God, why so quiet?

(Read Isaiah 40:27-31)

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Let’s be honest. There are times when we would think that God doesn’t seem to hear or see our situation, especially when it’s challenging and chaotic, and everything just seems to be going out of control. You can’t help but worry and doubt and question, “God, where are you in all of these? Can’t you see me? Can’t you see how bad everything looks right now? Aren’t you going to do something about this? You know I can’t, but can you? Will you?”

Then disappointments turn to doubts, doubts turn to disbelief, and disbelief turns to resentment. And we find ourselves in a place where it is just so hard to trust God anymore, simply because He didn’t seem to respond when we called on Him. He didn’t give the answer or solution we were expecting. And we think we know better than Him–we know better how the problems must be solved. This is us; this is how we think very often.

But this Biblical passage by Isaiah smacks us in the face and simply reminds us that the Lord is the everlasting God–are we forgetting that He is the Creator of all? He is immeasurable. He doesn’t get tired out. He knows everything (also in 1 John 3:20). He sees everything (see Hebrews 4:13).

He is most definitely aware of what your whining about, and knows about all your worries and doubts. Before we even said a word, He knows it already (Psalm 139:4). And believe it or not, because He knows us, He understands us. He understands us perfectly.

God knows what He’s doing. We are limited, but He’s not (Psalm 147:5). It is us who have limited understanding. He said in Isaiah 55:9 that His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. However, because of our undying attempt at control, we find this hard to believe. And we tire ourselves out in the process, and the waiting time becomes long and exasperating. Then we lose our patience; eventually, our trust in Him.

But here’s the main thing: Isaiah goes on and says that Yahweh energises those who get tired, and He gives fresh strength to the weak; and that no matter how young and old you are, you will get tired and fail. It’s inescapable. But all who plugs in to the Lord, the main and only legitimate source of power and strength, will renew theirs. They will continue to have the energy to wait, to hope, to trust, to praise and to serve the Lord in the middle of trouble. And the promise is they will not get tired, they will not lag behind.

And so, when God seems quiet and distant, know that this is the perfect time to learn how to seek His strength more than ever to enable you to trust Him with the things that you don’t understand, that don’t make sense to you. Remember how kind and faithful He already is to you, and hold on to how good He always has been.

His response may not be quick or instant, (as we all love instant, we live in an “instant world”), but know that He is never late, and He is never too busy for you. He’s heard your call, He’s never missed one. And His answer is on its way, and will arrive at the time and place He’s already set. Let your strength be renewed; let your faith be restored. He got it all covered, in Jesus’ name.

#OurStrengthisRenewed
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What plan?

(From Proverbs 19:21, 23)

There are instances in life where this couple of proverbs prove right. Sometimes, even if you know you’ve worked hard, invested a lot of your time and resources in things that matter so much in your life, some things would not just go as planned, and/or you’d be taken to a completely different direction, not the one that you would’ve anticipated or even imagined.

Even after a long, tedious period of seeking the Lord, praying and fasting about it, it just doesn’t seem to go your way for some reason. And you’re pretty much left disappointed, tired, sometimes, even angry with God and everyone around you! You knew you deserved better, and whatever you ended up with was not what you’ve asked and worked hard for.

Yet the Bible says that we can do all the planning and toiling but the Lord’s purpose, whatever it is that He’s already pre-destined, pre-designed and pre-planned, will always prevail (v21). And we can be sure that He has good reasons as to why certain plans won’t come into fruition, or outcomes are not in the shape you’ve expected or calculated. He said in verse 11 of Jeremiah 29:

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

This is His promise. Remember that God always has your best interest in mind, and only He knows what’s best for you and I. Be encouraged that He’s already worked it all out for you (Proverbs 16:4). You just got to walk in it. But this part takes trust, and a lot of patience, because it’s not stated in the promise that it’s going to be easy and problem-free.

Along the way, yes, He will allow us to experience disappointments, failures, difficulties; only to realise (again and again) that we can’t handle it on our own. But those who know how to fear (revere) Him, wait on His timing, and trust Him will always renew their strength (Isaiah 40:31). They are the ones who truly succeed because they encounter God in the process; they learn how to hope in the God who holds the universe; they learn how it is to persevere, and develop strength of character (Romans 5:3-4); they learn that the God who is powerful and kind and wise is on their side amidst the struggles; and they can trust that if Plan A doesn’t work out, God has already placed a Plan B that is surely bigger and better. They can always believe that. Proverbs 3:5-6 says to:

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Verse 23 of Proverbs 19 indicates that because they honour God, praise Him, and worship Him in the middle of difficult circumstances, they are given life and energy anyway; they can feel safe and secure anyway; and they are protected from harm anyway, which is probably why the plan didn’t succeed in the first place. They can keep walking under God’s protection until they reach the destination God has prepared skilfully for them.

Let’s choose to be thankful to God when things don’t go as planned; and trust that wherever He redirects us, greener pastures await. His ways are always perfect. His timing is never too late, never too early. You can continue walking by faith, and be sure that He’s got you covered.

#Hispurposeprevails
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Beyond the pages

Read Hebrews 4:12-13

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We must realise that the Word of God is more than printed pages in a book. The Word of God is the person of Jesus Christ.

John‬ ‭1:1-3, 14 say:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

The Word of God is living and active. The Word of God is Jesus Christ speaking to us by the power of the Holy Spirit, who empowers us and transforms us to become more like Jesus.

We read the Word to know and understand Jesus, to seek His face and His truth by the guidance of the Holy Spirit of God, so we can have a relationship with the Lord, be renewed, and carry His divine truth and love in our world.

Reading the Bible is beyond a religious activity or routine, but it is a life-changing, heart-transforming journey of getting to know the person of our Saviour and King.

We must seek Jesus, and ask the Holy Spirit to make the living and active Word of God to be made flesh, to be alive in our own lives.

#JesusTheLivingWord
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Special thanks to Pastor Ken Brown of Spirit & Life International Ministries.

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fear (verb)

fear (verb)
Meaning: to regard (God) with reverence and awe.
Synonyms: stand in awe of, regard with awe, revere, reverence, venerate, respect

Used in a Biblical sentence:

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From Proverbs 14:26-27

God blesses those who revere Him, those who acknowledge His power, greatness and authority.

Psalm 115:13 says that Yahweh will bless those who fear Him, both the great and the lowly.

Fear of the Lord brings:

  • abundance/ prosperity – “How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, Who walks in His ways. When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, You will be happy and it will be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine Within your house, Your children like olive plants Around your table.” (Psalm 128:1-4)
  • protection – “The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, And rescues them.” (Psalm 34:7)
  • longevity – “The fear of the LORD prolongs life, But the years of the wicked will be shortened.” (Proverbs 10:27)
  • deliverance – “Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope for His lovingkindness, To deliver their soul from death And to keep them alive in famine.” (Psalm 33:18-19)
  • riches and honour and life – “The reward of humility and the fear of the LORD Are riches, honour and life.” (Proverbs 22:4)

#feartheLord
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Jesus can

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This one’s from a little story in Mark 9 where a dad approached Jesus and asked Him to free his son from a demonic spirit. Read Mark 9:14-29.

Let this be your prayer for today.

Jesus simply can. Jesus can turn any situation around. He can heal your sickness. He can take away the pain. He can bring you peace. He can bring breakthroughs. He can perform astounding miracles. You just got to believe and not doubt His matchless power. Pray even that you learn to not doubt the Lord’s power and authority, just like what the dad did in this passage. Believe and give your battles to God, from the smallest ones to what seem to be insurmountable. He got you covered! You just have to place your faith in Him and not doubt His sovereignty!

#DoubtNot
#Heispowerful
#NothingisimpossiblewithGod
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Do it unto the Lord

(From Colossians 4:23)

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Serve others like you’re serving God. Work hard for others like you’re working hard for God. Let everything you do be done unto God. Let everything you do be done in His strength. Let everything you do be done for His glory. He promised us a reward for sincerely and tirelessly serving Him, and all His promises are Yes and Amen!

#doituntotheLord
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Got wisdom?

God is the only source of true wisdom. God’s wisdom, according to James 3:17, is “pure, peace-loving, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”

As followers of Christ, we must endeavour to gain wisdom in our everyday walk with the Lord. We need wisdom to make moral decisions, to discern correctly, to live uprightly, to know God and discern His voice, to build our faith, and to do pretty much everything!

(Passage from James 1:5-6)

James in his letter encourages us to ask the Lord for wisdom if we think we need it or lack it. And he said that we ought to anticipate the Lord’s response, and not doubt that He will give it to us. And in this scenario, what Jesus said in Matthew 21:22 applies so well, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

In connection with this, Proverbs 9:10 says that the “fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Psalm 111:10 states the same, and adds that “all who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.”

In order to find or receive wisdom, it is our part to learn to develop the fear of God i.e., our reverence and respect to God.

When we revere God, we become in awe of His power, greatness and authority (Jeremiah 10:12; Job 9:4). We realise He is all-knowing, always present and constantly aware of everything, that He sees us and knows our every move (Proverbs 15:3; Psalm 139:2). And importantly we revere God when we sincerely commit to walk in obedience to Him. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commands” (John 14:15)

We must desire God’s wisdom to live a life that brings Him glory. Remember He is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. His thoughts are nothing like our thoughts, and His ways are far beyond what we can understand and imagine (Isaiah 55:8; Isaiah 40:28). Let’s seek His wisdom and direction. Let’s ask that our plans and desires be aligned with His divine plans and desires for us.

#truewisdom
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Where He favours (Pt. 3)

(Part 3 of 3)

Read: Psalm 84:8-12

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The Lord shows favour to those who seek Him, honour Him, and trust Him.

1)  In verses 8 and 9, the Psalmist pleads to God for favour. Believe it or not, God invites us to seek His favour. Psalm 119: 58 says, “I seek Your favour with all my heart. Have mercy on me as You promised!” Yahweh wants us to seek Him in humility, and go after His righteousness so we may have His divine protection (Zephaniah 2:3). Jesus said in Matthew 6:33 to “seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” We must humble our hearts before Him, and actually verbalise our need of Him like the psalmist in verses 8 and 9, “Hear our prayer”, “Look (on us) with favour”.

