Category Archives: God

To Cheat or not to Cheat!!!

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When one cheats, someone always gets hurt

This morning you made me cry
Not because something was stuck in my eye,
but because I realized you were interested in another guy
It started off as innocent conversation and jokes between a mutual friend and I
But I soon got caught up and began to entice
My mind wandered with thoughts of what could be, and no sooner creeped the thoughts of infidelity
My thoughts they were stronger now, plaguing my brain all the time
That no later had I seen her face, had I wished for a sweet embrace
I could no longer tell which girl was mine to be faithful to,
Mine to hold dear and true
Soon my true love or what she should have been
Caught a hint that someway, somehow, I had grown distant
She pondered, she questioned, and tried as hard as she could
To please me in anyway that was imaginable
But you see my brain so confused by what started out as innocent
Could not give her a hint of my allegiance
To our love, our story, our happily ever after
So she sat there sad and alone wondering what If she too found some new attracter
Slowly but surely she drifted away, this is when I started wondering had I made a mistake?
Entertaining all that The Lord had not ordained
My, my, my why did I have to start that conversation with my buddy that day
Now what was once a happy home has a distorted end
I’ve lost my love, I’ve lost my wife, I’ve lost my true happy end
All because I because I just had to entertain my friend.

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Many have experienced the emotional pain that devolves from infidelity or a cheating partner. If you choose to be in a relationship, you do stand the risk of getting hurt, but some hurts can be avoided. When two people commit to be in a relationship, they undertake the obligation and expectation of being faithful to each other. Being faithful requires a little more than the words, “I will be faithful” but more so requires great action and responsibility on the part of each partner. For instance, if I were to see an attractive man, and I see him actively trying to engage me with his eyes, I avoid eye contact and try to get as far away as possible just like my boy Joseph did in the face of great temptation with Potiphar’s wife. In some cases, one might find themselves actively staring at an attractive person, to you I would say avoid this! Simply program your mind not to look so hard, besides it being rude, such an action is just the beginning of the future manifestations of our sinful nature. 

God’s word already warns us of the consequences of such actions. In Matthew 5:28- But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. We must be careful what we allow our minds to dwell upon because, soon our thoughts turn into actions. I know you may think this is easier said than done, but if you take a step back, and really think about how much you value your spouse, partner, girlfriend, or boyfriend, and your relationship, you will not do anything or think anything that would threaten to destroy such. Before you take the step down the narrow winding road of infidelity think of the expected end, it never ends well. In the other hand, if you are the type of person whose eyes can’t help but stray, it just might be best for you to stay single. As the good book says, “do unto others as you would like them to do unto you,” – Luke 6:31. So my friends today I say go forth and flirt…not with anyone else but with your partner, do a double-take when you look at him/her, remind yourself of why you are with him/her, admire your partner’s physical attributes and say to them (and mean it), “Babe I’m hot for you and you only!”

Love, Ms. B

P.S. Please take our poll about infidelity below. It is anonymous. 

 

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Self-help Part 2 – Determining God’s will

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In Self-help Part 1 I talked about the quote “God helps those who helps themselves”.

The main points were:

  • This quote is not from the Bible,
  • We shouldn’t and can’t really help ourselves outside of God’s plan, and
  • We shouldn’t sit back and do nothing while waiting on God to make His move.
  • Finally, the quote was updated to the more correct “God helps us to help ourselves

So the question still remains:

How do we know what God wills us to help ourselves with?

The issue of doing God’s will is a challenging one for a lot of people, myself included. I’ve been asked by at least two friends recently how we can tell what God wants us to do. I personally have never heard God explicitly say “Beloved child, do X” That would make life super-easy, but would result in no maturation on our parts! For me personally, I have a few principles I try to apply in determining what God wants me to do in a situation:

  1. If the Word explicitly says what to do, do it.

    This one is pretty easy in terms of knowing if what you are doing is right or wrong. Knowing what is right is easy, doing it is tough! Often I know what is the right thing to do but don’t feel like doing it. We should try not to live by our feelings though, but by our principles. For example: you might not feel like being nice to a person who hurt you deeply, but God’s word says to love your enemies. No matter how much this person hurt you, shower them with love (note God isn’t asking you to go out of your way to be nice to the person or to even like the person, just to love them and be a good neighbour if and when the situation arises.)

  2. Let peace decide.

    If you don’t have peace about doing something, don’t do it. I like the amplified version of Colossians 3:16

    And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually)
    in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds,
    in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live].
    And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].

    Whenever I have a tough decision to make, and I really am torn about what to do, I look for that feeling of peace. You may not like the decision but it’s the right one when God sends peace after making it. The last part of the verse is important too. Continue to be thankful no matter what situation you are in. Thank God for all the things that are right in your life instead of focussing on the difficulty of your decision.

  3. Pray for wisdom specific to the situation.

    Here’s a prayer that is guaranteed by God to be answered once we ask in faith.

    If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. – James 1:5-6

    When I have no idea what to do in a situation, when I’m unsure about something, or when I feel totally lost, I always pray for specific wisdom. For example, I’m in the process of preparing a huge document but did not know where to start. I asked God specifically for wisdom concerning where to begin and how much time to spend on each part of the project. Thankfully, my prayer was answered almost immediately. However, this verse does not say when God will send his wisdom. Sometimes you may actually need to go through a process to gain that wisdom. The process is useful because you learn and mature along the way, which is usually preparation for future promotion. Other times you miraculously just wake up with an answer. In both cases, God will grant you wisdom in perfect time once you prayed faithfully.

  4. Loving God, loving yourself and loving others.

    This one is just a bonus. Sometimes we just don’t have the answer. We have no idea what to do. In some difficult situations, I have felt like the Bible does not say something specific to my situation, no decision seems peaceful, and I’ve prayed for wisdom but have not received it yet. The situation thus becomes a waiting game and an exercise in patience. What do I do while waiting? I go back to number 1…

    37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:36-40

    If you are going to do what is right, it hangs on loving God and loving your neighbour. While waiting for answers from God, take your mind off the situation by going out and doing something nice for someone. Be a blessing to a person in need, or a person close to you that you might be taking for granted. In my experience the answers usually come when you’re distracted in being kind, which is a double reward.

