Tuesday, January 25, 2011

your grace still amazes me

continuing surprises

Surprises should not surprise us .
They are an exciting part of life that help us to fight familiarity
and false security.
When something unusual and unexpected happens it gives us
an opportunity to get back to the basics.
What is the purpose of life? What are my priorities?
Why do I have a believing heart?
So many things that engage our time don’t matter at all.
Surprise, God is still God.
Nathanael was really impressed by Jesus’ knowledge of him.
Jesus said, "You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree.
You shall see greater things than that." John 1:50
Jesus let him know that this was just a little foretaste of what was to come.
Two things continue surprising believers, the depth of our own corruption and
the never ending source of God’s grace.
Every genuine believer has at least once in his life felt that he has not
deserved the grace of God anymore.
This thought, of course, is an oxymoron, as grace cannot
be deserved in the first place.
I don’t think that God can be surprised by anything due to his
omniscient character.
Nevertheless, I think that he must be amazed by people’s absurd unwillingness
to enjoy the abundant resources of His grace.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

looking for the five

Five things

A Jordanian trend magazine challenged people,
”Have you ever asked yourself who in your life matters to you the most?
Who are the people you cannot live without, the people who keep you sane?
What if we told you to choose five- who would they be?”
Then the challenge went on to five things that you can’t live without?
Among the editor’s picks were items such as milk, high heels and morning coffee.
On Friday morning as I was strolling downtown Amman I obviously met
another crowd there.
The list of their five things would be very different.
To pick up the five people would be a difficult task for many around the world.
Most of the world’s population have to manage their life without the five,
things and people.
The masses are in a survival mood, not struggling with too many choices.
Jesus promised to his followers an abundant life. John 10:10
It’s clear that he was not talking about high heels and morning coffee.
What was he talking about?
The abundant life cannot be a bubble, materialistic or emotional, that gets you
excited for a moment, maybe even for seventy years, and then bursts
I believe that he is talking about the continuing relationship that every child
of God has with his Creator.
It is abundant because it’s secure. It’s satisfying because it develops daily.
It’s more valuable than any five or more things that are bound to last less
than a hundred years in our lives.
It’s an eternal journey that will one day take us up and beyond.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Unchanging fashion

Probably they didn’t even notice it until God told to Moses,
“And I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out
on you , and your sandals have not worn out on your feet.” Deuteronomy 29:5
That what could have been accomplished in eleven days ended up taking forty
painful years.
They were not in God’s perfect plan, but God’s provision never failed them.
They didn’t see the supernatural shoes they were wearing.
They were just walking.
Being in Turkey is a daily decision for us.
It’s a faith decision, based on those things that the eye cannot see.
There are so many reasons not to be here.
There are so many cultural, political and humanistic reasons not to disturb
the deep spiritual sleep of this giant nation.
It’s the supernatural life that keeps us going.
Seeing the invisible and hearing the voice of God cannot be explained in human terms.
Only the revelation God will point to our unworn clothes.
The Israelites had seen the sea divided for them and God causing bread to rain from
heaven for them, but God’s provision was personally revealed to them in their
own clothes. They walked on a miracle and they wore a miracle.
The loving hand of God was not revealed only in the starry skies, but right next to their skin.
Look at the bottom of your shoes.
They are “Made in Heaven”.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

parked in Istanbul

Any breath left?

I heard a political leader explain their new multimillion project,
“Everything that is worth something can fail because it always involves a risk.”
Christ came to this world to look for a precious pearl and he found, us.
What did he see?
Why was he so determined to redeem us?
I believe that he saw in us himself like he had never seen before.
He saw people’s eternal value and treated them accordingly.
All those who had failed and ruined their earthly opportunities
found a rescue in him.
I like how the book of Psalms ends with saying,
“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!”
Psalm 150:6
That might be the only thing that people have left in their lives.
After loosing their jobs, families, health and reputation, they only have
their “breathing” left.
Praise and thanksgiving that rises from that kind of a soul must sound
like the most beautiful symphony in heaven’s chambers.
As the song says it, ”You are the air I breath…”

Monday, January 17, 2011

Building bridges?

