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The Heart That Listens

All kingdom matters are matters of the heart. God our Father knows each heart and is concerned with what is taking place inside. Our heart is central in the kingdom. He entrusts His Kingdom to hearts He can trust. As sons and daughters of the Living God, it is through our hearts that He can set the course of our lives that will shape history with His hands.

The heart of Samuel demonstrated a sensitivity to God’s presence.  He was able to lean towards God’s will for he possessed a listening heart.  His heart was also persistent in pressing towards the things of God, which we can trace this same quality of heart to his mother, Hannah. 

Hannah, together with her husband Elkanah, would faithfully go to worship at Shiloh and sacrifice every year for the Lord Almighty. And all those times, Hannah wasn’t able to bore children. Despite Hannah’s emotional torment, she maintained an unoffended heart before God.

One day while she was intently praying in the temple, Eli, the priest, mistaken her as someone drunk. A man, whose sensitivity has been dulled by his own acts of unrighteousness, unjustly criticized her as being drunk with wine. Yet, the woman whose heart has been fixed unto God, responded with high respect. As a result, she was blessed by the priest. Not long after, Hannah gave birth to Samuel, who would later become one of the greatest prophet of Old Testament. Hannah’s ultimate breakthrough happened as she positioned her heart to honor God and His servant Eli in the midst of pain. God saw her heart. God’s value for heart attitude bears much weight.

“Then Yahweh came and stood there and called out as before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel said, ‘Speak, because your servant is listening.’” (1 Samuel 3:10)

We can imagine that as Samuel grew up serving in the tabernacle, he was exposed to the presence of God day in and day out. Samuel’s heart was being shaped and trained by His daily encounters with God. This reached a point where “God revealed himself to Samuel through His Word”. The impact of his personal encounters in the secret place resulted to an entire nation acknowledging Samuel as a prophet from God. Israel bore witnessed to the fact that Samuel knew God’s voice.

“The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord. The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.” (1 Samuel 3:19-21)

Daily encounters with God became the foundation of his leadership and a pillar of strength in his days as the last judge of Israel. Samuel possessed a listening heart that is sensitive to the voice of God.

When Israel clamored for their own king, it did not please God.  But when God ordered Samuel to anoint Saul, he did not hesitate and obeyed the Lord no matter what.  The beginnings of Saul were extraordinary and Samuel was there as a prophet, mentor and father, not to mention that Samuel was also the intercessor for the nation of Israel.  Along the way, King Saul made some grave mistakes. The king failed God. When God repented to have made him king over Israel, Samuel was grieved and cried out all night. But Samuel will always be on God’s side. He remained faithful to God, a compassionate intercessor and prophet of a nation.

Then when the season has come and he was to anoint a new king. He had come to the house of Jesse and when he saw the eldest son, Eliab who bore physical resemblance to Saul, Samuel immediately assumed Eliab was the logical choice.

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” (1 Samuel 16:7)

Although still reeling from disappointment and regret, Samuel’s heart was not misplaced. His heart was still postured to hear and lean to do the will of God. Oftentimes because of our past breakthroughs, we immediately assume familiar situations should yield similar breakthroughs. As human beings, we are experience-centric and memory-dependent that we rely too much on patterns of how things work. It might be that this was exactly what was going on in Samuel’s mind. But because Samuel had a listening heart, he was able to hear what God had to say about the situation.

Hearing and following God every step of the way, his obedience brought forth success everywhere he went. Samuel’s bias is always God’s side. The process that he went through shaped the prophet that he became – the kind of heart that loved God and His people Israel and  who knew God’s voice and obeyed His Word.

In the same manner, as we faithfully spend our quiet times with God, our hearts learn to be sensitive to His voice. Let us continue to soak in His presence daily and grow in studying His Word, relishing His love and glory. Our ability to hear God’s voice must be accompanied with radical obedience and enduring faith.

The Value of Process

We advance in our kingdom assignment to the degree that we bear and reveal the facets of Jesus.

