Tag Archive | God’s word

FOLLOW THE GUIDANCE (guest post)

In the middle of February, my husband and I ministered to a city that’s quite far from our city. We drove on the highway along 780 km, across three provinces and around 20 big and small cities. It was really fun. Then on Sunday afternoon we traveled home after two days of service. The highway was wide and quiet, the sun was bright, so perfect. But we cannot continue to enjoy that comfort. Half the trip had passed when we saw a thick lump of black cloud covering the sky in front of us. The color of the black clouds with the golden glow of dusk showed contrasting scene. Beautiful but also frightening! Moments after I captured it with a cellular camera, apparently our car began to enter the area under the black cloud. The rain immediately flushed and the longer the more heavy accompanied by strong winds. The heavy rain, the strong winds, and the darkness of the night, made our visibility very limited. A comfortable journey turned to full of suspense.

The lighting on the highway that we passed is only at the interchange, namely in the area before and after the gate of highway. Along the rest of the road there are only traffic signs and small plates at a certain distance that function as reflectors. The yellow reflector on the guardrail separates our lane from the opposite direction, and the red reflector on the guardrail on the edge of the highway. For hours traveling in the dark night accompanied by the roar of the rain and strong winds we only relied on traffic signs and luminescence from the reflectors that reflected the lights of our cars. And even then only a few meters, limited to the distance of the lights of our car. Those points of light were the guide for us, whether the road we are going through will turn left, right, straight, down, or uphill. Meanwhile, our windshield wipers were competing with the rain that forms a kind of water curtain covered the windshield, making the view more blurred. Many times we have to lean forward so we can see the signs and the road more clearly. We must pay attention to and ensure that we follow each sign directions correctly because a little mistake make us misdirected.

OBEDIENCE THAT BRINGS TO THE AIM

For me, the situation we experienced at that time described a phase in the journey of life. There are times when everything goes very pleasant, comfortable, safe, easy, and smooth. There is also a time when problems come, like clouds cover the sun and change the light to dark. That is the dynamics of life that can be experienced by anyone, whether in extreme forms or only wavelet.

The characters in the Bible also experience times when they have to walk in dark valleys. Moses, a Hebrew who was educated and lived in the palace of Pharaoh, had experienced the phase of becoming a fugitive and had to live in the house of a priest in the land of Midian for fear of being killed by Pharaoh (Ex 2: 11-22). Joseph, a favorite son who was given a tunic of many colors by his father, also experienced several times the ups and downs of the dynamics of life. Starting from being dumped to a well and sold to Egypt, then got a position as a trustee of Potiphar, but then being imprisoned for being slandered (Gen. 37: 12-36; Gen. 39). David, a worshiper of the Lord, experienced the extreme dynamics of life from a sheep shepherd who was suddenly anointed to become king, then became the person trusted by King Saul. But then the situation changes. David became Saul’s main enemy until he had lived on the run for several years (1 Samuel 16-30). Then when he became king as God promised, there was a treason led by his own son until he had to flee from his palace (2 Sam 15-17). Those are three of the many stories of the characters in the Bible. Their experiences differ from one another but there is one common thread, namely obedience. They were people who remain obedient to follow the guidance of God even though they are under pressure. They didn’t deviate from the provisions of God, didn’t compromise with sin, and remain faithful to do what is right in the midst of their plight. In the end, it obedience brought them into fulfillment of God’s plan and made them reach the finish line brilliantly.

God has a special plan for each of us and He has provided everything needed so that we can work on His call, but it can only be realized if we obey Him.

Obeying God’s guidance in the midst of dark times has its own difficulties. Like walking in the rain on a dark night, heavy pressure can make us unable to see everything clearly because we panic, worry, fear, stress, depression. Our feelings become uneasy so it is difficult to pray. The desire to get out of trouble quickly makes us impatient waiting for God’s help. These various psychological conditions can make our spiritual eyes unable to see clearly and our spiritual ears become insensitive. We can be tempted to take shortcuts and seek help in our own way. When we finally choose to follow our own will, we will be misguided, because what we think is good is not necessarily good and what we think is right is not necessarily true.

