The Only Way You Can Change the World is…

Questions to ponder soberly: what are the changes that you need to make? What area of your life needs to change in order for you to be at peace with yourself and others? 

You may have heard it said, “You can’t change what is going on around you, until you start changing what’s going on within you.” It’s a nice sentiment, but the question is, how do you change yourself? This question may give birth to many more questions. 

For starters, if you are finding it too hard to change yourself, then what chance do you think you have in trying to change others?  

Or perhaps you wish someone would suddenly appear in your life and change everything for the better. Do you think that’s the right mindset and solution? In some rare instances, changes instigated by others may improve your situation but for the most part, you’re the one, the only one who can change your life!  It starts by changing your own mindset.  An anonymous Hasidic rabbi,who quoted on his deathbed this: “When I was young, I set up to change the world. When I grew a little older, I realized that this was too ambitious, so I set out to change my state. This too, I realized as I grew older, was too ambitious, so I set out to change my town. When I realized I could not even do this, I tried to change my family. Now as an old man, I know that I should have started by changing myself. If I had started with myself, maybe then I would have succeeded in changing my family, the town, or even the state and who knows, maybe even the world! “

Life is constantly changing, and so are people. Yesterday you may have had clever thoughts to change the world, but today you are wise if you change yourself — it happens when you start following God’s instruction. After all, He has the final say on all that matters.

Paul the apostle of Christ says, 

“That is how God wants us to change ourselves, by not conforming to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by renewing our minds.” (Romans 12:2)

Draw near to God and humbly ask for a new heart. Ask him to make your desires align with his. This is the first step toward meaningful change and to receiving answers to your prayers. 

(Isaiah 43:19)

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Your Faith is Beautiful!

“Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:6).

Without faith, hope, and trust, there is no promise for the future. You may have witnessed the faith of someone in your life that absolutely has moved you and made you ponder about your own faith?

The Bible is full of amazing examples of faith. One of them is the Canaanite woman from that vicinity, who is another perfect example of someone with a beautiful faith. She knew with confidence that only Jesus could help her, came and knelt before Jesus crying out, “Lord, help me!” she said. “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

“Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment. [Matthew 15:25-28 | NIV]

What did Jesus mean “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs” concerning the woman’s request?

In that era “Dog” was a term the Jews commonly applied to Gentiles [non-Jewish nation] because the Jews considered these pagan people no more likely than dogs to receive God‘s blessing.

When Jesus said these words, he was in Gentile territory on a mission to Gentile people.

The Commentary says, Jesus was not degrading the woman by using the term “dog”, he was reflecting the Jews’ attitude so as to contrast it with his own. The woman did not argue instead, using Jesus’ choice of words, she agreed to be considered a dog as long as she could receive God’s blessing for her daughter. Ironically, many Jews would lose God’s blessing and salvation because they rejected Jesus, and many Gentiles would find salvation because they recognized and accepted him.

Jesus was simply telling the woman that Jews were to have the first opportunity to accept him as the Messiah because God wanted them to present the message of salvation to the rest of the world. Jesus was not rejecting the Canaanite woman. He may have wanted to test her faith, or he may have wanted to use the situation as another opportunity to teach that faith is available to all people.

We must let the beauty of our faith be the evidence of God’s message to all people. Moreover, let us kneel down before the Lord with the assurance that the test of our faith produces perseverance and healing.  

James 1:3 “Because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

The Voice of Truth!

Flashback to December, 2019: I had no idea that I would see the color of sorrow, or taste its bitterness in the early days of 2020; I was not prepared to live in such a surreal time as this…

Life is a mixture of different colors—at times the hues are brilliant and breathtaking, at other times all is drenched in darkness, and numbness and emptiness overwhelm.

Grieving over a loss of a loved one is greatly painful. Yet even in times of grief, hope sees stars, and love can hear the rustle of a hummingbird’s wings, as it looks for signs from the loved one’s spirit.

Loss for some might mean a loss of time, money, a marriage, or the loss or the many dreams planned for this year. Rest assured that dreams will be realized, though they may take another form than what was expected.

