Category Archives: Prayer

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.

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.

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

A prayer for a crisis of faith

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English: David's Joy Over Forgiveness; as in P...

Have you ever been at the depths of despair and everyone offers pacifying statements like It will be okay or Don’t worry? Well, I usually feel better at that moment, but then later when I’m alone and start thinking again about what’s upsetting me, the peace I felt earlier dissipates.

Today, I decided to write a Bible-based prayer and meditate on it every time I felt an inkling of sadness. So when my mind drifted back to my problems, I whipped it out of my pocket and read it through once. So far today I’ve probably read it about 7 times. However, today was THE BEST I have felt for an entire month.

The epiphany I received today was that the hurt I was feeling for the past few weeks was based on doubt! I doubted that God could possibly turn so much pain into a positive. I let Satan plant a seed of depression in my heart instead of letting God plant joy and peace. I am so happy that I realized this before I caused irreversible damage to my relationships or became dysfunctional. So without further ado, here is my prayer:

Dear Lord

May your unfailing love be my comfort (Psalm 119:76)

Help me to hide your word in my heart so that I will not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11)

Help me to abandon this path of depression, vengeance and fear, and turn my steps to your statutes..(Psalm 119: 58-60)

For you have asked me simply to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer, and I have failed on all three accounts. (Romans 12:12)

Help me to meditate on your word and not on the things of the world. (Psalm 119:78)

Help me not to be anxious, and to remain prayerful and thankful as I wait on you. (Philippians 4:6)

Lord, help me not to try to reason or overthink this situation and to just trust you. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Help me to remember to stay strong, courageous and fearless because you will never forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

Help me not to worry about tomorrow. (Matthew 6:34)

Help me to continue to love as you intended, with patience, without jealousy, without anger, and with trust. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

Help me to never stop thanking you for your love that endures forever. (Psalm 107:1, 136:26)

Help me to love you back by obeying your words and believing your words. (John 14:21-24)

Help me to remember that I can never be separated from your steadfast love. (Romans 8:37-39)

And that all your plans are good and beneficial. (Jeremiah 29:11)

I pray all these things in Jesus’ name

Amen

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)

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

Surviving hurt in relationships

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A friend of mine recently found out her fiancé had an affair and decided to call off the wedding. One thing I admired was how strong and faithful she remained. I remember, when one of my exes cheated on me, how much I blamed myself. Ugly thoughts inundated my mind. She’s so slim and beautiful and fun. You’re so blah – boring, unattractive and fat. No wonder he wanted to be with her… Honestly, there were times I wanted to go further than emotional self-hurt. I wanted to physically hurt myself. It was a low point in my life and out of shame, I did not talk to anyone for a long time. Eventually, after many nights of secret tears, I turned to the Word. I wanted the reassurance that no (hu)man should make me feel this way when my perfect God has my back.

Human: “God please protect me”
*Stone hits him*
Human: “Why God, why?”
*Turns around to see Jesus protecting him from a storm of stones*
Jesus: “I’m sorry, did I miss one? Are you alright?”

You are not worthless

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Cor 16:19-20

I had to remind myself that thought I didn’t deserve it, God allowed the death of His Son so that I could have eternal life. No one is worthless to God because this gift is for everyone who will receive it.

God cares for you, the individual you

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. Matt 10:29

There are countless sparrows on the Earth yet God has ensured us that every single one of them is cared for. We are more than sparrows. Not one of us will fall without God knowing. He knows your hurt. He knows your entire history. Sometimes it’s tempting to think God isn”t compassionate about our human problems:

But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Psalm 86:15

You may not know the answer, but God does.

I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ Isaiah 46:10

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

We are not  privy to the knowledge of our future or how the situation will turn out. We don’t know what worse hurt God is saving us when we do hurt. But God assures us that he already knows and he has promised us that his plans are not for us to eternally suffer. This does not mean Christians are promised lives with no suffering. Even the Apostle Paul suffered so that he will not become self-sufficient and forget that God is the source of his strength and wisdom.

