VICTOR S E MOUBARAK

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Heaven

Although Heaven is mentioned often in the Bible there’s only one instance where we have a glimpse of a description. In John 14:2 Jesus says: In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.

I suppose Jesus used this description because He wanted an example that his listeners could relate to. They were used to seeing palaces and mansions so He described Heaven as a building.

Some time ago, I came across another description of Heaven. This priest said in a sermon that when we die and meet God, He will sit us on His lap like a little child and He will show us our life all over again. Just like a movie. There, we will see all the good and the bad we have done. All the opportunities we missed when we could have helped others less fortunate than ourselves, all the hurt we have caused by what we have done or said, whether intentionally or not. And there, on His lap, will be our own Heaven or Hell.

Now imagine it is really so … Imagine seeing your whole life as a movie …

Imagine you are now a Film Director … what an opportunity you have to make sure your movie will have a happy ending !!!

Monday, 30 March 2009

God's Protection.

I saw an interesting nature programme on TV the other day. A wolf cub had been injured in the wild and abandoned by its mother. He was all alone, frightened, hungry and defenseless. Left there he would soon perish.

The TV crew and resident vet tried to capture him and send him to an animal hospital where he could be treated and looked after until he is strong enough to be released in the wild once again. Every time they approached the wolf cub he bared its teeth and attempted to bite his benefactors. Eventually, he was caught and taken to the hospital where, within weeks, he was well again.

When things go wrong in our lives we too tend to behave like that wolf. We are angry, we’re concerned, frightened even - about the future and about what's happening to us.

And we go on the attack. We believe that God has abandoned us, just like that she-wolf abandoned her cub. We blame Him for what's gone wrong, and we rebel against Him.

When we behave like that, we shut off a channel of communication with God.

When God is temporarily put aside, He doesn’t stop loving us; but we block His influence to do good in our lives.

Like the wolf cub, every time God tries to help us we bare our teeth in anger. Our behaviour is futile and un-productive.

The wolf did not realize that by being caught he’d soon improve his hopeless situation. But we should know better, and trust our Lord rather than lash out at Him without thinking.

“I will be with you always, to the end of time.” Matthew 28:20.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Life with God

Is your life exciting or is it mundane?

Not many of us spend our lives mixing with celebrities and enjoying the material luxuries that this world offers. For most of us life is a simple routine of work, bringing up the family, and a little leisure when we can fit that in. Some people can’t even afford this routine lifestyle, especially if money is short; they have no job or are in poor health.

Compare that to our spiritual life.

Is it barren and completely distant from our Creator? Or do we walk daily hand in hand with Jesus by our side?

How many times during the day do we pray silently, and thank our Lord for all He has done for us?

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19-20.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

When things go wrong.

God allows bad things to happen. He does not make them happen.

More often than not, when bad things happen, they are the results of our actions or in-actions, (and our knee-jerk reaction is to blame God).

God allows these things to happen to serve His own purpose in His own time and in His own way. We really do not know why He allows them to happen; but we must trust Him.

When bad things happen, it is important to remember that God is still in control. He knows what has happened, how it affects people close to the event, and even people far away and totally detached from it. He never loses control of the situation.

Our reaction to these events is therefore vital. Our human nature will take over and all our emotions will come to the fore – shock, fear, denial, anger and so on.

However, when we have calmed down a little, we should turn to God and praise and thank Him.

“What did you just say? Praise Him?”

We are praising and thanking Him for still being in control of the situation - not because He allowed the bad thing to happen.

Our praise acknowledges His supreme power over the whole universe. We are in effect saying that we accept that He allowed the bad things to happen, yet we still trust Him, and trust that His will be done.

When we acknowledge, in such terrible situations, that His will is still paramount; we open a channel, in certain circumstances, for Him to turn the situation to the good.

I have seen this happen several times.

Live for Today

Difficult as it might be; living one day at a time is a wholesome self-control mechanism which teaches us patience and genuine reliance on our Lord.

