BIBLE

BIBLE

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Live like that and give it all I have....

Hi friends,
Hope you are all doing fine.This post is a thought that came to me sometime back when I came to know that an acquaintance of mine had suddenly expired quite unexpectedly. He was younger to me and quite an enthusiastic and bright youngster. At that time this song came to my mind as I began to think that none of us knows when we would go and so we should decide to live the best life that we could live. Just yesterday when I came to know about the death of an uncle again quite suddenly due to cardiac arrest, I decided to put my thoughts to paper as soon as possible. He too was a great family man and one who was quite protective and loving to his own. I have respect when I remember him. Be it 15, 35 or 79, death is no respector of persons. Instead of having an unhealthy fear about death, the Bible reminds us in 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 that we have victory over death IN JESUS CHRIST. " O death where is ur sting, O hades where is your victory?The sting of death is sin and the strength of sin is the law.But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

We can never be fully prepared to die but we can focus on preparing to live fully. This song below tells us how we can make sure to live like that so that we will be remembered as someone who gave it all we had. Enjoy Live Like That by Sidewalk Prophets

Let's make a decision to live such a blessed life that when we leave we will be remembered as someone whose life made a difference to others.
Sparkylaurie

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Shine your bright light, no matter how dark the night!!!

Hi friends,
Hope you are all doing well. This week I'd like to share something someone reminded me. Often in life we are overwhelmed by a million and one demands pulling us in a thousand directions. How do we react at such times? In order to be really happy, we ought to go hand in hand with life. Often however, we find ourselves in this mad race trying to catch up with this crazy life....At such times, it is essential to remember to be like that unshakeable lighthouse that shines its light brightly no matter how dark the night,how stormy the sea,how unruly the turbulence. Another thing  I was told was that though we have a fixed thought in our mind often we know what to do and may be  even doing it, when suddenly there comes a situation or person, a distraction from what we are doing. Out of sympathy or out of empathy or out of mere necessity, we may get distracted, maybe frustrated and then irritated, unable to continue what we  were doing coz of the demands that are beckoning to us in many forms and in many directions. We may then just cave in and give up.Talk about good intentions gone astray!
Often we may even unknowingly find our peaceful selves pulled into the chaos of another person and then wonder why we have lost our peace. We should not allow anyone or anything to steal our peace no matter what!
The best example for this would be in Mark 4:35-41 where we see how the peacefully sleeping Jesus was suddenly awakened (by His terror stricken disciples) to a ferocious storm. One look at the disciples fear- filled expressions  and hearing their terrified cries should have upset him, but He was not one to allow the storm around him to enter into Him. Instead He just spoke to that which was not alright and set it right. The perfect picture of tranquility in the midst of the storm. He knew who He was (Identity) & whose He was (Sonship).That explains His calm reaction to the troublesome waves and howling wind that He saw and heard.
We ought to follow the perfect example of our Wonderful Lord. Is there a storm raging against you or someone you know and care about, remember , we talk to the storm and not allow the storm to tell us it's lies. We should keep a serene and calm disposition no matter what the people around us are doing or saying. Sometimes instead of circumstances, it may be the people who are trying to ruffle our feathers with slander or gossip but the real question is , how will we react to this even when we know that we are innocent? As long as we are doing the best we know that we can, we can rest assured that "He will not let us be tested beyond the limit that we can bear" -1 Corin 10:13


The best thing to do in such situations when chaos is calling out to you is to pause / just breathe and do the one thing needful- and that is to go to the Master's feet and sit like Mary did (in Luke 10:42) & draw wisdom & strength from Him to carry on.It is His promise that He will give us rest.
Sharing with you a song that tells us exactly this. Hope you enjoy it!

Just breathe by Johny Diaz


Have a blessed week!
Take care, God bless,

Sparkylaurie 

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Grace has got us!!!


