Posted in Faith Foundation

The Gospel

Introduction
Today’s post is by a guest writer, Zeke Nelson.

One of the things that have helped me live-out my Christian faith is by reading the Bible (if you are having an issue with getting through the bible, I have a post on that as well). As I was reading the bible on an everyday basis, the story it contained about Jesus Christ, became more and more my own story. That might not make any sense at the moment, but it will later on.

I believe that understanding the gospel as a Christian, accepting, and embracing it, is what makes the difference in following the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ. I believe it is the key to get past the issues that keep us from becoming devoted Christians, and the key for a none believer to find their way to Christ.

Today’s post is written by Zeke, because I believe that he can explain it much better than I can. The gospel is such a crucial thing in the Christian belief, that I didn’t want to mess it up. I have met a lot of believers who claim to be Christians without having any idea about what the gospel is. The danger of claiming to be a Christ-follower, without understanding the gospel, or without making an effort to understand the gospel is that we end up with a god who is more like a genie in the bottle.

My prayer is that you may read this with an open mind and receiving heart. The gospel is a story that has changed the lives of so many people around the world, and still does till today. And don’t be afraid to read it a couple of times, I had to read it more than once as well.

What is the Gospel?
The gospel is a story. The gospel is an announcement. The gospel is a person.

This is not the only way to explain and summarize the gospel, but it is a helpful place to start. I will explain each of the three points and show the significance of this good news to us as we go.

The gospel is a story
It is the story of the Bible, which is the story of Jesus. And it can become our story. The book of Acts tells about a time when a man named Philip was led by the Spirit of God to approach a man from Ethiopia traveling in a chariot. Philip asked the man if he understood what he was reading from the prophet Isaiah. “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” He was reading from Isaiah 53, a well-known passage about the “Suffering Servant.” We are told that “Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus” (Acts 8:26-40).

That particular passage of Scripture happens to speak quite clearly about Christ if it is explained, as the Ethiopian wished. The passage also happens to apply with particular power to this man. “Who can speak of his descendants?” the passage asks. This man, as a eunuch, would have no descendants himself. He heard Philip tell the story of Jesus and immediately asked to be baptized, making the story his own. The suffering servant with no descendants became the Eunuch’s Savior.

This passage was an especially good starting place for telling the good news about Jesus, but Philip could have started with any passage of Scripture because the Scripture tells a single, overarching story. The law, the prophets, the history, the poetry and prayers, all the individual lives, and individual stories exist within and makeup one sprawling story. Philip could have started telling “the good news about Jesus” from any passage in the Bible.

My local church during college was founded by a missionary. He returned once to preach. I don’t know if I have ever been so locked-into a sermon. “Wherever you cut the Bible,” he said, “it bleeds mission.” He meant that there is a unity in the Bible. It tells one story, the mission of God in the world. That is the story that Philip told the seeker from Ethiopia.

Our own lives take the shape of a story. We have an individual story, which takes place within the story of a family, the story of a nation, the story of the world. Our stories have a beginning, middle, and end. But imagine being put on the stage to perform a play, but no character and no script are assigned to you. We are left to discover our identity in this great drama. We have to improvise our lines. Here you are on the earth, but what is your part to play? What is your character? What are your lines? What is the plot?

Knowing the big story gives a place to our little stories. When we know the story of God, then we begin to understand the storyline of our lives. The effect is electrifying. First is that we are absolutely humbled. We are not the kings and queens we thought we were. In fact, we have lost the plot, missed our lines, pushed other characters off the stage. But the second part is this: God actually intended that we would-be kings and queens all along – we are meant to reign with him – and he has not given up on that purpose. We’ll come back to that after looking at the second piece of the gospel, which is an announcement.

The Gospel is an Announcement
Just before the section about the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53 is another well-known verse: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” (Isaiah 52:7). The passage envisions a messenger coming with an eagerly awaited announcement. As nations at war await news of victory, so the people of God awaited this announcement: “Your God reigns.” To put it slightly differently, the messenger announced: “God is king.” There are many human and spiritual entities aspiring for the highest throne. Thankfully, it will be denied them, because all of them would be dictators and tyrants. God alone is king.

