Hold On To What You Have

‘Take it easy, hold on to what you have,’ they encouraged me, ‘we’re here to help you.’ As a young child, we’re learning how to swim in the nearby river bank. For a learner, it takes tons of hard work to stay afloat in the water. When I try to swim, I sink fast, for few days.

They, especially my elder brother and friends, sometimes my paternal uncles, assured my safety in any case. They will not let me drown; and I know that too. But when I have very few or nothing to hold on to, it was disheartening.

We don’t have floatation devices in the countryside where we lived. We learn it the hard way, I would say. Sometimes we pushed each other in the water to test our ability, yet help is ever ready.

In no time, I have to master few techniques to hold on to; less I will get drown or become a laughing-stock. At least, I hold onto what I have and stay afloat, before I could swim as fast as others. It was a very wonderful experience indeed.

When in water, without any floatation devices, it requires consistent movement of our hands or leg to stay afloat. Since the viscosity of the water body is not large enough to keep us afloat, we need few works on our part.

By the time I have something to hold on to, I could move forward to swimming although it takes courage and lots of movement of the limbs. In due course I mastered the art of swimming. Now, just a flickering my legs can keep me stays afloat.

Should I give up before I could swim, whatever the reason it might be, I’d blew my big opportunity of enjoying swimming especially with friends. And it would be shameful as we lived in small village nearby the river where almost everyone can swim.

A duckling swimming
A duckling; learning how to swim

What Do We Have To Hold On To?

Now, if I am to hold onto something, first, it’s important to know what I have to hold on to. There should be something worthy of holding in our journey of life. While our material possession will depreciate with time, our values in the eye of our Creator stay the same.

In more than three decades of my life, I really have nothing in this material world. I possessed very little to none. What I have earned are used up in no time. Now with no job at hand, I’d accumulated no wealth. Those insurance policies I have purchased during my working days are either surrendered or discontinued.

Moreover, my health concerns me a lot. Yet I have been on to the path of recovery, I hope, which makes me happy. A little bit of broken brain but blessed to have functioning brain; that’s a privilege not all could have!

There’s something more than just being healthy-wealthy and rich. Well then, there’s nothing worth talking about our materialistic possession which is worth holding onto. I don’t know if you agree or not.

Sometimes we have to count what we don’t have, at the same time, what we lose. It is more important now, for me. This make us appreciate what we have and value our very small or even none possession of anything viable.

Should I count them earlier, what I can really hold on to, it could have been more. But still I am happy, for those I have lost and what I gain. I can lose some since there was a time I have some.

I have the love of my family which makes my living very beautiful. And there are these good friends I’d met and had at some point of time in my life’s journey. I must hold onto them. The beauty of life is that honest and loyal people around us don’t need maintenance for holding onto them.

I treasured them, yes! I don’t want to lose more; less I may fumble. I wanted to hold on to them. In their love my heart finds peace; in their care, my life’s needs get sustained.

With so many intrusive and influxes of unwanted or unwelcome occurrences, it is my priority to hold onto, and together, my family. If and ever I could do that with subtlety, which will require a certain amount of wisdom and intelligence with strong fervor of love.

I shared you mine so that you can have a glimpse of what you have, in your prosperous or collapsing and depressive life. Further, I will go onto the vital feature that you and I must hold onto. Let’s hold onto what we have or don’t have for whom: For us, for our-self, and for our Savior.

Hold on until I come:

Now let’s get onto what I really wanted to convey here: I really don’t have anything to hold onto except for the salvation I had in Christ Jesus!

Except, for enduring some pain, poverty, and adversities there nothing much to boast about in this material world, for me. For some of you suffering souls and recovering souls, it might be the same. Although we have our own ways of suffering and withholding several tests, there’s hope.

Our God had seen us. And He knows we have little strength. Yet we have to hold onto His name and not deny His holy name. We are promised to have victorious crown should we hold onto His command and endure patiently, in the name of Jesus Christ.

“I am coming soon,” it was written to the Church in Philadelphia. “Hold onto what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” (Revelation 3:11)

We aren’t demanded more; we should hold on to what we have faithfully. Holding on to His salvation we have attained though our Savior will be sufficient for securing a victorious crown. Nothing more than that! So we all have our chances, we still have something to hold on to.

“Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches,” He added in His revelation to John. If not, we might have lost our victorious crown, on the way or in our journey, which is mention here.

In his first letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul had stressed hard on the need to self-discipline. In other words, holding on to what we have. Here let’s read:

Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

There is Hope:

There could be moments in our life where we feel we have nothing to hold on to. Other time, we perform our task at hand with no specific inspiration. Some of us have our ‘Red Sea Situations’ too. But there is hope.

It will be a good way to remind each other of the promises we have in our Savior-Jesus Christ. I’m standing on the promises of God. There is a clear implication that deliverance of the faithful will occur in conjunction with His coming.

One day we will be duly rewarded and help is on the way, soon, very soon. When our sufferings and adverse situations loom large, we might be tempted to think as if we have nothing worth to hold on to: we have our Savior.

When the going gets hard let us not lose hope. The dark night will soon get over, if it’s His will. For everything there’s a purpose. Let’s hold on to what we have!

Moving Forward

Much before I could master the art of reading, my grandfather had already feed us the stories of Bible sequentially. I am moved by his narrations. He is my favorite story-teller too. His profound insights of the scripture always came in handy.

My grandfather is an avid reader of the Holy Bible. He covered, back-to-back, the sixty-six books of the Bible 34 times and counting, as I inquire today. Come what may, he moved aside and take forward his devoted time.

In that way, my grandfather always found ways to move on from hard times. I envy his cravings for communion with God. It is the best way of spending our time and finding solidarity with our creator.

I can still remember how my grandfather narrated the mighty work of God; by freeing and bringing out the whole nation of Israel from the slavery of Egypt to the Promised Land – Canaan. It was a journey where God is really at work.

Tell them to Move On:

Let me fast-forward to what happen when they arrived at the Red Sea. News came that Pharaoh had changed his mind and it spread like fire. He was coming after the Israelites with his army.

Panic set in. Pharaoh’s armies were in their tail and before them was the vast Red Sea. They were thrilled at the vastness of the sea. Their sight saw no space for moving forward; they were terrified. They started blame gaming to Moses and they cried out to the Lord.

Train track end at sea
Train track end abruptly; can’t move forward

There is no road ahead for now. But the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to move on…they will go through the sea on dry land.” Moses did as the Lord commanded and they cross the sea on dry land, in short. (Read Exodus 14)

They moved on; they were safe. Their cries were turned into celebration. Miriam and the women took timbrel in their hands and dance exalting the name of the Lord. (Exodus 15)

Moving Forward:

Our God sometimes allows us and bring us into “the Red Sea situation” in our life. We cannot simply move forward from certain situations. It is beyond the wisdom of man to fathom the pain and adversities of mankind.

The vastness of the ‘sea’ thrilled me. I am unable to see a way out in my ‘Red Sea situation’. I have no wisdom left in me that could curve a way out, even in the near future. Focusing on the intensity of my problems, sometimes, make my living very tiresome.

Yesterday I visited ‘Intractable Clinic’ as a follow-up, which gave me hope of me getting better with time. The reality is that such visits are a necessity for managing my health so that I could perform my daily responsibilities. It, very much, limited my role-playing in several ways needed.

I panicked easily when I encounter something un-normal when I live by my sight. When we live by sight, we act on what we can see, which is very shallow. Those projects and investments which were started with high hopes can become our ‘Red Sea situation’.

I don’t want to go through that pain, that brain surgery, and the after effects. But I have to move on. Move on is the advise here. The strenuous part is trying to decimate the insecure heart in submission to God.

In my journey of life, I have encountered such situations where there is no way out without God. It is He who provided water in the dry deserts, which give back life to the dry bones. He is able!

The sick and unemployed tag is something which is disheartening, but not always. I’m sorry I’ve revealed a lot, it seems.

Sometimes my broken brain belittles my life. It has been weaken associating with pain, from time to time. I can’t take it anymore! I’m afraid to move on! I don’t want to, but I have to go on. By trusting in Him, I did. And I will move on ‘till I get into still waters.