Hi friends,
This week I'd like to share a beautiful song that I came across. I think it in a peppy manner tells us exactly what Grace is.
What is Grace? It is unmerited favor.When we know for sure that it wasn't us that accomplished something, we know that we don't deserve one bit of the credit that comes, that is when we say it's His favor or His Grace and mercy alone.
We see in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that "His Grace is sufficient for us." That's the reason why we appear totally as if we got away with something sometimes, it may even appear unjust to some onlooker who may say ,how on earth did he get that??? that's when we say Grace got me. That's the reason we hum the tune long after the song is over,sing loud enough for the back row to hear, glide coz walking would not be enough, dance even if we don't know how to.We laugh till our sides ache and smile coz we know we got away with something not because we deserved it but bcoz He chose for us to have it!Strange and peculiar we may seem to them but that's alright....we are after all according to 1 Peter 2:9 "a chosen generation,a royal priesthood ,a holy nation,a peculiar people who should show forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvellous light."
Sharing the link to this awesome song GRACE GOT YOU by Mercy Me (with rapping by John Reuben)

https://youtu.be/Ngq_jNytypc


So next time things are tough, just remember that its only a matter of time...Grace has got us!
Have a wonderful week,
 Sparkylaurie

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Only Jesus !!!


Hi friends,
Hope you are doing fine.  We are also doing fine by the Grace of God. I was just listening to this beautiful song by Casting Crowns. The world tells us one thing but the Lord tells us another. The real purpose of our lives is to glorify Him. No matter what happens in our life,we can be sure that the Lord is always near us and will protect us from all calamity that may surround us. I have heard a quote : " When you look inside, you will be stressed,when you look around, you will be distressed but when you look at Jesus,you will be blessed." So no matter what happens, just make sure that you have fixed your gaze upon JESUS, the One who is True & Faithful, our Gracious Redeemer & Restorer. He has proved His faithfulness to us time and again and so we can be sure that He will come through for us.
Always keep in mind the words of John the Baptist IN JOHN 3:30 "He must increase and we must decrease."
Sharing two beautiful songs which is based on this verse. Hope you enjoy them as they draw you closer to Him.

"Only JESUS" -  by Casting Crowns



"Tu bade main ghatu" by Shelley  Reddy-



Have a blessed week,
Sparkylaurie

PS: Let's remember flood affected Kerala Aug 2018 in our prayers. 
Check Nugget # 116 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