The preaching and teaching of Jesus were focused on the kingdom of God. Many of his parables illustrated some aspect of God’s kingdom. He called his followers to seek the kingdom of God, to live as citizens of the kingdom of God. Every kingdom has its king. Isaiah stated that God is king. The followers of Jesus agreed, but they included Jesus in their monotheistic faith. The one God includes Jesus, who is the world’s true king.

On the day of Pentecost, the Spirit came like fire upon those gathered. The apostle Peter explained the startling fact that everyone at the festival heard the wonders of God proclaimed in their native languages. It was the pouring out of God’s Spirit, he said. But Peter quickly moved on to explain the background and the significance of this poured-out Spirit. He focused on Jesus, who was crucified but raised from death. He concluded his sermon, “God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah” (Acts 2:36).

Peter announces the good news: Jesus is Messiah and Lord. The apostle Paul agrees that Jesus is Lord. Messiah meant the anointed king, the savior. Lord meant king or emperor. Jesus is all of those. Kanye West got it right: Christ Is King.

What does this mean for us? In 1 Corinthians 15, the apostle Paul reminds his readers, “What I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures…” (1 Corinthians 15:3). Notice that the announcement refers to the story of the Scriptures. And notice the implication for us: he died for our sins. Included in the announcement that Christ is king are the concepts of atonement, justification by faith, sanctification, being renewed in the image of God. And we cannot leave out the resurrection, which ensures our own sharing in the eternal life and love of God in a new creation.

By the way, this definition of the gospel as a story, announcement, and person excludes two common false gospels, which are not good news at all. The first says to follow the rules, which is legalism. The second says follow your heart, which is license. Both of these are destructive. I have seen people first try one, burn out, and try the other. Sometimes people bounce back and forth multiple times before coming to rest on the solid ground of the gospel announcement: the grace of God. Grace is deeper, more threatening, but far more thrillingly life-giving than follow the rules or follow your heart. Instead, follow Christ. He does expect our obedience, but he gives us the strength. He also reshapes our hearts to want the right things. Already I am trying to squeeze in too much. This is intended to be a summary of the gospel.

The way Jesus was revealed as king is worthy of wonder. Here we touchback on the fact the gospel is a story. The long story of the world is focused in the story of the people of Israel, who were expecting the Messiah to come and bring salvation, making things right in the world. When the Messiah did come, he surprised even his followers by stating that his mission was to suffer, die, and rise from the dead. By suffering and dying, Jesus shows that God is a God of love. The kingship of Jesus is characterized by love. In the depths of human weakness, Jesus reveals the power of God. He dies for our sins and death is defeated. This story, this history, becomes the announcement, “Jesus is Lord.” Those who believe in and follow Christ share in his victory, his life, his love. “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” the apostle Paul wrote (Romans 8:1). No condemnation! What good news for a depressed, anxious, fearful world!

The announcement refers to the story, and the story leads to the announcement. So perhaps it would have been more accurate for me to say that the gospel is an announcement within a story. Or we could simply say that the gospel is a person, which implies both the story and the announcement.

The Gospel is a Person
A story, an announcement, and the included concepts like atonement and justification – they are wonderful news, but they can remain like printed words on a page – interesting information – if we don’t come to know the living person who embodies them. The longing of the apostle Paul was not to live his story better, to be his “best self,” as people say, or even to be justified. His desire was to “know Christ” (Philippians 3:10). That desire to know Jesus the Messiah naturally included gaining righteousness that came not from himself but from Christ, just as it also included the expectation of sharing in Christ’s resurrection. The point, though, is that Paul did not long for concepts, he longed for Christ himself. The good news is the person of Jesus himself. What Christians long for and look forward to is being with Christ.