The Red Sea situation turned into celebration of the work of God. If by our mere suffering if God could get exalted; it would be worth the pain. No one will get glory except God!

Deliverance Assured:

We may cry, we may groan but His deliverance is timely and perfect. The problem is, we tend to forget the Almighty’s work, even after reassuring and showing us His faithfulness.

Our God is the one who make dry land appear out of a roaring sea. For our God, road closed sign could be an opening of a new joyful and happening era. God set the stage; He knows our needs.

Some are strained financially; some are weak physically, while some are drained emotionally. When all the aspects of life are in the doldrums, it’s the real Red Sea situation. We all have our situations but our God wanted us to move on! That, we put our trust in Him; growing each day.

The devil works in innumerable ways to instill fear and discernment in our heart. But if we keep waiting on the strength of the Lord and keep moving, we will survive. If we give up on moving forward, we would be consumed.
One day, when we are getting past our ‘Red Sea situation’ we will count the work of the Lord, in jubilation.

Once a deliverer; always a deliverer, is our God! Let’s move forward!

He Ain’t Asleep

He told ’em to cross over
Got in the boat, they followed
A Furious storm came, He’s asleep
They were left terrified

They went to Jesus; woke Him
“Dear Lord, save us now!
We’re going to drown.”
He rebuked the storm; it was calm.

**
With you why would I be afraid?
Yes my Lord! I’m man of little faith
In the storm of life, you keep me safe
Your assurance ‘till I cross over
Tranquility, I found in you.

##
Lord, why do you sleep on me?
See my misery and oppression
Rise up and rescue me
Because of your unfailing love

Oh friend, are you troubled?
In your arms, He may not hold
He won’t let you drowned
His loyalty would be with us.

****
Jesus ain’t asleep, He’s Almighty
His presence filled my soul
In His light he’ll lead me
Until the journey’s over
He’ll lead me to quiet waters.

A boat amidst storm
A boat in rough sea

Of Fear and Faith:

As I was reading through Matthew 8:23, there’s an infighting of faith and fear in my heart. Jesus Christ was there with the disciples. His presence was with them. But it wasn’t enough to calm their fear as they were crossing over the lake.

Jesus Christ had just performed miracles and spoke about faith through parables. Undoubtedly, Jesus Christ possessed power that was new to human. They have seen Him, very close, with their own eyes. It would be comforting to be with Him, always, it seems.

But His disciples were human, which have fervent fear in their heart as a huge squall rocked their boat. I see them as being very me; although I trust Him, I wanted to see Him work. I wanted Jesus Christ to clear all storms of life. When I pray, I wanted Him to act, as I would have wanted. I cannot control the Almighty.

My little faith get drained in no time. He was silent on several matters, it seems. I’ve informed Him but He did not get up. He wanted my faith to be stronger. His presence is sufficient as my boat would not sink. However, fear gripped my body. And it had seized me, sometimes.

In His time, Jesus would calm the storm. Even the storms, all storms of life, obeyed His commands. He rebuked the storms; and it was calm: tranquility restored.

Does God forget us?

During King David’s reign, in a time of great national distress, David humbly expostulate God’s apparent forgetfulness. In Psalms 44:23-26, David reminded God of their mourning and sufferings, but most importantly, their faithfulness to Him.

It was more of a prayer for the future. Jehovah, the God of Israel was never asleep, He keep watching His people. He never forgets His people.

There are times in our life when God doesn’t make sense. He seems to slumber when we most needed Him. But our God never slumber nor did He sleep in His people.

How will men survive if we are to fend everything for ourselves? Beyond we can see, He’s at work, for us to see the light of each new day. Several plans of us that backfired, one day we may reap its ripen fruit should we have not lost our faith in the process.

He’s asleep when we’re of little faith: His assurance more than sufficient to get us through the storms of life. Without Him, there’s no peace and tranquility.

Our Reading Time at Home

My son joined me as I was reading my daily dose of devotionals. He was learning how to read. We were struggling with those repertoires of vowels.

When I hold the book in my hand, he’d simply take a seat beside me, pushing me slowly. So, for the next few moments, we are going to spend some time together. We change our place of reading, from time to time.