Process is essential to our growth and maturity in life. It is process that brings out the true potential and value of a person or a thing. Diamonds are a much-celebrated gem around the world. A pound of coal and an ounce of diamond may have similar carbon molecular make-up but they immensely differ in value.  Diamonds are extremely valuable because of the process it takes to form it which includes intense heat and pressure. Furthermore, it takes the skillful hands of a master artisan to turn it into a priceless jewel.

The Word of God says that He is the Potter and we are the clay (Isaiah 64:8). He is forming us into unique vessels for His glory and purpose. How we respond to His dealings and seasons determine the kind of attitude, mentality, leadership, and the measure of our influence, authority and power that we are able to carry. Nobody is exempted from this. We will all go through the process of growth.

I had the privilege of visiting giant sequoia trees in the US. These trees are said to be death-defying as they can grow to up to 3,000 years old. The General Sherman, one of these giant sequoias, is said to be the largest living organism by volume today.  It stands at 275 feet, the base at 100 feet wide and weighs a staggering 2.7 million pounds.  One of the abilities of the sequoia is that they can withstand fire. It has been said that fire affects sequoias at every stage in life. The mineral soil which sequoia needs for germination should be bare, meaning it is free from forest litter like dried leaves, twigs, bark and needles, which the fire burns as well as the undergrowth and other trees that will compete for the ample sunlight sequoias need.  The sequoia bark which can grow up to three feet thick protects the tree from significant damage.  And should the fire penetrate against the thick bark, a new growth of about half an inch thick of new wood and bark can heal the scar.  This scar in fact gives beauty to the tree’s annual ring pattern. Fire brings out the best in sequoia trees – ability to heal, accelerated growth, and grandeur.

This is an apt picture of our journey with God.  When we allow God to deal with us, even through or with fire, and when we respond in total obedience and trust, we become like the sequoias – we can stand strong, withstand the adversity or trial, and give glory to our Maker.

Jesus went through the process of growth. In Hebrews 5:8-9 it says, “Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience through the things He suffered. And having been perfected,  He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey.” His sonship did not exempt Him from the process. The prophet Isaiah declared a prophetic description on the nature and the ministry of the coming Messiah. This is an accurate picture of Jesus and the process of growth He went through towards the fullness of His Kingdom Assignment.  Let us  take a look at this prophetic profile.

‘For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government (the Kingdom) shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace.  And of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward and forever. The zeal of the LORD of host will perform this.’ Isaiah 9:6-7

There are several important details to this prophecy.

A child is born. Jesus was born in a manger as a babe. This is our entry point as well. And as children, we lack maturity and wisdom, and without maturity we cannot fully access our inheritance and step into our glory as sons of God. The child needs to be trained in the ways of the Father before he can be entrusted with authority, power, influence and the fullness of his inheritance (Galatians 4:1-2).

A son is given. During His baptism at the River Jordan Jesus was launched, affirmed and blessed by the Father as He declared, “This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased”. This moment came in the fullness of time. From the time Jesus was a young boy in the temple talking to the teachers, saying “…I must be about My Father’s business” (Luke 2:49) to this exact moment He “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” (Luke 5:52).   It takes a process to progress from a child into becoming a matured son.

The Father commissioned Jesus into His divine assignment as a matured Son, not when he was still a baby on a manger. Jesus revealed the nature, the intent and the purposes of the Father. And as Jesus is, so are we in this world. There is an appointed time that the Father launches us in our kingdom assignment. We advance in our kingdom assignment to the degree that we bear and reveal these facets of Jesus, the matured son. Sons best RE-PRESENT the Father to the world.

Unleashing the Heart of Royalty

Introduction to the Blog Series

God’s purpose is the full restoration of all things in Christ

God designed us to reign in life. Paul wrote, “For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance in grace and of gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17). Reigning in life is our mandate.

