New Beginnings

New Beginnings

The creator created people, gave them words for communication and thinking, settled them in the fertile valley at the foot of the mountains, gave them longevity and started to observe how they would aspire to the development.

The time has passed, but people did not develop. Their feet did not go beyond their village and did not climb up the mountains. Their eyes did not look at the sky and did not look in the Heart. So they became old.

The Creator decided to find out, what was the matter. He became a man and came to them as a traveler. Before sunset people gathered at the square to talk with the traveler. He described them a life beyond the horizon and suggested:

“Do you want me to lead you there, and you will see how people live in these places?”

“Oh,” they answered sadly, “It is late, we became old…”

“Then come with me to the mountains to look at the world from the top!”

“Oh,” they suspired, “It is too late, we have no energy…”

“Look at the sky.” The traveler said them, “And I will tell you about the life in the Kingdom of Heaven!”

They answered again: “It is late; our mind will not understand your story…”

The traveler became sad. He decided to cheer people.

“Let‘s sing a song!” he said and was going to sing first, but people noticed that the Sun went down.

“It is late,” they said, “It is time to sleep…” and went to their huts.

The traveler shouted at them:

“People, when life is continuous and infinite, it is not late for any achievements!”

But they did not turn back. Then the Creator told himself: “I will take away all words of limitation from people: ‘late’, ‘not’, ‘impossible’, ‘far’, ‘high’, ‘hard’, ‘will not understand’, and will place in their hearts the joy of infinity. Maybe they will perceive my Law: nothing is late, because there is no end, there is only the beginning!”

He did so and waited for the morning: will people change and will they go with him to the mountains?

Meditation: Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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God’s Under the Bed

God’s Under the Bed

My brother Kevin thinks God lives under his bed. At least that’s what I heard him say one night. He was praying out loud in his dark bedroom, and I stopped outside his closed door to listen. “Are you there, God?” he said. “Where are you? Oh, I see. Under the bed.” I giggled softly and tiptoed off to my own room.

Kevin’s unique perspectives are often a source of amusement. But that night something else lingered long after the humour. I realized for the first time the very different world Kevin lives in. He was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled as a result of difficulties during labour. Apart from his size (he’s 6’2″), there are few ways in which he is an adult. He reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a 7 year old, and he always will. He will probably always believe that God lives under his bed, that Santa Claus is the one who fills the space under our tree every Christmas, and that airplanes stay up in the sky because angels carry them.

I remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is different. Is he ever dissatisfied with his monotonous life? Up before dawn each day, off to work at a workshop for the disabled, home to walk our cocker spaniel, returning to eat his favourite macaroni-and-cheese for dinner, and later to bed. The only variation in the entire scheme are laundry days, when he hovers excitedly over the washing machine like a mother with her newborn child.

He does not seem dissatisfied. He lopes out to the bus every morning at 7:05 eager for a day of simple work. He wrings his hands excitedly while the water boils on the stove before dinner, and he stays up late twice a week to gather our dirty laundry for his next day’s laundry chores. And Saturdays — oh, the bliss of Saturdays! That’s the day my dad takes Kevin to the airport to have a soft drink, watch the planes land, and speculate loudly on the destination of each passenger inside. “That one’s goin’ to Chi-car-go!” Kevin shouts as he claps his hands. His anticipation is so great he can hardly sleep on Friday nights.

I don’t think Kevin knows anything exists outside his world of daily rituals and weekend field trips. He doesn’t know what it means to be discontent. His life is simple. He will never know the entanglements of wealth or power, and he does not care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats. He recognizes no differences in people, treating each person as an equal and a friend. His needs have always been met, and he never worries that one day they may not be.

His hands are diligent. Kevin is never so happy as when he is working. When he unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet, his heart is completely in it. He does not shrink from a job when it is begun, and he does not leave a job until it is finished. But when his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to relax. He is not obsessed with his work or the work of others.

His heart is pure. He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must be kept, and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue. Free from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid to cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent, always sincere.

And he trusts God. Not confined by intellectual reasoning, when he comes to Christ, he comes as a child. Kevin seems to know God — to really be friends with Him in a way that is difficult for an “educated” person to grasp. God seems like his closest companion.

In my moments of doubt and frustrations with my Christianity, I envy the security Kevin has in his simple faith. It is then that I am most willing to admit that he has some divine knowledge that rises above my mortal questions. It is then I realize that perhaps he is not the one with the handicap — I am. My obligations, my fears, my pride, my circumstances — they all become disabilities when I do not submit them to Christ.

Who knows if Kevin comprehends things I can never learn? After all, he has spent his whole life in that kind of innocence, praying after dark and soaking up the goodness and love of the Lord. And one day, when the mysteries of heaven are opened, and we are all amazed at how close God really is to our hearts, I’ll realize that God heard the simple prayers of a boy who believed that God lived under his bed.

Kevin won’t be surprised at all.

Meditation: Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it. – Luke 18:17

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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The Much Awaited Person

The Much Awaited Person

Then I said to them, “You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach…” So they said, “Let us rise up and build.” Then they set their hands to this good work. – Nehemiah 2:17-18

Nehemiah had a great burden to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem as well as restore the city from the ruins it had become on account of the ravages of war. His concern for Jerusalem was so strong that he even risked his life by carrying a long face before king Artaxerxes – his principal, who could not have been bothered by whatever was going on in Jerusalem. But, Nehemiah was undaunted in his agitation for his fatherland until he got the attention of the king and was permitted to go and do as his heart desired concerning Jerusalem.

