At The Door of Life…..

“Like a wild flower; she spent her days, allowing herself to grow, not many knew her struggle, but eventually all knew of her LIGHT.” —NIKKI ROWE
She was looking through the door of life for many years. Locked within herself, gazing at the light outside and not knowing how to live in the light. Wondering what it would be like to live in this LIGHT, The true light of life. For many years, she didn’t have the courage to open this door. But after many struggles, she finally had the strength to open it.

She reached out to hold on to the light, and to her surprise the light was pleased to hold onto her more tightly than she ever could have imagined. This light wasn’t ordinary or like light that the world offers, but this light was magnificent and divine. This divine LIGHT is God. He was revealed to her through her beautiful children years ago. He has spoken to her in her dreams and visions.
After she offered her heart to Him holding her hands in prayer, she had a glimpse of His glory. Her life has been changed since that moment. Her prayers began to be more about His WILL instead of her will.
He taught her through His word who He is and who she is. She’s His beloved child and He loves her. Not because of what she does, but because who He is. He forgives her and reveals to her the purpose of her life.
And most importantly He first shows her how to love him and then how to love everyone else, just as He loves them. He instructs her not to judge anyone but to forgive everyone and make room for everyone’s mistakes, just as He has made room for her mistakes. He teaches her to live in the present, not in the past. She can’t go back to change the beginning, but she can start where she is and change the ending. She does not need to grasp for or fear the future for He is holding her tomorrows in his capable hands. She looks for and finds God in the present.
He supplies her with an abundance of love, even for those who hate her. She can choose to pray for those who hurt her instead of getting even and can choose to forgive. She can not make any of these choices without the Lord’s strength. Of course she stumbles in her daily life. She is just a human. She lives in a fractured world, but she no longer falls, for God is holding her in the palm of His hand. In fact, the lower she bows before him, the higher He lifts her up.
She no longer follows empty rituals, but she has a child-like relationship with her God which helps her to follow him in her daily walk. No more feeling guilty or burdened with sin. She is who she is and she will never depart from the TRUTH. She found the true light and will remain in the LIGHT. No other power can separate her from this divine truth.
Nevertheless, she’s aware of her weakness. God says to her in his word, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”
(2 Cor 12:9) Therefore she will boast all the more gladly about her weaknesses, so that God’s power may rest on her.”

She is no longer standing behind the door in the shadow of darkness, feeling confused, fearful, and doubtful. Now she’s standing in the shadow of the ALMIGHTY.
What matters to her now is that the Lord her God empowered her to walk through the door of life. He welcomed her into the spaciousness of God’s light. She can hardly contain her joy and has peace deep within her. She sees His miracles everyday and wants share them with the world. Her God is no longer compartmentalized in one part of her life. He is involved in every area of her life. She understands the path of knowing God is not easy. But she has hope that the God who invited her into this brilliant LIGHT will continue to shed light on her path.
Her final thought to others is this: “It’s not about who is right and who is wrong. It’s about who GOD IS. It’s not about who wins or who loses. It’s about loving one another as He commanded us to do.” As God unveils His glorious power and love to her, she prays that He will use her humble life for His purposes to reach others around her. This is not her story, it is God’s story unfolding in her life. She is simply telling you what God has done to make her His precious child.


Facing Your Giants!

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.”

img_0401But 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, here is a short version of it:
There was a war between the Philistines and Israelites during the reign of king Saul. David was a young Israeli shepherd boy who had an unshakable FAITH in the Lord. On the Philistine’s side was Goliath, a champion and an enormous man. No one could fight Goliath because of his giant size and extensive bronze armor. David’s only shield and protection was his faith in God.
When Goliath saw the young David coming toward him he said, “Come here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!” David said to Goliath, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty”. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, David slung it and struck Goliath on the forehead. The stone sank deeply into his forehead and he fell face down on the ground. Ah, what a sight it was! You may have heard it said, “God will put the GOLIATH in your life, that you may find the DAVID within you”. I agree with this statement.
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 …” Also the Bible says,”I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” ( Philippians 4:13 )

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 may 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.”

