2020 : THE YEAR OF REMAKING
This year has
been like sitting on a roller coaster ride. Each one of us had probably
sketched out what we could complete, participate in or accomplish by the end of
the year. But here we are, at the 6th month of the year, not
knowing with certainty how the rest of this year is going to play off. No
matter how the rest of this year turns out to be, I, for one, am eternally
grateful for these months. These months of being able to hear God, of enjoying
the rainy weather, of being able to appreciate the mundane parts of my day, of
enjoying those long conversations with my friend, for being able to mend
relationships, for being given the space and time to heal. I was thankful that
this time was used to dismantle negative thought processes, to reflect and be
grateful for every time that God stood for us.
month into the quarantine period, God took spoke to me through 1 Samuel 5:2-5
Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it to the house of Dagon and set it by Dagon. When the Ashdodites arose early the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and set him in his place again. But when they arose early the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. And the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off on the threshold; only the trunk of Dagon was left to him. Therefore neither the priests of Dagon nor all who enter Dagon’s house tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day. (Bold, Mine)
God brought this passage to me at a season where I couldn’t believe that I could be delivered in every area of my life. I believed that He could set me free from some of the bondages, but not from all. I thought to myself, “Believing that God can deliver you from any and every trauma or hurt or pain would be a little too much. I think I need to set a lower standard. There are some things that we just got to learn to live with. Some things that will always be a part of us. No matter how badly we want them gone.” And God brought me this scripture where Dagon, the god of the Philistines that stood in front of the ark of the God of Israelites, was broken to many pieces. He said to me “If this Dagon would fall, break into many pieces with its head and arms being cut off, there is not a chance that even a single demon standing in front of you can prevail.” I was stunned.
The Ark of the Covenant, which
signified the presence of God, was in the enemy’s camp; it was actually at a disadvantage,
yet, never diminished in power. Can you imagine that the Bible says that we are
now the temple of God in the New Covenant? Now, we are the dwelling place for
His presence. Dagon could not stand in front of the ark. Similarly,
even if you are in the clutches of the enemy, probably fighting the worst
battle yet, the truth is that you live to watch those Dagons fall, lose its
hold and power, and permanently fade away, and for you to live untouched by
their voices. I was absolutely shaken when I heard the Lord speak this to me.
It brought with it the possibility of every single demon, those of the mind and
those of the past, fleeing. During this period of isolation, God showed me that
He doesn’t want just one demon, but every one of them, to be defeated and
rendered powerless in front of us, bowing down to the power within
you. He said, “If you just stick on, hold fast, cling onto Me, I will
bring complete deliverance from every demon that torments you such that they
fall, break their heads, with their arms cut off, disconnected from the body.”
These months during the lockdown have shown me that God can use ANYTHING for our good, but it doesn’t mean He orchestrated them. I’ve learnt to behold in awe as God remakes and remolds me to become a better version of myself, the version that He died to create. He died for us to grow deeper roots and stronger foundations, to bring a torch to those broken places, to fix the flaws and faults, to accommodate for the upcoming years of greater breakthrough and revival.
This writer of this blog wishes to remain anonymous.
The title might strike you almost as dramatic but today I want to talk to you about lies and why they are one of the most difficult things to give to Jesus; which is exactly why they are costly.
Let me explain.
How many of you can list a number of lies that you have believed over the years? Growing up, I was told that I wouldn’t do well in life. And this reflected in the way I behaved at school. I believed I shouldn’t be put in group activities, thinking that my group would fail because of me. I wasn’t happy believing it, and I would try participating. But if anything ever went wrong, I would conclude it was because the group had me in it. I believed I wouldn’t do well. I was always looking for circumstances to prove me right. I started developing stage fright and I would go green if I had to make a stage appearance. When I met Jesus, I wanted to change the things I had believed about myself. But for the longest time, I never realized how foundational these lies were in my life.
Let me come to the second half. Why do I call these lies costly? When you take ownership of certain lies, it makes it easier to face difficult situations. For example, when you start failing exams, you start believing that you are a failure. Over the course of time, your belief even further fuels your future failures and it ends up in a vicious cycle that you cannot get out of. When you fail in bigger things in your future like your marriage or your job, it doesn’t surprise you anymore.It is what you have expected all along. It saves you from the disappointment of believing otherwise. Remember when the Israelites were happy to stay in a known prison than journey with God into an unknown land? That’s how it feels to step out of lies. I call them costly because you tend to value them just like the Israelites valued their captivity. It can make you feel protected and saves you the effort of believing the truth of God. Have you noticed that such lies never feel like it’s been told by someone else; it seems as if it is originating from within you, even if it was someone else who told you so. This is the power of a lie. You have taken ownership of the lie and it is now part of your identity.
