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You did it for me

Matthew 25:40

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.

Good Monday Morning to this week 49/2018

This week I was able to help someone out practically. It was cool to have the right thing available to help this person, to receive exactly what they needed at that time.
The incident was quickly forgotten and all the other busy meetings and concerns of the day continued. The next morning I went for breakfast and someone approached me and said with a very thankful voice and mannerism.

Thank you so so much for what you did for me!

I was surprised, glad that in such situations I’m not too spontaneous, so I waited and thought hard …. and luckily they then helped me out.

Thank you for what you did for my friend!

I was humbled, moved, truly surprised. I’ve been thinking about the spontaneous little act of kindness and then I receive such a blessing of thankfulness.

This is huge, this I need to remember, this I need to learn.

It gets even better!
The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.

Wow, this answer of the friend, who thanked me for helping her friend out, this is
Kingdom thinking, these are the thoughts of our King, this is His nature, his approach, and the way he sees things.

I am blown away by this, this morning.

How great is the condescension and kindness of the Judge the King, our Saviour of the world, thus to reward our actions, and to consider what we have done to the poor as done to him!

The surprise expressed is not at their being told that they acted from love to Christ, but that Christ Himself was the Personal Object of all their deeds: that they found Him hungry, and supplied Him with food: that they brought water to Him, and quenched His thirst; that seeing Him naked and shivering, they put warm clothing upon Him, paid Him visits when lying in prison for the truth, and sat by His bedside when laid down with sickness. This is the astonishing interpretation which Jesus says “the King” will give to them of their own actions here below.

I wish you a blessed week in all you do for Him!



Being part of God’s plan

Good Monday Morning to this week 48/2018

I delight greatly in the Lord my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness. Isaiah 61.10a

This past Sunday I was honored to speak in wonderful church in Segbe, Lomé. Speaking about being important in the plan of God we looked at Jochebed, the mother of Moses.
Her courage to give away her son twice laid the path for Moses to grow up and lead Israel out of exile. She applied the following quote: If God asks you to give up something, trust him and release it.  Shortly after the sermon, there was a dedication of a newborn then following was a prayer for a widow in mourning. Before the prayer she received new clothes, was accompanied outside to put them on, with the new clothes she returned and received the prayer of the pastor and the elders. There was something very beautiful and graceful in this.

Scripture uses metaphor all the time in order to illustrate spiritual concepts and one such metaphor is clothing. This metaphor can be easy to miss because there are also many instances in Scripture where clothing means exactly that: literal clothing. However, careful reading reveals that clothing is a frequent biblical metaphor and as such it is rich with meaning. Therefore, it is critical us to recognize the instances where this metaphor appears and to understand its implications. First, let us look at one Old Testament instances of the use of clothing as a metaphor.

After the exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt, we again find clothing being cleansed prior to making a covenant with God:

When Moses told the words of the people to the LORD, the LORD said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow and let them wash their garments and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people, and they washed their garments. Exodus 19:10-14

God told the people of Israel to wash their garments as part of the preparation for His arrival at Mount Sinai and for the establishment of the Covenant of Moses. Without clean garments which symbolized their right standing, the covenant could not have been established.

Then once the Mosaic Covenant was established, we find extensive and repeated instructions regarding the clothing of the priests.

In Zechariah, we read the account of Joshua the high priest whose filthy garments are removed from him and he is left standing in “pure vestments.” In the midst of this clothing change, Joshua is told by the angel of the Lord that his iniquity has been taken away from him. Once his clothes are pure, symbolizing the removal of his iniquity, God says to him:

Thus says the LORD of hosts: If you will walk in my ways and keep my charge, then you shall rule my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access among those who are standing here. – Zechariah 3:6-7

While his garments were filthy, Joshua could have no relationship with God. Once his garments were cleansed, God granted him access as long as he walked in God’s ways.