    I hope this helps with the tough decisions coming your way!
    Angie

Self-help Part 1 – God helps those who help themselves

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“God helps those who help themselves”

I trust many of us have heard this saying, and probably use it subconsciously or deliberately as a life principle. I have been thinking about it a bit more critically as despite popular belief it is not a quote from the Bible yet  it is often thrown around in Christian forums as if it was the word of God itself!

First, the extreme interpretations:

Extreme 1:

God won’t help you if you don’t help yourself first.

I believe this is directly contradictory to Scripture, especially the gospel of grace (unmeritted favour from God). We do not have to perform tasks to earn credit in God’s bank of blessings and help.

Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation.
However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly,
their faith is credited as righteousness.- Romans 4:4-5 

Moreover, as believers, we should trust that God will help us at the times when we cannot help ourselves (which is all the time).

But he said to me,
“My grace is sufficient for you, 
for my power is made perfect in weakness.”…
– 2 Corinthians 12:9

For example, when the 75 year old impotent Abram was told he would be a father of nations, his barren wife Sarai did not believe she would be the mother of these nations but she did believe God’s promise. So she set out to “help God”.

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children.
But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar;
so she said to Abram,
“The Lord has kept me from having children.
Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”
– Genesis 16:1-2

In the end, many years later, Genesis chapter 21 says

 Now the Lord was GRACIOUS to Sarah as he had said,
and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised.
– Genesis 21:1 (emphasis mine).

God’s grace, not Sarah’s scheming, helped Sarah! God did not help Sarah because she “helped herself”, He helped her despite helping herself!

Lastly, we cannot really help ourselves without God enabling us. This is explicit in the gospel message from John.

“I am the vine; you are the branches.
If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; 
apart from me you can do nothing.
– John 15:5 (emphasis mine)

English: "A Helping Hand". 1881 pain...

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Extreme 2:

Helping yourself is ungodly and we should sit back and wait on God.

 I believe that this is also contradictory to the Word; Specifically, the “sitting back”, not the “waiting”. There is merit in waiting on God. There are many scriptural references to patience but the one that comes to mind is:

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
– James 1:2-4

Patience is important for our maturity. It takes a really mature and humble person to truly believe that “God’s timing is better than mine” (*my struggle*) and to wait expectantly.

On the other hand, there is no merit in doing nothing at all while waiting. Think of a good waiter in a restaurant.

While he is waiting for your order, he busies himself serving other customers (blessing others), maybe he’ll pour you a glass of water (service) or converse with you about the options (prayer) until you finally at the right time place your order (God’s order in your life). A waiter who disappears in the back for a smoke break will probably miss when you are ready to order, but a waiter who genuinely serves well and expects your order, will be ready for that order… and may even get an unexpected tip!

A Waitress taking a breakfast order at Kahala ...

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So we’ve dealt with the extremes of the quote “God helps those who help themselves”. We’ve found that we should not and cannot truly help ourselves without God; neither should we sit back and do nothing. While waiting, we should pray and serve God and others genuinely. Though it leaves to be explored how do we know what actions we should take, which I’ll discuss in Part 2!

Thinking about the extremes, though, has inspired me to modify the quote:

“God helps us TO help ourselves!”

Have a great day,

Angie

Live with a Vision!

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On the surface God’s power is not always visible, but the person of faith knows that God is there, no matter what!1

After all…

 

His glory covered the heavens,

And the earth was full of His praise.

His brightness was like the light;

He had rays flashing from His hand,

And there His power was hidden.

Before Him went pestilence,

And fever followed at His feet.  

(Habakkuk 3:4,5)

One can persevere by living with a vision1. If you had a vision of a savior that could do this: 

He looked and startled the nations.

And the everlasting mountains were scattered,

The perpetual hills bowed….

The mountains saw You and trembled;

The overflowing of the water passed by.

The deep uttered its voice,And lifted its hands on high.

The sun and moon stood still in their habitation;

At the light of Your arrows they went, At the shining of Your glittering spear.

(Habakkuk 3: 6, 10, 11)

But then, when you heard the voice of the almighty this happened:

My body trembled; My lips quivered at the voice;

Rottenness entered my bones;

And I trembled in myself,

That I might rest in the day of trouble.

(Habakkuk 3:16)

“Looking back at how God brought me through”

But I remembered how you have brought me through before so I declared: 

Though the fig tree may not blossom,

Nor fruit be on the vines;

Though the labor of the olive may fail,

And the fields yield no food;

Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,

And there be no herd in the stalls—

 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,

I will joy in the God of my salvation.

The Lord God is my strength;

He will make my feet like deer’s feet,

And He will make me walk on my high hills.

(Habakkuk 3:17-19)

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Amen.

Love, Ms. B

1. Goldstein, C.R. Remembering God’s Fame. Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide.Pacific Press Publishing Association, Idaho. p.68.2013.

Fifty Shades of Gray

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Fifty Shades of Gray—— I think these are the hues through which women see, we blindly enter into dark, uncharacteristic, I must have lost my mind, relationships that have no future, and during the relationship (-is sinking), there is no true depth or profundity, in fact there is a complete lack of quality. The relationship constitutes and reflects an overwhelming color block exhibiting a blur of gray areas that we make excuses for. Loneliness is no excuse to drop your standards so far below the baseline that your virtue electrocardiogram blasts the familiar loud monotonous sound of  one’s values and principles flat-lining. Women  have we lost our self-worth so that we are no longer objective, logical, or sensible for that matter when choosing our mates?  Rather than allowing such a crucial and potentially life changing decision be heavily influenced by a sure, firm foundation of guiding principles, we allow something as transient and capricious as our feelings to be the strongest determining factor in choosing the one with which we would invest large amounts of our time, we instead listen to our deceitful  and untrustworthy hearts as the compass through life’s inevitable season of useless relationships? The word of God warns us that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9.  

