God and us.

A tiny, unidentifiable bug was making its way on my laptop surface. Before I had to think much about it, my pointer finger crushed it, clearing the invader off! I would not hurry to tell my Buddhist friend about it, who delights in all insects, as well wild rodents, she reassured me. But, in contrast to that bug, I was empowered. It felt quite pleasant. I was in charge. Sometimes in life, we desire to have control, if not over politicians or celebrities, but at least, the bugs, for mercy sake. That invaluable, ignorant creature could not possibly accomplish anything whatever for me. It was quite worthless. What is a conclusion!

Several days later, as I went with my reflection on the matter, realizing how unimportant we, as humans are, compared to God. (For those who do not acknowledge there is God, there is yet a chance you don’t know, because no one possessing all knowledge.  God could be outside of your knowledge circle – don’t ask me who the clever person who said first, it was surely not me). I felt challenged to pray in a fresh, grandeur way, by addressing God as the creator of this World, the universes, the stars without number. I became so stunned by the questions that those statements raised in my mind (He always existed? Never created? Knows everything, in control of all things small or big? Wants to hear from me,  a fallen sinner?) that  I had to abort the questions by moving on to my petitions. I do not even know how powerful and knowing God really is, but I’m certain of one fact. God listens to and answers every prayer precisely correct after forgiveness through Christ is possible for me. So, we are pitiful and unimportant. But not at as the insect’s worth to Jesus. Phew!

Recently, a friend of mine and  I, went to the local coffee shop for a Christian concert. We had such a wonderful time: multiple guitars, and the piano were raising the roof! A freshly ground Italian coffee was being poured into our cups. The warmth of the atmosphere was engulfing, the delight of great music seeping  into the soul.  Enjoying myself so much, while walking passed the homeless lady, I even forgot to feel sorry for her for the first time! (There is a homeless lady who sits day and night just outside the coffee shop. She has a severe psychological disorder and not wishing anyone’s help. I battled with the thought ‘why no one helps her’ meaning authorities, for a while, but had to leave it alone. A few times she took food from me and it is as far as I could help her.)

Now, what bugs, coffee, and a homeless lady have to do with us? Even though we were as insignificant as bugs, God laid aside his great splendor and comfort of heaven, to come down to our sin infected place, communicating His love effectively. Gratitude for that touches many hearts. But some are yet untouched by what God of this World has done!  If you are one of them, think of the homeless lady who is a graphic illustration of homeless eternity. Why stay lonely, in the bitterness of cold, with no comfort or music, when you CAN sit  the King of Kings, sipping on the finest coffee paradise can offer? Jesus said: “In my Father’s house are many rooms… I go to prepare a place for you.” It doesn’t  get better than that!

Enjoy! ‘A maggot of a blue bottle fly’ 🙂

19 Maggot of a Bluebottle Fly_tn

Advertisements

A poncho.

il_570xN.331791621[1]                   

             ‘He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.’ I. Watts

             for all my dear single friends – REJOICE – you do not have ‘ this itchy problem’!

My mum came to visit us this year.  She had brought knitting wool that  I thought would make into a lovely poncho. The minute my mum feels it is an inspirational idea, she is on it. Next thing I know she is already knitting away.  A couple of days later, voilà, a sheer piece of art, my new poncho, was ready!

It looked simply stunning. I could not wait to try it, but the minute I did, it felt so itchy. Unbearable to wear! The weather was still sunny and hot. I had a T- shirt on and the wool was rubbing on my bare skin. All I wanted  to do is to get rid of it.  A Russian wool.  It looked the best quality ever…. but at the same time you could not enjoy it.  I can’t wear synthetic ‘wool’.  Instantly I feel like a Sweaty Betty.  All I could do is to laugh through this disappointment. Russia, as a country, is an amazing place, but …… if you have  ‘an itchy problem’, you will be tested to the core and  you can’t  express your ‘weaknesses’ about it. I remember, before I left for California, the missionaries in Moscow were about to lose their place  to stay. It was a time of trials in the heart of  the winter, the weather outside was -30 C at least, not the best time for moving. … if you have somewhere to move! The doors were slammed  in our faces anywhere we tried. I could never forget that feeling when you desperately need help, you wait for it, pray for it, but it doesn’t come soon enough.  My prayer partner and I had to go on two-week fast because we weren’t ready to show our ‘weakness’ about it. At times like that people’s character and faith in God are on a  ‘wool’s core test’ !