As we began to see in the sections on story and announcement, God is Father, Son, and Spirit. The Father sent the Son, who gave his life for us, then poured out the Spirit from his exalted throne in heaven. The Bible tells us over and over that God loves the world. We are even told that God is love. This statement about the essence of God can be true because God exists as a Trinity. There is a relationship of love between the Father and Son. The Father is invisible and in some sense unknowable. The Son, who became a human being, reveals the Father to us.

God is king. What is this king like? God wrote himself into the story: the person of Jesus Christ entered the creation as a human being. Jesus shows us a God who loves with such an intensity that he is willing to suffer and die. Jesus shows us a God who conquers death and wins our hearts, our faith, our allegiance.

The gospel is Jesus Christ himself. Our longing and desire are for him. “Come Lord Jesus” are the concluding words of the Bible’s final book. Until the time when our longing is fulfilled and we see the king face to face, we have work to do. The gospel of Matthew concludes with Jesus saying, “All authority on heaven and earth has been given to me.” He is king! In his authority Jesus sends out his apostles and his church, saying, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…”

For more from Zeke Nelson, you can go to www.explorationandcontemplation.com

Posted in Life Lessons

Do you have identity issues?

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Psalms 139: 13 – 16

Have you ever felt left out? Have you ever feel like you had to be someone else or act in a certain way to fit in with a group of people you liked? Have you ever felt like something is wrong with you because for some reason you rub people the wrong way? Not because you are a mean and bad person, but because you are different…?

I have been asked to leave homes because I was different, have lost friendships because I reason differently, have been called names because I analyze things differently. People have defined me as rude because I like to get to the point, difficult because I like to have clarity, irritating because I ask too many questions, antisocial because I am a quiet person, not loving because I express my love differently, stingy because I don’t like to spend money on the things they like, I could go on for a while but let me leave it at that for now.

After a while, I noticed that I had accepted these things as who I am. I started introducing myself as an antisocial person or as an annoying person because I tend to ask a lot of questions and apologizing for it beforehand. Now and then I met someone who would tell me that being quiet didn’t mean I’m antisocial or that having a lot of questions wasn’t annoying but interesting. So, depending on who the others are, certain personalities or characteristics are interpreted differently.

As a Christian, I have the habit of starting my day with a morning devotional which includes reading the Word, meditating and journaling. One day as I was meditating on who I am, intending to know who I wanted to be. As I was journaling The Holy Spirit* reminded me who I used to be. He helped me see the things that stood out about me as a young child, like, courageous, honesty, openness and friendliness. This is one of the attribute of The Holy Spirit. They were things I had lost sight of because they were not appreciated or recognized as valuable. They were seen and experienced as annoying. I started writing down all the labels I had received including everything I knew myself to be.

I don’t deny what they were saying about me, but The Holy Spirit helped me see them from a different point of view. Not as something bad, but as something good depending on how one viewed them. When I started to see them from a positive point of view, I could accept them as who I am.

If we are not careful, we will go through life claiming personalities and characteristics that others have given to us. The world is always ready to tell you who you are if you let them. They will define you based on a snapshot of what you said, did or didn’t do.

Some people don’t ever take time to know who they are and end-up going through life with a twisted point of view of who they are or are not. It is of great importance that we take time to know who we are. There is great joy and peace in having that knowlegde. It makes it easier to also know where we want to go, which on it’s own helps us discern our priorities. Which ofcouse is very important for our existances.

So, will you depend on others and the world to tell you who are or will you let the spirit of God our Father guide you into who you truly are?

You have searched me, Lord,and you know me.

* The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God that lives in born again Christians. Who functions as a guardian.

Posted in Interviews

“Big dreams with a even bigger God”

This is my way of giving something back to my Savior, of course it’s nothing compared to what He did on the cross, but I know it’s because of his blood and bruises that I am healed.

Who is Lenaa I AM in one sentence?

A young woman with big dreams with a bigger God.


What is the inspiration for your name?


