This morning as I woke up, I was simply elated as I saw a vision of the hands of Jesus.. They were cupped together and in His cupped hands was a scene of mesmerising sun rise… with His glory overtaking the surroundings.
His glory covered the heavens
and his praise filled the earth.
His splendor was like the sunrise;
rays flashed from his hand,
where his power was hidden
– Habbakuk 3:3-4
Just a little deviation to help elaborate on the message of the vision…
The last two Sunday evenings in a row, the afternoons have been cloudy with Jazz music drifting up from a popular nearby cafe frequented by expatriates… Standing on the balcony in this exquisite setting sipping on a hot mug of coffee chatting with God amidst of what HE had created, immersing in His presence… watching the ocean waves that are far from serene crashing on the rocks with a violent greyish green colour..almost transparent in nature too…. Words simply can’t describe the setting and I’m at a loss for words.. Yes even the chatterbox Priya just can’t find the words.
The rays that come through these dark clouds concealing some white puffy ones.. His glorious presence is indeed in it all. Who else can create or attempt to recreate those majestic scenes? The camera lenses of a photographer, the brush of a painter… they can perhaps capture the visual somewhat but certainly no way can they portray the experience of it.. the feast to the senses cannot be imitated. God’s creation is SIMPLY unique.. we can perhaps COPY or capture His handiwork but we can never match let alone take over the Master Creator! Can any human being try to create a twinkling star and place it in the skies? And here mortal men think they are wise and capable that they don’t need God who keeps it all in place!
Different people go searching for God and God’s presence in different things and different settings often completely missing the target and filling it with temporal perishing treasures that distract from eternity. They misplace their values (yes even people who call themselves Christians) and fill the voids created by not having God in their family, careers, ambitions, charities and even ministries!
So many Christians run from meeting to meeting, to the ‘dwelling place’ of God, from service to service… and yet miss the essence of the faith – relationship with HIM, an intimate relationship is why He created us! As baby Christians, yes we need to be fed with spiritual milk.. but as we mature, He teaches us and gives us solid food for us to build one another up.
GOD is omni-present and we (our bodies) make up the temple of God!
Are you so much in a rush to strive on earth that you are rejecting His indescribable gift of His presence beginning from His gift of nature? Are you rejecting His invitation of love in search of everything else??
Being a believer is about SURRENDER… it’s about surrendering things about ME.. my health, my career, my ambition, my talents, my plans etc…And it’s about immersing ourselves in HIS presence soaking in His love and then letting HIM give us and equip us for what He thinks deem fit for our benefit and for His glory.. and leading us to the NARROW path!
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
He enables me to tread on the heights
– Habbakuk 3:17
Today He invites you and me to come deeper into His presence and to enjoy His embrace and shower of love!
A new day.. a new season awaits us my dear brothers and sisters!
When living at home, if I had to eat alone I would either skip my meal or eat for the sake of eating, a bare minimum but yet a balanced diet though. However, my mum obviously knowing me too well would just sit with me at the table even if I had come back after a really long late day at University just to give me company. Yes I miss her badly.. And now having had a really long stage of singleness and living alone – pretty much in all the years since my mother’s leaving earth..I have had to eat alone. The pattern continues – I either skip or eat less than what I should when alone (and I see I do the same when I serve others too as my focus is making sure they are eating – talk about paradox).
However, now trying to re-gain the weight I lost due to my asthma attack of last year, I know eating more is important. Ok so I need company but that’s something that is next to impossible given my life circumstances at least in the current season! Then a tube light dawned on me. I do have God to chat with, and what an excuse to spend more quality time with HIM!!
Yes when I stand on the balcony watching the beauty of His masterpiece, the waves crashing on the rocks, the sun beginning to slowly settle in at the other end of the ocean with wondrous hues splashing across the skies.. and enjoying God’s gentle caress as the winds play with my hair and blow against my cheeks… I have always thanked God for these lovely little blessings and HIs presence through this..
Now this meal chat time is yet another bonus time with Him.. and it has made my meal times way more enjoyable and enabling me to take the time to eat properly instead of letting my mind wander to all the household chores that need to be done let alone the ministry work and thus getting stressed!