So ladies can you really trust your heart?

If we compromise our principles, values, and standards which we have held for the majority of our lives for the sake of someone who comes into our lives for a moment, a minute, a miniscule amount of time relative to how long we’ve lived with ourselves, it begs to ask the question have I really thrown  away who I am for what might be a visitor.  One can liken such behavior to breaking down your home of 10 years, even changing its foundation, to rebuild another one so as to fashion it to the standards and liking of an out of town visitor whom you have known for less time than you have had your home.  Our relationship choices do not only affect us, but it can certainly impact others of whose lives we are a part. Think about the examples we would be setting for  other young ladies and young men looking toward us for guidance? Messages that echo ‘women take what you can get while you can get it’  and “men treat us anyway you like, it won’t make a difference, we will still bow to your every whim just because we rather have a partner than our self-respect’. …well I sure hope after you ladies read this, the buck stops here, because it is a disgrace to see the acts of folly and foolishness we women are willing to tolerate today. When you find yourself altering your behavior and carrying out inconceivable actions as a result of the presence of a new mate to which your friends and family respond negatively and with deep concern, then you must take a step back and really check yourself.

Before one decides to date, they should carefully evaluate the character of the individual; ask some poignant and explicit questions that would remove the layers and reveal the true character. Inquire about his past record, observe his behavior around friends and family or if possible in the work place, observe how he treats you (of course) – does he open the door?- does he walk on the outside of you closest to the traffic?- does he speak to you with courtesy? But most importantly, does he have a relationship with God? E.G White says, “Listen not to the proposals of a man who has no realization of his responsibility to God.”   This is absolutely true, because if the person whom you choose to invite into your life is not led by God, then you just never know what you’re gonna get… “take heed, lest what you now think to be pure gold turns out to be base metal (1). Now ladies and gents that statement right there is overflowing with wisdom, no one ever wants to get a six for a nine, or cubic zirconium rather than a diamond so please avoid the shades of gray and carefully screen before you decide to date. Do not be fooled by a pretty exterior….many red apples look rosy and nice till you bite into the rotten core.

When we date, risk is always involved, but it can be a wonderful process connecting with someone with whom you never knew before, developing a deep and fulfilling friendship by sharing numerous enjoyable experiences with each other, however in the midst of cloud nine, be aware, be vigilant, guard your character, and consider if this individual will allow you to preserve your individuality (1) or will he or she compromise your very character. Avoid the shades of gray because when it comes to your character and dignity there’s only black and white.

Love,

Ms. B

(1) White, E.G. The Adventist Home. Review and Herald Publishing Association. 2001

Tapestry

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Detail of Woodpecker tapestry designed by Will...

My life’s a woven tapestry, I so often fail to see,

The perfect weaving of the loom at work inside of me.

Everyday, I look unfinished, and find it hard to understand,

My tapestry’s great splendor seeking all my Lord has planned.

In times of pain and suffering when trust and pain collide,

I long to see the finished work, but only view the underside.

A tangled web of knots and threads, caught up in such a mess,

I know His works unfinished, and in His tender hands, I rest.

His needlework is perfect, in every stitch His love is told,

The crafting of His handiwork in priceless threads of gold.

I must trust the master weaver, who knows my life’s great plan.

So I’ll let Him sow his perfect will, though I may not understand.

My life’s a treasured tapestry that I shall walk in faith to see,

As I feel the nails as needles sow his tender love through me.

And when His work is finished on the topside may I see,

The perfect image of my Saviour, on my life’s great tapestry.

– Allan Mitchell

Source: Our own transformation by Donna Mitchell

Reining in thoughts and emotions

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I’m an emotional person. It’s always been my excuse for my mood swings and uncanny ability to summon tears at the drop of a hat. In the past, I have let my emotions get away from me… and I am not talking about happy emotions. Being moody or throwing a pity-party is no fun for us or for people around us. Sadly (or sometimes happily!) emotions are here to stay. God gave us emotions, but He also gave us some important information and advice about managing them.

English: Emotions

First, we must recognize that our emotions come from our heart and our mind, which are sometimes described as two different but very intertwined elements of our inner person. As I understand it, our heart is where spirits live; in a born again Christian, it would be where the Spirit of God lives [1]. Our minds are our thought and memory centers. [2] It would follow that in order to manage our emotions, we must manage and be responsible for the thoughts in our minds. How can we go about doing this?

Start with a promise

Earlier this year I wrote my self a contract. It simply said:

“With God’s word to teach me and His Spirit to help me,
today is the day I will begin to take responsibility for my thoughts and emotions”

I signed it, dated it and kept it close to me. That was the beginning of a conscious effort to control my thought-life. Because the contract starts with God’s Word, the next step is…

Renew your mind

Renewing your mind involves studying God’s Word [3]. It is not a one time action, but a daily renewal. The wording of my contract implied that in order to be taught by God’s word, I had to study my Bible every single day. For me it meant getting up earlier (and I disliked being up super early), for others it may mean struggling through the old style text, and still others despise reading in general. My advice is to pray for God’s grace to help you with whatever sacrifice you have to make to make this happen. With time it will become easier and a habit. (I heard it takes about 3 weeks to 2 months to form a habit, so aim for at least 3 weeks of consistent reading).

If you’re new to regular Bible reading, a good place to start is the gospel of John. You could also start with the “story books” like Ruth or Esther, or if you like bite-size nuggets of faith, try Proverbs. Alternatively, you can do a search for verses that speak to what you have particular difficulty with e.g. Google “Bible verses peace” if you want to know what God says about peace. The point is just to start somewhere and let God guide you. It may be a good idea to have a close friend keep you accountable as well by offering to read with them daily, but make sure they are as committed as you are to this lifestyle change.

Use the knowledge and be on your way

When we’ve been reading the Word for a significant period of time, we build up a knowledge and memory of what the Word says. However, we need to actually do what the Word says [4].