So,  this time I wasn’t willing to give in to some insignificant ‘itchy’ problem that this wool caused. Even though often little ‘itchy’ problems in relationships cause great damage. Like those little foxes ruining massive vineyards. I kept taking to friends about this ‘little itchy problem’. A friend suggested I rinse it off with ‘Comfort’. Strangely enough I had a bottle of ‘Comfort’ just sitting in the kitchen. My mother in law kindly gave  it to me ( unlike many Californians, in Britain everyone dries their clothes in the fresh air. It saves a fortune on the electricity bill, but it makes your clothes, especially the towels as a ‘sandpaper’).  The sheer smell of ‘Comfort’ knocks me off my feet though. No wonder I’ve  used it.  The deceptive label on the front of ‘clear blue skies and flowers’ only adds fuel to fire my anger. But out of  desperation I considered it. I don’t know how I survived this synthetic smell (the whole country does)  that seemed to penetrate my entire house! But I love the name, it is 10 out of 10  for the marketing department. This makes me think of the Holy Spirit who alone is effective in eliminating the ‘itchy problem’ in relationships, no wonder he is called  a Paraclete (Gr. παράκλητος, Latparacletus) meaning an Advocate or a Helper or…. a Comforter!

While I dealt with the ‘itchy problem’, I got thinking about family life. That’s what my every day looks like – time with the family.  Thinking while cleaning (that’s one positive point to such a frequent activity) is so useful. I remember having the most profound thought while cleaning the bottom of my wedding dress right after my marriage. It seemed to become a good habit. Having 13 years of marriage behind me now, I had first hand experience of what it feels like for two sinners to be married.

Not so long ago, I’ve noticed that I’m ‘a true daughter of Eve’. It only took  me many years of prayer  to realize. May be because I was busy having babies. But when I do get enlightened on something specific at long last, it is a BIG BOOM  effect. I find it so incredibly hard to admit my faults to others, especially my immediate family. Human sinful nature desires adoration at all cost, so why ruin it with those you see  daily?  My first reaction, even before I think about it properly, usually was: ‘ No, that was not me. NO, it is not like that. I haven’t said that. No, I haven’t done it.’ When I think about it not being emotionally involved, I’m rather astonished myself. But as two sinners rub on to each other as a wool does on bare skin, it will create a ‘itchy problem’.

On the other hand, my husband doesn’t have this particular ‘pride problem’ in a large dose as I do. He says almost straight away: ‘Yes. it was my fault.’ It spoils everything: you can’t further blame him, you can’t argue to find him guilty, you can’t do any further emotional accusations’ that much  with the person who plainly admits his fault except praise him and appreciate him in your heart. Such person isn’t ‘itchy’ to be around.

I’m convinced that most couples that I’ve met, both Christians and not, were matched perfectly. They balanced and complimented each other in so many ways. The first couple that comes to mind were my parents. My dad was an extreme introvert and a very private person. My mum knew every neighbor and beyond. She is the one who was on parent’s school committee and everywhere else. Their characters, joined together, were complete. But the ‘itchy problem’ of sin that Satan had created in the garden of Eden (remember Adam and Eve sewing clothing out of fig leaves to cover themselves) never goes away…. until God Himself interfere. It doesn’t matter how well matched and suited couples are. They will suffer with the ‘itchy problem of sin’ cause the enemy will make sure of it. Perhaps He starts his attacks with Christian couples, gets nowhere with some, defeats the others and goes in circles again and again. He is a powerful spiritual being, in fact more powerful than any human. That’s why a perfect character match, physical attraction and even higher intellect is simply not enough to keep the family safe from his attacks.  God Himself had to sacrifice an animal and use their skin to cover the first disobedient couple. Universally, in spite of an incredible, unfathomable technological progress, this problem of marriage between two sinners  remains just as unsolved outside of Jesus and His sacrifice for the sin.