Grief Does Not Speak!

You may associate grief with the loss of someone or something you love. But there is so much more in life that causes grief. Do you feel deeply distressed when you see someone whom you love living a destructive life? It grieves you, doesn’t it? Yet you can’t do anything about it, because their choices are out of your control… Grief will last as long as love does. Have we ever stopped to think about what grieves God? He is our loving Father, and has given us free will. Unfortunately, some of us misuse our free will to harm others or ourselves and these choices ache the heart of God. How do we know? Because it says in His word. “The earth became filled with evil. And God was grieved!” (Genesis 6:5) 

We know that the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit is a fire dwelling in each believer. He wants to express Himself in every part of our life. When we do not allow the Spirit to be seen in our actions, when we know what we want to do is wrong but do it anyway, the Holy Spirit is quenched. This occurs when we don’t allow the Spirit to reveal Himself through us in the way that He desires. The bible tells us in (Ephesians 4:30) “And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.” For that reason, we should not grieve the Spirit of God, by living as though we are god.

We frequently encounter situations where we are suddenly tempted to do what is wrong through our words, actions, or temper. For instance, if someone treats you poorly, pointing the finger of criticism at something you have done and judging you, your flesh may prompt you to treat them as they have treated you. But the Spirit prompts you to do what is right – to forgive them and move on, letting bygones be bygones. Sometimes challenges are too hard for us to face, causing us to turn the other way, away from the true light. We may say, “WHY DID I DO THAT?”, because our flesh is often at odds with righteous living.

St. Paul said, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15) It’s comforting to know that a Saint like Paul had the same struggles as us and acknowledged his weakness.

It grieves God, when one knows right from wrong, but still continues to live in a sinful manner. Sexual immorality, bitterness and  anger, lying and stealing (which includes taking someone’s happiness, marriage, job, etc.), cursing, unforgiveness, and the justification of sinful actions all grieve the heart of God.

We humans are in need of an unearthly power to shape and mold us each day. This power is always available to us but requires our willingness. I realized that I couldn’t do right by my own effort, so I asked God, just as David asked Him in Psalm 51:10, “ Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” 

When it’s done in humility, this prayer brings us to a place where we recognize our need for a power stronger than the power that the world offers us through science or self-help books.

“Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.” (Proverbs 22:4)

This verse speaks of the importance of a humble life. If we want to have God’s blessings in our lives, we must allow Him to cleanse our hearts through an authentic and pure relationship with Him. He wants the best for us. So we must be vigilant and faithfully immerse ourselves daily in His word.

If you find that you cannot move forward in your life and come to a roadblock, whether it is a relationship or marital problem, financial difficulties, health issues, or a crisis of faith, if it seems like you are stuck in one place, and your prayers are not reaching the doors of Heaven, then you must ask yourself this question: “Is my way of living aligned with a righteous life?” If the answer is “No”,  it’s time to examine what it is that is getting in the way of your happiness and success.  Are your actions and attitudes giving God or someone in your life reason to grieve?”

Last but not least, remember – where there is a deep grief (concern or sadness), there is deep love.

True Freedom!

Spiritually speaking, no one is free. We are either a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness. If we are enslaved by habitual sin, we cannot free ourselves by our own efforts. It can only be done through surrendering ourselves to God. Some may say that they don’t habitually sin and therefore aren’t enslaved by sin. That is a great thought but in reality, we all seek freedom. We might be a slave to things that we don’t consider to be sin. For instance, maybe we don’t let go of our fears, past hurts, a negative self-image, or an obsession with things or people, all which enslave us and rob us of peace. Then we find ourselves locked up inside of a cage which we built with the help of our own sinful nature.