Many of the words are difficult for a five-year-old to read. The vowels did have many sounds. They were important because the vowels were the letters that really make the sound out of a word. But we go on. We even prayed for the vowels to go easy on us.

In reality, we are following the instructions of their teacher in the schools too. They pressed hard on reading practice at home. Since English is not our native language, we are speaking indigenous tongue; we have to learn several languages.

I am happy because he came out of his sheer will of learning. Although it consume much of our time, it was worth trying, spelling the long words and trying to make the most suitable pronunciation out of them. Sometimes it might sound silly. But is it silly? I thought not!

Reading daily devotionals at home
Our reading time at home

In the meantime, he would say English reading is really hard. However, I assured him that in few times he would be as smooth as the news readers. Most things are difficult when we learn, many times, I assured him.

It requires a lot of patience followed by encouraging words from me. Sometimes, we wonder together where these words have come from. The laughter and the thoughts that followed our reading times are worth more than our struggles.

The Good Part of Our Reading:

Now let me tell you the best part of our experience. But let me tell you that we are still struggling.

When we’re done with our reading, we’d revisited the meaning and lessons to be learn from our devotional readings.
He insisted on telling him the Bible verse for the day:

“Papa, now tell me our Bible verse for today with the meaning,” he said. To which I quickly, at the same time happily, read out the given verse again and again.

We would revisit the stories around which the verse was taken. He was more than willing to listen. One more thing: explaining those difficult words and their meanings are valuable.

The best part is that it’s a good time teaching Christian values straight from the Bible. When we understand the words; why it was recorded or written, to whom, for what purpose, and its implications, it is good for the soul.

Explaining the Given Verses:

Our reading task can be arduous but it few minutes of uphill climb we could understand them all. Some of the words in the Bible are deep-rooted. But when we asked the owner of the word, we can have a sufficient understanding of the words.

Here, in this short space, I cannot share you those multiple verses we read every day. But I wanted to share you one:

One evening, we are reading about a topic on rest; the rest we are invited to have. (Matthew 11:28) For a young child in his tender age, who’s hardly weary and burdened, it takes time to let him understand in its truest sense.

We started by saying that our world is full of weariness, pain, hunger, debt, poverty, disease, illness, and death. Now he stopped me, there are few of them he understood. For example, he knows what hunger is – when he is very hungry and I did not give him something to eat. That’s really difficult, he said. It is because it could take times preparing the best meal for our children.

He also understood illness and few more. We always pray for daddy to get well. When we pray for someone and our self, God really did work in the best way for us. The reality is, God’s ways are His ways, we cannot understand in its subtlety.

Jesus Christ invited us to have this rest. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” And we need this rest!

We are entitled to have this rest, in His blood, even during this life. While our pains and worries would be wiped away in its entirety when we attended the new heaven and new earth. (Rev. 21:1-5)

Everyone Needs Rest:

We spend some more time listening, to the type of worries and pain, from a five-year-old. Sometimes we burst out laughing listening to the list; but all the listings are given due important. Maybe, I will write some other day.

In our walk of life, we wanted many things. All the things we wanted are not a necessity for living. But when our wants are not fulfilled it can caused weariness in our living. Our wants can be misunderstood as our needs too.
So, in several certain situations we need understandings from God, which would eventually give us rest!

Even in our reading exercise our eyes can get strained. Straining in our eyes can be simple for some, but it caused uneasiness and sometimes pain. We need to take a short break from our reading period.

In the end, our reading together, with my son, is one of those moments that would be sweetly cherished. It is a privilege to enjoy special time with our love ones. This experience taught us certain lessons, as a parent, and as part of our Christian Living.

You First Loved Me

I still remember that feeling
That feeling; deep in my heart
How can I forget the yearning?
I’m unable to hold any longer
I wanted to let it known to you.
When I realized, I’m loved.

Flower blossom because of love
Love blossom; Comfort

You gave me Love
You gave me Hope
You gave me Comfort
As Your son, You accepted me
I love you Jesus
Because you first loved me
I love you Jesus, my Savior

Slain by my sinful soul,
Your sacrifice’s overwhelming.
You rose from the dead
Victory o’er death proclaimed
My wonderful friend, forever be
In you, I will abide.

