Who is Your ‘High Rock’?

You may feel far from home right now—far from a safe place; a place of confidence, trust, peace, love, and warmth. You are disappointed, misunderstood, discouraged, confused; don’t know who to trust.

Don’t let your heart be troubled. God is not bound by time or space. You can put your confidence in Him who is always with you and never leaves you alone. Even when you are among unknown people and surroundings, or you are standing on unstable terrain and situation; God will never give up on you. Yahushua is the ‘Higher Rock’. The ‘High Rock’ is your place of refuge and safety.

In [Psalm 61:2-3] David must have been far from home somewhere in the battlefield when he wrote this Psalm.

“From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.”

Since I have known my Yeshua, this verse along with other verses for protection has been my prayer in times of calamities.

In truth, that said, trusting God to be your rock, fortress and salvation, will change your whole outlook on life. You will no longer be captivated by resentment, confusion, discouragement or disappointment towards others or by any circumstances. When you rest in the power of God, nothing will shake you. His strength remains with you.

Pay Back Wrongs by Praying for the Offender!

You have heard the phrase ‘an eye for an eye’ and ‘a tooth for a tooth’, which refers to the idea that people should be punished according to the way in which they have offended. For example, if they hurt someone, they should be hurt equally badly in return. But God’s word teaches us something quite different: Love those who wrong us. If someone hurts you with their actions or even their condescending comments, don’t get mad. Pray for them instead. 

Simply put, don’t make other people’s voices your concern. And do not even the score with more wrong. Keep in mind, you will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones right back at your offenders.

It’s easier said than done. We are no different from Jesus’s disciples. Our sinful nature encourages us to get angry and get even…

PETER, the apostle, developed the qualities of compassion in humility the hard way. In his early days with Christ, these attitudes did not come naturally to his impulsive, strong-willed personality. But the Holy Spirit changed PETER, molding his strong personality to God’s use, and teaching him tenderness and humility. In our fallen world, it is often deemed acceptable to retaliate by tearing people down verbally if we’ve been hurt. PETER, remembering the words of Jesus [If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also], encourages his readers to pay back wrongs by praying for the offenders. In God’s kingdom, revenge and hurling insults are unacceptable behavior, no matter how indirectly it is done. Rise above seeking revenge against those who hurt you. Instead of reacting angrily to these people, pray for them. 

Forging the qualities of compassion in humility is hard work. It may not come naturally to us, but if we ask the Holy Spirit to help us and mold our personality to more closely resemble His Son, He will begin to shape us, bringing us a life filled with peace.

I have learned some lessons the hard way on this topic:  First, remember God causes his sun to rise on the righteous and the unrighteous. A gentle reminder, instead of harsh words is usually the appropriate response when repetitive wrong behavior must be addressed.  Second, if it’s necessary, you may consider withdrawing from people and places from time to time. Give yourself some space from the world that is filled with millions of mouths that talk too much but never have anything to say. Do it for the sake of your sanity and theirs, and let it be done in love. 

Here is what the Lord Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount. 

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?

[Matthew 5:43-46 | NIV]

Let’s cut each other some slack. Don’t let the behavior of others stress you out. You have no control over someone else’s thoughts or their actions. Make patience and love be your daily aims.

Stay blessed my friends.

Rise on the Wings of the Dawn and Praise Him!

Our problems and daily struggles may not immediately cease to exist, but our attitude of gratitude is enough to find peace in the midst of our struggle and hope for an eventual resolution. 

My friends, when we express gratitude for our relationship with the Divine Spirit, we develop compassion and humility when we learn to be thankful for someone else’s kindness and care. When you get a phone call from someone who wants to check on you, or when you receive a text saying they’re praying for you, or you receive a warm meal while you’re sick in bed, or someone sends you followers; it all tells you that someone cares about you. You’re loved and valued. Practice gratefulness for their act of generosity in reaching out to you.