The function and scope of the clothing metaphor symbolizing one’s standing with God finds even greater evidence in the New Testament.

Clothing as a picture of one’s standing before God in the New Testament.

One of the first mentions of clothing as representative of something truly important occurs in the parable of the wedding feast. Here, Christ tells of a man in attendance at the wedding, but when the host spotted him, he orders the man to be thrown out into outer darkness for apparently no other reason than that he was without a wedding garment (Matthew 22:1-14). Clearly, a right standing was required to attend the feast and this wedding garment was essential to that right standing.

In Corinthians, Paul further connects the dots of the clothing metaphor when he writes:

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.

Paul’s point was not that the Corinthians needed physical clothing of some kind, rather he was telling them to make sure that they were in a right standing with God.

The metaphor of garments as representative of one’s standing with God is carried on into Revelation where we find a host of allusions to garments, clothing or robes. As a result, is in the book of Revelation where the clothing metaphor finds its fullest expression.

Clearly, the state of one’s clothing is a big deal in the book of Revelation. It also becomes easy to understand the picture given to us in Genesis 3: the clothing worn by Adam and Eve signified the atonement that had been made on their behalf and their restored standing with God. In Genesis, this clothing was necessary for entrance into a covenant with God. In Revelation, one must be clothed in a similar, though now even more clearly metaphorical garment.

Isaiah 61:3 – To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.

I wish you “new clothes” this week, as you seek Him and are confirmed of your “standing” with the God Almighty.

Stay blessed!


The ability to spring back

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Good Monday Morning to this week 47/2018

The scientific study of resilience shows how to increase our chances of recovering from challenges. These principles are related to biblical perseverance.

An important conclusion from scientific studies is that resilience or perseverance is a skill that can be learned through training. The Time article listed 10 “expert tips” for developing the skill of resilience. Let’s analyze these tips and see how each one correlates to fundamental biblical teachings.

Joseph can be thought of as a come-back king. His brothers planned to kill him because of jealousy over a prized garment, but they eventually sold him into slavery in Egypt. As the story is told in the Book of Genesis, Joseph worked for a man who placed him in jail in Egypt because of a lie. During this time in prison, Joseph interprets dreams for other convicts. The talent Joseph possesses leads him to the ruler, who was having dreams about a coming famine in the kingdom.

After interpreting the dream correctly, Joseph was given a position of great influence. He managed the agricultural efforts of Egypt and he was in charge of distributing food. Joseph’s brothers finally approach him after he ascended to his post. Ten years had passed, and Joseph’s brothers wanted food. He told them who he was, and Joseph forgave them for what they had done years earlier. His brothers and father move finally to Egypt to be with Joseph.

Joseph teaches us to recognize we can’t determine what the future may hold. Unforeseen circumstances and conditions make up our existence, including calamities and victories. We also can gather holding grudges does not produce happiness from this Biblical story. Joseph shows us an attitude of optimism should always be adhered to, even in dire situations. The story of Joseph reminds us to be hopeful and have faith when there is no reason to think our surroundings or state of being will improve, at least in our foreseeable future.

Here a few thoughts of by Rick Avent on Perseverance and Resilience:

1. Develop a core set of beliefs that nothing can shake.
The Bible goes a step further by emphasizing not just any core values but the specific values. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).

2. Try to find meaning in whatever stressful or traumatic thing has happened.
In a broader sense, our trials serve as a training program to help us see our weaknesses and grow. Job’s experience is an excellent example (James 5:11). David expressed it well: “For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid affliction on our backs. You have caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; but You brought us out to rich fulfillment” (Psalm 66:10-12, emphasis added throughout).

Peter recognized that resilience was among the key components signifying growth. “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-8).

3. Try to maintain a positive outlook.
A more suitable term than optimism is hope. Romans 5:1-5 summarizes the fullness of hope. God suggests a more coupled interaction that works both ways. “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4). Here we see that perseverance (resilience) leads to hope (optimism).

