The Road Ahead

Have you ever been in a situation when someone was trying to explain something to you, but only when you saw it for yourself you actually understood what they were talking about?

Or someone was describing what they ate and how good it tasted, but you only understood when you tasted it for yourself?

In Psalm 34:8 we are told, ‘oh taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him’ (KJV).  This Bible verse reassures me that God wants us to have a personal and experiential relationship with Him.  As we experience a deeper relationship with God, our trust and faith in God grows.

But there are times that we can’t see the path ahead, or we don’t understand the why behind the requests that we are being asked to complete.  There are times when though our understanding is cloudy, if we wait to see for ourselves, it could cause unnecessary issues – especially if the time is limited to really explore which is the best decision.  This can leave us in a dilemma between fear of procrastination and fear of being hasty.

As God’s children, following God and building a relationship with God requires us many times to just obey God, simply because God is all knowing.  He knows the beginning from the end.

It is like a parent telling a five-year old who doesn’t understand a lot about life not to do something, and the five-year old trusting the parent obeys, and is saved from danger.

I am sure we can all agree that there are lots of things going on that we don’t understand.  So seeking guidance from God is so important; and this includes seeking guidance in God’s word.  In Psalm 119:105 we are told: ‘Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path’ (KJV).

The song ‘All the way my Savior Leads me’ is one of my favorite hymns.  It was written by Fanny Crosby in 1875. I learned that Fanny Crosby did not have physical eyesight, but she understood the importance of having spiritual vision, which we also need today.

Being led is associated with visibility, even if it is not our own, but the visibility of the person who is leading us, or the person who is driving the vehicle in which we travel.

The driver needs to know which move to make next.  Also those leading persons on a trail – for example a hiking trail – also need to know which direction to take the next step.

We may have heard the saying or may have said it to others, ‘watch where you are going’.

Sometimes when walking, persons may get absorbed in looking to their left or to their right.  While a glance now and then along the way may be required to keep aware of the surroundings, a prolonged look can cause persons to drift off target or off course or even bump into things.  So keeping focused on where we are going is also important to help us to reach our destination and reach it safely.

As we live on this earth, understanding our mission in Christ, and depending on God’s vision to reveal to us the way, we can confidently make decisions regarding which step to take next; making decisions as we walk one step at a time as we follow God’s leading.

Let us continue to pray for God’s revelation regarding His vision and purpose for our lives.

As we go forward on the road ahead – that is the hour ahead, the day ahead, the week ahead, the month ahead, the year ahead, etc.., I encourage you to keep God’s Word and His instructions in mind.

Let us obey God with a heart of gratitude and submission to Him.

Be Blessed

Alison

Identity in Focus

Maybe identity is not something that we think about consciously, but when I reflect on what identify means and how it is a part of our lives, I recognize that we are naturally identified and referred to based on the persons that we are related to or by the roles that we perform.

For example, on a personal level, we may be identified in relation to our parents, siblings, a spouse,  cousins, aunts, uncles or friends. 

Then we may be referred to based on our occupation, be it in marketing, sales, customer service, finance, law, building, professional services etc…  These titles assigned give an understanding of the skills and expertise and even experience that we possess or may need to acquire.

We can also find ourselves identifying with different types of dispositions – for example being cheerful, pleasant, fun loving, outgoing, committed, loyal, dependable etc…

All of these are different identifies that we may be familiar with.

These labels mean something; and as a picture paints a thousand words, so these labels or descriptive words also paint pictures in our minds. 

So we may ask, what is in a name, or a title, or a disposition?  They help us to understand who we are and even who we are becoming.

So recognizing this, we can start to understand how important identify is as a child of God.  This knowledge helps us to focus and helps us in our decision making in a very constructive way.

In John 1:12 we are told, ‘But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name’ (KJV).

Also in Isaiah 62:2 we read that God gave His people a new name. in Isaiah 62:3, we are told that God’s people shall ‘also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.’   

Isaiah 62:4 goes on to say, ‘Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: But thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee’ (KJV). 

We have been told that some of the greatest human needs are to feel that we belong and that we are accepted.  We tend to go where we feel welcomed.  So for us to be accepted as God’s children means that He wants us to come to Him. 

In this world there are many decisions we have to make, yet often times we may have little information or even awareness about the things that can affect our decisions.  So knowing that God calls us His children reassures us that He is interested in all the affairs of our lives.

So as children of God, we can go to the all-knowing God and ask Him to guide us and give us the wisdom to like in this present world.  God provides us with the consciousness of our purpose as His children, and directs us on the path of seeking and discovering what it really means to be a child of God and how He desires us to live.

So in awe and gratitude having been affirmed that we are God’s children, we can explore how this looks in our daily living.

Christian Life Balance has been an area of focus for me, and this involves seeking God’s guidance to live abundantly in all aspects of life having accepted the identity of being His child.

It doesn’t mean that there are no challenges or that everything will go smoothly.  No, but it means that as God’s children, we are prepared and equipped to deal with whatever comes our way in God’s power and we live out His life confidently and in total reverence to Him.

