During this festive season, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and also wait to embrace the New Year 2021. Though the Covid-19 pandemic has hindered the celebration mood, the message of Christmas has already begun to reverberate in the universal scenario and energize people to hold on to the hope and joy of salvation.
It is in this critical juncture; we attempt to read and understand the story of Jesus’ turning of water into wine in John 2:1-12. John 2:1-12 introduces the public ministry of Jesus in the Fourth Gospel. There are seven significant things which require specific attention within this passage.
First, Mary brings a problem to Jesus (v. 3a). According to Jewish custom, ‘no wine’ in a wedding place is a problem. In an honour and shame context, the incident might put the family into a socially disgraceful situation. Mary realizes Jesus’ divine nature and approaches him with a timely concern. During the Covid-19 pandemic period, people should come to the realization that they can take all of their concerns to Jesus.
Second, Mary makes a request to Jesus (v. 3b). The presence of Mary during the wedding banquet alongside of Jesus, his brothers, and his disciples is significant to notice. She was concerned for the family and their prestige in the public. Moreover, she was aware of the top secrets of the family including the shortage in the granary. So, she brings this request to Jesus: “They have no wine.”
The Jews considered ‘wine’ as a synonym for ‘joy.’ In a wedding place, when there is ‘no wine’ gives the meaning that there is ‘no joy.’ During both the joyous and the unpleasant situations, we can seek the face of Jesus and beseech his help.
Third, Jesus mildly rebukes Mary (v. 4). As Jesus was placed here between the mission of the ‘Heavenly Father’ and the demand of the ‘earthly mother,’ He affirms that His preference is to complete the task of the Father. He works as per the schedule of the heavenly Father and hence rebukes the lady mildly.
Jesus asks Mary: “Dear Woman, why do you involve me, my hour has not yet come.” As Jesus’ concern is to work as per the hour of the Heavenly Father, Jesus instructs Mary to wait until the heavenly Father’s hour. During the Covid-19 pandemic, we should pray so that God’s hour and work may be manifested rather than the will and purpose of the world.
Fourth, Mary’s reaction to the servants (v. 5). Mary is confident in Jesus and she trusts completely in Him irrespective of His rebuke. She is not at all frustrated and never felt that she was dishonoured by Jesus.
Mary’s attitude is positive as she is aware that Jesus is on His Heavenly Father’s business than on His earthly mother’s demand. She commands the servants to do whatever Jesus tells them. Her reaction was based on her knowledge about Jesus. In our spiritual journey, we should be confident in Jesus and must trust Him always.
Fifth, a response from the side of Jesus (v. 7). He tells the servants to fill the jars with water. The six stone water jars demonstrate the imperfect and abandoned nature of the Jewish purification system.
Jesus’ presence as “the Stone of ages” introduces a perfect and usable system of purification and spirituality. His response to the servants is a call for renewal. Placing Jesus at the centre of our life, we can move forward to live a transformative life.
Sixth, witness of the master of the ceremony (v. 10). The master of the ceremony is in an awful moment. The usual custom was sharing the choice wine first and then providing the cheaper wine.
But, in this case, the wine that was shared toward the close of the ceremony was even greater than the choice wine. The witness of the master reveals the supernatural involvement of Jesus. The witness of the master foregrounds the power of Jesus even in the midst of tragic and frustrating situations.
Seventh, the consequence of the event (vv. 6-12). The event reveals the glory of Jesus and the greatness of God. As the event is placed as the first sign in John’s Gospel, it propels the reader toward the manifestation of God’s glory and the complete hour of the Son of Man on the cross. Within the extended framework of the Fourth Gospel, the narrator attempts to state that the ultimate victory belongs to God and the Son of God.
As we welcome Christmas and the New Year during this Covid-19 pandemic, the aspects of bringing our concerns to Jesus, requesting his favour in our day-to-day affairs, standing firm for him even in the midst of hurdles in life, having trust and confidence in God, waiting for the positive response of Jesus, witnessing the act of God, and enjoying the presence of Jesus are some of the significant concerns to be emphasized. The first sign of Jesus in John’s Gospel is symbolical as it attunes the reader’s attention toward the eschatological banquet.
In Jesus’ presence, the world can enter into the joy of salvation. Thus, let’s create a new spirituality and a new lifestyle based on the divine axioms irrespective of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Rev Dr Johnson Thomaskutty serves as the Head of the Department of New Testament and Christian Origins at Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, India.
“Becoming Elisabeth Elliot” is Ellen Vaughn’s well-researched, carefully documented, authorized biography, culled from Elisabeth’s previously unpublished, private journals. An interesting personality with a unique, crystal-clear mind, Elisabeth Elliot had a rare gift of expression, and a sharp eye for the undiluted Truth, meticulously recording her observations, exactly as she perceived them. There was no falsehood about her. She was uncompromisingly honest and truthful.
This book documents the early years of Elisabeth’s life, in the first of a two-volume biography, deemed necessary because her life demanded it. Ellen Vaughn reveals how God painstakingly shaped an idealistic, follow every rule to the letter, performance-oriented young lady into a person who relentlessly pursued Christ alone, never swayed by the world’s opinion. She was in the process of becoming all that God intended her to be, all through her life’s journey, from earth to heaven.
Elisabeth Elliot first caught the world’s attention as a young missionary in Ecuador, when members of the Aucas, an Amazonian Stone Age tribe cruelly speared her husband Jim Elliot and his four colleagues to death. The whole world was stunned when Elisabeth and her little daughter, Valerie went to live in the jungle for two years with her husband’s killers. Compelled by her fervent Christian witness and instant forgiveness, many of the Aucas accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour.
Elisabeth was a towering, yet utterly humble pillar of strength, fortitude and committed faith; a true example of how a child of God should behave, in the face of terrible, mind-boggling adversity. Ellen Vaughn reveals how God shaped one of the most courageous women in the Christian missionary world into the image of His mind. It is the story of a brilliant, sensitive, utterly surrendered child of God, who was deeply committed to doing God’s will, at any cost.
This book, with fresh perspective and revealing insights, is dedicated to the memory of Mincaye, one of Jim Elliott’s killers, whose life represents Christ’s transforming power, and shows how God’s unconditional love and merciful forgiveness will flow to every unreached tribe on earth.
Elisabeth’s deeply committed way of living by daily dying for Christ is what every Christian should aspire for. Through Elisabeth’s perception of the true Christian life and walk, we learn the unvarnished truth about God and the crucible of suffering. Elisabeth selflessly plumbed the depths of His joy by tasting His afflictions, which cut deeply furrowed wounds in her heart, through which God’s grace poured in, filling her soul with the joy of the Lord.
This is Ellen’s eloquent story of Elisabeth’s early years, giving us a fresh sense of God’s grace in a weary and distracted world. I highly recommend this book to all believers who want to lead a deeper, day-to-day walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.
NOTHING SHORT OF WONDROUS by Regina Scott is a story rich with historical detail, guaranteed to delight readers with its poignant tale of love, hope and second chances. This is a heartmoving tale about two decent people striving together to overcome hardship, proving that two wounded hearts can share one powerful love when God is in complete control.
This is a convincing historical novel in which Regina Scott writes with grandeur and finesse. It has a sweet, heartfelt and engaging cast of characters. True to its name, Will and Kate’s story is nothing short of wondrous. A life-changing story, set in the magnificent Yellowstone National Park, this is a book with great characters and a spectacular setting.
The suspense and mystery of the novel does not detract from the interpersonal dynamics between the characters. The feisty innkeeper, Kate has admirable strength, ingenuity and determination. Regina Scott’s knowledge of Yellowstone National Park, its rich history and amazing natural resources, appeals to readers on different levels.
We are spellbound and starstruck by the awesome beauty of the park’s majestic geysers, steaming springs and imposing wildlife. We get a glimpse into the lives of William and Kate as they share deeply personal secrets and celebrate the awesome power of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness. I highly recommend this book to readers who would like to get the satisfaction of a really good read.
“Softly Blows the Bugle” is about the Amish community at Weaver’s Creek, where the filial bonds of family ties and inspiring faith bind up the brokenhearted.
A widow, with bitter experiences of her marriage to a cruel husband, Elizabeth Kaufman is well nigh determined never to get married again, even if it meant not having her own family.
But Aaron Zook’s arrival changed everything in a way Elizabeth could have never imagined in her faintest dreams. Aaron was determined to leave the pain of the past behind him. His innate strength, determination, resilience and perseverance are legendary. Aaron was kind, helpful and concerned about others. In spite of the severity of his injuries in the war, Aaron navigated his way through life with only one leg and a pair of crutches.
However, even in a simple Amish community, life can get complicated. Aaron has to fight the battle to win the heart of the woman he loves. Meanwhile, Elizabeth embarks on a journey towards hope and love, as Jan Drexler peels away layer after layer of the protective coating around Elizabeth’s heart.
Many characters experience a reawakening of their faith, which is so inspiring, on a personal level. A powerful faith thread runs through the book. I highly recommend this book for fans of Amish, Christian, historical and post-Civil war fiction.
“The Love Note” by Joanna Davidson Politano is all about the unravelling of a peculiar mystery involving a long-forgotten letter, a secret love and a vast estate. Can a determined young lady seek to assemble all the missing pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together?
All set for a promising career in medicine, Willa Duvall discovered a never-before-seen love letter in her old escritoire. Willa is driven by a strange compulsion to find the passionate person who painstakingly penned it, and the would-be recipient who unfortunately by a strange quirk of fate, never received it.
This Victorian-era tale of love lost-deferred-and-found, laced with hidden mysteries waiting to be discovered, is the perfect blend of historical romance, intrigue and mystery.
This tale is written in a powerful, lyrical style, with a complex plot, about noble yet broken characters, in an intricate tale of intrigue, that uncovers latent longings, multi-layered, deeply hidden and carefully concealed secrets and profound spiritual truths .
This highly engrossing historical fiction illustrates the awesome power of words, both expressed and unspoken, to have the power to affect Iives drastically.
Words have the extraordinary power to break hearts and hurt feelings. Words hurt, heal and love. Words with eternal impact are treasured forever.
Written in multiple layers with multiple points of view, the story takes shape and gathers momentum in intriguing, unpredictable and surprising ways. The noble characters are very well drawn and properly developed. Last but not least, a strong theme of feminism runs through the novel, assertive but not aggressive.
The Love Note,” with its prayer-filled content, is the poignant tale of how a mysterious, unsent love letter transforms the lives of the noble people at Creswicke Manor. I highly recommend this stunning book to all who wish to know the true story of the layers-within-the-layers.
“The Key to Love” by Betsy St. Amant is the interesting tale of the adventures of a superb pastry chef, Abrielle Duval, at the Pastry Puff bakery in the small town of Story, Kansas.
Abrielle’s love-hate, frenemy relationship is with Gerard Fortier, a ruggedly handsome, globe-trotting travel writer, from Trek magazine, who is running away from love, after nursing a broken heart from a hastily ended engagement. An ill-advised mentor led Gerard to believe that true love is unattainable.
After a series of misunderstandings and running into each other all the time, Abrielle and Gerard questioned everything they relied upon, that kept them trapped in their own worlds.
This is where the action-packed, multi-layered story gets more and more interesting, as layers upon layers are pealed off, to reveal the truth hidden underneath.
True love requires selfless commitment, person-to-,person communication, unconditional forgiveness, and letting go of preconceived perceptions, preventing the people involved from saying “Yes to Love.”
“The Key to Love” unlocks the hidden mystery that the reward is worth it in the end.
How often do we wait for something? Probably we wait for something almost every day and we don’t usually want to be waiting: we wait for a phone call, something to be delivered or maybe for the traffic (or queue of people) to allow us to move again.
