’tis my God that leadeth me…

For you are my rock and my fortress and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me.” Psalm 31:3

road to the castle (3)
Tree-lined road leading to Vaux le Vicomte castle in Maincy, France

GPS has changed the way people travel. It has its flaws and risks but it has tremendously helped me find my way on the road, en route to new or unfamiliar places. I simply plug in the address of my destination and Google maps tells me how to get there. This navigation is made possible through signals transmitted by a network of satellites providing location information that spans way beyond the 20 feet ahead that I can clearly see with my own eyes.  Guidance from a system that sees the bigger picture keeps me going on the right path.

The Bible makes it clear that our God is a loving God who is committed to leading his people. Nehemiah recounts how God faithfully led the Israelites –  “You in your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud to lead them in the way did not depart from them by day, nor the pillar of fire by night to light for them the way by which they should go.” Nehemiah 9:19  Like a good father, God does not abandon his people. He does not call a people to himself only to leave them to figure it all out on their own.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me.” John 10:27  What a powerful promise to us who are in Christ.  He who is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6) gave himself up as a sacrifice for us that we may become part of his flock – the sheep that hear his voice. We now have a Good Shepherd who knows us more than we know ourselves. Jesus, our Shepherd who is also the Word of God, writes his law in our hearts and renews our minds such that we see him as our ultimate joy,  obedience becomes our delight and the follow me happens.  Jesus, the Word of God, is our pillar of light that dispels the darkness within us, speaks to our discernment, and directs our steps. No wonder the psalmist exclaimed “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105  God takes no pleasure in seeing us fumble and stumble (though he sometimes allows it to teach us a lesson). It grieves him to see us wandering aimlessly like sheep without a shepherd. In Isaiah, God also declared that he will be a Teacher who will be there for the tough times.  Isaiah 30:20-21 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left

Considering the power of his word and the presence of the Holy Spirit in us, it is absolute foolishness on our part when we simply ignore his guidance; when we put on our earplugs of pride. Praise God for those moments when despite our deafness and callousness, our Father chooses to reach out with his own hand and  hold us with a firm yet loving grip that causes our hearts to soften and yield, such that we can keep on following him who always leads us for his glory and our good.

But thanks be to Godwho in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 2 Cor 2:14

He leadeth me: O blessed thought!
O words with heavenly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be,
still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.

He leadeth me, he leadeth me;
by his own hand he leadeth me:
his faithful follower I would be,
for by his hand he leadeth me.

Sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom,
sometimes where Eden’s flowers bloom,
by waters calm, o’er troubled sea,
still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.

(from He Leadeth Me – hymn by Joseph H. Gilmore and William Bradbury, 1880)



Chosen before the foundation of the world

Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. Ephesians 1:4     

Taken at sunrise, onboard a train going up to Montserrat Spain

Really, Paul? Weren’t you just being poetic here? How could God have chosen me before the foundation of the world? I thought the first thing was “Let there be light” (Gen 1:3).

As head of a medical service one of my tasks is the hiring  of personnel.  I believe I have quite mastered the science and art of reviewing resumes and piling them into 2 categories. If I’m not interested, it goes to the “I wish you all the best in your future endeavors” shredder. If the resume looks great, it goes to the “invite this person for an interview” stack. The interviews would narrow it down to the best candidate who is then offered the position.

As far as I know, none of us submitted our resume to God and none of us were interviewed. To be chosen by him was and is totally independent of anything we could ever have done.  Chosen. This past participle form of the verb “choose” always involves a decision or action of someone outside of us. When we are chosen, someone else did the choosing. When God chose us before the foundation of the world, he was acting out of his infinite goodness and love.  It was dependent on his character and not based on our worth. 

A closer though still imperfect analogy would be the process of adoption. The infant being adopted has no clue about what’s happening. The baby doesn’t pay  lawyer fees, airfare/relocation expenses. The baby doesn’t have to prepare for the court hearings and other legal processes. The burden lies entirely on the adoptive parents. Once all is said and done, the baby simply gains  a new set of parents, a family, a home, a future.