Since we never give up the title of child of God, irrespective of the varied responsibilities and roles we take on, we are conscious that these other roles are being performed in line with what God wants for us. 

When it comes to being God’s children, we are never off duty. We can continually seek, know, internalize and fulfill God’s mission and vision for our lives. That is something to be thankful for.

Remember You are precious in God’s sight and so you can live each day with this knowledge.

So on life’s journey we learn how to practically connect the knowledge of who God is, to who we are in Him (that is our Identity in Christ) to our purpose and then to what we do each day.

Our identify in Christ will also affect how we relate to the societal sentiments and expectations.

Because our worth and value is received from God and we embrace the identity we have in Him, we also embrace the assurance that we are loved and accepted by God.

We belong to and we are accepted by Christ.

In Matthew 16:13 to 17 we read of the interaction between Jesus and his disciples, when Jesus asked his disciples, ‘whom do men say that I the Son of man am?’ (Matthew 16:13, KJV).  The disciple’s response was that some people thought that Jesus was John the Baptist, some thought Jesus was Elijah, and some people thought that Jesus was Jeremiah or one of the other prophets. 

Then Jesus asked the disciples, ‘But whom say ye that I am?’ (Matthew 16:15, KJV). Simon Peter responded, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God’ (KJV).

Jesus responded to Peter in Matthew 16:17, ‘Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven’ (KJV).

After reading these Bible verses, I was assured that God also reveals to each us who we are in Him, irrespective of who the world thinks or perceives us to be.

In many ways, identity is one of the foundational principles that affect how we live our lives.

Sometimes just holding on to the knowledge of who we are in Christ provides us with the motivation to continue on; the hope to continue to press on.

Identity in Christ helps us to live with hope, with purpose.

That is something to be thankful for.  Do you agree?

Be Blessed

Alison

Through Which Lens Are We Seeing?

I have been reminded lately that the lens that we look through is so important.  And this is reinforced each time I reflect on the poem ‘The Touch of the Master’s Hand’ by Myra Brooks Welch in 1921.

Indeed our perspective affects everything we do or even what we don’t do.

In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we are told, ‘therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.’

This topic surrounding worth is very important because, understanding our value in Christ will affect everything we do. The reality is at times we may experience situations that make us wonder why bother, what is the point to even continue trying? 

The reminder that we matter to God, and that we are valuable to Him provides the hope and the impetus to continue trying – to hold onto hope. 

Just let that thought soak into your mind.  We do matter. 

We matter because of whose we are, irrespective of the negative things that we may hear and see in our environment.  We can be assured that God sees us through the lens that says that we are precious to Him.

So irrespective of past experiences, we can start anew in Christ and really focus on living the abundant life that He desires for each of us.

Just knowing that God accepts us can take such a heavy weight from off our shoulders.

Then we can start to really focus on the fact that life is meaningful, and we can find joy in exploring what this looks like in our daily decisions and activities.

So as we really immerse in the knowledge of who we are in Christ and the value that God has placed on each of us, we experience this knowledge going from just being intellectual knowledge to becoming an experiential knowledge.

For the conviction to deepen, we can in practical ways also think of this knowledge like organizations treat their mission statement.

Organizations make the concerted effort to put the mission and vision statement where everyone can see it, and they even may add the statements to brochures, so that it is clear why the organization exist; what purpose the organization is seeking to fulfil.   It is not left to the imagination. 

The mission is repeated until it become a part of the thinking of the entire organization and each staff member and even the customers.

So as Christians, the value that God has placed in us, becomes the compass and reference point from which everything we do and think is built and is directed.

So as God’s redeemed children, we can reference our lives to what God has revealed to us.

Let us be revived today as we embrace that we all new creations in Christ, because we have had the privilege of the Master’s touch in our lives.  Then when we have experienced God’s transforming power, and get a glimpse of what He wants for us, then everything else starts to take shape.

So as we see ourselves through God’s lens, we can see our purpose and interests through God’s lens.

With this frame of mind and reference point, the whole notion of living intentionally takes on a greater and deeper meaning.  Then how we spend our time, the plans we pursue, how we take care of ourselves and relate to others all matter, because we understand that we are precious in God’s sight.

We are new creations in Christ.  That is something to be thankful for and to celebrate.

Be Blessed

Alison

Thermometer and Thermostat

Years ago I heard a preacher comparing the functionalities of a thermometer and a thermostat to the Christian’s life. The thermostat adjusts the temperature when the temperature is at a particular value, while the thermometer only has the capability to measure the temperature.

In the sermon, the preacher was urging the listeners to be like the thermostat and play their part to make a difference in the world.

So recognizing the times that we are in (like the thermometer) we are called to be positive influences for God’s Kingdom (like the thermostat); and God has equip us.

It is comforting to know that we can go forward confidently in God’s power and make a difference for Him in this world today.

Feel free to comment below if this resonates with you.

God’s Provision

‘The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork’ (Psalm 19:1).

I like passion fruit juice and I had successfully cultivated passion fruit vines in the past.  Because it had taken me about one and a half years for my passion fruit vine to produce fruit, when I had finally picked my first passion fruit, I was so very excited.  So I was really sorry  when that passion fruit vine got pulled up. 