And the best part is, this is what God wants more from us.. that time of intimacy just to spend time with Him giving Him the priority.. to take time to listen to HIS voice… Prayer isn’t about us talking talking talking.. and commanding HIM what to do under the pretense of faith but rather yes pouring out our hearts and then listening in an attitude of surrender for His guidance, wisdom and direction..
Yet the most important part of prayer and especially listening to His voice is to love Him! How irritated do we get when our loved ones (friends, family members, partners etc) don’t make time for us? How annoying is it when they are talking on the phone in the little time they do give us if they can give that to us to start with?
True love MAKES time…
Do you love God with your ALL? Are you making time to listen and to just soak in HIS love and HIS embrace? THAT is what it’s ALL about… if your ministries and relationships are distracting you from that, then somewhere you are going wrong.
God is reminding us to see His intervention and not be ‘do-it-all’…
BE STILL, and know that I am GOD.
Let’s not be the Marthas’ of this world distracted by many things including serving Jesus but let’s be Marys’ who sit with HIM in relationship enjoying His company! Whatever ministry roots out from the latter is what ministry is all about!
When I shifted to this new place I was thrilled at all the prospects of doing a lot of things I love doing but hadn’t been able to do given my nomadic chapter of missions life .. I missed tutoring, I missed ‘Math’, I missed baking and I missed hospitality ministries… Oh and I also longed to get back into crafts and cake decorating. All good things right? Avenues to facilitate ministries too.. and to develop or retain the talents that God gave.. that was my ‘reasoning’ but perhaps could have very well been my ‘justification’ to do what I wanted to do.
I had wanted to resume my baking brownies business. Guess what? I managed to gather my kitchen stuff which had been in storage for over 6 years.. clean it all out in the same day to get rid of the musty smells and ensure the packaging was dumped into the garbage. Then I decided to bake some cookies before I started the brownies – the oven when switched on kept sending the trip off! In these older buildings of Sri Lanka, wiring is often donree haphazardly so I knew I shouldn’t try to meddle with it. The people I sought help from haven’t been able to make it to check it out and I didn’t push it as in my heart I did have a lack of peace.
My heart desired to tutor A/L students in Math to have a bit of ‘challenge’ and I spread the word. To cut a long story short, I accepted a younger student despite not having peace in my heart, despite lower fees than the going rate and ended up being pushed around as if I was a slave to their conveniences and needs – nothing else mattered. God rebuked me and said that the parent of the student was robbing Him and His resources as my ministries and needs meant nothing to the parent. I knew I had to put a stop to it and once I did, I finally had peace.
Not only that, when I was tutoring I kept ‘planning’ on how I would spend that cash.. what I would buy, when, how etc… In fact I sheepishly admit that was taking a lot of my thoughts.. True, I had forgone so much being in full time ministry and as that meant provision through others from God, I always felt guilty when I wanted something that wasn’t just a need but a want. I had decided that in this ‘extra’ cash, I could spend on a short list of things I had wanted especially to replace what was stolen or broken over the years.
God rebuked me and asked me hadn’t He carried me through for 10 years and why am I suddenly wanting ‘extra’ cash. Yes I agree, many people were spurring me on to get the extra cash now that i have the space .. (which I realise was in their lack of faith as they hadn’t gone through the journey that I have). But my peace went for a six as that was NOT God’s plan.. In the process of leaning on man’s wisdom, I was tarnishing His glory and teaching people to lean on the work of our hands.. that it is our hands that bring us money.
God tells the Israelites:
And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth = Deuteronomy 8:13
Take a few moments to meditate on the words that He had given to them just preceding that!
And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you.“Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land – Deuteronomy 8
It is up to God to decide how He wants to meet our needs – through the work of our hands or through the work of others who have the gift of financial helps to support the Kingdom work. At other times God uses the wicked to give to the righteous.
God spoke to me clearly that He wanted me to work on what HE had asked me to… Not what I felt was ‘good’ to do! Another ministry that has been on my heart for years has since opened up too. If I had been a busy bee distracted by many things, God couldn’t have given this to me as I wouldn’t have been able to handle it.