Before I started as a solo artist, I wanted to start as a duo with my younger sister. We were planning to go by the name “Linaa Lenaa”. But we didn’t continue with that project because even though my younger sister loved music, she wanted to focus on other things. I was in my feelings about the situation. So, one day I decided to pray about it. I was very nervous because I had to change the vision and I felt like I wasn’t good/talented enough to go out there as a solo artist. While I was praying, I strongly felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. He started to speak to me, and I remember asking Him this question: “Every song I’ve written is a duet, how am I going to do this?” And He replied: “I AM your duo now, you and me. You will not be alone because I am with you.” Then He led me to the book of Exodus 3:14 “God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” So that night instead of “Linaa Lenaa” it became “Lenaa I AM” As in Lenaa and The Great I AM.

Why did you choose to become a Gospel singer instead of a mainstream music singer? And was it a difficult decision?


This is my way of giving something back to my Savior, of course it’s nothing compared to what He did on the cross, but I know it’s because of his blood and bruises that I am healed. He changed me, and a lot of my old/bad habits, took me out of depression, and many other situations. He changed me from the inside out (He’s still working on me daily btw). His love is pure and unconditional. So, the question is why not become a Gospel singer?

As a Gospel singer, how do you perceive mainstream music?


I believe it’s important to have a personal relationship with God because the works of the Holy Spirit is always on a personal level. I always ask myself the questions: “Is it beneficial? Does it affect my spirit? Change my mood? or does it distract me from the things God told me to do?” I think it’s something you need to figure out for yourself and be honest about it. 

I know that you recently brought out your single “Lost” what would you say is the inspiration of this song?


My single “Lost” was my prayer, it was a cry to God, whom I needed at that moment. So, I guess I would say, my difficulties.


Who would you say is your greatest inspiration?


Mary Mary, a gospel duo, who played a big part in the lives of my little sister and I. That’s why I came up with the duo “Linaa Lenaa” in the first place. They were one of the biggest gospel artists that I knew. I always loved the way they sang, and how they always came up with new sounds.

What is your goal as an Artiest?


My Goal is to enlarge the kingdom of God, motivating people by introducing them to Jesus Christ and bringing them joy, peace and hope and all the other good stuff that comes with having Christ in your life. Also, to show others that you really can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.


What would you say to anyone who is struggling to decide to follow their dreams even though it might be a risky dream?

Just do it. Get out of your head, don’t look at what you have or don’t have, and don’t look at your weaknesses. Start to find strength/positivity in your weaknesses because God Has already giving you the tools that you need. And spend a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot of time with the Lord and His Word, and just do it!

Do you worry about not succeeding?


To be honest I used to, even until a few weeks ago. But not anymore because I know who I am.

Posted in Spiritual Discipline

Daniel Fast Journey 2020

I will start off saying that this fast really wasn’t half as easy as I thought It would be. Which I’m glad about because if it would have been easy it, wouldn’t have been a fast. I thought it would be easy because I love fruits and I barely buy any snacks at all. So, yes it wasn’t hard during the time I was at home. You can probably already guess it…
Things got harder the times I was outside, either at work, with families or during the times I was doing a specific activity during which I had the habit of snacking, like reading for an example.

I was very motivated and ready to go for it in the first and a half weeks. The second half of that week and the last week were a lot harder, especially the last week. I found myself losing a lot of focus during those weeks. Which is a shame, but that’s the struggle of a long fast.

When you scroll down, you will see the things I fasted for and the lessons I received in each area. I hope that these lessons can also be off help to you.

I fasted for:

