Exchange Ashes for Beauty

Do you know God wants to take care of you? It’s true. He wants you to give Him all your cares, your problems, your failures, your “ashes”, and in exchange He will give you beauty.

Many people want God to take care of them, but they continue worrying or trying to figure out the answers to their problems instead of waiting for His direction. They continue to wallow in their “ashes” and expect God to give them beauty. But it doesn’t work that way, God can only give you beauty when you give Him the ashes.

It’s a great privilege to be cared for by the King of kings, so give up your worries and concerns to Him and enjoy His protection, stability, and fullness of joy.

From the book Ending Your Day Right by Joyce Meyer. Copyright 2004


The unforgetable amazing work of God

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Dreams and Visions

  • How do you see dreams?
  • How do you manage your dreams?
  • Is dream real to you?

Dreams play a significant role in our lives. Neuroscientists theorize that we need dreams in order to replenish ourselves.

Scriptures mention dreams and visions 224 times! One third of the bible pertains to visions and dreams. God came to Abraham to tell him that his heirs would number more than the stars. Jacob dreamt of angels climbing up and down a ladder that went up to heaven, then later he wrestled with an angel in a dream. Joseph (old testament) dreamt of the sun, moon and eleven stars bowing down to him. The Magi’s dream warned the three kings to evade Herod. Joseph’s (new testament) dream directed him to flee Egypt with Mary and the angel Gabriel came to Mary to foretell of the birth of Jesus.

And just as fascinating; Beatle John McCartney composed the entire melody to the song “Yesterday” in a dream. The inventor Elias Howe invented the first lock-stitch sewing machine from a dream he had. Champion golfer Jack Nicklaus was experiencing a slump in his golf game back in 1964. He had a dream in which he was holding his golf club differently. Upon awakening he applied his new “grip” to his real life game and literally overnight he became and continued to be a golfing sensation.

If dreams play such an important part in the Bible, it seems natural to assume that God’s spirit can come to us too in our dreams. Just maybe it is God’s way to penetrate our soul in order to communicate his love at a time when we need him most

Rethink if you really don’t care about dreams, it means a lot…

« This is my beloved Son (Mark 9:2-13.)»

Jesus led Peter, James and John up the mountain and showed them his divine glory even before the resurrection. So that, when he rose from the dead in the glory of his divine nature, they would recognize that he hadn’t received this glory as a reward for his suffering, as though he had need of it, but that it belonged to him before the ages began at his Father’s side and with the Father. This is what he himself said as his freely accepted Passion drew near: «Glory me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began» (Jn 17,5). It was this glory of his divinity, mysteriously enclosed within his humanity, that he showed his disciples on the mountain. And these… saw two suns: one shining in the sky as usual and another that shone in an unaccustomed way; one casting light on the world from high in the firmament and another radiant for them alone in the countenance turned towards them…

Then Moses and Elijah appeared… and thanked him that their words, as those of all the other prophets, had been fulfilled by his coming. They offered him worship for the salvation he would accomplish for the sake of the whole world and for the fulfilment of the mystery they had been entrusted to foretell. Thus both apostles and prophets were filled with joy on that mountain. The prophets rejoiced to see his humanity, which they had not been able to know beforehand; the apostles rejoiced to see the glory of his divinity, which they had not yet known about, and hear the Father’s voice bear witness to his Son. By it, and by the glory of his divinity shining from his body, they learned about his incarnation, which up to then had remained unknown to them.

We are all fallen sinners…

The diagnosis is not very good: we are ignorant, guilty, and corrupt. As a litany of biblical texts reveals, we find ourselves as fallen sinners ravaged by this threefold consequence of our sins. Our foolish hearts are darkened (Rom 1:21) and our thoughts are continually evil (Gn 6:5). Our minds are clouded by sin and ignorant of the things of God (Eph 4:17-18), though in our folly we glory in our great knowledge and wisdom. We have exchanged God’s truth for a lie (Rom 1:25), and our minds are’blinded by the god of this age’ (2 Cor 4:4). Like a blind man in a drunken stupor, pitifully groping his way through life, so our sin has blinded us to the truth of God. Intoxicated with our own self-righteousness, we stumble through life seeking to justify ourselves before God.