One gifted counselor noticed something. He had a couple in this office that needed some help in their marriage. The problem seemed serious, but no one was claiming responsibility for it.  He said: ‘This is rather fascinating: a big problem and two innocent people. Even I can’t solve it.’

What I believe is helpful is to learn from each other and copy each other good qualities. Ask for forgiveness often. ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ This is the best spiritual daily exercise I know of . So, the first thing you want to know about a person you are about to marry, how is their prayer life? I would.  Over time it is only going to get more difficult and complicated with children coming along. It will make a wife stationary for a while in life, will strip her figure for a time or for good, will limit the time a couple has to themselves and the list can go on and on and on….

A very good illustration about copying each other qualities is this.  When I was first married I could not stand French brie or Camembert cheese. I didn’t even know if I liked ‘curry’ either. My husband loved Indian food & French cheese.  Over the years I fell in love with those two myself. Likewise, what is more important, some of the godly qualities  rubbed off on me as well. My husband was  so quick to forgive. I loved to sulk. He hated arguments. I loved to prove my point. So, over the years I had a good, opposite example to copy and pray about it. In his turn, my husband became a bit more expressive in his emotions. Early on in marriage, he told me that he could not understand how his mum would cry while watching a film: ‘this is not real at all ?’ I thought to myself:’ Oops. I would do the same if the story was moving!’  He became more compassionate, patient and generous among other things. And that is  one of the purposes of marriage I’m sure – to become more like Jesus ‘who is sweeter than a honeycomb‘. There is no better way than rub against someone who will speak ‘truth in love’ to you day in and day out. When we got married we both thought that we loved the Lord and were spiritual people. Only after a short while together, we doubted whether we are Christians at all ?!!  I’m sure this doesn’t have to be so intense and dramatic for all couples, but refining fire is not a joke at times.  Just have to keep your perspective fresh on what is going to come out of this.

We are both far from perfect yet. But we understand the Lord is still chipping away extra pieces from His masterpiece. He wants to make sure it won’t have a ‘itchy affect’ at all.  In fact, no fashion would be necessary. Imagine how much money can be saved?! Hey, who will think about money then. Hard to imagine yet. We love out assets now.  Don’t you love the definition of ‘an asset’ = ‘ is a resource controlled by the entity as a result of past events and from which future economic benefits are expected to flow to the entity.’  

The reason why I even mention business here is because I’m still such a novice at it. I haven’t done much business in life. Buying and selling is just not my passion which must drive you to be successful.  But when your family grows as dough with the yeast you need to have some assets. After much prayer, I got myself involved in a small business. Naturally, I was worried at first. What was fascinating is that if you stay honest, apply what you know from the Bible through much prayer, you will have the best shot at it.  I knew about Christian business people who are doing well, but haven’t expected it to be that easy and straightforward. It is. The rest is just details and having a desire to learn will take you when you need to be.  The Bible does give the best advise to do any business successfully. Jesus, Logos, the Word was before any business ever was.itchy

The spiritual definition that I’ve worked out is this: Jesus secured His victory on the cross in the past to bring redemption of mankind in the future for their eternal benefit! Wow!!!

Let’s keep our family fire burning. It spreads warmth, love, hope for the completely victorious future, patience, fitfulness, perseverance, no matter what life and the enemy throws at us towards all. God has overcome the power of sin. So will we  by the power of the Holy Spirit. And if the Lord has you single, you life brings glory to Him just as much. At times it feels lonely, but it is ‘not unbearably itchy’ at least!  I’ve quoted above a line from Isaac Watts famous hymn ‘Joy to the world!’ He had to remain single all his life, (he felt in love with a poetess, she was naturally very fascinated by his writings, but when she met him, she decided that he wasn’t handsome enough to tempt her as Mr. Darcy puts it), but he had written sweet praise during his whole life to our Eternal, full of love and mercy, God! What a life that counted for Christ that was. Whichever your status in life is, with Christ – it matters even when time ceases!!!

