Dear Giver, Please Love Yourself First

[Image by Martin Ujlaki]
Dear Giver,

I have a confession to make. You may not know who I am, or much about me, but I have been observing you for quite a while now. I might not know your last name, or even your first, but the little I've seen is enough to make me conclude that you are an amazing human being.

You give, and you give...and then you give some more. You don't get any rest until you've given for a day. That's why I call you "The Giver." I look at you from my window sill, and every step you take down the street carries such grace. Within each feet is someone lost, waiting to be found by you. Or a poor ragged man who would have gone without lunch, but you went and changed his hopelessness into hope. Or a young girl who thinks she's lost, but because you were there at the right time, she finds her way home again.

Sometimes, I wonder if you ever pause to take a deep breath.

The other day, I saw you with your brother. You two were joking about something, and then it turned into an argument. You must have been telling him not to make the same mistakes you made, but in the end, I watched you dip your hands into your pocket to give him the money he needed. Your brother is lucky to have you.

On another day, I bumped into you. You looked alarmed, but quickly regained your composure, apologizing profusely, and then bending down to pick up the piles of papers which fell from my hand.

"I am sorry, I wasn't looking," you said.
"I am terrible about watching out too, it's not your fault. Sorry."
"Would you like me to buy you lunch?" The Giver in you showed up in that second.
"Don't worry about it, dear."
"No, seriously. I owe you one."

You ended up buying my coffee the next morning, and you came all the way to the sixteenth floor to deliver it to my office. Your generosity, although you may not have realized it, had extended all the way from the first floor to the sixth, from your heart to mine.

Again, sometimes I wonder if you ever pause to take a deep breath. Sometimes, I think about you, and I ask myself if you ever stopped beside the beggar down the street to smell the roses layered on the green grass. Yes, you gave him the money, but I wish you paused to smell the flowers.

I pray for you every day. And I pray that you receive so much more. I pray you do, Giver, because you deserve it.

Yours Sincerely,
Your Admirer.
(fictional letter)

* * * * *

Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. (Mark 1:35)

It's such a beautiful thing to be a giver. But sometimes we get caught up in the "doing" and not in the "receiving."

Before Jesus faced the multitudes, He often went up to the mountains alone. And what did He do when He went up there? He received a refreshing wind from His Father. And then He went back down to the throngs of crowds, to give what He had lovingly received.

That scripture, "Love your neighbor as you love yourself," further emphasizes that you have to love yourself (take care of yourself) before you can truly love (or take care of) others.

✪ You need joy in yourself before you can truly have the capacity to give joy.

✪ You need to love yourself first before you can totally lose yourself in loving someone else.

✪ You need to nourish yourself first to have the nutrients to pour out on others.

Dear Giver, please love yourself first. Then only will you have the "full" capacity to love others as God loves you. 

The Choice Always Precedes the Mission

[Image by misswired]
Just one choice will set the pace for your entire life's mission.

When that young ruddy-looking boy dusted his feet and stepped up to the Philistine giant, it was not a spontaneous or lackadaisical decision. His choice came way before the opportunity for the mission. David did not just wake up that morning thinking he'd be 'warrior of the day.' Think about it.

Before that single event in history, he chose God. He studied Him like a son does his father, and his conclusion was, "My God is able." It was not an overnight decision.

You see, God designed the world with choices, but He's always wanted us to make the right ones. On one side of the garden of Eden was good, and in another section evil stood its ground. If God made man for His glory, then our choices were meant to glorify His name forever. Glory does not come by restraining our free-will. It comes by allowing us to choose "good" for ourselves.


"Choose for yourselves this day, whom you will serve..." Joshua 24:15

Your one choice will set the pace for your entire life's mission. 

If you want to choose God, don't worry about the mission that comes after that. Worry about making the right choice first, and only then will God begin to help you connect the dots. 

Little by little, just like David, you will learn by being stationed in the backyard where you have to lead sheep. By endurance and a little patience, you will begin to realize that God is able to do what He says He will do. And then one day, you will tear down a bear with your own hands, and you will know that the strength you have comes from a greater source.

The day you tear down a bear would be the day you get convinced that, truly, you can do anything God says you can do.

✪ Make the choice to be good, and good will find you.

✪ Make the choice to live a life filled with purpose, and purpose will find you.

✪ Make the choice to worship God, and praises will fill your mouth.

✪ Make the choice to study His word, and the Holy Spirit will teach you.

✪ Make the choice to find good friends, and bad company will desist.

✪ Make the choice to live with a Godly purpose, and that purpose will find its way to your home.

Friends, this life is first about making choices, and then the mission. Exactly how you're going to accomplish this (the steps, the objectives, the master plan)-- I can't tell ya, but that section of the manuscript comes much later after you've made the choice to do life God's way. Just do it. Make the right choice first.

Question for the Day: Is there a choice you've been afraid to make because you don't know exactly how you will fulfill it? Someone reading this might be struggling to make the right choice. Make that choice first (if the Holy Spirit is leading you to do so), and then allow Him to help you fulfill it. 

When You Can Do Something Bigger Than Yourself

[Image by eirasi on Flickr]

The scales fell off my eyes that night. I, Jeremiah, heard what I'd never heard before. That night, I lay on my bed tossing from side to side, wondering if it was really me the Lord was speaking to.

Did He think I was someone else? I did not want to get carried away to forget I was from the least tribe in Israel, Benjamin.

