God’s Love in Purpose

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love

He died for us so that all who live, having received eternal life from him, might live no longer for themselves, to please themselves, but to spend their lives pleasing Christ who died and rose again for them. So as we surrender our lives to the one who loves us and who as a result of His love for us, gave up His life, we will have to give up our claims and rights to ourselves.

Jesus is not telling us to surrender to His love and perfect will because He does not know how that will feel or how hard it may be.

He experienced a “battle of wills” but nonetheless, He choose God’s love in purpose.

Jesus cried out, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me, yet, not as I will, but as you will.

In John 6:38, He said, for I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but to do the will of Him who sent me.

In John 4:34, Jesus said to them, my food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work.

The one who knew no sin took on sin that we might be made righteous by the blood of the lamb.

He died for us in love, he predestined us to fulfil “HIS own” purpose here on earth and not ours.

Imagine these scenes

Scene 1

A Master goes to the market to buy clay to make a table. The Master is skilled and knowledgeable in all works and well respected. The Master is making this table because before He started to create this table, He knew the very purpose it was going to achieve and it was all part of His Master plan.

The Table however, begins to speak to the Master when it realises what the Master is making out of it.

I do not think you should make a table out of me Master, I have a better plan, I will be more useful as a chair instead and so, should you not make me a chair?

Chair                 VS.                  Table

        The Clay’s  Will                                             The Master’s Will

 

Scene 2

You go out to buy a car for the sole purpose of taking yourself from point A to point B every day as you please. You knew that before you went out to buy the car so you bought a car that will be suitable to achieve that very purpose for you.

You get home with the car and it works fine for the first day perhaps but by the second day, the car says to you, I know you bought me to take you from Point A to point B however, I will rather just drive you to the neighbour’s house only every day.

You want to go out again the following day and you get the same response from your car. In other words, this car that you have bought with a particular purpose in mind is no longer willing to fulfil that purpose.

If you find yourself in this situation, what will you do? Will you still keep the car in your drive way when it is not doing what it was bought to do or will you look for the next available buyer to take it over? Food for thought.

short road                     VS.                         Long road

Car’s preferred travel distance              Owner’s preferred travel distance

Will you continue to fight His will or surrender to the one who gave His life for you in love that you may live for His own purpose?

A final note on surrendering

We will suffer a sharp painful disillusionment before we fully surrender. When people really see themselves as the Lord sees them, it is not the terribly offensive sins of the flesh that shock them, but the awful nature of the pride of their own hearts opposing Jesus Christ. (Oswald Chambers)

1 John 4:10In this act we see what real love is: it is not our love for God but his love for us when he sent his Son to satisfy God’s anger against our sins.

John 12:27Now my soul is deeply troubled. Shall I pray, ‘Father, save me from what lies ahead’? But that is the very reason why I came!

Four (4) Lessons

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Lesson 1: Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all other things shall be added to you

As if to say He did not know that they had caught no fish all day, Jesus asked, do you have no fish?

They answered, No.

Then Jesus stepped into their situation and said, cast your net to the right side of the boat and they caught a large number of fish.

So many times, we find ourselves spending unfruitful hours chasing the fish; the job, the house, and the cars when we really should be chasing the creator and giver of the fish who can command them to be at any place, at any time to meet our needs.

 

Lesson 2: Love

Jesus asked a simple question three times: He asked, do you love me?

Simon Peter was very sure of his love for Jesus and was even getting a bit hurt that Jesus would ask him this question as if He should not know by now that he (Peter) loves Him so much.

Then Jesus said to Simon Peter: If you love me, then feed my lamb, take care of my sheep, and feed my sheep.

Wow, Jesus was saying, if truly, your proclamation of love is real, and all your heart yearns for me and you really mean it when you sing your heart out that you love me, “THEN, FEED MY SHEEP”.

Feed my sheep does not refer to bread and butter as might be nourishing to the human body, but refers to the bread of life, which is the word of God.

