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While You were Sleeping

12/09/2019 18:54

I recently read a book titled ‘While you were sleeping. The story centred around a young woman who was engaged to be married. Sadly, on the eve of her special day, she was knocked down by a car and fell into a coma. When she woke up, the young lass assumed she’d been out of it for a brief moment. She was horrified to discover that it had not been a matter of days or even months, but that she’d been ‘sleeping’ for six long years.
 
To make matters worse, her fiancé, after several years of faithful waiting at her bedside, had fallen in love and got married to someone else. What a shock! It was a lovely story and I enjoyed it, but the ending I’d hoped for didn’t happen. I love happy endings  so I felt cheated. I’m so glad there is an Author who gets it right every single time—the Author of your story and mine. The Bible tells me that when I place my trust in Jesus as my Saviour and Lord, I can be certain that the end of my life's story will reach its perfect fairytale ending, not because of my own goodness but because of His great love. We are told that Jesus the Bridegroom is coming for His Bride, His people. It will be a glorious end to the story of the world and the remarkable beginning of the story of Eternity.

The other day, errant spring breezes had been up to mischief, stripping young maple leaves from my neighbour’s tree and tossing them all over our driveway. I started to clear them up, realising too that it was time to tackle another job I’d put off all week. I swept the maple leaves through our garage and into our back section. There’d been a large collection of other leaves over there as well, dancing around our patio. But now, as I looked to sweep them … where were they? The paving looked spanking clean.

 

I took care of it while you were sleeping, Nushi’.  God’s smile warmed me.

“You did?” I looked around me, incredulous. 

There was not even one leaf to be seen!
 

 

I always do. Didn’t you know that sweet daughter?”

 “Of course!” I smiled back at my Daddy God. 

“Thank you Papa. Thank you so very much.”

Like a cool refreshing breeze, Gods kindness enveloped me. As God’s truth seeped into my being, my spirit soared like an eagle in flight. And no, I wasn’t thanking Him for cleaning up the leaves. God knew that my heartfelt gratitude was for the assurance He gave me (through what He did that day) that He is always working for my good; even while I am ‘sleeping’. I bent down, gathered the leaves I’d collected and tossed them into our green bin. 
 
I’d been praying fervently regarding a tough circumstance I faced. In response, God had assured me through His Word that all I had to do was to keep looking at Jesus. He had also been letting me know that as I focussed on His goodness and greatness, He would fight my battles. What happened now was another poignant reminder. Yes, He does take care of my every need, even something as insignificant as the leaves that littered my patio. What a God we serve!
The Bible gives us numerous examples of how God worked in spite of circumstances. He caused a woman in her nineties have a baby, He delivered a whole nation from slavery, He made the sun and moon to stand still, He breathed fire on Elijah’s water-soaked sacrifice,  He cured a man of leprosy as he bathed in the river Jordon, He delivered Shadrack Meshach and Abednego from a fiery furnace, He saved Daniel from a den of lions, He ordered a whale to swallow Jonah so he wouldn’t drown and … I could go on and on. In fact these are but a tiny snapshot of all He did over the ages. As I turn the page over and open the New Testament, I consider all that Jesus did and I am brought to my knees in wonder, awe and praise.
 
Are you grappling with a tough situation? A difficult person? A chronic illness? A challenging season? Have you been unfairly treated? Has life thrown lemons at you? Let’s you and I look up at the face of Jesus. As we focus our attention on our mighty powerful awesome God with thanksgiving and praise, we will know that as sure as night follows day, our faithful Father will continue to take care of all our needs.

While I was sleeping God was awake.

While you were sleeping God was on your case.

As we rest in Him, He will make all things beautiful ... and in His time!

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14

 

 

Zooming Out

29/08/2019 16:03
I packed my son’s lunch before he left for work, pulling open a kitchen drawer to grab a bag for his lunch box. It was the last bag in the package, so after I removed it, I found myself holding a little cardboard cylinder. I started to turn the cylinder over in my hands—when I heard a whisper in my heart. 
Don’t throw it away—it’s a gift from Me
 