“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12 NIV)

Solving problems in our own way at first often seems successful but we don’t know what will happen at the end of the road. Obeying God’s guidance is the only way if we don’t want to get lost and regret later on. Knowing God’s guidance isn’t complicated. God has provided complete guidance for us, namely the Bible. The Bible is the written word of God. Following God’s guidance means doing what is written in the Bible.

 “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws.” (Psalm 119:105-106 NIV)

“Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them. The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” (Psalm 119:129-130 NIV)

The Word of God is like a traffic sign that shows direction and is like a light that illuminates our path. If our lives are on a dark road, just do what the Bible says even though it’s not directly related to the problem we are facing. Obedience to God’s word will make us smarter, wiser, and more understanding, even beyond knowledgeable and experienced people.

“Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies. I have more insight than all my teachers,  for I meditate on your statutes. I have more understanding than the elders,  for I obey your precepts.” (Psalm 119:98-100 NIV)

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16-17 NIV)

We really don’t know the whole of our journey. Be obedient, because every obedience to the word of God will take us step by step to the way out of our struggle. The wisdom and understanding that comes from God through His word will enable us to view problems with the right perceptions so that we can make the right decisions. Moreover, every obedience to the word of God will change us day by day to become more and more like Christ.

BELIEVE IN GOD

We cannot totally obey Him if we don’t believe in Him.

Moses, Joseph, and David were people who obeyed God’s guidance because they were believe in God. Moses could have kept hiding and refused to be sent by God to meet Pharaoh, but Moses chose to obey. Moses obediently worked on God’s call to lead millions of Israelites across the desert with the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. When the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire stop, he stops. Where the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire move, there he follows. Joseph could have complied with the wishes of Potiphar’s wife, but he chose to run away from her because he knew that it is sin. Joseph also had the opportunity to take revenge on his brothers who had made him suffer, but instead he gave them a place to live and fulfill their needs because he knew that God had a special plan for his life in Egypt. David had more than one chance to kill Saul, but David did not want to do it. Actually, if he killed Saul, he would easily occupy the position of king, but he chose patiently to wait for God’s time.

Moses, Joseph, David, and the people used by God in the Bible are people who fully believe in God. They don’t put their secure feelings into the situation. They don’t entrust their future to experiences, skills, connections, position and wealth. They don’t make decisions based on their own passions and considerations, but they follow God’s guidance even though sometimes for a moment it seems that their obedience doesn’t make things better. They still believe in God and rely on God in all circumstances, good or bad.

Dear brothers and sisters, if we are in a bad situation, remember what David did when he was greatly distressed in Ziklag: “David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God.” (1 Sam 30:6 NIV). Let’s strengthen our trust in God. Not with our own strength but with the help of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will enable us to faithfully step in to follow God’s guidance. Not only until we get a way out of our problems, but until the end of our lives. Amen.

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Photo Credit: Google Images (edited with pixlr apps)

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NOT TO RULE BUT TO SERVE (Guest Post)

 

Realizing or not, humans love to be respected, appreciated, and even feared by others. In varying degrees, there is satisfaction when humans are able to rule and control others, whether with charisma or with the authority they have. Some people sincerely want to be a blessing to others, but others pursue a certain position to fulfill their needs for influence and power. There are also those who initially start leadership with the right motivation, but feeling satisfied and comfortable when respected and served, can slowly shift their sincerity and humility into pride. Accustomed to being respected by others can make us assume ourselves higher than others if we don’t take care of our hearts.

Leadership in the church isn’t immune to such attitudes. As leaders at any level in ecclesiastical ministry, we must remain vigilant so as not to fall into arrogance which could be changes our hearts from the heart of a Christ’s servant to the heart of a ruler. On the other hand, as a church congregation we should not put too much admiration and hope on our spiritual leaders so that we don’t fall into the sin of idolatry. As great as our spiritual leaders, God must accept the highest admiration from us and God must be the only source of our hope. Because what makes our leaders great isn’t their ability but the power of the Holy Spirit that works within them.

