luke 22: 

31“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

 33But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”

 34Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”

Peter Disowns Jesus

54Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” 

 57But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.

 58A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” 
      “Man, I am not!” Peter replied.

 59About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”

 60Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62And he went outside and wept bitterly.

John 21:

Jesus Reinstates Peter

 15When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”

      “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

      Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

 16Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

    Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!

 

These passages literally brought tears to my eyes even as I listened to Gordon speak on them and later read them, simply because I could so identify with Peter. Like Peter I had forgotten my past so much so that I thought I was perfect in one particular respect. I thought I could never fall into one sin, or be like the other “sinners” who are blinded and don’t quite realize what they are doing. In the past I had always discerned well when confronted by such situations and was able to deal with them strongly – maybe even overly so. I had even built up a reputation for being against those that gave into it and failed the test – not so much against the persons really, but the issue itself, although I did distance myself from people who gave in for fear of being associated with such behaviour and falling into it myself. Ask any of my close friends and they will testify to this. “Janie doing that? No way!” It was totally unimaginable.

And then, boom! A weak point in life and I rolled headlong right into it, almost before I realized what it was I was getting myself into. Sure I can blame circumstances, people and the enemy himself, but none of that is truly justified because it was a conscious mental decision to just do it followed by some very foolish actions. I can well imagine Jesus looking straight down at me the same way He looked at Peter, while the rooster crowed. “Did you really think you were immune and that you could never fall into this yourself? Well, guess what? You’re wrong!”

However, that was not the end. Thankfully, I do not serve a God who is quick to condemn and does not forgive. I can’t tell you how pathetically miserable I have felt about myself, putting myself through self-condemnation and knowing full well that what I was doing was wrong. One the one hand I wanted to be free of it, but on the other hand I actually enjoyed it because it gave me some kind of false comfort. Perhaps it made me feel good about myself and let me forget the sad reality, or perhaps a million other things, none of them justified in any way. 

The only thing that gave me comfort today was to know that despite Satan having asked for me to “sift me as wheat”, Jesus had been praying for me. He had prayed that whatever I went through, my faith would not falter and that I would return to Him. And not just that, but that after I myself had overcome, I would be able to strengthen others like me. Sure, I would go through this rough patch in life as difficult as it was because I was being sifted as wheat, refined, purified. When I had come through I would be a vessel fit for the Master’s use, and the Master would use me to encourage and help others through my own example. Wow!

I love how Jesus has his talk with Peter after the resurrection, commissions him into his service and basically reinstates and reaffirms His call on Peter’s life. It’s such a weight lifter just to know that God does not give up on us just because we have failed in a test, but that He is willing to forgive and accept us when we repent of it. I am so thankful that His call on my life hasn’t changed just because I screwed up. His plans still remain and I can go to Him with a repentant heart in that faith. 

I can literally hear Jesus say to me, “Janie, Janie, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Janie, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

Ah! That brings tears to my eyes just typing it! So here I am, turned back to strengthen my brothers and to comfort others with the comfort I myself have received from above.

I can imagine that anyone reading this might be wondering what this great, big “sin” is that I have been writing about. Well, it’s something I’m not quite comfortable talking about yet, but I will in time. And really, it’s not so much about what sin it is as much as it is sin and struggles itself, because what I have learned is applicable in any trial and testing. So I am thankful to have been sifted as wheat.

Read Full Post »

These are some notes I took down from Gordon Robertson’s teaching on CBN’s Spiritual Gifts Seminar.

 

Moving in the Power of God

Gordon Robertson

26 May 2009

http://event.cbn.com/spiritualgifts/event/?EventID=114120

 

Mark 9:23

All things are possible to him to BELIEVES. 

The only requirement to achieve the impossible is belief.

Doubt & unbelief are evil, they do not belong there and you need to get rid of them because doubt and unbelief affect your thoughts and come at you with thought patterns that are unbiblical, unscriptural, worldly – they belong better in Egypt than they do in the Promised Land.

Jesus literally prophesies to Simon Peter that he’s going to betray Him.

Luke 22:31-32

Satan has asked for you – has Satan ever asked for you?

That he may sift you as wheat – it’s God’s devil (Job – Satan goes to God to ask for you; Kings – a lying spirit comes to God and days I’ll solve your problem, I’ll go and put myself in him) – what’s up with that???

Note: God is NOT the author of any temptation – He is a good God.

When he sifts you as wheat, what is He trying to accomplish in you? Getting rid of the chaff – the junk.