Oh? What did God mean? I took the little ‘gift’ into my den and looked through one end. Through it I spotted part of the French door that led to our kitchen and family room. I moved my head, peering inside my den this time. The picture for August on my calendar beamed at me—a scene of the night sky now viewed through a little circular frame. I looked down below it, and saw the soft head of my baby giraffe as he sat on a chair to my left. I next checked my desk and found the book I was studying during my Quiet Time: "Let God fight your battles" by Joyce Meyer.
Gazing nearer, I saw through my binoculars the small smiling man who hangs in front of me. On his chubby yellow body is inscribed ‘JESUS LOVES ME'—a great reminder that  God loves me. I looked further away and saw a good portion of my guitar as it sat on the ground waiting to be played. I looked down in front of me, seeing only a few letters of my computer keyboard—I was too close to it to see more of them. I turned my head and spotted a little keepsake that has ‘Every new day is a new start, this one in its totality, because it was little. I looked in front of me to beautiful words on LOVE that I’ve hung there—and read all of it.
 

“LOVE – Love always protects, always trusts,

always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”  

1 Cor 10:7-8

 
The further away an object sat, the more opportunity I had to see the whole of it, even if the diameter of my binoculars was small. Items physically closer showed only parts of themselves—naturally. I heard God’s whisper again, this time asking me to zoom out. I removed the little ‘toy’ from my face and viewed the room. What a difference! All the bits and pieces that made up my little den joined together to make it a warm and wonderful place.
Some months ago, as I sought God’s help in facing a battle against the Enemy of our souls, God gave me six vital keys to fight with. Not least of them was the command to zoom out of my current circumstance.
 

 

Zoom out of the small picture Nushi’, God seemed to say. 

 
“Zoom out of what you think is important—your present situation, the difficulties that weigh your down, the little moment in front of you, the sadness or pain you carry today. Instead, zoom into life from My view. What’s really important. Eternity. My love for you, which never fails. Heaven’s values as opposed to earth’s. See the big picture, Nushi. The real one; the lasting one.”
I loved the lesson. Now here He was, re-iterating its importance through my cardboard toy. As I focussed my mind on things above, the little moments filled with anxiety slipped away. As I began to see my life as God saw it, I discovered that what I was griping about was not worth the trouble. As I focussed on the face of Jesus, His glory and grace overshadowed all else—an  enchanting rainbow brightening a dark world, splashing its surrounds in shimmering splendour.
 

Today, do you need to zoom out of your circumstances?

Do you need to zoom instead into the face of Jesus?  

Do you need to gaze on life as God sees it through fresh eyes of faith, hope and love?

 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, 

who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

 

So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. 

 
 

Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up and be alert to what's going on around Christ - that's where the action is.

 

See things from His perpective."  Col 3:1-3 (TPT)

 
 

Waiting

17/08/2019 17:06

It was a joy to catch up with a friend recently at my favourite bookshop in the city. The hours disappeared in a flash as we sipped steaming mugs of tea and coffee, catching up on each other’s lives. When it was lunch-time I chose my favourite meal there—a hot chicken roll with sweet chillie sauce. Yum. It has never failed to satisfy me, just as my special friendship with Melissa has never failed to bless me. Later, we hugged each other goodbye, my soul richer for having spent that time together.
 
After a happy browse in the bookshop, I reached the bus stand energised. I discovered that my bus would be there any moment—a glad surprise! I stood there expectantly, ready to hail it, but the moments ticked by and no bus came. With a sigh, I sat down on a bench nearby and checked my purchases, my heart thumping with delight as I scanned the books I'd soon dip into. I then got up to check how long I had to wait for the next bus. This time, even before I could reach the real-time screen, my bus turned up. Hooray! I hopped on, found my favourite seat and sat down, smiling. My wait was over.
How do you manage life’s waiting seasons? Are you able to relax and go with the flow? Or do you find it too taxing? I remember peering down the highway of life when I was young, tapping my fingers till Mr Right arrived but he seemed to take forever. I was a ripe old 26 years old when he did—my first and only boyfriend who soon turned into fiancé then husband. It seemed a long wait at the time, but during that wonderful season I’d enjoyed learning what it meant to do life with Jesus. I’d also made many precious friendships, adding layer upon layer of joy into my being, like a delicious multi-layered cake.
 
