Thursday, May 29, 2008

Our Good Already Exists

I once watched a documentary on wild life and one of the scenes was a pack of wild dogs chasing a rabbit across the plains. At last, the rabbit ran into a hole for safety; maybe it was a place he knew. The dogs saw the rabbit run into the hole and tried to get into the hole but could not. However, they kept a vigil, yelping in frenzy at the entrance of the hole.

The dogs knew the rabbit was in the hole; they were sure of it. Madly, some of them tried digging the rabbit out, but had to give up because digging was just not their way of life.

As I watched the persistence and excitement of the dogs, I could not help thinking: “Here is a type of strong faith in action. This is something we all could learn from...”

How can we develop a strong faith for the good things we are seeking from our heavenly Father’s hand? The foundation of our building such faith is knowledge——a profound knowledge of God’s promises of healing, restoration, protection and an abundance of good things.

Just as the dogs knew the rabbit was in the hole and tried to reach it, so we are to know that our good of every kind is in our Father’s hands. Jesus taught that “our Father knows our needs and we are to seek Him first and all these things shall be added to us...” This affirms that all we can ever need already exists in God’s kingdom.

I can almost hear you chuckle: “If my good already exists, why do I not see evidence of it?”

For us, a strong faith in the invisible is absolutely necessary for its goods, however we need to move a step further into the process of manifestation——we need to speak positive words about that which we hope to see an evidence of. We cannot seek God for things then go out and speak in a doubtful manner about receiving them. That would be like driving (or attempting to drive) with one foot on the accelerator and the other on the brakes.

As we daily nurture the thought that our good exists, it would help us build an unwavering faith “as the substance of things hoped for...” It would be the evidence of things not yet seen.

Whenever you become doubtful about that which you are seeking God’s hand for, just give some thought to the fervour and persistence of the wild dogs at the beginning of our story. They knew where their rabbit was and though they did not succeed in getting him, we can do a lot better in reaching the good our Father has provided for us.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Every good and perfect gift I hope for already exists in God’s kingdom.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What Is True Happiness?

The other day, I met a man who claims to be happy, yet he does not own much of the material comforts common to many people, and it got me thinking: many who are poor enjoy happiness while many who are wealthy have not yet tasted of that sweet nectar.

Happiness is a natural desire for humankind. We all yearn to feel that sense of well-being in spirit, soul, body and affairs but our failure is that we often seek it in ways that are not right for us. Some seek happiness in worldly pleasure, others in acquiring wealth, yet others in acquiring fame and still, many other ways. This shows us that happiness is not a matter of the acquisition of wealth or fame.

The Scriptures teach: “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding” (Proverbs 3:13). Yes, wisdom and understanding are at the root of our sense of happiness. And they are vital keys to the solutions of the problems we face. These two attributes of God negate patterns of discord, confusion and conflict, bringing us into happiness. To “find wisdom” and “get understanding” mean to come to realize how limited we are in controlling our lives and affairs and that God is in charge always.

Wisdom and understanding promote a spirit of discernment which is one of the greatest gifts of God. This is spiritual maturity at its best and should be our daily quest.

Though we are to take the initiative for change and making choices, yet God is still in control of all things and works through us individually and corporately to bring about a better life for us and the world at large.

What is true happiness?

True happiness is a condition of contentment and harmony that radiates through us from within. It is from above, not beneath. To be happy does not mean that we have everything we want out of life, but that we have such a great depth of wisdom and understanding we are better able to meet life’s reversals in a more positive way. It also means we are at rest within our peace with God and ourselves.

Can we cultivate happiness? How? We cultivate happiness by observing these spiritual principles: firstly, by seeking God for His wisdom and understanding in all our undertakings, secondly, by yielding our human will about our affairs to God, and thirdly, by following through on His directions. Then, as we become willing to be led and taught, the life of Spirit unfolds and we find true happiness.

May the Lord richly bless you with His peace, love and prosperity.

Suggested Readings: Proverbs 3:13, Proverbs 3:19, Proverbs 4:7, Proverbs 8:34, Proverbs 16:20, Proverbs 28:14, Proverbs 29:18.

Thought For Today: The Spirit of God in me is wisdom and understanding and as I live and move in attunement with Him, His qualities touch me and I am blessed.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Getting The Big Picture

Going through a pile of memoirs, I found this thought-provoking poem and decided I would share it with you. It is based on Scripture and being in poetic form, it brings home the truth of God’s provision and our need not to be worried or anxious in a delightful and non-theological way.

