119Eighteen (14) : Celebration of HOPE!

119Eighteen (14) : Celebration of HOPE!

I’m excited at the upcoming Celebration of Hope rallies. My parents and aunt have agreed to be there – we have been praying for their salvation for over 20 years! Today I received this verse that those who sow in tears will reap in joy. Amen!

One of the proverbial sayings never fails to fascinate me :

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,

But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭13:12‬ ‭

I love The Passion Translation :

“When hope’s dream seems to drag on and on, the delay can be depressing.

But when at last your dream comes true, life’s sweetness will satisfy your soul.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭13:12‬ ‭TPT‬‬

I read that the word ‘hope’ in the verse means expectation. Yes, my expectation/hope in God does not disappoint. I want to cling onto this hope in Him to see our dreams of our loved ones entering the kingdom of light come true! God is totally trustworthy and really reliable.

He only is my rock and my salvation;

He is my defense;

I shall not be greatly moved.

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭62:2‬ ‭

There are amazing promises in the Bible on hope :

O Israel, hope in the LORD;

For with the LORD there is mercy,

And with Him is abundant redemption.

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭130:7‬ ‭

It is an assurance, a confidence, a trust in the One who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He has been my unshakable confidence, my covenant-keeping God, the Great I Am.

The eyes of all look to You [in hopeful expectation],

And You give them their food in due time.

‭‭Psalms 145:15‬ ‭AMP‬‬

No wonder it’s a celebration of hope! With expectation in Jesus Christ our LORD and King, there is sure security and perfect peace that He shall accomplish what He has purposed! Praise the Lord.

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119Eighteen (13) Storm and Swine – He is My Lord, So I Am Fine

119Eighteen (13)

Storm and Swine –

He is My Lord, So I Am Fine

On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.”

Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was.

And other little boats were also with Him.

And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling.

But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow.

And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”

Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!”

And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.

But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”

And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” Mark‬ 4:35-41

1. Where is Your Faith?

(The Word in the Storm)

Jesus had said to His disciples, “Let us cross over to the other side.”

Did His disciples obey Him? Yes, they took Him along in the boat as He was. Then what happened? A great windstorm arose.

Remember Jonah? He also ended up in a great storm. That was because of his disobedience. But the disciples got into a great storm because of their obedience to the Lord. (Wiersbe)

Has your obedience to the Lord also led you in some kind of storm in your life? Take courage, this word is for you.

So Jesus said that they would cross over to the other side. The disciples obeyed Him but did they believe Him? No, because when a great windstorm arose, they had thought they were perishing. They thought Jesus did not care about them perishing.

When we are facing a storm, when things go badly, do we see it as an indication that we have gotten into the wrong boat? Do we see that we have joined the wrong ministry? Perhaps we think we have been mistaken about God’s leading? Or perhaps we have been mistaken about God’s love?

But Jesus was in the boat in the storm. He was sleeping. Now His disciples were experienced fishermen who understood the sea conditions on the Sea of Galilee. The Sea of Galilee is well known for its sudden, violent storms. The severity of this storm is evident in the fact that the disciples (many of which were experienced fishermen on this very sea) were terrified. They knew the windstorm was a great one. How could Jesus be sleeping in such a life-threatening situation? We know that Jesus could sleep because His trust was in the love and care of His Father in heaven. What about us? Amidst a storm, where is our faith? Do we know about God but we do not know God? Psalm 9:10 says those who know Him trust in Him.

So Jesus rebuked the wind and waves to be quiet and they obeyed Him. But listen, we should read on to Chapter 5. They did cross over to the other side.

Before we read Chapter 5, the Lord wants you to know this. Jesus is the Word, and when the Word is in the storm, what the Word says will happen. No wonder Jesus could sleep soundly. He is Lord of the weather and the sea. Surely He who has authority over the elements is God Himself. In the span of a few moments, the disciples saw both the complete humanity of Jesus (in His tired sleep) and the fullness of His deity. They saw Jesus for who He is: truly man and truly God. (Guzik)

Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!”

Jesus spoke the Word. During the storm, God has put a word in our hearts. Speak the Word. We have the Living Word in us! Christ in us, the Hope of Glory. Declare the Word.

Do you know the Word intimately? Do you have the Word in your heart, that you may be steadfast in your faith during the storms of life? Where is your faith? Is your faith in Christ?

