Rest & Peace

“He will flatter and win over those who have violated the covenant. But the people who know their God will be strong and will resist him.” Daniel 11:32, NLT

We are living in an age of anxiety as we grappled with threats of a third world war, financial collapse and climate change. Many are struggling to make ends. Others are burning out as they try to balance work with time for themselves and the family. We suffer from spiritual anorexia when the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of lifedraws us away from God. Our world is crying out for rest and peace. We yearn for rest but as St Augustine reminds us, our hearts are restless until they find their rest in God for God has made us for Himself.

We are spiritually dead when we live in sin and obeying the devil who is the commander of the powers in the unseen world. The devil is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.2 The history of the Jews is the story of how evil draws us away from the unfailing love of God. The prophetic visions of Daniel proved that God spoke through the Jewish prophets. They authenticate the bible as God’s “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.” Daniel’s visions fulfilled what God had been saying to the Jews through the prophet Isaiah:

Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God!” I am God, and there is none like me. Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass for I do whatever I wish.”3

The prophetic visions of Daniel of the rise and fall of the Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman empires and the horrors of the suffering of the Jews under King Antiochus IV Epiphanes are a revelation of the sovereignty of God as well as the reality of spiritual warfare. Daniel was inspired by God to put on record the amazingly accurate messianic prophecy of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. What is most important for us in the twenty first century is the prophetic vision that in the last days, many will fall prey to deception as the Anti Christ will lead many to unbelief and disobedience:

He will flatter and win over those who have violated the covenant. But the people who know their God will be strong and will resist him.4 

The Jews were chosen to live under the Old Covenant that God gave them through Moses. They were to live in the kingdom of heaven here on earth. In the Ten Commandments, God gave the Jews the simple commandment to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. They were to work for six days each week and to rest on the seventh day by dedicating it to the Lord.5 It was a time to worship God and to listen to His voice:

Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us knee before the Lord our maker, for He is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under His care. If only you would listen to His voice today!” 6

The Sabbath rest was to help the Jews grow in their trust and dependence as God’s sheep. As our loving Creator, God knows the importance of rest to live our lives in peace. We do not have to die to rest in peace (R.I.P.). We will have peace when we nourish our souls with the Sabbath rest. Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.7 

Unbelief and disobedience kept the Jews from entering God’s rest.8 We need to understand that  the wrath and judgment of God is on sin and evil that keeps us away from His love. Sin separates us from God – we lose our trust in God when we lean more and more upon our human reason and understanding.9 We will then not be able to hear God’s voice and will fall to the deceptions of the evil one.

We have the freedom to choose and we can turn away from God like Adam and Eve or to love God with all our heart, our mind and our soul. We have a choice to live in the nightmares of human reasoning or to live by faith in God’s dream of His kingdom of heaven here on earth.  It is only when we have a personal and intimate relationship with God that we can be strong to resist evil and to stand firm in the midst of spiritual warfare. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ opens the way for us to receive Jesus’ invitation to rest:

Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.10

Jesus came to be our Sabbath rest. In Christ, God has prepared a rest for us but we will not be able to enter into this rest when our hearts are hardened.11 At a spiritual retreat two days after Easter Sunday, I was led to reflect on the question by Jesus to Mary Magdalene: “Who are you looking for?”

As I meditated on the question, I realized that I have seeking the Holy Spirit in the wrong places. I have not been attentive to the nudges of the Holy Spirit in my daily interactions with others. The Holy Spirit is waiting to fill my heart with the unfailing love of God. But negative thoughts in my mind fill my heart with the weeds of resentment, envy, guilt, fears and doubts – I need to take every lofty thoughts captive to Christ.12

When we rest in Jesus we have the peace of God, peace with God, and peace in God. The Holy Spirit fills my heart with His love and open my ears to hear the shouts of warning in my pains and the gentle and loving whispers of our Heavenly Father in my pleasures. In rest and peace the Holy Spirit fills our hearts with the fire of our Father’s love that is vast beyond all measure:

“How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.”12



  1. 1 John 2:16, NKJV
  2. Eph 2:2, NLT
  3. Isaiah 46:9-10, NLT
  4. Daniel 11:32, NLT
  5. Exodus 20:8-11, NLT
  6. Psalms 95:6-7, NLT
  7. Mark 2:27, NKJV
  8. Hebrews 3:19 – 4:5, NLT
  9. Prov 3:5, NKJV
  10. Matthew 11:28, NLT
  11. Hebrews 4:6-7, NLT
  12.  2 Corinthians 10:5, ESV
  13. How Deep The Father’s Love For Us, Stuart Townend

Spooky Encounters In The Unseen World

So I was left there all alone to see this amazing vision. My strength left me, my face grew deathly pale, and I felt very weak.” Daniel 10:8, NLT

Modern technology has made virtual worlds nearly as real as the physical world. We are spending more and more time in virtual space and less and less time in physical relationships. At the same time we are becoming increasingly disconnected from the wonder and beauty of God’s amazing creation. The strongholds of  human philosophies, rebellious thoughts, fake news, and idolatrous beliefs are keeping people from knowing God.1 There is a spiritual war raging in our thought life that we are not aware of. We are blind and deaf to the spiritual reality of our identity as a child of God. We have been distracted from our amazing destiny and deceived about our wonderful final destination.

