Follow Me (from Our Daily Bread)

Today’s Reading: Mark 2:13-17 http://bit.ly/23YS4zX

For those of you who prefer the audio version: http://odb.org/2016/03/31/follow-me-3/ 

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” —Mark 2:17

Health clubs offer many different programs for those who want to lose weight and stay healthy. One fitness center caters only to those who want to lose at least 50 pounds and develop a healthy lifestyle. One member says that she quit her previous fitness club because she felt the slim and fit people were staring at her and judging her out-of-shape body. She now works out 5 days a week and is achieving healthy weight loss in a positive and welcoming environment.

Two thousand years ago, Jesus came to call the spiritually unfit to follow Him. Levi was one such person. Jesus saw him sitting in his tax collector’s booth and said, “Follow me” (Mark 2:14). His words captured Levi’s heart, and he followed Jesus. Tax collectors were often greedy and dishonest in their dealings and were considered religiously unclean. When the religious leaders saw Jesus having dinner at Levi’s house with other tax collectors, they asked, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (2:16). Jesus replied, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (2:17).

Jesus came to save sinners, which includes all of us. He loves us, welcomes us into His presence, and calls us to follow Him. As we walk with Him, we grow more and more spiritually fit. —Marvin Williams

Read Acts 9:10-19 and see how one man obeyed God and welcomed someone who was considered spiritually unfit.

  1. What were the results?
  2. How can you reach out to those who need the Savior?
  3. How can you help your church become a more welcoming place for the spiritually unfit?

Jesus’ arms of welcome are always open. 🙂 

Is God Fair?

Today in my Management class we learnt about how to motivate employees and whether what the employers are doing is considered fair.

The class started off with the lecturer asking, “Is there anyone out there who’s willing to come up and touch my desk? I’ll give you $10.”  At first, everyone in class was sceptical, including me. Is this for real? One daring person actually walked up and touched the desk and was rewarded $10! I couldn’t be bothered because I was sitting at the back row (that’s what happen when you have a class from Business school and have to rush off to the Octagon Theatre.) Anyways…

Doesn’t that happen to us sometimes as well? We tend to doubt God’s goodness and faithfulness especially when we are not getting what we asked/prayed for. I must admit that I have wished for a photographic memory or eidetic memory so that I don’t have to waste so much time revising/studying for exams. I didn’t know there were downsides to having photographic memory until I read this article: http://hubpages.com/health/photographic-memory-problems

The student who was interviewed explains why he’s not a straight A student even though he had photographic memory:

The simple answer is that the “photographs” in my memory are so fragmented and so cluttered that it consumes a whole lot of my energy just to visualize one chosen memory.

“Remembering lots of stuff doesn’t necessarily make you smarter. In fact, the brain can become overloaded with lots of unneeded information. Forgetting makes our brains more efficient. Memory involves selecting bits of information we need while ignoring what’s unnecessary. Remembering what someone looks like is beneficial. Remembering exactly what they were wearing each and every time we meet them isn’t.”

We are reminded in James 1:17 that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” God also says His gift of salvation is free for all and all we need to do is to trust and believe in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8). Check out “Crown of Glory” if you are keen to know how to start a relationship with God.

So, with the gifts that God has given us, are we grateful for what we’ve given? Are we waiting for something to happen/ our prayer requests to be answered before we are motivated to praise God? No. God’s great love should be the key reason for us to praise Him and thank Him for all that He has done.

Don’t be like the monkey in the video. (How can you waste food??!!) Learn to be grateful with whatever God has given you, don’t compare with others. Remember He always has your best interest in His heart. Nevertheless, hope you will laugh at this video as much as I did (LOL who knew lectures can be this exciting?) 🙂

Pretty good reads:

http://www.gotquestions.org/is-God-fair.html

http://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/bible-study-course/bible-study-course-lesson-4/god-is-always-fair

 

How Can I Break The Silence?

Silence

One of the main reasons why I felt God has led me to create my own blog is the urgency to bring Christ’s message to a dying world.

People without Christ are lost and on their way to hell. We know that we are commanded to love them and to tell them about Jesus. But we tend to sidestep our responsibility. We get into involved theological discussions on why God hasn’t elected everybody to salvation. And we argue for the moral necessity of hell for the wicked. However, the question each of us should be asking ourselves is, “What am I doing to reach the lost?”

Of course I’m not expecting each one of you to start your own blog (but if you feel that it’s God’s will then go ahead! Can’t wait to check it out! 🙂 )

My challenge to my readers today, ask yourself, “If everybody did as much as I am doing to reach the lost, how many people would be coming to know Christ?”

A hard question, but each of us must evaluate what we are doing to reach the world for Christ. We must break the silence and bring Christ’s message to a dying world.

Extract taken from RBC Ministries Discovery Series – How Can I Break The Silence?

Here’s the PDF version: https://d3uet6ae1sqvww.cloudfront.net/pdf/discovery-series/how-can-i-break-the-silence.pdf

 

Thank You! =)

I’m so touched and encouraged to have over 300 followers in just 3 days! Thank you so much for your support so far! I look forward to creating more inspiring, meaningful and encouraging posts that remind you of God’s love and goodness!