… in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 2 Cor 12:7

Sometimes these trials are necessary for the growth of our character. How do we learn if we are never tested. How do we remind ourselves of God’s Word if we are never asked to use it.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

Do not be foolish

A deeper meaning to the following verse was revealed to me:

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”… Psalm 53:1

I always thought this was directed at atheists/agnostics. But this message is for Christians too. When you disobey God, doubt God, curse God, you are essentially proclaiming in your heart that there is no God. Though in your mind you know God exists, you do not proclaim this in your actions when you say or do things that are outside God’s message about us.

Anyway, these are just a sampling of the messages from God helping us to realize that these times will pass, we will heal, we must keep the faith when the going gets rough!

God bless,

Angie

P.S. I’ve touched on different aspects of this topic in God’s trial or my trial? and Confessions Part II

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It’s a beautiful day, you’re strolling down the streets of your local city and you happen to bump into a cute stranger, or huddling into a restaurant to have dinner with a group of friends, you happen to sit across from the new guy in the group, or maybe you’re at a business meeting, your pen falls and you and the handsome exec next to you bump heads as you reach to retrieve it, or better yet church has just finished and you’re exiting with the rest of the congregation when you and the brother across the way exchange a smile …. then it happens….. what you may ask, the otherwise considered accidental – now deemed fated handshake or other uncanny greeting that leads to the two’s meeting. The uncanny meeting leads to a lot of familiar greetings, unforgettable dates, and the beginning of a whirlwind romance. You’re happy, excited, and intrigued at the prospect of this new relationship. Butterflies flutter and your heart beats faster each time you’re in his presence, but…. PAUSE…. did you take the time to stop, and ask all the right questions???

The right questions…. hmmm … they seem to elude so many of us….

Well they could stem anywhere from how many sexual partners have you had to (my personal favorite), when you (my beloved) use a public bathroom, does your epidermis meet the enamel?

Simply put, would your lovely, debonair, ‘swept–you-off-your–feet’ prince, put his bare butt on a public toilet seat? I know you may think “ah, that’s trivial!” but I beg to differ.  Where a man puts his butt is just as important as ‘what he does for a living,’ or ‘who he’s slept with,’ when sifting the keepers from the disposables.  You have to realize one’s habits and even their pet peeves reveal a great deal about their character.

So back to some questions we need to ask….

How many sexual partners have you had?  Can be answered by asking “Does your epidermis meet the enamel in a public bathroom?” or “Do you eat food from any and everybody?”

Don’t think these are synonymous… oh but they are.

If a guy is willing to leave his clean toilet (at least we hope it is) or at least one in which he knows who has been on it, and use a public restroom, but fails to employ one of the following precautionary steps:

1. Line the toilet seat with toilet paper, or for the first-world nations, use that ready-made, lily white, Kimberly-Clark paper toilet seat lining that is ever present in every restroom right above the toilet,   

OR

2. If times real (trini twang) hard, and do not afford the aforementioned luxuries, do ‘the stoop’ maintaining that 2-3 inch distance between the seat and his butt,

and places his butt on a public toilet seat used by god knows who, and infested with god knows what germs, then I might conclude that this guy is not too particular about where he would put his other genital either, need I say more?

How about this one….

“When your food falls on the floor, do you believe and follow the five-second rule?” Similarly “How often do you brush your teeth?”

These are very pertinent questions. If your beau is willing to pick something up off the floor, or the counter, or the sink whose prior destination was his mouth but took a detour to said germ-infested surfaces, yet still arrives safely to the aforementioned destination (mouth), then I say to you what else is he willing to do with his mouth, then press those thought-to-be-succulent, germified lips up to yours? Your mouth is a crater for disease and infection, it is one of the dirtiest places in your body, possessing approximately 20 billion microbes, so why add to that scum and then share…I say no!