TO BE A SERVANT AND A SLAVE

In Matthew 20: 20-28, once James’ mother and John’s mother made a request to Jesus that Jesus give their children a position on His right and left in His Kingdom. In other words, they want to be given a power to rule. Lord Jesus gave a very interesting answer using a comparison of TWO TERMS:

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.

Not so with you. Instead, whoever WANTS to become GREAT among you MUST BE your SERVANT,

and whoever WANTS to be FIRST MUST BE your SLAVE—

just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”(Matthew 20:25-28 NIV)

There are TWO COMPARISONS in the statement of the Lord Jesus: 1) whoever WANTS to become GREAT among you MUST BE your SERVANT, and 2) whoever WANTS to be FIRST MUST BE your SLAVE.

In the first comparison: “GREAT” refers to people who are influential and have certain powers within a certain scope. And “SERVANT” in the original language uses the word “DIAKONOS” which means people who are in charge of serving or emphasizing humility to serve others.

In the second comparison: “FIRST” refers to a person with the highest position, occupying the most important or most respected position. “SLAVE” in the original language uses the word “DOULOS” which means metaphorically someone who is completely under the will and authority of others.

If we paraphrase, this is what Jesus’ said: “He who wants to be a great or powerful and influential person must become a servant who always serves the needs of others, and whoever wants to be the most respected and highest position he must surrender himself to become a slave who willingly places himself to do the will of his master.”

Note that the HIGHER a position someone wants to achieve, the LOWER he must position himself! This is the principle of leadership in the Kingdom of God.

HUMILITY COMES BEFORE HONOR

“Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.” (Proverbs 18:12 NIV)

Humility comes before honor. This principle cannot be reversed. If we pursue honor without first learning to humble ourselves, then we will become authoritarian leaders and don’t respect others. It’s not impossible in the end we also don’t respect God. God doesn’t set us to be leaders and then we must be willing to serve others. Not like that. But, the first we are a servant of Christ then He calls us to be a leader: We are a servant of Christ who called as leaders.

The proof of humility comes before honor is the Lord Jesus himself:

“Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and TOOK ON THE STATUS OF A SLAVE (DOULOS), became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.” (Philippians 2:5-8 The Message)

The Lord Jesus humbled himself and was willing to position himself as a slave who was subject to the will of the Father to die on the Cross. The result is that Jesus was greatly exalted by God the Father:

“Therefore GOD EXALTED HIM TO THE HIGHEST PLACE  and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, TO THE GLORY OF GOD THE FATHER.” (Philippians 2:9-11 NIV)

The last sentence is really interesting. Paul, an apostle who led and anointed by the Holy Spirit to write a large part of the New Testament, stated that the Lord Jesus was exalted not for the glory of Jesus himself, but for the Glory of God, the Father. This kind of humility is what we must have. Whatever achievements and successes we reach out, we must always return all praises to the glory of God the Father, not take credit points for ourselves!

SLAVES TO RIGHTEOUSNESS

Like the Lord Jesus who humbly took on the status of a slave (doulos) who was willing to surrender himself to carry out the will of the Father, so we are.

“But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become SLAVES (DOULOS) TO RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Romans 6:17-18 NIV)

We have been redeemed from sin and paid in full through His sacrifice. We no longer have the right to live for ourselves, but we must be “a slaves to the righteousness” namely “slaves” who are fully obedient to do all the word of God which is the highest truth. Being a slave to the righteousness means we always crucify our flesh, including our pride and selfishness, to always submit to the will of Christ. Only by continuing to submit to Christ, we are continually processed and trained to be humble so that we can serve God and others according to His commands. Thus we can become leaders in accordance with the standards of God’s Kingdom, that is NOT TO RULE, BUT TO SERVE!