 

Lesson 3: Follow Me

Jesus did not stop there for He knows us because He created us. He knows that as human beings, we have “strong wills” that often time, differ from His own will for us and we need to learn to follow and trust him.

So Jesus said, you know how when you are young, you get dressed by yourself and go anywhere you please, when you please and how you please but as you grow much older and mature in age, someone else gets you dressed and leads you? This is how it is with you and me.

Now that you are mature in me and all grown up, you will no longer go anywhere just as you please. To glorify God, you will need to “DIE TO SELF” and “FOLLOW ME”.

I lead, you follow and not the other was around.

 

Lesson 4: Distraction vs. Focus

Then Simon Peter does what we all do. He asks a question about another disciple at a point when Jesus just gave him such an important instruction. While he needed to be focused on the instruction that was given to him, he says to God instead – what about that disciple? Jesus says to him, what is that to you? Essentially, He was saying, what is your business with that one? I just gave you an instruction to follow me and that is all you need to do.  Just follow me!

It is so easy to get distracted and very hard to set our face straight, focusing on what really matters. We spend more time minding other people’s business than minding the business God has put before us. In doing that, we get distracted and we easily leave behind the blueprint that has been set before us.

Focus on Jesus, stop looking to the left and to the right and follow Him.

 

 

 

Photo credit: Be you Jewels

 

Even when the equation doesn’t add up, come as you are

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invitation

We find faith by hearing what Jesus says but even more, by trusting Jesus himself. Once we see Jesus, know Him and experience Him, the impossible things in our lives becomes possible. We no longer see the need to have our boats safely anchored to the harbour because we know of Him who speaks to the storm, calms the waves, parts the sea, walks on water, and specialises in shaming the wise with the foolish things of the world and shaming the strong with the weak things of the world.

Now, I was studying the bible and something jumped out at me:

  • Jesus broke 5 loaves of bread for 5 thousand men (besides women and children) and they picked up 12 baskets full of left over and in another story;
  • Jesus broke 7 loaves of bread for 4 thousand people and they picked 7 baskets full of left over.

Does anyone else see what I see or hear what I hear? How is it that 7 loaves of bread feeds 4 thousand people and gives you 7 baskets of left-over while 5 loaves of bread (a smaller number) feeds 5 thousand people (a larger number) and gives you 12 baskets full of left-over (a larger number in itself)? I was not the best math student in class but all I know is that these numbers do not logically stack up to the natural human mind. How Jesus? But then, the Holy Spirit is our teacher.

Our God is a God of provision and according to our needs, He provides. He is not bothered about being logical or mathematically correct to meet our needs (He says to us in Isaiah 55:8-9: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”).

Jesus was in the middle of a situation, He realised that there was a need to be met, He asked them what they had and they presented it to the one who is able to meet all needs, He cannot be limited, He sustains us and He is Jehovah El-Shaddai.

He is the same God who commanded a Raven to feed Elijah morning and evening at Kerith Ravine where he was told to hide! Have you ever wondered how a Raven that is notorious for eating almost anything it can get hold of (with or without permission), will go ahead to feed one man in the same location without there ever being a record in the bible of the Raven eating all the food or not providing for Elijah at the set time?

Jesus gave thanks to God and provision was made. He did not just provide enough to meet the immediate need, He provided an abundance; the sort of abundance that was best suited to the particular situation.

Now God did not think for once what people will think about the inconsistency in the two different stories with an equation that did not seem to add up for He does not see the way man sees. He simply saw a need, He made a request and multiplied what had been given and also provided an abundance.

What is your need today? What does the math equation say? Is it tipping off the scale against you? Come to the One who is able to meet you and fill you till you can want no more. In Him, there is an abundance of all things. He is the God of possibilities. Notice that I did not say He is “a” God of possibilities, I am saying He is “the” God of possibilities.