When my beloved and I went to England as newlyweds, finding myself a job seemed to take forever. My husband was a student so we desperately needed the money. Consequently, my eight month job-hunt felt like eight difficult years. Now I look back and smile - I had a lot to learn then. I still have much to learn. Decades later, I continue to wait on God for other promises to be fulfilled. He knows it takes a great deal to make someone like me more patient, for my soul to grow, for my character to be refined.
Yes, I’ve discovered that my waiting periods have a purpose. I’ve learnt that God’s not a genie who's there to do my bidding. I've learnt that this faith walk is one to be grasped and lived out one day at a time. I've learnt that He asks me to trust Him completely.  Recently, when praying with a friend, God reminded me of a special request that has been on my heart for 28 long years. My friend had a word of knowledge for me—a perfect gift from our Father. As she prayed with conviction, my present day angst fell away, a heavy winter coat slipping off my shoulders, because now with eyes of faith I saw as God saw. Her words had the Spirit’s anointing and God’s truth transformed me, like autumn rains that filled a dry parched creek.
 
Are you waiting on God for His answers? You can trust Him. We don’t always understand His ways but we do know that His heart is good. God’s nature is love so we can be sure that our waiting periods will bear good fruit as we lean on Him. In fact waiting seasons are often growing seasons and the rewards only experienced later. Don’t forget—He who calls you is always faithful. May God give you hope, strength and courage to look ahead with eyes of faith. And as you wait, may you be transformed into His likeness, the likeness of Jesus.

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord

in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart

and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:13-14

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, 

are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, 

which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Cor 3:18

 
 

Spelling Matters

01/08/2019 21:30

I tried to send a message to an acquaintance, but I couldn’t find her text messages on my phone. I then checked my contact list, but her name seemed to have disappeared from there as well. Hmmm. A bit later … I picked up my phone to send an sms to another friend, but her name was not in my phone either. Had all my contacts been erased? A few minutes of focused reflection brought me the answer. I’d apparently spelt their names wrong—using an ‘a’ when I should have typed an ‘e’. I’d looked for “Marilyn” when my acquaintance’s name was “Merilyn”. Silly me.
 
Is spelling important? Of course, it is. You and I know that. Do you spell names correctly? But no, I’m not talking of the letters of the alphabet anymore. I’d like to think I spell another’s name right when I show her respect. When I listen to her. I spell her name correctly by not making hasty judgements. By hearing what she doesn’t say. I spell her name the way it should be spelt by trying to understand her point of view. By being kind.
Take today for instance. While doing my grocery shopping, I passed by a certain check-out lady. She glared at me, then turned the other way. Rejection streamed in, creating a sad pool in my heart. A few years ago, I’d made friends with this lady seeking to bless her, because her life was difficult. At first all went well and we’d meet often to catch up. But one Christmas, I sent her a gift of $20 in her Christmas card to buy herself a present. Who would have known that such an act could be so badly misconstrued? She didn’t want me as a friend any more. I don’t think she knew how to spell my name—she didn’t know my heart. Perhaps I didn't know how to spell her name either?
 
But there were also other interactions today, first with an older lady who regularly serves me at the meat counter. She never fails to flash a bright smile at me. She treats me as if I were royalty. Today, her kindness made my heart sing. The next encounter I had was with another young checkout girl who chatted to me as if I was an old friend. I was glad to discover that she is a Christian and that she worships at my church. What a small world! A fountain of joy bubbled up in my heart as we talked. Both these ladies spelt my name aright.
It happened last week as well. I was on my way to the city, and when I reached my bus stand, I spotted a young lad standing there. When the bus arrived, I moved aside so that he could get onto the bus—after all, he’d reached the halt first. But … he signalled me to go first. I was warmed by his kind gesture.
 
Once inside the bus, I took my seat and got out my prayer diary and my mp3 player. Feeling hot inside the heated bus, I left the two items on the seat beside me while I removed my jacket. A moment later, now cooler and less encumbered, I looked for them. The prayer diary was where I’d left it but not my mp3 player. I peered here and I peered there, but all to no avail. It wasn’t near my feet. Could it have fallen behind me? I turned my head, and was glad to see it lying on the ground behind—it would have dropped through a gap in my seat.
I couldn’t reach it—contorting my body didn’t help and manoeuvring my arm through the small space wasn’t a good idea. Not feeling too safe to walk in a moving bus, I hesitated, but a lady seated two rows behind me, moved immediately to the seat behind. It wasn’t easy for her to reach my mp3 player, but after exerting some effort, she retrieved it for me. For the second time that day I was moved by the kindness of a stranger.
 