Sifting wheat – got to toss it up in the air over and over, grind it against the other kernels so what’s left is pure wheat

You don’t want to take chaff into the mill to make flour coz it will really mess up the flour – gotta get all the chaff sifted off before the wheat is really good.

There are trials and tribulations that we may go through and Jesus’ specific persecution will come, offenses will come, you are going to be offended in your lifetime.

What do you do with that & how do you process that?

Peter is faced with an offence that he himself does – not with offences that other people do to him – and he swears it will never happen, I’ll never do that. But he does it anyway.

BUT I HAVE PRAYED FOR YOU

So when Satan’s asking, Jesus is praying – we have an advocate with the Father, we have got a good lawyer.

Holy Spirit’s task is helping & comforting

Jesus’ task is an intercessor; the best one there is, praying for us

That your faith should not fail, and when you have returned to me, strengthen your brethren

Has Satan come to sift you? And if he has, are you recognizing that? 

It’s insane to think that you’re better off on your own way as opposed to God’s way 

It’s much better in ministry. Are the attacks more? Yes. Is the sifting getting worse? Yes. Is God trying to make you into a vessel of silver and gold? Yes. You’re marked for sanctification. You’re meant for the inner court. He’s not going to take broken clay vessels in there. So He’s going to mould you and remake you and if necessary refine you again and again and again until those impurities are gone. It’s not an easy process. The metal smith needs to get the temperature hot enough to make sure all those impurities are gone. What is left is mouldable, formable and usable.

What is He trying to refine?

You thoughts, gut reactions, emotions and your faith.

Every one of those areas is going to get refined, sifted, purified, so you can be of fit service for the king.

In any earthly kingdom, is the king going to hold some common impure thing in his hands? No. He wants the best.

What does God want for you? The best.

We should “count it all joy” when various trials and tribulations come because that means you’re being sifted. 

Jesus appears to Peter after the resurrection and asks Peter 3 times, “Do you love me?”

Each time was followed by a commandment, “Feed my sheep”, “Feed my lambs”, do what I’m instructing you to do. It was a commissioning and a restoration. Peter was really hurting. The other disciples have got to know that Peter messed up big time. It shows the love of Christ being poured out, where He kept no record of wrong and all He wanted was to have Peter back. “I want Peter back. I’ve prayed for this moment. I’ve prayed for him to return. I’ve prayed for his faith to be strengthened so that he can strengthen his brothers. He can show them by example how you can come back from anything. You can come back from the worst of the worst and you can still find forgiveness, you can still find restoration. Because the gifts and the calling of God are without repentance. (Rom. 11:29)” When He called Peter, He meant it for all eternity. It wasn’t based on what Peter did, it was based on the initial call and the love of Christ poured out to him. 

Jesus hasn’t given up on you, and He is still praying for you. No matter how many tests you’ve failed, He’s still praying for you.

Keep in mind that Satan is a defeated foe.

So when he comes to sift you, the weapons of his warfare are:

He will throw anything he can use at you – he will come to accuse, distract, discourage, divide, loves to sow rumour, loves to sow division, he wants to attack your love coz he figures if he can quench your love he can quench your faith (faith works through love), he wants to remove any hope you have, he wants to steal your joy… but his ONLY WEAPON is to bluff you. It hasn’t really changed since the Garden of Eden. He comes at you with, “Did God say…?” So often we swallow that and say, “Well, I don’t know if He said that…” You start looking at your outward circumstances opposed to the Word of God, and think, “This is horrible! If this is what serving God means, it was better back in Egypt. At least in Egypt I had leaks and onion and garlic, and plenty of fish from the Nile… in this desert, all I’ve got is manna.”

Satan’s main tactics:

Hinder

Delay

Distract

Keep us away from God’s main purpose for our lives

The wonderful thing is, when he is directly confronted with the Word of God he leaves. Learn from the temptation of Jesus in the desert. All Jesus did was quote from the book of Deuteronomy. He didn’t argue with the devil, he didn’t complain about how hot it was in the desert, he didn’t say, “Boy, I’m so hungry, I would want to eat one of those stones.”

We have got to realize we outnumber Satan 2:1. He took a third of the angels. God still has 2/3rds. Who comes to minister to you in these times of trial, in your moment of Gethsemane? Angels come to strengthen you. So you’ve got:

Jesus praying for you

God the Father loving you

Holy Spirit comforting & helping you

A whole host of angels

What are you worried about?

James 1:2-8

Count it all joy

when you FALL into various trials – it’s ok to fall; we want to beat ourselves up every time we fall – James says, “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials…”

knowing that the TESTING OF YOUR FAITH produces PATIENCE

but let patience have its perfect work

that you may be PERFECT and COMPLETE, LACKING NOTHING.