I’m encouraged by this verse in the Bible, [Psalm 30: 5] 

“Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”

A famous quote voices pain and loss like this, “In the absence of light, darkness prevails.” Yes, it does. But eventually the murkiness moves on and the light peeks through the doleful clouds, making life even more beautiful. We can appreciate the return of colorful moments, when the memory of our loss provides a reminder of the preciousness of life and it’s many blessings. The laughter of your loved ones, the smile of a stranger, the smell of the flowers, or the warmth of the sunshine brings you hope and joy.

With all that we have been through already this year, I’m beyond grateful for the voice of TRUTH that whispers in the depth of my soul. I take comfort in the knowledge that we shall meet again. We will rejoice behind these four walls and behind the Veil in this season.

I have learned so many lessons, since my head has been bowed down in pain.

Prayerfully I say, “But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” [Micah 7:7]614371F8-AB29-4368-88EE-FA45F0324BFB

A Mother Who was Once a Speck of Dust, Finds her Worth!

How could anyone cast stones at her, condemning her without knowing her story? Judging her, as if they never faced pain and challenges in their own life. Yet, through her painful smiles, she eagerly waited to know the purpose of her life and hoped one day to be lifted up from the ashes of this world, so she could save her children from the same dusty road of life.

Her story may not be unique; many can relate to her pain. Before this woman was honored with the crown of motherhood, the ride of life took her through layers and layers of adversity and distraction.  At times, she felt as though she was walking through the remains of a fire—a fire caused by misguided early life-choices. The haze from the embers made her wonder if she herself was a particle of ashy dust.

Although a tug-of-war ensued within her, she had come to realize that she must gather the courage to stop bowing to the wishes of others and stop listening to the lies. Instead she began to let the Spirit of righteousness clear away the ashes of her painful journey. While she was hoping for a power to lift her out of the land of pain, heaven was calling her. She knew in her heart that God was telling her, “Get up, it’s time to move and rise.”

As the smoke around her was dimming her sight, she became aware of the hope of the Invisible world [Heaven]. The Word of God says, whoever will draw near to God, He will draw near to them. Trusting His Word, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, she started moving toward God. As she did, He began to reveal His mystery to her.

 She was being transformed from the inside out. She was no longer walking in the valley of ashes. She was now walking under the shadow of the Lord’s beauty. It was there she found her worth. The Lord taught her how to shield her babies with tender prayers. Although her children would at times be enticed by the rules or trends of this world, her determination to teach her children to live a God-centered life never wavered. 

As a mother myself, speaking to any dear children who may be reading my words, I ask you – Do not underestimate the power of your mother’s prayers or the strength of her love. And please do not make her cry, for you do not know the storms she has endured in her life. But know this: Her love always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Her love never fails her children.

Happy Mother’s Day, my friends!


Mercy is the Expression of God’s Love!

How do we receive mercy in time of desperation? From Whom do we seek it? We’re all at some point in our lives broken by someone or something, and in need of mercy. This thought leads to more questions: If mercy is the expression of God’s love, how should our love be expressed? Are we a merciful person?

To answer these questions, we need to look at our lives closely and see how merciful God is toward us. God’s mercy is fresh every morning and his mercy alone can defeat evil.  His favor is continuously shown through grace over and over… God’s love confirms that mercy and grace are both closely related to each other, yet there is a difference between the two. Grace is: the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God bestowed upon humanity. Mercy has to do with His kindness and compassion. In verse [Psalm 9:13-14] David cries out to God, pleading for mercy to show kindness and withhold the judgment he deserves.

There are times in life when we face incidents that suddenly shake us to the core of our being. We don’t know what to do, and don’t know how to receive/give mercy. Whether we’re walking closely with God or not, in time of desperation we still find ourselves saying, “O God have mercy on me!” In these times, we are asking God for forgiveness, to pardon us in our transgressions.

I cannot comprehend how someone can act in a way that is so horribly wrong and still be allowed to seek the mercy of God? How can He forgive those who commit unthinkable crimes [rape, murder, theft, abuse]? Does one who causes great pain deserve to be pardoned?

What about those daily battles and conflicts in our lives? Are you a merciful person? For instance, what if someone has hurt you; it could have been for many reasons—perhaps things weren’t going right in their lives, they were frustrated, and unable to control their life circumstances. I don’t understand why some people attack others instead of fixing their own problems but it happens.  Are we able to forgive someone who has wronged us, as we grieve the loss they have inflicted? As a believer, all we can do is to hand them over to God and the law.