The spiritual disciplines of prayer and fasting in the season of Lent are not practices for perfection but practices of preparation to fully comprehend the unbelievable truth of Easter –  Jesus died and rose from the dead to reconnect us with God, to invite us to rest in the love of Christ and for the Holy Spirit to renew our minds. We need to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit through prayer so that we can be dead to sin and be in tune with the perfect will of God. Prayer is our mysterious communication channel with the unseen spiritual world.

In quantum physics, it was found that if a particle is observed in one place, another particle – even one light-years away, will instantly change its properties, as if the two are connected by a mysterious communication channel. Scientists have observed this phenomenon in tiny objects such as atoms and electrons. This phenomenon of quantum entanglement – the ability of separated objects to share a condition or state – was described by Albert Einstein as “spooky action at a distance.”2

Prayer is our spiritual wifi for “spooky encounters in the unseen spiritual world.” Daniel prayed and fasted as he struggled to understand the times of war and great hardship in the vision he had received in the third year of the reign of King Cyrus of Persia.3 Daniel led a blameless life – he did what was right and spoke the truth from a sincere heart4 to King Nebuchadnezzar and King Belshazzar.5 Daniel was steadfast as he persevered in his prayers. After three weeks of fasting and praying, he found himself in the presence of God. He had a vision that was very similar to the experience of the apostle John on the island of Patmos.6  He met the archangel Gabriel who gave him an account of the spiritual battles that Gabriel and the archangel Michael were fighting.7

Daniel’s prophetic visions are a revelation of the reality of spiritual warfare. Many are tempted to use them to speculate or predict the scenarios for the end of the world. Prophetic visions are revelations of spiritual realities. They affirm the sovereignty of God and reminds us that God alone holds the future. We need to see world events from God’s perspective. The “spooky spiritual encounters” of Daniel encouraged and strengthened him – he was reassured that he was precious to God.  Like Daniel we need to  persevere in prayer – not for personal blessings but to understand the perfect will of God.  

The prophetic visions of Daniel are to open our eyes to the reality of the heavenly realm in our daily lives. Eternal life does not begin after we die, it begins right now when we are in touch with God everyday through prayer. God doesn’t listen to sinners but is ready to hear those who worship Him and do His will.8 We pray to see things from God’s perspective, to grow in faith and to live as a beloved child of God with renewed minds and transformed lives. We pray to live in the kingdom of God and to share Christ with our lives so that others may be touched by the love of God and have a taste of eternal life.

In prayer, the bible becomes the channel of God’s revelations to help us understand the meaning of life, the root cause of suffering and the reality of eternal life. In Christ, we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit. Spiritual disciplines are spiritual exercises to invite the Holy Spirit to renew our minds and to fill our hearts with the fire of love. Without prayer, our souls are dead – for prayer is the vital breath of the soul.9 

Prayer is not a ritual to use God as our spiritual ATM to fulfill our wants. Prayer is a living, transactional relationship with the Holy Trinity – to be in peace with God as our Heavenly Father through faith in the Risen Christ and to be empowered by the Holy Spirit. Prayer is the simple act of listening to the Holy Spirit through the mystery of silence. The path of silence was Mother Teresa’s simple path:

                The fruit of silence is PRAYER.

                The fruit of prayer is  FAITH.

                The fruit of faith is LOVE.

                The fruit of love is SERVICE.

                The fruit of service is PEACE.10

Silence is a gift that we receive through the practice of the discipline of solitude. In silence, we surrender our wills by being a living sacrifice – we wait to be like the clay that is being molded by the Potter. We wait for the Holy Spirit to fill the love tank in our hearts. As we meditate on God’s Word through silence, we are convicted of our anger and unforgiveness that grieve the Spirit and our pride and envy that quench the Spirit. The Holy Spirit will then lead us to spooky encounters in the unseen world. At times we may be led to taste hell on earth so that we will hunger and thirst for righteousness and be filled with a desire for the love of God with an undivided heart:

“Holy Spirit, Love Divine, glow within this heart of mine;
Kindle every high desire; perish self in thy pure fire.”11



  1. 2 Cor 10:4-5, MSG
  2. Einstein’s “spooky action at a distance” spotted in objects almost big enough to see.
  3. Daniel 10:1, NLT
  4. Psalms 15:2, NLT
  5. Daniel Chapters 1,2,4, 5, NLT
  6. Daniel 10:5-6; Revelation 1:13-16, NLT
  7. Daniel 10:12-11:1, NLT
  8. John 9:31, NLT
  9. Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire, James Montgomery
  10. A Simple Path, Mother Teresa
  11. Holy Spirit, Truth Divine, Samuel Longfellow

Condemned Sinner or Convicted Saint

The moment you began praying, a command was given. And now I am here to tell you what it was, for you are very precious to God.” Daniel 9:23, NLT

What we think, what we feel and what we do are determined by our beliefs about our identity, our purpose in life and our image of God. Psychologists have found that how we think about our talents and abilities can dramatically influenced success in almost every area of human endeavor. People with a growth mindset – those who believe that abilities can be developed are more likely to succeed in life than those who have a fixed mindset that abilities are fixed.1 Spiritually, a fixed mindset is a “sin” mindset that leads us to struggle through life as a condemned sinner. We need a “grace” mindset to grow spiritually and live the abundant life that Jesus came to give us.2 To become transformed from being flawed sinners into what Nicholas Matthews described as “flawesome” saints.