If Paul’s words don’t convince us, then let’s see what Jesus had to say. In John 6:44, Jesus said “No one can come to me, unless the Father who sent me draws him…” And during his last moments with his disciples, he said “You did not choose me but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide.” (John 15:16). 

How does this help shape our identity? First, it establishes that our worth and our value is based on the fact that he chose us. We can lose our jobs, suffer illness, undergo bereavement, experience losses of all sorts, but none of these can rob us of the assurance of who we are in our Father’s eyes. Similarly we can succeed in our various roles, know prosperity, enjoy health and other good things, but none of these can even attempt to compare to the overwhelmingly glorious truth of God choosing us.

Secondly, it establishes our purpose – to be holy and blameless before him. And since only Christ walked this earth holy and blameless, this means we are to become image bearers of him, just as the branch is made of the same wood as the Vine. After all, the ability to bear lasting fruit only happens when we (the branches) remain in the Vine (Christ). Apart from him, we can do nothing.

Andrew Murray, who pastored churches in South Africa in the late 1800s  wrote “The deeper I enter into this purpose of His electing love, the more I will realize what the link is between the purpose from eternity, and the fruit to eternity: the abiding in Him. The purpose is His, He will carry it out”  (from The True Vine: a devotional).

Father thank you for choosing me before the foundation of the world. This is what your word says and your word is true.  I did not earn it. I do not deserve it. I will never be worthy of being chosen by you. Thank you that it was all by grace, sealed through the finished work of Christ on the Cross. Let me not seek any other identity except that which you have designed for me, and may you be glorified now and forever in the fruit that I bear as I yield and abide in absolute surrender. In Jesus’ name, Amen.



Avoir un macaron (Have a macaron)

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11 

“Je voudrais un macaron sil vous plait.” (I would like a macaron please.)  

Step inside historic Maison Laduree on Rue Royale – one of the most highly acclaimed pastry shops in Paris, known for its delectable macarons.  You will find the colors attractive and the aroma enticing.  The spectrum of flavors is quite overwhelming that it makes the task of narrowing down your choice to one or two (or three) somewhat challenging.

Maison Laduree, 16 Rue Royale, Paris, France

Life presents so many choices; some more serious than others. As followers of Christ we desire to know the will of God in everything and make decisions according to his commands.  Obedience (though not perfect in our present life) is the outcome of His saving grace; a result of our redemption. The apostle John clearly taught “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says I know him but does not keep his commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly, the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” (1 John 2:3-6).  While we don’t always make the right turns along our journey and we are still often blinded by the world and by our weaknesses, our union with Christ transforms us in such a way that we grow in our yearning to follow closely God’s specific will for our lives.

I do believe there are times when our Heavenly Father, out of his graciousness,  puts forth an array of righteous and beneficial choices before us and calls us to pick one and love Him there .  I’ve heard a pastor illustrate this in a practical (and appetizing) way.  He said sometimes, God’s general will for his children, is like a variety plate of cookies freshly baked by grandma, whose delight is to see her grandchildren simply enjoy her baked goodies. She is neither more pleased nor less pleased if they grabbed the chocolate chip instead of the raisin oatmeal.  Selecting the gluten-free kind does not bring her greater joy either. Similarly, I cannot make the House of Laduree, who has been making macarons since 1862,  any more or any less famous whether I ordered salted caramel or pistachio or raspberry (…or all of the above!!!). Given the quality this brand is known for, I will surely enjoy my macaron(s). If I can have such confidence in a pastry shop (or in grandma’s baking skills), there is absolutely no reason why I cannot trust the Author and Perfecter of my faith when he blesses me with the opportunity to freely choose within the framework of his providence.