It is hard for us to admit that we cannot solve a problem or overcome an obstacle, but it is often in our moment of helplessness when God can best deliver. He delights in a broken heart that humbly seeks His advocacy.

After David begged God for mercy, he continued to remind God in [Psalm 25] not to forget his mercy. This reminder is not for God’s sake [God will never forget or abandon his children], but our sake. “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, …” Amen!



God’s Word Came into the World in Flesh; Died and Rose Again for a Reason!

Someday everything will make perfect sense and all the pieces will fall into place. But until then, whatever is happening in our lives is not happening to us, but for us. There is a purpose and a reason for everything under the sun [under God’s power]. Knowing that there is a reason for everything happening in your life is one thing, but finding the purpose of your life is another…

Our pastor, Rick Warren said in one of his sermons, “The two most important days of your life are; the day that you were born, and the other day is: when you know the purpose of your life; why you were born.” He continued saying, “God created us for His pleasure and for His purpose. Until we understand that, nothing will make sense.”

To find out what is the purpose our life and “Why are we here” is to look at the instructions that are within our reach, shown in God’s Word, the Bible. He has given clear guidance to us on how to live a purposeful life. We cannot accomplish this by our own strength, because of our daily shortcomings [sins]. Before God created us, He knew sin would enter the world. He knew the great sacrifice necessary to restore us to Himself; by His actions we can conclude that we are worth it. “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]

We’re in need of a Savior—Jesus, who came in human flesh and died in our place for a reason. He took our sins, willingly gave His body as a sacrifice on the cross, and rose again. He is a living Savior, who pleads on our behalf daily for our salvation. Through Him all things are done. The first purpose for our lives is; to love God back with all our hearts, minds, and souls, and to love others as ourselves. [Luke 10; 27]

If we carefully read Jesus’s prayer prior to His crucifixion, we will see that He has highlighted the purpose of our lives in His prayer. Referring to believers, He prayed, Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them” [John 17:22-26].

As it is clearly stated (in Romans 6), Jesus’ death caused our sins to become powerless over us. Without the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ as the lamb of God (who was perfect, without any blemishes), we would still be in our sins, unforgiven and unsaved. The cross erases our old life. So the cross is not just a symbol, it is the mark of our salvation. God’s purpose for our life becomes our purpose for our life, which enables us to experience true and lasting joy—the abundant life that He desires for us.

The story of Christ did not end with his death.  His resurrection is equally vital to the message of the gospel. He rose from death just as He told His disciples He would [in Matthew 16:21].  If He is not risen from the dead, then we would still reside in darkness with no hope. Jesus is our everlasting HOPE.

      HAPPY EASTER! Stay safe!


A Definite Path!

Help me, help me

Don’t leave me here 

Don’t let me kiss the lips of death

Revive me

My eyes are clouded 

By the mist of piercing tears

Come quickly 

Before my sigh (ahhhh)

burns the sky

And my tears dry out

Don’t let this bruised soul 

Lose strength as I 

Balance on wobbly legs

Come at once 

You and I must reach tomorrow 

We must get to the living water

My heart desires 

The streams of Your definite path 

But my eyes are locked in 

Like a prisoner’s

We must leave

To get to the river

The river which runs to ocean currents 

And leads to Your living water

For it’s the only thing can quench my parched heart

Help me, help me

It’s time to leave

For I know

Leaving leads to an arrival 

I must refresh myself

The fools must know 

Reaching to the definite path 

Isn’t an aimless act 

This is called LOVE

Let the roar of my love

Burns the ears of folly

Let the rumors of 

My love do its work

And let our arrival be 

A lesson to quench

Someone else’s thirst

— Parveen H. Michalow 4A064FCA-409D-4CAA-A8A1-3468116214F9

Optimism vs. Hopelessness!

Have you ever heard well-intended advice such as the following?

“Stop being so negative, _______ won’t happen.” Or, “Be hopeful and optimistic — don’t worry so much…”

Realistically, we all worry at some point in our daily life. No one is wired to always think “happy thoughts”. Life has many ups and downs and it is not always a smooth ride. Ultimately, it comes down to how pragmatically we handle the rules of life.