Jesus Christ came to change our mindset so that we will no longer live as a condemned sinner trying to appease an angry God but to live as a beloved child of God, shining the bright light of God’s agape love in a world full of crooked and perverse people.3 God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world.4 We are created in the image of God5 but we are born into a sinful world where we are programmed to be condemned sinners. We need to be convicted of our need for deliverance from slavery to sin before we will seek God’s gift of salvation:

“And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.” 6

We need a reprogramming of our minds so that God can transform us into a new person by changing the way we think.7 The greatest gem of truth in Daniel Chapter 9 is that we are precious in God’s sight. The vision of Daniel also predicted the coming of Jesus Christ.8  Christ’s Kingdom has come and God’s Will is being done. We have a choice to live in fear of God’s wrath as a condemned sinner or with His love in joy and peace as a convicted saint. As a convicted saint, we are on a journey of transformation from perfectly imperfect sinners to imperfectly perfect saints in our life here on earth.

St Augustine wrote that “the very perfection of a man is to find out his own imperfections.” Nicholas Matthews perceptively described perfection as the attitude and knowledge of being perfected through the completed work of Jesus in our lives. Perfection is not an ideal to aim for, not an achievement to pursue nor is it a destination:

“Perfection is the confidence in knowing our identities are based on God’s perfection and not on human behavior. It’s the position of our hearts and the motivation of our minds aligned to the character of God.9” 

The journey of perfection begins with stepping out in faith into the unknown future with a growing confidence in God’s faithful love  – to discover God’s promises of peace and power in the midst of the storms of life. It is to have faith in God’s faithfulness – in what God can do and not what I can do. God is the Potter. I am only the clay which the Teacher of Righteousness in the Essene community described as the sorry state of our human nature:

“I am a vessel of clay and kneaded with water, a foundation of shame and a spring of filth, a melting pot of iniquity and a structure of sin, a spirit of error, perverted without understanding and terrified by righteous judgments ((1QH 9:23-25).10

The visions of Daniel remind us of the omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence of God – that God is with us, God knows everything, and God is in control. Faith is not wishful thinking or blind optimism but having the confidence and assurance in the character, nature and faithfulness of God’s agape love. Faith is not blind but seeing the invisible hand of God. The future may look bleak and uncertain but we have hope because God is our Heavenly Father, Jesus is our Shepherd of Love and the Holy Spirit is our Helper. It is the Holy Spirit who opens our eyes to see the bible as the story of God’s amazing love. To quote Larry Crabb:

“The bible is a love story that begins with a divorce. Everything from the third chapter of Genesis through the end of Revelation is the story of a betrayed lover wooing us back into His arms so we can enjoy the love of family forever.11

As I draw near to God in prayer, I will be tempted by lust, greed and gluttony to seek glory for myself instead of glorifying God – to seek the love of power instead of the power of love. I will be discouraged and drawn into spiritual depression through spiritual dryness, disappointments and distractions. I need to persevere in prayer to declare my total dependence on God, bring my doubts to Christ and ask the Holy Spirit to fill me with holy desires.

To be a disciple of Jesus is not striving to be a successful Christian but to grow up as a faithful child of God.  Jesus Christ is our spiritual I.D. – our Identity and Destiny. The cross of Christ secures my identity as a child of God. Our destiny is to have a vision of the kingdom of God, to seek God’s will as my mission in life, and to be empowered to advance God’s kingdom by the Providence, Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit. In Christ, we are convicted saints and not condemned sinners, we are victors and not victims for we are on the journey of transformation from flawed sinners into flawesome saints:

“In Christ alone, I place my trust
And find my glory in the power of the Cross
In every victory, let it be said of me
My source of strength, my source of hope is Christ alone12



  1. Mindset – Carol D
  2.  John 10:10, NKJV
  3. Philippians 2:15, NLT
  4. John 3:17, NKJV 
  5. Genesis 1:26, MSG
  6. Romans 7:18-20, NLT
  7. Romans 12:2, NLT
  8. Daniel 9:23-27, NLT
  9.  Nicholas Matthews, Being Flawesome, pg 17
  10. John Bersma, Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls, pg 217) ( Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls, 217)
  11. Quote in Nicholas Matthews, Being Flawesome, pg 55
  12.  In Christ Alone I Put My Trust, Brian Littrell

From Now To Eternity

“But in the end, the holy people of the Most High will be given the kingdom, and they will rule forever and ever.” Daniel 7:18, NLT

With the advances in artificial intelligence, human beings have the knowledge and understanding to create a virtual heaven on earth in the near future. It will be possible to experience the heaven of human imagination in the Metaverse. We are living at the end of an age and at the dawn of a new technological era where we can experience “reading an e-book floating in space with stars dying and being born again all around instead of sitting on the shore of a lake at sunset surrounded by nature.” The programmers of the digital world are seeking not just to recreate what we already have but to break the barriers of physics and to build new digital environments that people want to spend time in.1

But the real heaven is a spiritual reality and not a virtual reality. It is not only our destination but our destiny as the children of God. Heaven is where God is present and the bible is the astounding and awesome Story of Salvation of our Heavenly Father who is waiting patiently for us to come home to Him. We are not just saved from hell or sin – we are saved for heaven and eternal life. The bible is not an instructional manual of how to get to heaven or how not to be sent to hell. The sacred stories in the bible are to illuminate our minds and set our hearts on fire for God.

