barnabas.in : Alexi George

Short and Long Term Effects of Sufferings

Suffering produces short term responses and long term effects. The trouble is that during the process, we begin to feel like our fate is sealed.

The most common short term response is doubt expressed through questioning. We question God, people, and ultimately life itself. If we allow ourselves to continue on this track, we can become cynical and closed to input from others and God.

For some, their response is anger. Anger may be expressed outwardly where the person behaves like a short-fuse ready to blow at any moment. Periodically they may “explode” and cause others to pull away from such a person. Others suppress the anger within themselves. No one knows it’s there, but it slowly takes its toll on the person’s mind and body.

Still others respond with deep sorrow and pain. They pull away from others and allow the sorrow to pull them down into a deep pit. This cycle of sorrow, pain, and seclusion continues to repeat itself and finally this person may end up in depression.

Jesus responded to suffering by turning to His Father. His prayers were with loud cries and tears. He was heard because of his reverent submission (Heb 5:7). The next verse reveals that Jesus learned obedience through what He suffered.

While you suffer, turn to the Father and pour your heart out to Him. Put aside everything else and turn to Him again and again. He will hear you. Then in the long run, He will teach you — what you need to learn.

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website.

—————

* Book recommendations on various topics I write on are available at my Resources Page.

** For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.

My Books:


See all posts »

Turning 50 – Life is a Setup

For years I was confused with comparing our struggles with the sufferings of Jesus. He already knew that he was born to die. He knew that he would resurrect after his sufferings and death. Then his next step would be a guaranteed position at the right hand of the Father in Heaven.

So, ultimately, Jesus’ life was a “setup.” All along, he knew the script. The sufferings, crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and his seat at the Father’s right hand was all a complete setup. He knew the outcome all along. Not fair!

But is it any different for us? For those who have given their lives to God by faith in Jesus Christ, life is a “setup.” We will all suffer, and one day we will die. The Bible promises a resurrection followed by an ascension to heaven. It goes on to say that we are seated with Christ in heaven. And since Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, and we are seated with Jesus, it follows that we are also seated at the right hand of the Father.

This realization has given me a new perspective on life as I turn 50 in a few days. My life is truly a “setup” as I have a guaranteed set of events and outcomes in the future.

I look forward to living my life with confidence and not fear. My future is bright. Not because there is clarity about the events that may occur in the next few decades, but because I have complete trust in the Father. He will lead me on in pain, struggles, sorrows, and lots of sweet victories.

What about your struggles and brokenness? Remember the pain that never seems to go away? And the losses? Too deep to talk about?

Remember your destiny, and give your losses a new meaning. It’s not the end.

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website.

—————

* If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with others by using the buttons below.

* Book recommendations on various topics I write on are available at my Resources Page.

* For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.

My Books:


See all posts »

Life Reproduces What’s in Your Heart

Those with the craziest and wildest dreams are the ones who seem to do something substantial with their lives. As for the rest of us, we simply make a living and take care of our responsibilities.

635903024665226618-1622572338_sunset-person

One such wild and crazy dreamer was Jacob. He had the idea of “purchasing” his older brother’s birthright — which was practically and logically impossible to do. But Jacob made good on that purchase by ultimately procuring the final and ultimate blessings from his father, which should have gone to his elder brother.

Later, while working for his father-in-law for a long two decades, he had another impossible dream. He made the deal with Laban that his wages would consist of all the streaked, speckled, and spotted animals among the sheep and goats. Then he went about trying to increase the reproduction of the streaked, speckled, and spotted ones.

When these animals mated, he stripped the bark off from branches and placed them in sight of the animals. He figured that if the animals saw these branches while they mated, they would reproduce streaked, speckled, and spotted young ones. This, of course, would increase his wealth.

While this is a completely an illogical and impossible plan, it worked for him! More streaked, speckled, and spotted animals were born. Although we don’t know how this could have happened, we know this is exactly what was in his heart. That was the driving passion of his heart.

What’s in your heart? Focus on it, pray for it, and move towards it. No matter how crazy and wild, put it before you.

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website.

—————

* Book recommendations on various topics I write on are available at my Resources Page.

** For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.

My Books:


See all posts »

The Ultimate Release at Communion

I looked out at the audience as the people waited for the communion to be served. My mind flashed through all the various issues we face: Guilt, pain, rejection, injustice, and other factors that seem to grip the souls of people.

images (1)

As the communion was served, I realized we were taking part in something greater and more awesome than the sum of all our combined struggles. The creator of the universe has come in human form and humbled himself to the lowest levels.