I am yours now, my Savior
Have me all, have my being
Because You first loved me
Each step, as one, we will take
With deep joy in my heart
One at a time, ‘till I got home.

You gave me Love
You gave me Hope
You gave me Comfort
As Your son, you accepted me
I love you Jesus
Because You first loved me
I love you Jesus, my Savior

Seven Ways to Measure Your Life

Without the ability to measure, it would be nonsensical and absurd to value anything. Our life is God’s good gift to us. In His grace, we are saved by our Savior; in His blood we become righteous.

Measure your Life
Measuring items for depiction purpose only

Here I list out seven ways or elements for you and me to measure our life. So that, we may lead a balance life, or in the least, a better life in the eyes of the Lord. And in the hope of sustaining our earthly life in the face of happiness and adversities:

1. Measure your life by your JOY regardless of life’s circumstances.

By definition, joy is the feeling of great pleasure and happiness. It can be permanent unlike happiness which depends on circumstances.

Joy is beyond facial expression of smiling and laughing. It is because laughing and smiling can be superficial. We are created to enjoy humor. Too much humor can leave us more empty than before.

The joy of the Lord transient all forms of happiness. For the joy of the Lord is our strength. Measure your life by the joy if you have in Jesus Christ. A spirit-filled joy or spiritual joy is permanent. We are made complete in His joy. (John 15:11)

2. Measure your life by your HOPE in the Lord.

Hope is an expectation and desire for something to happen; in our favor or as it was promised. It is clinging onto something which we did not have, yet in the hope that it will happen.

Our hope is something that cannot be dead. A person without hope would eventually give up life. It is our believe that something good or bad is going to happen in the future. It might happen per our dream or maybe not.

Anyone who is among the living has hope. (Eccl. 9:4) It is an important element for waiting on the promises of God. In His great mercy, we are given birth to a living hope in the resurrection of Christ. (1 Peter 1:3)

3. Measure your life by your FAITH.

Faith is the essence of Christian life. Faith, more importantly, is putting our complete trust in God. By faith we are saved; by faith we become His children.

Faith and fear cannot go along. Measure your faith by your assurance in Jesus Christ. Faith is the assurance that when fear grips, illness strikes, misunderstood, opposed, and in every circumstances: Jesus is with you.

Measure your life by your initiative through faith, your vision, and ability to fight the good fight. Faith is trusting on God’s perfect timing. (Mark 4:40)

4. Measure your life by your COMMUNION.

We commune with God through prayers. When you commune with Him make sure you hear Him back. We cannot carry on by simply offering sacrifices. God wanted to commune with us, I repeat.

Measure your life by how often you commune with God. Your communion qualifies you to experience the presence of God in your lives.

No one’s life is greater than his prayer. Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalms 37:4)

5. Measure your life by your INVESTMENTS.

Investment is a process of undertaking certain things with the expectation of a worthwhile result or to be profitable. Not only money can be invested.

Our life on earth is an investment. We will reap some of our investments already on earth. But the biggest reward is awaiting us after life. You can invest righteousness, kindness, love, good deeds, and tears for your future.

You can invest your wealth, wisdom, and time for your children because they are your future. God cannot be mocked nor bribed. A man reaps what he sows. (Galatians 6:7)

6. Measure your life by your LOVE.

Love is the most important essences of life. What you and whom do you love define your living. Love someone who loves you, and even your enemies, say the Bible.

Do you love something that deters happiness from your life? Love all the people around you. Most important is, Love God, no matter what. We can love God because he first loved us. In Him, love is completed.

Love given reflects love received. Jesus gives us a new command: Love one another as I have loved you. (John 13:34)

7. Measure your life by your amount of SURRENDER.

Surrendering is to stop resisting and submit to an authority. If the authority of your life is Jesus Christ it means surrendering to Christ. It is to give up your right for Him, to mold you.

In other words, it is to crucify our will before the Lord. Surrendering to the Lord could be dangerous, at times, but always worthwhile. The power of surrender/ crucifixion is peace and reconciliation. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. (Hebrews 12:15)

The more you surrender you will have peace with God, which will reflect in your life. In that way, our owner becomes Him. (Galatians 2:20)

Please add more to your list…..