As you can tell already, He is not afraid to take on tasks that seem impossible with men because that is when His glory and power is evident. Are you afraid of what people will think? He isn’t even surprised you have that thought because He formed you! Still, come as you are. He is waiting with arms wide open.

Isaiah 55: 1 – Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.

Come just as you are.

 

 

Be aware of the past but unhindered into the future

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According to the Oxford dictionary, hindsight is defined as the understanding of a situation or event only after it has happened or developed. This therefore means that if our foresight was as effective as our hindsight, we will make some decisions differently. This also means that we might react in a different way to situations in which we felt we wanted something so bad but didn’t get it. At that point in time, it seemed like the “best thing ever” and you would have done absolutely anything to get it however, having armed yourself with more information and a clearer picture of the situation, you can evidently see that you were better off without it and therefore, more forgiving of the past and yourself.

Now, what happens when retrospection does not present you with the sort of information you feel you can easily move on from? What happens when it doesn’t leave you with much worth forgiving or forgetting? Will you keep pondering over what could have been or make a conscious decision to let go?

While hindsight is a good perspective to have, you cannot keep driving a car while looking through your rear view mirror because there is a huge chance you will bump into something.

 hindsight

There is a huge difference between learning lessons from the past and being stuck in the past; playing the events over and over again in your head and wishing that it either happened in a different way, or never even happened at all.

Being stuck in the events of the past is synonymous to being stuck in the mud and yet, expecting to make progress.

stuck in the mud 2

 

While throwing a pity party with the “odds” in your head about how unfair the past was to you might be comforting for a little while, don’t park your life there permanently! Enjoy your 5 minutes pity party and drive out of the parking spot!

Life should be lived in the present while learning from the past and working towards a bright future. The only one that can really stop that future from becoming a reality is you.

It is impossible to ignore the past but do not be a prisoner of your past. Live with the awareness that the past exists but with the freedom that your future is in no way limited by your past.

The future consists of innumerable opportunities waiting to be explored so walk into the future and own it!

Let the challenges of the past build in you strength of character, let the worries of the present drive you deeper into finding a solution, let the scars of your life help tell a story only you can because you have been there, and let the sum of your experiences be the driving force beneath your wings that propels you into a bright future.

Philippians 3:13 – Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.
 

Photo credit: KBEAR 101

 

 

 

The rain is more than enough…for your grass and mine

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Slide1

 

We often wonder why the rain falls on both sides of the divide.

We are completely happy when it falls on our side because it helps to keep our grass very green and lush. The rain also provides the cool and comfort we so need.

Though we have not formed the rain, we gladly enjoy its benefits. We look across our neighbour’s picket fence and initially, all we see is the scorching sun and we are secretly glad that we have all the rain on our side.

Then the weather changes unexpectedly, the cloud moves partly to the other side of the fence; the cloud now covers a huge part of the sun and brings much needed relief to your neighbour (The same comfort you have thus far enjoyed).

The rain cloud now sits nicely between the fence covering both houses and watering the grass on both sides but that suddenly seems to bring up a problem.  Why has the cloud moved we complain?

Slide1

 

Why do I have to share “my” cloud with my neighbour we ask?

My grass will no longer have sufficient amount of rain to make it as green as I desire we whisper.

Then, finally and unexpectedly, we burst out with the truth; I want “my” rain cloud all to myself!!!

We have neither formed the cloud nor the rain yet, we are saddened that it provides comfort to all at different times.

The rain is neither “yours” nor “mine” but is more than enough to water the grass on both sides without compromising on the lushness of your grass.

Matthew 5:45 – that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

 

If we could see the future, we will treat the present very differently

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He knows your name, before you were formed, he knew you and before you were born, he set you apart.

God has a path set for each and every one of us. Your days are numbered and set in his plans, and his thoughts towards you are thoughts of good and not of evil to bring you to an expected end.

He has every tear you have ever cried in a bottle, he knows every situation by name, he has great detail on every problem you are facing and will ever encounter.

He is not silent, but working; working behind the scenes that he might bring you to that expected end he has promised.