We labor under the tremendous weight of guilt-the penalty for our many infractions of the law of God. While many are quite adept at ignoring God’s just verdict against them, many others feel like they will buckle under the weight of God’s heavy hand. Not only are they guilty for their own individual violations of God’s law in thought, word, and deed, but they are also rendered guilty for their participation in the sin of Adam, whose own guilt has been imputed to all those who spring from his loins (Rom 5:12, 18-19). While we may delude ourselves into thinking that we have sinned against our neighbors only, David knew that this was not true.’Against you and you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight’ (Ps 51:4), was his plaintive cry to his God. Because of our guilt, there is no way we can dare stand in the presence of God.’If you O Lord kept a record of sins, who could stand?’ (Ps 130:3).

But ignorance and the guilt of sin are not the only things in view as we survey the Scriptures. We also suffer from the destructive pollution of this inherited sinful condition, which infects every part of us from the moment of conception. Born in sin as the Psalmist declares (Ps 51:5), there is no good residing in us (Ps 14:1-3). Our bodies, which are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps 139:14), become instruments to act out the wickedness that would otherwise lie hidden in our hearts (Rom 6:13). It is the guilt and the pollution from this sin that renders us so miserable. Life apart from God’s forgiveness is described in the language of sickness-the trembling, sweaty weakness of a sick body trying to fight off a high fever (Ps 32:3-4). We have no peace with either God or neighbor (Rom 3:17), and we are’separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world’ (Eph 2:12). Thus sin leaves us ignorant, guilty, and polluted, and therefore utterly miserable. Indeed, while the diagnosis is bad, the prognosis is far worse, for this disease is always fatal and earthly doctors have no cure. There is, however, one account of a glorious and miraculous cure from this disease: The good news of the Gospel proclaims that while’this is impossible with men,’ nevertheless, with God,’all things are possible!’

Meeting Christ in the Suffering of Failure & Poverty

When we thing of failure, what comes to our mind first?

  1. Failure in business achievement
  2. Failure in marriage

i)       Peace

ii)     Barrenness

iii)   Finding a life partner

3.     Failure in bring up our children in Christian way

4.     Failure to win the love of another (Forgetting that Christian Martyrs preferred Christ love                   to any human love).

Luke 5: 1 – 8

Lesson 1: Verse 3 – Jesus sat in the boat and taught the crowd.

  1. We ought to hear the Word of God. Read it yourself Joshua 1:8 (This word shall not depart from your mouth)
  2. Attending the gathering of the children of God Heb10:25 (Do not neglect the gathering of the children of God)

Lesson 2: Verse 4 – When He finished speaking, he said “…let deep your net for a catch”

  1. Digesting of the Word of God we heard
  2. Meditation – letting God to speak to us in His own way.

Lesson 3: Verse 5 – …We worked hard all night and we caught nothing. But if you said so, I will let down the net.

  1. Yes, I‘ve tried all possible means but still have to hold on to the word.
  2. Stop complaining and listen to have He told you in meditation
  3. Learn to hear His voice
  4. Faith  Hope of all things not seen Hebrew 11:1

Lesson 4: Verse 6 – They let them down and caught such a large number of fish.

  1. Put your faith – what you heard from Him in meditation in action.
  2. Make a move and let God lead
  3. Keep on declaring open doors in your life.

Lesson 5: Verse 5 – They motioned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them.

  1. Invite people greater than you in spirit for help in prayer. Prophets of old is still the same with the Prophets of today. But be wise and pray for God’s guardians
  2. Share with others no matter how little you are blessed with.

Lesson 6: Verse 8 -9 He fell on his knees before Jesus and acknowledged Him… Go away from me Lord! I am a sinful man.

  1. Always be thankful, acknowledge God every minute of your life.
  2. Do not let your pass press you down Philippians 3:12-14 – Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

How do we meet failure?

Failure comes in different ways; in some people’s cases it might not be humanly fault, in some others it might be their fault.

Failures that are not human fault

  1. Failures willed by God: In the issue of Esau and Jacob

Romans 9:10-13 – Not only that, but Rebecca’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

Malachi 1: 2-3 “I have loved you,” says the LORD. “But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’ “Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the LORD. “Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his hill country into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.”

