Has it ever felt like God is punishing you? When you have made mistakes in the past, you accepted the Lord as your savior, believed he had forgiven you, but it still feels like he has not. You have waited and done everything right, you have kept yourself from falling into sin, yet it feels like He is still punishing you, then this blog is for you?
When Adam and Eve first ate from the tree of knowledge, the Bible says in Genesis, that they knew they were naked and hid. Why did they hide? They hid because they 'knew' between right and wrong. They knew they had done the wrong thing by disobeying God so they hid in embarrassment. They realised nakedness was not right. No one had told them yet. It came from eating the fruit. The Bible says that is when sin entered the world.
So if we think that God is punishing us, then we must also 'know' or have 'come to the realization' that we have done something wrong.
Recently I met a lovely 91 year old lady who told me that she has been "knocking at the pearly gates for some time, and felt that God was punishing her on earth and would not take her home to Heaven". Her daughter who was present that day, also said that her mother had been saying for few years that God was punishing her because all the friends had died, her husband had died, her siblings had died, and she was the only one alife, and instead of rejoicing, she was cursing her days.
Have you ever complained and murmured to God instead of rejoicing your days.
We all have issues, we are not where we would like to be, either in health or financial and we may feel low and be temptered to blame God for punishing us, it is not His fault we are in those situations. I often 'blamed God' for my troubles. I would say things like, "if you knew I was going to get in this mess, why did you allow it"?
I know we all have been given the gift of choice and free will and the ultimate choice is ours to do something or not, and then we have the nerve to murmur to God and blame Him.
Have you ever shared secrets with a best friend or someone you trusted and somehow it ended up in the ears of others and then you had the nerve to get upset and angry? We make bad decisions and when it does not turn out the way we expected, we need someone else to blame and most often it is God.
When good things happen in our lives, we praise God, we thank Him, we get excited but when we make bad choices and it leads us toward hell, we get mad at God and think He is punishing us. It is a lie straight from the pits of hell. The God who the Bible says did not withhold his own beloved son but allowed him to be the exchange on the cross for you and me then how could he punish us? The Bible says, once and for all, all our sins, even the ones we have not committed yet, are under the blood of Jesus. It is paid for, it is a finished work. Nothing you can do will surprise God.
All bad things including hatred, lies, deception, guilt, fear and rebelliousness, the Bible says comes from the enemy who is the master of lies.
Our God does not want us to sort out our life then come to Him. That is a lie from the devil, God's opponent. God says, come as you are. The Bible says,"we were yet sinners........Jesus died for all our sins, yes even the ones you and I have not done yet. All of it. He says come as you are. Come dirty, come sinful, come stinky, come a rapist, come adultrous, come a thief, come scammer, come a drunk and drug dealer, come with all your fault, with all your mess, come as you are. He loves us just the way you are.
A lot of people don't come to God because they have believed the lies of the devil and think they are too bad, too sinful to come to God. I have heard people say, "oh you don't know what I have done? Your God will not want want me?". I was once thinking the same lie. And so were Adam and Eve. That is an old lie of the devil going right back to the garden of Eden. You see he hasn't changed much. The devil still uses the same lie he used in the garden of Eden on the first son.
Don't be in the darkness hiding behind the tree of sin like your forefather Adam. Come out to your Heavenly father and repent. If Adam and Eve came out from behind the tree and just cried to their Heavenly Father repenting, we would be in a betyer place today.
Don't repeat the act of your forefathers. Come out from behind the tree into the arms of God who made you and just cry and repent. He will make it all good. You don't have to change. It is His business. All you need to do is come out from your hiding place into His arms and say sorry. Yes, that easy.
This is the prayer of salvation. Pray it loud and you will be saved.
"Father, you have said, if I say with my mouth and believe in my heart, the Lord Jesus, I will be saved. I believe Jesus is the Son of God and He died for my sins. He rose up from the dead and by His stripes I was healed. I invite you Jesus in my heart today. I ask you to make something of my life and give me the Holy Spirit. In Jesus Name, Amen".
02/05/2016; 0715 hours
Who is your neighbor?
It was particularly a very cold winter night in Melbourne and it overflowed into a cold chilly windy morning. I prayed that morning for a warm day and 'commanded' the sun to come out bright and strong. I did not like winter.