He is not a man, he is incapable of lying, so if he has said something to you, believe him and hold-on because faithful is he that has promised. Has he said it? He will surely bring it to pass.

Are you feeling discouraged? Encourage yourself in the Lord and trust in his word.

Are you feeling cheated? He will restore to you the years that have been stolen, every single bit of it.

Do you feel alone? The Lord is always by your side and always willing to speak with you, so talk to him. Show love to someone else and you will be surprised how much love you will get back in return.

Are you afraid? He is right there with you through every situation and every incident. When you pass through the waters, he is with you, when you walk through the fire, you will not be burned.

He is God all by himself. He does not need any extra help to save you and he has the master plan.

Before you were even formed, he knew this day would come and he went ahead of you to prepare a way. It might not feel like it now but a few days, weeks, months or even years from now, you will look back and say, I wished I had worried a bit less, I wish I enjoyed the journey more, I wish I took more time to prepare myself for where God was taking me to.

If we could see the future, we will treat the present very differently.

Though the journey may be tough, bumpy and stressful today, be at peace with it.  Be anxious for nothing and pray about everything. Don’t get wrapped up in your own world and miss out on the great opportunities ahead of you or even right there beside you.

Push your way through the trash, learn from your mistakes, hold-on to the gold in the experience, and throw away the dirt.

Be good and respectful to people through it all, you have no idea where life is taking you.

Make better use of your time. Cherish your peace and guard your heart with all diligence.

Treat the present like you can physically see the future that awaits you and prepare for it accordingly.

 

If the world wasn’t watching, what will you be doing?

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Slide1

I have often wondered to myself what I will be doing if I did not care so much about what the world thought or will think about it.

I have always imagined the extent to which these boundaries determine my actions or inactions, and what I could eventually go-on to become within or outside the restrains of those boundaries. Will I reach for greater heights? Will I eventually realise that my opinions, ideas and dreams were valid after all? Or will I let the boundaries stop me?

I guess my real question is, what will you say, do or act-on if it wasn’t based on someone else’s perspective of your decision?

  1. Will you accept that job offer even if it means a pay-cut or a less glamorous industry however, you know deep within you that this is what you have always wanted to do, and it will help actualise your life-long dream or at least, get you a step closer?
  2. Will you go back to school even though most people feel that you are a bit too old and should be doing something better with yourself?
  3. Will you talk about the things that really matter to you and express yourself freely about the burden in your heart, even though you might be considered weird, out of touch, or just plain different?
  4. Will you stay in that unhealthy relationship because it is believed that you cannot do better than that, while you know deep down in your heart you need to leave?
  5. Will you finally put pen to paper and write that book? Yes, people say the book market is saturated already but your thoughts are unique and surely, you can create a niche!!!
  6. Will you start that business you always wanted to run even though people might think “yeah, another day, another attempting entrepreneur”?
  7. Will you spend your time, money and effort giving back to the society even though it might be considered an absolute waste of time?
  8. Will you stay firm, focused, and committed to that vision even though everyone else says it is over before it even begins?
  9. Will you allow yourself to be different; love yourself warts and all even though the world tries to sell you perfection as the route to happiness?
  10. Will you let yourself raise your family the way you have always imagined even though the world tags it the old-fashioned or uncool way?
  11. Will you let yourself just breathe a little in the comfort of your own home regardless of the noise on the outside: the competition, the new neighbours, colleagues, bosses, friends & foes?
  12. Can you free yourself of all these limitations and experience the sort of future that awaits you?
  13. Will you simply just allow yourself to breathe?

What will you be doing if the world wasn’t watching?

Psalm 16:11: You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

The lingering hope

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THE PAIN ENDS 3

Waiting and longing for something you desperately want, need or believe you should have is not fun. To put it simply, it sometimes hurts to wait!