Yet in Romans 8:25 we also see the reverse. “But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” Here the scripture indicates that hope leads to resilience. A contradiction? No, but rather an indication that hope and resilience reinforce each other interchangeably as we learn and grow.

4. Take cues from someone who is especially resilient.
God goes a step further and asks us to also learn from the examples of those who failed (1 Corinthians 10:6-11).

5. Don’t run from things that scare you; face them.
This concept is consistent with how God expects us to not only examine ourselves and face our sins (2 Corinthians 13:5), but learn from them and change, repent and grow.

6. Be quick to reach out for support when things go haywire.
God has set up a dual-support system for us. First, He provides direct access to Him through prayer. Second He gives us the support of the Church through both individual relationships and prayers of the brethren. Reaching out through prayer can train our brains to react more calmly to stress, creating more resilience—a renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2).

7. Learn new things as often as you can.
This idea fits right in with the biblical admonitions to study and meditate.

8. Don’t beat yourself up or dwell on the past.
Some simply can’t seem to move on from the past. Either they can’t forgive themselves, or they can’t forgive someone else. This is a huge impediment to resilience (Hebrews 12:15).

Forgiveness is central to the New Covenant. “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). It is through forgiveness that we can put the past behind us and move on with our lives—an essential component of perseverance.

9. Find an exercise regimen you’ll stick to.
Paul sums it up well. “But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things,.

10. Recognize what makes you uniquely strong—and own it.
Scientists tend to point toward an individual’s personal strengths as a key to resilience. Such strengths clearly can play a role. “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10).

But what is it that makes us uniquely strong? Abraham had it. Moses had it. David had it. Daniel had it. Peter had it. Paul had it. The answer is faith.

Growing in perseverance
Scientists have concluded that resilience, or perseverance, is not a disposition or personality type. Rather, it is a skill set that can be learned, making it possible to not only endure trials but to thrive during and after them. We see this includes learning from biblical examples, self-examination, repentance, forgiveness, prayer, Bible study, meditation, hope and faith.

Applying these principles can make a major impact on how successful we are in conquering our trials and challenges.

I wish you a week of much “springing-back” as you do not become tired of doing good!



Your love defends me

Surely my God is the strength of my soul
Your love defends me, Your love defends me
And when I feel like I’m all alone
Your love defends me, Your love defends me

Good Monday Morning to this week 46/2018

This song has been accompanied me throughout this weekend. I really like that aspect of God’s love, it’s not just a cozy, sweet-ish kind of romantic feeling, no it’s far more. God’s love defends us! Wow

This weekend’s featured and favorite song story comes from Matt Maher. Here is what he says to the song:  “Your Love Defends Me.”

“This song comes out of Psalm 91, and the idea of God being not a refuge, but our ONLY refuge. I think we can all relate to moments in our lives where who we were (or who we’ll become) comes crashing to the forefront of who we are, and all of a sudden there’s this fight happening inside for who gets control – the past or the future or the present moment now. Evil is in the business of accusation but God is in the business of raising up testimony – of who He is and what He’s done. This song talks about how God is a defender. How the love of God is not just a defense, but it’s really the only defense we have that can stand against the inconsistency of ourselves. It’s not our job to defend everything, uphold everything, protect everything. It’s His, his grace strengthens us, His love defends us. Matt Maher

Verse 1: 
You are my joy, You are my song
You are the well, the One I’m drawing from
You are my refuge, my whole life long
Where else would I go?

Verse 2: 
Day after day, night after night
I will remember, You’re with me in this fight
Although the battle, it rages on
The war already won
I know the war is already won

We sing Hallelujah
You’re my portion
My salvation

Surely my God is the strength of my soul
Your love defends me, Your love defends me
And when I feel like I’m all alone
Your love defends me, Your love defends me

God is your defense  …. 

Psalm 91: 14+15
Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he knows and understands My name [has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love, and kindness—trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no, never].