Our friends at MSNBC’s Today show shared this information about the “five-second rule”

Myth: Use the 5-second rule when things fall on the floor. 
Fact: People joke about it all the time, but any amount of time something 
spends on the floor is long enough for dropped objects to become 
contaminated with illness-causing bacteria like salmonella and E. coli. 
So it's always best to throw out dropped food and clean fallen items 
with hot water and soap before giving them back to your baby.
 Recently the rule was put to the test. A high school student contaminated a 
floor with E. coli, bacteria found in human waste. She dropped cookies
and gummy bears on this contaminated floor, picked them up after
1-5 seconds and tested bacterial levels. She found that even as little 
as two seconds on the floor left significant amounts of E. coli
on the food items. So, if a piece of food falls on the floor, throw it out. 
A dropped pacifier should be replaced with a clean one.

See my friends, scientific research disproves the “five-second rule.” It is now up to you to decide whose mouth you will allow to touch yours. I say no to all 5-seconder rulers!

“What kind of tip do you like to give?

Well ladies you know this question speaks to a lot of facets of this male’s character, and is also quite indicative of his financial situation.

Non-tipper – cheap…stay away at all costs, we don’t want any stingy, misers, who are not willing to splurge on themselves, far more on you.

10% tipper – well this type of guy, is trying to be frugal without appearing to be a reincarnated Ebenezer Scrooge so he chips in the required tip, and therefore remains in the safe zone, not leaving room for you to question his decision. However, this character can be exacting not just with money but with other issues also, and furthermore he may be covering up his true penny-pincherism.

On the other hand this tipping mentality could also mean, he really does not have the money, and you can then assess whether his is a financial situation with which you can be satisfied.

15-20% tipper – Well ladies, this young man over here, he could be Mr. Generous, Mr. Well-off, or Mr. Show-off.

  • Mr. Generous -There are some men that are genuinely concerned about the well-being of their server and the fact that the tips they receive from customers should be substantial to make their take-home salary worth talking about.  This is the type of guy you want to get to know because that generous nature will be manifested in the way he treats you. Hopefully he is generous with his heart too.
  • Mr. Well-off – He may just have the financial means to be a generous tipper and so he does it. I guess this means no more cheap dinners for you. But remember, his pocket does not determine his personality, so be wise.
  • Mr. Show-off – Hmmmm…. Well a guy that’s that happy about himself, and can’t wait to tell the world all about him even by the way that he tips, is probably someone who won’t want to tell the world all about his fantastic you, or give you the time of day, so it may be best to stay away from this one.

20% + tipper – ATTENTION this guy may have a head injury, please stay away! Just kidding.  This gentleman may be filthy rich, or extremely generous, no I think filthy rich because he has to have it to be that generous anyway. Use your own discretion. As we know, money is not all, but sometimes there are some special guys who are gems that own an abundance of them.

But of all the questions we need to ask, the most important is:

Do you pray?????

– followed by why, when, and how often!!!!

Ladies, prayer is the way in which we communicate with God. Prayer is our minute by minute, hour by hour, daily conversation with our loving Lord and Savior. Prayer is what leads us, guides us, uplifts us, supports us, and encourages us. Prayer exhibits faith, restores hope, brings joy, and instills peace. It is this type of communication that is most important when weeding out the keepers from the disposables. If your guy prays, but not only prays, if he prays often (as in constantly) – you just may have found a keeper. For if the answer to this question is yes, it indicates from whom your beau gets his strength. This indicates that he wants God to lead in his life. Such an answer indicates that this gentlemen searches for direction from the most High God, and that he makes no decision without the leading of his heavenly Father. Such a revelation shows a deep relationship with Christ that can only bring forth a loving heart, wisdom, knowledge, and understanding because he (your beau) would receive an outpouring of the Holy Spirit each day. And if you both share this type of relationship with Christ, only happiness and true love can spring forth from such a union.

So Ladies, when that lovely has simply swept you off your feet, before you take the leap, be sure to ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS!!!

Love,

Ms. B

References

Germ warfare: How to protect yourself:7 myths and facts about preventing the spread of germs. MSNBC.com 01/02/2008. http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/22463584/ns/today-today_101/t/germ-warfare-how-protect-yourself/#.T6yeiutST-Y
 
Landers, Bill. Oral bacteria: How many? How fast? RDH
http://www.rdhmag.com/index/display/article-display/366845/articles/rdh/volume-29/issue-7/columns/the-landers-file/oral-bacteria-how-many-how-fast.html

Epidermis Meets Enamel

Examination prayer

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National Day of Prayer

It’s exam time again! I don’t have any exams this semester but I thought I would share this prayer I wrote last year….

Dear Lord and Father,

Thank You for bringing me this far in my studies. You promised in Proverbs 16:3 that if I commit my works to You Lord, my plans will succeed and You have truly kept that promise. Lord, I pray for the strength to study and prepare for this exam. You have advised in Galatians 6:9 for me not to become weary in doing good, for at the proper time I will reap a harvest if I do not give up. Lord You know the plans You have for me and I know they are plans to prosper me and give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11-13).

Lord, keep me from anxiety, and if I am feeling overwhelmed, help me to cast my anxiety on You because You care for me (1 Peter 5:6-7). Help me to acknowledge You through everything I do so that You will make my path straight (Proverbs 3:6). I thank You for charging me with this task for my life as You asked Adam to care for the orchard in Eden (Genesis 2:15). I pray that I will be a better caretaker with your guidance. Lord help me to continue to fear you as this is the beginning of wisdom. Help me to follow your commands as that would result in understanding (Psalms 111:10).  Lord I pray all this in Jesus’ name,

Amen

If you are doing exams, I wish you God’s blessings and guidance!
If you are not, share with those who you know need a divine study partner!

God bless,

Angie

God’s trial or my trial?

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03.365 (02.08.2009) Faith

I have a friend who had an exam on Thursday. She spent the week finding any and everything else to do but study for this exam, including going to the cinema on Tuesday. On Wednesday night she crammed some notes and went to sleep. The next morning before the exam she told me “I know I didn’t study, but I am going with God”.

I was a little disappointed in my friend’s attitude – not only from the perspective of a teacher, but from a Christian perspective as well. I didn’t want to judge, but in my heart I felt she could have prioritized better. I told her I would pray for her, and I did, but when she got back her grades yesterday, it wasn’t pretty.

So what does this have to do with God, guys and girls?

Well, so many of us get into challenging relationships and then claim to have “faith” that it will “turn out okay”. Now don’t get me wrong; there are relationship trials that the Lord allows for us to be better, more complete people:

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4.

And then there are trials we put ourselves in due to false faith. Take my friend who did not put in the work for her exam. God told her … “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” 2 Thess 3:10. She did not put in the work, but thought if she prayed hard enough and had “faith”, God will reveal the answers to her and help her through her trial. Well, God is not a magic wand to wave when we go against His will and end up in trouble, and neither is He subject to our every whim and fancy.

We need to do our part: obey God and renew our minds by studying His Word. When we study his Word , we develop discernment – we are better able to answer the question “Is this trial from God, or from myself?” We are also better able to recognize what actions God wants us to take (Romans 12:2).

So if right now, at this very moment, you are in a challenging relationship or situation with your guy or girl, grab your Bible, find the relevant passage, evaluate the situation and pray. Ask God to guide you, ask him to reveal the truth of your situation – “Is it you Lord, that wants me to persist through this to the end, or am I holding on to something I am better off not having?”

And always pray as Jesus did “not as I will, but as You will“.