Normally we don’t like waiting. Our lives always seem to be rushing from one place, one job, one responsibility or one meeting to another and any waiting seems to be a waste of our time.
Yet here, in Psalms, although it doesn’t immediately look like anything different from what we are used to feeling about waiting, we are encouraged to see waiting as something positive.
I wait for the Lord – we need to wait for His message, wait to see His blessings “delivered” and wait for things to get moving….our human hearts want immediate satisfaction; we pray and always want an immediate positive response. However, God’s timing is perfect. He is working all things out for our good. As we are waiting for Him let us also be willing to be patient. He has waited for us to listen to Him, to come back to Him when we have strayed and to deliver our lives and actions into His care.
My soul waits – as defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary wait is “to remain in a state in which you expect or hope that something will happen soon.” Waiting isn’t just a pause in our lives it can be an open expectation like breathing in…..there is an expectation that we will breathe out.
In His word I hope – through the evidence provided by His Word we put our trust in His steadfast and loving nature, His promises and His purpose.
Waiting isn’t just physical and about the fact that we can’t have everything immediately it is an attitude of mind and spirit.
As we pause our busy lives today let us breathe in deeply and consider His Word. Let us hold that specific verse of promise of His love deep within us. Then, as we breathe out let us gain strength from the sustaining energy we have absorbed.
“Hannah’s Prayer: Dawn from Desolation” by D. Richard Ferguson is Part One of the “Life of David” series. As Biblical historical fiction, it is absolutely captivating. It is the passionate story of how one desperate prayer, from a wrung-out heart, winged its way to heaven, to win extraordinary favour from God.
Hannah’s world crashed into smithereens when she couldn’t bear a child, and had to bear the taunts of her husband’s other wife. A story of incredible courage, penitent repentance, utter desperation and unbelievable hope.
“Hannah’s Prayer” illustrates two things – “how God uses the darkness of our despair to display the brilliance of His glory” – and how “God used Hannah’s anguish to save His people”, paving the way for “the most important man in the Old Testament.”
“Hannah’s Prayer” is written exactly as if Hannah told her own story in her own words. It is for personal edification, to build up and strengthen our faith. I highly recommend this book to all who are inspired by Hannah’s life story of wresting blessings from the heart of God through the anguish of her prayers.
The Christmas Swap is a beautifully written, charming, lighthearted Christmas story by Melody Carlson, one of the most prolific writers of our times. In this clean, warmhearted romance, two souls ultimately find each other, as they weave their way through a web of deception to expose the lies and reveal the truth hidden within. Emma’s deep inner beauty is seen by West, a gifted songwriter and talented musician, who pretending to be a humble caretaker, sets out to ensure that a girl like her could love a guy like him, simply for himself. A book with sterling qualities and values, I highly recommend it to all who desire truth in their innermost beings.
In “The Green Lace Corset”, Jill G. Hall presents the multi-layered, dual tale of two vibrant women, from different eras, mutually trying to discover their own true identities. Anne McFarland, a modern-day artist, searching for spiritual guidance, buys a green lace corset at a resale, an action that results in a life-changing decision.
One hundred and thirty-five years ago, in 1885, naïve Sally Sue Sullivan, from the Midwest, is kidnapped on a train, and held prisoner on a homestead in the Wild West. Spunky Sally Sue discovers her own grit as she painstakingly plots her escape.
Anne and Sally Sue face their latent fears head-on, and find the innate boldness, courage, strength and determination, to travel down their destined paths, to uncover the true meaning of love and family, from the same green lace corset.
In this dramatic, action-packed novel, the foundation is laid for the alternating stories of two women from different eras, Anne and Sylvia, as they bravely deal with love, loss, heartbreak, and triumph.
Jill G. Hall skillfully creates two unforgettable characters, whose lives, though generations apart, are inexplicably intertwined. Mystery, suspense, and romance are the charming elements in this rich blend of thrilling mystery and fascinating historical fiction. This is a spellbinding, vivid, fast-paced novel, in which uncovering the past leads to discovering oneself.
“A Life Once Dreamed” by Rachel Fordham is the perfectly designed novel, so full of warm, human feelings and family affections, that we can really identify with the perfectly believable, realistic characters, complete with human flaws, and endearing quirks. This award-winning, inspirational story, so perfectly portrayed in this lavishly detailed tale, set in the Wild West, will appeal to readers who love heartwarming novels that fill us with satisfaction. Rachel Fordham’s tender tale of compassion and grace revolves around the feelings of the human heart, perfectly depicting the real nature of love that tears at our heartstrings.
“God is a God of missions. The spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions. The mission of the Church is missions. God’s only Son is a missionary.” The world is our mission field. Our great commission is to the whole world, to all nations, to all people.
The aim of missions is to know Christ and make Him known. It is all about His saving grace. Salvation is for all people, a unique, determining factor, a distinctive, spiritual aim. All our sins must be washed and cleansed in the Blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who takes away the sins of the world.
The responsibility of missions lies with each member of the body of Christ. The command of Christ is a personal and individual call, issued to each person. When God calls us to serve Him, He calls us by name. It is a unique, specific call to each person.
God issues a clarion call to the Church to evangelize the whole world. God’s vision is a world vision. He calls us to work for the evangelization of the entire world, for which Christ died and rose again. His Resurrection Power is with us today.
The Lord Jesus Christ issues a clarion call to His people to involve in world missions. Come and serve Christ and His cause. He waits for you with His heart of love. His heart beats for you.
Missionaries are God’s people, chosen and marked out to serve Him, to build up His kingdom and impact history. The love of Christ compels missionaries to serve God in missions, through unselfish lives of service, serving others whole heartedly.
Every person who serves Christ with passionate zeal, selfless commitment and a heart dedicated to His service is a missionary, some in full-time service and others in part-time service. All work to serve Him faithfully, with a single-minded vision , for His honor and glory. God rewards all who serve Him from His heart of love.
