Tag Archive | faith

4 Life Lessons from Joseph’s Journey with God

All of us are treading a journey. Some are just beginning one and others are almost done. Many are at a point of success while some are still recovering from a life that was in shambles. Some are pretty sure of the direction they are heading while some are facing a crossroad. Some may be like me–at a point of relearning to follow God’s direction because life is simply full of the unknown.

Our journey will be totally pointless if we are not sure of our purpose in whatever route we are taking.

For our journey to be significant, we need an understanding of two key things–our purpose for living and an understanding of God Himself.

We can learn about God best from His inspired written word–the Bible.

At the beginning of year 2018, I started following a different Bible reading plan. That is, the chronological one. Whether I follow the traditional or the chronological one, nothing has changed. God speaks to me through His word.

In the book of Genesis chapters 37 and 39-50, I read of the detailed account of Joseph’s journey with God. I assume that you all know that Joseph (a.k.a. Joseph the Dreamer) received a colorful coat from his father because he was his father’s favorite. Once, he told of his dreams implying that his brothers will be under his authority someday. This resulted in the anger and jealousy of his brothers and him being sold by his brothers to Midianite traders. Lo and behold, Joseph found himself in Egypt serving Pharaoh.

God impressed upon my heart a few life lessons worth-remembering from Joseph’s journey with Him.

  1. Intimacy with God leads to earthly success.
    “The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man…His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands.” Genesis 39:3

    If you were to read the account of Joseph’s life in Genesis 39, the first few verses describe Joseph’s notable success in Egypt all because “the Lord was with Him.” It is an implication that Joseph had an intimate relationship with God. The result? Effective execution of his tasks and a visible success in the eyes of men. In light of that, we realize that whatever career we are pursuing or whatever calling we are fulfilling, people will notice when God’s blessing is upon us. God’s blessing is evident upon a person who keeps an intimate relationship with Him

  2. Intimacy with God leads to spiritual success.
    “And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, ‘Lie with me.’ But he refused and said to his master’s wife, ‘Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?’… But one day, when he went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house was there in the house, she caught him by his garment, saying, ‘Lie with me.’ But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house.” Genesis 39:7-9

    Immorality is an abomination in the sight of God. Definitely, Joseph understands that principle and the holiness of God. In Joseph’s reverential fear of God, he ran away from the situation that tested his morality and chose to honor God and his earthly master even in his absence! Unless we fear the holy God, we cannot flee from temptation and achieve victory in our spiritual battles.

  3. Intimacy with God doesn’t exempt us from life’s tests. We read of the integrity of Joseph and yet he was falsely accused by the wife of Pharaoh (Genesis 39:13-18). Imagine Joseph’s stabbing pain in his heart caused by her false accusation and an unjust verdict from Pharaoh who once trusted him. Undeterred, Joseph kept his steadfast faith in God. We don’t see any record of Joseph’s complaints to God. You might be facing a trial you feel like you don’t deserve. It may seem to be beyond your understanding. Take a look at the example of Joseph and remain steadfast in believing that God knows what He is doing.
  4. Intimacy with God gains people’s favor.
    “So Joseph found favor in his [the Pharaoh’s] sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had….But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed.” Genesis 39:4, 21-23 (emphasis added)

    Teachers, classmates, bosses and colleagues are not blind to God’s blessing upon His children who are walking closely with Him. In fact, they are confident that whatever task they give to faithful followers of God will be accomplished successfully.In the case of Joseph, Pharaoh was pleased with Joseph’s attitude toward work and so was the keeper of the prison.

The bottom line is intimacy with God brings both blessings and testings but we need to remain steadfast in clinging to our God whether we are on a mountaintop or valley on our journey. Let’s remember the life lessons from the life of Joseph.

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Review: Planning Your Life God’s Way by Dr. Timothy Berrey

Are you facing a tough situation? Are you on a crossroad? Are you feeling hopeless in your situation and you don’t know which step to take next? Are you seeking your purpose in life?

Thousands of books have been written on decision making but this e-book, Planning Your Life God’s Way by Dr. Timothy Berrey, is highly recommendable for anyone! Click here for more info.

I am privileged to be given a chance to read this written work of my professor through the gracious kindness of his dear wife.

Here are my five reasons you should not miss reading this e-book:

1. It’s scholarly written and yet reader-friendly.

Points made in the book are not simply elaborated with explanations but are well-supported by secular and biblical examples.  I can’t deny the fact that the author himself is a well-read person. You will definitely learn more about both prominent and unpopular characters from his readings through his writing!

