Studies have shown that human beings have an inherent need to
be loved and nurtured. Attachment theory suggests that children are born into
this world pre-programmed to seek out attachment. Babies who are deprived of
touch, particularly in the first 6 months grow up to be psychologically
damaged. Long term deprivation of love, attention and care can consequently
lead to delinquency, reduced intelligence, increased aggression, depression or
affectionless psychopathy. Without love, something inside us breaks.
The very nature of God is love. The bible does not shy away from reminding us of God’s
everlasting, steadfast, quieting, poignant love.
Jeremiah 31:3 says “I have loved you, my
people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love, I have drawn you to
myself.” 1 John 3:1 “See
what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called
children of God!” Romans 5:8 “but God shows His love for us in that while we were still
sinners, Christ died for us”
Popular content and culture subliminally
trains people to chase love, to feel devastated by rejection, to feel happy and
fulfilled only by gaining attention. Generations live in pursuit of likes and
emoticons. But the power of loving first, of enduring for another, of building
true bonds is forgotten. But the bible strongly calls us not just to receive
love but also, to love one another.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:9-11 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”1 Peter 4:8. “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:12.
Interestingly, psychology also supports this.
As much as we are born in inherent need for love and nurture, we also have a
need to bestow love and care on others. Research shows
that expressing love or benevolence for others benefits not just the recipient
of affection, but also the person who conveys it. Loving others, acts of
generosity & kindness, showing empathy & compassion are all equally
important in experiencing happiness, as is being the object of love. Psychology
basically says, if you want to be happy, first you need to be loved and second
you need to love others.
The love of God is demonstrated on the
cross for all to know. No matter what your experience with love has been in
this world, there is a God who sees you, loves you and seeks you. He intends to
bless you and prosper you. But the word of God doesn’t stop there. The bible
then calls us forth as vessels that carry this divine, unblemished, sacrificial
love to pour out into this world. More and more people suffer from depression,
anxiety and other mental disorders. Many around us are in unimaginable, hidden pain.
The need of the hour are people who are willing to pay attention, to pay the
price and to offer love which is the antidote to the poison of the enemy that
has infected mankind.
Then, let us love as we have been loved. Let us treat our
fellow believers, our neighbours, our partners, our minsters with compassion
and understanding. Let us treat ourselves as precious to God, created for the
purposes of God. Let us love enough to
yield to one another, to carry one another and to bear one another.
Love is the gift and the commandment. Let our hearts be full of love and not offense or selfishness. We cannot put on the likeness of Christ unless we put away the childishness. Let us do all things in love as we grow in the image of Christ. No matter what we face, no matter what circumstance or trial, no matter the current political climate, the bible assures us that we can fulfill every need in us through Christ. In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us- Romans 8:37.
Goliath of Gath had been terrifying King Saul’s army for forty days. Yes, Goliath was a giant. He was loud-mouthed and threatening, equipped with note-worthy armor, shield and sword. He looked formidable, he sounded formidable. Saul and his army believed their eyes and the enemy and cowered before him. But this kind of cowardice did not happen overnight. We see the root of this around 25 years ago, as recorded in 1 Samuel 13.
When the men of Israel saw that they were in trouble the people hid themselves in caves and in holes and in rocks and in tombs and in cisterns.-1 Samuel 13:6
Now there was no blacksmith to be found throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, “Lest the Hebrews make themselves swords or spears.-1 Samuel 13:19
So on the day of the battle there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people with Saul and Jonathan, but Saul and Jonathan his son had them.-1 Samuel 13:22
King Saul was anointed to be the leader of Israel. He was anointed to be used by God to give victory to Israel. Yet, under his rule, the people became scattered, defenselessly hiding in caves, stripped of weapons and convinced of defeat.
Saul was led by fear. He was afraid of the people scattering
leading him to offer an unlawful sacrifice to God (1 Samuel 13:12). He saw
himself as small, operated from insecurity and accumulated that which God
commanded to destroy (1 Samuel 15:17). Instead of rallying the people to move
in faith in God, he stood with them, silenced against the challenge. He gave excuses
instead of truly repenting and he led the people into unbelief.
The nation of Israel stood facing old enemies quaking with fear. Until
Young David shows up as an errand boy/shepherd boy/ musician. When David saw
the enemy smearing the name of God, David adjusted his resume before King Saul and
“Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this
uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the
armies of the living God.”
David had the same or worse limitations as everyone else in the country. A long history of war against powerful enemies, lack of armor, weapons, and fitting leadership. He was easily discounted by his own family and he was altogether nonthreatening to Goliath with his stick and his sling. But He had trained with God. He had felt God move through him when he killed the lion and the bear. He didn’t fight from a place of self-reliance. He didn’t trust in his physical prowess or his great skill or Saul’s armor but as he ran towards the giant. He was singularly propelled by his conviction. And before him, Goliath fell, slain by his own sword.