Missionaries are ambassadors for Christ, ambassadors of the court of heaven, ambassadors on active duty on earth, official representatives of the Kingdom of God, to show Christ to His people. Missionaries serve actively in missions as they obey Christ’s command “to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all nations.” Missionaries have a burning passion for the souls of men. They teach the whole counsel of God to establish Christians in the truth. They are constrained by Christ’s love to serve Him and feed His sheep. They accept the will of God for their lives wholeheartedly.
The first and greatest requirement of a missionary is to be born again, ready and willing to bear the cross, bold to preach the Gospel everywhere, zealous for His Master, always putting the Lord first in everything, humble, teachable, willing to learn daily from the Master, honest, sincere and straightforward before God and men. Missionaries wait upon the Lord for the revelation of His will in their lives and obey it at any cost. “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” – Luke 9:62.
The challenge of missions is world evangelization, which is a world task, that requires a world vision. Every Christian is a missionary. Every missionary is a watchman.” “God’s orders must be obeyed, His commands carried out, and there is no way to evade the issue.” Today, most parts of the world can be reached through the media, by radio, television and the internet. Each one of us has a small but important part to play in the huge task of world evangelization. Every born-again person can serve Christ as a missionary, in small but varying ways.
The first and greatest requirement of a missionary is to be born again, ready and willing to bear the cross, bold to preach the Gospel everywhere, zealous for His Master, always putting the Lord first in everything, humble, teachable, willing to learn daily from the Master, honest, sincere and straightforward before God and men.Missionaries wait upon the Lord for the revelation of His will in their lives and obey it at any cost. “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” – Luke 9:62.
The challenge of missions is world evangelization, which is a world task, that requires a world vision. Every Christian is a missionary. Every missionary is a watchman.” “God’s orders must be obeyed, His commands carried out, and there is no way to evade the issue.” Today, most parts of the world can be reached through the media, by radio, television and the internet. Each one of us has a small but important part to play in the huge task of world evangelization.
Every born-again person can serve Christ as a missionary, in small but varying ways. Look around you and do the very first task for Christ that needs to be done. There is always something that you can do for Christ and His cause. The world waits with bated breath for you to do your part. Do your part in world missions and on the home front. You are needed somewhere. Find your place. Heed the mission call. Be a missionary. Doors are open everywhere. Enter the open doors and allow God to open the closed doors in His time. Let us complete the task assigned to us in our time and generation.
Every Christian is a missionary. Jesus gave His disciples only one task – world evangelization. Will we obey His instructions to the best of our ability? The one thing Jesus told us to do is the only thing left undone. Will you heed God’s call and take your part in world evangelization? A missionary must preach for a sinner to hear and be saved. Let us do our task and not rest until our work is complete.
The most important work of the hour is to carry out and fulfill our Lord’s last instructions. Jesus issues His marching orders to each of us. We are His army of soldiers, ready to fulfill His commands at a moment’s notice. “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every person” – (Mark 16:15). This is the call to missions.
Missionaries, answer the wake-up call. Your time is now. Tomorrow might be too late! To those who have heard God’s call, give yourself, your time and your resources to missions and to the causes around you. We have but one great task. God counts on us to do it. All He asks of you is to complete your assigned task in your generation. It is the one and only task Christ left His Church to do. You are the Church of Christ, bought with His blood. Arise for Christ!
Follow the vision, do what only you can do, invest your life in something worthwhile. You, too, can be a pioneer. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth” – (Acts 1:8). Complete the unfinished task of winning souls to Christ. “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” – (John 3:16). God gave Heaven’s best. What will you give?
This article was compiled and edited by Miriam Jacob from the book “The Challenge Of Missions” by Oswald J. Smith
In “A Dazzle of Diamonds”, Liz Johnson brings the timeless beauty of history to life through the reading of an ancestral journal and ancient letters that lead the blazing trail to a thrilling treasure hunt.
After serving two tours in the Middle East, Tucker built up a thriving security company. His work and his friendship with his childhood friend, Penelope, are the stabilizing factors in his life. After being goaded by the lone candidate, Tucker ends up on the ballot for county sheriff and confronts a bitter smear campaign, claiming that his family, the Westbrooks were traitors to the South.
To restore his good name, Tucker and Penelope collaborate to unearth the hidden truth behind a 150-year-old lost treasure. But as they spend time together, much to her chagrine, Penelope almost loses her much-needed job, and falls head over heels in love.
The theme of overcoming the hurts of the past, to finding who we are in Christ, is intricately woven into this novel. The struggle over love and riches, past and present, is truly intriguing. Aunt Shirley’s priceless pearls of wisdom are instrumental in Tucker and Penelope’s healing.
This story of overcoming adversity to receive God’s healing appeals to readers today, inspiring us to conquer our hurts and accept God’s healing touch in our own lives.
In this captivating historical novel, Liz Johnson has crafted a fascinating dual timeline mystery involving lost treasure, ancient journals and 150-year-old letters, priceless keys to solving the case, set in the historic, picturesque setting of Savannah, Georgia.
The ever-growing relationship between best friends, Penelope and Tucker is absolutely charming, as they discover their true feelings for each other. Tucker’s ancestor, Caroline and Josiah’s own love story, running on parallel lines, is equally satisfying, poignant and heartmoving.
In this delightfully enchanting story of faith and love during the lowest of times, championing the cause of the poor, needy and downtrodden, Liz Johnson creates breath-taking backdrops and romantic plots filled with quirky, memorable, and down-to-earth characters, who tug at your heartstrings. Tucker, smart, loyal and compassionate, suffers from a pitiful self-image, with the constant urge to prove himself worthy. Penelope is a fun-loving, vivacious woman, who suffered a crushing blow to her heart, when her ex-fiance abandoned her at the altar. Tucker and Penelope, best friends forever, takes a historic dive into the past, to salvage the future that unites them. Their friendship and love for each other is very genuine and so incredibly sweet. Tucker’s Aunt Shirley’s deep sense of maturity, unconditional love, and sage advice weaves the plot and characters seamlessly together, embedding the healing traits of forgiveness, reconciliation and true worth into each character and subplot.