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me,
or seen in me— put it into practice…

Philippians 4:9

One morning I woke up and immediately started to cry because my uncontrolled thoughts immediately went to a situation I was facing. I opened my Bible to 1 Samuel 16. Lo and behold God spoke immediately in verse 1.

The Lord said to Samuel,
“How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel?
Fill your horn with oil and be on your way;
I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem.
I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”
1 Samuel 16:1

I was convinced that God was saying to me to take action and STOP my incessant crying because he had something more suitable in store for me than what I thought I had lost and I should “be on my way” and MOVE ON. I have to admit that I felt embarrassed and since then I decided to purposefully try my best to BE joyful and not just read about being joyful or know I should be joyful in all things.

Keep your peace

For me this is by far the most challenging part of controlling thoughts and emotions. Peace is a huge topic that I’d like to write about if God lets me. As Christians we can have peace whenever we want because when Jesus left, he left His peace [5]. Though the peace is a free gift, we are encouraged to actively pursue it [6]. When are we most at peace?

  • When we do not have conflicting beliefs or thoughts, or a nagging conscience

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. – James 1:8

  • When we trust God because we know that He is all-knowing, can handle all our problems and will protect us from harm

Be still, and know that I am God… – Psalm 46:10

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. – Psalm 4:8

  • When we are doing what God has asked us to do

The priest answered them, “Go in peace. Your journey has the Lord’s approval.” – Judges 18:6

Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. – Psalm 119:165

  • When we make wise decisions (God-wise not world-wise)

Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. – Proverbs 3:17

  • When we are grateful for God’s blessings and mercy

…with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
since as members of one body you were called to peace.
And be thankful. – Colossians 3:15

My favourite reference to peace is this:

You will keep in perfect peace those whose
minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. – Isaiah 26:3

It pointedly tells us to keep our minds steadfast, firm and unwavering. The only thoughts that can be perfectly unwavering are true thoughts. The only thoughts that I know that are ALWAYS true are  God’s thoughts, so we feel at peace when we align our thoughts with the Word.

Focus! Focus! Focus!

Finally, do not lose focus. We need to consciously avoid the triggers of our unpleasant emotions by “Girding up the loins of our minds” [7]. Anything that distracts us from God’s Word and truth, makes us disobey God, or makes us lose our peace needs to be avoided as much as possible. If  it can’t be avoided, remember that God said that you can do all things in Christ no matter what your situation is [8]. He can help you to focus in the midst of storms [9].

I hope these strategies help if, like me, you battle with fluctuating emotions. Remember God wants us to be stable, so we need to trust and hope in Him and banish any thoughts that make us do otherwise.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7-8.

 

Keep smiling, Angie

[1] See Romans 8:272 Cor 1:22, and Galatians 4:6. We should note however, that our mind is not always in communication with our heart/spirit (See 1 Cor 14:14).
[2] See Ezekiel 38:10 and Jeremiah 3:16.
[3] See Romans 12:2.
[4] See James 2:17.
[5] See John 14:27.
[
6] See 1 Peter 3:11.
[7] See 1 Peter 1:13.
[8] See Philippians 4:12-13.
[9] See Psalm 50:15.

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I’ve been doing a lot of reading on attitude adjustment. It’s all about taking your focus off your circumstances and putting them on God’s grace. It’s about being responsible for and taking control of all your thoughts. It’s about being grateful for every unseen mercy and every blessing God has bestowed on us. And sometimes it’s about removing yourself from a situation that is bringing out the worst in you. As such I share this quote:

“Suffering only has meaning provided that the suffering is unavoidable. If it is avoidable, the meaningful thing to do is to remove its cause for unnecessary suffering is masochistic rather than heroic. If on the other hand one cannot change a situation that causes his suffering, he can still choose his attitude”

Victor Frankl, Jew, neurologist, psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor

Check out a really short old post on this topic: God’s trial or my trial

Angie

Suffering

Waiting on God 2

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I wrote about waiting on God before here. To summarize that post, I highlighted three aspects of waiting:

1) waiting with joy, patience and prayer (Romans 12:12)

2) giving up control to God (1 Peter 5:6-7)

3) realizing that God’s time and not our time is what matters (Philippians 4:6-7

Today I want to write more on waiting based on Psalm 52:9.

I will praise thee for ever,

because thou hast done it:

and I will wait on thy name;

for it is good before thy saints.

I never really thought about what it means to “wait on God’s name”. So I went back to a post by Ms. B called Who is God? where the many names of God were outlined:

Elohim (Deuteronomy 10:17) – God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God

Waiting on God’s name means we understand that God is great. His greatness means that He is greater than your circumstances. (Deuteronomy 3:24)


El Elyon (Genesis 14:18-20) – The most high God

Waiting on God’s name means that we understand God is high above all things and can do more than what we can ever think to ask. (Ephesians 3:20).


El Shaddai (Genesis 49: 24-25) – God almighty – The All–Sufficient One

Waiting on God’s name means that we recognize that all the unmerited blessings that He has provided up to this moment are enough for us (2 Corinthians 12:9).


Jehovah-Jireh (Genesis 22:14) – The Lord who provides

Waiting on God’s name means that we trust that God will provide all our needs exactly when we need them, not early or late (Philippians 4:19).


Jehovah-Rapha (Exodus 15:26) – The Lord who heals

Waiting on God’s name means that we believe he will heal us from physical, mental and emotional pains and that we understand that all healing takes time, some healings longer than others (Isaiah 57:18).


Jehovah–Rohi (Psalm 23:1) – The Lord who is my shepherd

Waiting on God’s name means that as sheep we follow Him and listen to and recognize His voice (most often manifested in His Word, although sometimes a physical voice or speaking through others). We are not distracted by the voice of Satan and we align our self with God’s will (John 10:27).


Jehovah–Nissi (Exodus 17:15) – The Lord my banner

Waiting on God’s name means we know that the battle is already won because God is our battle-standard. He has gone before us and fought for us and the victory is ours to claim. (Deuteronomy 20:4).


Jehovah-Sabaoth (Psalm 46:7) – The Lord of hosts

Waiting on God’s name means that we can believe that He commands his Angels to guard us so we are always protected (Psalm 91:11).

