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.

Random Thoughts…Life Again

Life is a process of living, it always moves forward and never backward! It is full of ups and downs, joy and sorrow! It has a beginning and an end… and a “middle” if I can say that. While living out the “middle”, we have to prepare for the end and what comes after the end.

Sometimes I feel we spend most of our lives living in the “middle” and forget to prepare for the end. Prosperity gospels have not done much to aid our preparations. We are so caught up trying to prosper ie make lots and lots of money, such that we forget about the most important things in life. We spend most of our time trying to fit in and be comfortable in our environment. Trying to be like the Jones’…The Bible talks about seeking first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto us. So why are we putting financial prosperity ahead of the Kingdom of God? We seek first earthly things and give God what is left of our time, if any is left at all. How much time do we spend praising and worshipping God, being grateful for the things we have and how far He has brought us? Or are we just caught up in requests and complaints alone?

I am not perfect and I have often caught myself in a cycle of “me” and not God. I have caught myself in a series of complaints and lack of faith. I have caught myself losing sight of the end. I don’t want to be so lost in the ways of this world such that I lose my place in the Kingdom of God.
God’s Word says He opens up doors that no man can shut and shuts doors that no man can open. Why are we trying to do the opening and shutting for Him? Let’s trust God to work in our lives for our good, while we earnestly seek His Kingdom.

What is your number one goal in life?

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.

Overcoming Worry and Fear

Life always seems to bring us something new to worry about each day. We worry about our jobs, our families, our lives, almost everything that matters to us brings us some form of worry at one point. We worry about the possibility of things going wrong or things not going the way we want them to. We worry about the possibility of things not happening for us at all! It seems we move from one worry to the other.

As I get closer to giving birth, I find myself thinking about the day I give birth. I worry about the possibility of things going wrong. What if my baby doesn’t make it? I find the past trying to overwhelm me. I fear not being able to recover if that were to happen. But the thing is, I cannot let those kind of thoughts take over my mind. I cannot allow my mind to dwell on negativity. Maybe it’s just me, but I find most of the times, the mind is conditioned to think negatively. I find myself battling this “conditioning”, replacing the negative with the positive.

I have spent the last year or so, teaching myself to focus on the positive, on the good things in life. I have spent time “reconditioning” my mind. Thus today I find myself looking forward to the day I give birth. I look forward to seeing my daughter! I look forward to spending time with her, nurturing her and being a mother! I am at peace knowing that in a couple of months my daughter will be here. I thank God for giving me the strength to overcome my worries and my fears. I also thank my husband who has been my support, my strength and my prayer warrior. I could not have done it alone.

Romans 12: 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Random Thoughts….Those Little Things

I was recently reminded of a story I heard long ago. The story is of a boy who brought a lion cub into the village he was staying in. He thought the cub was cute and that it was a good play mate. Against all advice to get rid of the cub, the boy kept it and the cub eventually grew into a big lion. One day as they were playing in the bush, chasing each other, the boy fell down and cut his leg. The lion came and licked the blood on the boy’s leg and all of a sudden the suppressed lion instincts came rushing forth. The lion tore the boy apart, rushed into the village and killed everyone. All of a sudden the cute lion cub had turned into this huge killing beast! This is a sad story, but so it is in our lives.

Think about it for a minute, what is that one thing that you know is wrong but cant stop doing? That one thing that you hide away from everyone else because it’s wrong? It’s one of those things that you know you should stop, you know its a bad habit, but you enjoy it so much, you like it! But you cant stop because after all, it’s not hurting anyone is it. No one knows about it so it cant hurt them can it. But what happens one day when you get found out, when it gets out of hand? The things we think are okay and harmless will one day grow into this huge mess that will tear us apart unless we deal with them. This story challenged me to look deep into myself and identify the things that are wrong but I think are cute and harmless. I hope it challenges you too!