The road to humility isn’t easy and unpopular. Often we have to be willing to take off our “robe of greatness” then wrap a towel to our waist to wash our fellow feet. We can no longer say “Here I am, look at me”, but must always be humble ourselves and say “All glory to God the Father”.

May this Lord’s message to the Philippians also speak strongly in our hearts: Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:1-4 NIV)

 

AMEN

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Photo Credit: Google Images (edited with pixlr apps)

PUTT OFF YOUR EGO (guest post)

Basically all humans have an ego. Family, environment, status, economy, education, the treatment and the words of others, certain events and the things that are intensely repeated in one’s life, can be shape and predispose the ego. In Greek, “ego” means “I, me, my” (a primary pronoun of the first person I – only expressed when emphatic). Simply put, the ego is a perspective on self or an individual’s concept of self, or “A person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance”. How we respond, react, and act against everything is a manifestation of our ego. Therefore as disciples of Christ we must see ourselves in God’s perspective so that we have the same self-concept as God’s concept of ourselves, and as much as we can avoid falling into sin caused by the ego.

SHOULD LIVE AS CHRIST DID

In John 8: 12-14, the Lord Jesus testifies of Himself:

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am (in the original language using the word “ego”) the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

The Pharisees challenged him, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.”

Jesus answered, “Even if I (in the original language using the word “ego”) testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going.”

Jesus knows exactly who He is. He knew exactly the purpose of his life, and in his obedience He had accomplished the Father’s work perfectly. That’s our longing, right?! Everyone who truly loves God will want to understand God’s will, to be used by Him, and to experience the fulfillment of His plan. But that is often hindered by our-selves alone (the ego). The “I AM” factor with all the attributes and peculiarities that stick to us – character, nature, perspective, strength, weakness, and so on – often makes us give the wrong response. Consequently, we fail to understand God’s intentions, fail to recognize His call, be confused and don’t understand His will, even acting wrongly.

Since we were born and grow, along with it the ego is evolving. Then when we meet Christ, there will be alignment. That is our self is more aligned with the Word of God. The parts of us (the ego) that are wrong must be corrected, the impure must be cleaned, the deviate must be straightened, the useless must be removed. When we believe and accept Christ as the only God and Savior, at once we become new creatures: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV) But that doesn’t mean automatically our entire existence will change instantly. There are things that require our cooperation to respond appropriately to any process of God.

The first thing we must realize is that our identity – originally created in God’s image and likeness – has been restored! We no longer live under the curse but abide in the Father’s grace for Jesus has paid our condemnation. Our names have been written in the Book of Life. Our status has been transformed into a God’s child and the heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven. We no longer live for ourselves, but are called to do the noble task of the Father. The purpose of our lives is no longer self-satisfaction, but pleases God and becomes His true worshipers. His Holy Spirit dwells in us. We will be increasingly transformed into Jesus like in words, thoughts, and deeds. And because we belong to Christ, we must live like Christ did. Anyone who says he is a Christian should live as Christ did.” (1 John 2:6 TLB)

It is all God’s perspective on His children. As His children, we must see ourselves just as the Father sees us. We must have and live the restored self-concept. Our paradigm in looking at ourselves and this life must be change.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2 NIV)

Transformed by the renewing of mind means we have to change in thought, feeling, and will. The measure of good or bad, right or wrong, profit or loss, worthy or not, etc., is no longer ourselves alone (ego) but God’s word!

Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23 NIV)

In that way, from time to time our ego will become increasingly eroded and God’s plan in our lives can be accomplished.

SUBMIT TO GOD

As a people who should live as Christ did, then we must imitate what Jesus did. In Matthew 4: 1-11, Jesus was tempted by Satan after He finished 40 days 40 nights fasting.

The first: IF YOU ARE THE SON OF GOD, tell these stones to become bread.” (verse 3)

The second: IF YOU ARE THE SON OF GOD,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” (verse 6)

When we note, the essence of the first and second trials is not just about bread or about throw self down, but Satan manipulated and challenged Jesus to prove Himself and His power as Son of God.

