Thursday, January 22, 2015

Know Your God_Part Two

In the first part of Know Your God posted last week, I shared why it is important to know God especially at the brink of the unknown and when we face trials and persecutions. I will continue on this subject in this blog post.

According to J.I. Packer, the author of Knowing God;

“The highest science, the loftiest speculation and the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, nature, work, doings and existence of the great God whom he calls Father.”

Therefore, the most fulfilling depth of understanding and height of knowledge that man can ever aim to attain is to know God.

Who is this great God that we need to know and have a personal revelation of?

We know from the scriptures that all the changes and events in our world today have been plainly and perfectly foreseen by God. Nothing catches God unawares. Nothing comes to Him as a surprise, not at the global level, or at the national level or personal level. He is the God of all knowing, Who knows the end from the beginning.

All power belongs to God (Ps 62:11). God is truly powerful. His power is amazing and beyond description. Who can understand the thunder of God's power? Who can count the evidences of His power?

“So inconceivable, so immense, so uncontrollable is the power of Deity (the Godhead) that the fearful convulsions which He works in nature conceal more than they reveal of His infinite might!”
– Arthur. W. Pink (The Power of God in “The Attributes of God”)

Even that which is displayed of His might to the visible creation is beyond what we can comprehend. There is infinitely more power logged in the nature than can be expressed by all His works. His splendour was like the sunrise; rays flashed from His hand, where His power was hidden (Habakkuk 3:4).

“He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters; He makes the clouds His chariot; He walks upon the wings of the wind; He makes the winds His messengers, Flaming fire His ministers.…” - Psalm 104:3.

If the wind that is the most impetuous of all the elements, having the ability to move forcefully and with almost inconceivable rapidity and can be tossed into utmost rage, is under God’s feet and beneath His perfect control. Then I am fully persuaded that there is no situation now or in the future that is beyond the power and control of God. Power is the name of God, that is, The Almighty. God and power are inseparable. God’s essence is ALMIGHTY so that it is not limited in regards to action.

“He is Himself the great central source and Originator of all power 
(C. H. Spurgeon).”

“God and power are so inseparable that they are reciprocated. As His essence is immense, not to be confined in place; as it is eternal, not to be measured in time; so it is almighty, not to be limited in regard of action (S. Charnock).”

This is the great and mighty God who wants to reveal Himself to us and who desires for us to know Him intimately. He is also the God that says “Fear not, for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God… (Is 41:10). He is consistently and continually with us. We are never alone.

He is also the God, Who out of nothing, made all things by His Word alone. Man needs tools and materials to work and create something, but God began creating with His Word. Not a single jot of His Word spoken concerning you will ever fall to the ground, but what He has designed, what He has declared, shall infallibly come to pass. WHAT AN AWESOME GOD! This great God is worthy of our implicit confidence and trust.

“But seeing that He is clothed with omnipotence, no prayer is too hard for Him to answer, no need too great for Him to supply, no passion too strong for Him to subdue; no temptation too powerful for Him to deliver from, no misery too deep for Him to relieve,” – Arthur. W. Pink

What does it mean to know God truly?

The only way we can truly know God is first to believe that God exists (Hebrews 11:6) and that He only is God, and there is no other (Deuteronomy 4:35).  We must also come to Him through Jesus Christ Who is the only way to God and a personal knowledge of God. There are no multiple ways to come to the true knowledge of God except through Jesus Christ.

Secondly we must acknowledge that God speaks to man, and the Bible is His word. It is in the Bible that God reveals Himself, His promises, and His will. The more we study the Bible for ourselves, the more of God is revealed to us and the more of Him we know. Know Your God means that you study the scriptures so that you can be certain of the truth and know beyond the shadow of doubt the reliability of everything you were taught. This is what Luke wrote to Theophilus in Luke 1:4.

Knowing God requires a commitment to being willing to accept and to obey His instructions, which we read from His Word. It is insufficient for us to study the Bible, but we must be willing to put what we read into action.