I got off at the train station in North Richmond as I do each morning around seven, and this particular morning was no different as I made my way from the platform onto the tram stop. I was on my way to work, and as I proceeded to cross the road to catch a tram, I saw an elderly gentleman sleeping outside a charity store in the pile of donated items lying on the pavement. There were a lot of clothes and other items that the people left outside the store scattered all around him. I stood next to him as I had to cross the road to get to the tram stop. He was just lying there almost like a dead person.
He had a think white sheet over him and a tiny bit of his almost balded head with wisps of white hair was exposed. My hands were inside my pockets to keep warm and my scarf tightly around my neck and head. I had returned to Melbourne from Queensland only few months ago, so I was really feeling the cold. I could feel my toes inside my boots burning of cold.
I stood next to this homeless gentleman for a minute, staring at his sleeping figure under the sheet. I wanted to help but I didn't know what to do.
I moved slightly toward the crossing lights and waited for it to change but my eyes were on this gentleman. My mind was frantically thinking how I could help him. I thought of the good Samaritan in the Bible.
All shops were closed, as it was early morning. More people walked past him and no one looked twice. It was the usual hustle bustle of the mid week morning. I could not move; it was like my feet were stuck. I thought of gathering all other clothes that were scattered around him and putting it over him to keep him warm but I did not do that.
The light changed and I could not move.
I saw more people walk past him as some crossed the road, no one even stopped to glace at him twice. I prayed, "oh Lord I don't know what to do, show me what must I do".
I thought of putting my coat over him, but I did not.
I had Milo in an insulated cup that I carry every morning with me but I did nothing.
I just stood and stared at this almost lifeless body sleeping under the discarded items on a very cold winter morning.
Finally, I blended in the crowd and like everyone else, I crossed the road to the tram stop. I kept looking across the road at this white bundle that laid there in the cold.
My tram jolted in front of me and I got in. I looked across the road as the tram took off, and saw people walked past him coming out of the train.
Life went on for many of us that day, but life stood still for one.
I could have been his Jesus that day.
I had a choice and I failed.
One opportunity God gave me to bless someone really in need and I did not grab it. I did nothing.
I had the power to bless him yet I chose to blend in the crowd.
I had the two fish and five loaves but I did not bring it to God.
I had the opportunity to plant a seed and I did not plant it. You can't expect an harvest without planting.
I thought of him all day. I thought of him being someone's son, perhaps a father, a husband. Perhaps a brother of someone and a friend. I imagined him young and vibrant once at the peak of his career or life. My heart filled with sadness. I could not get him out of my mind. I found myself staring blankly at the computer at work, my mind on the man lying on the cold pavement. He once had a job and a family. What could have happened for him to end up on the roadside.
We all are a few paychecks away from becoming homeless ourselves.
I was a nurse, yet I failed to care. I was ridden with guilt that day.
I realized that feeling sorry for someone was not enough without action.
What would Jesus have done? I found myself repenting many times that day, each time tears filled my eyes as I thought of his body lying in the cold winter wind while I was sitting in the heat of my office, sipping a hot beverage.
God has given us plenty, so that we could share with those in need. My little is someone's plenty. In this case I had plenty to give this gentleman. I had my coat, I had a cup of Milo and I had Jesus to give him, but I did NOTHING.
In the Bible it is clearly stated that if you fed a poor, clothed a homeless, provided for them in need, you are doing it to Jesus (Matthew 25: 31-46). Most times we think just by going to church twice on Sunday, Bible study once a week and prayer meeting once a week somehow makes us a Christian.
Yes, it is required of us to do all that, but there is more, and its giving. Not just giving of our tithes and offerings but the Bible also talks about giving of alms to the poor (Matthew 6: 1-4). Becoming Jesus hands and feet, and continuing the same work he was doing and much more because He has gone to be with the father leaving us to continue His work, (John 14: 12-14).
What work did Jesus talk about? Matthew 25:44, "Then shall he say unto them on the left hand, depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was an hungry, and you gave me no meat, I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink. I was a stranger, and you did not take me; I was naked, and you did not cloth me, I was sick, and in prison, and you visited me not".
"Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto you? Then shall He answered them, saying, Verily I say unto you, In as much as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal".
I was led to him and I failed him. I was supposed to be the hands and feet of Jesus that day and I missed the opportunity that was handed to me to be a blessing.
How many times like this we miss the opportunities God gives us to be a blessing to others.
We always have something to give, something to bring to God in the house of God or outside in the streets which is His House Also.
His ministry, the real Jesus ministry is not in church, but out there, in the streets, in the market place, in the clubs and pubs, in the neighborhood and at work.