Heaven and angels are very real to the people living in the times of the Old Testament. Daniel was a beacon of the truth that blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.2 As a teenager forced into exile, Daniel chose to be faithful to God and rejected the food that was offered to him by the Babylonians. After his dream about the four beasts, he found himself in the presence of God and was given the prophecy that the holy people of the Most High will be given the kingdom, and they will rule forever and ever.3 The story of Daniel is to inspire and encourage us to hunger and thirst after righteousness – for blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled.4

Daniel, like Isaiah and John, were awestruck when they were in the presence of God. Holiness is not an option – without holiness, we will be terrified by the consuming fire of God’s purifying love. The good news is that Jesus Christ died to clothe us with His righteousness so that we can come before the throne of God and to rest in our Heavenly Father’s loving embrace.

Jesus fulfilled Daniel’s prophecy and brought heaven to earth. Heaven is an awesome destination that is beyond our thoughts, feelings and imagination. The manger and the cross are the two defining landmarks of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus was born in the lowly manger to incarnate the truth that blessed are the poor for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  He was condemned to die on the cross by the religious and political leaders of the day to epitomize the truth that blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.5

The bad news of our human condition is that Adam failed to reign over sin. We are living in hell for we are living in slavery to sin. Without the grace of God, our hearts are uncircumcised and our minds are covered with a veil –  we are unable to understand Old Testament.6 But in and through Christ, we have the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness to reign in life.7 Life in eternity begins now in our hearts as we work out our salvation with the grace of God.8 To reign over sin instead of being enslaved by sin it is necessary to cultivate a mindfulness to be aware of our thoughts, feelings and attitudes:

“For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”9

Heaven is a boring alternative to hell when we have not tasted the joys of eternity in the here and now. Our minds are blind to the joys of heaven when we are spiritual caterpillars. To see the wonders of heaven we need to go through the spiritual chrysalis of suffering, old age and death. In the autumn of my life, I have a vested interest to see old age as a challenge and not a burden. The dying have taught me how important it is to embrace death – not to escape hell but as the adventure to be transformed to live eternal life as spiritual butterflies. No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.10 

We are called to live from now to eternity. We can only do so by God’s grace. And to receive God’s grace, we need to enter the special rest of God through faith in Jesus Christ:

So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall.”11

Resting in Christ is the simple discipline to prepare one’s heart and mind to receive God’s grace to reign over sin – to be still and know that Jesus is Lord.12  As we wait on God, the Holy Spirit convicts us with godly sorrow and lead us to a lifestyle of repentance as we sing:

“Purify my heart
Let me be as gold and precious silver
Purify my heart
Let me be as gold, pure gold

Refiner’s fire,
My heart’s one desire
Is to be holy
Set apart for You, Lord
I choose to be holy
Set apart for You, my Master
Ready to do Your will”13



  2. Matthew 5:8, NKJV
  3. Daniel 7:15-18, NLT
  4. Matthew 5:6, NKJV
  5. Matthew 5:3,10, NKJV
  6. 2 Corinthians 3:14-15, NKJV
  7. Romans 5:17, NKJV
  8. Philippians 2:12-13, NLT
  9. Romans14:17, NLT
  10. 1 Corinthians 2:9
  11. Hebrews 4:9-11, NLT
  12. Psalms 46:10
  13. Refiner’s Fire, Brian Doerksen

The Insanity of Pride

After this time had passed, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praise and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever.” Daniel 4:34 NLT

Our “monkey mind” leads our heart to wander from God’s amazing grace1. We stray from the green pastures of God’s love. We are lost in the world instead of being lost in wonder, love and praise2  in the kingdom of heaven. Our human tendency is to follow our own desires and defiling ourselves.3 We are prone to wander away from God. The Covid 19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine opened my eyes to the reality that we are living in a mad, mad world – the consequence of having hardened hearts and wandering far from the beautiful life that God had created us for. We are hopelessly confused with our minds full of darkness:

“With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.”4

The story of King Nebuchadnezzar draws attention to the insanity of pride as well as God’s awesome grace. King Nebuchadnezzar was God’s instrument to punish the Jews as well as to demonstrate the awesome glory of God. But King Nebuchadnezzar did not have a personal relationship with God to understand God’s message through the dream that God had sent to him. It was only after Daniel revealed and interpreted the dream that deeply troubled him that King Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged God as the greatest of gods, the Lord over kings, a revealer of mysteries”5.

However, his ego led him to build a massive gold statue for the people to worship. God had to use the faith of Shadrach, Meshrach and Abednego to reveal to him the power of God to save. Unfortunately, these experiences did not keep King Nebuchadnezzar from the insanity of pride even though God had given him another dream to warn him.

Instead of following Daniel’s advice to break from his wicked past and to be merciful to the poor, King Nebuchadnezzar boasted of building the great city of Babylon with his own mighty power. He was immediately stricken by madness, driven from human society, and lived with the wild animals until one day, he looked up to heaven:

My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever.6

The story of King Nebuchadnezzar is a stark warning of the danger of success. In our success, we will be be tempted to feel proud of our work, even our work for God. Pride leads our hearts to wander from the wonder of God’s grace. Pride leads to greed. And greed leads to idolatry and God’s judgment.7.