  • Growth in my prayer life:
    • schedule it on a specific time
    • use bible verses to pray with
    • you can start praying from the inside-out or the outside-in. Meaning: you can start praying for yourself and end with praying for others. That would be from the inside-out, or you can pray the other way around.
    • Prayer is realizing you need God.
    • An essential element of humility = prayer.
    • 2 Chronicles 15:2 The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. 
    • When you pray, you’re not begging God. You’ve been invited to ask, seek and knock. Matthew 7:7
  • Become more zealous for Christ:
    • James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
      • This specific vers helped me truly realized where the heart of God lies. For a very long time, I’ve mixed God’s priority with the world’s priority one way or another which lead me to make things very complicated for myself. I can now start focussing on the things that are truly important to God. I must say that reading the Bible also helped me to get more insight into these things.
  • Proverbs 29:18 … Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law. (Where there is no vision people perish)
    • I came across this verse while listening to a sermon of MK form TC and he once more reminded me of the importance of knowing where am going, knowing what the goal is. Because the things of the world and the things of God get mixed-up so easily these days, it helps to know what your goal/vision is in life.
  • Matthew 5: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. 14  “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
    • Being the SALT of the earth means being valuable, common, indispensable, and useful. (Zeke AIPC)
    • Being the LIGHT of the world means that you are important and that the world needs your light to shine bright, not to be deemed or hidden. (Zeke AIPC)
    • This teaching has once more anchored my Identity in Christ!
  • Growth in holiness and purity:
    • If you don’t admit that your weakness is real, you can’t ever be strong in that area. (Mike T. TC)
    • My weakness is only a weakness if I’m trying to do things in my own strength. But it becomes a gift if I do things being aware the grace of God in my life. (Charles TC)
    • This fast made me realize that even though I really desire to become holy, pure and blameless before God, I can’t do it with my own strength. I need God’s help.

The lesson that kept repeating over and over again was the importance of the things I exposed my eyes to. I noticed again and again how much that influent me above all other things.

I didn’t pray for things that I can receive directly. They’re things that take time to cultivate. So, as you can read, God gave me instructions on how I can achieve these things over time. As you also may have seen, they’re things that have a lot to do with my current state. Things I can start doing if I want to get to that goal.

Sometimes when we request something from God, the most important part can be that we must change certain things in our lives first or change a certain mindset before we can achieve/receive our request.

Posted in Spiritual Discipline

How to easily get through your Bible

Two years ago I got sick and tired of being a mediocre Christian. I saw others growing around me and as much as I wished I was growing as they were, I wasn’t ready to do what I knew it took to grow. When I decided to grow, be better and do better as a Christian, I knew I had to do more…

Reasons why I wanted to be committed to every day Bible reading:

  1. wanting to understand: At a certain moment, I wanted to get more out of the sermons that I listened to. Because I didn’t know the stories in the Bible, I couldn’t always follow what was being said or understand the underlying meaning of things.
  2. Conviction: I started to feel a little phony whenever I would say that I am a Christian because I knew that I honestly barely knew anything of what I was proclaiming to be.
  3. Desire: As my love for God and (little by little) my knowledge of God was growing, I started desiring to know Him. I wanted to able to understand what I already knew, and I wanted to know what I didn’t know.

Reading the Bible in 2 years wasn’t that much of a hassle as I thought It would be. I didn’t plan to read the Bible in 2 years. It actually sorts of happened. I just decided to commit to reading the Bible every single day in 2018, and it happened that I could read through it that way in 2 years.

I believe you can already see that if I truly read the Bible every single day, I would’ve finished it way earlier then 2 years. I didn’t read the Bible every single day because of the hassle of everyday life, but whenever I would slacked off, I would pick myself back up and recommit myself. The funny thing is that you actually DO notice when your spirit is running low because The Holy Spirit feeds on prayer and The Word. So, when you stop doing that, you starve The Spirit of God in you, and that was my alarm every single time.

How I did it practically:

These are the Bible reading plans that have helped me to read through my Bible these past 2 years. They pretty much cover the whole Bible. I really can’t recommend the Youversion Bible app or at Bible. com enough. It’s such an amazing tool that has helped me through so many subjects. Some I’ve read alone, and others I read with friends.

  • The Old Testament – The books of History
  • The Old Testament – The books of Wisdom
  • The Old Testament – Major Prophets
  • The Old Testament – Minor Prophets
  • 60 day New Testament Journey

What I also found very helpful was that there is also an option to listen to the Bible. A lot of the translations have this option, but not every single one of them yet. This has been such an effective tool for a day-dreamer like me. Depending on what time I had to be somewhere, work, school or an appointment, I would get up very early. I found myself to be most productive in the mornings so, reading the Bible during that time is the easiest for me. But the very 1h30m, I really can’t concentrate. I day-dream a lot! Listening and reading along have helped me to be productive even during those moments. Besides that, it’s a great way to hear the Word of God for people who can’t read.

