Monthly Archives: May 2013

Wait for it…

There are times when it feels as we are waiting for the LORD’s deliverance for a very long time. It looks as if the LORD has forgotten the promises He has made about our life. We may feel as if the LORD has forsaken us, wondering if He has even listened to our prayers?

Habakkuk was in the same position. The very first words Habakkuk speaks in his book are these:

“O LORD, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear? Even cry out unto You of violence, and You will not save?”
– Habakkuk. 1:2 (UKJV)

Haven’t the same words been our prayer for a while? From being strong in faith, slowly things have changed, now our strong voices have weakened, our frail minds trying our best to conceal our frustrations, afraid that we may sin by murmuring against the LORD. Habakkuk was in the same situation and the LORD tells him,

“The righteous shall live by his faith.” – Habakkuk 2:4 (ESV)

Before the LORD tells Habakkuk that the righteous shall live by his faith, He gives a command:

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God has a vision for us. The LORD has a plan for us. HE has a bright future for you and me in His mind. Yes, we need deliverance. And, we wish it has come already. But there are times when the LORD delays. There are times when the vision takes its own time to come into fulfillment. But let us not lose heart. Let us not waver in our faith. Let us wait for it.

Samuel asked Saul to wait for seven days at Gilgal, before going against the armies of Philistine. The seventh day had come, but no sight of Samuel. So, Saul offered the burnt offering (and he was forbidden from doing that).

I have heard many preachers have used this incident to pillory Saul, but I wonder what we would have done in such a situation. Let us look at the reality of the situation in which Saul found himself.

Saul had 3,000 soldiers with him. Now, the enemy camp had 30,000 chariots to begin with. Think about this. 3,000 soldiers against 30,000 chariots. That was not all. 6,000 horsemen. And many more troops. Look at the odds. Dear friend, are you in such a situation? The odds are really bad and there is no hope and your only trust is in the LORD and you were hoping that the LORD would make things better, but… 

There was this another thing involved here. Though Saul had 3,000 soldiers with him, the entire Israel camp had only TWO swords, one for Saul and another for his son, Jonathan. That was all. Only the king and the prince had swords. So, out of the 3,000 soldiers ready for the battle, no one had any weapon and they were going against a vast army armed with weapons.

Now, the odds are not that good, right? But again, that was not the end. As the soldiers realized that Samuel had not showed up, many of them started to leave. Now, Saul was left with 600 soldiers. There were no odds now. It is just an impossibility by any common sense.

Has our situation gone from bad to worse? When we thought the LORD would arm us with His might, we are weakened further. Our resources have gone down. Whatever little hope we had, is lost. All our hopes are dashed and even the slimmest chances we had of succeeding have gone. Do you find yourself in this situation? Does your common sense tell you to do something against the word of the LORD? Wait, dear friend. Wait. The righteous shall live by faith.

Against all odds

While Saul had the eyes of common sense, unfortunately he did not have the eyes of faith. So, in haste, he went ahead and offered the burnt offering, hoping at least those 600 people would not leave him. And he lost his kingdom as a result.

But then the Bible says, to defeat those enemies, the enemies with 30,000 chariots, 6,000 horsemen and numerous troops, all the LORD needed was two soldiers who had FAITH. Jonathan and his armor bearer went into the enemy camp with just one sword and defeated them.

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Yes, dear child of God, our enemies may be too many to count. Our situation may look bleak. There may really be no chance for any hope. But wait for the LORD with faith, because,

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1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 “For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”

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…by his faith.

There are some people who are popular and their only claim to fame would be that they are born to famous parents. There are people who are filthy rich, not because they are hardworking or geniuses or anything… just that, their parents are rich.

Sometimes in our life, our faith also follows the same trend. We have faith in Jesus Christ, because our parents believe in Jesus. We worship the LORD because that is what our parents do. We love Lord our God because we saw our parents love Him so much. It is the right thing to do. But, the LORD is very clear in His Word.

The righteous shall live by his faith. – Habakkuk 2:4 (ESV)

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The LORD clearly says that the righteous shall live by his own faith. We are made righteous by the blood of our Savior Jesus Christ. There is no doubt about that. However, the question is, are we living by our own faith? Have you tasted the LORD yourself personally or does your faith depend on others?

