The weary world rejoices

If I asked a room of people to raise their hands if they were sick and tired of the year 2020, I am sure majority of the people present would raise their hands. It has been a weary year, to say the least. Many have suffered from loss of loved ones, job loss, zoom fatigue, cancelled or postponed plans and not to mention the loss of security, freedom and peace of mind. The dictionary definition for ‘weary’ is “feeling or showing extreme tiredness, especially as a result of excessive exertion”, synonyms for the word ‘weary’ include; tired, worn out, exhausted, fatigued … I am sure you can add your word to describe how this year has left you feeling. 

When listening to my Christmas Gospel Playlist (link here), the lyrics of the popular carol – O Holy Night stood out to me.

O Holy Night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

O Holy Night – Adolphe Adam translated by John Dwight

Pay particular attention to the words “a thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices“. 

The state of the world 2000 years ago when Jesus came to earth does not seem much different from the world in 2020. The prophecy in Isaiah 61:1-2 unfolds five consequences of sin (wrongdoing) and what Jesus was coming to do about it. “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings (news) to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;’ Isaiah 61:1. The society at that time was poor, broken-hearted, held in captivity, blind and oppressed. Likewise in the year 2020, we can say that we see; poverty, oppression, injustice, sickness, suffering and hopelessness. Despite all we have experienced this year I still have a thrill of hope. What is this thrill of hope?

To those who were around when Jesus came as a baby into the world, His coming was met with a variety of reactions. Some had not expected him to come as a babe in a manger, they thought a knight in shining armour was going to overthrow the government by a revolution. However, God’s ways are different and higher than the ways of man; he used an unexpected pregnancy to bring Hope to a weary world. The good news for you and I today is that although Jesus came, lived and died he also resurrected so He remains with us. We are told in Matthew 1:23: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” To me, the title – Immanuel, has a twofold meaning in terms of His proximity and empathy. God is nearby so we can lean on and rely on Him. His nearness/presence means that we don’t have to go out of our way or go through great lengths to find Him – all we need to do is call upon Him. As we draw near to Him, He draws near to us. Secondly, as God the Son, came to earth to live and dwell among us he knows and understands the struggles that this world is filled with therefore He can empathise with us. Jesus is with us, to comfort, enlighten, encourage, guide, protect and defend us. This should surely give us a thrill of hope. Additionally, when Jesus was leaving earth He said the Father will send the ‘advocate’ / ‘helper’ which in Greek is the ‘paraklētos’ – this word describes someone who is called to one’s side especially to one’s aid. The Holy Spirit is available to us all to give us divine strength that enables us to undergo trials and hardships. We have a thrill of Hope because of the work of God, The Spirit.

There are several weary people in the bible so you and I are not alone, fortunately, there is also a wealth of encouragement in the scriptures. In Matthew 11:28; Jesus asks those who labour and are heavy laden to come to Him and he will give them rest. What burdens do you still hold onto today as a result of the disappointments and stressors of this year? Place these burdens in Jesus’ hands he wants to take care of them for you. Isaiah 40:29,31 tells us that: ‘God gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength.’ those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. For us to receive strength from God, we have to admit that we are weak, it is okay, to admit that the year has not gone how we expected, it is okay, to be honest about our feelings, this vulnerability allows us to be filled with God’s strength. We are instructed to wait on the Lord to renew our strength meaning we actively wait and seek Him whilst He is near and with us. The text in Isaiah says our strength will be renewed, this means we already had this strength when we first came to God but this world, this year has drained it however we are given assurance that God will jumpstart us and give us fresh strength to move forward. This should give us hope for the new year ahead of us all. The result of this renewed strength is the ability to “mount up with wings like eagles” and therefore soar above the circumstances that are thrown our way. Finally, the Psalmists says; God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1); indeed He is a present help in trouble. In God, we have shelter, protection and Hope amid troubles.