As sons and daughters we are mandated to take dominion. This mandate is multifaceted. To take dominion is to rule and reign,  to manage and steward all of His creation and to subdue the works of darkness and take territories for the King. He has called us to expand the borders of His Kingdom here on earth. By doing so we are pushing the boundaries where the enemy used to rule and inhabit and to take territories and to destroy the works of darkness. God’s purpose is the full restoration of all things in Christ. His death is not just to save us from judgment and the sting of sin but the restoration of our glory as sons and daughters of God,

Our Kingdom Assignment should be an overflow of our love relationship with God. Fruitfulness comes out of intimacy. Jesus said, “I only do what I see My Father do, I only say what I hear Him say.”  Jesus is our model.  He lived from this divine rhythm of beholding His Face and revealing His Face to the world.  We will see greater results  when we do it His way. What we receive in our encounters with His Face, we release to the world as we go. The deeper we grow in our relationship with Him the greater realm of influence and authority we can walk in. As love is the soil and the foundation for all that we are, it should be the motivation and intention of all that we do.

We will be introducing a weekly blog series, Unleashing the Heart of Royalty, where we will learn the secrets to our kingdom assignment.  We will learn from the lives of Samuel, King Saul, David and Solomon some of the essential keys to releasing the realm of heaven to earth.  We will study the breakthroughs and pitfalls of these biblical characters to better understand the nature and characteristics of the expansion of the Kingdom of God from generation to generation.

Fruitfulness in Intimacy

The Parable of the Vine and the Branches in John 15 contains secrets to kingdom lifestyle of fruitfulness, abundance, intimacy, authority, favor, joy and fullness of life. This parable outlines how we should live our lives on this earth as citizens of the Kingdom of God. The essence of our Christian life is captured in Jesus’ words saying, “abide in Me and I will abide in you”. This is what divine union is all about and it is only possible through the Holy Spirit alone. We have access to be in the Presence of God at all times by abiding and remaining in Jesus organically – in living, love-relationship.

Intimacy brings us to the depths of God in Christ. What is true to Christ is true to us in that place. Just as the life-giving sap of the vine flows through all the branches, all the Life that is in Christ flows through us as we remain in Him. Eternal fruits are natural by-products of this divine union with Him.  These fruits are born out of the inner workings of the Holy Spirit in and through us as we respond in faith and obedience. These fruits lead to the expansion and demonstration of the Kingdom of God to the world around us.  He is glorified when we bear much fruit and that our fruits remain. Fruits could be signs and wonders and miracles through us. Or it could be breakthroughs, victories, exploits, creativity, wisdom and all that’s available from heaven to us His children.

The fruits of our union with God in the secret place can be manifested in every aspect of our being. What happens in the secret will be rewarded in the open.  This goes beyond our responsibility and ministry in the church. It encompasses our spirit, our soul and body.  In the Old Testament, the Ark of the Covenant remained with the family of Obed-edom in his house for three months. “And the Lord blessed his family with all that he had.” (1 Chronicles 13:14). The Ark is the only physical thing in the Old Testament that ‘housed’ the glorious Presence of God.

God’s Presence brings blessings and fruitfulness. David confidently declared in the wilderness while Saul, driven by jealousy, was running after him to kill him yet he said, “my soul is satisfied with marrow and fatness” (Psalm 63:5). The physical setting around him was contrary to this proclamation, but David was so assured of the blessings and the abundance of God coming his way. Why? Because God was with him and that he made His Presence his dwelling place and refuge. In Psalm 23 he wrote, “…surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”  How’s that for boldness and confidence.

Receiving is Reigning

For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:17

One of the precious principles that we need to remember in this life is: everything in the Kingdom of God is to be received, and not to be achieved. In addition to this, we cannot release what we have not received.  In Matthew 10:1 it says, “ And having summoned His twelve disciples, He gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.”   The Twelve received authority in the Presence of Jesus as He commissioned them to do the works of the Kingdom. And Jesus went on to say, “freely you received, freely give.”  We cannot release or give what we have not received from Him. The measure that we receive from Him in the secret place is the same measure that we are able to release to the world.

Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father as Priest and King in the heavens. As the High Priest in the heavens, He completed the sacrifice necessary for the redemption of mankind and He’s been given all the power and authority in heaven and on earth and now He sits on the throne ruling and reigning as the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Our measure of receiving from heaven is the measure of our reigning in life. This is an important key in living out the Kingdom lifestyle.  Heaven is the model and the pattern for earth. Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Let Your Kingdom come, let Your Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  As priests, ministering before God in worship and intercession in the secret place, we receive from heaven the very answers that would address the needs here on earth. 

Jesus modeled the priestly and kingly lifestyle.  Both aspects are essential to us walking this earth because “as He is so are we in this world.” He said I only say what I hear my Father say, I only do what I see my Father do.  This is the lifestyle that we are called to live.  This is Jesus’ secret – His hidden life with the Father. In the same way, as priests, we should see and hear God first so we can go and do.

The Kingdom of God is the total answer to the total needs of man. Jesus made the way for us to access heaven and live in its reality in the Spirit and be able to experience our inheritance as sons of God here and now. Through Him we have access to the heavenly resources needed to transform this earth and make it look just like heaven. We received what Jesus accomplished, the finished work of the cross, by faith in the place of intimacy. In a race, we start from the starting line, but in Christianity we do start from the finish line- the finished work of Jesus. That’s why Christian life is all by faith and all by grace.

After receiving from heaven, we are to rule and reign here on earth, exercising the authority given to us.  We have been commissioned to destroy the works of darkness, and set the captives free. We take every land for our King and expand the borders of His Kingdom as we go and proclaim the Good News. We bring His Presence to the widows and orphans, the lost, the least, the forsaken and the sick.  We mark people for blessing and declare over them their destiny that God has for them.

Second Chances

Do you have issues in your past that bog you down until now?

Do you walk around carrying stigma from past mistakes?

Have people’s words felt like brands on your forehead?

Have you been misunderstood?
Humiliated?
Do you wish you could erase the past? Do you want a second chance?
A clean slate?

Sometimes people remember for a lifetime all the wrong things we have committed but forget in the blink of an eye all the right things we have done. Sometimes we believe how people judge us or we also judge ourselves and put on our own marks of condemnation.

God does not see us that way. He sees us with eyes of forgiveness, acceptance, and love. He values us not for the things we have done or have failed to do, but for who we are – His children.

If you believe in Him, He believes in you so much more. And He believes that the dreams He put in your heart can come to pass. He has placed a price tag on you that costs so much more than what you think you’re worth – priceless! That is how much your Maker values you.

With this kind of love, second chances are not hard to get.

If you have never experienced the love of God then this is an invitation for you to open your heart to Him. His arms are open wide to receive you, here and now.

If you already know of that exceptional encounter, then I invite you to dig deeper in the wells of His love. From there, let spring another level of friendship and intimacy with God—up to a level where you are so utterly intoxicated by Him that the mystery of His ways makes perfect sense and the miracles of heaven start to infiltrate your life.

Move Forward



There are things in life that paralyze us. What we think. How we see ourselves. How other people see us.  The fear that was instilled when we were young. Our physical disability. The 7 o’clock news. They do if we believe they can. It’s our choice.

In John 5:2-9, Jesus asked a certain man who had been paralyzed for thirty-eight years, “Do you want to be healed?” The man’s reply described his fading hope in the midst of a seemingly impossible situation. Nobody was there to help him get in the water when the angel of God stirred it. And when he musters the strength to crawl towards the pool, somebody always beat him to it.  It does indeed look like a hopeless predicament. Oftentimes, our wrong tradition, wrong beliefs, even religion could put us in that same situation. Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was healed; he picked up his mat and walked! He came out of paralysis that crippled him since birth in the place of his encounter with the Son of God. He made a choice. He moved forward. He was never the same again.



Personal encounters with the Author of Life makes us more alive. God’s love is so powerful. In the place of our encounter with His heart our emotions are quickened in love. Our innermost being responds best to the surge of the living power that emanates from the very the heart of Him who loves us dearly.