Of course, we all like to plan ahead, to be in control of our future, and to prepare for all eventualities. There’s nothing wrong in that, and it would be foolhardy to leave all to chance and do nothing.

Yet, at the same time, we should balance our every plan with the reality of what is now. We should live each day in gratitude for what God has given us today, rather than look ahead to what is yet to come.

They say “You never know what’s round the next corner”. How true. All it takes is a sudden event, an illness, an accident, something out of our control, to put all our plans into disarray.

Thank you Lord for another today.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Forgiveness

When Jesus taught us to pray – forgiveness is the only petition to God to which He attached a condition.

He said: Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sinned against us.

I hope He finds me forgiving when the time comes for me to meet Him.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Contacting God

A man goes out of his house and drives away. Suddenly he turns round and returns back home to collect the mobile (cell) phone which he had forgotten.

STOP.

Don’t you realize that for the first 20, 30 or even 60 years of your life you didn’t have a mobile phone, because it was not invented? Why is it so important now?

Thank the Lord that we don’t need a mobile phone to contact Him. He’s only a prayer away and waiting.

Rest in the Lord

There are times in this modern lifestyle of ours when, quite honestly, we are totally mentally and physically exhausted. There are so many things to do and to fit-in in this 24/7 treadmill we are on, that we dare not stop for one second lest we fall.

And it gets worse – money is tight, prices are going up, demands put upon us increase daily, and, to cap it all, we are getting older every day, and we cannot cope as well as we used to, especially when our health fails us.

It’s at times like these that we feel like giving up.

What is the answer dear Lord?

“Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Focus on God

A man goes to the doctor's and said that his body hurts wherever he touches it. "Impossible!" says the doctor. "Show me."

The man took his finger, pushed on his left shoulder and screamed, then he pressed his elbow and screamed even more. He touched his knee and screamed in agony; likewise he pushed on his ankle and cried loudly. Everywhere he touched made him scream.

“Is it serious, doctor?” he asked.

The doctor replied, "Not really, your finger is broken."

Sometimes we get too fixated on the wrong things. Just like the man in the joke.

That’s when we fail to focus on the right priorities in life. We allow our outlook and our earthly vision to be blurred by the many distractions which this world has to offer.

Life becomes a series of goals set, targets to be met and achievements aimed for. And we miss the obvious point:

Set your hearts on the things that are in Heaven, where Christ sits on His throne at the right –hand side of God. Keep your minds fixed on things there, not on things here on earth. Colossians 3:1-2.

Monday, 23 March 2009

God's Love

Sometimes we need glasses in order to see clearly. Without them our sight is blurred and we see what we think we see rather than what is out there to see.

Someone said to me the other day: God’s love is conditional. If you don’t love Him back He’ll send you to hell.

I suppose, without glasses, you can see it this way. Let’s look at it another way.

God's love is available to everyone. I say available - not forced upon. As our Creator, He loves us and invites us to love Him back. It is an invitation, not a request or an order.

Forgive me if I put it another way: It’s like you buying a dog and loving him and caring for him. The dog can return this affection or he can bite you. If he does bite you the chances are you’ll forgive him and continue to love him. Unless he does it again and again incorrigibly.

The decision to return God’s love by accepting Him and accepting His Son Jesus rests entirely with us. So, to that extent therefore - yes, His love is conditional. It is conditional on us loving Him back and obeying His commandments.

For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not die but have eternal life. John 3:16.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Modern Samaritan

Once upon a time an elderly man was making his way home through the park after a long day at work. Some youths set upon him. They were carrying knives. They mugged him, injured him badly and left him lying in a pool of blood.

A while later a city gent happened to pass by. He looked at the bleeding man on the ground and thought: This may be a trap. If I stop to help him someone might come out from the bushes and attack me. I'd better hurry home.

And so he did.