790776E0-4BE3-44EF-B1A0-A976AC44E8F7Before I came to know who God really is and who I am, I was craving for freedom from the shackles of the world! Although I have felt the tug of war inside, here’s what I have come to realize; I must muster the courage to stop bowing to desires of my flesh and let the Spirit of righteousness free me from slavery to worldly desires, and lead and guide me to peace and freedom. To be honest with you, in some areas of my life I am getting better but others I still struggle as a work in progress.                                         I wanted to release myself from the bars which enclosed me. But I couldn’t do it by my own effort, I needed a bigger power, the Lord my God to strengthen me.

While I was craving for freedom from the chains of the world and the flesh, heaven was calling me again, with new visions to consider. I dreamt I was sitting at the foot of a mountain for quite a long time. I meditated, prayed, and pondered whether or not I should take the journey up to the top of the mountain which God was offering me. When I woke up, it was back to reality again and I knew in my heart God was telling me, “Get up, it’s time to move.” I asked myself, “Do I want to stay here in this land of pain, in a land filled with empty promises, selfishness, fear, pretentiousness, and deception, or should I take this journey – a walk up a path with signs pointing to hidden treasures along the way?” The treasures were love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I had no doubt that this path was filled with truth! I was eager to know God, I wanted to know how to live a life filled with enduring peace.
I began my journey by making some difficult changes which needed to occur. These changes manifested themselves as crawling in my vision. Moving slowly on my hands and knees up a steep road in my dream mirrored the struggles that I was having in real life. I wanted to release myself from the stronghold of the world’s distractions and bondage. To be free from the need to always please others or the desire of my own flesh. To live my life concerned only with pleasing God. For I knew that everything else would fall into place. Spiritual freedom sounds so incredibly sweet – sweet as honey and precious as a jewel. I was craving it! So I pressed forward in faith. There were many turns, twists and even a few setbacks. But it was in the detours that I learned the biggest lessons! I was slowly getting to know myself and others, and most importantly, I was beginning to know my God.
During this journey I was completely aware of the visible world. But I needed to put all my trust into what I could not see with my eyes. How could I trust and keep going forward toward the heavenly treasures promised? Praise God! I had an army of godly people who were praying and supporting me. This army included my dear husband and children who were each on their own unique journey. But they all were witnessing God’s miraculous work in my life. I was getting fixed from the inside out.
The changes were happening as the Lord was unveiling His mystery. I could hear that the “deep” was calling to the depths of my soul. (Psalm 119:45) “I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.”
So here is the question for you; how would you describe freedom? Have you received this precious jewel yet, or perhaps you’re in the midst of a tug of war right now?

The Birth of a Baby Boy!

Why did God sent Jesus to earth? What will His birth, life, death, and resurrection cause us to do? Did God send Jesus to erase the law of Moses? Did He come to condemn us? It is written in the gospels that God sent Jesus to complete the law, to redeem us from sin and to teach us the truth. Jesus taught people about God’s Kingdom, a government in heaven which will ultimately bring peace to all mankind. Oh, how badly we’re in need of peace on earth right now, are we not?!