2. Tell Them What Great Things the Lord Has Done for You!

(The Victory After the Storm)

What happened when they crossed over?

Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes.

And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains.

And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him.

And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.

When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him.

And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.”

For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!”

Then He asked him, “What is your name?”

And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.”

Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country.

Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains.

So all the demons begged Him, saying, “Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.”

And at once Jesus gave them permission.

Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea.

So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country.

And they went out to see what it was that had happened.

Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind.

And they were afraid. And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine.

Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region.

And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him.

However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.”

And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.

The storm was linked to what happened when they crossed over. Jesus rebuked the storm, so it was likely that the storm was an attempt by the enemy to stop Jesus and His disciples from crossing over.

When Jesus had come out of the boat, immediately the unclean spirits detected the authority of Jesus. He commanded them to leave the man they possessed. And they begged Him to let them enter the swine. The unclean spirits knew they had to leave the man but they refused to leave the territory. The demons inhabiting this man did not want to be imprisoned in the abyss, which is the bottomless pit described in Revelation 9:11. Apparently, it is some place of imprisonment for certain demonic spirits. These demons did not want to become inactive.

Jesus had authority over unclean spirits. The unclean spirits could not enter the swine unless Jesus gave permission. We have Jesus as our protector and portion. We have not been given the spirit of fear but the spirit of power, of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). See also the destructive nature of demonic spirits? John 10:10 says the thief, the enemy does not come except to steal, and to kill and destroy.

The demon-possessed man was thus set free. And he began to declare all that Jesus had done for him. It was victory for the delivered man. He found freedom in Christ. He went around declaring Christ.

The storm was the first line to stop Jesus to enter the territory. Is the storm in your lives also stopping you from stepping into the freedom and victory on the other side? There is a crossover season for each one of us – from faith to faith, from glory to glory, from sin to righteousness, from bondage to freedom. These are destiny moments.

God told Joshua when he was assigned to lead the children of Israel to possess the land God has given them, “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.”

God keeps saying possess the land. When we are facing storms, we could be very near possessing the territory. You see, the key was that man with unclean spirits. He was the key to the whole region. Yet there was torment within him. There was a fight for his spirit.

We are the key to our family, our ministry, our destiny. Get ready. Are you fighting for your family, your ministry, your destiny? We are about to get a breakthrough. Fight the good fight of faith. Facing storms? God is about to give us the territory. God is about to give us the victory.

Are you facing storms today? Know that as you keep walking in obedience and faith in God, you are crossing over to God’s amazing victory for you and your loved ones and your community. All glory to God.

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119Eighteen (12) : Meekness

119Eighteen (12) : Meekness

It is so true that meekness is strength under control. I love how Bob Sorge puts it : Meekness is strength administered in gentleness. Meekness is the character quality God develops in your spirit when He takes your hip out.

Ouch! Speaking of hip, let’s check out Jacob’s story.

So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”

Just as he crossed over Penuel the sun rose on him, and he limped on his hip.

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭32:30-31‬ ‭

The sun rose on him, and he limped on his hip.

When I read ‘The sun rose on him’, I expected to read ‘The sun rose on him, and he welcomed the new day in exuberance.’ or ‘The sun rose on him, and he received new hope for the day.’

But it says, “The sun rose on him, and he limped on his hip.”

You see, something had happened to Jacob the night before. A communion with God had taken place. Matthew Henry says, “The sun rose on Jacob: it is sun-rise with that soul, which has had communion with God.”

It sounded to me like a new day had dawned on his soul!

Jacob had met God face to face the night before Esau was coming to meet him. Jacob had been greatly afraid and distressed. He had not only cheated Esau his brother of his birthright (Genesis 25:33), but he also stole the family blessing from Esau (Genesis 25:29-27:42).

Here’s what happened that night before the meeting with Esau :

During the night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two servant wives, and his eleven sons and crossed the Jabbok River with them. After taking them to the other side, he sent over all his possessions. This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

“Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.” “Please tell me your name,” Jacob said. “Why do you want to know my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there. Jacob named the place Peniel (which means “face of God”), for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.” The sun was rising as Jacob left Peniel, and he was limping because of the injury to his hip.”

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭32:22-26, 28-31‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Jacob had been humbled. Matthew Poole says, “Jacob understood it was only by God’s grace and mercy he escaped from this episode with his life. No man should be allowed to wrestle with God and live, but God was gracious.”

