Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Love: The Greatest Thing

At the end of a pretty busy day, I checked my personal Inbox and read an email from a dear friend, which was entitled "The Greatest Thing". It turned out to be a devotional, which stemmed from the Scripture "There are three things that will endure - faith, hope, and love - and the greatest of these is love." (1 Cor 13:13 NLT)

From the moment I read the Scripture, I realized that I came across this Scripture earlier this week. When reflecting on that, I also realized that lately I'd become a bit "critical & intolerant" when relating to certain situations. For instance on the job, I'd get pretty upset when dealing with people that handled their duties in an unprofessional manner or with a so-called "don't care-ish" attitude. Whilst reflecting, it started to become evident that the Lord was ministering to me about my "critical & intolerant" attitude for I was reminded that I'm not perfect and certainly had misbehaved or committed a sin and yet His love towards me endures and His mercy is new every day. I even remembered that we're admonished to "hate the sin and not the sinner", to "love our neighbour as we love ourselves"; and inevitably realized that it was time to repent, and pray for His help through His Holy Spirit to recognize the onset of "critical & intolerant" behaviour AND to enable me to defeat this by "deliberatly choosing" to continue to walk in Love despite of the circumstance.

Another valuable lesson learnt. Praise be to God!!!!

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Sermon by a blind lady

Author's note: originally written April 09, 2006

On my way to the office, a few days ago, I had to stop for a while at a bridge. Said bridge opens at scheduled times to allow sailboats and yachts to access and exit the Simpson bay here in St. Maarten. While I waited for the bridge to close, I suddenly noticed a blind lady walking on the roadside. At first I didn't realize she was blind, but when I did I couldn't help but observe her.

She was walking alone, and didn't have anything except her stick and her senses to guide her. As I observed her I got to thinking about my faithwalk, and realized that she was a powerful sermon about every believer's faithwalk. I was amazed by the fearless, firm and confident way the lady was walking despite her lack of sight, and thought about the fearless firm confidence every believer has to develop as they walk with Christ. I thank God for that sermon for it was truly inspiring to me.

We walk by faith and not by sight.

All things work for the good....

Author's note: originally written April 14, 2006

One of my favorite Scriptures is Romans 8:28: “…all things work together for the good to and for those who love God…”. Can you imagine the degree of comfort and encouragement that Scripture produced within me when I suddenly understood the truth it contains? If not, you’ll be able to better relate once I tell you what I was experiencing at that time:

We all have moments when we find ourselves reflecting on our lives. It was one of those moments for me, and I found myself thinking about mistakes I'd made. At that time I’d just relocated to the Caribbean from the Netherlands. I spent about 4 years in the Netherlands and enjoyed the time I lived there – all was well: I had landed a good job with a huge and prestigious (inter)national entity; I lived in a beautiful and spacious apartment in Amsterdam, which I count as a special blessing since decent housing is generally hard to come by in the Netherlands; I enjoyed my relationships with (new) friends and relatives; I enjoyed traveling around Holland and discovering the newness around me, etc.

I was back in the Caribbean about 3 months when I recognized that my migration to the Netherlands probably wasn’t God’s perfect will nor timing for my life when I moved there. I was quite upset and bothered by this for many reasons, and kept thinking: “I actually wasted 4 years…,how could I’ve commited such a blunder…!!!”.

Do you struggle with mistakes you’ve made? Are you going through a difficult period due to sickness, financial difficulties, a family issue, problems on the job, or the dilemma of a loved one? It could even be something I haven’t mentioned, but I hope and pray that you will also find comfort and encouragement in the Scripture I shared for it specifically states that all things (including mistakes, pain, problems, sorrow, things you don’t understand, etc) work for the good to and for those who love God….

Perhaps it’s a good time for you to stop focusing on the bad and ugly factors that may be burdening you. Perhaps it's time to refocus on your love for God and His love for you. Perhaps it's time for you to give God a chance to proof He's true and well able to take care of you, and all things about you.

Believe me, I've committed quite a few blunders over the years, I have my list of "what ifs..", I've had my share of pain and sorrow, I've experienced moments of despair, but thank God I'm a living sermon of His love, mercy, and faithfulness.


Perfect Vision

Author's note: originally written April 19, 2006

Last January was the end of a 5 month retreat period that I enjoyed immensely. I didn’t work during those 5 months, and I thoroughly enjoyed the freedom to be totally off from work and related stress.

I refer to those 5 months as the season that I was in “intensive care”, because of the quality time I spent in the presence of God. At the beginning I didn’t have a clear idea what I was going to do with my time, until God told me to think of Him and His Kingdom. I obeyed His instructions, and He was faithful to do what He promised. You see, He said that He had a lot to tell me if I focused on thinking on Him and His Kingdom. That marked the beginning of a wonderful and memorable season…

The journey was an interesting one for to my surprise God had a lot to tell me about “me”. He gently and lovingly walked me through a process that resulted into His healing me from emotional issues that were hidden deep within me – there were even issues from my youth that I had completely forgotten…yet, healing was needed. The good news is that I was willing to allow Him to lead me through the process. In hind sight I realize that my willingness lead me to personally experience His tenderness.

Today I experience life in a total different light. I guess the best way to express it would be that I feel content and fulfilled….

When I went back to work, I feared missing out on such wonderful quality time with God. The first couple of weeks were tough…I got caught in the busy-ness…, but He didn’t forsake me. He inspired me to keep Him involved in everything I do. I’m now developing a new habit: to regularly think about Him and my desire to pursue His Heart. I honestly think that it helps me to stay on track in many ways, if not all eventually…as He helps me to perfect this new habit. I know it helps to avoid succumbing to temptation. It even helps me to follow His lead better.

We all have goals in life. A goal can also be referred to as a “vision”. What is your vision for your life? If posed that question, my answer would be: to habitually think of God and pursue His Heart. Since He has a good plan for my life, I’m sure to see every aspect of His plan manifested in my life by staying focused on Him.

I know by experience that His Word is true, and that He’s true to His Word. I’m not concerned about any single area of my life, because He said: “Beloved I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers”(3 John 1:2) – that certainly applies to EVERY single area of my life: financially, physically, socially, and spiritually. It's my honest conclusion that this is Perfect Vision that will lead to Perfect Success -- what do you think?

Be Ready at a Moment's Notice....

Author's note: originally written April 26, 2006

At the beginning of this year the Lord told me to “be ready at a moment’s notice”. Over the past months I discovered that HIS instructions tend to be “all encompassing” – in other words, they tend to be applicable in every area of my life.

Not too long after HE gave me that instruction, I end-up flying out to Curacao (a Caribbean island within the Netherlands Antilles) to attend an event to which I was invited. The point I’m trying to bring across is that I didn’t plan to attend the event – I suddenly got the invitation, and had to make a decision “at a moment’s notice”.

A number of things happened since HE gave me that instruction, but I’m particularly fascinated by the latest one (at the time I wrote this article): On April 25th 2006, I was involved in a car accident. I’m extremely thankful to the Lord for I didn’t suffer any physical injury, and the material damage was minimal. I’m able to recount more blessings from that accident, but I’d rather share what I’ve been pondering on.

In the aftermath, I found myself pondering on HIS instruction to “be ready at a moment’s notice”, and realized that it contained more depth than what I initially understood. The accident reminded me of the fragility of life: one can actually die in less then a second. The question is: are we ready? Are we actually “ready at a moment’s notice?”.

Only God knows all things – including the exact date and time of Jesus’ return. Are we ready if HE returns during our lifetime? Are we ready in the event of (sudden) death? Are we keeping our lamps well oiled? How are we using our time here on earth? Are we being faithful and good stewards of everything God has graciously given us?

Remember, all things are possible by HIS grace, and HE’s faithful to answer our prayers. My prayer is that HE grant me the grace to be all that HE calls me to be in every single area of my life. What’s yours?