I hope my failure encourages us all, to know that we are Jesus to others, we are the Jesus they will see!
We meet people everyday. We travel with same people in the train or bus daily to work or perhaps to school and most times their faces become familiar to us. We smile and maybe even exchange phone numbers but are they your friends?
We have many followers on the social media platform and we share our life stories with them, and some of us share our dirty laundry on these platforms as well and some even fight but are these our friends?
How well do we know people who are in our lives? Is their smile and hug real? Do they build you or after talking to them you feel low and confused? Are they your real friends? How well do you know your neighbors, will they come and help you and will you go and help them?
Let us see what Jesus says about true friends/neighbors in the Bible.
Luke 10: 25-37 (NIV); "Is the Parable of the Good Samaritan"- On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus asking Jesus what must he do to inherit eternal life? Jesus asked him, what did he read in the book of the Law, and the smart man replied,‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
Jesus told him that he had answered correctly and Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
Sometimes we meet people who are too smart for their own good and try to test us also. This man went on and asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out money and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
So who is your neighbor/friend?
The religious leader/the priest/the pastor went right past the injured person and did not stop to help, aah maybe they were running late to church/temple that they missed to practice what they preached-LOVE!
When I read this in the Bible, it reminded me of someone I met in church who told me they were going to help their elderly parents after church as they needed some help, but decided they would go home instead and 'study the Bible' as they wanted to spend 'more time with God', parents could wait.
I stood and listened to their story about their goal to get 'closer to God'.
At the time I did not say anything but as I was walking to my car, I heard the lord say to me, "now that is not the love I speak of in my Word". I asked Him,what did He mean, after all she was going home to read 'His Word'? He reminded me about how he healed a twisted lady on a Sabbath and how the pharisees condemned him for doing so on the Sabbath, the Holy day. LUKE 13:10-15.
He said, He is love. "No point in sitting at home studying my Word if you are not going to live it". His word is love, active love. You can't say to your elderly parents in need or a neighbor who needs you, sorry you had to stay at home to read your Bible and could not help today or that you are running late for church and leave them at risk. Or not stop to get a donkey out of a well!
"If a friend or anyone is in need, you go and help first in the love of Christ, that's my love in action, that is church. That's Sharing Jesus. Like the good Samaritan. He stopped to help."
"The Lord says, you are missing the point of my love. If you think its all about church, and reading the Bible which is very important, but if you are not showing and sharing My Love out there then you are a clanking vessel making lot of religious noise but empty and worthless".
God is love in action. When we accept Him, we are plugged onto Him and He downloads onto us His Agape love and so much so that we should be in overflow. Love and giving should become part of us. Loving is giving, as God gave His son.
Mark,10:42-56 (Jesus heals blind Bartimaeus, the beggar by the roadside a blind beggar who heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth passing by and began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And many rebuked him. But not Jesus. He healed him. Jesus did not say he had a very busy schedule, or that He was on his way to church and running late.
Look at the good Samaritan. He was a busy man on his way perhaps to an important meeting, yet he stopped to show love. He went out of his way to bless a stranger. Why do you think that story ended up in the Bible if it wasn't significant?
Acts, 3: 1-6, Peter and John with the lame man at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate begging alms of those entering the temple. They had nothing to give yet they gave him much more than anyone could give. They gave this man healing and restoration instead, rather than material things or money. They spoke to him in love and he rose up and walkrd, in Jesus Name'.
Ephesians, 2:8-9 "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of you own works, so that no one may boast".
Be grateful that you know the Lord, that you are saved. And now its you and I who must carry on the baton, to bring others to the Lord by love not by hitting them with religion. Only by love we bring others to Christ. Do not boast that you are all holy and righteous, and not practice love. Love is more important than just showing up in church, more important than sitting at home reading the Word, however, doing these are very important and required, but if you do not practice all that you learn in church and read in His Word, and not practice the Love of Jesus, then you are not living by the Love of Christ.
We can easily get caught in being 'religious', going to church, put our hand up and say praise the Lord sister and come home each week. Like that rich man at whose gate Lazarus sat, and that rich man never helped him in any way. Luke, 16:19, "You can speak in tongues and pray for the poor but if you don't show love, don't help, then you are religious, a clanking empty vessel making a lot of noise".
Who is your friend or neighbor?
Is it the one who drinks with you, goes to the movies with you, you lend them money and who eats your food? Is it the one who borrows your clothes, shares your secrets and when you have lost your job, have relationship issues and feel depressed, you have no money and you call these friends and they don't answer their phone?