For the longest time with Jesus, I didn’t know how to let go of certain lies. I wanted to believe that I was called for greatness, that I am the head and not the tail. But I didn’t know how to do that until recently when I sat at the feet of Jesus not knowing what to offer Him. Not knowing how to worship Him with all my heart and He brought me to the story of the prostitute with the alabaster jar of which we read in Luke 7:36-50. When we think of the alabaster jar, we metaphorically think of maybe our future plans or our life savings or our treasured possessions. But my alabaster jar consisted of those costly lies I had believed. And that is exactly what the sinful woman gave up at the feet of Jesus. Can you imagine yourself being in her shoes ? Every single person in that room knew her. They probably looked down on her, thought of her as worthless. But she chose to bravely surrender. I believe she brought all the lies that she had believed about herself; her unworthiness, her sinfulness, her shame, her guilt and offered it at the feet of Jesus. And that takes an immense amount of courage. She gave her best that day. It wasn’t a shout of praise. It wasn’t a recollection of testimonies. It wasn’t her many achievements. Instead she gave her worst fears, her insecurities, her lies. Jesus didn’t resent her. Instead, He delighted in her.
I would like to call our new covenant, ‘a courageous covenant’. A covenant where we can truly be free. Where we don’t need to hide behind a fake exterior. Your greatest mistake and your greatest victory, they both belong to God. He will do well with them. If you are wondering what to offer Jesus, offer those lies that you have believed to protect yourself. Because if it is one thing I know about this beautiful Savior, it is that He dreams of the day that His children access every gift He died to bring to us.
Our guest author for the week wishes to remain anonymous.
Have you ever been in a phase, a journey, or a season where you decided to follow God after being prompted by Him?
You made up your mind and started taking those steps to the place where you heard Abba God lead you. You started making goals and set time lines accordingly and was a good steward of everything in your hands by showing up each day with God’s grace. In time, you had covered some distance. You weren’t in the start anymore neither were you at the end of it, but you know it’s right there. Everything seemed so right. If not accurate, at least something along those lines. Maybe you had tried not to allow any of your shortcomings to be a hindrance for your progress. Even when things went wrong, you were courageous to humble yourself and start again with a changed outlook and pressed forward on the road that you’ve been on.
But in spite of all of this, an unexpected storm-something you weren’t really prepared for- hits you off guard. Now all the timelines to your goals, and strategies to achieve them, seem to have fallen in a very uncertain place. Everything that seemed so certain, isn’t so anymore. You start focusing on that very obstacle or mountain before you and it seems too strong or too big. Our assurance, hope and response lies in seeing and learning a similar incident, an event in the lives of Jesus and his disciples in Matthew 14:22-36 (NASB)
Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary.
We learn from this story that the disciples also started their journey by hearing, obeying and responding to Jesus by getting on the boat to the other side. The story goes on to say in verse 24-25, that the boat was already a considerate distance from the land and was battered by the winds. And maybe many of us can relate, being in such a place. Just like the disciples, maybe you had started the journey a while back. Probably you were about to have placements happen after years of preparation, or about get that promotion, or get married, and yet suddenly, everything has been battered. Now you find yourself in an unpredictable storm that’s threatening your course.
Don’t lose hope. I want to assure you, friends, just as Jesus sent the disciples ahead on their journey but stayed and prayed at the mountain side, even today He is interceding for us seated at the right hand of Abba God (Romans 8:34).
And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Just as Jesus went out to them walking on the lake just before dawn, so is He walking out to you just before a new season that surely is about to dawn in your life! A new season is dawning in your life, He is not done with you. I prophesy in Jesus’ name that those storms, that were violently coming against you, will cease because the Prince of Peace who loves you, is with you and hasn’t forgotten you. He is right here, on time. When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”
The word continues to say, in verse 34, that they not only crossed over, but also that everyone who touched his cloak was healed. You will get through, and after, the one’s on the other side will also be healed and encounter the truth of the great “I am” who has brought you thus far. The one’s on the other side need Jesus as well. The awesome part is He chooses your boat, He chooses you to get there, and He chooses to go with you. Just as the disciples recognized Jesus as truly the Son of God, you can recognize Him and His presence in the midst of it all. There is a new season dawning and you will reach where He has destined for you to reach.