The third: Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him ALL THE KINGDOMS OF THE WORLD AND THEIR SPLENDOR. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” (verse 8-9)

In the third temptation, Satan is “luring” Jesus with wealth, power, and honor in the eyes of the world. In those three trials, Jesus always answered, “It is written.”

The key to Jesus’ triumph over temptation is that He always submit Himself under the authority of God’s Word. If we are going to win over temptation then WE MUST BE SUBMIT OUR EGO UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF GOD’S WORD. Our standard of living and responding to everything is not the ego, but God’s Word!

Similarly, when Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane before His crucifixion. Three times Jesus prayed, And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14:36 NKJV) Jesus declare that nothing is impossible for the Father. Jesus believed the Father must be able to grant His request, but Jesus submit Himself to the Father’s will.

If we desire to live in God’s plan, then OUR EGO SHOULD BE SUBMITTED TO THE GOD’S WILL. Our standard in reacting to everything is not our thoughts, feelings, and will, but God’s will, because sometimes our ego pushes us into doing something we think is right but it is not true or not God’s desired way, as Moses did.

If we read in Exodus 2: 11-15, Moses acted to defend his people, Israel, by killing the Egyptians who were beating a Hebrew. It was easy for Moses to do that because he was educated and trained in the palace of Pharaoh. Should defend his people is the right attitude, but because the timing and the way was not right then what happenned was a misunderstanding. He was rejected by his own people and sought after by Pharaoh to be killed.

Our ego must always be submitted under God’s authority, that is the Word and His will, even when we want to do the right thing in our eyes! If the ego is not submitted and handled, we can be a selfish person who measures everything from the standpoint of oneself and for oneself.

LIVING IN GOD’S PLAN

Ultimately, the whole value of our lives comes from God. Our life will be meaningful and fruitful if it is founded on the foundation of faith in Jesus Christ and built according to God’s plan. Do not let the ego prevent us from entering into it. The apostle Paul is a wonderful example.

Paul has a tremendous Jewish background. Born to an orthodox Jewish family, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews, a Pharisee (Phil. 3: 5-6), living as a Pharisee according to the strictest sect of Judaism (Acts 26: 5), and trained under Gamaliel – A famous scribe and member of the Jewish Council (Acts 22: 3). Regardless of his Greek-speaking ability and Roman citizenship, it is clear that Paul had the potential to serve as an apostle to the Jews, as did the apostle Peter. But God sent him to the Gentiles: “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.'” (Acts 22:21 NIV)

Paul didn’t boast of himself as a capable man. He also didn’t argue with God. All he did is obey: But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus.” (Gal 1:15-16 NKJV) Even though in the early days of his ministry he had been questioned by apostles and Jewish Christians, he continued to walk and work on God’s call until his last breath at the hands of Emperor Nero’s executioner in Rome. That is the life that fulfills God’s plan.

BEING A NEW CREATION

“Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to PUT OFF YOUR OLD SELF, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; TO BE MADE NEW IN THE ATTITUDE OF YOUR MINDS; and to PUT ON THE NEW SELF, created to be like God IN TRUE RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HOLINESS.” (Ephesians 4:21-24 NIV)

Let us PUT OFF THE EGO OF OUR OLD SELF. Do not feel great, capable, and confident because of rich, clever, have power, handsome or beautiful, talented, influential, and many advantages. Also do not feel inferior because of feel ugly, poor, stupid, and many weaknesses. Don’t rely on our sense of self-esteem or self-importance based on all of that!

“He who leans on, trusts in, and is confident of his own mind and heart is a [self-confident] fool, but he who walks in skillful and godly Wisdom shall be delivered.” (Proverb 28:26 AMPC)

Rather, let us live in THE NEW ATTITUDE OF OUR MIND AND PUT ON THE NEW SELF IN JESUS CHRIST, also live in THE TRUE RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HOLINESS, which are values that are not measured by our own perspective and our sense of self-esteem or self-importance, but based on what God says. Certainly not by relying on our own strength and effort, but by relying on the guidance of the Holy Spirit all the time and continuously, until the whole process of our lives ends, that is, when we close our eyes forever to return to the Father, the owner of our life.