So as a weary world, I ask you to rejoice and be glad. Considering the year we have had it may seem strange that I am asking that of you as you probably have a growing list of complaints. However rejoicing is a command we are repeatedly instructed to follow, Philippians 4:4 says: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. This was written by Paul whilst he was in prison yet this letter to the Philippians has a theme of having joy despite one’s circumstances. The joy Paul talks about wasn’t just based on optimism or having a positive mindset, it was more of confidence that God was in control – GODFIDENCE. Joy in the Lord. Unfortunately, I cannot promise you that the festive season and holiday traditions will fill you with joy or that when the clocks strike midnight on the 31st of December things will get better but there is still a thrill of Hope. Cling to Jesus today for in Him there is unwavering hope.

As I mentioned earlier and as stated in the lyrics above the world is filled with sin and there is so much darkness around; the pandemic and events that unfolded in the past year made things even more unbearable but that is the reality of this broken world we are in. Life on earth makes one weary but that is why we have been given this gift – Jesus who came so that we might have life and have it more abundantly. Jesus’ eventual death on the cross defeated sin and the effects of sin in our world and thereby giving us hope and a better ending when we are in our final home – heaven. All this would not have been possible without the birth of Jesus; so the birth of Jesus (then) and the continual presence of Jesus (today) is a reason to have a thrill of hope.

The Undiluted Word take home-point: In a world where we are weary of injustice, weary of inequality, weary of pain & suffering, weary of constant sad & bad breaking news, weary of disappointments, weary of corruption, weary of disasters, weary of mental turmoil, weary of exploitation and to sum it all weary of the consequences of greed and the deceitful nature of mankind we have a thrill of Hope; because of Jesus we can rejoice in all circumstances. Cling tightly onto Jesus and allow him to make your heart glad as we await his second coming that will change the course of our current lives.

Seasons Greetings to you all!

If you would like me to pray for you about that thing that has made you weary or continues to wear you out feel free to send a request on this link.

Stay Blessed,

Dara

In a world where we are weary of injustice, inequality, pain & suffering, corruption, disasters, mental turmoil, exploitation and to sum it all up – weary of the deceitful and fallen nature of mankind we have a thrill of Hope; in Jesus we can always rejoice.

December 2020

These words summarise this rollercoaster year: “Trouble comes from every side but we are not consumed. We’re buried by the cares of this world but we are not consumed”. No matter what you may have faced in the last few months may you be comforted by the words “BUT NOT consumed”. The fact that you are alive is a reason to testify – God has kept your head above the water. Wherever God leaves life, He leaves Hope. In this month; expect the unexpected and count your blessings.

Have a delightful December!

Dara

April 2020

You wake up on this April Fool’s Day to find out Corona Virus isn’t a prank after all 😭 tragic. We are in this world as a ship at sea and the circumstances around us make us prone to be tossed around so without an anchor shipwreck is imminent. But I’d like to ask: Will your anchor hold in the storms of life? Where have you placed your Hope? Hope is the anchor for our lives so it’s essential we place it in a force that is strong & steady – The Rock of Ages. There is no reason to be downcast, worried or defeated when your Hope is in God. Place your hope & confidence in God’s Word and your strength will be renewed.

Have a well Anchored April! x

December 2019

Welcome to the final month of 2019!
You may have been hard pressed on every side, perplexed, persecuted, struck down in the past year but through God you are still alive, not crushed, not in despair, not abandoned and not destroyed – there is HOPE. God says in Isaiah – “I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born.” So align yourself with this promise & see how God will work miraculously.

Have a Delightful December & see you soon in 2020!

August 2019

As humans we waste valuable time and energy any time we think we know better than God. There are times when we cannot make sense of the circumstances we are surrounded by so we feel buried and somewhat hopeless. But just like a buried seed even if all we see is darkness we must believe that growth is inevitable. A planted seed has the ability to reach its full potential so when you find yourself in a dark and confusing situation trust that this is the refining process in which you’ll burst forth from and blossom.