More on this topic: Faith or Presumption? (joequatronejr.wordpress.com)

All things work together…

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Ruth in Boaz's Field

The Book of Ruth describes one of my favourite Old Testament stories. There are such great aspects to it…

  • Conversion: A woman with pagan beliefs genuinely converts to belief in the one true God of her husband.
  • Tragedy: A mother loses her sons, 3 wives lose their husbands.
  • Loyalty: The friendship and love between a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law
    (Mothers-in-law get such a bad wrap… thanks Hollywood :S ).
  • Sacrifice: A daughter-in-law stays and cares for her aged mother-in-law despite being a young widow herself, who could easily find a new husband.
  • Love at first sight: A man with good intentions notices a virtuous woman and cares for her.
It’s absolutely amazing how God worked a tragedy in these women’s lives into the genealogy of the most important man to walk this earth… watch and enjoy!

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

 A special shout out goes to blogger davidpmathew.
I first saw this video on one of his posts.

Cheers,

Angie

Dealing with death

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One Saturday night last year, I got a call from my sister.

Sis: Hey, do you know where your parents are?
Me: No. I didn’t see them on Skype or anything.
Sis: Okay, I’ll call you back.

I thought nothing of it but ten minutes later my phone rings again.

Sis: Hey, what are you doing?
Me: Nothing much. What’s up?
Sis: Can you sit down?
Me: Ummm okay… what’s wrong?
*Pause*
Sis: There was a bad accident…. and…. he didn’t make it….

This is how I found out my only brother, who had turned 25 just days before, died.

Where do I start? I felt disbelief, shock, grief, out of control. My legs physically buckled… I couldn’t even sit up in the chair. I felt deserted by God for a few seconds. Until, for some reason, all I could keep saying, almost mindlessly, was “Thank God, thank God, thank God…”.

But why was this my response? Unfortunately, many people would blame God, ask why He would allow this, wonder what we did to deserve this punishment.

Well let’s look at Paul’s advice to the Thessalonians:

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.
1 Thes 4:14.

Paul also advised for us not to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope:

God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 1 Thes 5:18.

It is hard with our limited minds to understand God’s plans but he has promised us a “hope and a future” (Jer 29:11).

Months later, and lucid, I know now what I was thanking God for:

  1. For allowing us to grow up in a Godly home and for giving us the gift of His son; my brother had given his life to Jesus (i.e. become “saved”) at a young age so I was assured of his fate.
  2. For sparing my brother, his wife, and my family from a life as a vegetable. I saw pics of the accident online (regrettably) and heard the autopsy reports; if he had lived, he would have been severely brain damaged.
  3. For granting my brother 30 years filled with true love, amazing travels, a dream job, and unique experiences.
  4. And selfishly, for letting me talk to him one last time on his birthday.

So for those dealing with the death of a loved one, meditate on the above verses and take comfort in knowing that our multi-faceted God is Jehovah Rowi (our shepherd), Jehovah Shalom (our peace) and Jehovah Raffa (our healer). So lay all your grief at His feet, embrace His peace, and let Him heal your pain.

Finally, give thanks for the time you had!

God bless!

Angie

Sweat it out!

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Hi folks! 

I love going to the gym so I’ve decided to blog on some gym topics without straying too far from the blog theme. So I know what you’re thinking. We’re going to blog on exercise so we can look hot ‘n’ sexy for our significant others. And I’m going to say … not quite.

Yes! We want to look good for our lovers (and ourselves!) but most importantly we want to look good for God! Now you’re thinking I’ve lost my mind!

I’ll be specific! We want to be healthy for God. The Bible says that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit:

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own;
You were bought at a price.  Therefore honour God with your body,”
1 Cor 6:19-20 NIV

This means you need to treat your body with respect, be careful what you do with it, and what you put into it. We need to purge our temples of unhealthy habits, poor diets and laziness just like Jesus purged the Lord’s temple of the money changers and salesmen:

 “Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.” 
Matt 21:12 NIV
 

Remember exercise and proper diet is about honouring God; feeling good and looking good are just latent functions!

God Bless!

Angie

P.S.  I don’t think God would mind if you pass on the “euro training” LOL! Look out for the first exercise post next Friday!