“If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land”
 – Isaiah 1:19

To come into the true knowledge of God, we must be prepared to dwell in His presence. But first we need to come to the realization that God is ever-present, and He is everywhere. This means that we are never alone. He is with us everywhere we are and in every situation we are. When we are praying, we are speaking right into the ears of God.

You can only get to know someone better and intimately when you spend time with the person. You get to know someone deeper and more intimately as you dwell in each other's presence, sharing your heart, your dreams, your hopes and aspirations. We can only do this when we talk with one another, and we give attention to listening to one another. Just as all relationships need to be kept vital and fresh, so is our relationship with God. It requires conscious and active effort. We know God intimately and personally when we carve out the time to dwell in His presence through prayer, studying His word, fellowshipping with Him in praise, worship and adoration. When we truly worship and praise Him, we are dwelling in His presence

The more we know of God, the more we will discover and see His glory on display in our everyday lives. The more we dwell in His presence, the more we will know that God speaks to us. As we dwell in God's presence, He speaks, expresses and reveals Himself to us. It is there that we hear the secrets He wants to make known to us. As you plunge yourself into the deepest sea of knowing God, you will come out refreshed and invigorated.

We are being transformed into the image of God as we contemplate the Lord’s glory when we dwell in His presence. God chose us in advance to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. God wants us to become more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image. Our lives gradually become brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives, and we become like Him.

Insight comes into our lives comes from knowing the Holy God. If we are to become like God in character and if we, by our life of service, are to reveal Him to the world then we need to know Him aright. We must know Him as He reveals Himself.

A knowledge of God is the foundation of all true education and all true service. It is the only real safeguard against temptation. It is this alone that can make us like God in character.

To disregard the study of God is to sentence ourselves to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds us. This is a sure way to waste our lives and lose our soul.

In the days we are living today, Know Your God is not a request.
 It is an instruction.

I sincerely believe that none of us can truly live the life God has called us to live, and fulfil our God-ordained destiny and purpose without knowing God intimately and having a personal revelation of Him. That is why I strongly recommend that we earnestly seek after God and make concerted effort to dwell in His presence without noisy distraction of the world.

Watch out for the concluding part of Know Your God in the next blog post.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Know Your God_Part 1

Although 2015 is now two weeks old, it is with great joy that I wish you a happy and prosperous year filled with God’s rich and abounding blessings for you and your precious ones.

There are still three hundred and fifty days left of 2015, and we are still standing at the brink of the unknown. The year is pretty much unknown to us because we do not know what lies ahead of us. However, knowing the One Who has already known the end from the beginning and Who has seen December 31st, 2015 right from January 1st, will be critically important for how we live our lives in 2015. It will determine how we will fulfil God’s purposes for our lives.

Let’s examine the lives of two persons recorded in the Bible who stood at the brink of the unknown and the uncertain. We will benefit from the study of their lives and how they respond at such a time when they did not know what laid ahead of them.

The first example is Abraham:

He knew God and was fully persuaded of the truth of God's word. In Genesis 12, we learnt that God instructed him to leave his country, his family and his father’s home to a land that He will show him. So Abram departed as the Lord had directed him (vs. 4). Abraham heard the voice of God. He recognised the voice God. He received God’s instructions. He acted promptly. He did not question God. He did not know what was ahead. He simply obeyed by leaving. He walked into the unknown and the uncertain solely on God’s instructions. He did as he was told because he had a knowledge of the One Who told him.

“By faith Abraham, when he was called, he obeyed and went forth to a place which he was destined to receive as an inheritance, although he did not know … where he was to go.” (AMP).
“By an act of faith, Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. When he left, he had no idea where he was going…. “(MSG)- Hebrews 11: 8-10

Another person, who took a step into the unknown on the basis of her knowledge of God, is Ruth:

She came from an idol worshiping culture. She got married into a household where they knew and served God. She was barren, and as if that was not bad enough, she became a childless widow within a household where they served God. She was a witness to the fierce storms that devastated Naomi’s whole life without any apparent intervention by God (Ruth 1).