If reading through the Bible is too big of a jump for you, the Youversion Bible app also has reading plans on subjects, and you can search for any subject you wish. For example worry, focus, decisions, prayer, love, faith, etc. It’s all up to you.

Benefits of having read the whole Bible one’s:

  • There haven’t been any sermon that I found difficult to follow or understand.
    • Why is this important: If you don’t know the word of God you will be like a wave going from left to right and back and forth. Anyone can tell you anything, and you will believe it because you don’t know better anyway. This is why being a Prophet in this generation makes so much money, the people can’t even distinguish between false or right teaching.
  • I have come to know Jesus and God the Father way better than before which has rooted my faith even more.
    • Why is this important: Knowing the word of God is like water to a plant for a Christian. If we don’t get that water, we dry up and every little wind that comes by just swipes us up like a feather. Bye-bye, perseverance.
  • I can now distinguish between a false and sincere servant of God through what they preach.
    • Why is this important: Because there are so many false teachers out there today, this would be one of the most important lessons I’ve learned through knowing the Bible. Believe it or not, but a lot of Christians today perish because of a lack of knowledge which is honestly a shame because we have all the researches that we need right under our nose. Hosea 4: 6 My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge…

These are not condemnations, but my very own experiences and things I’ve seen around me in Christian communities.

Reading the Bible is not something you do based on wishful thinking. It’s a commitment you make followed up by discipline. Life will always give you reasons why you don’t have time to read the Word of God. But the Bible teaches in Matthew 4:4 But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. So, Don’t be fooled.

So, to sum it all up:
Having a good reason why you want to read the Bible is very crucial. Like everything else we want to achieve I guess. When the ‘why’ is settled and clear, it will be a lot easier to commit to the goal.

I would very much like it if you didn’t take my word of it and actually tried it yourself.

Posted in Life Lessons

Decisions

The moment we wake up we are thrown into the sea of decision making.
Some decisions we make, we don’t think about because it has become an everyday habit. Do I wake up now, or a little later? Do I brush my teeth now or in the evening? Do I take a shower or not? Do I go to work/school today or not? You get the point.
We usually believe that big decisions determine the course of our life. But believe me when I tell you that even though small decisions don’t immediately affect our lives, they do over the long run. So, try not to make any decision without giving it a good thought because everything adds up over time.

Today I would like to talk about those big decisions in our lives. Like everyone else, I’ve made quite a few of them. Before I go any further, I want to make clear that every decision you make should be based on the kind of person you want to become. This is very crucial. A lot of us make decisions based on emotions. Emotions have often proven not to be trusted when it comes to making decisions. I wished someone told me that ealier. I’ve made so many emotional decisions that at the time made perfect sense but in the long run, really weren’t the right decision.
It’s honestly not an easy thing to do because emotions always fight their way to the surface of our hearts, which clouds our thoughts.

The upcoming decision is THE decision that has change the course of my life. I can definitely say that I’ve have learned a lot of lessons from it.

Stop existing, start living

I used to live a very anxious life.
I was continuously afraid because I was mentally and physically being abused almost on an everyday basis. Which left me with a broken soul and sleepless nights.

While I was living day in and day out in a prison-like home for 10years, I made a friend at school. She seemed to live her life freely while doing what she wanted to do. It wasn’t like she was doing anything mayor, I mean she was just a high school student, but she made me realize how much I would regret it if I end-up dead at that time. So, I started doing what every child does when things are not going their way. I started rebelling. Things got worst at home, but I didn’t mind because I was fighting for what I believed was right. After a while the situation became unbearable. I had several reasons why I didn’t want to leave all this time, but in the end, I choose for my happiness and left. I had fought the good fight.