Radiant rays of light illuminate the themes of healing, forgiveness, faith, perseverance, and generosity to present a totally relatable story that is full of life, love and heart.
A Dazzle of Diamonds holds our rapt attention from start to finish, captivating us with its well-crafted, thought-provoking plot and endearing, sweetly romantic characters.
With sweet, endearing moments of gentle, heartmoving romance, a passionate twist of suspenseful mystery, and engaging glimpses into the historic past, “A Dazzle of Diamonds” is thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying. An intriguing treasure hunt, likable characters, and unique plot makes it truly memorable and entertaining. With a plot that seamlessly blends present events with past clues, Liz Johnson cleverly presents two captivating stories of love, courage and second chances. The well-planned and well-paced plot fully immerses the reader in the thoughts, feelings, and motivations of the characters, as they encounter unexpected possibilities and fresh perspectives. As their genuine insecurities and fears affect their judgments and choices, they must turn away from the pain of the past to embrace healing and wholeness.
I highly recommend this beautifully inspiring novel to all readers who wish to find true, lasting and fulfilling satisfaction in the delightful pages of a book.
“Deeper Knowledge of God” by Darrell Ferguson contains meditations on 76 Attributes of God in 180 daily readings. This inspiring book helps us to interact with God in a deeper way as we become conscious of His presence and imbibe His divine attributes to bring spiritual growth into our lives. It contains extremely relevant examples and correlations to real life. It helps us to wade through personal struggles without being submerged below the waves. It gives us a brand new understanding of God and helps us to plumb the depths of our relationship with Him. It inspires us to study the Scriptures as we seek more of God’s grace in our lives. I encourage you to read this book. It will inspire you to scale new heights with God.
“On A Coastal Breeze” by Suzanne Woods Fisher is a stunning novel about forgiveness, redemption and second chances that will passionately pull at your heartstrings to bring out the music within.
When Paul Grayson settled on Three Sisters Island, Madison, his second daughter never dreamt that her life would change so dramatically. When the new Pastor Richard O’ Shea, an avid parachutist who loves skydiving, floats down from the sky onto the island, he creates quite a stir. It was only when Madison heard his full name that a bell rang in her mind. As far as Maddie was concerned, Pastor Ricky O’Shea should remain a distant, suppressed, if-not-forgotten memory, not an adventurous skydiver.
Pastor Ricky O’Shea looked exactly as Maddie remembered, dark eyes, a strong, vibrant, dynamic personality, courageous and fearless. But Maddie was older and wiser. Enough of the old turbulent past. Time to grow up and move on.
Ricky was completely comfortable with himself. He fervently hoped Maddie wished him well in his new role as pastor. Over eight years had passed. Time to forgive and forget. Today heralded a brand new start. A clean breeze cleansed Maddie’s mind, giving her a fresh start with God’s healing power.
Maddie tried to understand God’s plan for her. She must let the Lord turn her weakness into strength. God’s guidance and wisdom were her strength and confidence. Only what God thought of her ultimately mattered. Maddie prayed that the Lord would fill her with His wisdom, healing and hope.
And so, when Rick finally proposed, Maddie sensed that God had prepared her to love Rick wholeheartedly with a lasting, mature love. More than that, Maddie knew that if she trusted God with her life and Rick’s, she was safe. And so, Maddie said yes, to God and to Rick, confidently trusting that their story would end well in God’s hands.
As this lovely story caught hold of my heartstrings, I just had to explain the heart of the story to prospective readers, to urge you to get your own copy to treasure always.
Take a breath, look around you now Watch your step, don’t lose your head in the crowd Today is the start of something new Hold your hands, move ahead in love, Help each other, build one another up Today is the start of something new
In a world, where hope is dim, In a world, where love grows cold May you all be a beacon of light Look to the Father up above The source of hope, joy, and love And for ever He will lead you through
Say a prayer , for the ones you love Lift their burdens, to the Lord above Today, is the start of something new Build a home where love abounds Give away all your fears and doubts Today is the start of something new….
When the road gets tough don’t fear There’s a Lord who is ever so near, And He’ll give you grace, when strength can’t be found When the trials pass at last Don’t let go of heavens hands May your steps be steady in the way of the Lord
Father God, though I may not understand Everything I am going through I just want to thank You You hold my hand, Shepherd me through feary storms Show me what is right from wrong I just want to thank You
So in this moment I sing A song of praise to my King Lord, I worship You So let us open our hearts And raise up our hands To the One who deserves all the praise
Thank you Lord, for what You have done Thank You, Lord for what You are going to do Thank You, Lord for your Son Thank You, Lord, for this life anew
Father God, every day You’re teaching me Showing me what life can be I just want to thank You I may not know all the plans You have for me But I know that You love me So I just want to thank You
Starfish Pier by Irene Hannon is book six in the Hope Harbor series. It is a contemporary romance genre, in which two seemingly incompatible young people do their level best to search for common ground to build a relationship on, as they strive to discover a deeper connection with God and each other – only to find that genuine, God-given love dispels the horrifying darkness, to light up the way to a faith-inspired future, filled with bright hope and brilliant promise.
This realistic, true-to-life story addresses the most controversial and persistently difficult to answer questions faced by a travailing humanity. This story also highlights the forgiveness and second chances offered by our compassionate and understanding God.
With elements of faith nicely interwoven into the flawless story line, Hannon’s multifaceted story of redemption, mercy and hope focuses on how asking God’s forgiveness and forgiving oneself is just as important for healing as forgiveness from others.