He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.


and what He says about you is what matters!

Have a blessed week!

Attached the youtube link:


A King’s Friend

Enjoying stories, legends, Jewish wisdom and further growing up in the Huli Tribe of Papua New Guinea, I enjoyed this legend and share it with you today!

Good Monday Morning to the week 45/2018

The King’s Friend
Based on an urban legend

Once there lived a gentile king who delighted in having an audience with a particular rabbi who lived in the kingdom’s capital. The two would converse on various subjects, and the rabbi’s acuity and sharp intellect amazed the king again and again. No one could compare in counsel and wisdom to the charming rabbi.

The king had a fascination with outings to the country, and he would invite the rabbi so that they could discuss the kingdom’s happenings.

The rabbi had a way of always weaving into the conversation the idea of, divine providence, constantly seeking to connect the unfolding events with God’s underlying presence and guiding hand.

The rabbi fumbled with the rifle, and a shot accidentally escaped from the weapon.
On one of these outings, the king decided to go hunting. Accompanied by the rabbi, his companion of choice, the king insisted that the rabbi also hunt together with him.

Unfamiliar with the sport, the rabbi fumbled with the rifle, and a shot accidentally escaped from the weapon. A bitter scream pierced the forest, a scream from none other than the king himself! The rabbi had mistakenly shot the king, damaging his hand forever by shooting off one of his fingers.

Enraged, the bleeding king had his guards imprison the rabbi immediately, with swift orders to put him into one of the dungeon’s prison chambers.

Months passed, and the king’s injury slowly healed. His hand was getting stronger, and his desire to go on one of his outings finally made him plan a most extravagant trip to many far-off lands.

Throughout his trips, he missed the wisdom and companionship of the brilliant rabbi.

In one particularly exotic location, the king was warned not to leave the campgrounds, because hostile natives lurked. But the king’s adventurous spirit was sparked by the idea of seeing the area as it was.

The king was warned not to leave the campgrounds, because hostile natives lurked.
On one of his forays outside the camp, the king was captured by cannibal tribesmen. As was their custom, they inspected their “merchandise” before cooking. They were alarmed to find that the enticing specimen before them had a missing finger. Immediately they declared it a bad omen, and discarded the king close to his campgrounds.

The king was beside himself with joy. The rabbi’s “blunder” had saved his life.

He immediately changed course and directed his entourage to return home. He had to speak to the rabbi.

When they arrived at the capital, the king immediately set the rabbi free.

He asked him:

“Dear Rabbi, you have always spoken of divine providence, and how everything comes down from heaven for our good, and I see that here. But rabbi, I have one question: what was the divine providence as it relates to you? You were in the dungeon for months; where is the good in that?”

If I wasn’t in the dungeon, I would have been with you.
The rabbi smiled as he answered, “Your majesty, if I wasn’t in the dungeon, I would have been with you, and the cannibals would have eaten me, God forbid.”

“What lesson can we take from all this?” asked the king.

After some thought, the rabbi answered.

“Perhaps the lesson is that everyone is essentially a friend of the ultimate King, the Creator of heaven and earth. Since He is a true and good friend who wants the very best for us, we must have faith that all our experiences, even the seemingly negative ones, are really for the best.”

By Bentzion Elisha

Not all that is dark is dark, not all that is light is light. God can create or recreate a situation in all situations, He helps us up, He makes a new way as He recreates and lets His Kingdom come!

God, our King can even change his mind: 1 Chronicles 21:15

And God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem. But as the angel was doing so, the Lord saw it and relented concerning the disaster and said to the angel who was destroying the people, “Enough! Withdraw your hand.” The angel of the Lord was then standing at the threshing floor of Araunahb the Jebusite.

Trusting in Him for whatever Situation you are in!

Wishing you a good week.



God, the treasure in the vessel

Since God has so generously let us in on what he is doing, we’re not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job just because we run in occasional hard times.

