See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way
in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19
in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19
The Father's voice...
God’s love is something that can be so difficult for us to understand, grasp or even accept. We know He loves us but it may not quite register in our spirit just how much.
I looked at a video some days ago sent to me on WhatsApp. Maybe many of you have seen it. The man in the video is a Christian comedian I had seen on television some months or so ago on Christian t.v. He was sharing an experience with his young daughter when she was just a few minutes old.
When he took the video, he did not realize the impact of it until he watched it sometime later. As I said, his daughter was just a few minutes old, and she was crying at the top of her lungs. He immediately began speaking to her in a soothing voice, calling her by name and telling her that he was right there. At the sound of his voice, she stopped crying.
What is amazing to me is that there were other people around I am sure, but she responded to her father’s voice, like she knew it even though she had just been born. The Bible tells us in John 10:3-4b that, “...the sheep hear his voice and he calleth his own sheep by name and leadeth them out ...and the sheep follow him for they know his voice.” We know our Heavenly Father’s voice. We may not realize it but we do and He speaks to us in so many different ways. Some may hear an audible voice. For others He speaks through a song that ministers comfort, yet, for others He speaks through a sermon or a book or a dream. God speaks to us in so many ways.
After the baby had been cleaned up, she began to cry at the top of her lungs again and once again her father came to her speaking soothing words of comfort and assurance. He called her by name again and reminded her that he was right there. Isaiah 43:2 says, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee. When thou walkest through the fire thou shalt not be burned neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” It isn’t that we will not go through trials and stress. The comfort comes in the assurance that God is right there with us while we are going through. He may not choose to stop the trouble from coming our way but He will be right there with us in the storm, in the distress, in the heartache, in the pain. And while there, He will provide and even be the strength we need to make it through, to survive and even thrive in the midst of it all.
Our success story isn’t really about Him taking away the problem but allowing us to go through so that we can learn and receive all the good that He has for us. When He is ready He will bring that trial to an end but in the meantime, while we wait, He is pruning us, moulding us, shaping us into the person He wants us to be.
The father in our story ends his words of comfort by saying to his daughter, “I love you.” As soon as she hears these words that tiny baby, just a few minutes old, does an amazing thing ... she opens her eyes! She is comforted by the fact that daddy loves her!
Like that baby so many times we are crying and stressing and fussing as we go through our challenges. We feel afraid, even terrified because we don’t know how our story will end. But our Daddy is right there loving us, comforting us and keeping us safe even though we may not feel safe.
Now notice, she cried, he spoke and she stopped. She cried again, he spoke again and she stopped. I think all of us can testify to the fact that life is about challenges that just seem to keep coming. Sometimes we go through seasons when problems are coming at us from different directions at the same time. In those times it can be so easy to feel fearful, discouraged and frustrated. We may even wonder if God is even there. Yet, it is good to know that God does not get tired of comforting us, He does not get tired of coming to our rescue. After all, that’s what He is there for. He is our present help in the time of trouble (Psalm 46:1).
I don’t know what you may be going through, but I know God wants you to know a few things: one, He is right there because He has promised never to leave you or forsake you and two, He loves you. In the midst of your trial - God. Loves. You. He will get you safely through this. You will not perish in the midst of it. You are going to make it. God is the One who will get you through this and He is the One with the power and ability to do something beautiful in and through you in the midst of it. God never breaks His promises!
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so now. Simply ask Him to come into your life, to forgive you of your sins and make you into a brand-new person. You can’t escape problems and trials but with God on your side you can conquer anything!
Hope against hope...
Once again, I was watching the 700 Club and saw a story of hope that caught my attention. It was the story of a little 8-year-old boy, Blake, who suffered a terrible headache while with his family at the community pool.
He started clutching his head and screaming that he was going to die. When he started throwing up his family took him to the emergency room of a nearby hospital. There it was discovered that he was suffering from a massive brain hemorrhage. He was immediately air-lifted to a children’s hospital to undergo surgery. The doctors’ efforts were focused on draining the excess blood that had flooded his brain and relieving the pressure on the brain. They feared that he could die or become paralyzed or lose his cognitive and functional abilities.
His parents knew that their only hope was God and they requested prayer on social media. They chose to focus not on the problem but on a God who could fix anything. Many people around the world began praying for Blake, even hospital personnel.
When he was stable enough to do an MRI, it showed signs of brain damage and suggested that he might never walk, talk or see again. This news was devastating and made it seem as if all their prayers were for nothing.
I am sure there were times when we may have felt as if our prayers were for nothing. You prayed, you believed in an able God and then the opposite of what you are praying and believing for happens. It seems as if you went to God in vain and this is usually the point when many of us give up – on our marriage, on our family, on the possibility of a much-needed financial breakthrough, on healing.