Genesis 25:23

2.   Many experienced failure because of their nature

–         Ugly

–         Deformation

–         Unintelligent etc

3.   Family background

–         Poverty in the family – Jabez I chronicle 4:9-10

–         Jesus’ family was a setback to His teaching also … can something good come from Bethlehem. St August said that “ without the resurrection and coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus Himself would be deemed to failure”

4.    Uncultured / unmannered people

–         Bad up bringing can course failure in someone’s life. No one that comes across uncultured person that will like to have anything to do with him/her again.

5.   Barrenness / Sterile

–         The story of Hannah and her husband’s wife Peninnah 1 Samuel 1:1-8

B.  Failures that are human fault.

  1. Sin – It’s a result of man not knowing God’s goodness. If we acknowledge God’s goodness, His love, we will never do anything to hurt Him.

–         Proverb 14:34 Righteousness exult a nation …

–         Genesis 4:10 Curses on Cain because he killed his brother Abel

–         1 Timothy 5:23 The sins of people are plain to see and their sins go ahead of them…

2.    Comparing ourselves to someone

–         Riches –

–         Beauty – having surgery just to be beautiful like your colleague

–         Education etc

3.   Envy. It is one of the worst suffering connected to failure.

–         Envying someone gifted by the Spirit of God

–         Envying one whose prayer has been answered and yours not answered.

4.    Not seeking the face of God before doing things.

–         The story of Ruth         Ruth 1:1-22

Steps in overcoming Failure

  1. Accept setback or poverty as part of God’s providence (Job’s story) Romans 9:19-21
  2. If convinced that your failure is God’s will, keep on praying until He makes your goal possible. (Proverb 19:21 – You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail)
  3. Identify your problem/failure with the failure of Jesus, the God-Man who was rejected by the people of his own village the religious leaders who supposed to be his anchor.
  4. Pray for the spirit of humility. Seek God by being committed to humility and serving rather than personal comfort and self gratification.
  5. Avoid blaming others for your failure as if they were more powerful than God. (Nothing happens without God’s permission/will Roman 9:14 – 18)

–         Ask for grace to forgive those who stands in your way (He will make your enemies at peace with you Proverb 16:7)

6.   Be joyful all the time. Engage yourself in praises

–         It makes you a lion

–         It makes you prevails

–         It’s a media that transfer your battle to God. And God takes over, and when God takes over, it’s over.

“I have come to set the earth on fire”

Symbols of the Holy Spirit: Fire. While water signifies birth and the fruitfulness of life given in the Holy Spirit, fire symbolizes the transforming energy of the Holy Spirit’s actions. The prayer of the prophet Elijah, who “arose like fire” and whose “word burned like a torch” (Sir 48,1), brought down fire from heaven on the sacrifice on Mount Carmel. This event was a “figure” of the fire of the Holy Spirit, who transforms what he touches. John the Baptist, who goes “before [the Lord] in the spirit and power of Elijah,” proclaims Christ as the one who “will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire”(Lk 1,17). Jesus will say of the Spirit: “I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!” In the form of tongues “as of fire,” the Holy Spirit rests on the disciples on the morning of Pentecost and fills them with himself (Ac 2,3-4). The spiritual tradition has retained this symbolism of fire as one of the most expressive images of the Holy Spirit’s actions: “Do not quench the Spirit.” (1Th 5,19)…

Jesus does not reveal the Holy Spirit fully, until he himself has been glorified through his Death and Resurrection… Only when the hour has arrived for his glorification does Jesus promise the coming of the Holy Spirit, since his Death and Resurrection will fulfill the promise made to the fathers. The Spirit of truth, the other Paraclete, will be given by the Father in answer to Jesus’ prayer; he will be sent by the Father in Jesus’ name; and Jesus will send him from the Father’s side, since he comes from the Father…

At last Jesus’ hour arrives: he commends his spirit into the Father’s hands at the very moment when by his death he conquers death, so that, “raised from the dead by the glory of the Father” (Rm 6,4), he might immediately give the Holy Spirit by “breathing” on his disciples(Jn 20,22).