Are you hearing all voices except His?

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A couple of weeks ago, one of our friends and his family visited our home first time. We know them from past 8 years as we were together on Ywam outreach in Sri Lanka in 2010. We met after a long time so all the memories of our outreach were evoked. We recalled the travels, the stay, food, fun, ministry and all the ups and downs we had. During our outreach ministry, we as a team of ten people shared Gospel through personal testimonies, messages, choreography and skits. We all had awesome time of ministry during our three months of internship which we all have always cherished to this time.

I remember, my favorite part of outreach ministry was to perform skits. It was exciting to act different characters. We had few skits to perform each time we visited the local community, churches and villages of Sri lanka. People always responded well to the skits.

One of the skits was about a person’s identity and worth. This person doesn’t know who he is. He is on a journey to search for his real identity and worth. Whomever he meets on his way, isn’t able to tell him who he really is. People say, “You aren’t of any worth, you aren’t loved, you aren’t good looking, you aren’t talented, you are rejected, you are a failure and there is no hope for you. All these voices begin to echo in his ears and he is totally confused about his real identity and worth. He starts to believe what people have said about him. Out of despair he cries out in a lonely place where he meets Jesus who tells him his real identity. Jesus says to him that he is a child of God, he is created in God’s image, he is worthy, he can do all things through Him, he is loved and accepted because Jesus himself has died on the cross for him to give him a life of worth and  true identity.

While recalling this skit today, I began to ponder deeply on the beautiful message it conveys. Once I had played the main character, not in the skit but in a my real life. And I know how it felt to wonder about my true identity.  All the voices were telling me that I am of no worth, I am unaccepted, cursed, unloved, unnoticed, forgotten, and left alone. I thought I can’t be a good mother, a wife or a daughter to my family. I allowed those voices to define my identity. I believed what they said to be true about me. In a culture where people think God’s blessings are all about prosperity, health and success, I couldn’t stand my faith with everything happening just opposite in my life year after year after year. Alone in my room with my sick child I ended my days with tears, bitterness and feelings of loneliness and rejection.

I doubted God’s love for me, I doubted His plans for my life, I denied the purpose of my life and I even wondered if He really had any plan for me when I was created.

All these lies crippled my confidence and self-esteem leaving me to wonder about my real identity and worth. And just like the skit, Jesus had to visit my lonely soul once again to remind me of my real identity and worth in Him.

I found these truth about myself after digging deep into His Word whenever I felt defeated by the negative voices.

When I thought I was of no value, He said, “I paid the price for you on the cross so I alone know the worth of you.” 1 Corinthians 6:20

When I thought I was unnoticed, He said, “I see you, I see every tears that fall from your eyes.” Genesis 16:13

When I thought I was left alone, He said, “ You aren’t alone. I am with you always.” Isaiah 41:10

When I thought the struggles of my life will always last, He said, “Your days of sorrows will end. “ Isaiah 60:20

When I thought there isn’t any hope for my life, He said, “I have plans for your life.” Jeremiah 29:11

When I thought I was forgotten by Him, He said, “I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:16

When I thought I will never be able to do anything in my life, He said, “I will strengthen you to do all things.” Philippians 4:13

Instead of listening to the negative voices, I began to incline my ears to His Word. Instead of feeling defeated by them, I began to raise up knowing my true worth is found in Him alone. Whenever my strength failed, He embraced me with His outstretched arms, raised me out of the ashes, crowned my life with beauty, joy, peace, self-worth and reminded me of my true identity as the DAUGHTER OF THE MOST HIGH GOD.

And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18

Dear Friend, I don’t know if you too are struggling to find your true identity and worth in the world which is full of different voices. Let me encourage you to look to the one who paid the price for you. Seek Him for He alone knows how much it cost. Don’t ever let any negative voices define your identity and worth. You are the child of the most high God. You are forgiven, accepted, loved, chosen, and valued by your Heavenly Father. You are precious to Him because you were bought by His precious blood. Let your identity and worth be defined by His unconditional love for you.