Have an Awe-filled August!

2019 Spoiler Alert ¡!

Wishing you a very Happy and Prosperous New Year!

There are different metaphors that have been used to describe life. A few that I’ve heard before are: 

  • Life is like a camera. Focus on what’s important. Capture the good times. Develop from the negatives and if things don’t work out just take another shot.
  • Life is like a box of chocolate you never know what you’re going to get.
  • Life is like a cup of tea, its all in how you make it.

And I’m sure you’ve also heard of life being likened to a book with different chapters. 

Life is like a book. Some chapters are sad, some happy, some exciting. But if you never turn the page you will never know what the next chapter holds.  There comes a time when you have to choose between turning the page and closing the book.

2018 was a chapter that has come and gone. If you could think of a genre to describe that year what would it be… Drama? Horror? Action? Adventure? A thriller? A romantic comedy? 

As with any best selling book, you have reviews such as “Astounding. Thrilling. Lovely and amazing’ “a mesmerising novel”. How would you rate the year that has just gone by? What star rating would you give it? Did God (the BEST selling author of your life) keep you on the edge of your seat? 

When I was younger I loved reading. I’d spend hours after my bedtime turning page after page so that I would find out what happened to the characters I had fallen in love with. I had a few friends who would read the first chapter then skip to the last one and attempt to fill in the details, strange right? My thoughts exactly. Why couldn’t they just read the book normally and enjoy watching the story unfold? But then again it would be great to know the ending to a new beginning. For example, we have started the 2019 Book, you may have already set out goals or made plans that you want to know how they turn out. Unfortunately, I’m not here to fill in the minute details of what this year might hold for you but I do have something to share, it’s a spoiler though. So drum roll, please… GOD WINS!

I want to challenge you this year to increase your OPTIMISM. A more familiar synonym to optimism is HOPE. “Let your hope in Christ shape your future”. When God is weaved into the intricacies of your life there is truly no limit to the wonders He can display.

‘What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31

What shall we say to anxiety and / depression

What shall we say to financial troubles

What shall we say to unemployment

What shall we say to educational problems

What shall we say to confusion or doubt

What shall we say to poor health and illnesses

What shall we say to failing friendships and relationships

What shall we say to challenges and obstacles

What shall we say to fear or other negative traits or habits

IF GOD IS FOR US, WHO/WHAT CAN BE AGAINST US?

We will certainly have opposition in this world, but what is the world compared to God? What is satan compared to God? What are the obstacles or difficulties we encounter compared to God? What are the trials and temptations we face compared to God? The Answer is resounding NOTHING.  You + God is always an unconquerable majority. When God is added to the equation it is impossible to find yourself on the losing side. To those without hope and faith it may appear that you are defeated but ultimately victory belongs to Jesus. He is our deliverer and provider. The Psalmist reminds us that With God, we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.” (Psalms 60:12)

As I mentioned earlier, God is the BEST selling Author and He has great plans for your future, you are destined for success this year.  With only a few days into the New Year I ask you; What do you want the review of this chapter in your life to be? Be optimistic and Trust that God has you in mind and He will cause you to have total victory. Everything will be more than alright in the end and if it isn’t, it simply isn’t the end of that chapter. The Word of God over your life outweighs the plots of the enemy against your life. God had a plan before the enemy had a plot. I pray that God will surprise you and surpass your expectations because absolutely nothing is difficult for Him.

I leave you with this excerpt from Jesus Calling: Do not be weighed down with problems and unresolved issues for Jesus is your burden-bearer. In the world, you will have trials and distress, but don’t let them get you down. Jesus has conquered the world and deprived it of power to harm us.

When you get a chance listen to the words of this song “Victory Belongs to Jesus by Todd Dulaney and be encouraged.

Once again Happy New Year, thank you for your continued support.