The enemy had planned well and stripped away the weapons from Israel, terrorized them and oppressed them. But when an anointed man of God stepped into the battle field with a clear conviction, the enemy’s weapon was turned against his own head.
Saul continued on his downward spiral being
consumed by madness and envious rage against the anointed, prosperous, faithful
David. When David fled from Saul weapon-less, afraid and hungry, true to form,
he ran to the house of God. There he met the priest Abhimelech who gave him the
holy bread and armed him with a familiar sword.
The priest said, “The sword of
Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in the Valley of Elah,
behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that,
take it, for there is none but that here.” And David said, “There is none like
that; give it to me.” 1 SAMUEL 21:9
Dearly beloved, the weapons of the enemy may seem advanced.
The tricks and strategies may seem insufferable. The challenges we face may
appear insurmountable. But we can overcome the oppressor as we are anointed and
convicted by the Holy Spirit. God has a PLAN. God is in CHARGE. God only wants
People around us may fail, may step back and fall off track.
People may reject us or attack us. But if we rise like David, God will turn the
enemy’s advantage against him. When we are overwhelmed, if we respond like
David, God will remind us of the lions, the bears and the sword of giants that
we slayed by the power of God and we will build the Kingdom just like David.
Centuries have passed but the city of David
stands. The throne of David lasts. That’s the power of God upon an anointed man
whose convictions are focused on God.
Transformation is an integral thread in the whole Bible. Abram, the childless idol worshiper, was transformed to Abraham, the father to many nations. Jacob, the deceiver, was transformed to Israel, the one who rules with God. The persecutor, Saul, was turned to Apostle Paul, the missionary. A volatile Simon became Peter, the rock. The name Peter comes from root word ‘Petros’ which means ‘rock/stone’. The term, petrified wood, also comes from the root word ‘Petros’.
Petrified wood literally means wood turned to stone. In nature, there is an amazing process by which wood becomes stone. The wood gets buried under a layer of volcanic ash or sediment in a way that it escapes the natural process of aerobic decay. Over thousands of years, ground water flows through the buried wood. The minerals that the water carries starts replacing the organic matter of the wood. Little by little silicates, iron oxides, manganese oxides are deposited into the buried wood till cells of the wood gets replaced with minerals that the water brings it. Cell by cell, year by year, drop by drop the water turns the wood to stone.
This process can be used to illustrate our own process of
transformation. When we are buried with Christ under the Grace of God, we, who
were meant for quick decay and rotting under the law, gets preserved for the
process of transformation. As long as we lay buried and sealed under grace, the
decay of sin under law will not set in. Then works the waters of the Holy
Spirit, bringing to us the imperishable fruit and gifts of God. Transforming us
daily, reaffirming us in our weakest parts with precious minerals, colouring us
and drawing us in the image of God. The more we are open to the living water,
the more we receive. The Sovereign Lord wills to transform us, yet He limits
Himself from enforcing His will. He waits for us to be still under His blanket
of grace and awaits our hearts to open up to allow His life to flow through us
depositing in our mortal bodies, His eternal glory. How do we open ourselves up
2 Corinthians 3:16,
18 says “whenever a person turns to the Lord, the cover is taken away. But
we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the
Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just
as from the Lord, the Spirit.
We are required to position our hearts to God and behold Him in Faith. Through this submission to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are transformed from glory to glory. From Saul to Paul, Abram to Abraham, Simon BarJonah to Simon Peter. The stone is a symbol in the Bible for firm and strong. It also represents truth. The hasty, volatile, shaky, drowning and inconsistent Simon, the disciple of Christ, became Apostle Peter, the martyr for the Gospel, laying himself as a firm and steady stone of truth of the revelation of Jesus as ‘Christ the Son of the living God’. (Mathew 16:16)
1 Peter 2:4 says ‘As you come to
Him(Christ), a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and
precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up’.
Each of us experience the transforming power of God when we
receive Christ in to our hearts. Let us continue to allow the living waters to
flow through us, filling us with His life and glory as we grow to be fully
mature children in the image of their Father.
He is the Lord of all creation.
He spoke and everything was set in motion.
His Love is no simple notion,
His Love endures in all determination.
Submit to Him all your situations,
In due time, you will receive the solutions.
No need to ponder on all the confusion,
He’ll guide you through till completion.
For you, He was filled with compassion,
On the Cross He displayed the extent of His passion.
His greatest mission was always your salvation,
This earth, the witness to His Resurrection.
The battles you see are not for your destruction,
His Name will be exalted by every tongue and every nation.
His faithfulness endures from generation to generation,
His grace, mercy and purpose, their unshakable foundation.
This week’s blog is contributed by guest author Acsah Konuparamban. She is a mighty worship leader, musician and teacher of the word.
Is God really real to you? Is He as real to you on Mondays as He is during the Sunday service? Wait! Is He as real to you an hour after the Sunday service as He was to you during the service, even when your family situation remains the same? or when you have no tangible change in yourself? or when there have been so many blessings spoken/promised upon you and yet the only thing you see right now are the unchanging patterns in your life?