 

 

 

 

Are you feeling left behind?

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Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” John 5:8

He missed out last 38 chances to be healed. After waiting for so long and being disappointed each time, he probably gave up on himself. There was no one to help take him into the pool. He probably was tired of waiting for a miracle for himself. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he already had been in that condition for a long time, Jesus asked him if he really wanted to get well.

In John chapter 5, we read a story of a man who was sick for 38 years. It’s a story we have been listening to since our Sunday school time. This man was laying at the pool of Bethesda for a very long time. He probably spent the best part of his life in despair and in a hopeless situation as he had been sick for 38 years. He was lying on a porch waiting for the moving of the water, but whenever the Angel came down into the pool and stirred up the water, somebody always stepped down before him.
There are seasons in our lives where we feel forgotten and left behind. Expecting a miracle can be so challenging when we have waited for a quite long time being in a same condition. It’s very easy to believe that nothing will ever change; we will remain the same. We kind of find a compromise with our crisis. We give up on our lives, our dreams, and probably even we give up on God. It looks like we are just fine with our crisis. It doesn’t seem like we ever want a change, a miracle, or a fulfillment of our dreams from God.
He says to Jesus that he has no one to help him into the pool when the water is stirred. While he is trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of him.

Many times its easy to blame others for our inability, our lack of progress and our problems when people goes ahead of us and we remain in the same situation. Someone else is promoted and we often miss out on opportunities.

We read in the scripture that Jesus commands him to pick up his mat and walk .(John 5:8)  Jesus heals him and he not only receives healing but also a Savior for Life.

Dear friend, I don’t know which crisis you are struggling with right now. You may feel like giving up, feel like compromising with it and feel like there is no hope, no one is there to help you out. You have missed out on many opportunities. Others have gone ahead of you and you are left behind. It may look like you are just fine with your adversity. You have stopped expecting any change for your situation.

Let me encourage you today. You will not be left behind. When there was a hope for a man who was as equal as dead near the pool of Bethesda, then there is sure hope for you in Christ Jesus. God is the one who defines your destiny. He has the answer for you. He holds the key to unlock your future.  In His time He will raise you up. You are probably still waiting for someone else to help you get into the pool, but the Lord himself will visit you. You were not created to drag through life constantly. Don’t settle down for mediocrity. His promises never fail. He will raise you out of lack into abundance, out of sickness into healing, out of failure into success, and out of despair into His joy and peace.

 

 

 

Hope in His unfailing Love

I am glad to have my friend Louja Blesson sharing her story with us this week. Let’s read how God has helped her to soar on the wings of Faith in the midst of her trials.

Welcome Louja!

I had many dreams about my life. I shared them with my Lord always. Whenever I prayed, I earnestly ask for His will to be done in my life than my desires. I got married to a committed missionary who was ministering in Gujarat, the northern part of India. Our new life was happy. I suffered with jaundice twice, so we waited for a baby for two years. I remember the day when I knew I was going to be a mother. We were so happy with the news. But fourth month’s scanning report brought fear and grief to us. The report showed our baby had Chiari II Malformation with spina bifida. Doctors suggested us to abort the baby. They said she may die, she may be paralyzed or may have severe abnormalities.

I and my husband took a decision which was foolishness to medical science. We said we need our baby. It’s only God who can give her life or take her life away. The one who created her can heal her. We were not ready to abort her. We shared this with few people who could earnestly pray for us. I did not know how I could face those days. I can say His grace and His presence led me through the valley of agony. God helped me to accept the situation. He talked to me personally and encouraged me through His Word and servants.

Scanning reports were coming with negative impact. But we believed in Jesus and His promises. On 2nd November 2016, I gave birth to my beautiful Elizabeth. I remembered the first words of the doctor, “You got a baby girl, and the defects that we found through scanning are there”.