But as a matter of fact, it was me He was speaking to. To establish this, He said:

"Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you."

That's what He said. Can you believe it? Those words struck me on my chest, causing my heart to beat faster. There's no one greater than the Lord. If He says He saw me before I was born naked into the world, then so be it. But not only that, He came to my bedside to let me know who I truly am. If He didn't tell me, I would have continued living a clueless life.

"Before you were born, I sanctified you. I ordained you."

How does God ordain people before they're born? Does my foolishness in the past few years not count? Did I not get bad grades on my behaviour so far? I don't understand lots of world theories and preconceptions. How can I be sure about this so-called 'ordainment?' Ah, Lord, You are magnificent. You know it all, Master Potter. If you feel that even the mistakes of my past few years can be subject to Your will, then I submit to your majesty and sovereignty. Why do I think I'm mediocre, Father? Only You alone knows what it is you've created me to fulfil.

"Ah, Lord God! But I cannot speak. I am still very young."

Immediately I said that, I got reprimanded. "Do not say "I am Young," He answered.

Now that God has spoken, I lay right here in this same bed asking myself some questions. What is age to God? What is the length of years to God? In just one year, God is capable of teaching me everything I need to know. My mouth was too fast to complain. Am I wiser than the One who knew me before I knew myself?

"Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms."

That's it. He has said it, and by His grace, I can do it.

That night, I slept like a baby.

[Story inspired by the true account in Jeremiah Chapter 1]

* * * * * * * * * *

After battling with the questions in his head about why God had called him out in His youth, Jeremiah went on to give many powerful prophesies to the children of Israel. There are 52 Chapters of his words written in the good book.

When He realized that it wasn't about his small self, or lack of self esteem, He let go and allowed God to use Him. That's when He did something bigger than Himself. 

See, Jesus once said that God could raise up stones to praise Him. That's if we're not willing. That's if no man feels empowered enough to come forward. That's if you don't know that you can do something bigger than yourself, that you can worship Him in spirit and truth.

I've been wondering what next to write about, and I went back to Jeremiah. It made me realize that even in the busyness of our days, when we get so pressed in-between work and play, when we can't seem to get a breathing space and everything seems to be choking us...even in these looming seconds of our days, we can still do something bigger than ourselves. Yes, we can do the very "BIG" thing that God has called us to do. It is not by our power or by our might.

Question for the Day: Have you been feeling like you can't do "it" (whatever your "it" is)? I'm telling you right now that Jeremiah didn't think he was capable. But he did it. And if he did it, you can do it too. Just throw your hands up and let them reach out to God, don't throw in the towel yet-- that's not what God made you for. You're tougher and more capable than you know. But God knows. He knew you were capable even before you were born. 

When Foundations Are Destroyed (Special Edition)

[Image by His Noodly Appendage]

Muculent, slimy, and despicable bathroom tubs became the ultimate safe haven. Thousands of people huddled together inside them that fateful night. Trembling, they gasped at the onset of a 200-mile long tornado, accelerating forcefully and bearing down with all its energy.

From the eyes of those huddled down in the bath tub, tears began to fall. But who could tell where the tears would land in the midst of a losing sense of gravity?

Tears were falling, but they weren't landing. There was no place for them to settle with gusty winds rising from the tornado and carrying them along.

Screams escaped lips, but tell me, who could hear anyone in the midst of the overpowering noise?

Suddenly, roofs of houses (even grocery stores and restaurants) flew off their tops and right then, the effect of the tornado became more direct upon the bricks, mortar, and wood. Aligned pieces got dismantled, flying across big rooms, part of which had once been in fine mansions.

And just like that, in the twinkle of an eye, the foundations of a great city became terribly destroyed. This is the second deadliest day for a twister outbreak in the United States history. The death toll is 337. Many more people were injured, and as many as 1 million homes in Alabama are still without electricity.

* * * * *
"If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?" Psalm 11:3

When the foundations of buildings are being tossed in the wind, you can't do anything. All you can do is wait and pray silently that the walls don't crush down on you.

* * * * *

Now, let us move away from the tornado disaster which took away lives in the past week in North Carolina, Tuscaloosa (Alabama), Birmingham (Alabama), Mississippi, and Tennessee.  Look at your own life for a second. Does it seem that some foundations have been blown away by a tornado?

See, if your foundation is destroyed, you need to get the Saviour. Man cannot save you, but I know a mighty unlimited God who can. If your foundation is destroyed, you need to get His help. Again, when your foundation is being destroyed, all you can do is pray silently that the walls don't crush down on you...because they will if you don't have the right foundation. That's why you've got to build it right.

What Foundations?

Your Intimate Knowledge of God

Your Ideas About the Way to Live Your Life

Your Instigations About What Eternity Really Means

 Your Convictions About the Spirit and the Flesh-and the Difference between the two.

Your False Sense of Security in the Wrong Things

To me, if the foundations of all these concepts are not based on God, then they are being tossed by every form of virulent winds born into the world today.

Start from scratch again. You are already skilled as a builder, a craftsman. God made you in His own image, to be intelligent; you have the ability to lay the right foundation for your own self. Let us take our foundations and build upon the rock of Christ, upon which no tornado can bear down.

Please pray for the victims of natural disasters. Please pray for your own life and the concepts around which you have built your foundations, that they be the right ones.