A Good Friday or just a Spring celebration?

The other day I was making cinnamon and pumpkin seeds rolls for the children. I’ve spent half of my day on that luxury. But I thought it was worth it. Almost every day I read something disturbing about food in the supermarket. Some friends probably think by now that I enjoy it or have nothing better to do. As far as I know, I  probably wont change massive business operations by not buying their products, but I hate being naive and totally disarmed  about it .

As I was in the middle of working with the dough, a thought came to me. The  tag of war to be  always will be  there: to feed your body properly & nutritionally beneficial or feed your soul?

This is what I mean. We, as women, have a natural interest towards cooking. Especially when we have right ingredients. But even as Christian women can get carried away. Being an expert in any area requires putting a lot of hours into practice. I’ve met plenty of Christian women who are excellent cooks and spent hours in the kitchen, experimenting, but they never study the Bible in-depth. Once, a friend of our family, had invited us to his inauguration service. The spread afterwards was phenomenal. I have not seen such amazingly delicious and impressive cakes in any church before. But the spiritual discernment  from the Lord(now I know ), almost took my appetite away. I thought to myself: ‘Surely, women who cook such cakes, can’t be excellent at baking and at the same time diligently studying God’s word?’ This thought would not leave me, so after we got home I shared this concern with my husband. Guess what? A few months later we’ve received a phone call. Our friend along with his family has been kicked out from that church.
I think in the age when the soil has been deprived from vitamins, when pollution is high, when vegetables are not from the garden,and new poison being invented by the scientists almost daily to ‘enhance’ our food, we must be concerned. And not concerned at the same time. Yes, it is important what we feed ourselves intelligently.
But we also have to remember that Jesus will give us new resurrected body for eternity to enjoy! Surely out of gratitude we must spend some time in His truth and in His presence every day. If this doesn’t happen because we are too busy in the kitchen, it is not worth the trouble.
In Russia, there is a tradition to color eggs  and bake special cake for Easter  celebration, Pascka. Eggs are easy to make, but you have to be a decent baker to produce a delicious traditional cake. Most of the Orthodox women can easily bake a cake such as this, but many of them had never even read the Bible. The same story is with many Catholic women in Italy (according to an Italian friend I have)  who can make melting- in- your- mouth Panettone, but still very much depend on Mary in their prayers. She can’t help them or anyone else . When I first became a Christian, I didn’t really understand what was this rebuke was all about in gospel of Matthew 16:3 ‘And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.’ Now, to me it is almost sounds as Jesus was saying : ‘ You know how to make high complexity cakes, but there is no intimacy between us. You have no idea what I desire from you’ Let’s not get carried away in the kitchen if it takes spiritual nourishment away.
I’ve seen  in local magazines and newspaper a cunning way to explain away an Easter as just a Spring celebration. I assure you a false banknote is fake no matter how hard you try to state otherwise. The were saying that Easter is originally a Spring celebration with bunnies and egg hunts, that Emperor Constantine turned it into a Christian celebration later on and ect. Well, today the whole  nation of England had a day off to celebrate Good Friday. And Sunday’s celebration is only possible because of Friday.  Emperor Constantine is long gone and not twisting anyone’s arm. Chase your bunnies, eat your eggs, but don’t impose all that  more significant or glorious than death & resurrection of our Creator. I think that is exactly what atheists are trying to do. They don’t really care about eggs or bunnies, as long as a Christian message drowns somewhere in the bush…

Get our lamps ready with oil, Jesus might return at any moment, are you ready?

Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.  And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’  And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut.

May this Easter draw you close to the most wonderful and perfect being you will ever consider knowing – Jesus Christ. If you are not in love with Him, you never will love at all. Because He first loved us, His love was so great that He allowed a creature to torture His Creator. That some thought.

 

‘Wi-Fi’ connection to God.