“…No, my daughters; it is far more bitter for me than for you that the hand of God is gone out against me.” (AMP).
“Things are far more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord Himself has raised His fist against me.” (NLT). - Ruth 1: 13b

Yet Ruth chose God even when she didn’t know what laid ahead of her in Bethlehem. Her response to Naomi’s persistent plea for her to go back to her people was “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live; I will live. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God.”

I strongly believe that she had come to know something about God that was strong, personal and true enough to override Naomi’s assessment of God as the One who had dealt her a bad hand. What kind of person would choose a God who her mentor in the faith declared has dealt badly with her but the person who has come to know that God differently and experienced Him in a way beyond what her current circumstances dictates.

She chose the true God to be her God and follow her mother-in-law into the unknown on the strength of what she had come to learn about God. Ruth showed me that we need to have a personal revelation of God to remain focussed on God when someone we look up to in the faith appear to give up on God or disappoints us.

There is something peculiar about people who know their God. This was illustrated in Daniel 11.

“And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.”
 - Daniel 11: 32b – 33a (KJV)

Antiochus IV Epiphanes nicknamed “the madman” vented his fury against the Israelites and the Holy Covenant, and he abolished daily sacrifices. He desecrated the temple in Jerusalem. His army killed many people in Jerusalem, took many women and children as slaves and plundered the land. He forbade the Jews to practice their religion. He persuaded them through flattery to worship false gods.
In the midst of all the turmoil, a handful remained faithful to God. This small remnant who knew their God refused to engage in the abominable practices. The Amplified Bible noted that they proved themselves strong and stood firm and did exploit for God. They instructed many more in the way of the Lord despite the fact that they were persecuted and martyred for the faith.

"But the testing will refine, cleanse and purify those who remain strong and true to the faith, that is, those who know their God."

It is important to note here that not only do those who know their God stand strong at the brink of the unknown, they also stand strong when faced with trials, persecutions, difficulties, and challenging situation. These people knew God as the true God and they acknowledge Him as such. They not only profess Him but they also served and worshiped Him. They held fast to the faith in the midst of opposition, deception and disappointments. They endured against all threatening.

In the midst of the chaos and problems in the world around us, God has obligated Himself to us by promising that 2015 shall be our year of divine establishment. We have the assurance that God will establish us in His counsel and in the fullness of His purpose for our lives. We will need to know this God Who made such great promises to us intimately.

Dear Friends, we need to have a personal revelation of God when we face the unknown. We need an intimate relationship with the Almighty God if we are going to have a victorious walk in 2015. Who is this great God that we need to know and have a personal revelation of? What does it mean to truly know Him? What are the benefits of having a growing knowledge of God? We will examine these questions in the next post.

May the grace of God abound to you richly as you walk with the Lord in this New Year.

This blogpost is adapted from the Sermon I preached in Church on Sunday, January 11th, 2015.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It Has Been A Good Year

I started 2014 pregnant with hope and great expectations. It has been a year of key milestone celebrations in my immediate and extended family. It is a year I longed to see the fulfillment of my dreams and desires, and the manifestations of the things I have travailed in prayers before God.

Yet, going by my circumstances at the beginning of the year, I could relate with Zechariah when he asked, “How can I be sure of this?” It was mind-boggling to imagine how these things which I earnestly desired of the Lord will come to pass.

But my hope was anchored on the unfailing promises of God. He said that we shall not see the rain or hear the wind but our ditches shall be filled with water. He promised that our dry valleys shall be filled. He promised that we will recover all that was stolen, wasted and destroyed in our lives without fail and with recompense. I knew that He is infinitely faithful and reliable.