Starfish Pier is a heartwarming story of emotional restoration and peace, where hearts heal with God’s forgiving grace….. and love blooms, against all odds, in all its fullness.I highly recommend it to readers who wish to find true fulfillment in a story of the highest standards, embodying true Christian values.
It is my prayer that all those who read my testimony will be redeemed by the precious blood of my Lord & Saviour, Jesus Christ and be healed in spirit ,soul and body by the stripes of Jesus on the cross on Calvary,Lamb of God,without blemish and without spot, slain from the foundation of the world and by the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.
– Dr. Anna Elias.
Personal Testimony Dr. Anna Elias 2020
Introduction • Born again, believing Christian [John 3:3] • Redeemed by the precious blood of my Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ[1 Peter 1:18,19] • Sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise unto the day of redemption[Ephesians 1 :13,2 Cor1;22,Eph 4;30] • My foundation is the Word of God which I believe to be absolutely true,eternal & unchanging[2 Tim 3:16,Ps 119: 89,128,160, Isaiah 40:8] • The Cross is the center of my faith. I believe that Jesus bore my iniquities & died on the cross for me & in Jesus I have eternal life[Isaiah 53] [1 Peter 2:24] • I stand by grace alone[Romans 5:2] • I rejoice in the hope of glory which is Christ in me[Col 1:27] • I await the second coming of my Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ [1 Thess 4:14-16] My Story of Tragedy & Triumph • On May 11th 2013,I was diagnosed to have a high grade malignancy • On May 16th I had my first cycle of chemotherapy • On May 21st I went into septic shock and was close to death • My white blood cells [WBCs] plummeted to 200[Normal 5000 to 11,000] with no neutrophils. People normally don’t survive if the blood counts are less than 400 • My blood pressure went down to 70/30mmHg • My oxygen saturation reduced • I had fever and severe diarrhoea • I collapsed in our room,before I was taken to hospital • I was like a country with no soldiers,no defences and an aggressive,ruthless army invading with speed & ferocity I was on my deathbed • Today, I am alive and well because my Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ himself healed me • By the Stripes of Jesus ,I am healed -Isaiah 54:4,5 • It was not an instantaneous miraculous healing. It was a gradual overcoming the disease • I took the treatment recommended by the doctors • I was sustained by the Living Word of God • I have shared below Scripture verses that strengthened me and gave me life Psalm 119:92 KJV • (92) Unless thy law had been my delight, I should then have perished in mine affliction. At the peak of my sickness,the Lord gave me His Word,The Rhema[God’s word for that particular situation] Malachi 4:2 I shared it with my husband who is a pastor. He advised me to hold onto that verse as I was shifted to the ICU The Sun of Rrighteousness arose with Healing in His Wings
Rhema of God’s Word Malachi 4:2 KJV (2) But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. • I was in the ICU for 10 days with fever, severe diarrhoea,septic shock hovering between life & death • A family of believers undertook for me. Their love & concern for me was amazing • They looked after me with the genuine Christ like love and concern • The night that I was nearly dying,they took over my treatment,put in all the central lines,overlooked the medication,got me a place in the ICU • The whole night this doctor friend sat next to my bed,prayed for me,calmed my fears & monitered me,till I was out of danger • I was supported by family & friends at every stage of my illness • My husband,Pastor Elias Joseph was by my side from the beginning to the end. He was constantly praying for me • My daughter Esther was with me at all the crucial times • She used to come to the ICU & we used to have long conversations.She encouraged me at every stage • My husband’s parents & my parents,my sister & brother-in- law encouraged & supported me in all possible ways • My church members at Cochin & fellow church members at Kothamangalam& Moovatupuzha fervently prayed for me • My friends, far & near,my patients & all my loved ones upheld me before the throne of grace • I followed all the medical advice,had 6 courses of chemotherapy & I gradually recovered. • The treatment took 6 months.On November 1st 2013,I got back to work at my eye hospital. My Faith is based on The Redemptive Work of Jesus Christ on the Cross and The Word of God My Faith I would like to explain my faith under the following headings; • Attributes of God • Foundational Beliefs • The Word of God • The divine exchange that took place at the cross • Biblical Characters from whom I understood the meaning of suffering and the Biblical response to it Attributes of God Exodus 34:6 KJV • (6) And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth Deuteronomy 32:3-4 KJV • (3) Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. • (4) He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. Psalm 18:30-32 KJV • (30) As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. • (31) For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God? • (32) It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.