God cares even more about your well being. Because of his love for you, he sent Jesus who is the embodiment of God himself [his son], and he died on the cross for the sins of the whole world. So, when you come to accept Jesus as your savior, your sins are forgiven. Again, because he took your sins and died on the cross, you can have eternal and abundant life. That’s called love—no condemnation, no judgement, and no hidden agenda….

Our response to God for all he has done for us and he is with us in our darkest hours should be thankfulness. Of course, we do not thank God for our sorrow and adversity, but we acknowledge that He is sovereign and will never abandon us.

As David praise God in [Psalm 139: 9-10]

“If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

if I settle on the far side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me,

your right hand will hold me fast.”

Again, thanking our loving God at the wings of the dawn, and Praising him for his endless love at the end of our day means; he is a good and loving Father—we acknowledge that he will use our situation for his purposes, bringing good out of even worse circumstances. Remember, there is a reason for everything that happens.

Can Our Faith and Hope be Enough to Please God?

Why does he say,”Love matters more than Faith and hope”?

Pastor Colin Smith’s teaching sheds light on the question, “Why does Paul, the apostle of Christ, say that love is greater than faith and hope?”

In a message given by Colin, he teaches, “The Bible gives us the negative and the positive effects of our lives on earth. The negative keeps us from Christ, because of our arrogance, pride and self-confidence, which tempt us to stay distant from God, in order to continue what we’re doing. The same behavior, when we finally realize the futility of it, can be the positive catalyst which finally draws us to Christ.”

Let’s take a look at this verse [1 Corinthians 13:13 | NIV]

“… And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

In Vs.13, Paul says,  Hope, Faith, and Love are all essential and eternal, but then he identified love as “the greatest” of all. 

How is this possible? How can love be greater than faith and hope?

Pastor Colin refers to another bible teacher, Bishop Riley, who explains it like this, “Love is the greatest grace, for it is the one quality exemplified by God (because God is love) and reflected by believers.

God doesn’t need faith. And God doesn’t need hope, because he knows the future. And certainly he knows the present as he has it secured in his hand.”

Pastor Colin continued, “With misty eyes I said, ‘Oh, what a beautiful passage from Paul!’ He describes three frightening possibilities. The first is to worship without love.

And the second frightening possibility is to have the faith to move the mountains, but to have no love. And the third, the most frightening possibility of all, is the possibility of sacrifice without love. If you give all that you possess generously to the poor and others, but you do not love, you gain nothing.”

It’s true that God doesn’t need faith or hope.  As we read in 1 John 4:8, ‘God is love.’ Scripture never says that God is faith or hope, though he is the object of our faith and hope, to be sure. And the more love his people have, the more they’re like their Father God.

In vs 13. Paul encourages us to keep reflecting on God’s love. And what God has done through his son, Christ Jesus—the miracles that he performed and his death on the cross [death of a righteous person on behalf of unrighteous people, so that he might bring you to God] is the evidence of God’s love for his children.  

In summary, Paul, the apostle of Christ is saying: Love matters. In spite of all your gifts, your knowledge, your prestige, your faith, your ministry, your sacrifices, your services, your good deeds; If you don’t love, God counts it all as nothing.

When I heard this message, it made me question how some of us live and how we show our love. When I found myself wrestling with “The World’s love vs. God’s love”, I had to take my questions and confusion to God in prayer, saying “Lord, I see that some of us truly love you. But what I don’t understand is, How can one worship you on one hand, and hate others on the other hand?

How can one sit near your altar, worshiping you—even speaking in the tongues of men and angels—then leave your presence and regard others with hatred and indifference, the total opposite of your love? I’m not judging, rather I’m asking all this in the name of Jesus. Amen!”

Surely, two days later, God shed light on my confusion, speaking to me through someone dear, who reminded me of this verse, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” [Romans 3:23]

Indeed, we are all sinners. I’m as a sinner just as they are. That is why we’re in need of a Savior, Christ Jesus. I thanked God for the reminder of who we are, and who He is. 