64A76C60-50E8-413E-A581-BF72B9B7F39ELiving in peace can be compared to the warmth of sunshine on a cold day, or walking in the moonlight on the beach. Those peaceful moments in our lives unfold as we learn more about God and what He has done for us. We can’t see God face to face, but there is plenty of evidence around us, pointing us to the reality that God exists. The beautiful world that surrounds us, the birth of a child, our bodies, and the love we have for each other are the affirmation of God’s love for us.
We all know the drill, how we were conceived and born. Based on biblical evidence and other religious and historical writings – God did something miraculously different over 2,000 years ago. A happening that human minds can’t comprehend, one of the greatest events to occur in the history of the universe – the birth of a baby boy, Christ Jesus.
Since God is pure light and Holy, we can’t begin to reach to His holiness without a bridge between himself and us. So He sent His Spirit over a young girl about the age of 16, a virgin named Mary (she is called Mariam in other languages).
Because of her purity, God chose Mary to be the mother of the Messiah, the prince of peace, and the promised son. She became pregnant by the Spirit, with no physical contact. I can’t imagine how shocked and surprised she must have been when an angel appeared to her and told her the news. I can’t fathom what was going through her mind. But she loved the Lord God with all her heart and obeyed His command. And she gave birth to a baby boy, Jesus, whose name was chosen by God. So if Jesus is born of God’s Spirit, than He is definitely part of God, right? God delivered His promise. The story of His birth written in (Matthew 1:18-25) and (Luke 2:8-12)
The Bible says, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, [Jesus Christ], that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16)
God provided a WAY for us to come close to Him so that we might become the true children of God. Jesus is the WAY for our life. He is the WORD of God. God sent His WORD (His beloved son) to teach us how to live righteously. In (John 14:6) Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
When we acknowledge that Jesus is the “WORD” of God in flesh and born of the Spirit of God, then He (Jesus) must be part of Him (God). No argument! The Spirit of God, the “Holy Spirit” is dwelling in Him. As we believe in Jesus and put our trust in Him, the same spirit that dwells in Him will be dwelling in us. It is now clear to me that the Trinity is three is in one – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Someone has said it this way: “If try to explain the Trinity, you will lose your mind, but if you deny it you will lose your soul.”
As I studied, I discovered that not only Christians but followers of other religions also agree that Jesus is the Messiah. If we believe that he is the Messiah, then he is the Word of God in human flesh. He is co-eternal and has existed forever. That is why he is the one who is coming again. John 1:1 says; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God.” For me, His birth was the one confirmation that He is who He claims to be.
Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”—a complete life full of purpose (John 10:10).


Her Invisible Tears!

You may look at her and think, as Billy Joel said in his song, “She can kill with her smile, she can wound with her eyes.” But do you really know who lives behind the smile? Can you tell what has she been through by looking at her? If you peer into her stormy eyes, you may see a tiny bit of sunlight inside her – the pretty sparkle of innocence. Her angelic and stormy eyes are like a book telling you a story. She may reside in pain of her own making or perhaps her pain is caused by the blind, deluded, and sinful world. Whatever the reason, the pain that she feels is the result of deep wounds which cause her to see things much too clearly as her thoughts wander off the edge of the world. The bruises on her body or her tears may be visible to the people around her, but the wounds in her heart and the scars on her mind are invisible to most. You may think she’s happy but look again – don’t let her painted-on smile fool you. Can you see the scars that are hidden just below the surface? No! Years upon years of practice have made her a master of disguise. Her dreams are not just a fairy tale, they are her reality. No one knows the sadness in her eyes, her lullabies or her goodbyes.


The only place where she finds comfort is in the dark corners where she cries. She feels as if nobody notices when she is gone, and no one even misses her. She knows the teardrops that run down her chin tell the story of her pain to the heavens above. After all, tears are a kind of prayer. They travel to God, when words fail. Her sacred tears are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They are the story of unspeakable love that no one could offer her, except the One whose Spirit is always with her and carries her. In spite of her brokenness, she knows she is blessed, because the God of heaven tells her so. She knows that the lover of her soul keeps track of all her sorrows, wipes away every tear from her eyes, and collects them all in His bottle. God records each one in His book (Psalm 56:8) and He tells her that she is worth far more than rubies. He reminds her to use His word as a sword to fight her battles, instead of her tears.
Do not judge her. She may not tell you her story, but stop for a moment and try to hear her silent cry and listen to what she says with her eyes. Beneath her pain, you will notice the beauty of her loving heart shining brighter than the sparkle in her eyes. Undoubtedly, your heart will weep with her. You’ll want to protect her and others just like her. Sometimes she wonders if there is anyone who can see the kindness in her heart and smile at her like Jesus would. Will you be the one who can gauge the sadness in her gaze and will try to speak the language of her kind heart?
If you see a woman (young or old) who needs your help, whether you’re a man or woman, would you be willing to step out of the shadows and protect her, respect her, and honor her? Be careful and gentle with her because, “Heaven knows her story, for the Lord’s eyes are on her, and His ears are attentive to her cry.”(Psalm 34:15)

Immerse Yourself in His Light!