Good Monday Morning to the week 44/2018

Eugene Peterson (1932-2018) has completed his “long obedience in the same direction.” The Presbyterian pastor, best known for authoring The Message Bible, died October 22nd at the age of 85.  I read Peterson’s paraphrased Bible because I find it accessible even poetic.  In The Message, the words come nearer and find new meaning through being more accessible to the modern reader.

I’ve just read two biographies of people going through immense trails even torture in their lives. I also think of a lot of you in the context you are in and know of many in situations of great adversity and challenge. I am greatly inspired by the verses
of 2 Corinthians 4: 7-12 starting with the translation from The Message:

If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best!

Then there are times I love the directness of KJV in Verse 7-8:
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

Or the Passion Translation of Verse 7-9:
We are like common clay jars that carry this glorious treasure within, so that the extraordinary overflow of power will be seen as God’s, not ours. Though we experience every kind of pressure, we’re not crushed. At times we don’t know what to do, but quitting is not an option. We are persecuted by others, but God has not forsaken us. We may be knocked down, but not out.

Or the Interlinear to the verses 7-9:
We know the treasures this in earthen vessels that the surpassingness of the power may be from God and not from us. In every way being hard pressed but not being crushed, being perplexed but not despairing, being persecuted but not being forsaken, being struck down but not being destroyed.

The splendor of the gold in these vessels, eclipsed in the minds of bystanders stand as symbols of the deity. As the vessel carrying the treasure that mediates the vision of Christ in his own ministry, Paul implies, it is actually preferable, even necessary that his bodily presence be weak, in order that the extraordinary power of the treasure he carries might be seen to be from God and not from himself.


Fitzgerald quotes Seneca:

If you see a man who is unterrified in the midst of dangers, untouched by desires, happy in adversity, peaceful amid the storm, … will not a feeling of reverence for him steal over you? Will you not say, “This quality is too great and too lofty to be regarded as resembling this petty body in which it dwells? A divine power has descended upon that man,” … A thing like this cannot stand upright unless it be propped by the divine.

Wishing you a blessed week!






Finitude vs Infinite God

The state of having limits or bounds.
Our limits are a gift!?

Good Monday Morning to this week 43/2018

Recently I was sharing with a friend about the past few years. One thing that was highlighted was my awareness of personal physical limitations.

Psalm 103:15–16
As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.

“Man’s like grass.” This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this. Think back to Isaiah 40:6–7,
all is like grass and its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass.

The sort of repetition highlights the importance of this picture. It’s saying something to us and there are a few points we need to take away, some even in contrast.  1) the finitude of man; and 2) the eternality of the gospel. 3) The finitude of the interpretation of the text written.

Finitude refers to the reality of man’s limitations. As humans we are not all-knowing, all-seeing, or all-powerful. We cannot plumb the depths of reality or understanding. Gadamer spoke of the experience of finitude as the condition of essential limitation. We have limits as finite creatures, even in our understanding and interpretation. What this means in terms of hermeneutics is that we cannot presume to have exhausted the meaning, understanding, and application of a text. This means we cannot exhaust the meaning, understanding, and application reading of the Bible. There is always more to discover, always more to consider, always another angle we have not yet perceived.

Because we recognize that we cannot exhaust the depths of Scripture we ought to be ready and willing to learn from those who approach the Scriptures from a different angle. Such approaches open up new worlds and ways of thinking. Listen to the voices of theologians from different cultures, ethnic backgrounds, and religious traditions. Look at the Scriptures through their eyes. If God’s Word is universally true and universally applicable then this means it speaks to all of us in ways relevant to our individual contexts. This means that how my friends in Ethiopia or Iran or Indonesia apply Scripture is going to be different and yet will be very helpful.

