Don’t pass by on the other side!

 

DJ8PBJWWAAA78fX.png largeToday I am sharing Devotion on Kelly Basham’s blog  Blossom in Faith as a part of Petals of wisdom devotional series.

Jesus tells a beautiful parable in Luke 10:25-37. It’s a story of a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho, and while on the way he is robbed of everything he had, including his clothing. He is beaten and left half dead alongside the road.

First, a priest comes by but he shows no love or compassion for the man and passes him on the other side of the road. Next, a Levite comes by and does exactly the same thing. He too passes by on the other side of the road without showing any mercy to the man. Finally, a Samaritan comes by and helps the injured man.

Please read the entire Devotion here: http://blossominfaith.com/2017/09/14/following-in-the-example-of-the-good-samaritan

Thank you!

Elizabeth Livingston

 

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A Legacy of God’s Faithfulness!

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My Mom wrote an encouraging note on my diary when I first began my journey into mission work. The note is in Marathi which is my native language.

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Dear Rani (it’s my nickname)

My best wishes to you for the path you have chosen to serve God. The path you have chosen is God’s will for your life. He will be with you and will provide for you. Cast all your cares upon Him. God will be with you. You will be leaving me soon. I feel a little sad about it but I am so happy that you are going to serve God. I feel so proud to see my children in ministry. Don’t worry about me. Just keep me in your prayers. May God help you in everything you do.

Your Mom      

She also wrote a few Bible verses for me to meditate on and stay encouraged. Psalm 55:22, 121:7 & Isaiah 41:13

My mum is one of the best gifts of God to me. She is my encourager, inspiration, my role model and my friend. Her life, devoted to God’s work and His people, always amazes me. Her sacrificial service to her family, her loving relationships with others, her wisdom in dealing with family issues, her courage to face trials and overcome them with the help of God make me love and respect her more and more. Being raised in an orphanage, she has bestowed much love and care upon her children.

From 1999-2002 she continuously suffered with a kidney related ailment. For almost four years she has been in and out of hospital. She would get so sick that she needed to be taken to hospital in the ambulance. Our family went through a difficult period. Our school, studies and upbringing were all affected. I, as a 12 year old girl, would always fear her sudden death. I constantly stayed with her, taking care of her the best way I could because I didn’t want to lose my mom. Whenever I returned home from school, I dreaded seeing people gathered around my home because I feared that my mom had passed away. The fear of losing her, constantly hovered over my mind.

Being brought up in a Pastor’s family since childhood, I knew about Jesus and his miracles through stories, songs and skits taught in our Sunday school and church. But I never knew Jesus personally. One day I got the news that my mom was seriously sick and might not survive for long. She was admitted into hospital. That time I was alone at home and I wanted to pray for her life. I held her saree in my hand and started to pray for her. With tears rolling down my cheeks and a weight on my heart I said to Jesus, “I need my mom, please don’t take her away.” I sobbed saying only this one sentence as I didn’t know what else to pray as a 12 year old girl.

My mom’s health condition began to improve gradually. Doctors were astonished to see her speedy recovery. She was discharged from hospital in only a few days’ time. Slowly she regained her health. Her medical reports were coming back “normal”.

I only knew about Jesus, but now I could know Him, experience His love for me and my family, realise His faithfulness in my life and understand that He hears us when we call to Him.

Since 2002 till this day, she has enjoyed good health; no hospital stay, no major health issues, and she is the most energetic person in our family. She is the source of blessing and encouragement to everyone who meets her. Her smile, her talk and her life principles are impacting people around her. I thank God that she is still with me and has been a great support to me in all my ups and downs. She is the legacy of God’s faithfulness in my life.

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Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” Psalm 34:19

 

His Immeasurable Grace

Man feeling freedom on open sea

Recently I have come across a beautiful hymn written by Annie J. Flint.

