“If once the curtain were pulled back, and the scene behind it came into view, it would expose to our spiritual vision a struggle so intense, so convulsive, sweeping away everything within its range, that the most fierce battle fought on earth would seem like mere child’s play by comparison.”
Here is a challenge for you today!
- Take some time to stop everything
- Look around…observe nature
- Meditate/ Reflect
- Take same pictures of what you are seeing
- Share with your friends
Here are few pictures that I took and words I am thinking about.
Psalm 104: 24-25 “How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number-living things both large and small.” (NIV)
Psalm 33:5-6 “He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD. By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath of His mouth.”
In the last couple of days I have been reading Genesis Chapter 1. I was especially struck by Genesis 1:2 again and again, which says “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep.”
As a side note, let me just say that I am not trying to do an exposition or share any theories on Genesis Chapter 1, but I want to share a thought that I was meditating on.
The phrase,”the earth was without form and void…” stood out to me. The thought that came into my mind was about myself- who I am. I compared Genesis 1:2 to myself: a man with a sinful nature. As I look back into my past I can clearly see that I was a man without form and void… a person living life without a purpose, aimless and empty.
Realizing the emptiness in my past and the place to which I have now come, brought me to a place of worship. As you may know from Genesis 1:3 onward you see God speaking different things into existence… speaking life into existence.
It is really cool to see how God can give purpose and a fulfilled life. As we acknowledge the emptiness, we can allow God to speak and create things within us. One important aspect however, is that as God speaks and creates purpose within us, we need to follow through to let the little buds blossom.
I have come to know that God can and will make something out of nothing if we let Him.
A couple of months ago, we were watching a friend’s 2 year old at our house for the day. My daughter was happy to have someone her age to play with.
I see this boy at our church every week. I say hi, or try to make faces to get a smile but there’s not much time for interaction. However, this time he was going to be at our house for most of the day.
While the boy was at our house I was trying to play and interact with him, but I felt so incapable… so distant. And I felt like he was silently asking me… “by the way, who are you?” This was happening to me for the first time. As I started to think about what I was feeling, I understood that I don’t actually know this kid at all- I see him for 5 minutes every Sunday, but I play and interact with my daughter every day. I have known her from the time she entered this world. I know her expressions, her cry, her laugh, her skin, her hair, the fact that her 16th tooth is popping through as I type. Even though Karis can’t communicate fully, I know her language. I realized I didn’t have a clue about this little boy, and he didn’t know me.
As I began to understand the reason for this distance, I also started to reflect on how God knows my language- but do I know His? The Bible says He knows our heart’s cries, our hearts desires, even the number of hairs on our head. He knew me before I was conceived. But what do I know of Him?
I know Karis’ language because I am around her all the time. I pay attention to every detail that others don’t pay attention to. And Karis knows me as well. She is learning my facial expressions, my voice, and my expectations of her. These are the things that solidify my relationship with my daughter.
To know God’s language, we need to be aware of the reality of God’s presence in our life. Seek God so you hear His voice every single day… not once in a while. Don’t just interact with Him on a Sunday morning to get a reaction. Get to know Him fully. This will help us to know His language, just as He already knows ours.
One day when I realized that all my broccoli plant’s leaves were being eaten, I decided to investigate. Couple days before, I recognized this problem; but I did not pay much attention. But the leaves were starting to disappear fast. This was not good.
So as I was looking I did not really find anything, I thought it could be some bugs. As I was continuing to look carefully I saw these green worms that were eating up the leaves. The color of the worms was exactly the color of the leaves. It was really hard to find them.
I started to pick them out one by one.
As I was doing this I started think about life and how the enemy of our souls comes to destroy our lives and turn us from God. I realized many times the enemy does not come to destroy us with a big loud drum roll, but very cunningly; many times without us even knowing. When I am talking about the enemy, I am also considering the sinful ways of world and culture that can influence us.
As I evaluate my life, I can see many habits, attitudes, behaviors etc… that were influenced by the things of this world over time. The good news is that Jesus did sent us the Holy Spirit who can abide within us and as these influences from the world creeps in, the Holy Spirit convicts (conviction is like a red light, danger sign, correction, warning to take a U turn). Even though many times convictions are difficult, I don’t know where I would be with out the disciplining and convictions of the Holy Spirit. These convictions from the Holy Spirit allows us to ask forgiveness and get right with God.
My encouragement to you all is that, as we live in this world, as we are approached by many sinful influences that many times we don’t even see. Let us always be open to the voice and convictions of Holy Spirit so that we could intentionally get rid of the worms that tries to creep into our life.
One funny and interesting thing that I realized was that none of the worms touched the Jalapeño plant.
The last two years have been an intense adventure for our family. God has been pruning us, molding and building us for His service. I use the word adventure because it has not always been easy but everything that has been happening is strengthening us to trust in God no matter what.
In this journey God has been challenging us to take steps of faith. My daughter Karis is almost one year old and she loves to play on the bed. She always crawls to the edge of the bed and doesn’t stop- she just keeps going as if there is something that is going to magically catch her. Similarly, God has been teaching us to trust as we follow Him. He asks us to take a leap even when we do not see anything there to catch us.
During this process, one thing that I have been practicing is the habit of looking back. Looking back is often thought of as a bad thing to do, but for me it has strengthened me to take the next step of faith.
When you look back you usually see two areas: the good and bad stuff you’ve gone through. As a human being, everything that is in the past might look like it is behind us, as in a time-line, but it is always part of who we are.
When I look back and remember difficult things, it reminds me of God’s amazing grace, which brings me to a place of sheer gratitude as well as healing, and increases my love for Jesus. Many times people encourage us not to look back and to avoid the remembrance of our sin. However, it is good that we always remember what we have done so we will never forget the One who has generously given us His grace. One of my favorite songs is Amazing Grace, because the song always places me back where I am supposed to be: in awe of God’s work in the life of a sinner like me.
When I look back and see the work of God through different situations, how God has always been there taking me through these different times and remembering how God has used me for His work to change lives, it brings me to a place of worship, humility and confidence that God’s hand is always leading me.
In the last two years God has taught me to look back in order to go forward. Do not be afraid to look back, for you may be surprised with how it can strengthen you to move forward.
I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands. Psalm 143:5
Two days ago I was sitting on the couch watching Karis, my 11 month old daughter playing. She just started to crawl so I have been watching her and I get excited with every step that she takes, especially if she is coming to me. As I was sitting and watching her I noticed that she was upset about something. I didn’t really understand at first but then I realized that she was trying to crawl while holding on to a stuffed lamb… the problem was, she could not hold on to it and crawl at the same time. The lamb was getting in her way!
Just seeing this made me think, how many times have I held on to many things that slow me down in my walk with God? Have you ever felt like you could not walk with God anymore because you were holding on to things? Things such as plans, possessions, goals, habits, etc… As I was thinking more about this, I realized many times the things we hold on to aren’t necessarily bad (though they could be), but the truth is, when I am holding on to something that I really want, when it affects my walk with God, it becomes a sin. Over and over it seems we have to remember what the most important part of life is, which is to walk with God and hold on to Him; and when we understand the love and grace that He showers us with, we can let go of temporal things that we consider so precious.
When Karis was holding the lamb she was trying to crawl towards me but the stupid lamb was in her way. She was really eager to crawl, and I was cheering for her to come, but the whole time she had a tight grip on the lamb’s ear.
Many times, I imagine God cheering for me to come to Him, and yet I have held on to things. I can clearly think of situations where I have realized later on that the things I formerly held on to were just stupid and worthless. As I have asked God’s forgiveness, in His grace He has been cheering me on to run to Him, walk with Him, without holding on to worthless, temporary things.
My friends, as the author of Hebrews says in 12:2-3, “Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (The Message).
The other day I was at one of my favorite cafes in town, the Bean & Leaf, doing some work. I try to go to the cafe at least once a week so I can meet new people and have some time to chat. Anyway, I was sitting near the window which overlooks a tiny beach area. My eyes caught something very unusual on the beach. There was a ladder just laying around. What in the world… has anyone seen a ladder on the beach?
I started to think about the purpose of a ladder. Generally speaking, one uses a ladder to climb to a place they cannot reach or maybe for other things, but what are you going to do with a ladder on the beach?!
A ladder is a very useful tool. It really is helpful for construction workers, painters, short people who can’t change a light bulb (like my wife) , etc… It helps these people to get to a place that they cannot reach in their natural ability.
I sometimes wonder if the ladders God has given us, to climb to the place that He wants us to be, are sometimes laying on the beach. I still cannot figure out what a person would use a ladder on the beach for. As we follow God, He always guides, empowers, and enables us with many tools and talents to live our lives and be lights to people around us. He blesses us so we could be a blessing to people around us.
The ways in which we use the God-given blessings, talents and tools are very crucial. Do we use them faithfully or are they laying around on the beach? This whole idea made me think about the parable of the talents (Matthew 24:14-30). Being a steward of God-given tools, talents and abilities is a very serious matter. At the end of the passage you see that the person who did not use the tools (context of the blog) will be cast into the outer darkness.
In the coming days, I hope we all can dig up our forgotten tools, dust them off, and use them in the ways God intended.