What are your thoughts about the following example of one woman’s belief regarding idealism and hopelessness?  Many who know her might say, “She is a worrier, but her character has traits of optimism.”  But, if you ask her about the degree her positivity [how far can she go on holding a positive attitude], her answer lives in the rhythm of reality. She says,

“I can’t pretend that everything always will be like the reflection of the sun’s rays in the drops of rain [rainbows and sunshine].” She continues, “I’ve been around the block a few times and I can’t promise you constant hopefulness in the face of difficult circumstances. Certainly, too much optimism can be harmful, so it is important to stay realistic. Finding the middle ground is essential.”

Putting aside her circumstances, this woman has cultivated a balanced attitude as she surveys her future.  She has found solid ground where she doesn’t have to pretend there is always sunshine, instead she stays true to herself and embraces the patches of dark clouds—disappointment and hopelessness….  In the scheme of things, that’s what life is.  It’s through those moments that her thoughts capture the essence of her beliefs and she goes on saying:

“I wish I could promise you that I would always be optimistic. 

I wish I could promise you that I would be always be hopeful; 

that I won’t face hard challenges, or physical pains. I wish I could….

But I cannot, for I know pain and disappointment are part of life. 

Yet, I can promise you this: My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the 

strength of my heart and my portion forever. [Psalm 73: 26] “

She continues: “I wish I could promise you that people won’t reject my love—the love that is connected to the truth of God’s love. Sadly, they will blindly deny it. As the Bible projects, ‘Having eyes, do they not see? And having ears, do they not hear? And do they not remember?’ [Mark 8: 18] Could it be that their love and desires are based on shifting conditions—like the ocean waves, tossing and turning, always changing? Yes! Yet, I’m definitely and absolutely sure of God’s promise that He will never leave me or forsake me.”

She is loudly affirming God’s sovereignty and faithfulness, which is the evidence of God’s presence in her life. Knowing the truth of heaven and seeing the painful reality of life on earth, she is encouraged to pray without ceasing for the salvation of others.

Come to think of it, her desire to live a righteous life and her abiding love for her people resemble the Prophet Jeremiah’s passion for the people of his time. He was known as the “weeping prophet” for his deep love and concern for his people. The heartbreak and hopelessness this mystery woman has for the people who she loves, is like the sorrow of Jeremiah. Their rejection of God, through the redemption of Jesus, breaks her heart.

In spite of the pains in her flesh, the hopeless moments, and the disappointments, her optimism is strongly anchored in Heavenly places, as Prophet Jeremiah and Prophet David remind us in the following verses: [Lamentation 3: 24] “ The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him. [Psalm 33: 18] “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love…’

The word of God strongly encourages us to stay hopeful, steadfast, and to trust in the Lord for the outcome in whatever the day may bring us…


How do You Overcome the Giants in Your Life?

At times we all face challenges in life. Perhaps you are going through one right now. Everyone deals with life’s troubles differently. These difficulties are the GIANTS in our lives. They come in different sizes and shapes and though they may not be visible for everyone to see, they are enormous issues in our lives – health issues, illness or disease, infertility, divorce, drug, food and sex addictions, financial problems, marital struggles, misbehaving kids, etc.

With all that we battle through everyday, it matters how we learn to handle the giants in our lives.  How do you fight your giants? Do you give up or ignore them, or do you face them with faith and persistence, knowing that the victory will be yours? Sometimes we don’t feel God’s presence with us and we think He has abandoned us as we walk through our battlefield. Perhaps we are the ones who, by going our own way and not paying attention, are not allowing ourselves to hear him or feel His presence. We are so busy with the jingle of the visible world and think we can control and change things in our lives using our own power. We are spiritually blindfolded as our GIANTS try to defeat us, and not aware that God is always moving on our behalf.  He is saying, “O, My beloved daughter/son, you cannot change things by relying on your own power. You have tried this many times before, but it never works. You continue aimlessly in a vicious cycle.”  

But what if you move in faith like David in the story of “David versus Goliath”?  If you do, you can know for sure that you will be victorious in the end. For those who haven’t read the story of David and Goliath in the Bible, you can find it in [1 Samuel:17].