Light is the radiance or illumination from a particular source. In the Bible, light symbolizes righteousness. If light is a metaphor for living an upright life, then darkness signifies an evil and destructive life. God Himself is light. He is absolutely Holy and there is no hint of injustice in Him. Those who walk in darkness live and act against God. There is no truth in their life’s walk. Therefore, God holds no heavenly fellowship or intimacy with these unholy souls.
People who live near God and walk in His brilliant light are partakers of His divine energy, and they experience glimpses of His power and His love in their daily walk. They illuminate His light to the world around them. God’s nature is pure and perfect and it should be represented as such to the dark world. Jesus said in (Matthew 5:16), “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good work”. And (Psalm 76:4) says, “You are radiant with light”.
If one says, “I believe in God and have a fellowship with Him”, yet leads a destructive life, they lie and do not live out the truth. And they shouldn’t be claiming that they’re B43BB231-3D8A-4340-B486-2087BFB2F81Ereflecting God’s light. A relationship is stronger, and more effective and powerful when it’s built on a deep level of intimacy. Similarly, the manifestation of God’s brilliant light appears in your life when you start to believe and understand what God has done for you through Jesus. Because of His love for you, you begin to put your trust in Him. He will graciously answer even selfish prayers at times, just to show that He hears you and is with you. He has the power to do anything according to His will. God created us to be in a deep relationship with Him. And we can rely on him in all circumstances, knowing that He will be with us every step of the way. Even when we are not sure what to do, we can wait for Him to open the way before us. This calls for putting our trust in the One who sees our next steps. The Lord has promised us that His light will go with us wherever we go and His presence will give us wisdom and rest for our soul.
God is light, and so is Jesus, because He was born of God’s Spirit. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life”. (John 8:12)
Unfortunately, sometimes we cling to our old ways for dear life, instead of embracing the reality who we belong to, the God of all creation. When we are determined to get our own way and insist on our agenda, we actually block God out of our consciousness. Rather than single-mindedly following some selfish goal, we must make a quick turn to God and ask Him to shine His light on our mission, so we can see clearly from His perspective. Cling to God, not to His favors. All it takes is a quick prayer, a simple conversation with our Creator. It must be done with faith (an open mind and heart). As you began to immerse yourself in His light and glory, asking for His will to be done in your life, the creator of Heaven and earth will gladly comply.

He wants you to be a lamp on a hilltop that shines His light over your city. Imagine what an honorable life it would be to reflect His light.
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”(Matthew 5:14)

His Peace Surrounds You, When Your Thoughts Wage War!

dedicate this article to my beloved brother, who passed away three years ago today.


When we think of peace, we think of freedom from disturbance, a state of tranquility, restfulness, quietness, calmness of mind, or serenity. If we say, “Everyone wants peace” – is that a true statement? Not necessarily… Surprisingly, peace is sometimes elusive, because people may use the word “peace” for their own selfish motives. Humans have the capability to desire both peace and war, as well as the spectrum of conditions which lie between the two. War doesn’t always happen on the border between two countries. The battle can be in one’s mind (self-war), our homes, our workplace, communities, our country, and elsewhere. When a war appears in your life, whether it begins gradually or suddenly, how do you handle it and rebuke its fire? It may involve political, marital, financial, or medical issues but it’s intention is to destroy lives.

“Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” Ronald Reagan

He couldn’t have said it better. The true antidote to any war is love and acceptance. C346C08C-B710-43C1-B8B4-ABE7595BA76EThese are the things that will ultimately bring us peace. Unfortunately, some people don’t view it that way. But here is the question. How can we find this cure? Where can we get it? How do we offer it to others or apply it to our circumstances? First of all, how we define peace depends on the situation. Peace is agreement and harmony among people; it’s a relational empathy which points everyone to love one another, to be patient with each other, and to work together in order to reach their goals. It moves us away from hatred and betrayal. Most people desire peace, as living without it is frightening, painful, depressing, and frustrating.