Before I sat down to write this blog, a painting by a Mongolian artist came to mind to illustrate how I feel about writing these days. I hardly have time to write interesting & well edited stuff, but I can’t wait until better times when my children are all grown up.  The painting was all-dark, with black & white horses bursting with boundless energy. You could just imagine them coming off the picture at any point. In expectation, you are looking and almost waiting for it to happen. Sometimes the thoughts come and rapture your imagination as in a wild & beautiful dance! If they do, write them down. If you don’t, they will stop coming.  This morning as I was running, I’ve almost turned around to go home to do just that.  So much for carrying your pen & paper around!

Let’s consider the most important connection in the Universe. What would you say that be? I know what this connection is for me. So I would like to talk about it.

While  shopping at the supermarket, I saw a new sign:’Wi-Fi connection available now!’

We all know that to connect to the Internet we must have access through broadband, Wi-Fi or another internet provider.  You can huff and puff, but if the Internet is disabled (as the case on my phone) it  will not happen. In a very similar way, to connect to God, we must have a right spiritual balance to start with. The Bible is clear on that:

‘If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.’

This precisely means: ‘Saving faith is not mere intellectual agreement but deep inward trust in Christ at the core of one’s being.’ (ESV Study Bible)

This one sentence has a great depth of information. Throughout the centuries there were two groups of men that prayed to God. One group represents sincere believers, while the other reflects                           the image of those with a vain hope that God hears their prayers. We can say that now because we can evaluate  their actions in the light of Jesus’ teaching. Their behavior was as far as the East is from the West.   A classic example of such people were those who crucified Jesus, they appeared to be the most prayerful & spiritual people around.

Amazing, how the latest film, ‘Les Miserables’ pointed that idea out so clearly, as though  Javert & Valjean were the representatives of two camps. Both were praying to God, while one’s prayers didn’t reach the ceiling, the other one’s went straight to the throne room of God, producing preservation of life and blessings. And the end is almost predictable, spiritual turmoil and darkness always leads to eternal oblivion whether we agree or not. Not being filled with kindness, which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, just doing what is right in the sight of the law where humans lost value, life had  hardened Javert. That is another type of balance that is important to understand. The law is good, but the aim of it always to preserve life, not destroy it, we can see clearer now, while living under the Covenant of Grace.

The situation in France at the time was so grim for the poor, to the point  that you almost want to sympathize with the revolutionaries. The same air of oppression was in Imperial Russia. Because God’s Word wasn’t preached in the Orthodox church, corruption and injustice grow out of proportion.  I’m convinced that if God caused national revival to both France and Russia as He did in England,  the blood shed would be spared.

As we read about Puritans or saints of old, we can’t help, but see that they put a huge emphasis on ‘examining yourself’ theme, searching into the depth of their hearts already,  as sincere believers. Once we put our trust in God, not just intellectually, but with everything that we have, we still have to keep testing ourselves. ‘Examine your souls, whether you stand in the faith. Tend to your souls, or are you not aware that Yeshua The Messiah is in you, and that if not, you are worthless?’

As I was talking to the friend on the phone about ‘Les Miserable‘, telling her about all the negative remarks  that the critics already spat out, she said: ‘I believe there is such little humility in our society these days.’  She lived longer than me and she worked in London all her life, she must have come to such conclusion for a good reason.

The film clearly describes vividly what the Grace of God can do for a man. And what absence of it will bring – destruction at the end. How can anyone watch this film & not see this power of Grace, it is beyond me? I understand not all will embrace it, but surely they should see it. But they can’t. This must then only confirm total & utter depravity of a human heart.

Here is a really thought-provoking idea. These critics, who despised the singing so much by non-professionals, demanding perfection from the actors, are not extending any Grace at all to them. They are not happy that it was such a long film; they are not pleased that Anne H. nostrils are so close up, call it simply ‘disgusting’! The woman she plays just realized that her life is not worth living, her dreams are dead, so is she, no, it meant NOT to look very beautiful. This is simply hilarious that the very people, who suppose to understand the plot and paid for critiquing it, completely missed the point of it? Sounds familiar, I’ve read it in the Bible before.