It almost feels like a cycle; you start to wait in hope, time goes by and your expectation lingers.  Sometimes, it begins to look like your hope may not be helping much and perhaps, you settle into a feeling of disappointment and then suddenly, something happens that shines a bit of light into that situation and you want to hang onto that light for as long as you can. At that point, it feels like your only source of optimism.  Then slowly, the light begins to fade and hope now sounds like it is calling your name from a very far distance. You were so sure things were about to turn-around for the better but it feels like it has slipped away yet again.

Some days, your smile will be as bright as the sun because hope just whispered to you that the change you so desperately seek is closer than you think. On other days, you just cannot see past the now and perhaps, you feel like the world is working against you.

Again, you remember that all you have to hold onto is hope albeit with a little more caution and a little bit of fear this time because you remember so freshly how it felt when it seemed like hope had let you down.

Your ability to see through to the other side, past your current experiences, the bleakness and the uncertainty, all depend on how hard you are willing to hang-on.

The struggle persists particularly because hope seems vague. It gives us no timelines, no end date, no traffic light signals of stop, prepare and go, neither does it say when the situation will change. Hope just says, hold onto me!

It can be very hard to hold onto hope however, it is what keeps you going. The question nonetheless is, who is your hope in? What is His track record? Is it one of success? How powerful is He? How trustworthy is He?

The strength of your hope is in the power of what is backing it up.

So where is your hope and who is backing you up?

Jeremiah 29:11For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Numbers 23:19 – God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfil it?

Gratitude vs. Ingratitude – Will you let the tiny light in?

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Gratitude

The act of ingratitude is something that creeps up on us slowly; it comes gradually and unnoticed. First, it starts with a few grumbles about our dislike for our current state, then the voice gets a little bit louder and we complain about almost everything and perhaps, the role others have played in it, and then gradually, we fall into an advanced “state of entitlement” for what you believe you should be getting but are not.

In that state, your view might just be a little blurry.  You fail to see the good (no matter how little) in the situation, you refuse to learn the lessons, and you are unable to reflect on the situation objectively.

Expressing gratitude is a choice. It is a conscious decision that has to be made and at every intersection, you will be faced with two options;

  • Be grateful for the small ray of sunshine that pierces its way through the darkness; or
  • Be ungrateful for the entire situation.

As you get on with life, choose an expression that gives life; choose gratitude and be thankful.

Be thankful for the ray of light in the dark room, the small tree that protects you partially from the extremely hot sun, the annoying little car that still gets you to work, and the frustrating job that still helps you pay your bills.

Be thankful, express it, live it…

Whose boat are you in?

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Jesus walks on water

I am riding in my own boat, full of confidence in who I am and where I am going. I am sure that I have all that it takes and I am almost certain that I have it all figured out.

I am completely fearless until the waves begin to crash against the boat, the wind tossing the boat back and forth, with the boat shaking forcefully. At this point, I know I can no longer stay in my own boat, especially with all of my self-confidence now failing.

As the man in the other boat calls out to me, I try very hard to keep him in my focus. At first I am successful, I get out of my boat and begin to walk on water towards him without anxiety. I am being called by the one who knows my name. I am unafraid and eager to make the next move, I find myself making good progress.

All of a sudden, I begin to allow the noise in the waves get the better of me, I begin to allow the whistle in the boisterous wind put fear in me. I begin to lose focus of the one who is calling out to me and I imagine that the waves are bigger than He is. Then, just as quickly as I started walking on water, I began to sink.

The voices in my head kept calling out my name. They reminded me of all the wrong I have done, justifying why I do not deserve to be saved. They reminded me of my pride, my lies, my wayward ways, my past, my present and whispered to me that I will never make it.

Every now and again, I catch a glimpse of the man in His boat gently calling out to me. At every point at which I set my eyes on Him, light shines into my almost bleak situation and I see a ray of hope but the minute I stop focusing on Him, the waves come hitting harder again.

Finally, I realise that I need to be focused on the one who is calling out to me to make it to the other side. It dawns on me that I need to be in His boat and not mine.

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