I thanked her profusely and prayed much blessing over her in my heart. That lady spelt my name correctly. She spoke words of life over me by her actions. In fact, both people I encountered last week and the two life giving folk at the shops today spelt my name perfectly—by being gracious and kind.

The strange thing is that … not one of the four knew my name!

 

Whose name will you spell correctly today?

Be kind and compassionate to one another.

forgiving each other, just as God in Christ

forgave you.  Ephesians 4:32

 
 

Undressing for the King

11/07/2019 15:58
When I was young, I was blessed with a shock of wavy black hair which was easy to manage. But then … I grew up, got old, even older … and keeping my hair well-groomed was like growing exotic colourful blooms in the height of a cold dark winter. The masses of hair I once boasted of dwindled. Thick hair turned thin. I was told that blow-drying hair damages it, so I had to stop the practice. I discovered though, that if I had a shower last thing at night, my straggly mop of thinning hair would retain some of its bounce and would be fairly presentable in the daytime.
 
So for many years I’ve been enjoying a bedtime shower—it kept my hair in some kind of shape. Until recently that is. Lately, I’d be aghast each morning to find my hair sticking out in all directions, like a crow’s nest pulled apart in a storm. It was so embarrassing when I had to go out and meet people! No amount of brushing or combing helped—not even when I smoothed those disobedient tresses with oil and water. Drastic measures were needed!
So … I thought up a new plan. I continue to have my bedtime showers, but do NOT wet my hair at night anymore. Instead, I have an additional morning shower three times a week, blow-drying my hair afterwards. At long last, my hair looks combed—at least most of the time. Whew. Thank you God. My beloved needs the use of the shower in the mornings, so I wait to wave him off to work before I get under the shower. Which means I need to dress (in several layers because it’s winter), perform my morning chores, then undress later (out of all those layers), have my shower and dress again (in all those layers) once more. 

What a lot of dressing and undressing!

 
But …I’ve found a way to make it all worth my while. God’s been asking me to make worship a way of life. What better use of my morning routine then, than to incorporate worship as a big part of it? When I undress before my shower, God calls me to strip my heart from all the stained apparel it has on—pride, anxiety, worry, self-will and the like. He asks that I stand naked before Him in my spirit, empty of all pretense. And then, as I worship Him in the shower, singing praise songs at the top of my voice, His blood washes my soul and spirit and cleanses me from deep within. 

What a great start to my day!

When I put on layers of clothing afterwards, God asks me to put on Christ. He hands me my new nature—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self control. He also reminds me to put on the armour of Christ so I can fight the powers of darkness—His breastplate of righteousness, shoes that proclaim the gospel of peace, the helmet of salvation, a belt of truth around my waist, the shield of faith held firm to keep away darts of the enemy. And in my hands I brandish the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.
 
When did you last undress for the King? What did that feel like? And what did you put on to replace it? Let’s pursue our faithful loving God, laying aside all that hinders our walk with Him. Let’s make worship, praise and thanksgiving a way of life which resounds to His glory!

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, 

clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, 

gentleness and patience. And over all these virtues put on love, 

which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12,14

 

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you 

before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to 

the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, 

through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! 

Amen. Jude 1:24

 
 

When Grace Surprises

14/06/2019 15:43
I saw the postman arrive as I left home and I drove off without another thought. When I returned few hours later, mulch and sand tarnished our once clean driveway. I shook my head. The postman must have messed it up! He usually drives by our letter box, pops the mail in, then drives out again, the back wheel of his motorbike scattering dirt, leaving a muddy mess behind. I went to our mail box to collect what he had left for us, but to my surprise it was empty. That’s strange! I looked again. Nope. Nothing there—nothing at all!
 
The next morning, when I opened our front door, two pigeons strutted around purposefully in our yard. They dug the ground with their beaks, throwing mulch hither and thither. Ah! That explained it! I should have known better than to jump to premature conclusions! And truth be told, it wouldn’t be the first time I’d blamed an innocent party. For instance, there was a day I couldn’t find my pair of nail scissors. I was in a hurry to leave home for an appointment. I checked the drawer where I kept it but it wasn’t there. I shoved aside an umbrella, our sewing kit and a few other odds and ends but no, there was no sign of what I was looking for. Shan must have used it, I thought. I went to his bedside cupboard and checked his drawers one by one. Not there either. Grrr.
It was then I remembered. The day before, I’d taken my brush, perfume, scissors and lipstick to my son’s bathroom. I was going to church early that day. My hard-working husband  caught up on his sleep during the weekends and I knew I’d disturb him if I used the mirror of our ensuite. Now, I ran to my son’s bathroom, opened the draw under the mirror and voila! The little nail scissors sat patiently, waiting to be found. I hung my head in shame.
 