Have a blessed week ahead!

Annalisa 🙂

Thanks!.jpg

P.S. I just got my Twitter account, do follow me on Twitter as well! ^^

Surprise!

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday and it’s a day where we will celebrate the Resurrection of Christ after dying for 3 days! This shows us that Jesus Christ has overcome death! Therefore nothing is impossible or too difficult for Him! (Luke 1:37)

A special treat to my readers, you’ll get a surprise tomorrow! Just like how Mary Magdalene and the other Mary got a lovely surprise on Easter Sunday where they found out that Jesus was no longer dead! So come back tomorrow to check it out!! 🙂

Easter 2016.jpg

Q&A – Why does God allow suffering?

I thought I would kick-start the Q&A section by tackling one of the most commonly asked questions. The following article is adapted from various sources including Bubzbeauty and Christianity Today.

Why does God allow suffering?

Don’t we question Him a lot? From a broken leg to a broken heart to a broken family. Some people think, “Maybe God messed up. Maybe he was too busy dealing with Taiwan’s earthquake that he forgot about the children in Africa.” Some people think, “Maybe God is angry with me for turning my back on him. That’s why He is punishing me.” The Lord doesn’t mess up nor take His anger on the World. 

That “why” question is not a new one; it can be dated back since the Old Testament by Job and the writers of the Psalms, and it was especially relevant during the 20th Century, where we witnessed two World Wars, the Holocaust, genocides in the Soviet Union and China, devastating famines in Africa, the killing fields of Cambodia, the emergence of AIDS, the genocide in Rwanda and the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo. And the 21st Century didn’t start any better. There was 9/11 and now the Syrian slaughters, and on and on. Why do all of these horrific things happen if there’s a loving and powerful God? Why do bad things happen to good people? I cried out, “It’s not fair God!!!”

There are no words to describe the anguish being felt by those who are suffering today; our heart and prayers have, and will, go out to them. There are so many tragic stories, so much pain. And many people are asking the question, “Why? Why me? Why now? Why did God allow this?”

Maybe you’ve never asked why our world is infected with pain and suffering, because God has been gracious to you, protecting you from harm and unnecessary heartache. But here’s a heads up. Jesus said they are coming. Unlike some other religious leaders who wrote off pain and suffering as mere illusions, Jesus was honest about the inevitability of suffering. In John 16:33 he said, “You will have suffering in this world.” He didn’t say you might—he said it is going to happen.

 So why does a loving Father (that’s how Christians describe God) allowed us humans to suffer here on Earth? Does He not care about us anymore after He created us??

To answer these questions let us turn to the Word of God. I remember attending a Go(o)d & Evil talk organised by OCF in 2015. The Pastor mentioned a lot of people assumed either He is not a God of love and is indifferent to human suffering (i.e. He doesn’t care about us), or else He is not a God of power and is therefore helpless to do anything about it. Is God then not good or great, or simply not there?

In Isaiah 55:8 God says, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” In 1 Corinthians 13:12 we’re told, “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.”

Someday we’ll see with clarity, but for now things are foggy. We can’t understand everything from our finite perspective.

Yet it’s still important to tackle with the question of why God allows suffering in our lives. Even though we can’t understand everything about it, I believe we can understand some things.

Let me give you an analogy:

When a new baby is born, the parents will give consent for their child to receive injections. From the baby’s point of view, he or she feels the pain, thinking “Why is my parents allowing me to suffer?” On the other hand, the parents know this is the best thing to do, to prevent their child from getting sick. Likewise we (humans) are like a child and God is our loving Father.

God says, “Trust me in your times of trouble, and I will rescue you and you will give me Glory.” (Psalm 50:15)

All you need is to have Faith in Him because He is Right. Things may seem wrong from our point of view because us humans have our own way of judging but God knows what is Best. Think of Him as a pilot. Sometimes, we don’t know where he is taking us and we may even enter into storms but we have to TRUST HIM because at the end of the day, He is just trying to take us Home. He WILL take us home. Where is home? With Him in Heaven.

“Our comfort is not God’s priority. If it is, how do we explain challenges such as death, disease, slumping accompanies and earthquakes? If God exists to please us, then shouldn’t we always be pleased?”- Max Lucado.

Key points to remember

  1. All suffering results from the fallen nature of our world.
  2. Much suffering is a direct result of our own sinfulness. (e.g. the suffering caused by drunkenness, or greed, or lust, or…)
  3. BUT some are not (see John 9:1-3)
  4. In the end we don’t know why God allowed evil into the world.
  5. However, we should thank God that He does something about our suffering, Jesus suffered and died so that we could be forgiven and participate in the ‘new creation’ where there will be no suffering. (*Hallelujah!!!*)
  6. God uses suffering to discipline and strengthen his children. (Hebrews 12:7-11; Romans 5:3-5) That shows us He ❤ us!