Dear Lord, 

I see that love is indeed greater than faith and hope. Love is essential to your nature. I thank you, Lord, for your unwavering love. How good it is to trust in you! And my hope in you keeps me going, especially when I struggle with pain in my flesh, weakness, and discouragement. Loving Lord, help me by filling my heart with your love, that I may give this love to those you have placed in my life. May others know that I belong to you because of how I love. I praise you only, O God of love. Amen!

The Fire of God’s judgment did not Harm Him. It Only Burned Away the Sin— Our Sin!

When the Lord revealed himself and his purpose for my life through visions and dreams, I was astonished! I wondered, “how” and “why” would he choose me? I felt little, insignificant and not worthy of his name. I had no hope of measurIng up to God’s standard of holiness. I found it hard to believe that I could be forgiven and loved by a Holy God, when the world and many of the people around me had represented themselves as holier and better than me for most of my life.

But God himself touched my heart and called me to follow him. In response I submitted to God’s will. I vowed to say, “Here I am, Lord” no matter how difficult the task might be. 

The more clearly I see God’s sovereignty, the more I’m aware of my own powerlessness and inadequacy to do anything of lasting value without God. 

It’s important for us to see God’s holiness as the prophet Isaiah saw in [Isaiah 6].

Isaiah’s life may have been as brilliant as a diamond, as he was a righteous man of God. But when you lay a diamond against a perfectly black background, and shine the right light upon it, you can see every flaw and imperfection – even flaws that were invisible before. When Isaiah’s righteous life lay against the background of God’s perfection, it looked different. 

When Isaiah had a vision of the holy God [Isaiah 6: 5] he said, “Woe to me!” He cried, “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”  For Isaiah, it was most disturbing to see the holiness of God. Why? Because he saw his utter lack of holiness, when compared with the glory of God.

Then in the vision a burning coal was applied to his lips.  Indeed, this was a spiritual transaction for Isaiah, and if we are willing, this could be our transformation too, to be forgiven and loved. The same principle works on our behalf in regard to Jesus’ death on the cross. Our sin was placed upon Him, and He was burned with the fire of God’s judgment. Yet because He was holy and righteous Himself, the fire of God’s judgment did not harm Him, he rose on the third day; it only burned away the sin—our sin.

Our entrance into heaven does not depend on how well we live our lives based on whatever our beliefs are. If that were true, there wouldn’t be any hope for me or you. We can’t live a Christian (or any other religious) life perfectly—nobody can. But when we reach out Christ in faith and repentance, he accepts us unconditionally.  We need never be concerned whether or not we are capable of living a good enough life to enter heaven. The good news is: that our salvation does not depend on our work for Christ, but Christ’s work for us.  Our work is never done. But his work was completely done for us on the cross. We can rest our life, death, and eternity on him with complete confidence.

Let’s not forget the penitent thief who did everything wrong all his life. At his life’s end, he was hanging on the cross next to Christ. He entered paradise just as Abraham, David, Elijah, Mary and the rest of God’s family did before him. Why should a thief go to heaven? Because he reached out to Christ when he had the opportunity. 

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. ” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” 

[Luke 23:42-43]

As Jesus prayed for his enemy, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  and he also promised Paradise to the thief. That was the beginning for the thief; he was about to discover more… 

Happy Easter My Friends!

You Asked,“Why am I Standing Alone in the Desert? How did I Get Here? And Why me?”

In verse [Hosea 2:14] “her” does not specifically refer to “a woman”, but rather to all peoples; to a nation, or perhaps you, me, or them…

It says, “Therefore, behold, I will allure her and lead her to the wilderness, and speak to her tenderly.” [Hosea 2: 14]

What would you do, if one day you wake up and feel like you are all alone standing in a desert? You wonder, “How did I get here?”.  Another daunting question arises; “Why me?”