We want to get out of the crucible. “I’m tired of this refining fire, it’s really hot right now. I don’t mind these impurities; they’re not so bad. This chaff around my kernel of wheat is really comforting to me. I’m used to this. I’m not used to being sifted.” You’ve gotta let it work all the way through. Let patience have its perfect work.

Have you ever thought of yourself as perfect?

Are you ready to say, “God, pour it on!”? Be careful. How much of a test are you willing to take? Realize that the author and finisher of our faith took some real big ones. Did people speak evil of Him? Yes. Did people accuse him of sins He didn’t commit? Yes. Did people wanna kill Him? Yes. The nails didn’t feel good, the wood on the cross didn’t feel good, it didn’t feel good to hang naked on a cross, they spat on Him, a crown on thorns on His head – and through it all He loved. 

I need to get to a point where my affirmation comes from Him, my identity comes from Him, and I know I’m good wheat. If He wants to use me for special service, ok. Coz I’ve learned that in His hands I’m a whole lot better, when I’m filled with His presence I’m a whole lot better, when I’m upheld by His righteous right hand I’m a whole lot better, and His plan is a whole lot better.

If any of you lacks wisdom – common thing in trials, we don’t see the end from the beginning and we get focused on the moment, on the moment of pain

Let him ask of God who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, WITH NO DOUBTING

For he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by doubting, for let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord. He is a DOUBLE MINDED man, UNSTABLE in all his ways.

Don’t be like the children of Israel. “I don’t wanna go into the Promised Land. I’d rather go back to slavery in Egypt.” And they stood between the Promised Land and Egypt for a full forty years, wandering aimlessly. Don’t do that. Be single-minded in purpose. I’m going to go to Heaven. That’s a good destination. Along my way to Heaven, the guy who promised me Heaven said I’m going to go through trials, tribulation, persecution, and I’m going to be offended. Yipee! But all of that is to try and test my faith, to let me become perfect and complete, lacking nothing. Are you counting it joy? 

How do you get through it? How to get answers to prayer in the midst of trial?

1. Does your heart condemn you?

1 John 3:20-22

For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart and knows all things. But if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence towards God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

All things are possible to him that believes. No matter what the situation, with God all things are possible. You can overcome whatever it is.

But if your heart condemns you, you’re in trouble. We all know this instinctively. When Adam and Eve sinned, they ran and hid and covered themselves because they were ashamed. You have trouble even going to God. So whatever it is, get rid of it. And we have this confidence that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We just have to take whatever that thing is and put it at the cross, and turn and repent of it, and go the other way. Leave it. Don’t pick it back up again.

2. Are we praying in accordance with His will?

1 John 5:14-15

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him: that if we ask anything according to His will He hears, and if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

How do you pray in accordance with the will of God?

Find a promise. Did God promise? Did God say? E.g.: I WILL pour out my Spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters SHALL prophesy.

Find a commandment, turn it into a promise. E.g.: Go, heal the sick, cleanse the leper, raise the dead…

If we pray in accordance with His will, we know that He hears us.

What’s the promise of the Spirit? You don’t just get a part of the Spirit. So when the whole Spirit comes and fills you, you get every gift. If you lack faith, faith is a gift of the Spirit and you can have more of it. All you have to do is ask for more. Name it, you get it because you’re praying in accordance with the Word of God and His Word says, “I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh.” I’ve got flesh. How about you?

Other promises: He forgives ALL your iniquities; He heals ALL your diseases. He restores your strength. He will renew you.

When you get to the part when you just want all things to be made new: Behold, all things are made new. I make all things new.

Do you lack in Joy? Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. You get it. It’s a promise. You’re praying in accordance with His will.

But realize that fruits are grown. The gifts are instantaneously given and you can exercise. The more you exercise the more you get and the better you get. But fruit is always grown. It takes time to mature. You’ve gotta see it through.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

 

A colleague shot this video on his digital camera during worship at my work place last week. That’s me in the maroon salwar singing and clapping like I’m half dead. 😛 Here are the lyrics for this beautiful song:

Your love is amazing, steady and unchanging
Your love is a mountain, firm beneath my feet
Your love is a mystery, how You gently lift me
When I am surrounded, Your love carries meChorus

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Your love makes me sing
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Your love makes me sing

Your love is surprising, I can feel it rising
All the joy that’s growing deep inside of me
Every time I see You, all Your goodness shines through
And I can feel this God song, rising up in me

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: