The Hope of a Steadfast Love

As believers in Christ, we are not promised a life free from hardships or trials. What we are promised, however, is a trustworthy Savior and guide who is by our side through them.

Here in Psalm 13, David is going through feelings of despair due to his trying circumstances, whatever they may be. His focus through this struggling time is initially himself. David first chooses to turn to his own soul rather than turning his face towards His Savior. When David looks to find solace in his own strength, he doesn’t find answers. He only finds more turmoil and lack of peace, when he tries to “take counsel” in his own soul.

Questions addressed to God aren’t a bad thing but when David turns from questioning God from a place of self-focus to calling out to God for help, his attention and thoughts are redirected to God’s character. David is reminded that His trust is NOT in his circumstances but in the steadfast love of God.

David is also able to turn from a sorrowful place to a place of singing to God. What a remarkable change!! He realizes, through a place of prayer and humble posture before God, that his joy is in the Savior of his salvation. God has indeed been good to him. He is able to see the “bigger picture” despite the trying situation he is in at this given moment.

This is a great picture of joy in the believer’s life. Circumstances change from one day to the next, but joy in Christ never will. Happiness is dependent on our circumstances but joy isn’t. Why? Because our trust (batach- hope, refuge, confidence, boldness) is in His steadfast love (lovingkindness, mercy of God) and our hope is in Jesus Christ, our Savior and strength. 

No matter what your situation, be encouraged today, friend 🙂 God is with you!

Even in this, You are Sovereign

Psalm 61 brings me such comfort, especially verse 2. “From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

Lately, our life has been quite exciting. God has been sharing amazing things He has been calling us to for our future but at the same time our heart has also been burdened with something that only He can understand. I have been learning more and more that He is Sovereign and that He is in control of my life. Not even a hair from my head falls without His knowledge so how much more is He in control of the desires and details of my life? This life of mine isn’t even mine. It is His to do with as He chooses. I am His, bought with a price, living to carry out His purposes, to display His glory. There is no such thing as purpose for my life that is apart from my Creator. 

Father, please speak peace to my heart in this struggle of worry and doubt on my not-so-good days. This is the life of the one who follows Christ. We have great days then we have the not-so-great days (and this is ok! as a dear friend reminded me yesterday.) The struggles of life will be present in this sinful state. The problem of sin is present in the life of the believer but, in Christ, we have been delivered from the power of sin! The amazing thing about this, though, is that we are never alone and Christ our Rock is able to carry us through and past these hardships, as He is our firm foundation.

I was listening to a Ravi Zacharias message two days ago where he shared quite a powerful thought from G. K. Chesterton : “For the Christian, joy is the central feature of life and sorrow is peripheral, because in the gospel the fundamental questions of life are answered and it is the peripheral ones that are relatively unanswered. For the atheist, sorrow is central and joy peripheral, because only the peripheral questions have answers and the central ones remain unanswered.” Therefore, regardless of the circumstances we face, the joy of those of us who belong to Christ is central despite the rest of the peripheral “sorrowful” emotions that fluctuate in and out of the seasons of hardships we face.

O how blessed are we to have a loving Savior who helps us navigate through this life into the next! Our purpose is linked to the One who loves us and gave Himself for us and not to our situations and circumstances! How reassuring is this for the believer!

Thank you, Father, for helping us stand on the promises of Your Word. In You, we are complete and armed with strength for the bad days and we can truly say that Even in this, You are Sovereign.

Psalm 61

Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

For You have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah

For You, O God, have heard my vows;
You have given me the heritage of those who fear Your name.
You will prolong the king’s life,
His years as many generations.
He shall abide before God forever.
Oh, prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him!

So I will sing praise to Your name forever,
That I may daily perform my vows.

 

No fear in death

I have heard it said, “Born once, die twice …Born twice, die once.”

Death comes to all. No one can escape it. However, those born again in Christ have no reason to fear death for Christ has overcome death and the power it has over us.

Christ’s death on the Cross was a monumental event but there is one I would say is even more monumental and that is His resurrection.

Why? Because as Paul said “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” His Death AND Resurrection brings us life. If there would have been no resurrection, there would have been no hope for there would have been no victory over death.

“Death is swallowed up in victory. ‘O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’ The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor 15:54-57)

We can boldly say, “O death where is your sting?!! You have no hold over us for though we die, yet we shall live!!”

I would like to share the lyrics to one of my favorite hymns.

“In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev’ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.”

**— IN CHRIST ALONE” WORDS AND MUSIC BY KEITH GETTY & STUART TOWNEND**

Death comes to all. The fear of death doesn’t have to. For those in Christ, we are free from the power of death and for us “to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)

 

 

God of all comfort

Imagine having given birth and never having the opportunity to meet your newborn because you almost lost your own life after childbirth. Then imagine that moment you recover and get to walk over to your child and hold him for the first time.

There are moments in life that nobody can relate to or share with you no matter how much they would like to. This is simply because they haven’t been through anything similar so they can’t possibly understand the depth of what that kind of pain or joy feels like.

There is a line from a hymn that I love “The Love of Jesus what it is; none but His loved ones know.” Only His loved ones can testify of His faithfulness in times of uncertainty, His love in times of loneliness, or His comfort in times of despair. Why? This is because we have personally experienced these things!

I have learned that the deeper I know God and the deeper my knowledge of Him, this knowledge and relationship enable me to experience a kind of comfort with it that can compare to nothing else. The promise of His word upholds me when I don’t have the strength to stand. When the waves hit, I can stay calm and not be overwhelmed because I know the One who walked on water is the One who is in control of my life and all the details that go with it.

When I am afraid, I can trust Him for He has shown Himself trustworthy.

When I am weak, I can rely on His strength for He has shown Himself strong on my behalf.

When I am doubtful, I can pray for faith for He has shown Himself faithful.

He has never failed me and never will.

The knowledge of His character and the experience of His love, compassion, provision and comfort, specifically through times of trials, loss, pain or doubt; all of these carry us so we are able to move forward. He enables us. He strengthens us. He comforts us and we are thereby able to comfort others.

The word of God brings with it hope, comfort, and life to all who rely on Him. We can stand on His word and His promises for they are true and life-giving. The name of the Lord is a strong tower where the righteous can run to and stay safe (Prov 18:10).

I like to think of it this way -what CPR does for the heart and lungs, His word does for the soul. It converts, it sustains, it revives, it brings life. Praise God for being our comfort and strength. Whatever pain you are going through in this day or season of life, may you find comfort in Him and His word.

May He be glorified!

2 Cor 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

3 Reasons We Must Obey God

We want our children to obey us because as their parents we want what is best for them. Our desire is not selfish. Obedience is not demanded out of unfairness but from a place of love and utmost care for their well being. It is the same with God. He commands obedience from us, because we are His children and because He loves us. We are sheep who cannot survive without His guidance and leading. Therefore we must obey.

Here are 3 reasons we must obey God:

1. It shows that we love Him

Love & obedience go hand in hand. We cannot separate the two. Jesus clearly says in John 14:15 that if we love Him, we will keep His commands.

2. We will be blessed

In Luke 11:28, Jesus says “…Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it.” The word used here in the greek for “blessed” refers to the state of receiving God’s favor and provision where we benefit largely from His grace and reward that results from obedience in keeping His Word. The greek word used for “keep” here in reference to His Word has a military connotation in being vigilant in safeguarding or observing His Word, with an emphasis on personal responsibility in regards to guarding the Word given to us by God. In other words, now that we have heard and we know the Word of God, what are we going to do about it? Just hearing and knowing doesn’t bring any reward. It is in keeping it that we find blessing.

3. Jesus Himself Was Obedient

If Jesus practiced obedience, how much more should we?! Jesus, when on this earth, was in submission always to the Father’s will and Hebrews 5:8 says He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. He is our greatest example for obedience!

When we obey, we receive His blessings that we would otherwise forfeit. There are countless examples of obedience in the Bible.

Joseph obeyed God and honored Him by not giving in to Potiphar’s wife when she went after him and then accused him of something he didn’t do. His patience and suffering later yielded the blessing of position and power God granted him so he could save the lives of his family.

Abraham obeyed God when he left everything he knew so that he could go where didn’t know so that God could fulfill His purpose through him. He received the promise of a child in Isaac and the blessing extended far beyond this as we study and understand God’s promise and its implications.

Daniel obeyed when he decided he would not worship any other god but the living God. God delivered him from the mouth of the lions.

What steps can you take today to ensure you are living in obedience to God? You have all the tools you need. God’s Word, Prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells within you. Let us walk in obedience towards His commandments for in doing so we walk in Truth.

2 John 1:6 “This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.”

The One Constant

I remember when I was growing up in India, there was a banyan tree outside of the gates of my home. My friends and I loved swinging on the vines. Years later after coming to the US, when I went back there to visit, the tree was still present.

Looking at that tree brought back such cherished memories. I love trees. They remind me of the constancy of God. The world around us and everything about it is constantly changing and yet, God is the one constant. This brings me such solace. In Christ, we have no reason to fear or worry. Difficult times hit everyone, there are no exceptions, no escape from them but when we are reminded of the One whom our trust is placed in, nothing is more emboldening. We continue to remain green and bear fruit. Why? This is because our God is the Lord and in Him, we will prosper regardless of challenging circumstances. Our circumstances and situations dont define us, our God does! How comforting is this fact!

God is the One person whom we can trust in times of despair. He is the One whom our hope lies in. He is the same yesterday, today and forever and He never fails those who place their trust and confidence in Him! So take courage, dear friend and remember as you go through your trials that, if you are in Christ, we are but pilgrims and sojourners on this earth. God grants us strength to carry on and when we fall or feel like we no longer can carry on, He carries us! How marvelous is our God! His love and faithfulness is unlike any other. Dont let your trust be placed in things that can fail you. If your confidence is in anything other than God, you will be disappointed. Let God be your hope and your confidence!

I was inspired to write this because of my new Bible cover 🙂 Here it is! I love it!! 😀image1

How are we to love?

1 John 4:8 “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

The Bible says God is love. The word used here for love is the greek word (Agape) which is different from the one used for close friendship or brotherly love (Philia). This word also differs from the word for romantic love (Eros). Agape love is the way God loves us.

Agape love is the unique kind of love that is sacrificial and selfless. Loving others this way takes an act of will. Agape love is not some sappy feeling which is often the way love is portrayed in the movies, where we are supposed to get the sensation of butterflies or flutter in our stomach when we see our object of affection. Unlike this love which often fluctuates based on our emotions, agape love, is a willing and intentional act of love that cares for the other person’s ultimate good and genuinely wants to see them at their best. Agape love wills to place the other person above ourselves and our own interests.

Isn’t it amazing that God’s love for us doesn’t change based on our circumstances or behavior? We know as humans it is easier and more natural for us to love those who love us. When people treat us badly our natural and first instinct is not to love but to want to hurt them in return. However, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Why? Christ died for us because His love for us surpasses any other kind of love we can ever know. This is the greatest expression of His love; He sent His Son to save us (John 3:16) while we were helpless, hopeless and lost in our sin. God doesn’t just love us; He IS love (1 John 4:8). It is central to His character.

As children of God, we are called to love others, even our enemies, the way Christ loves us! THIS IS BIG!! Now, we all know this is easier said than done! Loving others the way God loves us isn’t natural; it is supernatural! Only God can help us love this way solely through the power of His Spirit living in us who helps us obey God as we walk with Him daily!

I especially see how weak and fallen I am when I fail to love this way in my marriage. I am so thankful to God for His Spirit that convicts me and empowers me each time to remind me to willingly put aside my selfish desires for the sake of my husband’s! Can any of you relate? May He enable us to love like He loves more every day 🙂

 

Who are your friends?