The moment our spirit, soul and body come in complete alignment with the purposes of heaven something happens: we are launched further into our destiny. In an instance, we find our whole being empowered, our vision clarified and our hearts awakened with unquenchable passion. Whatever kept us in a state of paralysis had to give way to the immeasurable power of God.

God’s passion and choice for us is to take us out of paralysis and spark a movement. He wants to take us from immobility to motion, from motion to momentum, from momentum to movement and from movement into becoming an unstoppable force. The power from on high spurs us on. We have no option but to move forward.

The Hand and Heart of God

We sometimes make the mistake of thinking that the hands and heart of God are interchangeable.

A lot of people are offended because they do not understand the ways of God. In our lack of awareness we ask:

If God is all-powerful then why is there sickness and suffering?

Doesn’t God understand that this is important to me?

Why doesn’t He answer my prayers?

Why is He punishing me?

We whine and we kick; we see God’s actions (or lack thereof) and judge him at face value.

Let’s take the fall of Adam and Eve. When they sinned against God, He punished them by cursing them and their offspring and by driving them out of the Garden of Eden. God even sent a cherub to guard the garden so they wouldn’t be able to come back into the abundance of Eden. Didn’t that seem too much? They realized their mistake and felt sorry, didn’t they? Why did God have to kick them out- it was just one mistake!

If we stop there, we may be tempted to think that God was too harsh in His discipline. But if we look closer, God was actually guarding them. In the garden, there were two trees – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (the forbidden fruit of which Adam and Eve ate, causing the fall of men) and the tree of life (Genesis 2:8-9). The tree of life would give them everlasting life. When God forbade Adam to Eve to enter the garden after the fall, He actually intervened on their behalf to prevent them from eating of the tree of life; otherwise, they would have remained cursed forever.

In the same way, we may have experienced being frustrated or offended by God’s actions. We may have jumped to our conclusions about Him as a father to us. We may have felt doubts about His being tender and forgiving.

But, God, in the omnipotence of His ways will at all times have a good reason for His actions. We can trust that those reasons are for our own good- so much so that He calls Himself love.

In embracing this truth, we can stop calculating God’s deeds. We can avoid comparing ourselves to those who have been “more blessed” than we are. We can forego our self-righteousness that makes us think God prefers us over those we disapprove of. From there, the foundation of our trust and love for God would shift from His deeds to His very blameless nature. There is nothing bad or angry or spiteful about Him, and in that reassuring fact, we can find peace.

When we have that view of God, it is very hard to question and to take offense of His actions. The way His hands move no longer confounds us, and we end up finding ourselves witness and recipients to the perfect benevolence of His heart. It is there that we can find the confidence to say that it is His will to bless us.

Hope Arise

(2 Chronicles 20: 1-30)

Now it came about after this that the sons of Moab and the sons of Ammon, together with some of the Meunites, came to make war against Jehoshaphat. (verse1)

Destruction was staring at King Jehoshaphat when he received the news. A great multitude was coming to make war with the tribe of Judah. Just a few months back, he was in a similar battle where he narrowly escaped with his life. Now this.  An impossibly inescapable situation. The odds were stacked against the people of God. The battle was about to break and the hearts of the people were in fear.  This is one of those moments when God reveals His strength and power in and through His people.  Defeat was sure, but certainly not with God.

King Jehoshaphat was afraid. But he refused to give in to fear. He’s been in similar situations before. He knew exactly what to do – he turned his face towards God. He called for a fast all throughout Judah. You don’t go hungry before a battle, do you? This is utter foolishness in the eyes of the enemy. But this is exactly where and how hope arises in the hearts of the humble totally dependent on God.

Hope is knowing that God gives power to the powerless.

There are times in life we feel like we are aimlessly drifting through a dark long tunnel without end. Sometimes we find ourselves pressed and pushed to a corner with no way out.  Crushed in all sides, we feel trapped and drained. If we allow it, fear will finally take us to the pit of helplessness and resignation.