“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11 NIV)

 

A M E N

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Image source: http://www.bestandroidwallpaper.com/dry-flower-nature-wallpaper/

Edit picture with pixlr app

“Do You Truly LOVE ME?”

One day, I woke early in the morning to watch the sunrise. Ah, the beauty of God’s creation is beyond description. As I watched, I praised God for His beautiful work.  As I sat there, I felt the Lord’s presence with me.

He asked me, “Do you love me?”

I answered, “Of course, God! You are my Lord and Savior!”

Then He asked, “If you were physically handicapped, would you still love Me?”

I was perplexed. I looked down upon my arms, legs, and the rest of my body and wondered how many things I wouldn’t be able to do, the things that I took for granted.

And I answered, “It would be tough Lord, but I would still love You.”

Then the Lord said, “If you were blind, would you still love my creation?”

How could I love something without being able to see it? Then I thought of all the blind people in the world and how many of them still loved God and His creation.

So I answered, “It’s hard to think of it, but I would still love You.”

The Lord then asked me, “If you were deaf, would you still listen to My Word?”

How could I listen to anything being deaf? Then I understood. Listening to God’s Word is not merely using our ears, but our hearts.

I answered, “It would be tough, but I would still listen to Your Word.”

The Lord then asked, “If you were mute, would you still praise My Name?”

How could I praise without a voice? Then it occurred to me: God wants us to sing from our very heart and soul. It never matters what we sound like. And praising God is not always with a song, but when we are persecuted, we give God praise with our words of thanks.

So I answered, “Though I could not physically sing, I would still praise Your Name.”

And the Lord asked, “Do you really love Me?”

With courage and a strong conviction, I answered boldly, “Yes Lord! I love You because You are the one and true God!” I thought I had answered well, but . . .

God asked, “Then why do you sin?”

I answered, “Because I am only human. I am not perfect.”

“Then why in times of peace do you stray the furthest? Why only in times of trouble do you pray the earnest?”

No answers. Only tears.

The Lord continued: “Why only sing at fellowships and retreats? Why seek Me only in times of worship? Why ask things so selfishly? Why ask things so unfaithfully?”

The tears continued to roll down my cheeks.

“Why are you ashamed of Me? Why are you not spreading the Good News? Why in times of persecution, you cry to others when I offer My shoulder to cry on? Why make excuses when I give you opportunities to serve in My Name?”

I tried to answer, but there was no answer to give.

“You are blessed with life. I made you not to throw this gift away. I have blessed you with talents to serve Me, but you continue to turn away. I have revealed My Word to you, but you do not gain in knowledge. I have spoken to you, but your ears were closed. I have shown My blessings to you, but your eyes were turned away. I have sent you servants, but you sat idlely by as they were pushed away. I have heard your prayers and I have answered them all.”

“DO YOU TRULY LOVE ME?”

I could not answer. How could I? I was embarrassed beyond belief. I had no excuse. What could I say to this?  When my heart had cried out and the tears had flowed, I said, “Please forgive me Lord. I am unworthy to be Your child.”  The Lord answered, “That is My Grace, My child.”

I asked, “Then why do you continue to forgive me? Why do you love me so?”

The Lord answered, “Because you are My creation. You are My child. I will never abandon you. When you cry, I will have compassion and cry with you. When you shout with joy, I will laugh with you. When you are down, I will encourage you. When you fall, I will raise you up. When you are tired, I will carry you. I will be with you till the end of days, and I will love you forever.”

Never had I cried so hard before. How could I have been so cold? How could I have hurt God as I had done? I asked God, “How much do You love me?”

The Lord stretched out His arms, and I saw His nail-pierced hands. I bowed down at the feet of Christ, my Savior. And for the first time, I truly prayed.

— author unknown