We need to keep these Bible truths in mind because the devil tries to lie to us all the time and convince us that we are waiting in vain and that God does not hear our prayers. The devil especially comes when he sees we are doing well. He wouldn’t chase you if you were not running away from him and closer to God. If we stumble (and we will! (Psalm 37:24)) we should not beat up ourselves, because God will not let us fall permanently. We must refocus and look to the Lord for the strength to get up and try again. He will lift us up because it is His nature and name to be our Greatness (Elohim), our Healing (Rapha) and our Shepherd (Rohi).

Be sober, be vigilant;

because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion,

walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

1Peter 5:8

Here’s a song that always lifts me up, I love the bridge counter-melody:

“You are Lord of Lords, You are King of Kings, You are Mighty God, Lord of everything, You’re Emmanuel, You’re the great I AM, You’re my Prince of Peace who is the Lamb, You’re the Living God, You’re my saving grace, You will reign forever, You are ancient of days, You are Alpha, Omega, beginning and end, You’re my Saviour, Messiah, Redeemer and Friend, You’re my Prince of Peace and I live my life for You.”

Amen!

Have a truly blessed day in God’s name,

Angie

Give your brain a break!

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Hey everyone,

It’s been awhile since I’ve written. I haven’t been particularly inspired these days to write, and I would rather the Spirit move me than I just write something random that comes to mind.

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Today I just wanted to share this excerpt from a book I’ve been reading: Trusting God day by day (365 daily devotions) by Joyce Meyer. I only picked up this devotional last week, so I’ve been catching up in January while reading the regular daily messages for February. I’m so glad I picked this book up though! (I fully intended to buy a particular sci-fi novel but the store did not have it and I did not want to leave empty-handed.)

Here’s the excerpt from January 31st – Give your Brain a Break

“As we grow spiritually, we have to remind ourselves over and over again to: cast our cares on God, be anxious for nothing; trust Him in every situation. As we are diligent to do these things, we find ourselves resting in the Lord more and more, and that is where we find peace, clarity, wisdom and the strength to face each day.”

I myself have been struggling a bit with completely  trusting God. It’s easy to trust God when everything is great in life, but a lot harder when things are not working out like you thought they would! I hope these words encouraged you as much as or more than they encouraged me. I especially like how the devotional says that we should “remind ourselves over and over again”. It really mirrors Apostle Peter’s address in 2 Peter 1:12-15 – he emphasizes that he knows that the recipients of the letter know what the Christian virtues are (vs 5-8) but feels it is his duty to keep reminding them over and over so that the knowledge remains fresh in their minds. It’s so important for us to keep repeating the truth over and over especially when we feel like our trust and faith in God is waning.

Birthday cake

Finally, this blog turned 1 on Valentine’s Day. I’d like to thank all those who subscribed over the past year, and all those who just passed through, all those that read our posts religiously and all those that couldn’t pass sentence one, all those that commented or shared and all those that checked out our page on Facebook. We appreciate every one of you!

Lots of love,

Angie

P.S. Here’s the associated scripture to meditate on.

1Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Philippians 4:6-7  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Proverbs 3:5-6  Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Hebrews 6:11-12  11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: 12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Hebrews 4:9-11 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

A study of Philippians 4:6-7

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Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7

Anxiety is defined as a displeasing feeling of fear and concern (http://www.reference.com/browse/anxiety). We are told to not be anxious but God knows that there are concerns in our lives that we will be tempted to be anxious about. For this reason he gives us an out: 

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. – 1Peter 5:7

God says that He’ll handle it, so we don’t have to. We don’t have to control our circumstances, we just have to surrender our problems. And let me tell you, it takes a measure of humility to release control of situations.

Let’s look at the definition of anxiety again. It is a “displeasing feeling“. Feelings come from our hearts.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? – Jeremiah 17:9

The reason why the heart is deceitful is because our heart’s feelings depend on the thoughts we nurse in our hearts. Our heart condition depends on what thoughts are there at the moment, and these thoughts are not always true and are rarely consistent! (It follows that we need to take control of our thoughts and I blogged about that recently here.)

Furthermore,  the definition of anxiety talks about “fear” and “concern”. When you allow yourself to be fearful, it prevents you from being faithful. God never gave us unholy fear as a gift.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. – 2 Timothy 1:7

Further, we sometimes concern ourselves over situations that we can honestly do nothing about. God has already said to cast your anxiety on him and after you do that you should try not to take it back. God asks us to be still and know that He is God. (Psalm 46:10). When we let go and we acknowledge that God is God, we acknowledge His promises can only be the truth and that He cares for us in the best way possible and He will take care of our situations when we cannot.

The study verses also say that the alternative to being anxious is to pray and petition. Prayer is the way we talk to God (and the way we listen to God – a conversation has two sides after all). I believe one of the most direct petitions we can make is to ask for wisdom. The Bible says that once we ask in faith for wisdom, we are guaranteed to get it. Believe it, receive it!

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. – James 1:5-6.

I also found it interesting how the writer describes wavering faith – like a wave of the sea driven and tossed. It’s so true because when we are anxious and fearful and lacking faith, we truly feel like our emotions are all over the place. So we must keep faith while we pray.

God also says that when we feel we are in trouble that we can call upon him and he will deliver us (Psalm 50:15). What we must never forget is that the deliverance will come, but only in God’s time. It’s so easy to give up when you see no change in a situation. You can get so weary and frustrated waiting on God, but you must keep praying and keep your faith alive for the deliverance will come.

Remember you can ask for anything from God (Matt 26:39) but pray that what you are asking for is what you know God wants as well; with wisdom, we will be able to discern what it is God wants, which is why I think that God said when we ask for wisdom we will get it. We need that wisdom to get all our other prayer desires in line with God’s desires  and ultimately have our prayers answered.