With all that in mind, how can you find peace when you’re in the midst of a storm? How do you function when hope seems to be gone? It could be the loss of a job, or a place to live, the loss of love and harmony between people or countries. Or especially the loss of a loved one. Nothing can be more devastating than the death someone close to you. It can be the most catastrophic, tragic, and difficult time in one’s life.

I’m sure you have experienced some kind of war or peace in your life that completely caught you by surprise. You may want to know if I have. Oh, yes, I have! Living in the war and finding peace, or living in peace and then facing a war – I have seen it all. So my story may be similar to yours.

I have lost some of my loved ones in the war against a horrible disease – cancer. One of them was my beloved brother. I was heartbroken to lose one of my siblings. Though we lived far from each other, I was grateful that I had the opportunity to visit my brother during his treatment. I was able to encourage him to have hope and trust God during his painful journey. I told him my testimony – the story of how I found the truth of God’s love. I told him about God’s intangible and everlasting love, and how His love saved my life.

I shared with my brother that God desires no harm and His intention for us is to have a life filled with peace and purpose. But since we live on planet earth and have the gift of free will, we create wars for ourselves by the choices we make on a daily basis. If we choose to live a life near God, we must be ready as there will never be a dull moment. It will be filled with different emotions; at times joy and excitement and at others, sadness and strife. The difference is that if you have a relationship with God, you will feel his peace even in the midst of storms.

Will we feel warm and fuzzy all the time toward God and everyone else? No! We live on earth, not in heaven. We all have walked through the valley of darkness from time to time. Living close to Him means that you are at peace within yourself. When you are comfortable with yourself, you’re at ease with everyone else. When there is drama or devastating circumstances surrounding you, you will still be at peace if your eyes stay fixed on God . This kind of peace endures because your relationship with God is based on love, not on your feelings. Living close to Him is unpredictable. You never know what God has for you in the next hour. He is in control of all that is.

My brother listened and then he said,“Sis, you are very lucky to be touched and chosen by God”. Months later it was time for us to say our last words to him. His fragile body couldn’t endure the pain any longer. I prayed (Psalm 23) to him out loud right before he passed away. As I ended my prayer, I told him that the Lord was waiting for Him. Then I saw tears rolling down from his nearly lifeless eyes. I knew he heard every word of my prayer. The wall of my own tears didn’t allow me to say a final goodbye. It was the most painful moment of my life. How do you say goodbye to your loved one for the last time? I was gasping for air, and in that instant, I heard the Lord say in my heart, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Truly, with all that I had and with all that I knew, I was confident God was near and everything was under his control.

Psalm 138:3 says “On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul.”

If I didn’t have faith in God at that time, I would have been absolutely crushed by the great pain. Instead, found myself accepting his death and trusting God. It was indescribable how I felt; I cannot put it into words. Of course I shed many quiet tears. But I wasn’t angry, blaming God or anyone else. During that mournful time, I felt something powerful within me that I had never experienced before. I couldn’t fathom how I could be feeling such a profound sense of peace, a kind of peace I could not explain. Peace in such a time of personal loss was shocking to me. I was in a state of awe! Certainly, it was the result of many prayers and the Lord’s unfailing love. The Lord’s peace and power rule the hearts of those who fear and trust Him. The peace of God’s presence coexisted with my deep sorrow. Through faith and acceptance of God’s will, it was possible to cope with great pain.

Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Two weeks after my brother’s passing, I had a dream about him. I saw him young, handsome and in good health. I was crying with joy as he said to me, “Why are you crying? Everything is fine now.” It was such a relief to know that he was no longer in pain. He is happy and his spirit is at peace. I know with assurance where my brother is now. Life may end here, but if we have salvation through God, we can be certain of our destination after we leave this round green planet. Without a doubt, it is wonderful and helpful to have a group of prayer warriors surrounding you. As they lift you up in prayer, God hears them and sees right through every heart.
The LORD says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears and I will heal you….. (2 King 20:5)

Ultimately, the greatest gift of all is the Lord’s peace. This gift cost him greatly as He purchased it with His blood. We can receive this unfathomable gift by trusting Him in the midst of our storms. Keep looking up and seek His power and peace through the trials in life. After all, He is the prince of peace! Keep focusing on His unfailing love and hold on to His hand in childlike trust. As you trust, He will bless you with peace.
My prayer for you is this – May the Prince of Peace be with you in all your ways and may His peace rule your heart, mind, and soul.

