Easily one of my favorite songs to listen to in the morning. It reminds me of God's sovereignty and how He is truly over all and on top of every situation I face. A fitting song to praise the One who deserves all my worship. <3
God seizes opportunities to display His power and grace--in affliction and loss, in grief and disappointments, in darkness and sorrow. Some learn spiritual lessons because they experience dark valleys first-hand. Terrible blows such as death or brokenness are catalysts for their eyes to be opened. I experienced both. And then there are some who will learn lessons through the testimonies of others. And because I learned very important lessons in my own life, I am dead set in my desire to be used by the Lord to get His message through to other people. I await and am ready to be used so that someone else may learn more about God’s power--that they may see God in action in my life. I pray that my faith may be strengthened moment by moment so that others may be drawn to Christ.
In this story, Jesus calls for his followers to do God's work while there is time to do it. Our life is short, and with the deaths of my father, my mother-in-law and my brother-in law--the urgency is so much greater now. We are given only so much time and whatever we are tasked by God to do, we must do in that given time. I realized that God has always been pursuing, telling me: "Now is the time." And I've put it off many times in the past. Now, I see, so many lost times. So forgive me when sometimes I feel over zealous. Decisions must be taken, while it is day, before the night comes down. The more we put it off, the less likely we will decide to a life committed to Christ.
The healing of this blind man wasn't instantaneous. I wondered why. Then I realized that maybe this was a healing in which Jesus wanted the blind man to exercise his own faith in obedience, the same way He wanted me to do the same. Yes, there were many prayers I prayed early on in my conversion. I admit I grew impatient but God taught me to wait in faith. And I tell you, the wait was so worth it. These prayers are being answered as I write this. He is in action, praises to Him!
It took quite a while for me to digest the story of the unbelief of Jewish leaders towards Jesus as the Messiah. The background of this verse--the Pharisees were trying to arrest Jesus but had no charges to bring against Him. So they tried to come up with a way to convict Him by saying that His claim of the truth, Him being truth itself - was false. Nicodemus spoke and challenged the murderous intent of the Sanhedrin but was rebuked. They tried to discount Him because He was from Galilee and no prophet ever comes from that place, they said.
It must be frustrating for Jesus to see such disbelief and such division. In a way we encounter people like the Sanhedrin and the Pharisees who will mock our faith, who will try to discount us because of our background and our past. I remember getting the same reactions from people early on in my conversion. I can't blame them for they knew me to be insufferable thus it was difficult to believe how such a sinful woman could be quoting words right out of the Bible, claiming to be a new creation. I did not expect to be ridiculed and felt I did not deserve such pejorative labels. I felt slighted, truth be told. But I sought comfort in God's Word and there I found one in Matthew 10:22 which says, "You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved." I was further reminded in 1 Peter 3:16 to,"...keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame."
There were times I felt discouraged. I knew I wasn't perfect, I still failed in some areas. But God assured me that He was perfecting me and that I had to be patient. I came to realize and accept that, I as a witness or my life as a testimony, may not be enough proof for some to respond and seek Jesus. There will always be rebellious ones who will refuse to face their sins, will be quick to rebut with flimsy excuses like the Pharisees. There will also be ones who will agree with the truth that is spoken of by many men and women of great faith but they will continue to live a life of non-commitment to Jesus. Nevertheless, I must press on. Because there are those who will seek The Christ who overhauled me, the ones who want to hear the story of my redemption and will desire the same unspeakable joy and unshakable peace I enjoy with my Savior. Because of them, I must remain firm and my eyes fixed on Jesus.
As a follower of Christ, I am set apart. I am called to counter flow, to challenge the way of the world, to oppose the lies of the enemy with the Truth. I will be condemned by the world without hearing just as Jesus Christ was. If it means to stick out like a sore thumb in a crowd, to be the lone "colored" pencil among "whites", then so be it. I take comfort that if I remain faithful and passionate about Jesus until death, then the crown of life is my reward.
Jesus walking on water paints a truly beautiful picture. One because it is a very physical, jaw-dropping miracle (who walks on water?!) Two, because He came at the most fitting time--a storm (strong winds and rough waters!). Three--because the disciples took him into the boat (well, after brief apprehension) and they reached the shore where they were heading.
In this story, many things were established in my heart as I relate it to my own life. One--the absence of Jesus Christ in my boat caused me to feel distress. Many times in the past, I would row and strain at my oars, by myself, rendering me totally exhausted. And because I would be beat and weary, I'd lose control of my oars causing me to be anxious and worry for things I had no control of. Two--like the disciples, I went through storms, turbulent waters and fierce winds. My boat became unsteady and I was easily toppled without God. Three--Jesus came in what so far has been the biggest storm of my life. Jesus was concerned about being in the boat with me and I was focused on what the storm could do to me. So He walked on the water towards me to let me see that the seething sea, the very thing I feared, was merely a way for Him to finally come into my boat, to draw me close to Him. He waited until I was far from the land, my comfort zone, and into the middle of the lake where I was alone in my boat feeling hopeless. He stripped me of all human and temporal prop so that I may be dependent on Him. To finally see that He was all I needed. He was enough!
As I accepted Jesus and let Him in my boat, I head to my destination putting all my trust in Him. Why? Because His very presence in my boat gives me peace & calm, joy & contentment, comfort & guidance. He is in command of all things in and out of my boat. Matthew 8:27 says, "Even the winds and the waves obey him."
So whether you’re entering a storm, in a storm or coming out of one, take that step and invite Jesus into your boat today. I guarantee the same peace and joy.
Forgiveness is hard. In all our humanity, how can we when in our very nature, we are self-centered beings? Forgiving someone means we cancel their debt, absorb the cost of their offense. Who does that? Definitely not someone whose heart is enveloped in bitterness but someone who has received the same forgiveness from his Creator, the same grace from Jesus. The failure to forgive reveals an unforgiving heart and an unforgiven heart.
I admit that even after the forgiveness I received from the Lord, I still found it quite difficult to forgive others who offended me. And I felt guilty and disappointed in myself. I knew I must examine my heart before the Lord and felt the urgency to be accountable not just to anyone but to someone neutral but godly, a sister-in-Christ whose heart was for the Lord. All through ordeal of sorting my feelings and talking to her, I realized that forgiveness is not just a one-time-big-time thing. It is not just an event but also a process--because the hurt, lack of trust and anger could not be immediately eradicated, I knew I had to remain vigilant whether I was sinning in my heart all over again. I guess that's why Jesus said to forgive seventy-seven times. Forgiveness is not the end of the matter, it must continue because time and again, you will be reminded of the offense, and you will hurt again. This hurt and struggle must be brought to God for his cleansing and strength.