Faith is not the only element in your prayers. Prayers should always have an element of thanksgiving. There is so much to be thankful for and do not underestimate the effects of an attitude of gratitude. I have had a bout of depression recently and after months of crying, one day I was told by a church friend to just be grateful for everything else that wasn’t bothering me. I went home, sat in silence for an hour, thought about how ridiculous it sounded, but still did it. I can’t tell you how many times I repeated “Thank you God” but I felt this peace just surround me instantly! After the fact I did realize that that was exactly what the Bible said in the study verses above. That peace we receive replaces all the negative emotions, fears, anxiety and whatever other thoughts we had in our hearts and minds. This peace from God guards out hearts and minds by filling our hearts and minds with only holy thoughts and preventing unholy thoughts from getting back in. There’s no space for anxiety, unhappiness and fear when peace is already there! 

I hope this study helps someone. I am so grateful to God that I flipped open the Bible to that page when I did and that the Spirit of truth revealed so much in those two short verses. It has really helped me reconcile what I know in my mind and what I felt in my heart. The feelings I have had for the past few months, I would not wish on my worst enemy. I was often so ashamed to know that I am inspired by God to write this blog, but I couldn’t even take my own advice. So if you are reading now and you feel like there is no end to your struggles and you feel like your faith is gone and you feel utterly hopeless, just remember that God hasn’t left you. Hand over your situation to him and start with a simple prayer of “Thank you God”. It is my testimony that it works!

God’s peace to you,

Angie

And still, he wept

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A Silhouette of Sadness

You’ve been through a difficult situation. You’ve decided to trust God for a way out and you are waiting for Him… but yet you still feel that grief burdening you. Is it unfaithful to feel that way?

I’ve asked myself this question. I’ve wondered if all this sadness I feel means I did not fully hand over the reins to God. I felt so guilty for awhile and started searching for answers. And then my searching made me wonder if that too was me trying to control the situation.

Well, I’m glad I did search. I found this article by Tony Alicea where he talked about the incident where Mary and Martha’s brother, and Jesus’ close friend, Lazarus, had died when Jesus was away (John 11). The most striking part of the article was this line:

He knew the very thing He came for was to raise Lazarus from the dead. And still, He wept.

You see, Jesus (being God incarnate) knew that Lazarus had died and knew that He would raise him from the dead…. yet Jesus (being human) wept.

And so I’ve come to the conclusion that although I know God is going to work out my situation, and I know his plans are good and beneficial, I am still allowed to feel grief, to weep as Jesus did, because after all, I am only human.

God bless,

Angie

Psalm 151

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Open Bible

If I could write a Psalm, it would go something like this…

I thank You Lord for the breath of life. I pray for your peace in my waking hours, and your comfort as I sleep; for my rest is in the Lord. 3 You are my light, my joy and my strength. Your Word is truth; You will not forsake me. Though I am raked through this trial, You will not let go of my hand. 6 You will pull me through with abundant blessings. Lord, help me to rejoice in suffering, knowing it is for my benefit, and to fulfill Your good and perfect plan. Help me to surrender my anxiety and fear and acknowledge Your presence. For You are a merciful God, and Your timing is perfect; You have divinely designed this season. 10 Grant me the patience to endure, and the wisdom to accept Your gift of growth. 11 Expand my faith Lord, so I will not lose sight of You. 12 Let me not be deceived by my emotions, for they do not determine the truth. 13 For you will never separate youself from your servant. 14 Your love is everlasting; Your peace is perfect; Your wisdom is truth. 15 Stay close to me Lord; Fill me with Your Word; Help me to believe and obey. 16 You are worthy of praise.
 
 
Angie

Waiting on God

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shadows and reflections

There always comes a time in life where you have to wait on God. Whether it’s waiting for a result, waiting for a directive or waiting through a season. Waiting on God is not easy. It’s hard to let go of the reins, it’s hard to wait for a long time for a sign and it’s hard to resist the temptation to just do it your own way. Here are a few of the thoughts I had about waiting on God.

  1. Joy, patience and prayer I’ve been waiting (very reluctantly I might add) through a challenging season. I was talking to my mum yesterday and she said to me “If you say you are trusting God, then you are flying in his face when you walk around moping. So look on the bright side. Even though the message may hurt sometimes, God is in it and he is allowing it for a reason”. And it’s true. I am not really trusting God if I continue to worry and cry and be miserable just because God wants to teach me something through a painful situation.

    Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12It’s no coincidence that while I was at church, praying or reading my Bible, I always felt better. I was only using one of the three elements of the above verse. Despite remaining prayerful, I was letting my self be unjoyful and impatient with God. I thank God that my faithless attitude was not making my prayers ineffective, but I’m sure if I continue with this negative mindset my prayers would have become faithless and go unanswered.

  2. Relinquish control In the early days, when Abram was over 75 years old (Gen 12:4), God promised him he would have an heir (Gen 15:4). Years had passed and Abram’s wife Sarai remained barren so she suggested that he sleep with her maidservant Hagar. I believe that Sarai did not doubt God’s promise to Abram, but she didn’t believe she was the one to fulfil it and therefore tried to fulfil God’s plans her own way. Confusion is what came out of this situation: Hagar despised Sarai (v.4), Sarai mistreated Hagar (v.6), Hagar and her son Ishmael were sent away (Gen 21: 8-11) and the whole matter distressed Abra(ha)m. All this could have been avoided if they had just let God work His plan. God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor 14:33) and would therefore be clear in what part he requires you to play if any.
  3. God’s time is not your time Still on the above example, Abraham and Sarah were over 100 and 90 years old when the true heir Isaac was born (Gen 17:1, Gen 17:17, Gen 21). This is after almost two decades since that promise was made! God may promise you something now and he is faithful, but he will only fulfill the promise when He knows you are ready for it. God also reminds us not to be anxious while we wait, and again to pray and give thanks during our season.

    Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

So these were just a few of the things I want to keep in mind this week and I hope these reminders have helped you out as well. No matter what you are going through trust God, and don’t just have faith, be faithful!