Fear becomes real when we make it the ultimate reality. The people of God, however, have a far greater truth that confronts and silences fear. It may appear foolish to bend our knees and cry out to the heavens when we can already hear the bombs exploding and gunfire at a distance. Going to war with fasting is a sure recipe for defeat even before the battle starts. Yet Jehoshaphat turned his heart to seek the Lord and God answered. When we choose to turn toward Him, knowing that we are helpless, we are posturing ourselves to experience His power invading our hearts and circumstances.

The king stood in the assembly, full of faith, as he boldly recounted God’s history and covenant with His people. He remembered the battle where he could have gotten killed and how God delivered him. A horde pursued to kill him mistaking him for the king of Israel. But he cried to God and the Lord saved him. He knew his God. He had experienced His faithfulness through tough times. Knowing your God always position you to a place of hope. Remembering what He has done, your testimonies, others’ testimonies, will inspire you to desire more and believe for more.

Hope is remembering Who God is and our history with Him.

Hope allows us to see our situation from His perspective and through His faithfulness. Jehoshaphat anchored his hope in God and His covenant with His people that He had consistently displayed through His mighty deeds. Those who steward the testimonies of God and keep them close to their hearts, possess a deeper sense of hope and confidence. Even in the face of danger, nothing can change and challenge the faithfulness of God. This is the assurance and the bedrock of our victory.

Hope is standing our ground and fixing our eyes on God alone.

O our God, will You not judge them? For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.” (verse12)

King Jehoshaphat shows us that in everything, perspective matters.  We don’t always know what to do but we can always keep our eyes fixed on God.  There are times when we have to wait for His instructions. There are times we have to take action because He has already spoken the Word.  At all times, we need to hear Him and see His face despite our external circumstances. King David said it this way, “One thing, I have asked of the Lord, that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple” (Psalm 27:4). The moment we see His face and hear His voice, our circumstances pale in the revelation of His greatness and glory. In life, what overwhelms us will shape us.  To cultivate hope, we have to turn our gaze to Him and be overwhelmed by His goodness.

Hope arise as we hear His Voice.

“Listen, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s. (verse15)

The Word of God releases faith and supernatural courage. War is at hand. There’s no other option but to face it. But first things first – seek the face of God. Through a prophet, God declared that the battle is His’ not theirs. Yet He wants them to witness it and be part of the unfolding of His faithfulness and power. “You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out and face them, for the Lord is with you” (verse 17). This is hope, knowing that God was with them. Even when they are surrounded by the enemy or thrown in the fiercest battle, His presence surrounds them and the victory is guaranteed.

When the prophet finished speaking, the king and all of the people bowed their heads and worshipped the Lord.  The sons of Levites led all to sing praises to God with a loud voice.  Worship is both an act of surrender and celebration. Bowing down our hearts before the Almighty is a sign of humility and trust in who He is and acknowledging that He is all in all in our lives. Hope knows that once He has spoken, it is done!

Hope arise in the place of worship.

We can only arise in hope when we learn to bend our knees. Before His majesty and glory, we see our circumstances bow down to His will. Our battles are won first in the secret place where we surrender everything to the Victorious One. 

They went to war with the ‘praisers’ and worshippers at the forefront singing “Give thanks to the Lord, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.”  Our greatest weapon of hope in the midst of impossible situation is knowing and declaring that He is good and His love endures forever. Fear has no place in the heart that is full of love and praises to Him Who is good and faithful.

Remember the wall of Jericho? A massive wall where 4 chariots can race on top, crumbled in a moment, not with a 21st century nuclear bomb, but with a shout from the people of God. The power of God was released in an act of obedience. They declared that God has given them the city, and so it was done.  Something supernatural happens when our prayers and our declarations are in alignment with the heart of God and His nature.

As the dust settled, there was not one single arrow shot nor swords unsheathed. It was God’s battle, indeed. The people of Judah arrived in the wilderness to see the enemies totally wiped out. The only job left was to collect the spoils of war.  To describe the spoils as too much is an understatement; it took them three days to collect anything of use or precious. Oftentimes, our abundance is made available when we choose to stand up and confront our circumstances armed with the goodness of God.