The genuine humility of Jesus challenged the pride, arrogance, and violence of humanity. Throughout history, pride has been challenged with greater pride, arrogance with more arrogance, and each negative has been countered with more of the same. Only Jesus was able to challenge these with His humility.

But His humility is different. It comes in the context of the greatest levels of power that is imaginable. No other force can surpass His — yet He chose to respond in humility. His ultimate act of humility was to offer up His own body to be sacrificed.

The sinless one was sacrificed for us sinners. The most powerful one laid down His power to die in humility and meekness — for me, the prideful, arrogant, selfish sinner.

My pride, arrogance, and selfishness has brought me guilt, pain, rejection, injustice, and other factors that reveal my true brokenness. But through His humility, Jesus has brought me healing. His healing brings wholeness in place of all my brokenness.

As I served communion that day, my eyes were full as I realized the extent of what this table represents. My brokenness — our brokenness, exchanged for His wholeness.

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website.

—————

* Book recommendations on various topics I write on are available at my Resources Page.

** For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.

My Books:


See all posts »

The Fear That Grips You

Fear grips our souls like none other. It keeps us bound to things we would never want to acknowledge — sickness, undesirable relationships, habits, thought patterns, and a host of other undesirables.

images

Fear keeps you pinned down to a lie. A lie that says you are good for nothing, you don’t have a future, and that whatever you try will be hopeless. But Jesus said that you’ll know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:32).

Once fear has a grip on you and you continue on that track, it ultimately will lead you to the greatest of all fears, the fear of death. Once the fear of death has a grip on you, it will gradually begin to take control of various aspects of your life. ultimately it will get a hold of your health.

The fear of death will make you its slave. For many, it becomes a lifelong bondage of fear. But the Bible says that through His death, Jesus destroyed the one who has the power of death, the Devil.

So now, the Devil has been “destroyed” and his power has been stripped off by Jesus. Now, through the fear of death, the Devil continues to put people into lifelong slavery and bondage (Hebrews 2:14-15).

The fear that grips your heart is much beyond a simple fear that seems to have lots of effect on you. It is a diabolical ploy to hold you in lifelong bondage through nothing but fear. That is the only true power Satan has — the power gained through fear of death — which is a complete lie.

The truth is, Jesus has already won the victory — you are on the winning side.

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website.

—————

* Book recommendations on various topics I write on are available at my Resources Page.

** For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.

My Books:


See all posts »

The World You Leave Behind

The future of the world is quite uncertain. For many, this is a matter of serious concern. The increasing threat of terrorism puts fear into the hearts of those who live in peaceful situations. Global warming, school shootings, human trafficking, slavery, natural calamities and a host of other factors that are beyond our control cause confusion in our hearts.

world in hand

For some, they are completely oblivious to all that goes on throughout the world. They simply look away and continue with their daily tasks.

What kind of a world are we leaving behind for the next generation? Many of us may not be around to witness the outcome of all these dangerous situations and others that are brewing throughout the world. This could be a way of “escape” or a way to ignore reality. But we must not ignore this moral responsibility placed on us as part of this current generation. What will we do? How will we take responsible action to benefit the generations that follow?

For generations, people have attempted to bring correction and order in this world. The quest and attempt to change things must continue. That is part of our moral responsibility. But at the same time, we acknowledge the reality that these things are ongoing attempts, but not the ultimate solution.

The Bible says that Jesus sustains the universe with His powerful word (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus can sustain the universe with His word because He is the one through whom God created the universe (John 1:3). His word spoke everything into existence, and his powerful word will continue to sustain everything.

The world you leave behind is a serious concern for many. And rightly so. We need to be responsible citizens of the planet and be concerned about the world we leave behind for our children.

But ultimately, it is God who created this world, and He will sustain it for future generations.

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website.

—————

* Book recommendations on various topics I write on are available at my Resources Page.

** For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.

My Books:


See all posts »

Calculated Losses

Do you describe your life as a life of losses? You look back and see a trail of losses. The losses may have occurred in relationships, money, honour, and a host of other factors. These losses are a reality of your past, and it seems to grip your present just as much as it had a hold on your past.

loss

More than twenty years ago I worked for a company that put much effort into keeping their losses (shrinkage) down way below 2%. Each year, as the company went through its annual inventory, they meticulously combed through every piece of item in the store. But they knew that through theft, breakage, and paperwork errors, they would surely incur losses.

Throughout the year they worked hard to keep the losses down, but they knew they had to factor in such losses. For them, it was part of doing business.

I’ve realized now that losses in life must be factored in to my life’s “account” too. I’ve got to learn to accept losses as a part of living this life. As long as we don’t’ accept this reality, we will continue to live in the past. We get a new calendar each year, but our lives remain in the former years. We leave our hearts behind somewhere in the past.