What and who caused you to find yourself in a lonely land, tasting the bitterness of loss and sorrow? These questions will continue nibbling away at your soul, unless you stop and refocus.

Have you considered that perhaps you are the cause of your unhappiness and loneliness?

Conflicts, aggravations, and losses can cause devastation and can be debilitating. So where do you go from there? Do you choose to stay with bitterness and anger, becoming isolated and unhappy?  Or do you draw closer to God, looking to Him for direction? With Him you can begin to leave the desert of unhappiness, and seek a lush landscape of peace and contentment. With His help and guidance, you can build a platform in this new place, where your pain can bring others hope.

If you believe in God, then you know that God never wastes any of your pain. He will use your hurt for good in your life, so that you can live joyfully and help others. God didn’t create us just to live for ourselves. The very thing that you’re ashamed of, and resent the most, can become your greatest ministry in helping others. God did it for me and He will do it for you too. Gird your waist with truth and get [Ephesians 6:15]  your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Good News of peace. And bring all you have—the good and the bad—to the platform where your life’s journey has brought you.  Then watch how God will use your devastation for His purpose.

[Hosea 2:14] tells of God’s love story for His people. His love is steadfast and His commitment unbroken. When we lose appreciation for our special relationship with Him, when we compromise our lifestyle and adopt the ways of the world—pursuing dreams and goals that do not include Him, we are being unfaithful. 

Like a loving and patient father, God wants people to know Him and turn to Him daily.  

Briefly, I assure you that I have traveled through the desert of life a few times. The good news is I wasn’t alone—the Lord tenderly spoke to me in that parched land. As it is written in His word, each time, He taught me a new lesson. 

What I have learned from these lessons is this: Pain and suffering, placed in the hands of a loving God, can lead to a shift of focus from my own issues to God’s greater glory. My hardships can teach me to trust His promises, and remind me that life on earth is a struggle. They cause me to long for a place where there is no conflict, sorrow, death, crying, or pain. It’s a life in eternity.

You Asked,

“Why am I Standing Alone in the Desert? How did I Get Here? And Why me?”

In verse [Hosea 2:14] “her” does not specifically refer to “a woman”, but rather to all peoples, to a nation, or perhaps; you, me, or them…

It says, “Therefore, behold, I will allure her and lead her to the wilderness, and speak to her tenderly.” [Hosea 2: 14]

What would you do, if one day you wake up and feel like you are all alone standing in a desert? You wonder, “How did I get here?”.  Another daunting question arises; “Why me?”

What and who caused you to find yourself in a lonely land, tasting the bitterness of loss and sorrow? These questions will continue nibbling away at your soul, unless you stop and refocus.

Have you considered that perhaps you are the cause of your unhappiness and loneliness?

Conflicts, aggravations, and losses can cause devastation and can be debilitating. So where do you go from there? Do you choose to stay with bitterness and anger, becoming isolated and unhappy?  Or do you draw closer to God, looking to Him for direction? With Him you can begin to leave the desert of unhappiness, and seek a lush landscape of peace and contentment. With His help and guidance, you can build a platform in this new place, where your pain can bring others hope.

If you believe in God, then you know that God never wastes any of your pain. He will use your hurt for good in your life, so that you can live joyfully and help others. God didn’t create us just to live for ourselves. The very thing that you’re ashamed of, and resent the most, can become your greatest ministry in helping others. God did it for me and He will do it for you too. Gird your waist with truth and get [Ephesians 6:15]  your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Good News of peace. And bring all you have—the good and the bad—to the platform where your life’s journey has brought you.  Then watch how God will use your devastation for His purpose.

[Hosea 2:14] tells of God’s love story for His people. His love is steadfast and His commitment unbroken.

When we lose appreciation for our special relationship with Him, when we compromise our lifestyle and adopt the ways of the world—pursuing dreams and goals that do not include Him, we are being unfaithful. 