—Elizabeth Chaney - (Circa 1859)

Said the Robin to the Sparrow
“I would really like to know
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so.”

Said the Sparrow to the Robin
“Friend, I think that it must be
That they have no Heavenly Father
Such as cares for you and me.”

The Scriptures teach that God has not abandoned us, but loves us and cares for us, and we are of more value than many sparrows (Matt.10:31). His thoughts for us are always good and He has already provided good and perfect gifts for us. Patiently, He awaits our recognition of Him and following through on His precepts so that we might receive the fullness of His gifts.

When we consider God’s goodness and His promises, how could we not be obedient to ask, seek and knock at His heavenly storehouse for all He has already provided?

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: God cares and has already provided good and perfect gifts for us.

Ask about the workbook: “Breaking Through the Barriers” by Dr. Hernandez. This book can be a helpful resource to you in overcoming fear, guilt, instability, worry and anxiety, and much more. It is available at: A Different Booklist, 746 Bathurst St., Toronto, as well as at New Vision Ministry (416) 744-9745.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Brighten Your Day

Yesterday, my husband and I visited a friend who is recovering from a mild stroke in a Rehabilitation Centre. When we arrived at the hospital we were just in time to witness a group of elderly people, all in wheel chairs, participating in therapeutic exercises with an instructor.

I watched as they followed instruction to lift their hands, put them behind the neck, massage around their eyes, massage their cheeks, put clasped hands on their heads and other simple exercises that were quite challenging for some.

One woman, who seemed to be in her late senior years, was so intent on the exercises! She did not just do the exercises for the sake of doing them; there was a sense of seriousness and determination on her face as she went through every motion the instructor gave, some with difficulty. In my mind, I nicknamed this woman, Zesty.

At the end of the exercises, the instructor gave some announcements about the Library Cart that would soon be coming for those who want to read magazines and books. He also announced that there would be a bingo game at 1:30 p.m.

Zesty was keen on the bingo. At the word “bingo” her face lit up and she asked the instructor: “What time is the bingo?”

“1:30 p.m.” was the answer.

And it was not long before she asked him again about the time for bingo.

“1:30 p.m.” was the answer again from the instructor.

It was remarkable to observe Zesty, bent on having some excitement and fun. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, she was making effort to lift her spirit. She was determined to rise above her disability and enjoy whatever was available in order to break the boredom and routine of hospital life. Zesty was determined to brighten her day. And her zest for brightening her day inspired me.

I did not get an opportunity to talk with Zesty but I asked my friend about her. He told me: “That lady had a stroke and she is now recovering from it. And though at times, some of us complain about our lot, this lady never complains...”

I thought about myself. I find that because of much sitting at the computer for several hours each day, there is a marked need for daily exercise—nothing strenuous, no barbells or anything like that—but simple stretches morning and evening that would keep my body toned and in good order. Here I am, healthy and able to be mobile on my own, and often covet the time I have to put into my exercise routine which would help me overcome muscle aches and pains that are in no comparison to Zesty’s challenge. And I often complain too!

Watching Zesty's enthusiasm to have her body functioning well again made me realize how we often take the functioning and health of our bodies for granted, moving our limbs how and when we want, and not recognizing this mobility as a gift from God. And for this we should continually be grateful.

And as to Zesty's enthusiasm for brightening her day, I was inspired. As I left the hospital, I said in my mind to Zesty: “Way to go, Zesty.”

Saturday, May 10, 2008

In Honour To Mothers Everywhere

E. V. Lucas, a famous British author, wrote this lovely story which is a kind of parable. He told of a mother who lost her soldier son in the war, and she was inconsolable. “O Lord, that I might see him again,” she moaned, “if only for five minutes, but I wish I could see him again...” An angel heard her prayer and answered: “For five minutes you will see him...”

“Quick, quick,” said the mother, her tears turned to momentary joy.

“Yes,” said the angel, “but think a little. He was a grown man. There are thirty years to choose from. How would you like to see him?”

The mother paused and wondered.

“Would you see him,” said the angel, “as a soldier, dying heroically at his post? Would you see him as he left you to join the transport? Would you see him again as on that day at school when he stepped to the platform to receive the highest honours a boy could have?

The mother’s eyes lit up.

“Would you see him,” said the angel, “as a babe at your breast?”

And slowly, the mother said: “No. I would have him for five minutes, as he was one day when he ran in from the garden to ask my forgiveness for being naughty. He was so small and so unhappy, and the tears were making streaks down his face through the garden dust. And he flew to my arms with such force that he hurt me.”