I’m sure there must be plenty of occasions over the years when I’ve blamed my husband or son for a misdemeanour when in reality the blame lay squarely on my shoulders. Thankfully, I have not received my just deserts. My sins and foibles have usually been met with forgiveness and grace - from God and from others. Even when I least deserved it. Especially when I least deserved it.
 

 

A few months ago, I did the unthinkable—I reversed into a pole at the shopping centre. In an horrifying instant, my car’s back windscreen was shattered; the parking lot strewn with hundreds of glass shards. I could not believe what I had done! I phoned my husband with trembling fingers, and he came at once; bless him. After some deliberation, we went home to get our broom, dustpan and brush and returned to the scene where my beloved helped me clear up the mess. I felt terrible—not just at the unexpected accident, but also that it had occurred during Shan’s long-deserved Easter break. It meant that instead of relaxing the next day as he’d hoped to do, he now had to fill insurance forms, make phone calls and take our car to the garage. I had spoilt his holiday! My beloved man was truly amazing—he assured me that it was OK and he comforted me.
I was so grateful that Shan lavished my undeserving heart with grace. His kindness in not making a big deal in what actually WAS a big deal blessed me immensely. Grace often walks in where it is needed, shedding light into our darkness. God Himself lavished us with grace through the death and resurrection of His only Son. If that wasn’t grace in all its fullness what is? God’s grace is the key that unlocks our fettered lives so we can walk out of our self-made prisons in freedom, gratitude and joy.
 
So … what does God expect of me as I deal with the sins, failures and mistakes of others? I can make a big deal out of my neighbour’s actions when he sins against me. Or … I can, as one sinner to another, shower him with grace. After all, God pours His grace over me every day. And grace begets grace. Every time.

 

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has

 a grievance against someone. 

Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 

 
 
 
 

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds 

them all together in perfect unity. 

Colossians 3:13-14

 
 

To whom can I extend a garland of grace today?

 

You Didn't Ask

30/05/2019 22:26

It was one of those days. One moment the sun dazzled the world with its radiant smile, the next … storm clouds gathered thick and fast and rain came pattering down. I knew I’d have only an hour at the shops so thought I'd buy the wedding gift I wanted but leave the rest of my (grocery) shopping for later. An hour’s browsing and deliberating found me the perfect gift—a  collection of smaller gifts really and the knowledge warmed my heart. Afterwards, as I pushed my trolley towards the car park, a few spots of drizzle wet my nose. Oh good! It was only a light shower, so no need to pull out my umbrella!
 
As if to challenge my attitude of gratitude, the rain drops began to increase. A few minutes on, the drizzle turned into a deluge. I rushed to my car pushing my trolley. Soaking and shivering, I opened the boot with a slippery hand and unloaded my treasures, then hurried to find a spot for my trolley and dashed back to my car, getting sopping wet all the while. Raindrops splattered my steering wheel and water dripped down the car seat making a pool at my feet.

I frowned. “Why did you time that shower so badly Papa?

‘You didn’t ask’

 

I didn’t ask? 

What?

 Did I need to ask?

 
 
After all, He is my Father—He takes care of me. It hadn't occured to me to pray. In fact, I’d not pulled my umbrella out because it was only a drizzle when I walked out. Would prayer have made a difference? By the time I reached home, the sun was shining, lighting up the cold wintry world with squishes of joy. It seemed that God was laughing at me. What was He up to?
 
I had 15 brief minutes before I had to leave home again, but those precious moments had to be squandered in changing my wet clothes. Grrr! I stripped my attire, putting on a set of dry clothes then hung my squelching pants, top and jacket in front of the heater to dry. As for my hair—it had been full of bounce that morning but now … even after I blow-dried it, it looked flat and lifeless, clinging to my head dismally like a collection of dead leaves!
Soon, we sped off for my son’s his physio appointment. Asela said he’d walk back—and that was good—I had a lot to accomplish that day so the extra time was valuable. I drove to the shopping centre ... and this time I was wise. Well before I finished getting my groceries, I talked to my Heavenly Father telling Him exactly what I needed.
 