2. It’s filled with proven ways on how to make decisions.

You will never doubt the ways penned by this author as he and his wife live by them! Just to let you know, my husband and I are witnesses of how they deeply honor God and His word in their decisions. You can also check their website here. Be blessed by their future posts!

3. Its price is quite reasonable.

Click the image for more info.

Go and check more info here. In fact, he has written another book called, “From Eden to Patmos.” I have to confess that I left my copy of that book in the Philippines because I had a 10-kg baggage excess the last time I left the Philippines but I will definitely go back to it as the Lord wills.

4. It’s beneficial for all people regardless of their race or religious background.

How I wish I could just summarize the principles written on the e-book but that will defeat the purpose of this post. I want you to grab your copy and read it by yourself. 🙂 I assure you that the beginning chapter will make you so engaged to reading it that you will want to finish it in one sitting. As the author himself expressed, God wants you to enjoy a blessed life by making the right decisions with the guidance of His word.

5.  It’s a substantial read.

If you are a reader like me, I am certain that your diary or journal will never be left empty, but will be filled with quotable quotes from the author himself. I believe that this work is a fruit of his discipline and family’s prayers. You will never regret reading this.

Since I cannot keep the jewels of wisdom from this e-book to myself, I appeal to you to grab your copy and enjoy the life God has given you!

How about you? What’s the latest book you have been reading? Please share your review with me and I will try to find a way to get a copy of it either from Amazon or any internet site. 🙂

Enjoy your journey with God!

Leaning on Jesus,

5 Life Lessons from Pain

The fact that I am able to write at the moment is a tremendous blessing! I had thought that I would never be able to pen my musings again.

In fact, holding a pen has never been this uncomfortable but I see this as a great privilege to trust God’s sufficient grace as I continue to be His mouthpiece in the form of writing.

As a writer, I couldn’t but reflect upon what I am going through (i.e. healing my injured thumb.) Different thoughts, both positive and negative, run through my mind at times.

I am definitely sure though that it is God’s will for me to saturate my mind with thoughts that are virtuous and praise-worthy (Phil. 4:8) and to remember that this trial of mine is meant to bring forth patience (James 1: 1-4).

Now, what are the other lessons that God is teaching me from this point of my journey?

5 life lessons from pain

 

  1. God has a purpose for this. (Romans 8:28)
    What is God’s purpose for allowing me to go through this pain? To be very honest, that’s beyond my understanding and I have to take this as from Him. I have to trust that He wants His glory out of this experience of mine.
  2. He uses pain to make me appreciate health.
  3. He is the source of health and recovery!

    “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.” Psalm 103:1-3

    If you are like me, going through a healing process, please remember that your other body parts are working normally. Praise God for that! 🙂 Also, remember that our full recuperation may take time but one thing is definite–it will happen in God’s time.

  4. He wants me to move on from this point of my journey continually relying on His might and keep on encouraging others to do the same. Just like a portion in a traditional marriage vow, I must continue to put my faith on my loving God “In sickness and in health.” 
  5. He uses this opportunity to open my eyes and let me see how many people from around the world sincerely care about and pray for me.

For that reason, let me take this opportunity to let you, my dear friends, know that your prayers are greatly appreciated. I have been able to work around my home and write again. My desire is that God will continue to bless you for your prayers for me. Thank you so much. In Bangla, we say, onek dhonno bad. 🙂Thank You!

What are the things that you have been going through at the moment? What are the life lessons you are learning from your spiritual quest? I hope and pray that the five life lessons I am learning from my journey at the moment will be a blessing to you as well.

Leaning on Jesus,

 

 

 

 

 

Deadly Disobedience

“13 So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against the Lord, because of the word of the Lord which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making inquiry of it, 14 and did not inquire of the Lord. Therefore He killed him and turned the kingdom to David the son of Jesse.” 1 Chronicles 10:13-14 (NASB)

There are many causes of people’s death–but all are controlled by God’s will and mysterious purposes.

In the case of Saul, God caused him to die because he did not keep His commandments during His reign. Rather, at one point, he sought a spiritist’s guidance (remember the one in Endor?) This only indicated his lack of faith in the counsel of God in effective leadership of the nation Israel?

How many times have I lacked faith in God’s Word? How many times have I followed a worldly advice as I live this life? Should I believe horoscope or fortune tellers to determine my success in life?

Emptiness in my spiritual life starts when I forget to seek God’s advice. There were, for sure, times in the past when I have followed worldly ideas. Maybe you did too. We all fail at some point of our lives BUT, here is an encouragement for us.

Let's seek Him in His Word daily!

Let’s seek Him in His Word daily!

Oh what a joyful and abundant spiritual life we often forfeit when we follow the world instead of our LORD!