Like a loving and patient father, God wants people to know Him and turn to Him daily.  

Briefly, I assure you that I have traveled through the desert of life a few times. The good news is I wasn’t alone—the Lord tenderly spoke to me in that parched land. As it is written in His word, each time, He taught me a new lesson. 

What I have learned from these lessons is this: Pain and suffering, placed in the hands of a loving God, can lead to a shift of focus from my own issues to God’s greater glory. My hardships can teach me to trust His promises, and remind me that life on earth is a struggle. They cause me to long for a place where there is no conflict, sorrow, death, crying, or pain. It’s a life in eternity.

He Said, “You are Onto Something!”

Maturity doesn’t necessarily come with age. At times, deep maturity is evident in a person whose years are brief and fragile.  

A few years ago, I had an authentic and engaging conversation with an intelligent young man, who was wise beyond his years.  He was always in search of the Truth. I know few who have come even close to his knowledge of God. 

He was a curious young man; he had a deep yearning to understand every religion. He made it his business to learn about everyone’s beliefs. One day, it happened that it was my turn to sit across the breakfast table with him. His curiosity was coming from the absolute source of his faith. At that moment, he wanted to know about my belief. At first, I noticed a hint of skepticism peeking through his words. Yet he was eager to hear the truth of God’s faithfulness in my life’s journey.  

I gladly shared my spiritual beliefs with him without hesitation, as I always get fired up when talking about the evidence of God’s grace and His presence in my life. I shared my Testimony with him, explaining how God miraculously showed up in my life. He listened, and as we exchanged thoughts, a genuine smile appeared on his handsome face. He said, “You’re definitely onto Something”.  He then continued, “So how do you describe your belief in view of religion? Do you consider yourself a religious person?”

“Aha!”, I said, “Now, that’s the question that I love to hear! Because the answer is the key which unlocks the door to many questions…

Yes, I’m a follower of Christ Jesus and I’m called a Christian. But I don’t see myself as a religious person ‘per se’… look…, I can simply tell you this: I don’t look at it as though I follow a religion, but rather I have a relationship with God.”

When I finished speaking, he was really moved. He said, “I love that… relationship vs. religion.” He was interested to know more. 

I continued, “If we practice only religious rituals and call ourselves religious, while not having a close and trustworthy relationship with God (the kind of relationship best described as one between a loving Father and his child), how can we possibly live a righteous life? I don’t think the religious rituals can ‘fix’ our sin problem; it’s our daily relationship with God through Christ Jesus which will daily rescue us from the mire of sin. It won’t be done all at once, rather, it’s one step at a time.” 

I went on to say, “Oh, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to undermine any religion, or its rituals. Rituals are inherently good, but empty, man-made rituals [which, possibly, nullify the Word of God] are wrong. Any ritual that replaces, obscures, or diminishes a vibrant relationship with Christ, is practiced in vain. Repetitious prayers, or even praise songs repeated without wholehearted devotion to the Creator can lead to dullness in worship, rather than the free expression of one’s heart, mind, and soul before God. 

If you give careful attention to God’s word, you will see that all of history (from Abraham’s time in the Old Testament, up until the beginning of the New Testament) points to the coming of Christ. Most of the Old Testament’s rituals were never intended to be a permanent part of our worship; they were only foreshadowing the events in the New Testament. 

Christianity, is not ritual-based. Rather, it is relationship-based.The only ‘liturgy’ or ‘rituals’ commanded in the New Testament are: baptism and communion.

Baptism requires water, [Matthew 28:19] and communion requires bread and the cup [1 Corinthians 11:25]. 