She was born as Annie Johnson. Shortly after that was orphaned so she was raised by the Flint family and so became known to the world as Annie Johnson Flint. She suffered a lot in her life. She developed rheumatoid arthritis till she was twisted up in bed for many years. She had cancer inside her body. She was bedridden and lived with diapers. Then blindness started to overtake her. Before she died, from head to toe there were so many boils and marks on her body caused by constantly lying in bed that she needed many pillows to just cushion her body. She was a beautiful hymn writer and this is one of the most beautiful hymn she wrote.

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

No matter how hard your trials are whether they are physical or emotional, God will bestow His immeasurable Grace upon your life to get through them. He never leaves His children abandoned in their sufferings. He gives more grace when your burdens grow greater, He sends more strength when your labors increase. He adds His mercy to your added afflictions, He multiplies His peace to your multiplied trials. And the grace of God which sustains you becomes your testimony at the end of the day.

A few days back I was having a talk with my friend who is going through a situation similar to mine. Her 5-year-old daughter is suffering from Rett’s syndrome (a severe & rare neurological disorder and it’s a lifelong condition). She was sharing with me how challenging her life has become with each passing day. It breaks her heart to see her child suffer. It’s a very overwhelming experience for her as a young mother. But she has also shared how God is strengthening her to remain hopeful and joyful in the midst of her sufferings. She says, “it’s because of His grace alone that I am able to come this far believing and trusting Him to unfold His plans for my daughter’s life in His time”. I was so encouraged and blessed to know about her faith.

Indeed, God never leaves His children abandoned in the trials.

In my alarm I said, “I am cut off from your sight!” Yet you heard my cry for mercy, when I called to you for help. Psalm 31:22

We might think He has left us abandoned but He is always with us. In the midst of our sufferings, when we look to God for His strength, He helps us to get through those difficult cicumstances. When we rely on Him for emotional strength, we will have great courage to face our trials with boldness.

It’s because of His grace alone that we can stand firm in the midst of our trials and praise Him despite how we feel.

It’s because of His grace alone that we can hope for good and not for worse.

It’s because of His grace alone that we come to His throne with faith in our heart.

It’s because of His grace that we pray the same prayer again and again without getting tired of it.

It’s because of His grace that we can see God is at work and He is able to bring us through those hard days.

It’s because of His grace that in the midst of utter darkness we are able to see His light and hope to comfort us.

It’s because of His grace that we rise out of our ashes believing that He who promises is faithful.

If you ever find yourself in the valley of sorrows, rest assured that He is with you. He will strengthen you to get through all challenges no matter how hard they are. Remember, out of His infinite riches He is able to bestow His immeasurable grace upon your life. 

“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 Corinthians 12:9

 

 

 

He is faithful

He is faithful

“Are you pregnant yet?” this question might have pierced Sarah’s heart each month. The shame of barrenness was unbearable. God had promised her husband Abraham that he would be the father of nations with descendants more numerous than the stars in the sky. After waiting for many years, Sarah convinced Abraham to sleep with her maidservant Hagar to produce an heir. That was an acceptable practice in ancient time. The child born of that encounter was named Ishmael.

Today I am sharing a Devotion on Blogs by Christian Women. Please click the link below to read the entire post.

https://blogsbychristianwomen.com/our-god-is-faithful-2/

Guide ( Five minute friday linkup)

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“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105

As I imagine walking along a path with a lamp that I hold before me, I can see only the next step clearly. Everything beyond the lamp is dark and hard to see. Lamp will give just enough light for my steps and keep me from stumbling. It will guide me to the right way.

This verse took a whole new meaning for me. Just like lamp guides our steps in the darkness, God’s word guides us in the darkest paths of our life journey. Indeed it’s a lamp to our feet. It allows us to see the right way. It protects us from stumbling and getting lost on our way.

Are you walking through a path which seems dark to you? where you think you have lost the way? You can see nothing but the darkness. You feel hopeless, heart-broken and overwhelmed by your sufferings. You think to yourself that you can’t see a way beyond your trials.