She had the same problems. We were shocked by hearing those words. I asked Lord, why it happened to me? She was in the ICU for two days. She had a wound on her back. Every day they dressed her wound. Her left leg only had movements. It was difficult to control her cries.

Weeks and months passed by, we were in different hospitals. We were keep praying for her. Her first surgery was done when she was one and half month old. There were 14 stitches on her back. She got infection on it and it was really worse. But my Heavenly Father did not give her to death. She was getting good treatment and recovering from the infection. Slowly she came to life and started to smile.

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Now she is six month old. Doctors suggested many surgeries. But we trust in our Lord who has given us promises. He will heal our baby. She has no movements in her legs. But she will walk one day. Her other activities are normal not according to the MRI report.

Sometimes the answer of our prayer and faith may have to face challenges. But keep trust in Him. He never leave us in the midst of red sea. He will be with us always. When our hope is in heaven, it helps us to get through the hard days. The hope of God is sure, real and made possible by Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross. It not only enables us to get through the hard days but also helps us to have the joy and peace in  the valley of sorrows.

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10).

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                   Louja with her husband and their seven months old daughter Elizabeth.

The Patience Zone

Today I am privileged to share my words of encouragement through a devotion on my friend Kelly Basham’s Blog ” Blossom in Faith”.

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Being the impatient person I was, I never liked waiting. I wanted God to answer my prayers as quickly as possible. I didn’t like the idea of God putting us on hold, seeing our tears, our struggles, our difficulties but yet making us wait for Him to answer our prayers. I couldn’t understand why I had to wait when He is the all-powerful, all-knowing God who can easily put an end to our problems.

Please read the devotion here:   http://wp.me/p45OCW-X9

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The magical words

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 My son came to me last night with his new story book named “The Secret to Teddy’s Happiness”. He is always excited to read a new book with pictures. It’s one of my favorite activity too to read him stories at bed time after a long tiring day. I was excited to read a new story (I too enjoy reading children’s stories!) for him as he sat on my lap.

This story was unlike any other children’s stories I have ever read. It caught my attention and made me think deeply about it.

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One night, while all the house was sleeping, the toys in the playroom discovered an old abandoned bear that the children had found. Its fur was tangled and its ears were worn. It looked like the most messy and unhappy teddy bear that ever was.

The toys cleaned it up and found the bear some clothes. They made a small bed out of whatever they could find, and set it by the toy box in the playroom.

But despite all their efforts there was a problem. The shabby old bear seemed just as sad as when they had found it. “It’s his heart”, said the giraffe, ‘it’s broken. That bear needs more than clothes and a comfortable bed to sleep in. It needs to feel happy again.”

So that night, the toys decided to find the secret to Teddy’s happiness.

 

They caught a train, and then a plane….

And sailed on a carpet sea.

They searched the playroom and hunted around. But they could not find the secret. Then the friends encountered a rabbit who knew everything that was to be known. But the little velvet rabbit had longed for one thing since the day it was fashioned and sewn. “I will tell you the secret”, said the kind little rabbit, “if you bring me a star of my own.”

So the adventurous toys went in search of a star in a rickety old toy car.

They found some hanging in the baby’s room, attached by strings to a luminous moon. “I will give you a star,” whispered the moon, “but then, you must shine a light upon me so I can glimmer again.”

So the brave little toys went in search of a light as all the clocks in the house struck midnight….

They found one on an island by a sleepy old lion, but the lion wanted something in return.

“It is cold on this island,” said the sleepy old lion, in a slow and slumberous yawn. “But I will give you this light if you bring me a scarf that will keep me nice and warm”

So the toys set off in the moonlight to search for a scarf and along the dark murky hallway, down a mountain steep, they found one, piled up with some coats in a heap. Then the party of friends returned to the island and wrapped the scarf around the lion’s mane.