The family of my friend I went to live with, were Christians, which allowed me to know the Christian faith a little bit more. Though I was a Muslim at the moment, I was very open towards other religions. Getting to know Christ has been the best thing that has ever happen to me. He transformed me from a fragile, broken and fearful girl, to a young woman who know who she is, whos she is, and what she is worth. I found peace in Christ that surpasses all understanding. I found rest in my soul and felt a love that I can’t begin to fantom. Christ did and is still doing all of that for me today through his death on the cross. John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

I believe that if I didn’t leave home, I probably wouldn’t have converted to Christianity as fast as I did. Because I grew up in a family that has been Muslims for generations and generations. I do believe that God called me to Himself since I was already searching for Him. I guess I can say that I was searching for Allah, but was found by Christ.

Jeremiah 29: 11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

When I became a devoted Christian, the only thing that has truly helped me in my decision making is prayer and trust in God. The Bible teaches that the plans He has for us are plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans that will give us hope and a future. Since He knows the beginning from the end and the end from the beginning, I have decided to trust in His plans for me. And His way has never been disappointing up-till now. Although I have to say that I don’t always directly see what He sees but, yet I choose to trust Him. Obedience to God is one of the major keys to Christianity.

Proverbs 3:5 – 6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Posted in Life Lessons

“5 Life lessons from 5 books”

I lost count of the number of books I’ve read in 2019. I do remember that it wasn’t as much as I wanted it to be. But since it was the first year since I started reading books regularly, I consider it to be a success. I’ve learned some amazing things through them, things I want to remember forever.

1. The right fight: How to live a loving life – John Kennedy Vaughan

John uses 1 corinthians 13: 4 – 8 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails... To show us how if we don’t operate in love, we automatically start operating in fear.

I had listened to a lot of sermons on love and the importance of it. Especially as a Christian since it’s the greatest commandment in the Bible which Jesus Christ Himself taught us. But yet I only understood what love was after reading this book. I realized how much we as humans base our everyday decisions as well as our big decisions on fear… which is actually very normal since we live in a fallen world, but as Christian, we are called to be the light of the world, and our Lord asks of us to love above all things. The insight that I got from this book caused me to start reading way more than before. Because as weird as it sounds, I wasn’t aware of the fact that there were books on biblical themes written by Christian (pastors, prophets, apologist…)

When a person stops living in God-who is love-they cannot sustain the love in their lives that produces the blessings of fruit.

This book made me realize how much I was limiting my love for others based on the fear that it won’t be returned to me or simply because of pride. That might sound a bit weird doesn’t it?

If we believe love to be a feeling then we will continuously fight for the feeling we want-fight to win, fight to be respected, fight to not get hurt-and to destroy love itself in the process. What we are doing is fighting for what is beyond our control and, in the process, destroying what is within our control: the source of the feeling.

You can get yours for $13.25 
To go directly to amazon klik on the cover of the book.

2. Silence: The power of quiet in a world full of noiseThich Nhat Hanh

To be alive and walk on the Earth is a miracle, and yet most of us are running as if there were some better places to get to.

I am at the age at which it seems like every decision I make will be vital to my future, which is a very scary thought. So, I have often found myself in situations where I was striving with all my might for something that honestly wasn’t even that important to me…
Besides that, the whole society seems to be telling us that we need to do more, which continuously pushes us to be the best/greatest. Less is never an option. Which continuously keeps us busy with everything and at the same time, with nothing.

What are we so afraid of? We may feel an inner void, a sense of isolation, of sorrow, of restlessness. We may feel desolate and unloved. We may feel that we lack something important. Some of these feelings are very old and have been with us always, underneath all our doing and our thinking. Having plenty of stimuli makes it easy for us to distract ourselves from what we’re feeling. But when there is silence, all these things present themselves clearly.

This book taught me the importance of enjoying the moment. It helped me enjoy the precious little moments of life, by just being still and letting myself take hold of the moment. Whenever I start stressing, getting irritated or angry, I remind myself to check if what I am stressing about, being irritated about or getting angry about it is that important to steal my peace.

You can get yours for $11.39
To go directly to amazon klik on the cover of the book.

