Standing Firm

What does “standing firm” mean? It means standing your ground, refusing to abandon your beliefs, take a firm stand, and refuse to budge or be moved… I could go on with the meanings but I trust you get the picture. It is a fairly straight forward statement. In times of trouble it can be difficult to stand your ground. Fear and anxiety knock on your door and threaten to derail your faith. Challenges can seem so HUGE that you don’t know how you are going to face them. Stepping out in faith or standing in faith at this point seems impossible, feels like a waste of time. You feel like giving up, helpless even. But I urge you not to lose your faith. Exodus 14:13 “Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.” Today may not be TODAY, but your today is coming! Your deliverance is coming! Refuse to be shaken out of your faith…stand firm! Do not lose faith!

1 Corinthians 16:13 Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong.

Staying In Faith

Staying Positive, Staying in the Word

For the last couple of months I haven’t been feeling well, it’s been one ailment after the other. I came from a place of great health, running everyday, to a place of being sick everyday. I have lost weight and am still fighting off sickness, happy to say the worst is over. Through all this my faith has been tested!

I have battled with my faith, battled to stay in the Word, battled to stay strong in the Word! I can truly say my faith was shaken. I prayed everyday but wasn’t seeing results. I was moving between good days and bad days. I was only happy at night when sleeping, happy to hang up the sickness for the night. During the day I battled to stay positive. It was a terrible rough patch for me! I realised that my faith only surfaced on good days but I abandoned it during bad days.

I read stories of Jesus healing people, telling them “your faith has made you well”, yet my faith wasn’t making me well. I almost lost my way, almost lost my faith in the one who created me. All I needed was a little bit more patience, a little bit more faith. I was tried and tested. I have won the battle and i maintained my faith.

No matter what you are going through, stay in faith. God will carry you through. He loves you and will never forsake you.

Mark 11:22 NLT

Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God.

No greater love…

I havent posted anything in the last two months, my daughter has kept me so busy. In this time I have learnt love beyond what I can imagine. I love my daughter so much it’s unbelievable. It got me thinking about how much God loves us. Isaiah 49:15 KJV reads Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. If I being human love my daughter so much how much more does God love me? If I cannot imagine my life without my daughter, how much more does my Father in heaven care for me?

Being a mother has only given me a tiny glimpse of how much God must care for me. In John 3: 16 we read of how God gave His only Son to die on the cross for me. There is no greater love than this!

The Day She Was Born!!

It happened on a Friday evening. My husband and I were watching tv in the evening. As usual, I fell asleep on the couch! About an hour into my sleep, I had to go to the bathroom! Oh the joys of being pregnant! I remember lying there wondering if I could delay my bathroom trip by a few more minutes! I decided to get up anyway, as I got up, my water broke! What the heck I thought to myself, what is going on? My heart started pounding as I made the short trip to the bathroom. I must have been in so much shock, I didn’t say a word to my husband at that moment. As I got to the bathroom door, more water!! Now I started panicking, I remember telling my husband that I thought my water had broken.

I have never been in such a state of panic in my entire life! Having lost a child at 40 weeks didn’t make my state of mind any better. I was scheduled to go in for a c-section the following Tuesday so my mind wasn’t prepared for this! Getting dressed seemed to take for ever! Every minute felt like an hour as we prepared to go to the hospital. My mind was now in over drive. I didn’t want to be standing around, let alone walk downstairs to the car in case the baby fell out! I laugh at myself now, but at that time it wasn’t funny! I really didn’t want to risk anything.

We got to the hospital, and I must say, I was feeling a bit better, I wasn’t as panicked as I had been when we left home. They ran some tests on me, and announced that I was going to be having my baby that same night via emergency c-section. My blood pressure was high at that moment, most probably because I was in shock. They strapped some gadgets on my stomach that monitored my baby’s heart rate. I must say I hated that bit as at times I lost the baby’s heart rate because she was lying so deep in the womb. It was a nasty thing to do to me as it brought back the memories from when I lost my first baby. They had struggled to find the heart rate and here I was trying to monitor another baby’s heart rate.

I went into theatre shortly before midnight and at 23.54hrs on 27 September 2013, my beautiful daughter was born. We have named her Tamara, which means palm tree. The palm tree in the bible represents abundance, growth, being upright, fruitfulness. “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree, they will grow like the cedar of Lebanon” (Psalm 92:12). Refer to “About Tamara” tab for more notes.

Random Thoughts….Appointed Time

Yesterday I heard a teaching from one of the well-known pastors in the world. This pastor spoke on the story of the man in John 5 who was crippled. The story tells of how this man has been crippled for 38 years and how he used to wait at the Bethesda pool where sick people gathered, hoping to get healed. When Jesus asked this man if he wanted to be healed, his response was, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Jesus told him to get up, pick up his mat and walk, and the man was healed! Now this pastor interpreted that this man wasn’t healed earlier in his life because he had been avoiding responsibility and that he blamed others. The pastor went on to say, Jesus didn’t feel sorry for him but commanded him to get up and walk.

Now this got me thinking. I personally would rather disagree with the Pastor’s teaching. I have found that the Word of God is subject to one’s interpretation but I do believe this is a rather incorrect interpretation of what really happened. I believe that this man hadn’t been healed in 38 years because his time for healing had not yet come. If we look at the story of a blind man being healed in John 9, I believe we can find a reasonable explanation as to why the crippled man had not yet been healed. The man in John 9 had been blind from birth, Jesus disciples asked “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus’ answer gives us a very straightforward explanation, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” I believe the same applies to the crippled man in John 5. His healing was for an appointed time for the glory of God. So for one to say he hadn’t been healed because of his attitude is wrong to me. I ask the question, so if my attitude is right and I have been praying and believing for something, how come I haven’t seen the result manifest? Are you still going to point out that there is still something wrong with my attitude?

Another possible reason the crippled man hadn’t been healed until then may have been for the salvation of his soul. It is possible this man did not believe in God and only believed that his healing would only come from the stirred waters. In this instance, his healing would have been set for an appointed time for the salvation of his soul.

This brings me to a word I first heard a while ago. The word is Maktub. I found this translation of the word on the internet from this website http://www.mysticsaint.info/2006/06/maktub-what-does-it-mean-that.html. “Maktub is an alchemist term (arabic word) which literally means it is written. From mystical point of view, it points to the fact that whatever happens is already known to the One. It signifies that Destiny exists. It points finger to the fact that everything is already known to God.”

I believe in an appointed time for everything. I believe the appointed time for what we are believing for is coming! God has set a time for His glory to be manifest in us. Psalm 139: 16, “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.”

Habakkuk 2: 3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

Random Thoughts….Life After Death

Have you ever wondered what happens to us after we die? The question about life after death is something that troubled me a few weeks ago. I did a brief research on what really happens immediately after a person dies. As Christians, one thing that we know for sure is there are no “in-between” people; there are two types, the righteous and the unsaved. My brief research though raised a few questions that I still am wondering about but however here is my understanding on the matter of where people go immediately after death.

The Bible teaches that those who are saved, having embraced the blood of Jesus and believed (2 Peter 1:18-19), will at death go to be with Jesus Christ, in a state of conscious bliss and are immediately in fellowship with Christ. Paul in his writings declared that “to be absent from the body” is to be “present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8) and later, he says that to die, is “to depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (Philippians 1:23). Jesus speaks of the immediate destination of the saved who have passed away as “Paradise.” He said to the thief on the cross, “Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). The righteous who have died are in the presence of Christ, in a place called Paradise, awaiting the resurrection of the body for Judgment, the final reward and the future life in Heaven.

Like me, you must be wondering what differences there are between Paradise and Heaven. My research has shown me that Paradise is a holding place for the righteous waiting for the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21: 1-4). This will be revealed on Judgment day. The purpose of the Judgment is not so much to determine who is saved and who is lost. The matter of salvation has been determined by our decision regarding Jesus Christ here in this life. For example, John 6:47 says, “He who believes in me has everlasting life.” The word “believes” is a strong word: It means “to have confidence in the truth”, “to embrace” and “to cling to;” it includes repentance and obedience. I got this meaning from an online dictionary http://www.thefreedictionary.com/believe . This I guess raises the scripture in Matthew 7: 21- 23 where Jesus says that “Not everyone who calls me Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father.” Those who sincerely receive Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord of their lives are assured of eternal life. By way of contrast, those who do not know God, and who do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ “shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).

So it is with Hades and Hell as Paradise and Heaven. The wicked and the lost soul will automatically depart to Hades at death. There is no lingering in the grave or on earth. On the Day of Judgment the final death will come for the wicked. We see this in Revelation 20:13-14…”death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

So actually in the mini research I did the greatest question that arose was what does Jesus mean by saying “Not everyone who calls me Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven”? Yet we are taught that if you go for alter call then hey you are done and dusted and ready for Heaven. I leave that to you to figure out. On a personal level I might say my answer was given in that same scripture of Matthew 7: 21-23. Interesting how it is that you look for one thing and end up with a dozen other things that need verification.

Here is one of the questions that arose as I was looking into this topic of life after departing from our bodies, “Do the saints know what is happening on earth? I guess watch this space for another article on this.

My Pregnancy Journey So Far

For some time before falling pregnant, I strongly felt I could not walk the pregnancy journey again. I know it’s the opposite of how I felt at the beginning when all I wanted to do was try again. I felt I could not endure the journey again because of my fears, worries and hurt. It was at this point that I heard God say to me, “Who are you to say you cannot do this again?” I let go of my fears and chose to try again. Here I am now in my third trimester, getting closer to seeing my baby.

I have had days where I have felt some pain in my body and the immediate temptation is to panic. You want to know what every single sensation is, why it’s happening and if it will affect the baby. If it wasn’t for pregnancy forums on the internet, the doctor would have been tired of me already. I have been through pregnancy before but it sure doesn’t do anything to ease the worries. I have had to monitor my blood pressure and avoid stressful situations…so far I must say I’m doing well. My blood pressure has been good and hasn’t been any cause for concern. God has been my strength through all this. I spend most of my days working in a stressful environment. I work for a person who can be very unpleasant for long periods of time. So managing to stay calm has been a major feat for me!

Doctor’s appointments have been a joy to go to. Seeing my baby grow each month has filled me with so much joy. Scans have shown that we are expecting a baby girl so I am very much excited! My husband and I agreed a while back that he would name the boys and I would name the girls. Settling on a name hasn’t been easy but I believe I have found the right name for her.

Ultimately, the pregnancy journey has been exciting for me. I have a couple more months to go and I pray that God remains my strength.

Psalm 91: 2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in Him will I trust.