Be encouraged and know that when you see nothing but the darkness, God’s lamp will guide you. His Word will give just enough light to your feet. His promises alone will show you the next step to walk through the darkest way. His word will give you hope, strength and guidance. Let the light of His Word be your GUIDE.          

This post is part of the weekly (Five Minute Friday link-up)

You can join here and read what others are talking about Guide.

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http://fiveminutefriday.com/2017/08/24/fmf-linkup-guide/

 

 

 

Awake!

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I recently attended a Women’s Meeting at our church. This meeting was all about empowering women to recognize their role in Kingdom work.

I usually don’t attend any meetings because I always need to stay at home to look after my daughter who is a special need child. But this time I decided to attend it. I really wanted, maybe needed to connect back to the women’s fellowship. And I am glad I did!

Our guest Speaker Dulcie Philip who is from Chennai, India was ministering to us.  She shared a message from Isaiah 54:1-2

A captive daughter of Zion

“Awake, awake, Zion,
 clothe yourself with strength!
Put on your garments of splendor,
    Jerusalem, the holy city.
The uncircumcised and defiled
    will not enter you again.
2 Shake off your dust;
    rise up, sit enthroned, Jerusalem.
Free yourself from the chains on your neck,
    Daughter Zion, now a captive.”

She encouraged us to know our identity, freedom and worth in Christ. She challenged us to dare to step into our God-given destiny by rising up despite the circumstances, to recognize our calling, and function fully into it. She further shared her life experiences and how God helped her come out of her confinements and thrive into her God-given purpose.

As she was sharing the message, I felt as if it was for me. Her words began an awakening in my spirit. God purposed for me to attend the meeting to hear His word, His prompting and His encouragement for me to awake and arise from my bondages, to put on new garments of His strength, to receive His fresh anointing, a new perspective and a new beginning. I realised it was not the circumstances which made me captive; it was my mindset, my thinking, my imaginings and anticipations.

I pictured myself as a captive daughter of Zion who is chained with fears, disappointments, heartaches, uncertainties, doubts, people’s opinions about her, feelings of worthlessness and emptiness. God is asking me to break off the chains that are binding my soul and be free and be enthroned with His power which is in me.

God wants me to be ministered to before He uses me to minister to others.

He wants His truths to go deeper into my heart and get rooted in.

He wants me to grasp the true meaning of freedom….freedom in Him.

He wants me to awake from my imaginary world I built up over many years.

He wants me to arise to my new identity in Him.

He wants me to shackle off myself to flourish into my destiny.

Here’s a poem I have written almost six years ago and now I truly understand its real meaning

“I am chained, I am chained waiting to be free

Free to be myself, free to be just me

I am chained, I am chained waiting to be free….

The dreams of my heart were to touch others’ lives

Lives of the suffering, the broken and the lost

I wished to enlighten their lives with my life

To restore, to rescue, to save them for Christ

But I am chained, I am chained waiting to be free….

The vision of my life seems to be fading

The passion of my heart seems to be dying

Will anyone hear the cry of my heart?

Will anyone run to set me apart?

Will anyone unchain the dreams that are bound?

Will anyone heal the unmended wound?

In the midst of my anguish, in the midst of my pain

I heard a voice that lovingly says

“My daughter, my daughter

You are born to be free

You are called for a purpose to set others free

Your dreams will be unchained

If you delight in me

Your scars will be mended if you trust only in me

With new joy in your heart, you will rise like before

As you wait for the one, who cares for you more

He is your Father, the almighty God

One who promised to never leave your hand”

Yes, I will be unchained, I will be unchained

As I wait upon thee

Free to be myself, free to be just me.”

I want to encourage you today that the freedom you so long to have is only found in the Lord. He alone knows you, your chains, the weight you carry on your heart, the tears you shed in the dark, the dreams you are tending, the limitations you are bound in. He wants to set you free and want you to arise and be enthroned with His power. Will you listen to His voice?

I have a Choice!