Courtney Reissig wrote an article on limitations:

Whether we admit it or not, we are often limited in what we can or cannot do. If we are parents of young children, we have limitations in our time, sleep, freedom, or all three. If we are married, we are limited in our ability to do something on a whim. If we have a cold or the flu, we are limited in physical activity. But sometimes our limitations come in more painful forms. If we are suffering from cancer, we are limited by chemotherapy and radiation. Sometimes our limitations can be discouraging and overwhelming.

Limitations Are Normal

While it would be easy to attribute every limitation we face to that fateful day in the Garden, some of our limits are inherent in our humanity When God created us, he made us in his image. But he did not make us exactly like him. We see this most notably in the limits God placed on Adam and Eve in the Garden when he told them not to eat from the forbidden tree. Adam needed Eve for the creation to be complete. We bear God’s image, but it is normal for us to be limited in some capacity as his created beings. The limitations reminded them to worship the God who made them for his own glory.

Limitations Teach Us Something

Created in the image of God, we learn from our limits that God is God and we are not. We serve a God who has no limitations.

Limitations Are a Gift from God?!

In our limitations, God gives us exactly what we need in order to make us more like him? Yes, one way of looking at it.  But there is also another way he uses our limitations. He uses them to bless us. Our limitations often unlock our usefulness for God’s purpose. God can cause our trials, disappointments, and even our sufferings to make them infinite in his narrative. So while we or many around see the broken, distressed, and hurting people as inconsequential, God blesses these same people that are weak or finite and strengthens them with his infinite strength.

Countless characters from the Bible, many of the most useful people in God’s story were the ones the world deemed unworthy, weak, and useless.  God chooses the weak ones to shame the strong (1 Corinthians 1:27). The wisdom of God takes the limited and fits them.

Our limitations can be seen as gifts, rather than hindrances. God knows the extent and end of our limitations, and he makes no mistakes. Of course, the key to embracing our limitations is not found in our own strength, as if mere willpower would be enough to carry us through. Rather we find the key to our strength in the strength of Another, God,  and the Other.

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

So this very week, how about not putting too much focus on finding your strengths. Give attention to identifying and exploiting your limitations. What if they are not there in vain? Identify them. Accept them. Exploit them. Magnify the power of God with them. Don’t waste your limitations!

Wishing you a blessed week!

When God Smiles

Good Monday Morning to this week 42/2018

Smile on me, your servant, and teach me your laws.

Make thy face to shine upon thy servant. The face of God shines upon us, when, in his providence, we are guided and upheld; also when we are made to share in the good things of his providence, and when we are placed in a position wherein we can do much good. Much more does the face of God shine upon us, when we are favored with tokens of his gracious favor; for then we grow under the consciousness of a loving God, with rich supplies of his grace and Spirit. John Stephen

Make thy face to shine upon thy servant. Oftentimes the wrongful dealings of men, of others, and of ourselves, like a cloud of smoke arising from the earth and obscuring the face of the sun, hide from us for a while the light, of the countenance of God: but he soon clears it all away, and looks down upon us in loving mercy as before, lighting for us the path of obedience, and brightening our way unto himself. Plain Commentary,” 1859.

Make thy face to shine teach me, etc. God hath many ways of teaching; he teaches by book, he teaches by his fingers, he teaches by his rod; but his most comfortable and effectual teaching is by the light of his eye: “O send out thy light and thy truth; let them lead me: let them bring me unto thy holy hilt:” Psalms 42:3 . –Richard Alleine (1611-1681), in “Heaven Opened.”

When God smiles we have:

A choice position: “we as his servants.”
A choice delight: “He shines, His face shines on us.”
A choice privilege: ” He teaches us His statutes.”

Or in Psalm 80:20

Lord God of hosts, restore us;
light up your face and we shall be saved.

The return of the Lord’s smile restores ….

The lesson of the psalm is clear. The smile of the Lord upon our lives is a desirable thing. You need His smile on your life regardless of the cost, and the first step in that direction is to seek Him.

His smile replaces His anger.
His smile saves!
His smile prospers His people.