Yet, during the night, even after receiving this distressing news, his parents decided to keep praying for a miracle. One of the hospital personnel even prayed that they could get a thumbs up from him although she did not believe that he was capable of doing that. His mother determined to “keep believing until there was no scrap of hope left to hold on to.” His father decided that they were going to “fight until there was nothing left.”
How many of us are willing to hold on to hope when all hope seems gone? How many of us are willing to fight to the end? It is not easy to keep hoping, to keep fighting. It is so much easier to just give up in the face of what our eyes can see, in the face of what others may be saying that we should do. But, our God is still the One who can make the impossible possible. That’s His specialty, that’s who He is. He still has the final say.
The next day, the doctors brought Blake out of the medically-induced coma to examine him. The doctor asked him if he could give him a thumbs up ... and he did! They all rejoiced and praised God. His mother said that there was so much hope in that one tiny little gesture. In the days to come he would go through the necessary therapy to enable him to relearn to walk and talk and regain his motor skills.
I am reminded of the story of the prophet Elijah who was believing God for rain (1 Kings 18:41-45). Seven times he sent his servant to see if he saw any sign of rain. Six times the servant saw nothing but the seventh time he reported seeing a cloud the size of a man’s hand rising out of the sea. It was not a massive thundercloud that signaled a sure sign of rain, just a tiny one that could have easily dissipated. Yet, Elijah chose to see that as the signal for a downpour. He did not wait for it to get bigger but immediately sent his servant to inform the king to “prepare your chariot and go down before the rain stops you” (v.44).
Sometimes we have to praise God for every tiny cloud the size of a man’s hand that He allows us to see, for every tiny thumbs up that we get to experience instead of waiting for the big miracle to come, for the shower of rain we want to see. It’s about hope, hope in God in spite of the situation, hope in God in spite of what your eyes can see. As Blake’s mother put it, it’s about praying in such a way that says that God this is what I hope for, yet, Your will be done. As I said earlier, God still has the final say. Put your hope in God and leave the results up to Him!
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as personal Lord and Saviour, please do so now. This life is filled with challenges and we need a hope that we can hold on to. Give God a chance today to be that Hope in your life and to make the impossible possible!
It had to happen...
Today, while wondering what to share in this post, I decided to watch the 700 Club just in case I heard a testimony that could inspire what to write. God did not disappoint. I listened to the testimony of a man called Benny who collapsed suddenly and had to be taken to the hospital.
He and his wife were getting ready to start their day when he suddenly fainted, fell backward and hit his head on the floor. She rushed him to the hospital where it was discovered that he had two skull fractures and bleeding in the brain. The doctors were worried about brain swelling and seizures. His wife contacted family and friends from church for prayer, and, as the lead singer of the Christian band, “Empowered” the news of his condition led to hundreds of people praying for his healing. He was finally sent home to rest. His wife worried whether he would be able to walk, function and think normally again. She finally reached the point where she gave it God and put her trust in Him and she received God’s peace.
Relinquishing your fears to God can be a difficult task. There is always the fear that your prayers will not be answered or that they will not be answered in the way you would hope. We tend to feel the need to have control and the thought of losing that control makes us fearful. We feel as if we can do it better than even God Himself but oh how wrong we usually are. Only when we truly let go can God start working on our behalf. I have experienced this many times, that need to hold on, trying to “work it out” myself and my way – as if God is totally incompetent and unable to do a good job. But, whenever I choose to release the problem into God’s hands, His peace takes over and I feel the burden lifted.
One day, Benny heard the audible voice of God telling him that He had huge and great plans for him coming out of his injury. He wanted people to know that He, God, had healed him, that what He had done for him He can do for them if they would just press in and call out to Him. Right there, God got my attention. As I heard these words which God audibly spoke to Benny, I was reminded of the title of a sermon by Pastor Steven Furtick: “It had to happen.” We don’t usually like when bad things happen to us. In fact, truth be told, many of us would earnestly try to pray away bad things hoping that they never would come our way. Sometimes God answers our prayer ... but sometimes He doesn’t, at least, not in the way we would expect. God’s words to Benny tells me that God can use anything – good or bad – to bring about His purpose and plan for our lives. We can’t always tell God how to do His job. His ways and thoughts are still higher than ours reaching far beyond the limitations of our human logic.
In his sermon “It had to happen” Pastor Steven looks at the book of Acts and the apostle Paul’s journey to Rome to stand trial before Caesar. His journey by ship is interrupted by a violent storm which destroys the ship in which he and his fellow prisoners are travelling. However, God spares the lives of everyone on board (Acts 27:14-44). The shipwreck initially looked like such a disadvantage, the kind of “bad thing” we would all like to avoid. However, it turned out to be an opportunity for ministry that no one could have foreseen. While on the island of Malta, where Paul, his fellow prisoners and the ship’s crew end up after the shipwreck, Paul meets Publius, the chief man of the island and finds out that his father is sick. He lays hands on him and heals him and this prompts others with diseases to come to him and they too are healed (Acts 28:7-9).