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In 2013, my husband and I, along with our 1 year old son went to work for a Tribal Children Project (Yuva Community Development Center) in Wayanad which is in the northen part of Kerala, India. It is run by a Christian organization named Yuva Social Movement http://www.yuvasocialmovement.org/ The NGO works among the tribal community in Wayanad especially for children who are affected by extreme poverty. The mission of this movement is to provide nutritious food, clothes, medical care and holistic education to the impoverished children in the tribal colonies which are situated in the tiger reserved forests.

We had an opportunity to administer the Project work for a period of time.

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Meanwhile, my daughter, who was newly born, developed some serious health issues so we needed to move to another city for her treatment. It was so hard to say bye to the kids who loved us so much. But we didn’t have any other choice than to leave them during that time.

A beautiful incident I can’t forget:  They had a prayer activity named “Children in Prayer” every week. In this one hour activity, they would pray for their needs, for the Project’s needs, for their sponsors and for their families. One day they all gathered to pray for our daughter who was sick. One of the little girls around 10 years old prayed in her broken words for our baby Jennie.

“Dear Jesus, You can take my life but please heal our Jennie.”

It was the boldest prayer anyone could ever pray including me as a mother.

Her prayer brought tears in my eyes as she prayed with much weight on her heart for our daughter.

They indeed bestowed much love on us more than we could do for them. Their innocent talks, their pure faith in Jesus and their genuine love made a big difference in our lives.

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Years passed by, we were settling in the new place, I was getting busy with the treatment of our daughter, and looking after my family and the memories of the  time I had with these kids began to fade away slowly.

When things were settling down for me, I was given the opportunity from the Director of the Organization to take up some responsibilities in the administration work of the Project last year.

I worked for a few months from home with the sponsorship works, but I couldn’t continue as I had to quit to better care for my kids.

But every time I thought about those kids, a thought struck me…I couldn’t help them despite knowing their situation. Having worked in the Project for two years I had witnessed what poverty was. I had seen closely the negative effects poverty has on the children, their family and the community; I had seen their daily challenges, the suffering they go through. I was given an opportunity to extend my helping hand towards them, to make a difference in their lives, to help them have a better life and a better future.

Children's houses

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Arya's mother and younger sis 1

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I had a choice to forget them, to think that there are many people to work for them, to just ensure the wellness of my own kids, making sure they get good food, education, they don’t have to go to bed with hungry stomachs, and they have all the facilities to live happily.

But this time I wanted to choose the these children. As gratitude to their love and prayers for us, I want to stand for them and for their happiness.

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I may not be able to put an end to their situation alone, but I will bring them the hope of Jesus by contributing my time to the work which benefits their future.

I want to serve as the light of Christ into the darkness of their poverty.

I have a choice to make. To keep the lamp hidden or to let it be used for its purpose.

I have a choice to close my ears and eyes to their struggles or to help them come out of it.

I have a choice to love them by my words or love them by my actions.

I have a choice to react on the social issues or pre -act on them.

When I read news on child abuse, child labour, prostitution, death caused by malnutrition I have a choice to fold back my newspaper, pick up my empty cup of tea and go on with my daily chores thanking God that my kids and I are safe or I have a choice to make all efforts to extend my help for these poor little lives in whatever ways I can…whomever God wants to place in my life.

I have a choice to be the hands and feet of Jesus or to stop them from reaching out.

Life is short and I might not have another chance to make a difference in this hurting world but now when I have a choice, I will seize it.

You have a choice too!

To make a difference in the world, to enlighten someone’s life with yours, to act against the social issues of society, to contribute your time, your talents, your financial help, your prayers, a part of your life and to be the light of Christ to the suffering world.

As you read this blog post, I would like you to spend a minute praying for these  precious children of Wayanad, India, and for all the children in the world who are suffering under the crushing weight of poverty and injustice. Pray that they will be reached with God’s love and hope.

https://www.yuvasocialmovement.org/yuva-community-development-center

wayanad children pic

I am linking this post with

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http://jenniferdukeslee.com/tell-his-story/

 

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