Then they shone the light upon the luminous moon to make it glow and glimmer again. After taking the star from the moon, they flew to the bookshelf on a rocket ship where the little velvet rabbit lived all alone. They presented it with a tiny star, the one which he could call his own.

Then the rabbit revealed the secret and with an air of cheerfulness, uttered three tiny words into the shadowy gloom – the secret to Teddy’s happiness.

So they caught a train then a plane and sailed the whole night through, with three tiny words for a sad old bear. The three magical words….WE LOVE YOU!

Story time was over and we set off for our bed, but as I lay down to sleep, this story wouldn’t slip out of my mind. “How true it is that we all long to hear the magical words sometimes to revive our shabby spirit”, I thought to myself.

Everyone longs for one thing and it’s someone to understand the secret to their happiness, especially in those miserable, troubled and chaotic times when they just can’t keep up with life. They want their friends, their family, or their spouse to know without being told that they want to be felt loved. All they want to hear is these magical words that they are loved, cared, valued, understood and accepted.

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The Word of God tells us to encourage one another. We are called to share God’s love with others; those who are broken, messed-up with life, lonely, abandoned and rejected. Maybe they are our friends, colleagues, our relatives, our spouse or children. There are many around you who are fighting their battles alone. There are people sitting in the church next to you with minds fighting a worse fight and hearts burdened with sorrows. There are people in your work place who need to hear one magical word of hope and assurance or just an appreciation. Your magical words can make a difference in their lives to cheer them up and help them find their secret of happiness.

Is there anyone near you who is feeling miserable today? May be your spouse, your friend, your child, your co-worker or your neighbor? Would you speak the magical words to them?

Be bold by His Grace

Today I am honored to share my story at my friend Rachel Britton’s Blog.

Fear, heartache, questions, and uncertainties filled my days. I knew there was only one place to go where I could find peace and comfort for my agonized soul and that was at the feet of Jesus. I brought my burdens to His cross. As I prayed and cried out to Him in my anguish, He whispered His calm assurance to my weary soul that He was beside me throughout the storm.

Please read it here: https://rachelbritton.com/be-bold-by-his-grace/

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Are you quitting?

“When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.” Mark 5:15

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When Jesus and His disciples came to the region of the Gerasenes, a demon-possessed man came from the tombs to meet him. This man was suffering terribly because evil spirits were controlling his mind and body. He lived among the tombs, separated from his family and loved ones. For a long time he had not worn any clothes or lived in a house. No one could bind him, not even with chains. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to calm him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. He lived a pathetic life. No one had hope for him. His family and loved ones probably gave up on him. He was equal to dead in the tombs. Nobody cared for him. He wandered among the hills and tombs without any proper food, clothes or shelter. His body was all wounded. The demons had tormented his life and he was left alone in the tombs without any hope for his life.

When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of Jesus. He shouted at the top of his voice and begged Jesus not to torture him. He was possessed by a Legion of demons. When Jesus commanded the evil spirits to come out of this man, they begged him to send them among the large herd of pigs that was feeding on the nearby hillside. Jesus gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. The man was delivered!

This story reveals that Jesus values each single life. In Him, there is hope for everyone. The demon-possessed man was not only delivered from demons but He also received a new life and a purpose. He met his saviour. He desired to be with Jesus and follow him. People who saw him sitting near Jesus, well dressed and in his right mind, were surprised. He wasn’t the same anymore. His life story was changed. He began to tell others, what Jesus had done for him.

Are you struggling to keep up hope in your life? Are you thinking of quitting? Are you tired of making it through your trials? Do you think you are too messed up to ever get better? Be encouraged and know that your life is precious to Jesus. He values you. You are worthy because of His perfect love. He alone knows your circumstances. No matter how dark the night is, His light will surely shine through it. He promises to give you a new life, a new beginning and a new purpose. He promises to bestow on you a crown of beauty instead of ashes, oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. When you meet Him, your life will never be the same again. Your story will not end in defeat but victory because Jesus is the hope of your life!