Stay blessed,

Dara xx

P.S : Are you living your best life? Check out how you can on last year’s New Year’s Post Living our best life in 2018

 

Death has lost its Sting

On Easter Sunday my grandfather passed on to sleep in The Lord. This post is written in reflection of my thoughts and encouragement for others whose loved ones have gone to sleep in The Lord.

Death is something people are often scared of. How  will it happen? When  will it happen? We want to be able to live our lives to the fullest, and accomplish all we would like to do. From the day Adam and Eve fell until the day Jesus rose from the dead, death held us ransom.

When a person has been captured and is being held for ransom, the perpetrators rely on the compassion of the person’s loved ones to get the payment they desire. So relating that to the scriptures in John 3:16 we hear that; God loved us so much that he sent his only begotten son to die for us and pay our ransom.  Now, whoever believes in The Son can have eternal life. Death and Sin still remain in humanity, but they do not determine our lives. God made the sacrifice over 2,000 years ago, so that we would know about the great love He has for us. God does for us, what we mere humans cannot do for ourselves. He saves us from living in despair and without hope. Through His son, and the decision he made, He has given us new life and hope of a resurrection morning when we shall live for eternity with him. God is not a distant, all powerful being or  tyrant, who demands payment for our sins. He has already paid for our sins. God doesn’t demand ransom, he provides us with his son, who paid the price.  God doesn’t hold us as prisoners, he sets us free from sin.  “Christ has truly set us free” Galations 5:1 

On the cross, sin was rendered powerless. Satan seemed to be victorious in the Garden of Eden, when Eve and Adam ate the apple and brought sin into mankind. He also seemed to be victorious when Jesus was betrayed, tortured and hung onto the cross where he died. However, God turned Satan’s apparent victory into defeat when Jesus  Christ rose from the dead. Jesus’ resurrection changed EVERYTHING for mankind. In Christ we are now free, restored, redeemed and reconciled back to God. We have been given the free gift of eternal life. 

The Greatest gift in the world (Anon)

The Author of the Gift
God
The Incentive of the Gift
so loved 
The Content of the Gift
His only Begotten Son
The Universality of the Gift 
whoever
The means of appropriation
Believes
The Benefits of its Gift 
Negative: Not Perish
Positive: Have eternal Life

 

Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭2‬:‭14-15‬ NLT) From this we learn that, Jesus had to become human (“flesh and blood”) so he could die and rise again, in order to destroy the devil’s power over death. (Romans 6:5-11). Only then could he deliver those who had lived in constant fear of death, and free them to live for him. When we belong to God, we need not fear death, for we know that death is only the beginning of eternal life. Therefore, death should no longer be a source of dread or fear. Christ overcame it, and one day we will also. Christ’s death and resurrection free us from the fear of death because death had been DEFEATED. Many of us may experience death in one way or another but death is not the end; instead, it is the doorway to a new life. We have hope beyond the grave.

 

Just as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:55“Where O death, is your victory? Where, O death is your sting?” 

The enemy (Satan)  has done the worst he can do. When he snatches loved ones prematurely, that is the worst he can do. The victory of Satan is not permanent, he has already been defeated.  Those who are ill and suffer before they die are victorious after death. Why? Because the Devil can no longer torment them, they are free. Death = Victory!

 

An empty grave is there to prove our Saviour lives. Because Jesus lives, we can face tomorrow. Because He lives all fear is gone. Because we know, He holds the future. Life is worth living because He lives. 

I’ve experienced the death of a few loved ones, but I Thank God for gift of His Son. His resurrection, gives hope to myself, and should give the same to other Christians. May we all be reunited with our loved ones on that glorious resurrection morning, when those asleep in Christ will wake up. Their bodies will be transformed and we who are still alive will be caught up in the clouds to meet our Lord and spend eternity with Him and our Father. In eternity, “God will wipe every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4. In the meantime, we should remember ,Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)

“It is finished” was not the end. It was just the beginning, for greater things that were yet to come! 

 


Stay Blessed,

Dara x