The reading begins with an appeal for the Lord to “shine forth to smile!” The need is for the clouds of divine disfavor to be swept away, and for the sunlight of His love to once again warm, restore and uplift the souls of His people.

Prayer for this day and week:

Jehovah! restore me, cause Thy face to shine (smile on me), that I shall be saved!
Jehovah bless us and protect us.
ADONAI make your face shine on us and show us your favor.
ADONAI lift up your face towards us (with your smile) and give us your peace.

Wishing a great week!

God for us, alongside us, within us.

Good Monday Morning to this week 41/2018

This week I worked my way through a few chapters of “The Divine Dance” by Richard Rohr.

Due to reading it very slowly I’m only halfway through, even after a week. Nevertheless, I’d like to share a few thoughts!

A Space at God’s Table 

The Lord appeared to Abraham and he looked up and saw three men standing there. Three angels, perhaps more, Abraham intuitively recognizes this something more and invites them to a meal and rest. He does not join in but observes from afar. Abraham and Sarah seem to see the Holy one in the presence of the three and their first instinct is one of invitation and hospitality, to create a space of food and drink for them. Surely, we ourselves are not invited to this divine table, they presume. The Holy One, in the form of Three – eating and drinking, in infinite hospitality and utter enjoyment between themselves. If we take the depiction of God in the Trinity seriously, we have to say, “In the beginning was the Relationship.

The divine flow of the Trinity provides a framework for our relationships, our self-worth and our spirituality. Beyond doctrine, it illuminates how the integration of the Trinity sets us on a path to spiritual integration, vulnerability and wholeness.

God is a holy community; Father, Son, Spirit. We are called to this, to belong to each other, to be one as God is One.

God is Love and love is unendingly unfolding, permeating and transforming and connecting all that is.

Moving away from a dualistic age to a new consciousness of our three in one relational God.

Many Christians are in their practical life almost mere monotheists, until up along came Paul Young with his best-selling novel, the Shack, bringing the trinity back in a way as not in a long time.

Ancient Greek Fathers depict the Trinity as a round dance,  an event that has continued for six thousand years.

It’s a spiritual paradigm shift out of John 3, 5 and 14

God did not send his Son to condemn the world, but to have it saved.
My Father goes on working and so do I.
Holy Spirit 
Will teach you all things and remind you of everything Jesus has said.

Instead of God being an “Eternal Threatener”, we have God as “Ultimate Participant”, in everything, both the good and painful.

God being totally inclusive! God with us in all of life instead of standing on the sidelines.

A revelation of God being always involved instead of the in-and-out deity that leaves most of humanity orphaned. Grace is inherent to creation and not an occasional additive that some people occasionally merit.

The implications are staggering: every vital impulse, every force toward the future, every creative momentum, every loving surge, every dash toward beauty, every running toward truth, every ecstasy and every simple goodness, every ambition for wholeness and holiness is the flowing life of the Trinitarian God.

We are in dire need to go from, disconnection from God, but also from ourselves, from each other, from our world, back to grounded reconnection with God, self and others.

Dare we believe even that God sees a bit of “Godself” mirrored in a new form, as God gazes at us?

The divine flow either flows both in and out or it is not flowing at all. Jesus mentions that in verses as “Happy are the merciful, they shall have mercy shown to them”.

Part of our resistance to this mystery of Trinity is what Paul describes not less than God having weakness. “God’s weakness is stronger than human strength”. Really? how could God be weak?

Human strength could be described as self-sufficiency.
God’s weakness could be described as inter-being.
Human strength admires autonomy;
God’s mystery rests in mutuality.
We like control.
God loves vulnerability.
God the All-mighty One – Vulnerability between Three!
We admire needing no one;
The Trinity admires needing, needing everything, total communion with all things and all being. God in total disclosure!
Human strength is in asserting boundaries.
God it seems is in the business of dissolving boundaries.
We can’t resolve the paradox of the Trinity so we confuse unity with uniformity.
God endlessly creates and allows diversity.
God in Three are diverse, different, distinct and yet they are one!