Have any of those who complain out loud considered if they might be in need of God’s Grace at one point? How long is Christ less eternity exactly – I’m sure longer than this film & how will they endure it then?  When they stand themselves before God, not having His grace and forgiveness, embarrassing perfection as their standard, how will they measure up to Holy and Perfect God?  The answer is: they were thinking so hard to bring the film & the message that it carries down through their arrogant opinion, they didn’t think once that this rule could be applied to them just as much. No, there are still a lot of people out there how don’t think about God & His absolute truth for a moment.

I’m not really worried about people like that here. The point of this blog is hopefully to encourage those who were walking with the Lord each day, but somewhere somehow the heart & head stopped being synchronized. The connection to God broke because sin got in the way.  As Christians, we still carry on believing in God in our head, just like ‘demons who believe and tremble’ (this is a great thought to muse over), but our heart & will can refuse to follow in His ways & to walk unashamed with Him daily. Our will reverses to obey our flesh than crucified Savior. Because we stopped watching the adversary of our souls through the Bible & prayer, other things more appealing got in the way. Often we ourselves are the last to know about it. Everyone else can see it, but not us. Satan’s deception is powerful & not easily broken without prayer & repentance. We have myriads of  examples to that in the Bible, but almost never thinking it could happen to us…

God had paid the final & the only acceptable price, but often this alliance is costly to His followers just the same!  Our flesh hates to even think about it.  I know how it feels to be at the cross roads & in the ‘spiritual swamps’. Only the Grace of God is able to pull you out of there. How scary is that place seems is once we escaped from it? Our sin has such blinding power, enchanting us & alluring supernaturally, constantly trying to overthrow dominance of the  Holy Spirit in our lives as born again believers.    This condition doesn’t come upon anyone over night though. You hear that a Bible teacher had left his wife for another woman. You hear about the break up of the Christian family. You hear about abuse of the children in a believer’s home. You wonder – how on earth is this possible? But it is & rather easily – it is The Great Delusion, ‘ Javert’s Syndrome’ would be proper to diagnose. Most of the time those Christians somehow convinced (due to the power of delusion) that what  they do is  good & right.  I think synonyms for word ‘delusion ‘ will also massively help to know the meaning of the word:

                  Illusion-deception-hallucination-deceit-fallacy.

At other times, we are able to realize that what we are doing is wrong, but the power of sin & deception of the enemy is iron like. When you drink coffee without measure with 5 spoons-full of sugar every day & of course know this is a bad combination, BUT the voice in the head says….’ I need my caffeine. I need my coke. I need my sweets. I need to go shopping. I need to argue my position.’  Endless…

When we are delusional because of our sin, the Bible is extraordinary fog-less on the issue:

‘Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.’

‘Jesus uses hyperbole  (intentional overstatement) to emphasize the necessity of rigorous self-discipline & RADICALLY removing sin from disciple’s life before it leads to judgement. Here hell= Gehenna is a word for a place near Jerusalem where rubbish was constantly burned, so became a metaphor for the fire of hell.’ ESV Study Bible.

Speaking on behalf of women, it is hard, but possible to come back to your normal weight after the childbirth. I’ve always keep a pair of jeans that I used to wear before I had any children. They are my standard to measure up to and be able to see where I’m with my weight. It is painful, but possible to change your eating habits, even after many years of ignorance about proper nutrition.

What is almost impossible or extremely hard to do is to keep up your spirituality once again after you had a number of children without the spiritual encouragement of your husband or your pastor. I remember a good Christian friend sharing with me how her husband was not walking with the Lord, she tried to get to church on her own with five children and was late every time. One day he approached her and rebuked for being late all the time. He pointed out if she is not serious about God, how is she possibly expecting the Lord to take her seriously. After that, she has never been late for the service again. They had prayed together for the soul of her husband. The Lord had answered and as a family they turned out as faithful servants of the Lord, serving Him beyond their own country.