Foundational Beliefs • I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for me • The cross is central to my faith • He took my sin[iniquity,transgression] upon himself Isa 53:4-6 KJV • (4) Surely he hath borne our griefs[sicknesses], and carried our sorrows[pains]: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. • (5) But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. • (6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. • In the redemptive death of Jesus,God has provided forgiveness of sins and healing for me • God’s name is Jehova Rapha –God who heals Foundational Beliefs I am redeemed by the precious blood of my Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ 1Pe 1:18-19 KJV • (18) Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; • (19) But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot The Word of God 2Ti 3:16-17 KJV • (16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: • (17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. Heb 4:12 KJV • (12) For the word of God is living, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Isa 40:8 KJV • (8) The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. Jesus Christ -The Living Word of God The Bible is the written word of God Jesus is the Living Word of God • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1 KJV) Rev 19:11-13 KJV • (11) And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. • (12) His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. • (13) And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. The Word of God
Psa 119:159-160 KJV • (159) Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O LORD, according to thy lovingkindness. • (160) Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
Psa 119:89 KJV • (89) For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Sustained by the Word of God Psa 119:92 KJV • (92) Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction. Psa 119:114 KJV • (114) Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word. • Psa 119:11 KJV • (11) Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. • Psa 119:71 KJV • (71) It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. • Psa 119:75 KJV • (75) I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. Word of God on Healing Exo 15:26 KJV • (26) And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee. Isa 53:4-5 KJV • (4) Surely he hath borne our griefs[sicknesses], and carried our sorrows[pain]: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. • (5) But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Mat 8:16-17 KJV • (16) When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: • (17) That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses. 1Pe 2:24 KJV • (24) Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. Pro 4:20-22 KJV • (20) My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. • (21) Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. • (22) For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Psa 107:20 KJV • (20) He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. The sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross. • The entire message of the gospel revolves around one unique historical event: the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross. • Concerning this the writer of Hebrews says: “For by one offering [sacrifice] He [Jesus] has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14). • Two powerful expressions are combined: “perfected” and “forever.” • Together, they depict a sacrifice which comprehends every need of the entire human race. • Furthermore, its effects extend throughout time and on into eternity. Every Human Need is met at the Cross • By a single, sovereign act, God brought together all the need and all the suffering of humanity in one climactic moment of time – The Death of Jesus on the Cross. • The most complete account of what was accomplished at the cross was given through the Prophet Isaiah, 700 years before it actually took place. • In Isaiah 53:10–11 the prophet depicts a “righteous Servant” whose soul was to be offered to God as a sin offering Man’s Iniquity, God’s Remedy • The divine purpose accomplished by His sacrifice is summed up in Isaiah 53:6: All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. • Here is the basic, universal problem of all humanity: we have turned, each of us, to our own way. • The Hebrew word that sums this up is avon, here translated “iniquity.” • Perhaps the closest equivalent in contemporary English would be “rebellion”—not against man, but against God. Jesus endured all the evil consequences of that iniquity. • In its biblical use, avon describes not merely iniquity but also the punishment, or the evil consequences, that iniquity brings in its trail • Jesus Himself was not guilty of any sin. In Isaiah 53:9 the prophet says, “He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.” • But in verse 6 he says, “The LORD has laid on Him the iniquity [avon] of us all.” • Not merely was Jesus identified with our iniquity, He also endured all the evil consequences of that iniquity. • Like the scapegoat that had prefigured Him, He carried them away, so that they might never return again upon us. The Cross – Meaning and Purpose Here is the true meaning and purpose of the cross. • On it a divinely ordained exchange took place. • First, Jesus endured in our place all the evil consequences that were due by divine justice to our iniquity. • Now, in exchange, God offers us all the good that was due to the sinless obedience of Jesus. • Stated more briefly, the evil due to us ,came upon Jesus, that, in return, the good due to Jesus, might be offered to us. • God is able to offer this to us without compromising His own eternal justice, because Jesus has already endured on our behalf all the just punishment due to our iniquities. • All of this proceeds solely out of the grace of God Taken from ‘The Divine Exchange’ by Derek Prince The Divine Exchange at the Cross • The Divine Exchange Hebrews 10:14; Philippians 4:19 • Punished – Forgiven Isaiah 53:5,6, Romans 5:1, 1 John 1 :9 • Wounded – Healed Isaiah 53:4,5, 1 Peter 2:24, Mathew 8:16,17 • Made Sin – Righteous 2 Corinthians 5:21, Isaiah 53:10,11,12 • Death – Life – Hebrews 2:9,Isaiah 53:12,Romans 6:23,Ezekiel 18:4,James 1:5 • Poverty – Abundance 2 Corinthians 8:9, 2 Corinthians 9:8 • Shame – Glory Hebrews 12:2 • Rejection – Acceptance Matthew 27:46, Ephesians 1:5–6 • Curse – Blessing Galatians 3:13–14, Deuteronomy 21: 22,23 The Divine Exchange Life of 4 people –their apparent tragedy & triumph helped me to understand the meaning of suffering,the right response to suffering and to understand that God is sovereign over our lives • Jesus Christ • Joseph • Job • Daniel ,Shadrach,Meshach & Abednego Jesus Christ Isa 53:4-6 KJV • (4) Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. • (5) But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. • (6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isa 53:10-12 KJV • (10) Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. • (11) He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. • (12) Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. Philippians 2:6-9 KJV • (6) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: • (7) But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: • (8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. • (9) Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: Heb 2:10-11 KJV • (10) For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. Heb 10:4-9 KJV • (4) For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. • (5) Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: • (6) In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. • (7) Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. • (8) Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; • (9) Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. Joseph – Genesis 37- 50 Gen 37:28 KJV • (28) Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt. • Gen 39:9 KJV • (9) There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? • Gen 39:20 KJV • (20) And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison. Gen 40:2 KJV • (2) And Pharaoh was wroth against two of his officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers. • Gen 40:5 KJV • (5) And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, which were bound in the prison. Gen 40:14-15 KJV • (14) But think on me when it shall be well with thee, and shew kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house: • (15) For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon. Gen 40:23 KJV • (23) Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him. • Joseph was in prison from age 17 to age 30.
Gen 45:7-9 KJV • (7) And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. • (8) So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. Gen 49:22-26 KJV • (22) Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: • (23) The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: • (24) But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:) • (25) Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: • (26) The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren. Gen 50:20-21 KJV • (20) But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. • (21) Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them. Job – Response to Suffering Job 1:1 KJV • (1) There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. Job 1:12 KJV • (12) And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD. Job 1:16 KJV • (16) While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. Job 1:20-22 KJV • (20) Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, • (21) And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. • (22) In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. Job 13:15-16 KJV • (15) Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. • (16) He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him. Job 19:25-26 KJV • (25) For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: • (26) And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Job 23:10 KJV • (10) But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. Job 42:5-6 KJV • (5) I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. • (6) Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. Job 42:10 KJV • (10) And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. Job 42:12-13 KJV • (12) So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. • (13) He had also seven sons and three daughters. Daniel ,Shadrach,Meshach & Abednego Daniel 6:22 KJV • (22) My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. Dan 3:23-29 KJV • (23) And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. • (24) Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. • (25) He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. Shadrach,Meshach & Abednego • (26) Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. • (27) And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them. • (28) Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. • (29) Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. Word of God – Suffering Refining Process Malachi 3:3 KJV • (3) And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. Psalm 66:10-12 KJV • (10) For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. • (11) Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins. • (12) Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place. Isaiah 1:25 KJV • (25) And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin: Perfected through suffering James 1:2-4 KJV • (2) My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; • (3) Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. • (4) But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. Rom 5:3-4 KJV • (3) And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; • (4) And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 1Pe 1:7 KJV • (7) That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 1Pe 4:12-13 KJV • (12) Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: • (13) But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 1Pe 5:10 KJV • (10) But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 2Co 4:16-18 KJV • (16) For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. • (17) For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; • (18) While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. The Lord carries & protects us in our trials Isa 43:2 KJV •(2) When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. Isa 63:9 KJV •(9) In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old. Deu 32:10-12 KJV •(10) He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. •(11) As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: •(12) So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.