A while more later another man happened to come along. He saw the elderly man on the ground and thought: I'd better pretend not to have seen him. If I stop and call the police and ambulance they will ask me a lot of questions. They will want a lot of information. I'll be a witness and I'll probably have to go to Court eventually to say what I saw. I really can't be bothered with all this. I'd better rush home.

And so he did.

A bit more later a learned man came by. He had studied sociology, philosophy, and many other important subjects. He looked at the injured man on the ground and thought: Whoever did this needs help. They must be from an under-priviledged background and up-bringing. Poor souls!

And he hurried home thinking about society.

Two thousand years after Jesus told a similar story, (Luke 10:25), life hasn’t changed so much in this world.

Talents

I read in an old magazine that men will become extinct in some thousand years’ time because there is something wrong with their Y chromosome. I don’t claim to have understood the article but the fact is men will become extinct.

This is terrible news. If men became extinct then who will catch the spiders when they fall in the bath?

Men have a special talent for that sort of thing.

Jesus tells us a story about talents. You can read it in Matthew 25:14.

It’s about a rich man who gives his servants different sums of money depending on their ability. A while later he checks on them, and finds that two servants had invested the money and earned more. The third servant however had hid the money and it did not grow one penny.

Obviously the rich man was very disappointed with the servant who had not used the money to earn more.

The moral of this story is that we all have talents for something or other. Music, sport, business or whatever.

What is your talent in life? Are you using it to the Glory of God?

Saturday, 21 March 2009

God with us.

At prayer meeting the other day a newcomer, a middle aged man we’d never met before, said he was about to celebrate his 30th Wedding Anniversary. We all congratulated him.

He said like all marriages, his had its ups and downs, including arguments and silent treatments, but overall it was OK. For their 25th Anniversary he took his wife to Paris. He said the last five years were the happiest of his marriage.

“How will you celebrate your 30th?” he was asked.

“I’m returning to Paris to bring the wife back!”

Absence makes the heart grow fonder – they say. But this joke takes it to extremes.

Sometimes, wrongly, we feel God has ignored us. He is not listening. Abandoned us even. So we give Him the silent treatment. Stop praying. Stop going to church. And eventually we may drift away.

If only we stop and think. When we feel distanced from God it is only because we have moved away. He has not left us. He is always there. Just a prayer away. Ready to welcome us back in His arms with love and forgiveness.

I will be with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:20.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Fear.

The devil appeared at the local supermarket one Saturday morning. He stood there by the main entrance looking menacingly and threatening. All the shoppers panicked. They escaped through every available emergency exits, jumped into their cars and drove off at speed.

All except for one shopper. A small, short man, standing there by his shopping trolley holding a long shopping list in his hand.

The devil advanced towards the small man and said angrily: “Do you know who I am?”

“Yes … I do” replied the shopper.

“Aren’t you afraid of me like all the others?” asked the devil.

“No … I’ve been married to your sister for 25 years!”

OK … joke over. Now for the serious stuff.

Isn’t it a shame that we waste so much time afraid of one thing or another instead of sitting down comfortably and confronting our fears? More often than not, when we analyze what is really “bugging us”, what is making us so hesitant and cautious we find that our problem is not so insurmountable after all.

Do not be afraid – I will save you. I have called you by name – you are mine. Isaiah 43:1

Self-confidence

It is said that Moses took 40 years to travel from Egypt through the desert to the Promised Land. Considering the distance involved this must have been incompetence to the highest degree … perhaps he was going round in circles.

I reckon that unbeknown to him, Mrs Moses was asking for directions secretly and, when appropriate, she pointed him in the right way to go.

Being a woman, she allowed him to take all the credit for getting there at last.

Moral of the story:

Never rely on what you think you know. Always consider the possibility that you may be wrong. (Especially if your wife tells you so).

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Your Legacy.