Prayer:
Father, help us to seek only Your advice. Be our guide and give us strength to follow Only You. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen!

5 Verses to Help Us Accept the Unexplained Matters of Life

Be it shattered dreams, unfulfilled expectations, disappointing people or simply unfair circumstances, let’s get real, they are part of life. Life can be unfair sometimes, but God is good.

I recently watched an interesting video of “The Not-So-Sweet Truth About Cabbage Patch Kids.”

In the video, Martha Nelson Thomas’ friends and husband felt that Martha’s intellectual property was stolen by Xavier Roberts. It’s sad. I also wish they could obtain the justice that Martha deserves.

Many a time, incidents like what Martha experienced happen in our personal lives too.

Indeed, situations that are beyond our understanding suck our energy, don’t they? It’s easy to dwell in despondency to think about why they happen.

Hearing the story, some memories of how I have been treated or judged unfairly in the past by some people started flashing back. I know they shouldn’t bother me at all so I have listed down verses that I use to help me accept the unexplained matters of life and I hope that they will help you as well:

5 Verses to Help Us Accept the Unexplained

1. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NASB)

God has allowed whatever circumstance we go through to occur for a reason and all we need is trust His will–yes, even when it’s beyond our understanding. It’s maybe that God will use us to comfort someone in the future who will experience a situation similar to ours. It may also mean being an example to a person who’s been looking up to us as examples of Christians and watching how we would respond to our state. I pray that God will us enough grace to be a blessing to whoever that person is and consequently, cause him to draw nearer to Him and to recognize Jesus as his Saviour, if need be.

2. “Be still and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10 (KJV)

It has the same idea as #1. Being still in this verse has the idea of not letting any thought of doubt but faith when we don’t comprehend what’s going on. It means not worrying about what can be wrong but trusting that God knows what He is doing.

3. “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.’ Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:17-22 (KJV)

It takes a lot of prayers to be able to do this. When people treat or judge us unfairly, all we have to do is trust God to deal with them. Doing the vengeance for ourselves will only ruin Christ’s testimony in us. Let’s just pray for them. And the next verse is so deliberating.

4. “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Proverbs 16:7

Let us remain faithful to God. While it is easy to keep a grudge against someone and rewind whatever happened in our mind, we should focus on pleasing our righteous God. Pleasing Him means loving people even when we are rejected, gossiped about and judged unfairly. Pleasing Him means living out His word in every chance we have  in the midst of uncertainties in life.

5. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

Most of the things that can discourage us are not worth our attention. I am persuaded that the key to overcoming discouragement in our soul is fixing our eyes on Jesus who is our inspiration of someone who endured rejection and all mean treatment by others through faith in the will and wisdom of our Heavenly Father.

What are the unexplained things that you are going through right now? Think on these verses mentioned above and I hope that you and I will have a fresher look at life. Let’s get out of despondency and live a life full of joy and victory in Christ. Let’s look unto Jesus’ example to help us accept the unexplained matters of this life.

How to Win Battles God’s Way

Recently, I caught myself fascinated with what Joanna finds engaging–cartoons. One Friday afternoon, my husband and I joined our daughter in watching “Barbie of Swan Lake.”

There was an interesting portion in the story when Prince Daniel and his mother held a dance ball in Enchanted Forest, their kingdom. They invited Odette, the kindhearted beautiful lady whom Prince Daniel admires to eventually propose marriage to in the presence of many. Little did they know, Rothbart, an evil wizard turned Odette into a swan.

Rothbart and Odile (photo grabbed from fanpop.com)

In the ball, Odile, Rothbart’s daughter disguised herself to be Odette and gracefully danced ballet to a slow and soft mellow music with  Prince Daniel. She acted so stupendously that the prince did not notice her pretension. Amused, the prince made his marriage proposal to her. Surprisingly, Rothbart intervened and revealed the truth after getting what he and his daughter wanted–the marriage proposal from Prince Daniel.

The story went on and as viewers, my family and I were so carried away by the plot. We were inclined to see Odette regaining her physical appearance and power so she can get married with Prince Daniel. Thankfully, that’s what happened in the end. Odette defeated the wicked Rothbart. Eventually, she accepted Prince Daniel’s marriage proposal too!

Odette accepted Prince Daniel’s marriage proposal (grabbed from the internet)

As we saw in that fiction story, there’s this battle between the evil and the good. In most cases, viewers want the good to win and so does God. He wants righteousness through Christ to reign in Christians’ lives.

In our Christian life, we all know that there is a spiritual warfare we have to face every day. While the battle is the LORD’s, we have to inculcate in our hearts and minds that we are God’s spiritual warriors. Praise His name for He never sends us empty-handed.