town talk

The value of our lives comes from our personal relationship with God.
In difficult times this relationship has a potential to become even more personal.
Every believer can directly speak to God and hear God speak to him.
No mediator except Jesus, God Himself, is needed. I Tim. 2:5
This leaves no room for religious manipulation.
This is the basis for us respecting people’s individuality and
their private conversations with God.
God calls born-again believers by name.
The famous Jewish midwives, Shiprah and Puah, are mentioned in the book
of Exodus , but the powerful pharaoh is just called a king who did not know Joseph.
The rich man’s name is not known to God, but he calls Lazarus by name in Luke 16.
So many politicians and world rulers have left their mark in earthly history books,
but their names are not mentioned in heaven’s book of life. Rev.13:8
We will have a distinct name forever.
I don’t believe that we will be called by our earthly names in heaven.
We will have a new name. This name will somehow describe our new life and our
personal relationship with God. Everyone will have a different name.
It’s probably similar to the angels’ names.
God includes his own name in them.
GabriEL – Mighty man of God
MichaEL – Who is like God
Maybe we will be called Murattel, Rogertel, Lizel, Alpel, Ninael etc.
I like the idea that God gave new names to people after they had a personal
encounter with him:
Abram became Abraham, Jacob became Israel, Sarai became Sarah,
Saul became Paul.
It’s so interesting to think what would the Trinity call us when they speak
within their relationship about us?
Yes, I believe that we are talked about in heaven
as we continue to be the most interesting thing happening on this planet.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

new team members, Ilgar and his daughter Ramina from Azerbaijan

It's written in your face

Almost everything is written in our face.
In the time of desperation people often cover their face with their hands.
An ashamed person wants to hide his face from other people’s
scandal seeking eyes.
God also has a ”face”.
The Bible says that no man can see God’s face and live. Exodus 33:20
Yet, thorough the whole Bible we are encouraged to seek His face.
I Chronicles 16:4, Psalm 105:4…
I think that the story of Jacob and Esau gives us an interesting view to this.
The story is an unique fulfillment of God’s prophecy and a revelation
of His character.
Jacob stole the birthright which he actually had bought earlier.
His brother gets furious and Jacob escapes in God’s plan.
During those forty years much happens in the life of both brothers.
Jacob tastes his own medicine of deception with his uncle Laban
and still prospers in everything he does.
It looks like Esau had the best possible thing happen to him in his situation.
He chose to forgive.
When the brothers finally meet there is a lot of insecurity and uncertainty
because of the painful past.
The meeting is very emotional, kisses , hugs and tears.
Jacob says to Esau, ”Inasmuch as I have seen your face as though I had seen
the face of God, and you were pleased with me.” Genesis 33:10
Forgiveness had beautified Esau’s face.
God speaks today and he often chooses to do it through people.
God shows his face also through people.
What could possibly be a higher call in this world than to be chosen
to express the loving and forgiving character of God in our countenance?
May His character light up our face daily.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

" for there is no one who acknowledges me;refuge has failed me;no one cares for my soul...Happy are the people whose God is the Lord." Psalm 142,144

What would you say?

During the Christmas time I asked many people a provoking question,
“What would you say to a dying man?”
Most of the people were surprisingly lost with this question.
A good Turkish friend of mine said spontaneously, ”Goodbye!”
Then he got embarrassed by the superficiality of the answer and tried
to explain that he didn’t understand that I meant “really dying”.
Other as little comforting answers would be:
“Everybody dies one day.”
“Dying happens only once.”
“Nobody knows what happens after death.”
Christ gave us the hope of resurrection.
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me
even if he dies will live.”
John 11:25
This is so powerful.
It means that God is waiting for us.
It means that we have been forgiven and bought with a high price.
It means that we shall never be rejected unto condemnation.
Have you ever held the hand of a dying man?
Those hands are all around us.
Christ is the answer.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The year has not really become any newer, but we walk in the newness (quality) of life.Romans 6:4

His quality in us

Faith continues to be our greatest treasure in this world.
Nothing compares with the testimony of the Holy Spirit
in our hearts.
“The spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are
Children of God.” Romans 8:16
It’s so powerful . Nobody can buy forgiveness.
It disarms all worldly value systems.
How do you measure prosperity?
True prosperity cannot be measured by numbers,
but by qualities.
What is the spiritual quality of our thoughts, words and emotions?
What are our relationships, plans and schedules like?
Healthy faith is always leading us to add more quality to our soul.
Balanced, yet well defined doctrine; continual interest in the will of God;
seeking Him in prayer and worship and an unselfish interest in serving
others are great , yet very rare qualities in a person’s life.
Peter speaks about adding virtue to our faith in II Peter 1:5.
Quality refers to those things that will past the test.
In I Corinthians 3
silver, gold and precious stones are speaking about the divine
qualities in a person’s character.
Christ-likeness is seldom found in fast, superficial solutions.
He desires truth (Himself) to the uttermost. Psalm 51:6
“His name will be called Wonderful…” Isaiah 9:6