So I went to the bank with the non-negotiable and solid cheque of the truth of His Word. I resolved to standout and demonstrate my uniqueness and earnestly pursue God’s unique purpose for my life. I resolved to take definite and concrete steps towards my God-ordained dreams.

It has been a good year indeed. I have to say that God truly overwhelmed me. I am amazed and astonished at the mysterious ways God worked to perform His wonders in our lives. Each milestone birthday we celebrated was a testimony of God causing men to pour into our bosom in good measures. God’s provisions for us at times of dire need were simply an awesome display of His faithfulness to His word.

One of our greatest desires as a family has been that the Lord will use us and our testimony to impact lives for good and inspire hope. I cannot but give all praise and thanks to God for the many opportunities that He opened to us this year to share our testimony. I marvel at the way God has been using what He did in our lives to encourage others to hold on and not give up on hope. The pure joy, friends and families expressed on our behalf and the praise they offered to God, each time we shared the stories of God’s amazing works in our lives is beyond description.

It was with the abounding grace and enablement of God that we made great strides to do the great exploits we know God called us to do.

Hands of Grace Creations:
My handmade beading business made its debut in March 2013. It provided me with the opportunity to share the story God’s grace at work in me as each piece of jewellery is a piece of my testimony and bears a name that denotes God’s amazing grace abounding in me. It is my prayer that everyone who wears my jewellery will be reminded that God is infinitely faithful in keeping His promise. I am trusting God to enlarge the business in 2015 for His glory.

Feet of Grace Ministries and Foundation:
The vision for the ministry and foundation became clear. We understood better what the Lord is calling us to do to. Our mission is two-fold:
-          Share the story of God’s grace through all the storms of my life to inspire hope in those facing challenging situations
-          Create opportunities through fundraising for those who are compelled to sit down in a stand-up world to stand and walk again.
Some activities have been initiated already this year. I have a great outlook for 2015 to see the vision blossom and made manifest. Watch this space for more information in the New Year.

My Outstanding Work-in-progress:
The book has morphed to reflect the central theme of God’s dealings in my life as I learnt this year to stay focussed. “Grace For The Storm” is still not finished. I am not where I hoped to be yet with the book. But I have made great strides in rewriting and restructuring the book. I am not giving up on the hope of completing this assignment. I am so grateful to God for the many people He raised up to keep me accountable. I am compelled to stay focussed and complete this book.

In 2014, I made significant new connections and strengthened old ones. I am truly blessed to have in my life wonderful friends and family who encourage me and inspire me on this journey of living a purposeful and impactful life.

There are still a number of things that I am trusting God to do in my life and in the lives of my loved ones, and there are things in my circle of concern for which I am still travailing in pray. But I have this confidence of hope that the Lord Who has remained consistently faithful throughout this year will accomplish these desires in His own time and in His own way.

I bless God for the three amazing men in my life:
-          My courageous mighty man of valour who encourages me and gives me the space to be the best God has called me to be and to pursue God’s calling on my life. It is with his support that I can live my dream. He has been my greatest cheerleader.
-          My young men of purpose have brought much joy to my life. Watching them mature and pursuing life with passion and purpose fills my heart to overflowing praise and thanks to God. They believe in me and spur me on.

I am so grateful to God for each one of you who have shared this space with me. It is because you are here to read that I am compelled to keep writing. I am grateful for every minute you have spent to read my “lengthy” messages and to give a feedback. Thank you so much for being a part of making 2014 a great year for me and for my family.

I pray that 2015 will be a year of great visitation of the Lord for you and your family.  I pray that you will be empowered in every way to know God the more and to grow in the revelation of His will for you. I wish you a Happy and Prosperous 2015.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Out Of My Control

For many years, I travailed in prayer over these intractable situations. For months, I beseeched God for a change. For the past few weeks, my heart was weighed down under the heavy burden. They were issues within my circle of concern. I yearned for a change. I longed to see broken relationships restored. I desired a breakthrough the walls that hitherto resisted progress and improvement in certain situations. I wanted to see a Sarah laugh.