Immediately he got the permission he needed, he set out to Jerusalem and mobilised people to join him in the rebuilding process. Now the lessons here are that Nehemiah was not the only person who was agitated about the ruins of Jerusalem; there were probably other people like him who were equally burdened. But he was the one who was bothered enough to express his concern. He might not have staged a protest, but the frown he wore was expressive enough to get him the attention of the king who could make a difference. And he got the royal pass he needed to legitimise his agenda.

Secondly, if he hadn’t set out to Jerusalem and shared his dream with the people there, he wouldn’t have known the support he could garner in terms of doing the work. But immediately he shared his mission with the remnants resident in Jerusalem, he got an enthusiastic response and the work commenced in earnest.

Most times we are the ones sitting on our own manifestation. Until we articulate our vision and begin to do something about them, we may not know what resources and support are available to us. You can only know when you venture out and dare the odds.

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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Why You Should Pray for People in Authority (5): Religious Leaders

Why You Should Pray for People in Authority (5): Religious Leaders

And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!” Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy! – Matthew 26:63-65

The last set of authorities that require our fervent, sustained prayers and intercession are religious leaders. These people wield so much influence in our lives and they could be key to how we turn out, either well or badly.

Religious leaders exert great influence over their congregation and followers; what they say are often regarded as the counsel of God Himself, with the ability to spur the listeners to immediate action. So it is imperative they are upheld in prayer so that they are not overtaken by the spirit of deception and start to spill out falsehoods to their eager audience who could go to town with or take action based on such information.

In our reference passage, we see how Caiaphas a High Priest – the symbol of spirituality and devotion during his time – missed it big time concerning Jesus Christ. Firstly, he was ignorant of the identity of Jesus. Secondly, he led the whole nation of Israel astray by condemning Jesus, which provoked a violent reaction from the crowd and culminated in His crucifixion.

Perhaps, if he had known who Jesus truly was, things might have been different (1 Corinthians 2:8). But he was ignorant of His identity and he led the nation astray by renouncing Him and instigating them to do same. Such is the clout that our leaders have and the more reason we need to always pray for them so that they won’t lead us astray.

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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Why You Should Pray for People in Authority (4): Family Leaders

Why You Should Pray for People in Authority (4): Family Leaders

And Achan answered Joshua and said, “Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I have done: When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. And there they are, hidden in the earth in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it…” Then Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the garment, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that he had, and they brought them to the Valley of Achor. And Joshua said, “Why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this day.” So all Israel stoned him with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones. – Joshua 7:20-25

Family leaders are also another set of authorities that we must always uphold in prayer. Just like the other categories of leaders we have considered, the consequences of their decisions and actions may not be limited to them alone but could affect their family members as well.

From the above passage, Achan brought sudden destruction not just upon his own head but the entire members of his household because of greed. And that was even after he had brought calamity upon the nation of Israel who were routed by a minnow settlement.

Achan could not control himself and went to take for personal use what God had explicitly forbidden the Israelites from touching. By the time he was found out, his wife, his children, his animals and all his possessions were destroyed because they had all become abominable through the misdeed of their patriarch.

Our family leaders, fathers and other family heads, deserve our sustained prayers and intercession, as their decisions, actions or inactions could have a significant impact on our own lives and well-being by virtue of our being under their authority. Always remember to pray for the head of your family.

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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Why You Should Pray for People in Authority (3): Team Leaders

Why You Should Pray for People in Authority (3): Team Leaders

So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. And the Egyptians pursued and went after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. Now it came to pass…that the Lord looked down upon the army of the Egyptians…and He troubled the army of the Egyptians. And He took off their chariot wheels, so that they drove them with difficulty… and when the morning appeared, the sea returned to its full depth, while the Egyptians were fleeing into it…Then the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen, and all the army of Pharaoh that came into the sea…Not so much as one of them remained. – Exodus 14:22-28

Another category of leaders we ought to continually uphold in prayer are organisational or team leaders. These people deserve our intercession for the fear of God and His counsel to guide them in whatever they do, as their moves could affect members of their team in a positive or negative way.

From the passage above, Pharaoh mobilised his army to embark on an expedition that was doomed to fail and loss of lives. Maybe if someone had been interceding for him before then, perhaps, things might have been different, and he wouldn’t have led the hundreds of thousands of men with him into an agonising death in the belly of the sea.

In most cases, team members may not have much choice as to whether to join their team leaders in a move that has been doomed to failure. So, they only need to set out to encounter the wrath that has been stored up to be unleashed on the leader. And, sadly, members of the setup who may be innocent usually suffer alongside the leader when he is facing the consequences of his/her action or disposition.

Another example of such fatal expedition in the Bible was the case of King Ahab who was exuberant about the idea of leading his army to go to a war that had been ordained to be his last (1 Kings 22:19-20). Even when he was warned about embarking on the expedition, he turned deaf ears to the prophet and went all the same. He did not return, and many lives were lost in the resultant rout the Israelites suffered at the battlefront.

On the other hand, Abraham and Moses were examples of divinely favoured leaders whose teams benefitted from their right standing with God. Abraham’s followers prospered off him, while the lives of Moses’ team members were often spared because of Moses. This underscores the importance of praying our leaders into right standing with God, so that they can attract fortune to us, not disaster.

You will succeed in Jesus Name!

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