Psalm 56:4“In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

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For the man will not rest…

Probably we are facing some serious trouble in our life. The days are passing by and our hearts are worried. Our strength is melting away and our faith seems to get weaker by the day. Our heart is crying out to the LORD, wondering why He is taking so long to deliver us. Our common sense is telling us to do this and that.

In such a time, Naomi tells her daughter-in-law to

                             “Sit still, my daughter.” (Ruth 3:18)

Sit still? When there is so much to do? When there is so many things to be taken care of? Sit still? Doing nothing? Really? Why did Naomi say so? Because she knew one thing. Boaz would not rest until he had finished that thing that very day.

We may know our Boaz, our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ. But how much do we know about Him? Enough to trust Him that He will not rest until He has finished this thing this very day??? If our hearts really believe in Him, if we truly have faith in Jesus Christ, if we really have tasted the love of our LORD, then we will do one thing and one thing only. The one thing that the LORD is asking of us today: Be still.

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Romans 12:10“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

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What shall I do with my hands???

Psalm 138 v7

As I walk in the midst of all these troubles, when the wrath of my enemies engulf me from all directions, I wonder about one thing: what will I do with my hands?

There was a time, I used to think that I would use my hands to get out of all these troubles. I would use my hands to strike against my enemies. But, when I look at all these troubles, when the seething faces of my enemies, there is nothing I can do with my hands that can really help me. I have come to realize how weak I am against all the troubles that keep on coming, buffeting me from all direction. I have realized how powerless my hands are against my enemies, who are innumerable and seemingly more powerful.

But in these helpless situations, I have come to recognize, O my LORD, that underneath me, supporting me, holding me up are Your everlasting arms. I have realized that however dire my situations look, Your right hand is powerful to save me. No matter how hard the temptations of sin that dangle before my eyes, Your right hand is mighty to rescue me from those temptations. When my enemies come against me with vengeance, my Lord, my Savior, Your hand is stretched against them. Your mighty hand is stretched against the wrath of my enemies.

Now, when I look at my helpless situation, when I feel the raging fire of my enemies’ wrath, I am not scared, for You will revive me. Your right hand will save me. You will stretch Your mighty hand against my enemies. So, what shall I do then with my hands?

Oh, there is one thing I can do, and LORD, I will do the same for the rest of my life.

“I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the Name of the LORD.”  – Psalm 116:13 (NIV) Amen.

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Romans 15:2 “Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.”

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Dark clouds over us

Whenever we think about our LORD, we always associate pure white and lots of bright light with Him. So, when things go wrong in our life, when darkness surrounds us, when we have no idea what is ahead of us, we are scared; we feel as if the LORD has forsaken us. We think that the LORD is far, far away from us.

But the Bible tells us something more encouraging.

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When clouds and thick darkness surround you, dear friend, don’t lose heart. Because it means the LORD is very near, nearer than you think. We may not know where the LORD is because you are surrounded by clouds and thick darkness. We may not know where we are headed because it is too dark around us. We may be confused about tomorrow.

But among those dark clouds, in that thick darkness, the LORD is there. His mighty presence is there. And the right moment, not the moment we want, but at the right moment, the LORD will reveal Himself to us from those clouds and thick darkness. Not only He will reveal His glory to us, the second part of that verse says,

“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.”
– Psa. 97:2

Yes, the Righteous LORD will give everyone their dues; the Just LORD will deliver His justice.

So, if you are worried about this darkness that surrounds you, take a second to realize His presence. For, the LORD is nearer than you think; your deliverance is at hand. Amen.

Galatians 5:13 “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”

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Darkness surrounds you…

Clouds

There are times in our life when we are surrounded by darkness. So much dark clouds surround us, we don’t know whether it is day or night. It has been a while since we have seen the sun in our life. We have started wondering whether this situation would ever change. And the nights we spent, crying softly so that no one knows how our hearts are being broken, for we are desperate. Worried that these dark clouds may engulf our life as we know. What if this persists? What if these sufferings do not end? What if all these sufferings go in vain?

But today, the LORD has a promise for us:

When the clouds are heavy, the rains come down. – Ecc. 11:3 (NLT)

Yes, these dark clouds that surround us will bring rain into our life. We will see the Sun of Righteousness shining in our life yet again. We will bask in the glory of the LORD yet again. The flowers will blossom once again in our life. And, we will be singing the song of deliverance. Because no matter how dark our clouds are, no matter how hard our sufferings are , we will receive our rain and we shall receive our blessings. Amen.