The tragic, scary and disheartening news of the world is not the real story. The true story is that God’s love will always trump evil. Our stories are just a tiny part of God’s infinite story of love. The good news is that God is always waiting to change our life stories. We see the amazing grace of God leading King Nebuchadnezzar step by step to live a life of praise and worship.

There is a King Nebuchadnezzar in each one of us reminding us of our need for humility. Humility is God’s antidote for pride. Humility is not thinking less of one self but being in awe of God’s amazing love and grace. Humility is rooted in the awareness that we are living in darkness when we have a deceitful heart and a wandering mind. There is a battle in our minds to please people or to please God – to live up to the expectations of others instead of living for what is pleasing to God.

It is by the grace of God that we have been chosen to live as citizens of heaven8 –  a life that is “lost in wonder, love and praise.” Our responsibility is understand what the Lord wants us to do so that we will not act thoughtlessly9. To do so, we need to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice – to look up to God and rest in the wonder of His love as our act of worship each day.

Our Heavenly Father patiently pursues us to guide, correct and direct us even when we run from His calling on our life. God is waiting to invite us to His banquet of love but we are blinded by pride, greed and lust. We need to come to our senses, to turn back to God, and to desire Him with all our heart. As we do so, the Holy Spirit will fill us with a hunger and thirst for God’s Word and lead us to walk in the light of Christ.10 Let us pray each day for God’s goodness to bind our wandering hearts to Christ:

“Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let Thy goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee”11



  1. Come, Thou Fount Of Every Blessing
  2. Love Divine, All Love Excelling
  3. Numbers 15:39, NLT
  4. Ephesians 3:17-29, NLT
  5. Daniel 2:1-47, NLT
  6. Daniel 3:1-37, NLT
  7. Colossians 3:5, NLT
  8. Philippians 1:27
  9. Ephesians 5:17
  10. John 12:35, NLT
  11. Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing, Chris Rice

Life Changing Words


Ezekiel 2:1-10


“Son of man, don’t be afraid of the people or what they say.” Ezekiel 2:6, NLT

The rise and fall of human leaders and nations are in the hands of God. Donald Trump and his followers thought he was God’s instrument to make America great again. However, I believe God was using Trump to make God great again in America – just as God told Pharaoh, “I have appointed you for the very purpose of displaying my power in you and to spread my fame throughout the earth.”1 

The downfall of other leaders like Boris Johnson and Liz Truss in the United Kingdom and of Dr Mahathir Mohamed in the recent Malaysian general elections are but reminders that God rules human kingdoms and makes leaders out of losers.2  We have the inspiring example of the late Queen Elizabeth II. She was faithful in her calling to be queen of the United Kingdom and became the monarch with the longest reign of more than 70 years in history. She saw the monarchy not as a privilege but her mission in life to live out her faith in Jesus Christ.

The role of a prophet of God is to proclaim the sovereignty of God. It is not to foretell or predict the future but to declare the will of God to the nations. Jonah was called by God to declare to the Ninevites that in forty days, Nineveh will be destroyed. Even though they were non believers, the people of Nineveh believed Jonah and expressed their repentance through fasting.

Jonah’s words from God were life changing. The Ninevites fasted to show their sorrow from the greatest to the least. Even the king of Nineveh sent a decree to command everyone to pray earnestly to God. In response to the godly desires in their hearts, God demonstrated His amazing compassionate love by sparing the Ninevites.3 

In sharp contrast, Ezekiel was given the task of giving messages of funeral songs, words of sorrow, and pronouncements of doom to the rebellious Jews. He was told that the Jews will not listen to him because of their stubborn hearts and Ezekiel heard the voice of God encouraging him:

“Son of man, don’t be afraid of the people or what they say.”4

Jonah’s message of God’s judgment was to demonstrate God’s compassion while Ezekiel’s messages of doom were to expose the stony and rebellious hearts of the Jews. God’s judgment reveals the spiritual condition of our hearts.5 John the Baptist preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.6 After John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee and preached that “the time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the gospel.”7

Jesus came to show humankind how much God loves us8 and that God does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.9 God does not want the wicked to die but to turn from their ways and live.10 But without repentance, God’s Word cannot change our heart – it will only harden our heart. With repentance, God’s Word will lead us to turn away from living futile lives without God and to turn to God and live a life of coram deo – living before the face of God.

God’s Word is life changing only when we acknowledge our need for God’s grace through repentance. In repentance we offer our broken and divided hearts to Christ and cultivate the habit of pouring our hearts into the Word of God. As we ponder and practice the life giving words of God the heart of God is poured out into our lives by the Holy Spirit and life becomes a dance of love.  When God’s Word is a lamp for our feet and a light for our paths, we will shine like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people:11 

Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path
I will not forget
Your love for me and yet
My heart forever is wandering
Jesus be my guide
And hold me to your side
I will love you to the end.12


Lord, grant me the courage to proclaim the truth of the kingdom of heaven in my life.


  1. Why is repentance necessary for us to live a spiritual life?
  2. Why do we need courage to share the message of repentance?
  3. How can I live a life of repentance?