I believe in a God who can turn A tragedy into a triumph A curse into a blessing Sorrow into joy A blunder into a blessing The cross was a tragedy in human terms,the innocent Son of God,falsely accused,went through an unjust trial and finally crucified on a cross between two thieves But God turned that event into the greatest triumph Salvation for mankind & overcoming the evil one Justified ,Sanctified& Glorified When I believed in the Lord Jesus as my Lord & Saviour,I was justified • Rom 5:1 KJV • (1) Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: When I go through trials I am being sanctified • 1Co 6:11 KJV • (11) And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. When I die,I will be glorified • Rom 8:30 KJV • (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. Triumph in Christ 2Co 2:14 KJV • (14) Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. Rom 8:35-37 KJV • (35) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? • (36) As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. • (37) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. Through this trial,our family was sanctified. Each one of us were drawn closer to the Lord. We could counsel people going through similar trials Blessings The Lord brought our son –in –law Sam into our lives. He is God’s chosen gift to us Sam & Esther were married on June 27th 2015 It will be one year in a few days Sam is a committed believing Christian He is a rich blessing to our daughter Esther & to us Post Script 2020 • I had shared this personal testimony between 2013 and 2016 in our churches • It has been seven years after my trial with cancer in 2013 • By the Lord’s abundant grace,I am in good health • I am able to fulfil my responsibilities to my family,my job as an ophthalmologist and my church • Sam and Esther were blessed with a baby daughter in February 2018. • Tabitha Shalom Sam, our granddaughter is a delight and a rich blessing to our family The Lord’s Promises, Psalm -128:4-6
• Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD. (Psa 128:4 KJV) • The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life. (Psa 128:5 KJV) • Yea, thou shalt see thy children’s children, and peace upon Israel. (Psa 128:6 KJV) Psalm 103 – Forget not all his benefits A Psalm of David.Psalm 103:1-5 • Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. (Psa 103:1 KJV) • Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: (Psa 103:2 KJV) • Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; (Psa 103:3 KJV) • Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; (Psa 103:4 KJV) • Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psa 103:5 KJV) God’s one all sufficient solution • God has not provided many different solutions for the multitudinous problems of mankind. • Instead, He offers us one all sufficient solution which is His answer to every problem. • We may come from many different backgrounds, each of us burdened with our own special need • But to receive God’s solution we must all make our way to the same place—the cross of Jesus. Jehova Rapha God who heals.
The Happy Camper by Melody Carlson is a clean, sweet, contemporary romance, written in true Hallmark style, about transition, family relationships and dealing with the innumerable challenges of every day life.
With her uplifting anecdotes and faith boosting stories, Melody Carlson weaves simple joys into the storyline, with her character development, by putting characters in life-changing circumstances, and in healing relationships.
Home is where the heart heals. Dillon finds peace and satisfaction as a happy camper. She finds joy in simple things like working in her grandmother’s garden and fixing up a vintage camper.
The Happy Camper is a delightful story of finding love in the most usual places. It is a light and cute chicklit romance, with well-written characters, about family love and forgiveness. I highly recommend this delightfully engaging, entertaining story, with adorable characters and portraying realistic situations.
Out Of The Embers by Amanda Cabot is an inspirational historical romance. It is an intriguing mystery, skillfully woven into a sweet romance.
A decade after the brutal murder of her parents, Evelyn Radcliffe’s only refuge, the orphanage has burned to the ground. Only she and a young girl escape to safety. Fearing this to be related to her parents’ murders, Evelyn flees to Mesquite Springs in the Texas Hill Country, with her young friend, taking refuge at the home of Wyatt Clark, a single, rugged horse rancher. Will he hold the key to her future—and her past?
With trouble blowing hard on her heels, Evelyn is at first a distraction, and later a full-blown disruption. Can Wyatt keep her safe from the man who wants to kill her? And will his own plans get in the way?
Suspenseful and romantic, Out of the Embers invites you to the Texas Hill Country in the 1850s, in the wild West, filled with noble men and strong women.
Evelyn deals with the “Watcher” with fear, cautiousness and courage. The plot twist with the “Watcher” was so incredibly done.
“Star of Persia, Esther’s Story” by Jill Eileen Smith is the exotic, out-of-this-world, true-to-life tale of how the simple, lovely orphan girl, Esther became the beautiful, honored and revered battle queen of Persia. Caught in the throes of the bitter intrigue and murky strife of palace politics, Esther finds herself in an impossible, catch 22 situation, one in which she can either risk her life or consign herself and her people to the fiery flames of annihilation.
With her impeccable flair for research and her imaginative, conversational, story-telling style, Jill Eileen Smith brings to life the romantic, suspenseful, and beloved story of Esther, drama queen of Persia.
Here in this book, you will meet real people with flaws and foibles, whose palpable emotions tug at your heartstrings, in this passionate story of the Bible’s greatest Jewish heroine.
Jill Eileen Smith weaves together richly crafted descriptions, well-researched historical detail, and merges them together in biblical stories with a fresh, new perspective.
I highly recommend this book to all who wish to make Queen Esther’s story come alive to readers of today. I was captivated and spellbound as I read it, line by line, page by page. I couldn’t put the book down until I reached the end. Great reading!