God bless,

Angie

Related articles
Let go and let God – a survivor who found a blessing in cancer
Five Things I Have Learned Waiting on God (reflectionsofgracehome.wordpress.com)
When God Says, “Wait” (theinnersoulofme.wordpress.com)
How to Cope When the Will of God is Hard (ptl2010.com)

Finding Nemo

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SCHOOL

“There are plenty other fish in the sea”

I cringed at my best friend’s summation of the matter. I’m so fed up of that stupid saying. He’s my fish! I went to the shop and picked him. He was perfect for me, and then… someone stole him.

I turned to her and sulked. “I don’t like fishing”

“Well hun, we need to fish to eat” She smiled smuggly at what she thought was cleverness.

“That’s easy to say when you’re done fishing…”

My best friend was engaged for 5 months now. Her relationship seemed perfect from the outside. They loved passionately, they fought fairly and they were like-minded in their fundamental beliefs.

“Oh hun, you thought it was easy to find my perfect fish?” Her eyes lit up as she talked about her fiance. “Do you remember Mr. Goes Nowhere, Mr. Buys Nothing, Mr. Trust Issues, Mr. Selfish pants, Mr. Church, Mr. I-am-God’s-Gift-to women and worst of the bunch, Mr. You’re-the-only-one? I’ve had a lot of rotten fish hun, and learnt from every one of them what I shouldn’t stand in a relationship!”

I sigh. “Yeah, I know… but this guy… he’s not a rotten fish. He’s … ” I couldn’t finish. I felt the burning in my cheeks again. I was determined not to cry anymore.

“Well hun, you need to let him go. Let him discover whatever he needs to discover with her. If he’s really your fish, he’ll come back and appreciate you more; And if he doesn’t, well like I said… ”

“Yeah, I know… there are plenty other fish in the sea…”

“Yup! Let go and let God girl! He led me to my perfect fish after all those losers. Who’s to say he doesn’t have one for you?”

Hello again. Here’s more fiction with a tinge of truth! Hope you like it. I tried to make it less morbid than the other two short stories, though people seemed to like those ones LOL!

Have a great day!

Angie

Jars of clay

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English: pots made of clay.

If you’re a regular follower of this blog, you would have noticed that I’ve been writing a lot this past few weeks. The truth is I’ve been going through a very difficult situation with a close friend of mine. It has been a really low point in my life and only by God’s grace can I wake up everyday and still function.

So when I can’t sleep, or am tired of crying, I research and I write. Based on some of the responses I’ve got, people have been blessed by what I have to say, and I thank God for that despite the pain I myself am going through.

Today at church, the speaker discussed 2 Corinthians ch. 4. What particularly touched me was verse 7.

 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Cor 4:7.

The treasure Paul was referring to was God’s word. What he was saying was that his ministry wasn’t about him but was about God. Paul considered himself just a jar of clay, a servant, carrying the gospel to the world. The symbolism was fantastic. Think of a clay jar: functional yet fragile, possibly cracked, not necessarily a work of art.

I was so attracted to this message from God. These past few weeks I have felt so broken. If I was not working, exercising or praying, I was crying …. or writing. But like a clay jar, through my cracks, the light of God was able to shine to bless others. It’s amazing that God can still use me despite my flaws and despite my constant struggle with keeping faith that my situation will work out in time. I am not a special person, I am a regular person just like you. I have done things I am ashamed of but God’s forgiveness is real and He can use me and you even at the lowest points in our lives…

Keep your head up,

Angie

Waiting to die

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a hospital room (Denmark, 2005)

He’s so happy. Why is he so happy. He’s about to die.

This was the third time this week that I came to see him. He asked me to bring his assignments from class. It wouldn’t matter anyway. He would be due before they were. But he insisted, so I obliged. You would do anything for a dying man.

“What’s up buddy?” I drop the handouts on his hospital bed.
“Hey man, I had the best day! Remember that hot nurse, Mindy? She fluffed my pillows.” He smiled mischievously and continued. “And we got strawberry jello today. It’s about time. It’s been two weeks of lime… Ha ha I rhymed!”

How could he keep his stupid sense of humor at a time like this. Can’t he see he’s dying?

“How was chem today? That’s one thing I don’t miss… the droning about orbitals and nodes”. We had stopped talking about orbitals more than a month ago, but I let him go on. “Without the labs, I think I’m gonna fail that course. Chem is so pointless…”

I couldn’t take it anymore. Weeks of pent up emotions flew out of me.

“Dammit man! This is pointless! You’re gonna die!”

I felt a tightness in my throat and a stinging in my eyes. He was unmoved, and calm. It made me even more irritated. Slow seconds passed until he responded.

“Yes. I am gonna die…. But then I’m gonna live.” He paused. “I wasn’t kidding bout that Jesus stuff. He’s the way man. He’s my Peace. He’s my Saviour. This isn’t the end… ”

His voice got quiet. I could see a flicker of pain before he smiled.

“I don’t want to be sick, but I am. I don’t know why God gave me this lot, but He did. He also gave me a family that loves me, a roof over my head, friends I would die for… if I wasn’t going to die.” He smiled a bit then.
“If my sickness is a way for you to accept Christ, I’ll take it… ’cause I love you man… no homo.”

I genuinely laughed, then sighed.

“So this Jesus guy is for real, huh?”

“That’s what I’m saying man… Let me tell you a story…”

Hey guys, so this is my second try at fiction. I hope you liked it! If you missed my first story “The Invitation”, you can find it here. Other posts that may interest you are Who is God?, Dealing with death and YOLO – You only live once.

God bless,

Angie

… “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me. ~ John 14:6

Why God, why?

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Last week one of my co-workers asked me how my parents were taking the death of my sibling. I told her that they are coping well and their faith in God has really helped deal with the tragedy. She then said to me “But you have to ask, why would God take someone so young?”. My response was a simple smile and a pointed “I do not question God”. She looked at me as if I was foolish and moved along. It probably would sound like foolishness to many people, this “blind faith” that even the death of a loved one is part of God’s master plan. In fact, a defense for unbelief in God is often “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

A Silhouette of Sadness

Humility

When everything is going perfectly in your life, it is tempting to forget those blessings are only by God’s grace. Often we have the best intentions: we work hard and are rewarded with success and we believe it is by our own enterprising that this success is manifest. We forget that the ability to work hard in the first place is facilitated by God. We become blinded by pride in our own efforts.