“Papa, please could you make the rain stop till I get to my car? 
It’s too hard to push a trolley and hold an umbrella at the same time!”

I think I heard a heavenly chuckle.

When I reached the car park I was thrilled see there was no sign of rain. Hooray! I hastened to my car, remembering to ask God to permit my son to enjoy a walk in dry weather rather than in a wintry squall. It did stay dry till I reached my car. Thank you so much Papa. The sunshine warmed me as I reached home rejoicing. My son returned a little later– and yes, he too had enjoyed a walk in a dry world! It was a miracle that I didn’t get wet a second time and another miracle that my son’s half-hour walk had also been in sunshine—because most of the that day dripped like a leaky faucet in need of mending.
 
How good it was to have my prayer answered. What a blessing that my son wasn’t drenched! Even better, how wonderful that I learnt the importance of talking to my heavenly Father about all my needs even ones I might sometimes take for granted.
There are times God bless us without us asking.

But then … He always wants us, His children to talk to Him about our needs.

After all, that’s what relationship is all about isn’t it?

Did you remember to ask God today for what you need?

 

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: 

that if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us. 

 

 
And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—

we know that we have what we asked of Him.” 1 John 5:14-15

 
 

The Real Enemy

10/05/2019 18:54
When we moved into our new home last year, we needed to get some work done! Two workmen came over to do the needful and my husband stayed home from work. Towards lunchtime, everything seemed to ticking along nicely, so my beloved packed his lunch and other essentials and left for work. And that’s when it all started to go pear-shaped. I went to the kitchen to make myself a hot drink and found that the power was off. Had the workmen (in the course of their exertions) damaged our electrical circuit?
 
The two men walked around the house checking every power outlet. It seemed to take forever. With a frown and a sigh, I drummed my fingers on the kitchen table. The men eventually got back to me—and hooray! They had fixed it. I made my cuppa plus two coffees for our workers, then trotted off to my den to tackle my writing. But when I flicked the light switch on, nothing happened. Sigh. This was becoming all too familiar. Worse—my computer wouldn’t turn on. Was my entire day to be spent discovering that nothing worked anymore? And unfortunately, this time, the two men could not fix it. Like a toddler who was deprived of a toy that had been snatched from her grasp, I felt cheated out of my day’s plans being fulfilled. No, I didn’t throw a tantrum, but I was close to it.
When my hubby returned that evening, he began to turn on all the appliances in our home to check if any of them were causing the problem. The instant our vaporiser was turned on … click—the trip switch went off. He checked again. It went off a second time. So THAT was it! I had been positive that the two technicians were at fault, but apparently their presence was a co-incidence! Wow! My face became hot and my cheeks turned red at the realisation of how wrong I had been in my assumptions.
 
There was once a tough season in my life when a friend turned against me. No matter what I did to placate her—she misunderstood me, so life with her turned into a battle-ground. One day, as I prayed about it, God reminded me who my real enemy was. The blinkers came off my eyes!
 

There is a thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy,” said Jesus. 

He is the Real Enemy.

Life as we knew it in Sri Lanka changed forever on April 21st. We weep with those who have lost loved ones. We feel deeply for those who have lost hearing, vision, limbs and more, for those who will struggle all their lives as a consequence of this brutal attack. We are angry at our politicians who allowed it to happen. We cannot begin to understand what drove those suicide bombers, but we know it’s not the entire Muslim community at fault. In fact, it's safe to say that it’s a terrifying time for all peace-loving Muslims as much as for the rest of us. As we search for someone to blame and as we process our own ragged emotions, we need to seek the truth. Yes, the government was to blame for failing to protect its people and they have to be accountable. Yes, the terrorists who perpetrated these terrible crimes are responsible for their evil acts. 
 
 

We also must not forget our Real Enemy!