3. The pursuit of Holiness – Jerry Bridges

What a strange kind of salvation do they desire that care not for holiness… they would be saved by Christ and yet be out of Christ in a fleshly state… They would have their sins forgiven, not that they may walk with God in love, in time to come, but that they may practice their enmity against Him without any fear of punishment.

This quote hits me so hard! These are things we barely speak or think about. Part of the reason I felt spoken to after reading this quote, is because of my lack of seeking for knowledge during those time and partially because I had never been taught the importance of being Holy like the way this book taught me. Even though I lived a devoted Christian life (or at least so I thought) and was part of a Chruch community.

It seemed that living a holy life was something for the pastors, apostels, prophets… those kinds of people. It seemed impossible for me as a simple servant. But I did know it was something that was part of being a Christian so, I prayed for it now and then, but never took it as something urgent. This book taught me that I too have a huge responsibility in my own holiness. It even says that God had already done His part by sending Christ to die for us. We are made Holy through the blood of Jesus Christ. And as the Holy Spirit lives in us, He always helps us to act out the desires of God in our lives.

You can get yours for $12.29
To go directly to amazon klik on the cover of the book.

4. The purpose driven life – Rick Warren

Before I read this book, I did things with the thought that God was for me. Meaning that He existed for my good. To help me, guide me and to give me my greatest desires (which were close to what I believed His desires were for me). As am writing this down I realize how stupid and crazy that sounds. But then again, in those times my faith was built on a prosperity Gospel. Which at the moment I didn’t know. I didn’t even know such a thing existed. After reading this book my eyes opened to certain things and that’s when I started having more and more disagreements within my local church.

You were made by God and for God – and until you understand that, life will never make sense. It is only in God that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny. Every other path leads to a dead end.

So what this book taught me was that I was made for God and not the other way around. And because He created me for Himself, He knows exactly why He made me. Certain things only started making sense after understanding and accepting this fact. These are the benefits the writter promises after finishing the book:

  • It will explain the meaning of your life.
  • It will simplify your life.
  • It will focus your life.
  • It will increase your motivation.
  • It will prepare you for eternity.

Am happy to say that they were not just empty words… The book really did do what the writer said it would.

‘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. ‘ Romans 12:2

You can get yours for $11.39
To go directly to amazon klik on the cover of the book.

5. Discerning the voice of God – Priscilla Shirer

There was one specific incident that got me very frustrated.
I dream a lot when am sleeping. The bible teaches us that one way God speaks to His people is through dreams. But these dreams were so symbolic and prophetic that I couldn’t even start to deceiver them with the little knowledge I had of God. So, because the bible also teaches us to pray for dreams, I prayed. But I wasn’t getting any answers. I got frustrated because I felt like I was doing everything the bible told me to do concerning these dreams but God still wasn’t answering me. I never asked for the dreams so, why wasn’t He answering me? This went on for several months. It even got to a point that I stopped praying and one way or another closed my Spirit from receiving dreams. So, yes the frustration was real!

Have you sincerely taken time to hear, to see, to wait, to watch-to allow for the margins that would give God an opportunity to offer you that which you claim to desire so earnestly? Or have you already filled every conceivable space with your own opinions, ideas, decisions, and actions-space that God might otherwise fill with His perfectly timed and precisioned and personal insight?

Y’all I tell you, I felt so convicted after reading that paragraph…
It just struck me! I wasn’t even listening, to begin with.
The worst part is that I’m known to be a very good listener. I love to listen to people. I am the kind of person who is very engaging in conversations by asking questions etc. But for one reason or another when it came to God, I never had the patience to listen long enough. It never struck me that I had to listen to Him as I listen to others around me.

I knew I wasn’t listening because I felt the conviction, but also because after reflecting on the situation, I could see that all I did was pray about it. I didn’t take time to see, hear or watch.

‘And he said to me, “Son of man, listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak to you. ‘ Ezekiel 3:10

You can get yours for $14.99
To go directly to amazon klik on the cover of the book.

Which books have taught you lessons you will never forget? Let me know in the comment below. Have a blessed day!