It is so important to study the Scriptures in context and stay tuned to HIS voice to know what He wants each one of us to do.. We can easily be tossed by the winds of the trends of the world and the wisdom of our loved ones, but if we aren’t walking along the narrow path, it is us that He will hold accountable! Besides why should we settle for the silver of our wisdom when we can enjoy the luxury the gold of His wisdom trusting that HE knows what is best for us!
If we are stressed or not feeling peace at heart,
we can say for sure that we are running ahead of God !
Various types of dust and noises of machines, drilling, hammering and what not greet you in what seems to be every nook and corner of the streets of Colombo and its outskirts. Everyone seems to be building or renovating or expanding! I guess Sri Lanka isn’t called a ‘developing’ country for no reason.. it’s always being developing.. present tense that never ends, that never ceases! Oh yes, one high rise building will come to an end and another next door will rear its ugly head of competition bribing the corrupt authorities to be able to build wall to wall and maximise their ‘profits’. Yes, property development with the aim of renting out to short term guests from overseas is the “in thing” so that they can get a thumping amount of money in short periods. Oh yes, advertisements are filled with ‘suitable for foreigners’ including the ‘kalu suddhas’ (the black whites – as in the Sri Lankans who migrate in adulthood and become “whites”). These are the people who can’t go anywhere without a bottle of mineral water, sun glasses on their heads – no no, I mean faces – and toilet tissue rolls in all their luggage not to mention the selfie sticks too!
This crazy development leaves the middle class families desperate for decent accommodation as it’s all meant for the ‘foreigners’ aka the ‘rich’. If the locals are to rent to locals, then it’s most likely with an exhorbitant amount of advance payment so that the owner can pay the loans incurred in building and perhaps build more. Yes the deposit of the tenant vanishes in no time… and you can complete the sentence here!
Do Christians do this too? Oh no way… would they be so selfish? After all, doesn’t the Bible say that selfish ambition is an act of the fleshly nature? Aren’t believers called to offer hospitality without grumbling? Isn’t Scripture full of ‘one another’ and ‘as yourself’ statements? Do unto one another as others would do unto you.. and yes, I guess what we sow is what we reap!
Talking about reaping, the ‘baas’ (the workman aka labourer) is a man in demand as there are so many construction sites out there. The contractors have a hard time to secure a baas… and it makes me wonder how long it would take before these owners will have to put their heads on their hands with heavy loans and no income given the abundance of buildings for foreigners.
So yes, even if someone isn’t a skilled labourer, they become self appointed skills… If you own the tools (or can borrow them), have the gift of the gab and charge less, then you secure an income to cheat the ignorant ones with shabby work… Baas men are popping up from nowhere at a rate to make hay while the sun shines.
How lovely would it be if Christians would follow suite and rise to the situation of the harvest being plenty but no faithful workers? Yes there are too many ‘workers’ like the budding owners of buildings trying to tap into the same pool of tenants..
But imagine if we were to be sincere believers who belong to the Kingdom of God and are thus Kingdom minded following the example of Jesus Christ always going about the Father’s business!
In Jesus’ Words:
“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest – Luke 10:2
After saying that he planted, Apollos watered but God gave the increases, Paul writes:
Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor – 1 Corinthians 3:8
Later, Paul clarifies the different roles to gather the plentiful harvest keeping in mind the different parts and gifts of the Body of Christ:
Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
– 2 Corinthians 9:10-13.
Seek God today and allow the Holy Spirit to search your hearts! Whose kingdom are you after? – God’s or your own (which includes your family)? What is your response to Jesus’ calling for labourers? Is it to provide the resources to take the seed (meet the needs of the saints to do the sowing), is it to sow the seed or is it to water the seed? Remember we all operate as one and the increase is not by our own efforts but by God Himself. Yet the saint whose needs are met through the one who is supplying the seed and bread, will respond by praying for that person given the EXCEEDING grace of God in them!
And when we seek FIRST God’s KIngdom AND righteousness, all our needs will be added to us – is a promise that Jesus Himself gives u.
If we sincerely believe, let us step forward in obedience to the calling He has placed on each one of us!