I cried out to God, “I know there is nothing impossible for You to do.”

I asked the Lord to give me the mountain looming before me for a possession. “Give me this mountain, O Lord or make it plain.”

I wanted to the power to fix the situation, which laid before me like a pile of a million pieces of puzzles.

But I also knew that I cannot do the work of the Holy Spirit, so I petitioned God to do what only He can do—change hearts and change situations.

These situations were out of my circle of control.

On Thursday, December 11th, 2014, I woke up with an irritation along the suture line on my rib-cage. Soon the irritating itch became a full blown throbbing ache in my chest. By mid-day, I was agonizing in pain. It did not respond to the painkillers or steroid. But I still went for my Moms’ Prayer meeting. It was the last one for the year and we planned to have lunch afterwards. We prayed about the pain. I was restless through the lunch. The pain was radiating deep in my right shoulder and my right arm felt numb.

Back at home, I tried to reach my husband far away in New Delhi. I needed his medical opinion and guidance. The painkillers were not effective, and I was crying out to the Lord for relief. It was at this stage, I had to call my GP. He asked me to call my Pulmonary Specialist at the Teaching Hospital. I was hesitant. I knew what was likely to follow that call. They asked me to come into the ER immediately. In a short while, the ambulance arrived at my doorstep. This was not on my arm-long agenda for that day. But the situation had spiralled out of my control.

All the way to the hospital, I struggled to reject all the suggestions of the enemy. I refuted them with the word of God. But all the things that I had dreamt to accomplish this year and those initiated flashed across my mind. It was a long list of unfinished tasks.

The next few hours confirmed again that the last place anyone want to be is in the ER, especially during this season. The pain was controlled. They ran a battery of tests to confirm the situation was not life-threatening and the suspicion was proved false. But I began to have another bout of irritating itch. I was having an allergic reaction. This time it was generalized. I itched from the top of my head to the tip of my stump. The course of steroids offered no relief. The doctors were not willing to increase the dose of the steroids. They had to determine the best antihistamine to use given my peculiar situation.

It was 2:00am. The itching was unbearable. The doctors were attending to critical situations. Unable to control the itching, sleep deprived, physically and emotionally fatigued, I crumbled on the bed. I was overwhelmed by the intensity of the itching, which I could not control. I was overwhelmed by the other issues out of my control. And the dam broken.

The nurses heard me crying and came into my cubicle.

“Pourquoi, Madame? Pourquoi vous pleurez?”

I heard her ask why I was crying. She touched my shoulder. My body was folded in a crumbled state as I sat on my stumps, my head laid between my knees and my arms over my head. I did not respond but continued crying.

“Madame?” she shook my shoulders. I lifted my tear-drenched face. There were two of them standing over me. I motioned my hands over my body.

“J’arrive.” She went out of the cubicle and the second nurse took her place, holding my shoulders. In a minute, she was back with a bottle of oil. She asked if they could apply the oil on my burning skin while we await the doctors. Indeed, they anointed my body from my face to my stumps. It cooled down the itch. It was like the balm of Gilead that calmed my wearied body.

A few days later, a dear Sista tagged me in a post on Facebook. I read the post and these words became engraved in my heart:

Those things in your circle of concern but out of your circle of control are definitely not out of God’s control. They are in God’s control and in God’s hands.”

It was a clear message from God. Like the oil the nurses applied on my body, the words were like a soothing salve on my burdened heart. It was the third message the Lord impressed on my heart within two weeks during which I pondered on all situations for which I sought a resolution, and to unravel the convoluted and knotted issues in my circle of concern.

God had ministered to my agonizing heart during the preceding week. First, I was reminded of the many instances in the Bible of when God proved Himself to be the God over impossibilities.

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” – Luke 1:37

Faced with Goliath who kept taunting the people Israel and their God, David received divine strategy and intervention that gave him the much desired victory over the Philistines. I was reminded that there was a murderous Saul who the Lord touched and turned to Paul. I was also reminded that the dead body of Lazarus was already emitting odour from decay, yet God raise him from the dead and restored him to the fullness of life.