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1 Corinthians 1:10 “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”

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Positive attitude based on FAITH

True positive should be based on the grace of the LORD and also on TRUE faith. Why just not faith? Why true faith? True faith has few indicators. Some of us born strong – not “Schwarzenegger” strong (Wow, I need to get an award for spelling that name without a mistakeOpen-mouthed smile), but mentally strong. Often people who are mentally strong are taken to be strong in faith – unfortunately. True faith believes in the Word of God and has its foundation on the grace of the LORD. And, true faith does not boast on itself, but will give glory to the Author and Perfecter of our faith, our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ.

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Let us look at one person who was not strong minded, but was filled with faith and how her positive attitude brought her blessings from the LORD.

3. Hannah. Hannah was the mother of prophet Samuel. And she was married Elkanah who also had another wife, Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but not Hannah. As a result of that, Peninnah often made derogatory remarks about Hannah and the Bible says, Peninnah would keep insulting till Hannah finally broke down and started weeping. So, we can see that Hannah was not that strong minded.

Finally, Hannah goes to the LORD. With her soul filled with bitterness, she pours her heart to the LORD. And here comes the three lessons that every Christian should learn about prayer.

The first lesson is how to pray. The Bible tells that while pouring her heart out, her lips were moving, but there were no sounds as she was praying in her heart. While there is nothing wrong in praying aloud, crying out to God… the prayers that only our Heavenly Father could hear have more punch than the prayers that everyone can listen to. (Matthew 6:6)

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Second, when she was praying, Eli, the high priest was watching her pray. Since only her lips were moving and no sound was coming out, he thought that she was drunk. So he admonishes her. Now, Hannah tells him that she was just pouring her heart out to the LORD about her problems. But note that, she did not tell Eli exactly what her problems were. Imagine this for a second… what would we have done there, in that situation? We would have explained everything – what our problem is, why we are there pouring our heart to the LORD… but Hannah does not talk about her problems in detail. Because people can give us a temporary relief. But the LORD can solve our problems in ways that we cannot even fathom.

Finally, the most important thing is, Hannah had faith.

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How do we know that? Now, Eli, who just a second thought she was a drunkard and admonished her, tells her to go in peace as the God of Israel may grant her what she had asked him. Again, what would be our immediate reaction – when someone, especially a priest, does not know the difference between us praying and us being drunk, blesses us saying that our prayers are heard – would we trust those words? No way. But Hannah trusted the words of Eli, because he was the priest of the LORD Almighty and the Bible says,

            Her face was not sad anymore. – 1 Sam. 1:18b (NIRV)

She came to the LORD’s presence with sadness in her heart. Now, she goes out with faith, because the anointed of the LORD has told her to go in peace and she was not sad anymore. She believed that her prayers were heard and that she would get a definite answer from the LORD and her faith showed on her face.

How about you? Do you have faith that your prayers are heard by the LORD? Do you believe that He would surely answer you favorably? If you believe so, if you really have faith in the LORD, then your face will not be sad anymore.

With this positive attitude, Hannah goes home and now, she gets a son – Samuel, a prophet who anoints Saul, the first king of Israel and also, David, the greatest king from whose royal line, Jesus Christ, the Messiah and the Savior of all humankind was born.

But, there is a difference in the positive attitude of Hannah (which came from her true faith on the LORD) and Rachel (whose positive attitude is a result of positive reinforcement, saying the positive words again and again). When Hannah begot Samuel, she dedicated him to the LORD, while Rachel gets her son, she names him Joseph, so she could get another son.Samuel Dedicated by Hannah at the Temple by Frank W.W. Topham

See the end of these two women. Rachel gets what she wanted, she gets her son, but during delivery, she develops complications and dies right after getting what she wanted.

But when Hannah gave her only son to the LORD and magnifies God for answering her prayers (True faith: she does not claim that her son is the result of her faith, but honors the LORD), she is blessed and over the years, she had three more sons and two daughters.

What do you want today? How are you going to pursue your goals? Based on positive attitude, reinforcing positive words to yourself or are you going to have a positive attitude based on the faith on the never ending grace of our LORD? Both will take you to your goals. But with the former, that will be the end of it. But if you put your trust on the LORD and have faith in His eternal grace, dear friend, this is just the beginning. For the blessings of the LORD will make you rich and He shall add no sorrow unto it. Amen.

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Romans 15:5-6 “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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God is Love.