The perpetual limp – every step Jacob took for the rest of his life – would remind him of his being conquered by God . Talk about strength under control! When one limps, one’s every step is definitely under control.

Bob Sorge writes :

When God disabled his (Jacob’s) strength, it opened the way for him to become a deeply spiritual man. What was God after in Jacob? In one word, meekness. Meekness is the character quality God develops in your spirit when He takes your hip out. Meekness is the opposite of pushing. A pusher says, “Get out of my way or I’ll run you over.” Meekness does not handle people in a rough manner because it relies on the strength of Christ to obtain its objective. Meekness is strength administered in gentleness. You’re struck not by the person’s strength but their humility.

The psalmist says :

His people don’t find security in strong horses, for horsepower is nothing to Him.

Man power is even less impressive!

The Lord shows favor to those who fear Him, to His godly lovers who wait for His tender embrace.

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭147:10-11‬ ‭TPT

Amen.

But to you who fear My name

The Sun of Righteousness shall arise

With healing in His wings;

And you shall go out

And grow fat like stall-fed calves.

‭‭Malachi‬ ‭4:2‬ ‭

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Have You Been Crying?

472141B9-77F2-4B7E-AC37-2F49815ED0BE

I must confess something. I used to think that Jesus was very strange when I read that He wept upon seeing family and friends weeping over Lazarus’ death. You see, Jesus knew He was going to call forth Lazarus from death to life just a few moments later. So why did He still weep? 

The story in John 11:32-35 starts off with Mary and Martha’s brother Lazarus having just died. Only 4 days later did Jesus arrive at their house – and He’d gone late on purpose. When Martha saw that Jesus had finally shown up, she fell at His feet and said: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

When Jesus saw Mary and the other Jews who had followed her weeping, He was “deeply moved in spirit and troubled”. And then He wept.

The Bible records many occasions where Jesus displayed compassion. He had compassion on the 2 blind men who called out to Him, so He opened their eyes (Matthew 20:34). He had compassion on the multitude who followed Him for 3 days and had nothing to eat, so He gave them food to eat (Mark 8:2-6).

He saw the widow crying over her dead son, so He raised him from the dead (Luke 7:12-15). The psalmist says that “the Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy” (Psalm 145:8 NKJV). The God of all comfort keeps track of our sorrows. He collects all our tears in a bottle (Psalm 56:8 NKJV).

Jesus weeps with those who weep.

My friend and I used to visit an 80-year-old lady. She lived with her bedridden 88-year-old stroke-stricken husband. When I spoke these words to her: “神看到了你的付出、你的幸苦、你的牺牲…”, sharing that God had seen all her years of giving, struggles and sacrifice, my tears came.

I believe that in that moment, my heart had touched the love and compassion of our Lord Jesus.

10,000 Reasons is a song close to many hearts, including mine. I remember the first time I heard it, I listened to it at least 30 times on repeat. I was in a wilderness season, but I still wanted to bless the Lord and remember His goodness. Since then, this song would always remind me that the Lord is with me and assure me that He understands what I’m going through.

One time, I was feeling discouraged as my lower back pain seemed to flare up again. That day, 10,000 Reasons came on during a worship session. My tears just flowed. I was touched by God’s love and compassion. I felt like He was telling me that He understood my pain.

David tells God not to ignore his tears (Psalm 39:12). Bob Sorge says tears are liquid words. Tears say more than words often can. Have you known tears? You’re blessed.

Sorge goes on to say we cry not just when we’re in pain, but because we desire. Tears are the language of desire. We desire God, even to tears.

He writes of a young man who was seeking breakthrough in a certain area of his life, but had exhausted all avenues he knew. This young man wrote to General William Booth, founder of The Salvation Army, for advice. The General wrote back in 2 simple words: “Try tears.”

Jesus wept – but He didn’t stop there

Have you been crying? Do not despise the pain that brings you tears. Pour out your heart to God.

Jesus weeps with us. He knows how to comfort us so we can bring that comfort to others. Our sorrows are not wasted with Him; one day He will wipe away every tear from our eyes (Revelation 21:4).

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119 Eighteen (11) : Preaching Repentance May Risk Perishing

119 Eighteen (11) : Preaching Repentance May Risk Perishing

…the WORD of GOD CAME to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. AND HE WENT into all the region around the Jordan, PREACHING a baptism of REPENTANCE for the remission of sins, AS IT IS WRITTEN in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LORD;

Make His paths straight….”