I knew there is no situation too far gone for God to turn around and there is no heart too hard for God to touch. I was reminded that the things which are impossible for man are possible for God. I can’t fix the situation. I can’t unravel the knots. But God can. I was encouraged to surrender all the issues burdening my heart to the One Who specializes in doing the impossible.

The second message, God impressed on my heart was;

Wait with joy, hope and praise.

It can be really hard to wait especially as another year comes to an end and you have yet to see your dreams and desires fulfilled. It is difficult to wait when the longing desire for a change burn with an aching heat in your heart. Waiting is serious business. Yet I know that God has called us to with hope anchored on His unfailing promises. He asked us to wait with joy overflowing from the assurance of hope and with praise because we know faithful is He Who has promised.

“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise” – Hebrews 10:23.

If God said it, He will do it. God is infinitely faithful to keep His promise and fulfil His word.

I was encouraged to wait with praise because God is Omnipotent. He is infinitely capable of putting His Omnipotent power on display in each of the situations I presented before Him. He can do all things. There is nothing too hard or difficult for Him. There is no purpose of God that can be thwarted. He is the One Who upholds the entire universe by the Word of His power.

I knew praise is a very effective weapon of warfare. I knew that as I acknowledge God’s limitless power in praise, I am also calling it into manifestation in my life, in the lives of those in my circle of concern and in the situations out of my control.

The flurry of events screaming like oversized billboards and reminding me of the seemly insurmountable mountains were intent on blurring my vision from God’s omnipotent power, which is able to change the most difficult and extreme situation. They sought to distract my attention from His amazing goodness in our lives this year. So I became even the more determined to offer exuberant praise to God.

With this came the confidence of hope that I can rely on God Who resurrected the dead. He is able to resurrect dead dreams and dead relationships, and turn dead ends to open doors. The more I praised God in the midst of the situation, the more I was energized to dare to dream of a change, to dream of restoration and to dream of victory.

I asked that the Lord to give those in my circle of concern yielded hearts. I asked on their behalf for a broken and a contrite heart, and a willingness to let God have full control. I prayed for a deeper understanding of God’s power to work out His purpose in our lives.

As 2014 rolls to an end, perhaps you find yourself in a similar situation, faced with mountains of impossibilities and surrounded by challenges, I encouraged you with these same words with which the Lord encouraged me:

Those things in your circle of concern but out of your circle of control are definitely not out of God’s control. They are in God’s control and in God’s hands.”

God has it all under control. Wait for Him with praise, with hope and with joy. He is infinitely reliable. He is Omnipotent.

Match into 2015 with the confidence of this hope and assurance, and with an uplifted face. May the hope that comes only from knowing God as the Omnipotent Father and Jesus as Lord fill your hearts and home with great joy this Christmas.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Pause…Observe….And Ponder

I walked through the revolving doors of the Hopitaux Universitaires de Geneve (HUG) with a spring in my step.

Full of life. Full of energy. Full of joy.

Then I saw him. He was sitting on the grey metal chair by the door of the café. In a glance, I took note of the details. He was dressed in the hospital light floral gown. He had a nasal tube connected to the oxygen bottle on the floor between his feet. I recognized the fatigue on his face and the arching shoulders due to the labour of breathing.

Images flashed through my mind. For seven years I carried a similar oxygen bottle. I could not count the number of times I sat on the same chair exhausted from the labour of breathing, waiting for my husband to bring the car close to the door. I saw the many times I passed through the same revolving door, every step was an effort, with the oxygen bottle hanging on my shoulders.

My heart was overwhelmed with memory of the goodness of God.

The storm has passed. The heavy dark clouds have been lifted. The sun is shining bright in the sky.

I have been captivated by Psalm 145 for the past three months. The intensity of David’s praise flooded my heart as I pondered on this event days after.