When I studied the life of David the prophet (Prophet Dawud), I learned how to deal with my own daily battles. Through reading and meditating on God’s word, I became aware of the light around me and was encouraged to pray unceasingly. The light of God’s presence was shining so brightly on my life that I could clearly see the futility of my old desires and wishes. As we know, some old habits die hard, and mine were still showing up at times, becoming stumbling blocks on my path. As the time went by, I realized these habits were the Goliath (giant) in my life. How could I fight this strong giant on my path?  The answer is, like David did, to move forward in faith! Then God will graciously surround us with His mighty power. That is what He did in my life, by surrounding me with mature believers to help me to draw closer to him.

I learned from spiritual leaders and strong believers that I need to do four things to  defeat the stumbling blocks of life:

1- Come humbly before God, admit that I am weak, and pray passionately and earnestly from my heart.  

2 – Ask God to fill my mind with His word. Read it over and over that it may protect me and become part of me.

3- Accept support from the other believers.

4- Hold on to God’s promises. As it says in (Isaiah 40:10), “Those who hope in the Lord will fly like Eagles …” And [Romans 8:31] “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

So David triumphed over a giant with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the mighty Goliath and killed him.

Don’t you think you could be like David the shepherd boy, who was a man of faith? You mayw be up against a giant (divorce, severe illness, financial devastation, loss of a loved one, loss of job, etc..) and feeling as if you have no protection. But the way to emerge victoriously from the battlefield is to focus not on how big your giant is, but to focus on how big your God is. Be confident, knowing that if God delivered David from the hands his enemy, He will also deliver you successfully through the battle and will hand you the reward that He has promised you according to your faith.

Jesus said: (Matthew 9:29 ) “According to your faith let it be done to you.”


A New Day, A New Dawn, And A New You!

29E3A9D9-F162-4755-96BA-E0845A60013FAt the beginning of each year, people might ask you, “What are your plans for this year?” or “What’s your New Year’s resolution?” 

You may or may not tell them your plans. Perhaps you’re not sure when, where and how your plans will come together, or even what those plans will be.  It’s important to set goals for your future, and you can reach them best by planning diligently and working vigorously. 

 What do you do if your plans don’t turn out the way you had hoped? For instance, what if your prayers for healing go unanswered, or a dream you have still seems out of reach, or you are waiting for a new job, or for marriage, or you are hurt by a broken relationship that hasn’t been mended. What do you do? Do you allow yesterday’s stumbles and falls in life to cause you to keep your head down, immersed in your disappointment, or do you get up and dust yourself off and start over? 

What if you were to ask a child one of these questions in simple terms? What do you think would be his/her answer?  

 I honestly think children are living messages. They can heal a soul, just by being themselves.  They can speak simply but profoundly, with a clarity that can make you smile and think twice.

 One day I was watching the Ellen show. She was interviewing a three-year-old child, an extremely talented gymnast named Emma. Ellen asked her, “Do you ever get scared of falling?”  Ellen then asked, “Do you ever get disappointed and give up?”  Emma answered in a sweet and precious voice and without any hesitation. “NO! I don’t, because I get right back up and try again.” Wow! Perfect answer. It was unbelievable to me that she could be so young and know so much.

 You may have noticed that whenever children are doing something they truly enjoy, they say, “Do it again”. It might be a game, a place to go, etc. They don’t mind repeating something a hundred times. It’s the same with God. He is pure and holy. When He sees us fall, He says, “Get up and do it again”. The great thing about walking with God every day in this life is that the door of opportunity is always open for a fresh start. Over and over, He gives us a new day, a new dawn, a new life, and He daily renews us.  

 If we look, we can see the work of His loving hands all around us and we can be a witness as His miracles unfold. Let’s take a moment to thank God for all He has done for us and to ask for forgiveness in the areas where we have missed the mark.

 “For Your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my iniquity, for it is great.” [Psalm 25:11]

 Let’s embrace the new decade with open minds and trusting hearts. Let’s make sure the things we are chasing after in the years to come align with God’s plan for our lives. Let’s encourage each other in all areas of our lives. We may have fallen in the past, but we can get up as Emma did, and move forward.