Luke 3:2-4

Did you notice that the Word of God came to John, AND he went preaching? It was God’s message John received and it was God’s message John preached – to turn from sins and to the Saviour Christ. To preach the strong message of repentance, John was well prepared and trained by God in the lonely deserts. As a child, John grew and became strong in spirit in the deserts TILL the day of his manifestation to Israel (Luke 1:80 ). God had planned when to launch him, when His message was ready to be declared. In the deserts, John’s spirit was connected to and aligned with God’s Spirit. So John proclaimed a message of repentance and renewal of heart, and that there is no other way to flee from the wrath of God except through Christ. This kingdom assignment of John was his prophetic commission :

This was to fulfill what was written in the book of the prophet Isaiah: “Listen! You will hear a thunderous voice in the lonely wilderness telling you to WAKE UP and get your heart ready for the coming of the Lord Jehovah. Every twisted thing in your lives must be made straight.”

Luke 3:4 TPT

Those whose hearts were made ready, including tax collectors and soldiers, responded, “What shall we do?” Everyone was expecting the Messiah to come soon, and they were eager to know whether John might be the Messiah. John answered their questions by saying, “I baptize you with water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to be His slave and untie the straps of His sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”

Luke 3:15-16 NLT

John would point them to Christ, the One mightier. So with many other appeals and various admonitions John preached the good news (gospel) to the people.

But one was particularly offended. When Herod [Antipas] the tetrarch was repeatedly reprimanded [and convicted by John’s disapproval] for having Herodias, his brother’s wife [as his own], and for all the wicked things that Herod had done, he also added this to them all: he locked up John in prison.”

Luke 3:18-20 AMP

Herod was repeatedly reprimanded for his evil deeds. He was given many chances to repent. But did he? No, he added to his evil deeds by locking John up in prison for speaking the message of repentance.

John’s discipleship reminded me of a story I read recently. The story goes that Wormwood was teaching his Nephew Globdrop how to sabotage a bible study. In his ending words, he wrote :

Globdrop, encourage your prey to bring his Bible this week — we will be reading Philippians 4:13 through the lens of human athletic achievement. But never lose sight of your man. Watch whether yours is the sort who will bleed for it, die for it, storm our gates with it. If he seems to be such a man, tempt him to hit the snooze button in the mornings, fill up his calendar in the evenings, and then continue to gently guide him through our midweek, delightful group Bible study.

Your Expectant Uncle,

Wormwood

“Watch whether yours is the sort who will bleed for it, die for it, storm our gates with it.“

Are we this ‘sort’ of our Master’s disciples who will carry His word and message in absolute obedience and sacrifice? Perhaps we need to enter the deserts of training. Well I confess I’m so so so lacking. Yet it is Him, not us. May the LORD help us!

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Matthew 16:24-26

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119Eighteen (10) Do Not Seek Attention of Men. Seek An Obedient Heart to God.

119Eighteen (10)

Do Not Seek Attention of Men.

Seek An Obedient Heart to God.

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to His disciples, “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach. They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden. Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels. And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.’ “

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭23:1-7 NLT‬‬

Had an interesting conversation with teenage-niece. She was telling her mum what her response to her teacher was in a chatroom with other schoolmates. She said she replied her teacher’s instructions with ‘noted’. Her mum said, “Noted with thanks”. Niece replied, “That will sound very ‘extra’”. Sis turned to me and said – our generation would say ‘wayang’ lah. It’s like trying to get into the good books of the teacher. Haha. Well…

Sis and I had thought that was just being polite.

Interestingly the NLT uses the word ‘extra’ here to describe that everything the religious leaders do is for show. Wayang leh. On their arms they wear EXTRA wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with EXTRA long tassels. Have we also been ‘extra’? Have we longed for a place of distinction and honour? Have we sought some level of respect and recognition for an accomplishment? To be recognised makes us feel good, doesn’t it? Yet, it reveals a proud heart. It may risk leading us to think that we are better than someone else. The LORD says these religious leaders do not practise what they teach. They just want the attention from people. They want the best seats, the seats of authority. Do we have a pharisaical, hypocritical heart?

So Samuel said: “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? BEHOLD, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.”