The shipwreck and near loss of lives did not make sense. Yet, what looked like such a negative event, turned out to be God setting up an opportunity for ministry, an opportunity to reveal to people the goodness, mercy and miraculous healing power of God. Imagine, God loved those people on the island of Malta enough to cause a shipwreck to bring their healing, salvation and deliverance to them!
Let’s face it, God knows exactly what He is doing. Maybe your hurt and pain is your point of ministry to bring comfort and emotional healing to others. Maybe challenges in different areas of your life are your “God opportunity” to bring salvation, hope and deliverance to lost souls.
Benny’s life has changed since his healing. Yes, he was ministering to people through his music ministry before but now, since his injury, he feels even more compelled to tell people about Jesus, about what He has done for him and what He will do for them. All of this never would have happened had he not gone through his painful experience.
Be thankful not just in spite of the bad but for it. You never know the great and wonderful plans God has for you - and others - through it.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ into your life as personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so now. God has beautiful plans for your life. He is not thrown off by the bad things but rather uses them to bring about His purpose for you.
I watched an interesting and inspiring video a few weeks ago. It showed a sandy beach with a variety of trees. But, there was one tree that was different. This coconut tree was lying in the sand. There is no indication of what could have possibly happened to throw down this tree, all you see is the end result of whatever had happened to it.
The interesting thing is, the tree may have been lying supposedly dead in the sand, yet its branches had continued growing. It was not just a bare, dead stump lying in the sand, it was very much a tree full of life. Upon closer examination, you realize that although a lot of its roots had been disconnected from the earth - their source - some of the roots had remained connected and this was how the tree had pretty much continued to prosper and thrive like a regular upright tree.
This scenario reminds me of some verses in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9: “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not forsaken, cast down but not destroyed.” It doesn’t matter what we go through or what comes our way to knock us down or even knock us out, as children of God, through Christ we are winners. Verse 7 says: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us.” Our ability to overcome any and every obstacle that will come our way is not about us and our determination or resolve or ability to fight as hard as we can. It’s about God’s power working in and through us. When we run to God in times of distress, when we turn to Him in the midst of our “valley of the shadow of death,” God steps in and fights on our behalf; He defends us, He wins the battle for us because the battle is not our battle to fight it’s His (2 Chronicles 20:15).
What I also found interesting was the other trees on the beach. They were all green, one, I noticed was even laden with bright, fuchsia pink flowers. They were a picture of perfection, prosperity and life. Yet, our tree in question was flat on the ground and the death that you would have expected did not exist ... there was only life, just as much life and greenery and beauty like all the other trees around it. In fact, you could not even tell the difference except for the fact that this tree was flat on the ground while the others were erect and standing.
I just want to put this right here for someone – God is not finished with you!!! Once you remain connected to your Source, just like this tree’s roots remained connected to the earth, even though challenges, tragedies, distress, trials may come your way and you may feel as if you have been knocked down and knocked out, God your source will help you to continue to survive, to prosper, to thrive, in spite of what you have been through and may still be going through.
I recall once again the story of Naomi I shared last week (Ruth 1-4). Life’s challenges had knocked her down. She was discouraged and had pretty much given up. Yet, from the time she chose to return to and reconnect with her hometown and with her God after losing her husband and two sons in Moab, things started to change. She didn’t expect it, but God showed up for her big time. According to Hebrew culture at that time, if a man died leaving a widow without a son who would care and provide for his mother, his nearest male relative could marry the widow to provide for her and produce an heir for his deceased relative. This is what her husband’s relative, Boaz, did when he married her daughter in law, Ruth, and they produced a child, Obed. This child was, in turn, the grandfather of king David. Both Naomi and Ruth received greater provision and blessings from God than they could have ever imagined as they chose to connect to their true Source - God Himself. He turned their negative situation around and caused them to prosper and thrive in spite of what they had been through. Only God...!!!
Life happens – both good and bad coexist. However, once we remain connected to our God, no matter what challenges come our way, God will come through for us. As bad as it looks, as much as it seems as if it is the end, God still has the final say. God’s Word promises that we may be knocked down but not destroyed, that the enemy is defeated and the victory still belongs to Jesus. So, I encourage you to make sure you are connected to your Source, focus on Him and He will see you through.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to make that step without delay. We can’t always avoid life’s challenges, so we need a God who will take care of us, who will help us to prosper and thrive in the midst of difficult circumstances.
This blog provides inspirational nuggets inspired by the Word of God and serves to encourage and motivate Christians in their Christian walk.