2)  The Lord favours those who gives honour to Him. The Psalmist says, “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere” (verse 10). I believe He’s talking about spending time with God in a place of worship in His presence (this may be referring to heaven, or simply a worship house or the temple). We honour God when we treat Him with high regard, and value Him by giving Him our time and availability. We honour God when we value the time we spend with Him in prayer (See Matthew 6:6; 1 Chronicles 16:11); and when we get to know Him in His Word (Psalm 1:2). The psalmist loves His presence so much that he has disregarded all his other fun and valuable memories, and counted them as nothing compared to the joy of being in Yahweh’s incomparable presence. He says he’d rather assume the lowest position in the Lord’s tabernacles as a doorkeeper, than be comfortable in the wicked’s hub. And by principle, the Scriptures is telling us that when we delight in Him, He delights in us (Psalm 37:4).

3)  God favours those who trust in Him. As reflected in verse 11, in our personal journey, He becomes the “sun” that gives us light and warmth in the darkness, the “shield” that protects us in danger. Psalm 5:12 supports this by saying that Yahweh “blesses the righteous” and “surround them with His favour as with a shield.” We can also be confident in His promise that “no good thing does He withhold” from those who strive to live with integrity (verse 11b), all who trust in Him are blessed (verse 12). When we live right, we can trust God to give us every thing that is good for us. Psalm 37:3 says, “Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.”

There is no absolute formula or ritual for God to bestow His favour and grace on us. He is not a machine that reads codes and responds to calculations.

God is not some genie that gets moved by spoken or choreographed rituals. He is the Lord that sees the heart and knows its secrets (Psalm 44:21). He searches our hearts, and tests our minds (Jeremiah 17:10). And only He can weigh our motives (Proverbs 16:2).

The bottomline is that He will favour those He knows who seek Him in humility, live in obedience and integrity, honour Him and trust Him with their lives.

#Hefavours
#dirtybibles

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See Part 1 here: Where He dwells
See Part 2 here: Where He strengthens

 

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Where He strengthens (Pt. 2)

(Part 2 of 3)

Read: Psalm 84:5-7

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God is our strength. He is the source of real and true strength. He is our mighty and all-powerful Creator who gives us the strength to live, to have faith and believe, and to endure difficulties along our journey. And He blesses those whole rely on Him for strength.

I believe this pilgrimage to Jerusalem is symbolic of our own walk with God. And in this personal pilgrimage, the psalm says that we will pass through valleys of “weeping” (Baka); perhaps, referring to valleys of struggles, doubts, confusions, serious troubles and even more.

But because we placed faith in God and set our hearts on Him, we can walk through these life areas in His strength and grace. It is His presence amidst this long, eventful walk that gives us strength, and actually turn these dark, complicated places into places of refreshing springs, where His love and blessings will rain down and flood upon us.

Because He is present with us, we will go from strength to strength until we see Him face to face at the time and place He’s set for us.

Make Him your strength today. Obtain true strength by:

  • Accepting our weakness and relying on Him – “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” (Isaiah 40:29)
  • Trusting Him – “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah‬ ‭40:31‬)
  • Hoping in Him – “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” (Isaiah 12:2)
  • Seeking Him always – “LORD, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.” (Isaiah 12:2)
  • Believing Him – “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 3:14)

In what areas of your life do you need His strength today? God is still sovereign and faithful. Pray that He strengthens your faith, and enables His strength to dwell upon you daily.

#Strengthlikenoother
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Where He dwells (Pt. 1)

(Part 1 of 3)

Read: Psalm 84:1-4Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

For a true believer, God’s presence is everything. Spending time alone with the Lord enables us to feel His peace, joy, comfort and pure love. You feel complete in His presence; you feel security, satisfaction, and calmness you can’t get anywhere else. You don’t feel the passage of time when you’re with Him. His presence is like no other.

The Psalmist praises the goodness of where the Lord resides. This may refer to heaven, of course; but wherever the presence of God dwells, becomes like heaven. His manifested presence in our lives becomes our heaven on earth, and it’s only a tiny glimpse of the real thing!

The Psalmist hungers to enter His presence–he yearns for a communion with Him (v2), to stay in a place blanketed by His security and protection (v3).

And anyone who dwells in His presence worships Him and gives Him joyful praises inexorably because of His uncontainable beauty and grace (v4). It’s kinda like a sneak peek of our lifestyle in heaven, where we’d just speak and breathe worship all day long!

Have you ever been in His presence? Have you experienced the love and comfort God’s manifested presence brings?

Find some time alone with God daily. Just sit down and call upon His name, Jesus. Come before His presence with praise and thanksgiving (Psalm 95:2). You can even play some worship music, and sing praises to Him. Read the Word, and His in-dwelling Spirit will reveal His truth and glory to you. He promised that if we seek Him wholeheartedly, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13).

His presence makes us whole and vivifies our spirits. In His presence, there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). Welcome Him in your room, in your household, in your workplaces, wherever you are. Believe that His presence goes with you everywhere you go.

#Hispresenceiseverything
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