When he says, “Choose”, I should not dwell in introspection nor procrastinate under the guise of pursuing deeper discernment. The appropriate response is to obey. After all, what additional assurance do we require from the only One who has full knowledge of what is good?  Isn’t he the same Father who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32). If our God who is Perfect has already laid out the boundaries within which we have the freedom to choose, does it make sense to allow our fear of making a less than perfect choice paralyze us? Though it may not be our fear but our pride, in fact, that stifles us from yielding to Him who loved us first. (1 John 4:19) Our arrogance and disbelief hinder us from receiving what he offers and going where he leads. More than wisdom and understanding, we need humility and faith  to  joyfully live in reckless abandon, completely secure in the depth and breadth of his goodness, and totally surrendered to him whose ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9).

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights…” James 1:17  The Giver of life, the Giver of all that is good; He is our Father.  Let us worship him, and enjoy his gifts with thankful hearts.

“For all your goodness I will keep on singing, ten thousand reasons for my heart to find.” from the song 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman 















When God calls us to wait…

“But for you O LORD do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.” Psalm 38:15 (ESV) 

I was a weird kid. I always wanted to know the ending even before I finished reading a story. All that mattered to me was the final chapter and whether the characters lived happily ever after or not. I hated suspense. I couldn’t stand not knowing. And I confess that there were more than a few times, when I opted to take a peek at the last pages of a Nancy Drew mystery just to “check” if my suspicions were right about who the real villain was. All because I couldn’t wait.

Maison de Claude Monet, Giverny, France

Fast forward to adulthood and it became apparent that my dislike of waiting was and is true in most real life situations. Whether standing at a cash register line or during a season of unanswered prayer – waiting always feels unsettling.

In the story of Ruth, when Boaz came into the picture and Ruth found favor in his eyes,  Naomi said ” Sit still my daughter until thou know how the matter will fall.” Ruth 3:18a (KJV) 

We all know what Ruth had been doing before this. She was working hard caring for Naomi. Now there’s nothing for her to do but wait and see how God unfolds his glorious plan through Boaz, their kinsman-redeemer. Naomi’s advice to sit still was not given out of resignation but out of hope! She knew that Boaz will follow through. “For the man will not be in rest until he have finished the thing this day.” Ruth 3:18b (KJV)

Such waiting is not passive or useless. It is based on faith, lived out in trust and bears fruit, which is strength.But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles;they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 

By God’s mercy, he has shown me what I’ve been missing by refusing to wait. When I desire to arrive at the conclusion or get results right away,  I deprive myself of seeing how he thoughtfully and powerfully works in our lives moment by moment or page by page. I miss out on marveling at the meticulous details of how he weaves time, people, and circumstances, even the most unpleasant ones, into the fabric of his perfect will. I fail to appreciate the beauty and wisdom of his sovereignty – sometimes allowing, sometimes withholding, all the time loving.

Right now I am sitting at my spiritual porch, waiting on God about something. I know that I have brothers and sisters sitting on the same bench. It’s an uncomfortable bench, but it is a seat of grace and is perhaps the most secure place for us, for such a time as this.  Waiting deepens our intimacy with God and our covenant with one another. Life is never on hold when Christ, the ultimate Kinsman-Redeemer, is holding it . He is working as we wait, in ways that are more important than we can ever understand. Praise him who calls us to wait.

For God alone my soul waits in silence, from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. Psalm 62:1-2



Till we find rest in him…

 He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. Psalm 23:2-3


Water lilies, Fondation Claude Monet, Giverny France

I’ve gotten used to it. Nine out of ten times when someone asks “How are you?”, the other person’s reply is, “Busy.” Busy has become a favorite word, a knee-jerk response to describe one’s life. And why not when today’s culture worships being busy. Few will admit it but no one wants to be thought of as not busy.  Among Christian circles, we hear the same thing. Armed with Proverbs 31, we calibrate our to-do lists after this Old Testament wonder woman who is knowledgeable in international cuisine, market investments, real estate; she even plants a vineyard, weaves her own bedding but doesn’t get enough sleep (v. 15 “she rises while it is still night”). Seriously, I do love Proverbs 31 and it is not about what she does but who she is – a woman who fears the Lord (though that warrants a separate blog). And although my intention is to talk about rest, I do have to be careful to not swing  to the other extreme – that of idolizing rest. This is where the worldly clamor for “me time” may be deceptively hidden in the “God rested on the seventh day” church lingo.

In everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven. Eccl 3:1  I do not claim to have the stewardship of time all figured out. I see myself stumbling in both extremes of busyness and idleness – neither glorifies God. But I do believe that like all of creation, time belongs to God and not to us, which means He has the rightful authority over how it must be used. He has given us 24 hours a day because what He wants to accomplish in us and through us can be done within that time frame. When I say there’s never enough time, I’m in fact questioning the sufficiency of his provision and in effect, doubting his goodness. In her book, Secure in the Everlasting Arms, Elisabeth Elliot wrote: “One reason we are so harried and hurried is that we make yesterday and tomorrow our business, when all that legitimately concerns us is today. If we really have too much to do, there are some items on the agenda which God did not put there. Let us submit the list to Him and ask Him to indicate which items we must delete. There is always time to do the will of God. If we are too busy to do that, we are too busy.”

So what about rest? What does that look like? I believe that rest is not so much a physical place or time, but rather a condition of the heart that knows its complete security lies nowhere else but in the arms of a loving Father. I don’t mean that God does not ordain specific times for us to set ourselves apart physically to restore our bodies and our minds. In fact, I absolutely treasure each time that God allows me to take some time off. But without the knowledge of God as our sole refuge, we can devote a huge amount of time (and money) in the most secluded place and find rest evasive. The psalmist knew where to find rest. Psalm 32:7 says “You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. ” So it isn’t so much where do I rest or how do I rest, but more of Who is my rest or on Whom do I rest. Psalm 62:7 says “On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. The word refuge refers to a situation that is safe and secure, free from harm and trouble. We all long for that but it is nowhere to be found apart from God. It is Jesus, our Good Shepherd, who makes us lie down in green pastures, leads us to still waters and restores our soul (Psalm 23). Let us thank him for the rest he desires for our hearts to know. What he wills for us, he also faithfully accomplishes. We need only to be still.

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face; And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.” hymn by Helen Howarth Lemmel (1922)

Thou hast made us for thyself O Lord and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”   St. Augustine










Steadfast and unchanging…

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17

Ponte Sant’Angelo was built around 136 AD by emperor Hadrian to span the river Tiber, connecting the center of Rome to Castel Sant’Angelo. Today it still stands as one of the finest bridges in Europe, reliably serving as a footpath for locals, pilgrims, and tourists traveling to and from the eternal city and the Vatican City. It is a gorgeous piece of architecture that has stood the test of time for centuries. No one in his right mind would dare to replace it with a shiny steel suspension bridge with automated moving walkways. Thankfully, like most of Rome, the bridge is preserved by the laws governing UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Ponte Sant’Angelo – photograph taken from the side of Castel Sant’Angelo

But not everything is protected from change. It happens every time to everyone everywhere. In this fast-paced society, change occurs abruptly. Just when you’re getting used to a technology, a newer device enters the market. Even the most reliable things (or people) around us could change. I’m sure all of us have changed our minds about something at some point. Our tastes and preferences likewise vary over time. I don’t mean change is all bad (oh there are tons of changes I’m personally thankful for), but neither is it all good.