There is a different kind of beauty in a friendship rooted in Christ. If you have such a friendship that comes to mind, then you would agree that you recognize it as something you need to cherish and nurture, for it is indeed precious and hard to find. I firmly believe God brings people into our lives for a reason. Our close friends in Christ, we all know who they are and we know we wouldn’t trade them for the world. We know they can be counted on for the various seasons of life- the highs, the lows, the good, the bad, the great and the not so great times. Even in the pauses and the hiatuses of life, we just know they are there. These friends, they tell us the things we don’t want to hear; they bring out the ugly truths we don’t want to face. They challenge us to be better, to do better. They see in us what we fail to see in ourselves. Even though they aren’t perfect, they do their best to reflect Christ and are witnesses of His love to us. They are our champions, our intercessors, our companions and our confidantes.

Who are your friends? Take time to thank God for them and may God help us to love our friends sacrificially and faithfully, as Christ loves us.

Check out the Biblical account of Jonathan and David’s friendship in 1 Samuel (18:1-4) & follow along in the study of David’s life here.

Proverbs 18:24 “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

What if he didn’t fall?

I remember when Judah was younger, he would try and climb up the couch or the chair or anything he could climb for that matter. I would find myself yelling “Don’t …you’ll fall!” He was about 15 months old at the time. I then realized that in a given day, something along the lines of those words, would come out of my mouth numerous times. “Stop, you’ll get hurt!”, “No, don’t do that!” Then a thought occurred to me. What if he didn’t fall? What if he didn’t get hurt? What if he didn’t fail and actually succeeded?

See, the thing about children- they’re persistent. They don’t give up so easily. If my son gave up that first time, he would not have learned to successfully climb onto that chair so he could sit on it. If he had given up the first time, he would not have learned how to climb up next to me on the couch so I could read to him.

Babies learn by trying and then trying again. Our life with Christ is not much different. When God gives us a dream, too often we are afraid to let ourselves try for fear of failing to make it to that dream. In our minds, there is no possibility of the dream ever turning into reality. Therefore, sadly, many of us will stop at dreaming and never move forward. The few of us that allow ourselves to “climb” in faith will see the outcome of success and growth at the end of the journey.

If God has given you a dream, don’t stop short. Pray & believe. Be diligent in the steps you need to take to get there. Don’t be afraid to try and don’t be afraid of falling. After all, what if you succeed? You will never know unless you take that first step!

Ye shall hold your peace …

Wait. Rest. Trust. Be Still.
God is with you by your side.

This is a repost from exactly 6 years ago. I love looking back on the things the Lord has taught me and reminds me of …

Micah 7:7
“Therefore I will look unto the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.”

Exodus 14:13-18
“And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord which he will shew to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.”

Are you tired of fighting? Is anything that is ever worth it handed over easily to you? No. At least not in my life. In fact, I have always had to fight for anything that is remotely worth it. And every time I find myself fighting I have to remember that God says He will fight for me and with me. “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Gen 18:14)

God never intended for us to be in bondage or worry all the time. These things are a result of our fallen nature. God brings us out so we can be free.

So what are you to do in the meantime? Hold your peace. You, child of God, are to hold your peace (charash – be still and rest). You cannot make anything happen. When you pray, however, you can cause God to move on your behalf for His glory and HE makes things happen. Through the process, you are to rest, be still, pray; you are TO WAIT and see the salvation of God. You are to be confident that your God WILL (not might) hear you. When you are going through the “midst of the sea,” the Lord is able to set your foot on “dry ground.”

Why can’t it be easy?? So that “they may know that I am the Lord.” It is not about us. It never was. It is about who God is. Do we see the bigger picture?? Is our greatest goal and desire to see God glorified?? If so, you can be rest assured He will come through for you and more so for Himself. He cannot compromise His glory or His name.

WAIT. REST. TRUST. HOLD YOUR PEACE

Do not fear. The Lord is mighty to save and He shows Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are loyal to Him. This is His promise and He does not go back on His word.

Psalm 40:16
Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The Lord be magnified.