 
 
Our Real Enemy is rampant in our world today.  The Real enemy has many names. Lucifer, Adversary, Devil—these are but some of them. The Real Enemy needs to be fought with the weapons of Prayer and God’s Word. We have powerful tools at our disposal. We have the authority of Jesus on our side.
Are you facing a tough battle today? Don’t forget … it is not your argumentative spouse, an angry friend, the neighbour who makes life so hard for you or someone who hurt you, who's the Real Enemy. Your real Adversary is Satan, the prince of darkness. He is an unseen foe battling us in the spiritual realms. But take courage—we are not alone. God fights with us and for us. He has promised never to leave us. He has given us all the armour we need for the battle. In fact, Jesus has already won the war so we have a hope that will never disappoint. Cling to that hope today dear friend. Cling to our powerful God. Our real enemy is a Defeated foe. 

 

And He that is within you is greater than he that is in the world.

Be self-controlled and alert. 

 

Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone

 to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the 

family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 

1 Peter 5:8-9

 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have 

suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm 

and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. 

1 Peter 5:10-11

 
 

When Grief calls my Name

25/04/2019 21:10

It happened on a day of celebration. Without warning. It happened to them, it happened to us. It happened to all of us—in the human family. Easter Sunday. 8.45 a.m. in Sri Lanka. A deadly massacre in cold blood of 253 men, women and children—Sri Lankans worshipping that day, who should have gone home rejoicing; visitors to our country who should be still enjoying Sri Lanka’s warm hospitality. 500 injured in a number of co-ordinated bomb blasts. So just as 9/11 brought dark shadows and a changed future for the whole world, 21/04/19 brought death, destruction, fear, unspeakable horror and grief to the beautiful island I call home. It changed our land forever.
 
I grew up in Sri Lanka in the sixties and seventies. We were blessed to enjoy a happy childhood. It was a paradise island where time stood still, godly values were upheld and where freedom reigned. We were not rich by modern standards, but had everything we needed to thrive and grow. Love and laughter, family and friends, fun and fresh air, oceans and beaches, peace, joy, security. These were priceless gifts I will never take for granted. Later, in my twenties—dark  clouds hovered over our beautiful island as ethnic conflict tore its peace. Twenty Six years of it. Too long. Far too long. Brutal. But finally … it ended. Peace was a beautiful covering over our beautiful country.
But now? In the blink of an eye, Terror came to visit, carrying the scissors of devastation. It tore open the wounds that had slowly begun to heal.  Bombs. Blood. Horror. Death. Destruction. How could this be? Who? What? Why? Where? Senseless. With no rhyme or reason. Perhaps because we were an easy target. But now … fear and terror has marched in where peace had once reigned.
 
What do we do when we are plunged into deep darkness? When God seems far away? When the light that shone yesterday has been snuffed out in a moment? We might presume with sadness that God could not exist because Evil has been elected as our new Dictator. We might turn our backs on a God who hasn’t stepped in to help us. We could mock faith as unsubstantiated and untrue.
But there is a better way. A much better way. We can throw ourselves on God’s mercy and love as we pause to remember that time after time after time, He has been faithful. We can discover Him afresh through our pain. We can find the comfort and strength that only He can give.
 
Who can understand why human beings perpetrate such atrocities? Men and women born with the greatest capacity to love perform instead unspeakable acts of evil against one another. We cannot begin to understand the suffering of a mother who had her child torn from her arms in an instant, the pain of a father whose entire family is killed before his eyes. I can’t imagine what it must feel to have part of my body ripped apart by shrapnel. I wouldn’t begin to understand the suffering of those who sang in church that morning with Easter joy in their hearts only to leave with terror and grief as their constant companions.
I weep for Sri Lanka. I stand with my brothers and sisters of all ethnic and religious groups in our island as they suffer. I don’t pretend to have all the answers. But I do know that as sure as the sun rises each morning, that the same God who conquered sin and death is with us in our hour of grief. Jesus came to the world to suffer unimaginable pain. He understands our suffering. He was rejected by the very people he came to save. He was given a criminal’s death on a cross—a long slow death. The sins of the whole world were piled on Him. What a weight he carried on that cross!
 
The Militants who decided to mock at life have failed miserably. It may have been a day of destruction, but Easter’s Resurrection Bell clangs loudly with the message of victory. LIFE overcame death at Easter. If I had eyes to see, I could have watched a spectacular sight that day. Amidst the weeping of those who had lost loved ones there were jubilant reunions in heaven of those who went home to their God. Bodies may have been ripped apart by shrapnel but those same people were heaven’s newest arrivals delighting in God’s presence. What a thrilling entrance to heaven as they worshipped! What a warm welcome they would have received in our Father’s arms!
 