It should give us great comfort to understand that one of the attributes of God that makes Him different from us is his immutability. Jen Wilkin, author of the book None Like Him, calls this “his infinite sameness.” Unlike us created beings, our Creator never changes. He himself declared For I the Lord, do not change…(Malachi 3:6). We may not often think about this, but nothing provides us with greater stability than the knowledge that the God in charge of the universe is steadfast and unchanging. His mercy towards us today is the same as on the day He sent His only begotten Son to save us from our sin. He is as powerful today as on the day He created the heavens and the earth, or when He raised Jesus from the dead. Scriptures also tell us that our Lord Jesus, the second person of the trinity, is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). His perfection is such that nothing and no one can make him less good, less merciful or less just. His immutability is our security. That same relentless love of our Savior that secured our salvation will also pursue our sanctification. Discouragement becomes our baggage when we lose sight of this truth.

That God is unchanging ought to lead us to greater faith in and worship of Him. As Arthur Pink, author of Attributes of God wrote: But, all praise to His glorious name, He is ever the same. His purpose is fixed; His will is stable; His word is sure. Here then is a Rock on which we may fix our feet, while the mighty torrent is sweeping away everything around us. The permanence of God’s character guarantees the fulfillment of His promises: “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee” (Isa 54:10).
Let us anchor our lives on to Him who is steadfast and unchanging. Because He is everything that He says He is, we can sing with all confidence and certainty “Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not, as Thou hast been, Thou forever shalt be…Great is Thy faithfulness, Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.

(Great is Thy Faithfulness by Thomas O. Chisholm).

What builds character? An unexpected lesson from — olives

They say olive oil is good for you.  That’s nice because I love everything olive.  A good olive oil can transform a piece of toast into a gourmet appetizer. That thou shalt always keepeth a good bottle of EVOO in thy pantry is a wise culinary commandment.  One of the largest (if not the largest) producers of olive oil in the world is also one of my favorite (if not my most favorite) European destinations – Spain! In our most recent visit to southern Spain, my husband and I joined a tour to admire the Alhambra castle. The northbound trip from the coast of Malaga was beautifully saturated with views of rolling mountains and hills studded with olive groves. It was almost a 2-hour drive, hence, I learned about olives.

Olive groves of Granada Spain
Olive groves in southern Spain

As in most agricultural endeavors, water is essential for growing and sustaining olive trees. When there’s more moisture, the size of each fruit increases and the overall yield becomes greater. However, olive growers who intend to produce the best olive oil do not care for huge (watery) olives. These experts welcome periods of Mediterranean drought that are so essential in producing smaller but definitely tastier olives, which, after being pressed, give rise to high quality olive oil. Though I wasn’t aware of this before, I thought the idea resonated well with Scriptural truth.

The apostle Paul wrote to the Romans: Through him (Christ) we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.  Romans 2:2-5

Suffering is unwanted. Much of life is aimed at eliminating suffering. Atheists continually demand a “convincing” answer to the question “If there is a God why is there so much suffering in the world?” Sadly, we who believe in Christ seem to be asking the very same question. Yes, we believe that God is there, but we still require an explanation from Him as to why our circumstances are not better, why our illnesses are not healed, why our relationships are not stronger, why our prayers are not answered. I know I do. I personally prefer a rainfall of remedies over a season of suffering. Praise God that he works according to his loving wisdom, and not according to our convenience-oriented preferences.  I am also thankful that he provides metaphors throughout His creation in order to show us the good that suffering produces. Amy Carmichael, missionary to India who was familiar with much suffering wrote this: “When the wind blows hard on a tree, the roots stretch and grow the stronger. Let it be so with us. Let us not be weaklings, yielding to every wind that blows, but strong in spirit to resist.”  That’s endurance. That’s character. And all that is good. It is God’s will for us, and (hello fellow parents!) it is also God’s will for our children.

Pastor and Bible teacher Chip Ingram (Living on the Edge) said one of the most important lessons our children should learn from us is how to suffer well. I realize that parental neglect of children is a serious problem in our society (and in many other places) but there is also a real danger in  “over-watering” our children. In our garden we’ve unintentionally managed to kill some potted dahlias by too much watering. Their roots never had a chance to stay dry and so they grew mold and rotted. For the sake of our  “arrows in the hands of a warrior” (Psalm 127:4)  we must also embrace the suffering that God allows in the lives of our children. Why deprive them of the strength of character that will surely follow?  Jesus who was like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, (Isaiah 53:7)  suffered well on our behalf. By his grace in which we now stand, suffering cannot destroy us. Suffering will strengthen us.