‭‭I Samuel‬ ‭15:22‬ ‭

The LORD teaches obedience to Him above all else,

“And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

‭‭Mark‬ ‭12:33‬ ‭

The LORD is looking for a humble and contrite heart.

But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭66:2‬ ‭

He desires that we live a life of consistent obedience. Without a yielded heart, we will live out hypocrisy. May we ask God for a humble heart committed to recognise the LORDship of Jesus in every aspect of our lives.

Pic credit : Raeting

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119Eighteen (9) CHOOSE His LORDship

119Eighteen (9)

CHOOSE His LORDship

Many of us love open doors. It seems that close doors may mean rejection and losses but open doors represent opportunities and blessings. Well, I remember that I faced a good number of closed doors in recent years and I recognise that it is God’s protection. Recently I heard a pastor share this vision he had and I learnt that God has His timing too, when open and close doors are concerned. Not only that, we have to make our choices. You see, in the vision, the pastor saw himself in a long corridor with many doors on both sides. On the doors was written the word ‘Blessings’. His natural instinct was to open the doors. But he could not Then he heard the Lord say, “Do not open the door until the time pleases.” Still in the vision, the pastor saw himself walking down the corridor and he saw another door at the end of the corridor. On it were these words in gold : The LORDship of Jesus. He decided to open it and it opened! Then he heard the LORD say, “I am so glad you have CHOSEN to come in here. You have chosen to make Jesus LORD. You are willing to obey. Here are the keys.” With the keys he was given, he was then able to walk back the corridor and use the keys to open doors to the blessings. Many times doors are opened only when we open our hearts to the Lord in total surrender and complete submission. In life, we have to make plenty of choices. In choosing His LORDship, we choose LIFE.

We choose to love the LORD our God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that we may live and multiply; and the LORD our God will bless us in the land which we go to possess (Deuteronomy 30:16).

Joshua has made his choice. He has tasted and seen that the Lord is good. He challenges the children of Israel, “CHOOSE for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

God is not looking for capable vessels. He is looking for YIELDED vessels.

“If you are willing and obedient,

You shall eat the good of the land;

But if you refuse and rebel,

You shall be devoured by the sword”;

For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Isaiah 1:19-20

So do not waver. On Mount Carmel,

Elijah asked the people of Israel, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word.”

I Kings 18:21

Choose praiseworthy things. Choose to be thankful. Paul exhorts, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

Philippians 4:8

Choose joy. It is admittedly not an easy choice adjust trials but it will be fruitful.

“Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials.”

James1:2 AMP

My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties, see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can!

For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up power within you to endure all things.

And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking.

James (Jacob) 1:2-4 TPT

What we sow, we reap. What we choose today, we reap its consequences tomorrow. The gate may be narrow and “difficult is the way” but it leads to life, and there are few who find it (Matthew 7:14).

Listen to the wise man’s words :

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

Fear God and keep His commandments,

For this is man’s all.

For God will bring every work into judgment,

Including every secret thing,

Whether good or evil.”

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

And ask God for wisdom to choose! He will surely guide and direct us when we are postured to trust and obey Him.

Is therea difficult choice you must make today?

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119Eighteen (7) : Orange Glow

119Eighteen (7) : Orange Glow

What can I offer the Lord for all He has done for me?

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭116:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

When we are grateful to someone, our natural response is to think of how we can repay that person. For the psalmist, his heart was filled with gratitude towards God for His deliverance from death. From his heart, he says of the LORD, “How kind the Lord is! How good He is! So merciful, this God of ours! The Lord protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and He saved me. Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me. He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. And so I walk in the Lord’s presence as I live here on earth! I believed in You, so I said, “I am deeply troubled, Lord.” In my anxiety I cried out to You, “These people are all liars!””

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭116:5-11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Then he asked, “How can I repay Him for His precious blessings and bountiful dealings?”

On our red-eye flight to Okinawa, I saw the most intriguing orange glow that lined the whole sky as the sun was rising. I could not take my eyes off the glow. The same evening, I wrote the words ‘the orange glow’ in my journal and lo, the word ‘orange’ stood out. I was immediately reminded of how delighted I was when I saw the truckload of oranges in Turkey. God loves to delight His children. He does it in so many wonderful ways. We have the benefits of the blessings of creation and providence. I marvel at the pretty flowers and delightful dolphins. I awe at the sunrises and sunsets. We have the benefits of answered prayers and divine guidance. I am overwhelmed at the kind souls He never fails to send along our way to help us at the right time.