Jesus knew deep grief. He is a loving God who suffered on our behalf. “He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.” Isaiah 53:3 He surely knows what suffering looks like and feels like. And He alone has the power to change it for good.
 
So what is my response today? Let me weep with those who weep. Let me look to God for strength and courage during these dark and troubled times. Let me pray for those who are suffering. Let me extend my hand to help my brothers and sisters of all ethnic groups and religions in any way I can. Let me not blame a whole community for what a small minority has done. Let me look to a loving Father to bring justice for His children. But let me also hold fast to the message of Easter. Let me choose the weapons of LOVE instead of the vicious weapons of hate.
God promised that He would never leave us nor forsake us and we can lean into His comfort. One day all the evils of the present age will be put right by a God who understands our pain more than we could ever realise. His love transcends every tragedy. He weeps with us as we weep. We who know Him grieve differently to those who have no hope.
 

So perhaps grief has another name and its name is HOPE!

 
One day when the curtain  swings wide open over life’s final act, we will at last comprehend the truth about everything. For now, we will look ahead with eyes of faith, trusting our faithful God. We will continue to live and love, to share God's comfort, truth and light in a dark dark world, so badly in need of a Saviour.
 
 

"Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, 

so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our 

time of need." Hebrews 4:16

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! 

I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

 

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. 

But the greatest of these is love." 1 Cor 13:13

 
 

Finding the right KEY!

10/04/2019 21:10
The two fabulous weeks I’d spent in Sri Lanka this year were filled with activity, so on my final day of holiday, I decided to enjoy a quiet morning. My sis and family had left for work. I tucked into the delicious breakfast Sal left for me—pancakes with a spicy prawn curry. Yum! Afterwards, I spent time with God and His Word and my spirit was refreshed. I had a list of last minute things to do—a visit to the bank, some shopping, a few errands to run. But when I tried the front door, I found it was locked and the key was not in sight. Oh no!
 
A quick hunt for the missing key didn’t reveal it so I panicked. Would I be trapped in all day? Breathe, Anusha breathe. I asked God to help me, then looked around my sister’s lounge for the missing key. What a relief that I did find it. Yay! It was probably where my sis had told me it would be in the first place. Alas, my 61 year old brain sometimes acts its age! I smacked my lips at my re-gained freedom. Delicious—just like the prawns and pancakes I’d enjoyed that morning.
Sometimes, life hedges me in and I can’t find my way out. I panic. If only I stop to ask God, He’d remind me that He’s given me a set of keys to help me—Faith, Hope, Love, Peace, God’s Word, Prayer, Trust. These are but a few of them. Trust is perhaps the best key of all because it proves my dependence on my Heavenly Father. He’s a God of power, wisdom and strength. A God who seeks to bless; a God of compassion, slow to anger, with a heart full of love.
 
There was a time when I was locked inside prison walls. Anxiety gripped my heart. Often. I had lost the key to the door that led to peace. I cried out to the Lord. But His timing was different to mine; His answers were not what I expected. Was I trapped in there forever? After months of waiting on Him … His answers arrived. I believe God was building my character as I waited. And then … He gently placed a key into my trembling hands, the key that opened the door to peace and wholeness. Thank you God. Thank you so very much.
Are you locked in today, in a prison that hems you in? Do you feel that there is no way out? Take courage my friend. He calls your name. Can you hear Him?  He can set you free. And He will. Over two thousand years ago, God provided a way for us. Jesus Christ suffered a criminal’s death, He suffered on our behalf—for your sins and for mine. A tragedy? Yes … or so it seemed. But out of that God-permitted tragedy came the biggest victory of all. Jesus conquered sin and death forever. And our part? To be willing to receive. To be willing to let go of all that is dear to us. To be willing to reach out and accept His free gift of eternal life.
 

The keys are yours if you ask. And at no cost.

A brand new LIFE through Jesus. No more shame.

No more condemnation. No more guilt. No more sadness.

Life abundant. Life everlasting. Joy. Peace. Wholeness.
 

Are you ready to accept His gift today? 

Or … if you are already a believer, perhaps there is a different kind of key that you’d like to ask of Him today. 

Come. There is room at the cross for you too. 

Simply … come!

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, 

and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life;

whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

1 John 5:11

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, 

he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12

 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, 

that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

 

“And my God will meet all your needs according

to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:13

 

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