Since then, I tried several times to plant passion fruit vines, but I was not successful.  In some instances the worms ate the leaves before the young vines were able to become established, while in one instance the young passion fruit vine got mowed down when the grass was being cut.

Within my heart, I wanted to grow a passion fruit vine again.  Then one day as I was walking alongside the fence at my home, I noticed a vine that looked so much like a passion fruit vine; but I thought that was strange, since I did not plant a vine there.  On closer inspection, I realized that it really was a passion fruit vine, but I had no idea how long it was growing there.  The vine was growing from under the hedge along my fence. 

For months the vine continued to grow between the hedge, but I really did not give the vine much attention and I did not think that the vine would thrive. 

Some time later, as I was walking alongside the fence, I noticed something that looked like a blossom – a passion fruit blossom – then I saw another blossom and another blossom.  I was excited and some time later I picked the first passion fruit from the vine and then I picked another ripe passion fruit.

As I thought about my passion fruit vine, I thought of God’s goodness.  I had no part in planting the passion fruit seed, but about a year and half before unknown to me, God was answering a desire of my heart.  Now the passion fruit vine and its bountiful crop are a reminder to me of the goodness of God. 

Nature has been a source through which God speaks to me and the passion fruit experience is no different.  

What a wonderful assurance that ‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever’ (Psalm 23:6).  Indeed God’s goodness keeps running after us, as expressed in the song ‘Goodness of God’.

 I am so thankful that we serve such an awesome God.

Be Blessed

Self Care

I have been reflecting for some time now on the topic of self care.

When I read in John 10:10,  that Jesus came ‘ … that … [we] … might have life, and that … [we] … might have it more abundantly …’, I felt reassured that Jesus’ sacrifice opened the door for growth in the area of self care, which I believe will contribute greatly to living abundantly.

In my reflection, I pondered on the questions below:

  • What does self care really mean? 
  • What does self care look like?
  • What are some simple things that I can do to become better at self care?

With the answers that I came up with, as I started to do the simple things, I have learned to celebrate every improvement I make in the area of self care – however small it may appear.  If you are like me and also find this topic of interest, I encourage you to reflect on the above questions. 

Though the answers to these questions could have some similarities for different people, I believe that there will also be variations in responses, so as you reflect on these questions, I hope that you would also come up with simple ideas to incorporate into your life.

Be Blessed.

Alison

James 1:17

As we seek Unity Within, we will accept God’s involvement and direction in our lives; and part of God’s involvement involves His provision. In James 1:17 we are told, ‘every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning’ (KJV).

Moving Forward United Within

Studying the account of the people who were on the verge of going to the land of promise gives us a good understanding of the things we will or could face – irrespective of the type of change – and the interventions needed that will allow us to move forward and live the life that God wants us to live.

These changes can occur in our families, with our jobs or changes in our careers, or could even involve starting a major project or making a decision to move our location, etc…

Ensuring that God is part of every stage of our change is the only safeguard.  When we are confronted with major decisions, let us ensure that we ask God in faith to show us the way.

As we start to move forward and must confront new challenges and unchartered waters, initially the obstacle(s) may seem so big to us and we may feel so inadequate. But let us be reminded that God who made the universe is with us and is guiding us; and with God we need not be overwhelmed. What is big to us, is minute to God.

So realizing God is with us, we can listen to the Holy Spirit’s instructions, maintain a heart of thankfulness and praise, embrace the part God is asking us to perform and move forward.

As God continues to work things out in our lives, we can be at peace and deal with the opposition in a constructive way.

In God’s power, opposition will not stop us, and we will not allow our energy to be taken up in getting upset over the things that God will take care of for us. Rather, we will be focused on doing what God has laid on our hearts to do.  We will not allow our weaknesses to cause us to limit in our minds what God wants to do for and through us. 

Understanding that what we say and do affect others and ourselves, even as we are going through uncertainty, we will ask God to help us to correctly represent the situation and respond in a way that is pleasing to Him.  Then with each success, we will continue to move forward for God’s glory.

It is time that we no longer have a diet of fear.  Let us be determined not to feed our fears or doubts.  Let us build our spiritual immunity and be fortified inside by God’s Word.  Then when we are confronted by the 10-spy attitude outside of ourselves, we would be determined not to catch the ‘fear fever’ or at least we would be able to nip the ‘fear fever’ in the bud quickly.  It is time we are not gobbled up by fear.

As we dig deeper to strengthen our foundation of unity – unity with God and unity within ourselves – then this unity and unified purpose would emit outward.

The reality is as we experience unity within, it also brings clearer vision, and our vison of God is also made clearer.  I was also reminded of the song by Sandi Patti, ‘We will see Him as He is’ (click here to hear the song).  What a beautiful assurance.  To one day see God, what a glorious day that will be. 

This experience of exploring the theme ‘Unity Within’ has been an amazing experience, and God has been speaking to me in so many ways; and I hope that you also were encouraged from the contents shared.

Be Blessed.