God’s chosen people  were allowed to wander in the desert for 40 years because God needed them to be humble when they received their blessing. He did not do this out of spite:

17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. Deut 8:17-18

The Apostle Paul also spoke of the thorn given to him to keep him humble. Paul was a well-educated man, his ministry was very successful, and he had many supporters:

Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Cor 12:6-9

Tests and rewards

Sometimes God chooses to test our faith. Take the story of Job. Job was “blameless and upright” (Job 1:1). He was also blessed with many possessions and a large family. Job had nothing to be upset at God for and every reason to praise him. God allowed Satan to test Job, to see if he was just a fair-weather believer.

10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” Job 1:10

After losing his 10 children and all his livestock and receiving sores all over his body, Job says to his wife. “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10). This attitude is one we must strive to keep in the bad times. Job kept his faith through his suffering and God rewarded him:

The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part… Job 42:12

We must take the good with the bad, and know that God will not forsake us in the end.

There are no good people

Many references in God’s word confirm that there is no such thing as “good” people.

… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God… Romans 3:23

We must never think of ourselves as “good” and therefore undeserving of hardships or trials. In fact, since we are not good we should rightly ask God why he allows good things to happen to bad people like us!

Self-inflicted

Now that we’ve established that there are no “good” people, it’s simpler to see that sometimes bad things are a judgement for sin. Take the story of Ananias and Sapphira. They knowlingly tried to steal from God and lied about it when questioned. As a result, they were struck down dead for their sin.

Often our bad decisions (i.e. disobedience to God) gets us in places of suffering. We need to be honest with ourselves sometimes about why we are going through some rough times. Is it God’s trial or our consequences?

Display God’s power

It’s not always the case that one suffers because of some sin. For example, take the occasion of the man blind from birth that Jesus healed:

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. John 9:1-3

This was truly a miracle, for the man never saw anything in his life, so it was not a simple reversal of some sickness but an entire new creation of sight in the man. God could be using your hardship as a testimony of his love.

In conclusion, it is unthinkable that God could do wrong; And we could never know all of God’s ways and intentions unless he specifically reveals them to us. It’s therefore left for us to trust God, and have unwavering faith in times of depravity and suffering.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6.

Finally, Christians must remember that faith in Jesus Christ may not guarantee a “good life” and definitely does not guarantee a life with no suffering. However, we are certain in the hope of a perfect eternity.

God bless,

Angie

More on this: Questioning God

A place to worship

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A Different Church Building

When I was 12 my granny died. Before that I attended her church as well as my parents’ church. After that I only attended my parents’ church… and very reluctantly. I was forced to go every Sunday. Some of the reasons I didn’t like it were:

  1. No one came to Church with a Bible.
  2. The priest was uninspiring and babbled frequently.
  3. My Sunday School teacher encouraged me to tell my parents to let me “play mas”. (Playing mas meant participating in the annual two-day Carnival street parade, typically characterized by skimpy costumes, loud sensual music, and for adults, copious amounts of alcohol consumption.)

    Carnival Masqueraders in Trinidad and Tobago

     

  4. The choir was like out of a horror movie.

Truly, I could have lived with point 4 (LOL). But the other three were warning signs that I wasn’t receiving Christian food for my Spirit. I knew that there was no such thing as a perfect church, but I felt that we could do better. But circumstances meant that I stayed at that church up until I left home. Unfortunately when I did leave home, I went to the other extreme. I didn’t attend any church. I would occasionally watch sermons on the tv or the internet to “get by”. And truthfully I learned a lot in those few years of pseudo-attendance. This year, however, it just wasn’t enough. The Bible says For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matt 18:20). I yearned for some fellowship with real people and not behind a screen in my pyjamas.

So what better time than the start of a new school year. This September, I picked myself up and walked into a chapel. (Honestly, I totally did a Google search on these people first and prayed about whether this was the right decision! I had to make sure it wasn’t some weird cult!) Two months later and I’m still attending. What I liked about the place was:

  1. They were genuinely happy to have a visitor, probably because…
  2. … there were only about 15 people. It was cosy and intimate.
  3. Though I didn’t wear the (somewhat mandatory) head covering, they never gave me the disapproving eye.
  4. The speaker for the morning was educated (a retired professor) who obviously had his sermon thought out before opening his mouth. And there is a different speaker every week.
  5. Everyone had their Bibles!

So needless to say I felt welcomed, the people are super sweet and behave in a Christian-like manner (and are willing to acknowledge when they are not), and I can definitely say I feel my Spirit being fed every time I attend.

Anyway, I hope my story inspired you to find a place to worship if you are unsatisfied with yours, or haven’t found a place yet. Do not be afraid to walk in off the street – the worst that could happen is that you don’t like it; the best that could happen is that you find a new home!

God bless,

Angie

A Prayer for Fasting

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Dear Lord and Father,

I know you have plans for me because you have shown this in Jeremiah 29:11. I know Your plan will give me a hope and a future.

I pray that  you will help me to follow the example of Job – to be patient in the face of suffering and that through the testing of my faith and subsequent perseverance, that I will be more mature and complete as you promised in James 1:2-4.

Lord, I also pray that this fast could increase my faith and connection with you. That I will do it without complaint. That I will set my heart on heavenly things (Colossians 3:2). Lord, I pray that I will not be anxious about the future you have already promised and that I will continue in prayer, petition and thanksgiving as outlined in Phillipians 4:6. Lord help me to work at everything with all my heart (Colossians 3:23) because it is to your glory and not for men. Also, Lord help me to be always joyful and giving thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:16) and to set examples through speech , life, love, faith and purity (1 Timothy 4:12). So Lord I offer you this prayer in faith that Your will is best for me regardless of what I want. It is only by your mercy and not my “righteousness” that I am blessed. Thank you for all things. Through your son, Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Also see: The Christian Fast