I personally am going through some hard times at the moment but really thank God for His strength and peace as I go through this season in life. Check out “Cease Striving and Know” if you haven’t read my testimony.

It’s my prayer today that you can find peace and comfort in this loving Father who cares for you and He totally understands the troubles/sufferings/loss you’re going through. Because God sacrificed His one and only beloved Son, Jesus Christ for us all. May you find comfort and strength in Him today! =)

Songs that have brought me comfort (Hope they will bring you comfort too! ^^)

“Through It All”

“Jesus, Draws Me Ever Nearer”

“Still, My Soul Be Still”

Acknowledgement

Thanks to Bubz from Bubzbeauty for attempting to answer this question. Want to know more, check out: http://bubzbeauty.com/ask-bubbi/184-why-does-god-allow-suffer-a-evil-to-happen.html

Chrsitianity Today: http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2012/july-online-only/doesgodallowtragedy.html

Further readings

10 Reasons to Believe In A God Who Allows Suffering https://d3uet6ae1sqvww.cloudfront.net/pdf/ten-reasons/in-a-god-who-allows-suffering.pdf

Don Carson, How Long , O Lord?, 2nd edn, Baker, Grand Rapids, 2006.

John Dickson, If I were God, I’d end all the pain, rev. end, Matthias Media, Sydney 2002.

Paul E Little, How to Give Away Your Faith, rev.edn, IVP, Downers Grove, 2006, chapter 6.

Kel Richards, Defending the Gospel, Matthias Media, Sydney, 2006, chapter 8.

Crown of Glory

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 The Meaning of Easter

If you have not yet received Jesus Christ as your personal saviour, it’s not too late to do so now! Just follow the simple 3 steps and you are saved!

  1. Pray – for God to change me so that I may:
  2. Submit to Jesus – as my ruler
  3.  Rely on Jesus – for forgiveness, for eternal life.

That’s what I love about God, He doesn’t expect us to be perfect or requires us to work hard in order to earn His love and the eternal life that He gives.

How to pray?? Don’t worry. It’s as simple as saying this prayer:

“Dear God, I know that I am not worthy to be accepted by you. I don’t deserve your gift of eternal life. I am guilty of rebelling against You and ignoring You. I need forgiveness. Thank You for sending Your Son to die for me that I may be forgiven. Thank You that He rose from the dead to give me new life. Please forgive me and change me, that I may live with Jesus as my ruler. Amen.”

(This prayer has been taken from 2 Ways to Live)

Or if you’ve been a Christian for a (long) while but want to renew your faith in God , He’s patiently and lovingly waiting for you to return to Him! All you have to do is to rededicate your life to Him, asking Him to be the Lord of your life and ask Him to forgive you for all that you’ve done wrong. You can also use the above prayer. 🙂

Still unsure whether Christianity is for you? Why don’t you check out Two Ways to Live at http://www.matthiasmedia.com.au/2wtl/ to decide for yourself.

Please get in touch if you have any questions/concerns. Or if you want more information! 🙂

As we prepare our hearts for Good Friday here’s The Power of the Cross by Keith & Kristyn Getty.

 

The picture is taken from Crosscards.com. Check it out for free e-cards, Facebook Covers,Wallpaper. They also have a blog with inspirational videos so I would recommend checking it out!

The Meaning of Easter

Easter long weekend is here! So what does Easter mean for you? To me it’s a great reminder that Jesus loves all these frail, doubting people, loves all these people just like me, and you. 🙂

If you have ever bought into the lie that you have to be perfect for Jesus to love you, or that you can’t have questions or doubts, or even be afraid for people to know that you’re a Christian, then this story of a man who shoulders the wood that killed him should end those.

Easter is about GRACE.

It’s about the fact that Jesus willing to die for us.

To die for people that would deny him, question him, doubt him, be angry at him, try to bury him, run from him.

That’s some crazy kind of love.

There will be those who don’t like this message, those who say, “But you have to do something to be saved, you have to live right.” I don’t believe that is the message of the cross.
I believe the message of the cross: ALL are welcome and JESUS has done it all.

His sacrifice, his act, his grace.
His bigness wrapped around our smallness.
His goodness overcoming all our darkness.
His arms carrying the weight of our mistakes so that we could unwrap the life he has for us.
His love touching all the places we thought were unlovable.

That is what love does.
Love offers itself in place of the one it loves. ❤

When Jesus hung on a cross to give us life, life and more life he knew exactly the type of people who is laying it all on the line for.
He knew because they were his friends, his companions, the ones with whom he chose to spend his last hours before his capture and the first after rising from the dead.

Jesus chose to give us life. All of us.
Doubters?
Questioners?
Liars?
Those who give up?
Thieves?
Mourners?
People who no one notices?
Those with small faith?
Those who deny Jesus?

All welcome! All welcomed by the man who died on the cross and rose three days later so we could live with him forever. (*Gets Excited!!! :D)

This extract is taken from http://www.ilovedevotionals.com/…/one-surprising-thing-i-re…

SHARE if you agree! ;D