So who is your friend, who is your neighbor?
We expect people to help us, but are we quick to help other's as well?
"What kind of neighbor are we"?
In this story, we learn that a good neighbor, a good friend will be with us when we are in the hospital, when we are struggling with an illness or life situations, who will not judge us or leave us helpless. Who will say, they will be with us till we get better or till our situation resolves.
In the book of Ruth in the Bible we see a dear friend/neighbor, Ruth, a young girl who had lost her husband and in her pain she plants a seed of love and commitment in her widow mother in laws life. Both these women suffered great losses. Naomi lost not one man but three men in her life, her whole world fell apart. She had lost everything she held close to her heart. Ruth told her mother in law, that she would go with Naomi no matter what. "Ruth said, do not urge me to leave you for wherever you go, I will go, and where ever you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death separates you and me".
Ruth is what we are achieving to become and what we expect from others.
When you are going through a crisis, is the best time to know who your neighbor or friends are.
In Proverbs 18:24, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Given the fact that we normally think of blood being thicker than water, is this proverb true that a friend can be more faithful than a brother?
Many translations say that, a person who has many friends, may come into problems. That a large number of friends does not necessarily mean you are loved and that they will always be there for you. Many famous people have rich friends but when they are in trouble, they end up alone in rehab.
We have social media 'friends' promoting superficial connections with people we share our life but are they true friends?
To become a true friend and neighbor to others is by having intimacy with God the Jehovah. When we are connected to Him, only then we find true friends who loves us and forgives us and helps us in the journey with Christ.
God is our true friend, our good neighbor and He expects us to be a good friend, a good neighbor, to love like He does. When we become a servant, we find our purpose. In serving, we find true joy. When we give to those who are not able to pay us back, we are being Jesus to them.
He is the root, we are the vine. Our fruit must speak of the good soil and the root we are grounded in is Jesus.
When you put your everything into a relationship and they turn around and try to break you, you become so wounded, so broken that you learn to fight, to endure, and to love unconditionally. You feel weaker than ever before because you have shown them your weakness and your vulnerabilities.
You hate the way they make you feel, you hate that they have made you rely on them and love them. You hate how your love has resulted in weakness and loss of all reasoning.
We all carry parts of our broken pieces with us as a reminder of where we were once, what we came out of. It reminds us of the love we felt once but also the pain that came with it, the insecurities and the lies, the loneliness and the brokenness.
I will always carry a piece of you in my heart but not because I still love you, it is because you remind me of who I was and how much I lost.
So thank you for breaking me!
Thank you for the pain you caused me, because like gold it in heat, it made me shine brighter.
Thank you for the lessons you taught me each time your boot kicked my body, each time my face was broken, each time a bloody tear fell and each time you threw me across the floor. In the dark cold floor I was not alone. My tears were caught in a bottle, my sigh was forever recorded, my pain was rated in Gods book.
I thank you because in my brokenness, I was able to grow, transform and morph into the new me. The tears taught me to wait for tomorrow as "...the Sun of Righteousness shall rise with healing in His wings...” (Malachi 4:2 NKJV)
The lies taught me to put my trust in the LORD, the only one who never betrays me, who never hurts me, who loves me unconditionally... “But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence.” (Jeremiah 17:7 NLT)
The pain of losses, the loneliness and shame all took me back to the one I left for you, my childhood God who was my best friend. "O Lord, you alone are my hope. I’ve trusted you, O LORD, from childhood.” (Psalm 71:5 NLT)
Thank you for bringing me back to my childhood friend, my first love, my God. Your beatings made me stronger and taught me to fight. Each drop of blood shed from my broken lips and torn body remind me of the blood He shed for me. "for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many.” (Matthew 26:28 NLT)
You tested my innocent love. You broke my body. Thank you because it reminds me of a body that was broken and given for me. “And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Luke 22:19 NKJV)
I tried to forget you, but you show up uninvited every day reminding me of who I have become, a resilient, strong woman, a survivor, yet still delicate like an exquisite silk scarf. You haven’t hardened me you have made me wise and compassionate.
Thank you, because as you broke me you released my fragrance. What I have gained is far greater than what I have lost. So thank you for making me stronger, wiser and a true worshiper of Christ.
The pain you gave me had a higher purpose.
(The book; "Breaking the Alabaster is coming out soon, watch for it on Amazon)