Is Life Like a Game of Chess?

 Life is a board game and time is your opponent. I don’t know about you, but I have never played the game of Chess, nor have I ever had a desire to learn. But when I was young I would watch some friends of the family play the game from time to time. I noticed they played with intense concentration, blocking out all distractions and carefully considering each move. It must be hard to develop the habit of reflecting before each move. Millions of people in the world play this game. Chess was originally invented in India, around the 6th century AD. Its purpose was to help improve the lives of people with mental problems. Over the centuries, people have played the game for pleasure and for the challenge. Chess is a two-player game. The game has a total of 16 pieces for each player to play – the King, Queen, Bishop, Rook, and so on. Each piece has its own power. Every time a player makes a move, either a positive or negative outcome occurs. The pieces keep moving forward and the player must make an intellectual decision as to where he should move next. In Chess or in any game, the object is to win. We play the game of life in a similar fashion. We make decisions every day based on how we want to move forward.   

How do you play this match? Some people navigate their way carefully through the journey of life. They have won or are winning the game, or at least that’s how it looks from the outside. They make their decisions based on the principles they choose. From my personal experience, I’d say the game is not as easy as it seems. Don’t you agree? In our lives, we are connected by many relationships, which we rely on for survival. Whether it’s family, friends, work, home, finances, etc., each of us makes decisions based on what we want from life. 

Since we are all at times driven to have the desires of our flesh, we may find ourselves trying to have our cake and eat it too. Some people make their move on the game board of life by manipulating people or situations to get what they want, instead of basing their decision on moral principles. If you don’t make your move diligently, life may make its own move and “knock off a piece” of your empire. I have been there, and have had to tell myself, “That was disappointing, but so what? It’s a part of life.” We can’t do it with our own strength. We need help, the kind of help that can give us the power to dust ourselves off from a fall and play the game again with better plans. It may take a few times. Sometimes you must move backward to take better steps forward. That’s called life. I must say, I’m glad for those who have learned from their falls. They go forward saying, “The game is on!” I love how beautifully David the prophet says in Psalm 119: 71, “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your law.” He recognized that his affliction brought him closer to God. Hopefully we also can learn from our failures and live the life that was intended for us, without the heavy winds of life knocking us down. 

 The next verse emphasizes it. “Fight for the right things, in the right way, and the right motive.” 1 Chronicles 11:10

 There are many kinds of believers and religions in the world. Some believe in God (He exists and created the universe), then there are others that believe God is who He says He is, does what He says he will do, and is clear about what He wants us to do. 

 There are also people who are atheists (they believe in self-knowledge and for them, God does not exist). Each of us looks at life from our own unique perspective and many of us are driven to “win the game” on our own strength. But God has intended for us a different way.

 “Fear not, for I am with you; don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

 You might say, “Those people don’t believe in God, but it seems like they have everything. They certainly look happy.” It looks good, doesn’t it? But are they happy within themselves? Do they have the peace you have? They’re always moving from one thing to another. Nothing can satisfy them for long, because the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence. Nothing can quench their thirst for more. They may look rich on the outside, but are penniless in their heart and soul. Do you think they have won the game of life? I don’t think so. None of us will finish victoriously, unless we align ourselves with God through His one and only son, Christ Jesus. Through faith His strength becomes ours, as He reaches out to keep us from falling. “Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light’. ” (Matthew 6: 28-30)  Life is not always about winning. Sometimes it’s about learning and growing. 

 If we pay careful attention to God’s word, we will see that He never promised to move the pieces of the game of life for us, but He has promised that He will be with us and with His help, the obstacles blocking our forward growth will be removed. We must keep the verse below in mind, as this is how God wants us to live our lives. If we do, we will undoubtedly win the game of life in the end.   

  “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8