Song of Praise:

Thy Word



  1. Romans 9:17 NLT
  2. Daniel 4:17, MSG
  3. Jonah 3:1-10, NLT
  4. Ezekiel 2:1-9, NLT
  5. John 3:19-20, NLT
  6. Mark 1:4, NET
  7. Mark 1:15, NET
  8. John 3:16, NKVJ
  9. 2 Peter 3:9, NLT
  10. Ezekiel 33:11, NLT
  11. Philippians 2:15, NLT
  12. Thy Word by Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith

A Taste Of The Living Word


Ezekiel 3:1-11


I have made your forehead as hard as the hardest rock! So don’t be afraid of them or fear their angry looks, even though they are rebels.” Ezekiel 3:9, NLT

The Jews were given the Book of the Law by Moses because they were a rebellious and stubborn people. The Law was a witness of their stubborn hearts.1 It was to reveal our human need for God’s grace and love. The Old Testament was the bible of Jesus and the early Christians. The bible is not a magical book to teach us the secrets of spiritual power. The bible is the sacred and mysterious written Word of God to draw us to the Living Word – Jesus Christ.

What is most important is not just what we read in the bible but how we listen to God through the Word of God by the Holy Spirit. It is through God’s Living Word that our hearts are touched by the love of God and our minds transformed by the Holy Spirit. The bible is the Sword of the Spirit2 – the sharpest two-edged sword which is alive and powerful to expose our innermost thoughts and desires.3

The prophet Ezekiel was given a scroll to eat and to give its message to the people of Israel. It tasted as sweet as honey and Ezekiel was directed to share God’s Word to the people whether they listen to him or not. Ezekiel was warned that the people will be hardhearted and stubborn but he was not to be afraid:

“I have made your forehead as hard as the hardest rock! So don’t be afraid of them or fear their angry looks, even though they are rebels.”4

Sharing God’s Word is a spiritual battle. To be a voice in the wilderness we need to be prepared to encounter rejection and ridicule. We need to be thick skinned and fear God rather than hanker after human praise. Like John the Baptist, we may lose our head. Like Jesus, we may be tempted in the wilderness, we may face betrayal and rejection by loved ones, we may encounter opposition, persecution and even crucifixion by religious and political leaders.

But the good news is that the battle belongs to the Lord and Jesus has already won the battle for us on the cross. All we need to do is put on the armor of God through the disciplines of prayer and meditation on God’s Word so that we will not live by bread alone but by every Word from the mouth of God.5 We are to use God’s Word as the Sword of the Spirit instead of weaponizing the bible and using it to control others. Jesus and the early Christians lived out the truths of the Old Testament as God’s Word. The New Testament is the living testimony of the communion of saints. We are to keep our eyes on Jesus who endured opposition from sinners so that we will not be discouraged and give up.6

The challenge is to live our lives as the Fifth Gospel and Chapter 29 of the Acts of the Apostles. As our small group discussed the book of Jonah, we saw how God used Jonah to lead the unbelieving sailors to worship the true God. After our meeting, we prayed for a member of our small group who has a wound in his foot The next morning I felt led to ask my small group to meditate on Jonah Chapter 1 and to reflect on the following:

–  Am I a “Jonah” causing storms in the lives of others?

– Who is a “Jonah” in my life that I am trying to “save” by my own efforts?

– What is the “Jonah” in my life teaching me about prayer and my relationship to God?

I had a taste of the healing power of the Living Word when my small group member shared the following message in response:

“Just to let you know, as I went to sleep, my wound was enormous. And as you prayed and I prayed, it subsided in the late morning. God healed my wound and it looks normal now. God did wonders through the night. I thanked God for His wondrous work for healing me. I have now experienced how Jesus healed the lame man. Praise God.”

It was a reminder of the power of prayer and the importance of reading the bible for transformation and not for information – to have a five-senses relationship with God – to see, hear, taste, smell and be touched by the Holy Spirit. It is not merely reading and studying the bible with our minds but meditating on God’s Word and living it out in our lives with our hearts. Only then will we grow in our trust in the truth of God’s love for us.

God’s Word will be boring and burdensome until we have tasted God’s Word to be as sweet as honey and know that God’s law is perfect, reviving the soul  and making wise the simple.7 Then we will discover the joy of sharing the breaking good news of how God is writing His story of love in the days of our lives:

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord has come
Oh, blessed is he who hides in Him
Oh, fear the Lord, all of you saints
He’ll give You everything, he’ll give You everything”8

Song of Praise

Psalm 34 (Taste and See)


Lord, help me taste Your Living Word each day to be empowered to share Your gospel.


  1. Why was it necessary for Ezekiel to taste the sweetness of the scroll?
  2. How can I taste the sweetness of God’s Word?
  3.  How is God’s Word reviving my soul and simplifying my life?



  1. Deut 31:19-27
  2. Ephesians 6:17, NLT
  3. Hebrews 4:12, NLT
  4. Ezekiel 3:9, NLT
  5. Matthew 4:4, NLT
  6. Hebrews 12:3, GW
  7. Psalms 19:7-10, ESV
  8.  Psalm 34 – Taste and See by Shane & Shane

A Living Sanctuary – C.A.L.M.