“Speak life!” I never quite understood the meaning of that phrase. All I know is that every time I try to deny God, deny the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, deny the existence of God, I get lost. Lost in my life, I feel like I’m in the middle of the ocean, just struggling to get air, trying hard to keep my head above water. I feel insanity creeping in my head, lurking in my mind. I’m not the person I should be or can be. I was never good with words or expressing my ideas but when I go seeking God and I bare my heart to Him, He sets me right. He feels like family should feel. Comforting, nourishing, empowering protective. He has, time and again, proved to my doubting heart His presence, His heart for me, His love for me. I tasted Him and I have found Him to be so, so good.
Each one of us is born with an inbuilt system to find Him, pursue Him, to want Him. It’s impossible to escape when you get a hint of what His existence is like. The leap of faith to believe that God is good, that God is on our side, that God chooses us is what deserves our attention, our meditation.
The Bible says in Psalms 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds”. All He requires is that moment of surrender.
In the book of Job, we see Job call God out to dole out some justice.
But I desire to speak to the Almighty and to argue my case with God – Job 13:3.
God answers Job from a storm, silencing his arguments with the revelation of His resplendent creation, His concern for it all and teaches Job to trust God with things too wonderful for him to know(Job 42:3). Job bows down in surrender as his human limitation becomes evident and His comprehension of God is proven flawed. A surrender of our logic, our questions, our baggage helps us to empty ourselves, so that we can hold Him in us and He can hold us in Him intimately. It feels like a sea-shell trying to contain the ocean but it feels right. That one second of a wholehearted “Yes” or “okay, I’ll give God a chance”, or the desperate “Show me if you’re really there, God” will open up a whole different realm of the meaning of God to you. He will not disappoint. Just like with Job, God chooses to show mercy when faced with our folly, and showers Grace upon us, when faced with our weakness.
Instead of seeing the broken state of ourselves and our circumstances, instead of being limited by our lack, instead of lamenting that nothing has changed or wondering if God is really working, instead of trying to argue a case like Job we need to take that leap of faith.
So whether I am in the middle of that amazing surge while in the midst of a worshiping crowd or whether I return to my challenges that have undergone no change, I choose to turn to God and say “speak life”. “Come, God. Breathe. Do your thing.” That alone has taken me so far. That’s all I need to keep going.
The author of this week’s blog wishes to remain anonymous and hopes that this word has been a helping hand in your life.
I’ve often asked myself whether I will ever
have a life that’s free of struggles, free of problems, with no anxiety, no
worries, and no stress. Could such a perfect life exist?
It is true that none of us wish to be
involved in circumstances where we are deprived of our peace and joy and we wouldn’t
want to encounter situations where our emotional wellness is deeply and
negatively affected. But let’s face reality. Each of us have faced or is facing
some or the other obstacle in life. What sets apart a man of faith from
everyone else is how he chooses to react to these obstacles.
Samuel chapter 17 Verse 46 and 47 says, “This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand,
and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will
give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air
and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there
is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall
know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the
battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”
The story of David’s victory over Goliath
is quite familiar to us but what I want to bring to your attention is how David
prepared himself for his adversary. Even before there was any physical
confrontation between David and Goliath, the battle was already decided. David
foresaw the final result, even before witnessing it in the physical.
“This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand”.
David wasn’t concerned with a natural or
practical solution to defeat his high and mighty adversary. He already knew he
would slay Goliath and cut off his head. How many of us carry that resolute
mindset of victory in the midst of our struggle? When we go through the
toughest phases in our lives, would our reaction constantly be simply crying
out “Help me, God”?
David, being in the old covenant took a step forward knowing with absolute confidence that his victory was guaranteed. In the new covenant, our triumph is ensured in everything, because of what transpired on the cross through Christ. Because Christ has now defeated the enemy by His precious sacrifice, victory is already sealed in every battle. It is imperative that we look back on the cross every day and remind ourselves of this victory we now have in Christ. The moment you realize that you are already victorious through Christ and claim that victory in faith, that moment in itself is the first step to experiencing your victory in the physical. I assure you, it would awaken a sense of joy, peace and hope in your heart. So, the next time you encounter difficult circumstances, it’s not your sorrow that grows but the overflow of joy within you. It is easy to press on and endure sufferings when your heart is positioned towards the destiny God has for you. (1 Peter 4:12, 13)
I want to encourage you today to proclaim your victory in faith over your struggles. React like a person who has won the battle, glory assured. Foresee and believe in your destined victories in faith before you witness their manifestation in the physical. There’s no guarantee that you won’t encounter hardships or battles, but your proclamation of victory in the middle of your battle will be the first chapter in your testimony.
This blog is by our guest author for the week, Shony P Baby, a dedicated leader at House Of Healing Ministries. An anointed worship leader and teacher of the word, Shony is involved in training and molding the gifts and talents of those around him, and has been used by God to touch many lives through music and teaching.