The living God through Jesus has made those who believe in Christ His own children.” Then, I pointed him to the verse—[John 1:12 | NIV]

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

At this point in our discussion, the Truth was spoken and passed on with a deep understanding, because the Lord was in the midst of our conversation. The wise young man who was sitting across the table from me was astonished and delightfully satisfied with the evidence we both had before our eyes [the Word of God]. He was impelled to speak and with much excitement in his voice, his words echoed the truth loudly,

”One God, the Father. One advocate, the Son. And One helper, the Holy Spirit—Trinity.”

I added, “Evidently, Trinity [the unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three in One] is the reason we are here, to encounter His love through relationship, not through empty rituals.” 

Before I moved from the table with a smile on my face and joy in my heart, I looked at this young man, truly seeing his innermost soul through his electrified eyes, and analytic mind. I said to him, “Young man, Now, YOU are ‘Onto Something’ …you’re a messenger!”

Do you Run from God, or Run to God?

A wise person once told me, “The most courageous thing you can do when you hear discouraging words, or when the world starts spinning around you is run to God and drop to your knees in prayer. Ask for the kingdom of God to come and rule over your world.”

It doesn’t matter how strong our faith in God is, we still live in a broken world with many peaks and valleys, causing us to feel weary and restless. I’ve learned the only way to get in the flow of God’s Word is by relying on prayer to keep my focus on the things above.

Dear Lord, 

You tell us in [Matthew 11:28-30] to come to you when we are weary and burdened, and you will give us rest. You invite us to take your yoke upon us and learn from you, for you are gentle and humble in heart, and we will find rest for our souls. For your yoke is easy and your burden is light. 

Lord, based on your Word, I humbly come before your throne of grace asking you to lighten my burdens and help me to find rest for my soul. Amen!

Great news, [Matthew 11: 28-30] tells us that we’re not alone, Jesus is our burden-bearer.

As I come across verses in the Bible that speak directly to my condition and my experience, I add them to my list of prayers. I pray through these verses often; they help me to remember that when things feel like they are falling apart (mentally, emotionally, or physically), God is always in control. 

If you’re experiencing moments of pain and discouragement, I encourage you to hold on to the Truth [the Word of God] despite what others think. The things that they may view as falling apart may actually be falling into place.

God’s Word [the Bible] reminds us that the same God who set the universe in motion is the same God that holds our lives in His hands. You can cling to the truth of His Word. Remember, truth is found in God, not in the opinions of others. God does not want for us to use His teachings to become self righteous, or to justify our actions, but rather to speak the truth boldly with love, like Christ who is meek and humble in heart. 

I’m not perfect, nor do I claim to be. That is why I’m in need of a SAVIOR. That is why I keep going to His Word—the book of life—the Bible. It reveals the contrast between the kingdoms of the world and the Kingdom of God.

It points me to God’s love, Jesus Christ, who guides me and teaches me new lessons daily.

As it is written: There is none righteous, not even one … [Romans 3:10]

No one is holy, and no one should act as if they are. God alone is Holy!

Do You Run From God, or Run to God? Whom do You Talk to? Whom do You Trust? Where do you go for an understanding of the world you live in?

Happy New Year!

I don’t know about you, but

I learned many lessons while my head was bowed down in prayer.

Now 2020 is in the rear-view mirror.

It’s good to glance back and see how far you’ve come. But if you stare too long you’ll miss what’s right in front of you.

Our pastor has encouraged us by saying, “At any given moment you have the power to say: this is not how the story is going to end.

No Matter what you face in the future, you will not be alone. Being anxious, borrowing trouble is not going to help you to solve your problems, or make things happen. All it does; makes you lose your focus on what you have before you at the moment.

If you could see your entire life all at once, it would no doubt be overwhelming. That’s why God let’s each day unfold in 24-hour segments. Trust your maker; he gives us just enough power and grace to handle today’s matters…” Just live in the present.” — Rick Warren

Your story has a good endings. You will face your maker, Eternal bliss!

Happy New Year, lovely people!

May 2021 be a year of health, unity, peace, and joy! 🙏🎉

#staysafe

#staywell

#2021