Hope arise when we turn our eyes on Him.

Hope arise when we bend our knees. 

Hope arise when we praise His name. 

Hope arise when we see God’s lovingkindness.

Let your hope arise.

Hope Alive

No one is exempted from crisis. In every stage of our life, we face some kind of crisis. Do I eat the one marshmallow now or wait so I can have two instead? The yellow shirt or the red one? A course in natural science or economics? Operation or chemotherapy.  Should I avail of the vaccine or should I wait for herd immunity? Oftentimes what we learn and who we become have been dramatically shaped and influenced by the crisis we go through. How we respond to them is crucial in navigating and thriving in life.

The COVID-19 pandemic has become more than just a global health issue. It brought about a very extensive dilemma that’s disrupting and shaking institutions, economies, and governments to the core. Most individuals now have faced or are facing prolonged isolation and disconnection due to quarantine rules and travel bans.  The uncertainty brought by this crisis marked an increase in suicide rate as more people are prone to suffer mental health issues as anxiety and fear permeate their everyday existence.

Where threat, fear and tragedy become the norm of life, hopelessness thrives.

Our sense of harmony and peace is always connected to our ability to be in control. We always feel safe inside our own bubble.  When we lose control over our situation and the solution is nowhere to be found, we feel helpless. When we feel helpless, hopelessness follows.

Hopelessness kills. It dulls our creativity, dampens our passion, stifle our faith and sabotages our freedom.

Ultimately, we feel imprisoned and become a victim of our circumstance. It’s a hard place to be in unless our heart attitude and perspective change. Hopelessness, like a dark cloud, engulfs us and causes our perspective to skew towards what could go wrong, instead of to hope – to have a positive expectation that something will turn out right. 

Hope is more than a wish

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

Proverbs 13:12

Commonly, our understanding of hope is synonymous to wish. It is to wish for, to expect a fulfillment of a desire. Its strength is in the person’s intensity of desiring. However, biblical hope is different. It is the confident expectation of what God has promised therefore its strength is in His faithfulness.

Hope makes us alive. While hopelessness kills our reason for living, hope empowers us to live it out. Our faith soars where our hope flourishes. So, whatever happens we have to cultivate hope. The starting point is, hope in the LORD!

Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why are you disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.

Psalm 43:5

Nowadays, people tend to desire, desire, desire, get, get, get. Social media, sadly, has become the platform for this unending ‘wishing’ frenzy as insecurity, jealousy and pride escalate.  FOMO, the fear-of-missing-out pushes people to the place of utter discouragement and disillusionment. When our hope is anchored in what we desire, what we are planning to do, what we wish to happen, we are bound to experience sickness of the heart. It is the kind of hope with an empty assurance, an expectation void of faith.

True hope on the other hand is one that’s anchored on God – in His nature. Our God is faithful and true to His promises. We hope not in the things that we see or what we are able to control but on things that are eternal, on God Himself.

From a sick heart to tree of life

“Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Psalm 37:4

From this verse we understand that having our desires fulfilled is a matter of delighting in God first – making Him our greatest desire and devotion. And our desires that are rooted in God, once fulfilled, become a life-giving tree (Proverbs 13:12) for others. Our stories, testimonies and history with God are the fruits of the tree from which others can feed on and find their healing from their struggles of helplessness and hopelessness. Once I heard from a person I respect, “The person with the greatest hope is the person with the most influence.” At the end of the day, we influence others to the measure of our hope.

Christ is our Hope

Finally, hope is not just a mere optimistic expectation. Hope is a person- Jesus Christ.  Paul exhorts us that there is a mystery hidden for ages but now is revealed: Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). With this truth we are assured that our present-future is glorious despite the challenges and uncertainties ahead. Our hope is anchored in the Eternal Christ.  With this reality, we can be instruments of glory in the midst of this darkness and our God-stories become life-giving fruits for others who are hungry and desperate to taste and see God’s goodness. Our lives filled with hope can become a beacon pointing others to the Eternal Hope, Jesus.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

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