At a Christian seminar the lecturer was talking about our contributions to this world and he asked his audience: “Imagine you are lying dead in your open coffin and your friends and relatives are passing by to pay their respects. What do you want them to say about you?”

The first volunteer said: “I hope they say I was a good family man and that I helped people less well off than myself.”

A second participant said: “I hope they say I used my skills as a doctor to help others.”

The third man said: “I hope they say - I’ve just seen him move !!! ”

What will they say when you’re gone? What is your legacy to this world?

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

The way to God

After twenty five years of marriage a man goes to Court seeking a divorce because his wife keeps throwing things at him when angry: plates, cups, saucers, whatever is at hand she throws.

The judge asks: What took you so long to decide on divorce?

He replied: Her aim is getting better!

Isn’t it funny that after so many years of Christianity we are still not reaching those we should.

Is it because our “aim” is not on target? Or is it because we have diluted the message so much that when it is received people are confused and don’t know what we stand for?

“I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one goes to the Father except by me.” John 14:6.

Trust

In every situation of Trust there is always the risk of betrayal. Whether it is a friendship, a business partnership, a marriage or whatever; in every circumstance where two or more people trust each other there is always the risk that someone will betray that trust.

We all know about the greatest betrayal ever – Judas betraying Jesus with a kiss.

So what are we to do? Not trust anyone ever and go through life suspecting everyone. This would be impossible and would jeopardize our every relationship.

We have to accept that with trust we become a little more vulnerable and susceptible to abuse of that trust. It’s a risk we take as we journey through life.

With one important exception:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” John 14:1 NIV.

Jigsaw

There is nothing more frustrating than when you finish a jigsaw puzzle and find a piece missing. Today I finally finished a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle – and guess what. There’s a piece extra in the box.

So if any of you out there have a jigsaw piece missing from your puzzle, maybe it’s the one I’ve got!

Which reminds of something I read somewhere … life can be a bit like a jigsaw puzzle. Full of doubts, fears, frustrations and confusions … as well as good times too. If we were to put God right in the middle of our life our jigsaw puzzle would be complete. And what a wonderful picture it would make!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

God's Timescale

Nothing teaches us patience like waiting.

Remember when you were young and lacked patience? In those days a week was like a year. Especially if you’d been promised something by your parents and you had to wait and wait …

I suspect the same applies to us when we relate to God. We pray for something and wait … but God does not work to our timescales. He has His own plans and maybe what we’re asking for is not good for us … just yet.

Which reminds me of another story which I remember very distinctly from my youth.

The reading in church was from 2 Peter 3:8 where he says: “There is no difference in the Lord’s sight between one day and a thousand years; to Him the two are the same”.

I remember thinking as a child: it must be difficult to have an appointment with God. Imagine God saying to Moses to go to Mount Sinai “tomorrow”; and Moses asking “Is that in 24 hours or in a thousand years time? Because I’d be dead by then!”

I hope God forgave the impertinent mind of young child.

Are you a Christian role model?

I was reading the parable of the lost coin the other day (Luke 15:8) and my thoughts wandered … what is the greatest loss one can experience in this world? Is it the loss of a worthless trinket with great emotional value to the owner; or an expensive item of jewelry or such like; or great sums of money? Is it the loss of a loved one? Or what?

I concluded that for a Christian the greatest loss is the loss of one’s Faith.

I am often saddened by the number of people who say they are losing their faith or belief in God.
Why is that I wonder. Is it because we live in a technologically advanced age and people find it difficult to relate to a super-natural omnipotent God whose love they have never actually experienced in their lives? Or is it because when times are hard people struggle to relate to a Supreme Being they can turn to for help?

Or is it perhaps a shortage of good Christian role models? People who set us a good example of how to be Christ-like.

I then realized that we are all role models for others; whether we are parents, teachers, preachers or whatever. We are all unwittingly setting an example for others to emulate.

The magnitude of that realization frightened me.

Being a Christian is quite a responsibility you know!