The Lord is my strength and my shield, in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults and with my song, I give thanks to him. Psalm 28:7 






The melody of meekness…

Music is one of the most common things people resort to for relaxation. I am thankful to live in a place that is blessed with music, arts and culture, including a world-renowned symphony orchestra. Last weekend, I was delighted to hear them perform Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini Op 43. Of the 24 variations, my favorite is and will always be variation #18  where the music

cropped-cello.jpgshifts to a flowing gentle melody – a transition that is very noticeable because of its almost song-like quality, very different from the  2 variations that preceded it.  Listening to this tune  (which has been popularized in an old Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour movie) magnificently played by a phenomenal orchestra, was quite therapeutic.

But my blog today is not about music. For months now, God has been impressing upon me the value of meekness  and how much I have yet to grow in the image and character of Christ, specifically with regard to this heart issue.  So why did I start my writing with Rachmaninoff? Because like variation #18, meekness is a soothing balm in a world that is badly hurting with pride.

What does it mean to be meek? The synonyms of the word meek are: gentle, submissive, soft, and yielding. In academia, (and many other fields), these are adjectives that are rarely used during job interviews. Indeed meekness stands in stark contrast to everything the world applauds.  Society tells us that we are allowed, even encouraged, to be strong-willed, no matter what. Arrogance has become a right and meekness has been erroneously equated with weakness.

But meekness is in fact evidence of wisdom. Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. James 3:13  A person who is meek has come to understand his rightful place as a created being,  before a powerful Creator. In his book Humility, Andrew Murray wrote:  “Humility comes when we see how truly God is all.When the creature realizes that this is the true nobility,  and consents to be with his mind, will, affections, the vessel in which the life and glory of God are to work and manifest themselves, he sees that humility is simply acknowledging the truth of man’s position as creature, and yielding to God his place.”

Consider our Lord Jesus Christ – who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped but emptied himself by taking the form of a servant being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:6-8  

Meekness is only possible when we are united to him who sought no glory for himself (John 8:50). We begin to grasp it when we look at how Jesus submitted to the Father in everything. Meekness is a fruit borne out of the work of the Holy Spirit in us, often in the crucible of suffering. We cannot fabricate it, but like a garment that is already woven for us by the finished work of Christ,  we must put it on and wear it constantly. He said Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matt 11:29  God not only values meekness. He rewards it. But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace. Psalm 37:11 

Meekness brings about much needed rest for our souls. Aligning our hearts with that of Jesus – He who is gentle (meek) and lowly – leads to rest.   Meekness acknowledges that all things come from our loving Father and therefore leaves no room for anxiety. Instead of engaging in a senseless power struggle with our Maker, meekness makes our hearts malleable in the hands of our Potter. Meekness not only upholds but furthermore finds comfort in the order set by God in relationships such as that between husband and wife (Ephesians 5).  Meekness is not passive but actively submits in obedience to the will of Him whose ways and thoughts are higher than ours, allowing us to experience the greater good that He desires for His children, over the mediocrity of our human choices. Meekness is not a position of oppression. On the contrary, it leads to greater joy. The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord..Isaiah 29:19 It is only when meekness becomes the constant melody in our hearts, that we can dance freely and joyfully with Christ our Bridegroom.

In the book In His Image, author and bible teacher Jen Wilkin wrote: “Fullness of joy results when we seek to reflect our Maker. It is what we were created to do. It is the very will of God for our lives.”   May our lives become mirrors that reflect the meekness of Christ each day. There is not a melody that is more beautiful than His.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5






The rich soil of ambiguity


I went to a Science High School where at a young age, I gained an appreciation for the scientific method of investigation. The concept of a controlled environment was very appealing to me. In the design of a research experiment, scientists ensure that factors that potentially affect outcomes are carefully defined and controlled, so that the results of the study could be accurately attributed to the experimental intervention alone, and not to some other variable.  This approach is the basis for many wonderful scientific discoveries throughout history.