He is more real than anything.
God is not done with us,
He will finish what He started.
He loves you and is with you,
Hang in there, you are never alone.
We hope this brings life and hope to you. Please reach out to us if you are battling through something, need help or want to talk. We are here to hear and get you started on your journey with the One who goes before you and will be with you!
Our Guest author for the week is Eston D’souza, a devoted lover of Christ and valued member of our church in Manipal. Eston embraces his experiences, allowing them to be used for the glory of God, ministering the good news to all whom he encounters in this new life with Christ.
It was just another Sunday Service for which my family and I were headed to. We had the regular service where first it was the worship, followed by the Sunday School which the kids were supposed to attend. The teacher came in and told us that it was the memory test day. I got really shocked and scared because I forgot to read the scriptures. We were supposed to come forward and tell the verses which we were to recollect from the previous few classes. All the other kids came prepared and were able to tell a few verses and then came my turn to go front. My heart started to beat really fast, my mind went blank and I felt very ashamed because I couldn’t even tell one verse from the Bible that day.
I was always a person who couldn’t sit and read the Bible. And there were times where I felt like I’m not even a normal Christian because I didn’t know the basics from the Bible. And I would really get disappointed about myself and these thoughts would lead me to neglect reading the Bible because it’s human tendency to stop focusing on things which you are not able to do. But with age, I started to be more mature about things and was able to read the word.
Few years down the line, an incident that shook me was when my pastor texted me and told me that the Lord spoke to her to involve me in the Bible teaching team at church. I gave her the same reasons which Moses had given when God told him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. I never saw myself as a teacher of the Word. Eventually, I joined the Bible teaching team, and things were getting quite difficult for me. Teaching ministry requires a lot of hard work as it involves research, referring to a lot of books, knowing the history and culture of people in the past and understanding the context. Honestly, I wanted to quit because I couldn’t take it all. And this is something I want to talk about in this blog – The Fight for the Vision!
We often get very involved and focused on accomplishing things that God has planned for us. But there are times when things don’t go our way. For example, take a look at the life of Joseph. He was supposed to be in the palace but ended up in the pit and from there to the prison. And at this point, sad to say, many believers quit or burn out. I believe that the process is the most important step in reaching our goal. But how do we react when things don’t go our way? We need to go back to the start and look at the vision again! We always get so involved in the process that we forget the vision. Every time I felt like quitting the teaching team, I would go back to those text messages that my pastor had sent me, and that would keep me going. So I would like to encourage you all that if you’re going through a tough time in accomplishing your vision or have lost your way somewhere in the process, go back to the start. Go back to the place where it all began!
With this I would like to leave you all with a scripture from Philippians 1:6 (NASB) “For I am confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
God bless you all.
Our Guest author for this week is our dear Melrick Stephen Pinto. A relentless lover of Jesus, he is one of our lead instrumentalists and worship leaders and has been a part of House of Healing Ministries since 2013.
God is good.
And one of the ways to see His goodness in greater measures is to carry a heart that learns to be grateful.
I think gratefulness is a choice for us to make irrespective of circumstances. We’ve got to take a conscious effort to constantly remind ourselves of how gracious God has been to us. This is us choosing to reposition ourselves to a better perspective of what God has already done rather than fixating on what He hasn’t yet revealed. This repositioning of ourselves brings forth change within us from the inside-out and allows us to see His hands at work with a fresh perspective. It also propels us to a lifestyle of worship, even in the lion’s den.
Everything that He’s given to You by Grace is not by coincidence, but it’s because He chose to give us the best-Life in abundance. A good Father who gives good gifts and whose grace abounds in deepest waters. He strove to give us a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light – a life worth living.
So can we be a little more grateful for the little that we have? For the Bible says,
Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil. -Proverbs 15:16
This fear doesn’t talk about the kind of fear that the world gives, But it’s about you being in Godly awe of His goodness, which propels you to respond in ‘reverential fear’. He’s a good God, and His goodness is worth the tasting! He is faithful to finish what He has started.
Our blog for this week was penned by Guest Author, Sandra M George, a dearly beloved youth of our church and member of the media team. At 19 years old, she is our joy and pride and we are so inspired by her wholehearted love for Jesus and His Bride.