THE REALITY OF CHRISTIANITY


“Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”- John 14:6 
 Hi friends, 
Hope you are doing fine. Things have been going up and down for me and so we could say it has been a major learning phase for me. We all love the mountain tops but it is actually in our valley experiences that God teaches us the most about Him, about ourselves and our purpose in life.
The recent valuable lesson I learnt can be summed up in 3 isms- Idealism, Cynicism & Realism.
Let me explain with the help of an illustration. : Suppose you walk into a clinic and instead of a friendly, helpful Receptionist to assist you, there is a grumpy lady stalling on the landline and distracted by her beeping mobile who glances up at you irritated. Her momentary glance does the talking: “what do you want? Can’t you see I’m very busy?” As she finally keeps the phone down you quickly tell her the reason for your visit. “For a while” … she replies and continues texting smiley emojis to a Whats app contact . How would you react to this person? Would you just wait for her to finish and then repeat the purpose of your visit for the 3rd time and get on with your business there or would you (like me) spend a few minutes to give the receptionist a piece of your mind and then leave heaving a sigh of relief at having expressed your total intolerance for this kind of negligent behavior?
Most probably you would have reacted like my husband and 75% of population and you would ask me why I even bothered to talk to her (having already finished my business)? But perhaps 25% of you would agree with me that when wronged something within just wouldn’t allow us to leave the place without first putting things in order. Just leaving without saying what needed to be said made me feel like as if I had left the toilet without flushing it J
All my life I have faced such kind of situations staring at me in the face as if daring me to do something about it , to set things right, no matter whether it directly involved me or not. Often I would wonder why it was that people didn’t simply do what they were expected to do or just say what they were expected to say. Many times I get the look “… what is her business in telling me how to do my job"… but like it or not, they knew I was right and this would be justified as the next time I’d visit, I'd usually see an improvement in the things there. Though often, I didn’t benefit from any of this, I could leave knowing that I had made a difference for the next person in line and oddly enough that would be satisfying enough for me.
I never understood why I continued to do this. I would often find myself in such conflicting situations no matter how peaceful or prayerful I was. Very recently I had such an encounter with a person I respected and looked up to. There was a certain issue I had discussed with the person and believed he would take care of the matter. I just couldn’t believe when after a period of two weeks, there was no communication from this person nor was there any action taken on the matter. This left me at first puzzled, irritated and then even angry. I finally decided to confront the person about it. The response of the person was that though he had meant to do something about it, he had needed some more facts to work on it and so had kept the matter pending. He apologized for his lack of communication. I quickly accepted his explanation and the issue was solved. Yet it took me some time to recover from the stress I had allowed to bother me for the last two weeks. I kept asking myself why I had allowed anything to affect me so much.
As I usually do, when faced with a confused mind/ a heavy heart, I asked the Lord what was the real issue here and why was it so difficult for me. The Lord then helped me understand that I was being an Idealist and so was trying to fix things as if we were living in an Ideal world.  
IDEALISM: (The unrealistic belief that our standards/principles can always be achieved or the pursuit of perfection)
In an Ideal world, all people would do what they had to do and say what they had to say perfectly. There would be no need of reminders. People would be hardworking, punctual and dedicated always. They would be filled with joy, hope and kindness. However in the world we live in, where life is a rat race and survival of the fittest is the mantra for success, values like sincerity, compassion, loyalty are totally alien concepts. That is the reason why there was and will always be conflict. We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.”- 1 John 5:19
So the next question was what should we do now? Shift to the other extreme and call the glass half empty? Give up any hope for development, growth and goodness ? in other words become a cynic?  
CYNICISM?( The belief that people are interested only in themselves and are not sincere,an attitude of distrust) George Carlin said, “Scratch any cynic and you will find a disappointed idealist.” 
When our childlike wonder and enthusiasm and never say die spirit is extinguished by the blatant disregard or lack of interest of our team members, what do we do? Just throw in the towel and get discouraged and give up our attempts to do what we can to change the system? Start seeing the world as a fallen place full of darkness and gloom and doom; with absolutely no life or hope? I think that would make earth the saddest place to be. It would make us count our days with our eyes on the clouds; homesick for heaven and longing to leave this dismal place and go home to be with the Lord.
Here we remember the encouraging words of our Lord Jesus 
 “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”- John 16:33
That brings us to the 3rd ISM-  
REALISM! (The attitude or practice of accepting a situation as it is and being prepared to deal with it accordingly.)
What better time to learn this lesson than the Lent Season & the Holy Week?

THE DEATH OF JESUS ON GOOD FRIDAY & HIS RESURRECTION ON EASTER SUNDAY
I praise God that after the sorrowful Good Friday when Jesus was crucified, there is a Resurrection Sunday when our Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead and ascended to Heaven to be seated at the right hand of the Father. And the hope we Christians have in this fallen world is that ONLY because of the shed blood of Jesus, there is forgiveness of sins and because of His Resurrection from the dead, there is life beyond the grave. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”- Rom 8:11
Thus there is the definite possibility of a miracle always; of answers to earnest prayers from sincere and humble hearts. God Almighty loved His creation so much that He sent His only begotten Son to earth to die that painful brutal shameful death on the cross so that we would be redeemed from sin and sickness death and hopelessness. John 3:16
Jesus is the WAY. We don’t have to be foolish and frustrated Idealists (who can only dream of a better world) nor bitter and hopeless Pessimists (who are angry and expect only the worst from this world.) Instead, we can be Christian Realists who are well aware of our limitations to make any lasting changes in a fallen world but are also fully confident of the ability and willingness of a Loving Father God who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we could ask, think or imagine to make this world a better place to live in. “To him who by means of his power working in us is able to do so much more than we can ever ask for, or even think of: to God be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever! Amen.”- Eph 3:20, 21
Let’s all do our little bit by lighting our candles and thus contribute to making this world a brighter place!

Lets sing : HEAL THE WORLD , MAKE IT A BETTER PLACE - FOR YOU & FOR ME & THE ENTIRE HUMAN RACE! Click here :   https://youtu.be/Xv1v8Addsgs




Love and prayers,
Sparky Laurie

Saturday, January 13, 2018

12 Spiritual lessons from my New Year House Cleaning!

"Do you not know that you are a house of God and that the Holy Spirit lives in you? If any man destroys the house of God, God will destroy him. God’s house is holy. You are the place where He lives."-1 Corin 3:16,17


Hi friends,

Hope you are enjoying 2018. I've been waiting on the Lord for a New Year message .And once again as He usually does, He spoke to me during the every day happenings in my life. Hope this Word encourages and blesses you as it blessed me!