Once we accept losses as a part of this life, we can begin to move forward in life. The possibilities become endless. Otherwise our losses weigh us down and we won’t be able to move forward with life.

Calculate the losses, set them aside, and let’s move forward.

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website.

—————

* Book recommendations on various topics I write on are available at my Resources Page.

** For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.

My Books:


See all posts »

Always Prefer Outdated Medicines

As I cleaned out the night table next to the bed, I found the medicine that the doctor had prescribed for me to use when the condition flares up occasionally. He had prescribed some extra for me to store up. The package was dusty, and torn. When I looked carefully, I realized it had expired more than a year ago.

medicines-l

That’s when I remembered my anxious thoughts several years ago when the doctors said this condition will gradually get worse. They said that I could maintain a fairly normal life by being careful to take care of myself.

As these thoughts came up in my mind, I was holding several outdated medicines, remembering how regularly I was dependent on those. I made sure to purchase extra so that I’ll never be without them.

Now I was elated to realize that I must have purchased them over two years ago. Now, for more than two years, I’ve enjoyed God’s healing and restoration. I am still learning to be dependent on Him more than ever.

While I am grateful for the healing, I also remember the years I experienced the struggle. As there was no hope for a normal future for me, I had been living on a very short deadline of just a few years. Only a few years were left for me to live a normal life. Somehow, I was the recipient of God’s mercy as I received the healing.

But I realize there are those who never experience the healing here in this life. For them, it may be the experience of being permanently broken (Click the link to view the post). Their healing may only occur in the next life with Jesus in eternity.

Only because I am a recipient of God’s mercy I’ve been healed. Thus I get to write about outdated medicines!

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website.

—————

* Book recommendations on various topics I write on are available at my Resources Page.

** For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.


See all posts »

A Wealthy Poor Man and His Expense Account

How generous is your expense account? How large do want it to be? It doesn’t come out of your account any way. It bypasses your pocket.

92572372

Paul was encouraging Philemon to take back his runaway slave, Onesimus. Through Paul, Onesimus had accepted Christ and had become Paul’s “son” and “brother” in Christ.

Obviously Paul understood that Onesimus has wronged his master in numerous ways. Now paul says: “If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to my account” (Philemon 18).

What account? Paul was a man who owned very little on this earth. His possessions were just a change of clothes and a few books. But his “expense account” was huge.

Over the years, Paul invested himself by way of the gospel, into the lives of many people. Although Paul owned no possessions in this world, the investments he made into the lives of people had paid great dividends.

Wherever Paul traveled, he invested himself into the lives of others. He had no worries about his future or financial stability because he left a trail of highly valuable investments.

Paul said, “…I, Paul, will pay you back. I should not have to remind you, of course, that you owe your very self to me” (Philemon 19). Such life changing impact was the investment Paul made into the lives of people.

Possibly one of the greatest investments we can make are investments into people’s lives.

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website.

—————

* Book recommendations on various topics I write on are available at my Resources Page.

** For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.

My Books:


See all posts »

Speak No Evil and Be Kind

What about those people who are clearly evil doers? Some are regularly involved in activities that are divisive and dangerous, but continue in public like a nice, wonderful person.

images

Some of the instructions in the Bible are quite difficult to understand, and even more difficult to follow. Paul instructs Timothy to teach people “to speak evil of no one” (Titus 3:2 ESV).

How should we understand this instruction? Does it suggest that we are to remain silent about all the evil that goes on around us? Surely someone needs to point out the things that need to change. But we can avoid direct personal attacks. Even if they are wrong, we can take a different approach.

Those who do wrong, those who do evil, clearly know that they are doing wrong. When we tell them, we are only informing them of something they already know. Normally, this just drives people away from us and does nothing to solve the problem.  When we make a public statement about that person and their misdeeds, we again are simply notifying people what they already know. Again, it will drive that person and many others away from us. Thus we diminish the opportunity we have to influence them.

Paul qualifies his statement by saying: “Always show a gentle attitude toward everyone. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient and wrong” (Titus 3:2b-3a). The reason for gentleness is that we were once just like these evildoers.

It was the “kindness and love of God our Savior” that saved us and transformed our lives. Many commonly think such an attitude will only allow for more of their evil deeds.

But God’s approach to transform people is different from ours. So, it’s time to think differently, behave differently, and speak differently.

Speak no evil, and be kind.

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website.

—————

* Book recommendations on various topics I write on are available at my Resources Page.

** For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.

 


See all posts »

Subscribe: rss | email | twitter | Facebook

%d bloggers like this: