Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Who is calling the shots here?

One of the Bible verses I read as a younger woman is a quote from the Book of Daniel, the fourth chapter and seventeenth verse: “…God rules in the affairs of men and gives it to whomsoever he will.” 

Puzzler!

How can God rule in this messed-up world that we live in? How can a just, fair, kind and loving God be in charge of a world with so much injustice? If you aren’t sure of how much we deal with on this earth, turn on the news and you’ll hear about so much pain, greed and devastation that it makes you wonder: Does God really rule in the affairs of men? And if he does, I can’t bear to think of what happens when he doesn’t. This is one of the most confusing concepts about living as a Christian. On one hand, you believe that God rules and is above all, while on the other hand, you struggle with seeing human actions supersede what can only be classified as the divine. 

Through the years, I have come to learn that God does rule over all, and I have acquired a better understanding of how, in spite of his presence in our world, good and evil still happily co-exist.

How? Simple. Choice!

The single most powerful gift God has given to us humans is the power to make choices. So yes, the fact is that God does call the shots on the things that go on or don’t, but we still get to make a choice on how we react. We can choose to show kindness and turn away from doing wrong to another human being or we can choose to be vindictive and inflict pain on another person for something he or she did wrong to us. Ultimately, in spite of what curve ball life throws at us, we choose how we react.

I love the Bible’s story of Joseph, a classic example of making the right choices. Born to aging parents and despised by his siblings, he was thrown into a pit and left to die by his jealous brothers. Later, they had a rethink and decided to rescue him from the pit, only to sell him into slavery. Joseph didn’t allow the experience make him cruel or defeated; he made the best of the dire circumstances in which he now found himself, as a slave. He went from son to slave to prisoner and then second-in-command to the King. All the time, Joseph’s choices were positive, true and right. He always did the right thing.

In the end, his choices opened the door for God’s divine plan to be fulfilled. God used Joseph’s position as second-in-command to save an entire nation from dying in a famine. If you’d like to learn more about this story, find a Bible and start reading the book of Genesis from Chapter 37.

We sometimes think we need to own and control every aspect of our lives, but in reality we just need to listen to God’s guidance and trust his directions. In reality, God calls the shots in the lives of those he loves and those who put their trust in him. So if you went through the past year trying to work out your own salvation, paying back people for the wrong they did to you, manipulating your way up into leadership or using your connections to forge ahead and you failed, this sounds like a good time to try something different.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:5-6

Instead of worrying, trust God. Instead of manipulating, believe in his promises. Instead of controlling, submit your plans to God, and instead of plotting revenge, allow God to make his plans come into action and succeed. You’ve spent the past 365 days trying out on your own; it’s time to align to the plan of our creator. And when our plans align with his, everything else falls into place.

Let’s try some different from a New Year’s resolution in 2019. Trust God. He rules the world.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

’Tis the Season of Joy

Christmas! One of my favorite times of the year. There is just something about this season that makes me smile. I’m not sure if it’s the weather, the colorful decorations all around, or the great lengths to which people go to express love through giving. Whatever the case may be, I love Christmas, and I always will.

This season, among others, reminds me of God’s love for me. I have read the nativity story since I was a little girl and have heard the story about the birth of Jesus so many times. But it wasn’t until I had a child that the truth about the depth of God’s love for humanity became clear to me.

Almost every mother and father will tell you just how much they love their child and how they would do anything to make that child happy. Just look around schools, playgrounds, and malls, and you will find parents doing all they can to keep their kids smiling — it’s one of the great joys of being a parent.

If you took a survey and asked parents, “What would you do to save your child?” I am guessing almost all, if not all, parents would say, “I will do anything to save my child.” That’s the common reaction we get from loving parents, which is why after I had a child and I read the nativity story again I couldn’t comprehend it like I used to as a little girl.

What kind of love could someone have for me that would make them give up their only child just to save me? As I look in the faces of my kids every day, I know I could never give them up to save another person. I seriously doubt I could make that kind of sacrifice. But God did. He looked at the pain and suffering that sin had brought to humanity, and he realized there was only one way to bring back real joy — and that was to send his only son to the cross to die so that we may experience a joyful life.

That’s what I really love about Christmas. It helps me remember and celebrate the moment eternal joy re-entered the world with the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ.