We all make New Year Resolutions, some people make it in their mind, while others jot them down on paper, the main aim behind this is to do better in life. And what better time for this than the onset of a New Year? During the Christmas holidays I planned to go beyond my routine and engage in a deeper cleaning around my house. You could call it Spring Cleaning in Winter! Anyway the thought of 'Out with the Old and making place for the New' really made sense to me. Sharing  below 12 Spiritual Lessons I got from my personal New Year House cleaning experience.

1) Little by little and bit by bit.- Instead off biting of more than I could chew, as I knew my limitation of time, I decided to focus on one area at a time. In our life too, at the onset of the New Year, there may be many areas that we want to bring radical changes into. Applying the same logic let's clean up little by little and bit by bit. Quoting Creighton Abrams, "when eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.":)
                                                                         

2)What do I see? - We really have to take some time and open up our cupboards and drawers to make a random assessment of what we really have in there. I am always excited to find in there many things that I had totally forgotten I had as they had been tucked away safely for some other day. In the same way,  We can pray" Lord, Open the eyes of my heart that I may see as you do." (Eph 1:18)What are the hidden or forgotten areas in the inner recesses of my mind that you want me to deal with ? That I need healing in ? What are the wrong attitudes of my heart or the wrong thought processes that you want me to correct?


3) Replace things in their proper place-  However big or small your house is really doesn't make that much of a difference.The real key to a well organized home is that it must be functional. This means that 'there must be a place for everything and everything in its place.' Even the kids must know that after changing, that the unwashed clothes go into the laundry basket, that the keys are on the key ring....etc Spiritually too, we can try to bring orderliness in our prayer time, Bible story time, keeping the Sabbath by attending worship regularly etc.People say that a habit is formed in 21 days. So no matter how hard it is ,we can develop any new habit by repeating it consistently for 21 days and once formed, we will find it will not be a struggle any more.There is a time for everything (Eccl 3:1)


4) Declutter- To 'declutter means to remove the unnecessary items from an overcrowded place'- We need to remove the things we are not using in order to make space for the things we use regularly. I often am amazed by the memory of little children. I realized very soon that their excellent memory for things that really matter was due to sufficient storage space in their minds. They have no room for grudges or negative events. They delete them so quickly whereas a lot of us tend to overload our hard drives with so much of useless material that there is shortage of memory and even our processing capacity gets slowed down due to overcrowding. The solution is as simple as removing all the unnecessary files from our computers. Let us thus prioritize the essentials and remove the extras. This is the easiest way to get rid of the old and unwanted to make place for the new. I am reminded of Heb 12:1 which asks us to "throw away everything that hinders us and run with perseverence the race marked before us."

5) Use what you have -While in the mood of decluttering, we may be tempted to just throw away dusty things that have not been used in a long time or things that have loose handles etc. Replacing it with the latest model may even seem to be a good idea at first but trust me, we truly come to know the real worth and value of something taken for granted only when we go out to the market to look for a suitable replacement. More often than not, it is usually found that the tried & tested models are the best as they are much easier to use , not to mention a whole lot economical than going for another one.- The same thing applies to our Spiritual choices. Very often it happens that we may get so familiar with something in our life that we often see greener pastures elsewhere ; but only when we reach the other side of the fence do we realize how green the pasture we already had was. Be it our talents, our resources, family or contacts, God has given us exactly what each of us require. So apart from wiping the dust off or polishing or even tightening some loose screws,ultimately we will definitely be be better off by truly valuing and making optimal use of that which is already ours.Do not ever despise the day of small beginnings. Remember Jesus fed the multitude with the boy's lunch box (containing 5 barley loaves and 2 fishes)John 6:8-13. Let us never underestimate what the Lord can do with a sincere heart and willing hands.