David declared in verse 7 that everyone will abundantly utter the memory of God’s goodness. They will share the story of God’s wonderful goodness.

Charles Spurgeon in his sermon in 1879 said, “we shall be helped to abundant praise by careful observation." In order for us to have a memory of God’s goodness, and then abundantly utter it in exhilarating praise, we must first of all make an observation of it.

“A man does not remember what he never knew” – Charles Spurgeon.

The proportion to which a fact or a truth makes an impression on our minds is the proportion to which it is likely to abide in our memory. And what we meditate on for long enough becomes the reality of our lives. The question therefore is this;

Is the goodness of God daily making an impression on our minds?

If we want to remember the goodness of God, we must let it strike us. We must take notice of it. We must consider it. We must ponder on it. We must meditate on it. We must let its full influence be exerted on our hearts.

The sight of the man on supplemental oxygen struck me as I walked into the hospital that day for my routine check-up. I took notice of the man’s situation. I remembered that I was once in a similar situation for many years. I paused and pondered on the amazing goodness of God which brought the change to my life.

Our acknowledgement of the goodness and mercies of God will become vocal and exuberant when we have it imprinted on our memory. It is from the memory of His rich goodness to us that praises will gush from our mouths like torrential water flowing through a stream. Heated by our fervency, our praises to God distils into vapour that rises up to heaven.

“So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open,
drinking in Your strength and glory.
In Your generous love I am really living at last!
My lips brim with praises like fountains.
I bless You every time I take a breath;
My arms wave like banners of praise You.”
(Psalm 63: 2-4)

We can never praise God enough or too much because there are no limits to the outpouring of His goodness upon our lives.

There is no denying that God is good to all. Everything He does is suffused with grace. His tender mercies and compassion are over every single one of us created in His image—you and me inclusive. Evidences abound of God's rich goodness and mercies to each of us every moment of each day. If we pause and make take note of them, they become committed to our memory from whence they will ignite an eruption of abundant praise to God.

But many times we are blinded to God’s abounding grace and kindness to us. This is because our vision become blurred as we focus on the challenges we are facing, the storms raging and whirling around us, and the heavy dark clouds that are looming over us.

Often we forget that in the midst of each storm, God is present there with us to hold us steady as a post. Often we forget that no matter how grey, dark and heavy the looming clouds may be, the sun is still shining high above the clouds. So also is God’s love and kindness still radiating its warmth to us in the midst of the challenges and difficulties we are going through.

God always does what is right not what we want. He is always on time, not a minute early, not a second late. There is nothing we need that God cannot provide according to His will, in His own time and in His own way. He clothes the wildflowers of the valley and feeds the birds in the air. I am far more valuable that these. If this be the case, then I have no reason to be anxious or allow myself to be downcast or morose. I can be joyful in the knowledge of God’s unfailing goodness even when it may seem that it is not evident. So can you, because you count more to God than lilies and sparrows. You can abandon yourself in His loving care.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28)

The ability to make a deliberate effort to take note of, observe, focus and ponder on the goodness of God is a learned behaviour. You learn to do it. You commit to doing it.

Whenever the storms are raging, remember His constant presence and His promise never to leave you alone or forsake you. Whenever the clouds are heavy and dark, lift your eyes up to an altitude where you will see the sun is shining above the clouds. Let the brightness that sun illuminate the goodness of God in your life so that you can observe and take note of it. Make an inventory of the goodness of God in your life each day, and let the recollection of His acts of wonder imprinted in your memory ignite an abundant praise to God right there in the midst of the challenges—because God is good ALL the time.

As 2014 rolls to an end, I encourage you through the course of each day to pause, observe, and ponder on the many rich blessings being poured into your life. I challenge you to seek every opportunity to praise and magnify the name of the Infinite God without limit. Make a joyful noise of thanksgiving.

May the praise and adoration of our ever-faithful God flow continually from your mouth.