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During one of the darkest moments in my life, I sat alone for several hours, wondering if God truly exists or not, does He really answers our prayers and other questions. Given the dark circumstances I found my life in, I could not see in any way how can there be God and even if He exists, how can I believe that He answers prayers? I was on the verge of believing that God does not exist.

But, deep in my heart, I also knew that the earth and whatever we see could not come to existence on its own. Life cannot be there without the Creator who gives life. But still looking at my situations, I did not want to believe that there is a God.

As I was struggling with my faith, I asked myself who is God and how do I feel His existence. As I was asking these questions, something happened. My heart was filled with love, the love of God. And this verse came to my mind.

                                 God is Love. – 1 John 4:8 (NIV)

The LORD has done some great things in my life. God has done wonders and has done what He has promised me. But, more than all that, Jesus loves me. God the Father loves me. And no one else has loves me as much as He loves me. God loves me.

It is His love that sustains me during these times of tribulations. It is His love keeps my head high. It is His love that keeps me going. It is His love that keeps me smiling when everything else is going wrong. It is His love that fills my heart with joy.

Have you tasted the love of God? Taste and see that the LORD is good. Amen.

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Romans 15:5-6“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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Positive attitude based on GRACE

Positive attitude should have its foundation on something that does not change – the grace of our LORD. While the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ lets us to come before the Father, it does not mean we can continue in our ways of sin. What it means is, when the Holy Spirit convicts us of our guilt, we should humble ourselves, confess our sins and repent. And when we do that, the LORD is gracious to forgive us. The grace of our God is not an excuse to continue in the ways of sin. Let us look at someone who continued in the ways of sin, but finally when she humbled and returned to the LORD, He blessed her so abundantly.

2. Naomi: In the Book of Ruth, we see Naomi, the mother-in-law of Ruth. Naomi was an Israelite, who moved to Moab, a foreign country because there was a famine in Israel. She moved there with her husband and two sons. Generally, I have heard people saying that living in a patriarchal society, Naomi probably had no choice.

But when you read the Bible carefully, we see two things. First, her sons married girls from Moab (which was forbidden under the Law) after her husband died. So, Naomi was the head of the family and she could have forbidden her sons from marrying those girls. But, most importantly, the Bible says that she stayed in Moab, with her two daughters-in-law even after her two sons died. Think about it. She had lost her husband and two sons, had nothing to hope for, still she remained in the foreign country.

How many times have we faced such a circumstance? We started a business or a career, without asking the LORD. We got into a relationship without asking the guidance of our Lord. When things go wrong, though we know that if we turn to the LORD, He will lead us and uphold us, we wait, we wait and we wait for more time, hoping that the right time would come. But the LORD is ready to forgive us at this very moment, dear friend. All we need to do is humble ourselves, confess our sins and ask for forgiveness in the Name of Jesus Christ, His Son and our Savior – right at this moment, if you do that, you will receive His forgiveness.Copy_of_RuthAndNaomi

Finally Naomi realizes her folly and returns to her country. Imagine this scenario. When the entire land was suffering from famine, she left the country with her husband and two sons, and probably with some money. Now, she was coming back to her native place, empty handed, losing all her assets and having an extra burden in the name of her daughter-in-law.

I don’t know if I have that much courage to face my relatives after being such a failure. But, Naomi realized two things. One that the mighty hand of El Shaddai, God Almighty was behind all these and two, that He gives grace to the humble. At the lowest point in her life, she acknowledges the presence of the LORD and she receives grace.

Dear friend, whatever be your situation today, when we humble ourselves in His presence, we will receive His grace and favor. The LORD will look at us with love and compassion and He will bless us.

When Naomi comes back, all the women in the town gathered to look at her and gossiped about her. But soon, the LORD blessed Naomi and the Bible says, the same women gather around Naomi to proclaim: “Naomi has a son.” Yes, the LORD gave Naomi an offspring through her daughter-in-law, Ruth.

In the last blog, I talked about how Rachel responded when the LORD gave her a son. That was the positive attitude the world teaches. But look at how Naomi responded. She named him Obed – worshipper.

When we worship the LORD truly with our heart, strength and love, the LORD blesses us with His gifts and we will lack nothing. Our life will be complete with everything that we need.

And the last line of the Book of Ruth says:

Obed, the father of Jesse, and Jesse, the father of David.