But step outside the laboratory and real life proves to be very different from a science experiment. It doesn’t take long to realize that the conditions and circumstances around us are far from predictable, and this ignites fear and anxiety within us. Sometimes we cope by trying to control people and situations, thinking that it would make life more manageable. At times we choose to withdraw from relationships or responsibilities in order to protect ourselves from the heartaches and disappointments they bring. Uncertainty is messy and we don’t like that.

Thankfully, what we call unknown is only unknown to us but not to our great God. There is absolutely no uncertainty as far as He is concerned. “I am God and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying ‘My counsel shall stand and I will accomplish my purpose'” Isaiah 46:9-10. It is hard to wrap our finite minds around it but the truth is, God has full knowledge and control of the entire history of man and beyond. He does, and we do not. Only the saving grace of Christ can bring about an honest humility in our hearts to acknowledge this. Because unfortunately, our natural bent, way back from the garden of Eden, desires to glorify self. We try to do everything we can to prove that we are strong enough, good enough, wise enough. In reality, only God is enough and our faith in Him – His knowing all circumstances that we don’t understand – propels us to live and love in the ambiguity of this unpredictable and often discouraging world.

In his book A Loving Life, Paul E. Miller writes: “Our world may be ambiguous but our

Lavender fields, Madison Ohio


calling isn’t. Instead of fighting the uncertainty, we can love in it. Faith grows in the rich soil of ambiguity. Because everything is uncertain, we find ourselves praying our way through the day or through relationships. Walking with the Good Shepherd on this journey of love becomes like breathing. Do not put your energy into ordering what you cannot order; simply love in the disorder.”

And by His grace, we shall. Because He who loves us most, knows it all.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13









In my Father’s house are many rooms…

Squires Castle  in North Chagrin Reservation, Ohio

I am not an interior designer, but I do enjoy decorating each room in our house and making it pretty for family and guests. I grew up in a culture known for hospitality. All the work that goes into preparing our home for visitors excites more than exhausts me. Before Jesus went to the cross, during his precious last moments with his disciples, he said:  “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in  God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?”  John 14:1-2.

Jesus was speaking of our permanent home in His Kingdom, which he himself prepares for us. Let us not miss this – the King of Kings himself is preparing a room for us. He is taking care of all the details, just like we would, when expecting a friend’s arrival. Let’s tuck this in our memory and retrieve it the next time we feel doubtful of his love.  We did not and could never earn our heavenly mansion. This promise was made secure by Christ’s death on the cross and his resurrection. Hence the certainty of our eternal dwelling ought to strongly impact the way we live today.  In his letter to the Colossians, Paul instructed,”Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Col 3:2-3). 

Sadly, our natural nearsightedness tends to focus on making this present life so pleasing , that we lose sight of the glory that awaits us one day. We forget that this world is merely a station to pass through but not our ultimate destination. I love traveling and I do  appreciate the conveniences of a well-appointed airport. But it would be foolish to miss and cancel my scheduled flight to Paris for instance, just because I enjoyed my lunch while connecting at O’Hare. To lose sight of heaven is even more tragic.

Although we speak of heaven as a place devoid of sin, pain and suffering, surely the most glorious thing about it is God’s presence. We will meet Christ, our Bridegroom face to face and live with him forever. ” I will take you to myself so that where I am, you may be also.”  John 14:3 To the heart that loves Jesus, nothing could be sweeter. So much so that any earthly trouble becomes a light momentary affliction. 2 Cor 4:17-18 “This light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.”  I pray the truth of God’s Word would daily wipe our foggy lenses to give us a vision that yearns for heaven and empowers us today.

“If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”  C.S. Lewis