As I continued reading the book of Joshua in the first half of last month, I realized some helpful tips on how to win battles God’s way.
How to Win Battles God's Way

What three simple steps can we learn from Joshua’s victory in chapter 10 when he and his men attacked and defeated five kings?

1. Remember God’s promises when facing battles.

God knew that Joshua would be afraid to face the five kings. As Joshua consistently sought His guidance and leading, God reminded him of His power and presence.

“The LORD said to Joshua, ‘Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands; not one of them shall stand before you.'” Joshua 10:8 (NASB)

Could Joshua be comforted by God without consulting Him?

How can we be reminded of God’s promises without reading them daily?  God knows very well that we will be discouraged as we face our struggles everyday.

Here’s our first challenge from the life of Joshua: to constantly commune with God to be reminded of His timeless promptings and promises.

What’s next?

2. Be strategic.

“It was told Joshua, saying, ‘The five kings have been found hidden in the cave at Makkedah.’ Joshua said, ‘Roll large stones against the mouth of the cave, and assign men by it to guard them, but do not stay there yourselves; pursue your enemies and attack them in the rear. Do not allow them to enter their cities, for the Lord your God has delivered them into your hand.’” Joshua 10:17-19 NASB [emphasis mine]

Being strategic involves identifying our enemies and thinking of ways to combat them.  I believe that our enemies come in disguise. They can be bad habits (e.g. procrastination, love of sleep, lack of discipline and consistency in doing duties, poor time and money management, etc.), addiction, idolatry, pull of this world, negative emotions such as anger, fear, doubt, jealousy and so on. Someone even succinctly said that “Your worst enemy is yourself.”

Here’s a case study for us. Let’s say my love of sleep leads to my negligence of my Quiet Time with God. What are the strategies I can do to overcome my love of sleep? Yes! I should pray for God’s grace to abound in my weakness, make sure I hit the sack early, set my alarm clock, wake up early the next morning, go to my chosen private place where I can meditate upon God’s word and enjoy my fellowship with Him there. 🙂

Here’s the next step.

3. Be courageous enough to kill your enemies.

Let’s see what Joshua said to his army when they were face-to-face with the five kings they were supposed to kill,

When they brought these kings out to Joshua, Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said to the chiefs of the men of war who had gone with him, ‘Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings.’ So they came near and put their feet on their necks. Joshua then said to them, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed! Be strong and courageous, for thus the Lord will do to all your enemies with whom you fight.’ So afterward Joshua struck them and put them to death, and he hanged them on five trees; and they hung on the trees until evening.” Joshua 10:24-26 [emphasis mine]

Killing our enemies (e.g. bad habits, idolatry, addiction, etc.) simply means surrendering them to the Lord and mortifying these fleshly habits in all possible ways. It means putting off these bad habits and replacing them with God-pleasing ones.

I know my struggles everyday and you know yours, my dear friends. I hope and pray that Joshua’s testimony became a blessing to you as it did to me. Let’s remember God’s promises, be strategic and be courageous enough to kill our enemies so we can win our battles God’s way.

Leaning on Jesus,

Why We Should Not Rainbow-fy Our Profile Photos on Facebook

Why I Would Not Ranbow-fy My Profile

Today at lunch, I checked my Facebook account to see if I have messages from friends I got in contact with lately. I checked a few posts and saw that many are saddened by the news that the US Supreme Court had affirmed Gay Marriage. It’s heartbreaking, I know.

Then there’s something else that caught my attention–the rainbow-fied profile photos of some of my friends. My first thought was why this is the new trend from today.

I searched for the answer on the internet and this explained why everyone is changing their profile photos into a rainbow-fied one. What I found was shocking.

Friends, did you know that rainbow-fying your profile photos means that you are celebrating the affirmation of gay marriage with pride?

I may get bashed for what I am about to say, but I am persuaded that rainbow-fying profile photos on Facebook is not for us, Christians who claim to love and worship a holy God. If we know that we have been born again by faith in Jesus Christ, then we should make a difference by not being conformed to whatever is trendy. 

This reminds me of one beautiful quote by Albert Einstein–

“What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.”

Here’s a few verses that we also have to keep in mind:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform 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.” ~Roman 12:1-2 [emphasis mine]

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” ~1 Peter 1: 14-16 [emphasis mine]

I may quote many other verses that urge believers of Christ to abstain from all forms of ungodliness but here is my loving plea, let’s be careful with our simple choices. These careless choices may cause people to think that we are in favor of what God calls abominable. If we care for and love the souls of the unsaved, we should not rainbow-fy our profile photos on Facebook.

Leaning on Jesus, (2)