Obed means worshipper. Jesse means the gift of God. David, numerically means complete, perfection. Yes, when we worship the LORD, He will bestow us with His heavenly blessings which will make our life complete and perfect and we shall lack nothing. So, let us have a positive attitude because our trust is in the LORD and not in anything else. Amen.

1 Timothy 6 17

Romans 11:33“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out!”

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Positive attitude based on …

We hear a lot about having a positive attitude. How a positive attitude will help us in achieving our goals. Mind is everything. We become what we think. So think success. Think money. Think power. To be honest, I had tried all these. I tried those self-help books designed to make a millionaire, books meant to make me successful in everything I do, books that kept hammering that “I am born to win” and books that should have made me the most powerful leader in the world.

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Positive attitude is good. But to have a positive attitude, we should have the right foundation. If the foundation is wrong, then our attitude will achieve things with unpleasant consequences.

For us, Christians, the positive attitude should be based on two things: 1. On the grace of our LORD that He explicated on the Cross when the LORD gave His only Son Jesus Christ as an atonement for our sins. 2. That our attitude should bring glory to God and we should honor Him in all the blessings we receive through our attitude.

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There are three people who had a positive attitude in the Bible. One of them had suffered complications while the other two rejoiced by the outcomes of their attitude. We will look at the first person who suffered because of her positive attitude now.

1. Rachel. Her husband had 10 sons through his other wives, but Rachel did not have any sons. Finally the LORD listened to her prayers and she got a son for her husband when Jacob was 91 years old. And, Rachel rejoiced, but her joy was not about the LORD. There were only two things her mind was on.

  • “God has taken away my disgrace.” – Genesis 30:23 (NIV). While it is not wrong to declare what the LORD has done to us, we should remember something that John the Baptist proclaimed: “He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease.” – John 3:30 (AMP) That should be the goal of all our proclamation. But Rachel was looking towards her than the LORD. We can see how Hannah praised (she also had the same problem that Rachel had) in 1 Samuel 2:1-10 and see how she magnified the LORD. Compared to Hannah, Rachel should have praised the LORD more because her disgrace was greater. But, she just says one line and moves on to the second thing.
  • “May the LORD add to me another son.” – Genesis 30:24 (NIV) This is what generally taught about positive attitude. If you want something, keep saying it repeatedly. Paint a mental image, keep it in your mind. Say it again and again. All these. And, probably Rachel was the first one to do and achieve that. The name she gives her son was ‘Joseph’ which literally means “May the LORD add another son”. Whenever she called the name of her son, she was trying this positive attitude teaching. Whenever someone called out the name of Joseph, they were saying that may the LORD add another son to Rachel. And it did work. She became pregnant again.

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Rachel did not put the LORD first. She did not glorify Him as she should have. When the LORD finally removed her disgrace, she was more interested in adding another son. How many times we have done this?

We will be praying for something for a long time. Finally when the LORD answers, what do we do? Just one small “Thank You LORD” and then we start with the next prayer. We totally forgot how bad our situation was before. We don’t want to look back and thank the LORD for His wonderful grace. Because we want more. We need more. So, instead of stopping for a second and praising the LORD, we move on with our next prayer request, keep asking for it till we get the next one. But remember something.

Rachel did get her next son. But the Bible tells us very clearly about what happened. Rachel gave birth with great difficulty. She was in so much pain and the child birth had exhausted all her energy and she was dying as the son she wanted so much, the son she got because of her positive attitude was being born. And as she was dying, she names him “Ben-Oni”, which means “The son of my sorrows”.

Something that should have been a moment of tremendous joy had become a moment of sorrow. She was waiting for this moment, but when the moment came, her life ended in severe pain and misery.

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Of course, I am not saying that the LORD is going to punish us with death and sorrow if we do not give Him the glory He deserves. If that is the case, I would have been dead loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong ago. The LORD we worship is the true living God, He loves us and He is full of grace and slow to anger.

What I am saying is when we have a positive attitude that is not based on the grace of God and that is not attuned to bring glory to God, then when we achieve our goals, there will be an extra baggage attached to our success – sorrow and pain. I had experienced it so many times. Because these blessings did not come from the LORD. It came from our own hard work and self-belief.

Put your trust in the LORD. Have a positive attitude because the LORD is our Eternal Rock. And, when He blesses you, you will be successful, wealthy, rich and prosperous and the LORD adds no sorrow or trouble unto it. Amen.

dear Gid

Ecclesiastes 11:5“As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.”

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