6) Create new things with what you have-  Old lunch boxes with missing lids could be used to hold small knick knacks like rubber bands, lighters, candles etc. We could get kids to decorate and make craft items like pencil stands, etc out of old tins or plastic bottles or vases out of jars etc Similarly in the New Year, let us use our talents and creativity to make something good and useful out of that which the Lord has given us. It could be to draw pictures or write poems or stories or sing or you may be a great listener or have an awesome sense of humor, you may be good at sports or a great cook or a techie genius or a voracious reader and have great expertise on some subject.Pray and ask the Lord to give you opportunities and use whatever talent the Lord has given you to draw others to Christ.(1 Pet 4:10)

7) Store what you have for future use- Things that may be reused but not for immediate use (for eg hand me down clothes or books) of elder kids for the younger ones can be stored in sealed boxes or bags for future use.Similarly, keep reading, writing, meditating on the Word, collecting articles, researching,etc and doing good even though you don't see any result or use of it immediately, it will definitely be of some use later on. 2 Tim 4:2 tells us to be prepared in season and out of season.


8) Share what you have - We may not need all the things we have or find and so we can remember friends or relatives who may need the things that our kids may have outgrown or which are good but of simply no use to us.Giving to Charity is also another way to make more space for ourselves while blessing another family. While we give to others, God will give to us through someone else!(Luke 6:38)

9) Ask for help when you need it- Do whatever you can yourself but also use whatever help you can get. Locate who is the best person who can help you with this thing you are struggling with and ask for help.Sometimes when facing a trial , you could ask for wisdom or prayer covering from your spiritual leader or someone you can trust. (Proverbs 15:22)


10) Learn from past mistakes- While deep cleaning my kitchen, I found that the cupboard top near the stove had some grease on it. This stubborn dirt had to be scrubbed repeatedly with steel wool as it was unlike the easily wipeable dust on the top of the other cupboard which held the crockery. The cupboards were identical but their position caused the difference.Similarly we should never be quick to judge another person's life. It may not be our fault that we face certain trials in life that leave us in sticky situations which require more prayer and deeper cleansing.
My domestic help scrubbed away all the grease and wiped the surface with paper, dried it with cloth and then spread plastic sheets on those cupboard tops. These sheets could easily be peeled away the next time it accumulated grease.Similarly, in our spiritual life also, we need to wisen up from our past mistakes by recognizing the pattern of our failure and then taking adequate and timely precautionary measures to avoid repeating the same mistakes.(Eph 5:15-17)


11)Invest wisely in essentials - Now that we know what we need to purchase we should make a list of essential items and choose the suitable place to shop for each by researching online or with friends and striking when the iron is hot (especially during the Year End Reduction/Clearance Sales)when prices are slashed down to half price on almost everything. The Virtuous woman in Prov 31 makes sure "her trading is profitable." (Prov 31:18)


12) Use Aromatic Essential Oils-  Another thing we could do to calm the atmosphere in our house is to use air fresheners or aromatic essential oils. There are different fragrances available to choose from. For a better understanding of the benefits click here. Now the spiritual implication, just like the oils have healing properties, similarly praise and worship offered up to the Lord, soaking in His Holy Presence and meditating on The Word will cause any tensions or anxieties, worries, fears and sicknesses to leave and we will be healed and whole in the  mighty name of Jesus.( Psalms 141:2)


Let us conclude by reminding ourselves of 2 Tim 2:21 which says that If we keep ourselves pure,we will be a special utensil for honorable use ready for the Master to use us for the propagation of His Kingdom.

Click to rededicate yourself to Him by singing Refiner's Fire: https://youtu.be/9Y8zP34AhuU




Do keep us in your prayers.

Best wishes for the New Year!
Sparky Laurie

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Reminder Of Who We Are

"For we are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus."- Gal 3:26
Hi friends,
Hope you are doing fine. Today I was just listening to this Song by Phil Wickham and thought of sharing it. It reminds us that we are not just ordinary people on this earth but rather we have a mission and vision - We are believers, We are Soldiers - warriors not wimps and We are Pilgrims on an assignment and on a journey to reach home. Standing together, United WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF GOD! Lets never forget that. We have lots to do ...we fight with Faith & Love. He will complete what He has started in us.

Enjoy Children Of God by Phil Wickham: https://youtu.be/eSzD0opaCwE

I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in us will [continue to] perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus [the time of His return].Phil 1:6

Let us continue to uphold one another in prayer.

Love n prayers,
Sparky Laurie