Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Call to Repentance

Today is Ash Wednesday; the beginning of Lent.  It is a wonderful time for a Christian, as it reminds us of the greatest love story ever told.  This is a love story that has passed down from generation to generation and a part of who each of us is.  This is the greatest love story of mankind, of the rise and fall of human nature and how our shortcoming were totally vanquished through love.

Yes, this love story is about a man named Jesus.  For the time He was on earth, though he was God, he chose to be man. He went through every possible suffering.  If you think he did not suffer medically like you and I do, and not get medical help when we need it, think again.  His festering, open wounds tell of his story. If you think he did not need money and could work miracles as and when it pleased Him, think again! We are given that same power to work miracles.  Mark 16: 17, 18 reminds us of this.  "They will force demons out in my name.  They will speak in languages they have never learned.  They will drink poison and not be harmed. They will hold snakes and not be bitten.  When they touch the sick, they will be healed."

And here we are left wondering how all this is possible.

Here's one reminder of how we can live in total freedom through Christ:  Repentance.

The first chapter of Isaiah gives us a detailed account of why the Lord refuses to listen to us or answer our prayers. In verse 3 the Lord laments that the ox knows its master, but we do not know Him, and because of this we go about our own separate ways.  We turn to sinful actions and anger the Lord.  Some of the areas of our lives that probably need reflection as seen from Isaiah – Chapter 1 are:

  • Do I revolt against the Lord? (Verse-5)
  • Does my life look like an open festering wound of the diseases of my sins? (Verse-6)
  • Does my life seem empty?  Does every area of my life seem shattered and destroyed?  Does it seem that everything I do does not bear fruit, but strangers enjoy the rewards of my toil? (Verse-7)
  • Am I a stranger in my home, or does my home lack the presence of God and seem so desolate that nothing lives; nothing thrives in it, except for all that is negative? (Verse-8)
  • Does my life style reflect the life style of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah?  Are my moral values based on God’s values or do I follow the calling of the flesh? (Verse-9)
  • Do I pay heed to the Word of God.  Do I listen attentively and with an open heart? (Verse-10)
  • Is the Lord pleased with my life and with the sacrifices I make and offer up to Him?  Do I carry the guilt of my sin upon me that makes the Lord displeased with me? (Verse-11)
  • Do I enter the presence of the Lord in an unworthy manner? Do I displease the Lord with my unrepentant presence? (Verse-12, 13)
  • Have I reflected upon my life and thought about my mistakes?  Is my life clean off the blood of sin and washed in the blood of the Lamb? (Verse-15)
  • Have I rejected sin and have tried to live my life in a manner that pleases God?  Have I stopped living my life of sin? (Verse-16)
  • Am I kind and just in my dealings with others?  Do I make other people’s lives difficult knowingly and willingly? Do I support or stand up for the widows and the fatherless? (Verse-17)   

The beauty about such a reflection, especially during the season of Lent reminds us that when we repent, the Lord will wipe our slates clean.  He will be pleased.  And the promise for taking delight in the Lord is that He shall give us all that our heart desires (Psalm 37:4); in other words, repentance leads to prayers being answered.

Today is a reminder that we can be part of this great love story; when the Saviour and the Saved work the same miracles, and live a life of freedom in God's love. 

Praise God for the gift of repentance, when I can walk a new in His grace and be the real person I was created to be. 

Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, and renew a right Spirit within me. 
(Psalm 51:10)

Friday, February 10, 2012


Yesterday I was led through verses on 'trust' and how a breach of trust can be very painful.  And, trusting in the Lord is what gets us through.

Today, however, is another twist.  You learn how to put your trust in God, and because of that, you also learn how to overlook others' shortcomings or learn how to be on your guard and not be taken for a ride downhill.  Image then, when something pleasantly unexpected happens... when a sudden rainbow shines amidst this disappointment that you've experienced? You wonder where this silver lining came from.  Funny thing is, its been there all along.  Its the disappointments that have blinded us to these heart-warming moments.  For example, your friend disappoints you; doesn't turn up when you really wanted him/her to be there for you in a moment of need. But then one fine day, he/she turns up, asks you out to a movie, buys you popcorn, or takes you to Starbucks as in the good old days (not sure if Starbucks was around for that long...) and brings back happy memories, and yet another moment to treasure.  You're surprised, right?
I'm not going to go into serious issues, but rather mention things like a little kid enjoying your company... or a person sharing a laugh with you when you least expect it; all those little things that help brighten your day.

These little surprises truly helps us overcome those disappointing times, as we move on with brighter smiles and lighter hearts.  Can those disappointments get us down?  Nope.  Not a chance.  Are we going to let those disappointments get us down?  Nope. Not on your life.  For when we learn to trust in God, every little things is an element of surprise; that which we have never seemed to notice before or know what to expect.

Praise God for new mercies each day.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never comes to an end...
They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness.
(Lamentations 3:22,23)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Disappointed? Betrayed? Trust Issues?

Today I ponder on the verse in Psalm 146:3,4 - 'Put no trust in princes, in mortal men in whom there is no help.  Take their breath, they return to clay, and their plans that day come to nothing.'

So many of us can attest to being betrayed either by a best friend, a spouse or a loved one in someway or the other. I am not talking about major issues, but the hurt or sting of betrayal and a breach of trust.

I love how these verses constantly reminds me that I should not give so much importance and emphasis on people with a total trust, to the extent that I base my life on their judgement or their actions.  I have to remember that each one is human and different in their own way.  I cannot expect people to think like me or do things the way I want them to.  Yes, there are times when we 'expect' to be their 'priority', but understanding that human traits only has its limitations, helps us also to forgive these instances of betrayal.  In such cases, my trust is only in the Lord, and I bank on the Lord to take me through such times.  Yes, the hurt is there.  The sting is there.  But, I urge you ... all those who go through phases of trust-issues, to lean on the Lord more and more.  While people are there to support you and lead you on, always remember that it is the Lord who will lead you to the right people for help and hence it is the Lord who should be trusted.

Similar is the case with people who make promises, especially with regards to employment, politics and from people in high office.  "Do this for me and I will reward you."....  Blindly believing a person or employer or seeing things only through their eyes without questioning can lead to very difficult reality checks. And then we wonder why we didn't receive the promotion or why we were sacked. Double check.... its time to trust the Lord.  If such a situation has happened, its probably the Lord telling you that too much emphasis is being given on the wrong people.  The Lord deserves this attention from you... not the others.

Praise God for moments of disappointments, for it's times like these that we learn why and how to trust the Lord and to grow in our fellowship with the Lord.  When this happens, and we realize that we need to make changes, we can lift ourselves up, wipe the dust off our backs and move on.  Praise God that that we can bank on Him totally and that He NEVER lets us down.  If we don't feel that way, then it is an indication that we have to start at the beginning and learn how to lean on Him.

In trusting the Lord, we learn how to stand up for ourselves, how to forgive and how to cherish others for the way they are without the disappointments.  In the bargain, we also learn how to change areas in our lives that pose as trust issues to others too likewise.

'Put no trust in princes, in mortal men in whom there is no help.  Take their breath, they return to clay, and their plans that day come to nothing.'
Psalm 146:3,4