Mother Teresa sums it beautifully in the Eucharist:
We are called to be contemplatives in heart:
Seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, everywhere, all the time and seeing His hand in everything happening.
Seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus, especially in the lowly appearance of bread and the distressing disguise of the poor.
The degree to which you can see the divine image where you’d rather not, tells me how fully the divine image is now operative within you.
Your life is no longer your own. You are instead a two-way reflecting mirror.

An interesting image of Trinity could also be as with atomic power. The power is not to be found in the electrons or neutrons, but the explosive power is found in the interaction between them. This puts the Trinity into a new perspective, doesn’t it!

The mystery of the Three, the Trinity breaks us out of our dualistic impasses, and invites us to enter into another reality!

God for you,
God alongside you,
God within you!

Wishing you a blessed week!



God wins!

God gets beaten up by a guy with a dislocated hip!

Good Monday Morning to this week 40/2018

Jacob is moving house. His wife and 11 sons have gone ahead of him. Suddenly, without any explanation, he’s wrestling with a man. The fight goes on all night. The man knows he’s losing, so he somehow magically wrenches Jacob’s hip out of place. Jacob says he won’t let go until the man blesses him, so the man does that, and then admits that, in fact, he’s God. “Therefore to this day,” says the Bible, “the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.”

In the end, God wins! Jesus is the incontestable champion! His story is THE end-well story . . . and His story becomes our story when we believe. He’s the hope of humanity and the best news we must share. His Kingdom is on the move and will be healed, restored and renewed.

Revelation belongs to a category of literature called apocalypse, popular 200 years before and after Christ. This literary form is found in Daniel and a few other books in the Bible. Apocalyptic literature originated during times of persecution and was intended to encourage readers during their trials.

Apocalyptic language employed dramatic visions often interpreted by an angel. It referred to past events to show that God’s grace could be counted upon in the present and future. Apocalyptic literature dealt with contemporary events. It offered picturesque descriptions of the struggle of good against evil, with assurances that good would triumph.

In addition to the main theme that God triumphs over evil, many other important lessons are taught in Revelation. God the Father is adored as Creator of all. Jesus is proclaimed as Savior and worshiped as divine. The Holy Spirit touches the lives of believers. The perfection of the Trinity is displayed through symbols of wisdom, power, holiness, and majesty. The universe is God’s handiwork, subject to his Providence. Mary stands radiant in heaven as Mother of Christ; her life and victory foreshadow that of the Church. The Saints join us in prayer and worship. Angels exist, worship God with us, and protect us. People have free will and can sin; God will vindicate the just, but the guilty will suffer. God does not view earth’s events as a disinterested bystander but invites us to accept grace and salvation. Christ in glory is close to his Church. He is one with believers and acts on their behalf. As Christ suffered, so too must we, always with hope of the next step of renewal and restoration. Christ rejects lukewarmness and urges us to follow him with all our hearts. He expects us to be courageous in challenging false values in society or government. Revelation teaches us to trust God, who brings us through every trial, even death, to eternal life.

Revelation acknowledges the struggles we have undergone, but it also assures us that God’s love and salvation are the greatest powers in the universe. No matter how badly human beings have failed, no matter how terrible the wounds sin may inflict on the world, no matter how desperate our situation may seem, God will prevail.

Victory is not complete, but it is certain. In this week of faith and always, Revelation and the entire Bible invite us to trust God and enter His Kingdom.

God wins!

He will dwell with them as their God; they will be His people. … He will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the former things have passed away. The One Who was seated on the throne said, “See, I make all things new. … I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end”

God wins!

Ps: I just come back from a two-hour session at the dentist, no wonder I am thinking of end times and new beginnings! The end didn’t come and I will soon enjoy a new beginning.

God wins!

Have a great week!