1 Chronicles 28:11-20


“Then David continued, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work related to the Temple of the Lord is finished correctly.” 1 Chronicles 28:20, NLT

There is always a battle between fear and faith especially when we are seeking God’s will in our lives.  Many of us are spiritually crippled by the Fear of Failure (FOF), Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO), and the Fear Of Death (FOD). We are in the midst of a spiritual war “against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.”1

But the battle belongs to the Lord and our responsibility is simply to worship God – to replace our FOF, FOMO and FOD with the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is not being fearful of God – it is living with the humility of being a child of God and the awe of God’s sovereignty over everything that happens in our lives. The fear of the Lord is the spirit of surrender that allows God to renovate our hearts. In Christ, I am a child of God as a spiritual being. I am born again with a soul – the physical manifestation of my spiritual being – in which my will, attitudes, beliefs, thoughts and feelings are alive to God.2 When I surrender my life to God, He will build a living sanctuary for the Holy Spirit in my soul that is deep within my heart.3  

King David encouraged his son, Solomon, to build the Temple of the Lord as God’s sanctuary. David told Solomon to be strong and courageous in his faith that God is with him and not to be afraid or discouraged by his fears.4 The Temple was a place for the people of Israel to experience the Presence of God. In the Temple, there was an Ark of the Covenant containing the two tablets of the Ten Commandments and the Manna,5 the altar and the lamps.

To be a living sanctuary is to create a space in our hearts where we can have a transformational instead of a transactional relationship with God – a space to put God first in our lives and to be aware of His Presence. The physical Temple of Jerusalem provides us with a template to be a living sanctuary so that we will be C.A.L.M. in the midst of our fears:

C – the Ark of the Covenant symbolizes our calling to be ministers of God’s new Covenant – that we are God’s beloved and we are to be His channels of love to others

A – the Altar challenges us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices on the altar of our hearts – to surrender our wills to God.

L – the lamps draw attention to our need for the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of our heart to see God’s loving Presence in our fears and to listen and understand God’s Word.

M – the Manna reminds us of our need for God’s grace every day.

We need a heart of worship to stand firm in the battle against evil. To be steadfast in my faith, I need to deepen the roots of love in my heart.6 To deepen the roots of love, I need to open the eyes of my heart to listen and understand God’s Word. To open the eyes of my heart, I need a heart of worship. To have a heart of worship, I need to be a living sanctuary for the Holy Spirit.

There are spiritual forces of evil that seek to draw us away from God’s love. The best way to face and overcome these spiritual forces of evil is to be a living sanctuary. When I am a living sanctuary for the Holy Spirit, the light of Christ will lead me in every part of my life.

In troubled times I need to calm down to hear God’s whispers of love calling me to rest. I need C.A.L.M. – to minister God’s new Covenant of Love, to offer myself as a living sacrifice on the Altar of my  heart, to light the Lamp of faith in my heart and to feed on God’s Manna daily – in order to transform my fears to faith. I need to pray and ask the Lord to prepare me to be a living sanctuary:

“Lord prepare me
To be a sanctuary
Pure and holy
Tried and true
And with thanksgiving
I’ll be a living
Sanctuary, oh for You”7


Lord, help me to have a heart of worship that my life may be ablaze with holiness.


1.  What are the mental and emotional clutter in my heart that needs to be cleared?
2.  What does it mean to be a living sanctuary for the Holy Spirit?
3.  How does being a living sanctuary help me to overcome sin and evil?

Song of Praise

Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary



1.  Ephesians 6:12, NET

2.  Trina McNeilly wrote in Unclutter Your Soul: “When I was growing up, my dad taught me that “I am a spirit, I have a soul, and I live in a body.” (page 7)

3. Inspired by following comment by C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity: “Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing……You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” page 172

4.  1 Chronicles 28:20, NLT

5.  Exodus 16:31, NLT

6.  Ephesians 3:17, NLT

7. Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary

Transforming Listening Conversations (T.L.C.) With God


Isaiah 44:1-8


“Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.” Isaiah 44:8, ESV

The compassionate loving presence of God is beyond human understanding – He is our compassionate Father, our Shepherd of Love and our Divine Lover.  God’s amazing “chesed”1 is seen in all the encounters of the people of Israel with God as recorded in the Old Testament. The story of the Jews is a revelation of the absolute depravity and deceitfulness of our sinful human nature as well as the steadfast love and patience of our Heavenly Father. 

There is a cosmic drama that transcends human life. Spiritual formation, according to John Mark Comer, is the process by which we are formed in our spirits or inner persons, into the image of Jesus by the Holy Spirit. However, there are forces of evil  that seek to deform us into the image of the devil through isolation and lies.2 We have a choice between life and death, between blessings and curses.3

We are living in a fallen world that is in darkness, filled with sorrow and suffering. Like Job, we battle with thoughts of meaninglessness, doubts and anger. Faith in God’s compassionate loving kindness is eroded when we are afflicted by loss, pain and suffering:

“Why wasn’t I born dead? Why didn’t I die as I came from the womb? Why was I laid on my mother’s lap? Why did she nurse me at her breasts? Had I died at birth, I would now be at peace. I would be asleep and at rest.”4 

Jesus came to show us the power and love of God as he suffered and died on the cross. He rose from the dead to empower us to become the children of God who can have transforming, listening conversations with God. To be witnesses of God’s redeeming love to restore a broken world:

“Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.”5

The prophet Isaiah encouraged the people of Israel in their suffering with God’s promise of the Holy Spirit:

“Thus says the Lord who made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you: Fear not, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.”6 

This was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, when the Jews from every nation under heaven, gathered together in Jerusalem, were filled with the Holy Spirit.7 The good news is that by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can live the kind of life to prove that God has called us.8 

Our calling is to live in the Kingdom of Heaven here and now so that God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven. A simple way to do so is to open our hearts and minds to the Holy Spirit through solitude and silence. As we do so, prayer and bible meditation become transforming listening conversations (T.L.C.) with God. Then we will do everything with the love of God and for God. 

“Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your Holy Word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes for Your glory.9


Lord, help me to listen to Your Living Word so that I can have T.L.C. with You.


1.  How is God speaking to me each day?
2. What is God revealing to me through His Living Word?
3. How can I live to prove God’s calling for my life?  

Song of Praise:

Speak, O Lord



1.  Chesed is the Hebrew word that means kindness or love between people, specifically of the devotional piety of people towards God as well as the love or mercy of God towards humanity. It reminds me that the love of God is not a feeling but is seen through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
2.  John Mark Comer, Live No Lies, 2021, page 73
3. Deuteronomy 30:19, NLT
4. Job 3:11-13 NLT.
5.  Isaiah 44:8, ESV
6.  Isaiah 44:2-3, ESV
7. Acts: 2:1-6, NLT
8. Ephesians 4:1, GW
9. Speak, O Lord, Keith Getty/Stuart Townend

Feeding On The Living Word


Joshua 1:1-9


“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:8-9. NLT

We need spiritual food to grow spiritually. When Jesus was in the wilderness, he resisted the temptation to turn stones into bread with the truth that people do not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.1 This was the truth that Moses taught the people of Israel when they were led through the wilderness for forty years and were fed with manna. They were to be dependent on God’s Presence so that they will not fall into idolatry.2  

After the death of Moses, God commanded Joshua to meditate on the Covenant of the Law that had been given to the people of Israel through Moses so that they will be in God’s Presence and not be afraid or discouraged. They had been chosen to conquer the Promised Land to establish the reign of God here on earth:

“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”3

The practice of meditating on God’s Word changes our relationship with God from a transactional relationship for blessings into a transformational relationship to become new creations and the masterpieces of God’s love. The bible is not a book of rules we are to obey – it is the spiritual food to nurture our relationship with God. We need to hunger and thirst for righteousness to have a good appetite for God’s Word.4 Like a baby, we have to grow up spiritually before we can digest the solid food of God’s Word: 

“You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know who to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.”5

The bible is God’s living word to teach us how to live in God’s Presence. For the word of God is alive and powerful like a sharp two-edged sword. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.6 God’s Word teach us what is true, show us what is wrong in our lives, correct us when we are wrong and teach us to do what is right so that we are prepared and equipped to do every good work.7 

A worker in a research office found that an expensive technical book he had borrowed from his professor was missing. He then remembered the story of Elisha and the floating ax head. He decided to pray that he would be led to remember where he had misplaced the book or that the book be returned if someone else had taken the book. About ten days later, the book showed up on the professor’s desk. He was encouraged by his answered prayer and shared the truth that God’s concern for us is beyond measure.8 I was reminded of the power of God’s Word to help us grow in our faith that God cares for all the mundane things in our lives.

Another faithful Christian had been studying and reflecting on God’s Word and was struggling to understand what was happening when her health declined in the prime of her life. As she continued to meditate on God’s word and to pray for healing, she saw the dry grass withered by the heat of an unforgiving sun turn into vibrant green grass when the rains came during her bus rides to work. She was encouraged to wait with hope on the Lord.9 Indeed, adversities in life, big or small, become compost for our faith in God’s steadfast love. 

Jesus Christ is the Living Word that is sweeter than honey,10 a lamp for my feet and a Light for my path.11 As I prepare to journey into a new season of life, I wait in hope and with hope by feeding on God’s Living Word through prayer and meditation so that I will understand God’s ways. As God’s Word becomes alive in me I will not be afraid to face the challenges that await me in each new season of life.

“When I feel afraid and I think I’ve lost my way
Still You’re there right beside me
Nothing will I fear as long as You are near
Please be near me to the end”12


Lord, help me to feed on Your Living Word by being still as I wait for Your Spirit to lead me into Your truths.


1.  Is there a sin in the Egypt of my life I need to confess?
2.  Is there a promise in the Wilderness of my life I need to receive?
3.  Is there a commandment in the Promised Land of my life I need to obey?
4.  Is there a warning in the Babylon of my life I need to take heed of?

Song of Praise:

Thy Word by Amy Grant & Michael W. Smith



1.  Matthew 4:4
2.  Deut 8:1-20, NLT
3.  Joshua 1:8-9, NLT
4.  Matthew 5:6, MSG
5. Hebrews 5:12-14, NLT
6.  Hebrews 4:12, NLT
7.  2 Timothy 3:16-17, NLT,
8. The Upper Room Devotional, Beyond Measure, Saturday, 11 June 2022 9.  The Upper Room Devotional, Wait For The Lord, Sunday, 12 June 2022 10.  Psalms 119:103
11.  Psalms 119:105
12.  Thy Word by Amy Grant & Michael W. Smith