It is a natural tendency of mothers everywhere to love, nurture and comfort their offspring and this is a reflection of the loving, nurturing and comforting quality of God. No wonder we hear some people recognizing God in their prayers as Father and Mother. His sternness and authoritative qualities are seen as Father and His tenderness, love and caring nature are seen as that of a mother.

Many mothers in the animal kingdom also express those feelings of love and care. Notice the strong feeling of caring and concern when birds use their wings and beaks to arrange their eggs in the nest. Notice too, how they bring food to their little ones and literally feed them. Once, in a television documentary, I watched a mother lion, relaxing while she nursed her cubs. It was very similar to a human mother, relaxing and nursing her offspring. Loving, concern and nurturing their young are natural for mothers everywhere.

Mothers are precious in that there is an indissoluble bond between them and their offspring. And no matter what anybody can do for us, there is nothing to change the fact that our mothers were our first connection with our physical existence in this life. We had been linked with them, nurtured by them, lived in close relationship with them, and brought forth into this world by them.

Our opening story reflects the natural quality of mothers to be needed, depended on and to give comfort. The one thing that mother wished for was to somehow re-live that scene when her son needed her and she would be there for him.

What a privilege it is to honour mothers! And even though many mothers do not always function in the way they were meant to, yet, because of the roles they have played in the earliest moments of our lives, let us honour them all.

Many years ago, in celebrating Mothers Day, it was popular to sing the following song, written by Howard Johnson. Most likely, it will bring back precious memories to you:

M is for the million things she gave me;
O means only that she is growing old
T is for the tears she shed to save me
H is for her heart of purest gold
E is for those eyes that love light shine in
R means right and right she’ll always be.
Put them all together they spell MOTHER...
A word that means the world to me.

A happy Mothers’ Day to mothers and all those who act in the role of mothers everywhere.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Dealing With Change

Last Friday evening, on the invitation of a friend, I visited a church in my neighbourhood to a Girls Nite Out event, part of which was a movie on Ruth the Moabitess. This story of Ruth is not new to me, however, the movie made quite an impact on me. It helped me realize there is nothing like seeing a Bible story in animation, well portrayed. Not only does watching the film bring life to the story but it allows one to think deeply on relevant parts of one’s life. This is exactly what the movie did for me.

This story of sorrow, grief, redemption and prosperity was beautifully portrayed on screen. Its simplicity, trust, bonding and kinship came through loud and clear, and moved me to think of a situation of mine that relates to change as well.

As I reflected on Ruth’s change of country and religion, I thought of my personal dilemma of giving up pastoral ministry and moving deeper into my radio and writing ministries for the Kingdom of God.

Years ago, I had felt a call of God on my life, went to Bible college and came to think pastoral ministry was what God wanted out of me. I started ministry with leading seminars and workshops and eventually got into pastoral ministry which went well for a time, then it began to crumble. Painfully, I began to see that such ministry was not for me and slowly came to the point of giving it up.

Giving up pastoral ministry after eighteen years was not an easy decision for me. I had toyed with it for about three years until finally, circumstances dictated that I could no longer carry on ministry to God in that capacity.

Now, through my writing ministry and the spoken word on “The Revealing Word” radio broadcast, I am more used of God in a broader, outreach manner, ministering to more people than ever before and I feel a deeper sense of fulfillment in my heart.

Let us get back to Ruth. This young woman could have become rebellious because of losing her husband, and avoided the company of Naomi, thinking it would help her forget her grief, but in obedience to the Lord’s leading, she went with her mother in law into a new experience and a new, prosperous life. It was a matter of what we commonly call destiny.

I have come to see that when God wants us to make changes, He begins by making changes in our hearts and re-directs our paths. Then there is the actual challenge of giving up what we once cherished, and going in another direction. However, as we learn to trust God, we also learn to yield to the deep urges that rise up within our hearts.

Like Ruth, I followed the deep urges of my heart and discovered that our God is a God of destiny and He leads us to whatever is highest and best for us. I have discovered too, that there is really nothing to fear if we trust God. When we roll our burdens over to Him with the full understanding that He is in charge of our lives it is then easier for us to walk the paths that He has directed for us. We then better understand the ups and downs of the cycles and seasons of life.

Watching that movie on the story of Ruth the Moabitess has blessed me. It has brought home to me the way God works more clearly. He is a God of destiny and plan and trusting Him implicitly is the way to go.

May the Lord richly bless you with His peace, love and prosperity.