Yesterday I was playing with my nephew. Out of my love for him, I was always trying to invent new rules to the game or new games so it would become more fun. This morning I heard the Holy Spirit whisper to me – this is how it is like for Me; I am always looking out to create beautiful things that will delight your hearts because I love you. So awesome. Entirely by His grace that He gives.

May we search within our hearts for ways to render praise and return favours received.

For the psalmist, this is how he answers his own question :

“I will lift up the cup of salvation and praise the Lord’s name for saving me. I will keep my promises to the Lord in the presence of all His people.

I will offer You a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all His people— in the house of the Lord in the heart of Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭116:13-14, 17-19‬ ‭NLT‬‬

What about us?

Bless the LORD, O my soul;

And all that is within me, bless His holy name!

Bless the LORD, O my soul,

And forget not all His benefits:

Who forgives all your iniquities,

Who heals all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from destruction,

Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,

Who satisfies your mouth with good things,

So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The LORD executes righteousness

And justice for all who are oppressed.

He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.

The LORD is merciful and gracious,

Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭103:1-8‬ ‭

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The Potter & The Clay

The Potter & The Clay

As we understand the pitter’s work, we marvel at the truths about our spiritual lives that began to emerge.

The potter refers to God and the clay to His people. Isn’t it amazing that there are lessons God can teach us today from even the ordinary, dirty clay? We can be both encouraged and excited to know that God uses simple things and ordinary, people who are faithful in His service.

Before the potter can start, he needs to gather clay from underneath the ground. The Master Potter came looking for us and found us in the filth of our sins.

The clay is now exposed to its first light. Cleansing process now begins. With care and patience. the potter removes any little twig, stone or impurity. He kneads and molds the clay. Interestingly ‘to knead’ is ‘to kill’ in Japanese. O how critical the dying to self needs to happen during our molding process in our spiritual cleaning-up. Impurities of pride and self-centredness must be removed.

I read this amazing truth :

After we are saved, God turns the great spotlight of His Holy Spirit on our lives and points out areas that need to be removed. The process can be painful but it is absolutely necessary. If the potter does not remove all the impurities and air pockets from the clay, it may explode when it is placed in the furnace. This will destroy the vessel and may damage or destroy other vessels that are in the kiln with it.

Just so, if we are to be vessels that are useful in God’s service, we must stay on the table until all the impurities are removed. We must be open and receptive to the Holy Spirit as He instructs us about areas we need to remove. Jesus said, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me . . . If a man love me, he will keep my words . . . He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings” John 14:21, 23-24

Let’s allow Him to clean all the dross from our lives will we become vessels fit for the Master’s use.

The refining fire is now introduced to perfect the vessel. After the vessel is fired, it is ready for use.

Here’s another important truth I gleaned from an article from Daniel Lehigh :

The potter who makes the vessel as he sees fit determines the use of the vessel. From the same lump of clay, He can make a porcelain vase for a king’s palace, or a garbage pot. Sometimes we aren’t satisfied with how God made us, or the place He puts us for service. We need to gladly accept His will for our lives. Never argue with Him, and always serve Him wherever He puts you.

Paul says in Romans 9:20, “Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?” Of course the answer is no. How ungrateful it is for us to complain to a sovereign God about His will. How unseemly for the creature to complain to the Creator about how he or she was created.

The clay that yields to the potter’s touch brings happiness and satisfaction to the potter. But the clay that will not yield to the potter’s wishes is a constant source of frustration and irritation to him.

The vessel that is finished and useful is a source of joy to the potter. Just so, those who yield to God allow Him to cleanse the impurities from their lives, and gladly surrender to His will for their lives, will be a source of joy and pleasure to the Master Potter.

As we live our lives for our blessed Master, let’s determine to be yielded clay in His hands. Let’s allow Him to find us, clean out all the impurities from our lives, and shape us into a vessel He can use. Let’s not complain when we find ourselves in God’s furnace. Rather, let’s allow the fire to do its work and then go forth to serve Him as beautiful vessels fit for the Master’s use.

God, the Master Potter, is longing for each of us to yield to Him so He can shape us into beautiful vessels to be used in His kingdom. Will you continue to resist His will, causing pain and heartache to both Him and you? Or will you surrender your will to His desires and be a useful vessel for Him? The choice is yours!

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