So this Christmas, as you spend time with your family, enjoy every moment of festivity and think about the season and the one who made this joyful moment possible. Think about the God who loved you so much that he gave his only son to die for you so that you may have a joyful life in him. And then ask yourself, if he gave so much for me, what have I given to him? Silver and gold doesn’t cut it; he only wants your heart.

P.S. John 3:16 is a great read this Christmas.
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Monday, 12 November 2018

I Pray that...


‘I pray that . . .’A very simple phrase that we often read in many places, like in letters from friends, well wishes greeting cards, posters or wall frames. We see it so often and say it even more often that sometimes we forget what it really means. Throughout the bible, we read verses that start with these words. They are genuine prayers from an apostle to his followers, or from one friend to another. However, of all the ‘I pray that’ verses, this one stands out for me: “Beloved, I pray that in every way you may prosper and enjoy good health, as your soul also prospers.” 3 John 1:2. In many ways, this is the most wholesome prayer you can say for yourself and for a friend. Let’s take a minute to look at what it is about.
 
I pray that you prosper in every way

In today’s world, the prosperity message has taken on a whole new meaning in our pulpits, where the call to give to God is often associated with receiving wealth back. My idea of prosperity, though, is simple—that you succeed in all you do. Think about it. Succeeding is just getting the right outcome to something you are trying to achieve. So, in the case of a child learning to ride a bike, success is riding a two-wheeler. 

To a single mom, success may be seeing her son graduate from high school. To a businessman, it may be getting the license approved to start a new company. The concept of success differs from person to person and from situation to situation. But more than achieving what we desire, the benefit of success is what it does to us. It’s the feeling that comes from accomplishing something. The satisfaction of finishing something you started, the joy from reaping the rewards of something you labored hard for. That’s what John was praying about. 

We all know that we get reenergized when we succeed at something. It’s that continued energy, the joy and the profits that John prayed for when he was saying I pray you succeed in every way. What a wonderful prayer to say every day and teach our kids to do the same. Imagine how their lives would be if they succeed in their endeavors, and how satisfying ours would be if we succeed in our own—the big and the little things. The next time someone talks about prosperity, think beyond your bank account; instead, think about little things, like a safe trip to work or a safe delivery. That’s real prosperity.

I pray that you enjoy good health

This second part of the prayer goes without saying. What would you be able to do if your health was failing? I’m guessing not much. You could have all the monies in the world stacked up in your bank account but no energy to enjoy it. If you’ve ever had a health scare or have someone close to you going through a health situation, you’d agree that health is indeed wealth. I believe John was saying this prayer for us to have good health to live the life God designed for us and also for us to appreciate every waking moment. 

If you have your health intact, you should wake up each day saying a word of thanks to God for this. And if you are going through a tough health situation, I would encourage you to keep asking God for his strength and healing, and continue to live each day with courage, knowing that God will never leave you or forsake you. Even if we can’t always understand why we have to go through things we do, take courage in the fact that God has you in the palm of his hands, and he will never forget you. His healing power will find you and restore you back to good health.

I pray that your soul prospers

This is my favorite part of this prayer. When all is said and done, health and wealth don’t stand a chance if you have no relationship with God. After all, we are spirit beings. While we are alive and do the best we can to have a healthy and prosperous existence, at the end we will die and exit this world. So, what happens next? This prayer is focused on helping us realize the most important part of our life is our relationship with God. Do you know him? Does he know you? John prays here that we all know God through his son Jesus, and that we continue to grow and prosper in our love and relationship with him. So, when the end of our time on earth comes, we can have a new hope in the life we face after, in eternity with our God.

This prayer of John is one that touches our spirit, soul, and body—three areas that needs to function well if we are to have a great life. So, if you don’t know how to pray, or even if you do know how to pray, I encourage you to say this prayer daily, and teach your kids and family to do the same. In fact, let’s start right now, say with me: “Lord, I pray that I succeed in every way, that I have good health, and that my soul prospers in the relationship I have in you.” Amen.


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Thursday, 1 November 2018

Kid's Talk - Tips on loosing your first teeth calmly

My son made this video for his cousin, sharing great tips on how to loose her first teeth calmly. I thought other moms and dads going through this experience with their child may want to listen and share with them.

When kids talk, kids listen :)