Let’s not pray like Javert or pray at all. We have to connected to God in the way He intends us to. No one knows for sure how it could be done…. unless we consult Him through His Word. Remember this is the God who raises the dead. There is none like Him in this galaxy or in all the galaxies! The point of prayer is for God to hear us & answer us according to His will. If you see someone deceived, lift them up in an intercessory prayer. That is the best thing you can do for a friend or a family member. Valjean could not last in 18th century France without God’s providence in his life. He was a marked man! That’s the beauty of Grace – God gives it to those who don’t deserve it and there is no human reason behind it – why it was Valjean, but not Javert. Surely he could have been a changed man if it were up to grace of God. Why not? We don’t know. If out of all people who should have embraced God’s Grace it should have been Judas who hanged out with Jesus for three whole years. Only imagine. But he  hanged himself. Judas without God’s grace could not see the face of God in Jesus or His kindness to all that came  spiritually thirsty & hungry to be satisfied at long last.

The musical finished off on the note saying that when we see kind act, we look in the face of God. True. Judas thought it was more profitable to save the oil for the poor rather waste it on Jesus. If you can’t ‘waste it’ on Jesus, how on earth will you love the poor & outcast?

My oldest son was so interested to know what the film was all about when I got home from the cinema. After I’ve introduced to him some of the plot, he curiously inquired: ‘ Is Valjean a real man?’ That is a good question. He is not or most of us don’t really know that. But he does represent all men just like him. Victor Hugo thought about this concept for a long time. It took him long 17 years to finish the novel and in the end he said: ‘I’m not sure if anyone will read this novel…’ To our knowledge today this tale translated to almost every known language. Even though Hugo himself did not profess to be a  believer, rejecting  the influence of the Catholic church that his mother was loyal to, God certainly used his talent & desire  for writing to produce a tale that stood through the centuries as a great masterpiece. The Lord is Sovereign and even Satan is only on the short leash from Him, serving every purpose that God has in mind. Let’s not forget that.  Valjean clearly didn’t make it  into God’s courts, but how well his symbol served to every believe to see that the law without the grace only condemns the sinner.

‘I, Yahweh, search the mind, I try the heart, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.’


No one can hide absolutely nothing from God . What a thought!

My Valentine.

Jesus said: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.  John 10:10

My husband and I were having our weekly coffee together at Costa Cafe. What is interesting, as the children being added to the family that is about all you could afford. I remember the times when we lived in California and could afford going to the Italian restaurant. Glorious days! Thank you for the offer, but ‘no’, I am not ‘celebrating with Pandora this Valentine!

Often if your or your husband’s parents are not near by, you can’t get out so easily even to the cinema, so what you do if you are sensible, you take turns. Having two babies I didn’t risk it, so I officially haven’t been in a cinema for a very long time or anywhere else. Not very sensible.

The food shopping is sky-rocking especially if you aware that you need to eat nourishing food, not just survival or pleasure food. You have to budget and every week I’m amazed that we pull throw with a few organics thrown in.

Listing only some of the issues that might arise in the family over time, how could anyone say that this life is abundant?

And a big ‘Yes‘, it is.

Life is not just about food & drink full stop. We need a reminder from time to time on that.

                                                     And also,

 Because Jesus is my Valentine, I can love through Him my husband and my children. (Someone who can’t love Jesus will never be able to love another sinner). I commit mistakes towards them all every day, but by the Grace of God they could count on me & I  will be there for them when they most need me.

Because with Pandora or without, love & trust between husband and wife are priceless. So if I already have that why do I need to pay for anything else???

Because we are on limited budget for food and other essentials, but God meets our every need. Every time I terribly needed something, I went to the charity shop and it was waiting for me there by God’s providence. That kind of provision is so mysteriously enchanting, that you can’t beat even by a handsome salary.

People who say that there is no God can’t explain a lot of things.  Here is an example that helps to illustrate the point.  A while ago I’ve heard on the news that a man wished to play computer games, his toddler daughter kept interrupting him, so he took her and threw across the room. She instantly died from injuries.

Lately my husband had left his jackets around the house. At first I put them away where they belonged. But after time passed & he still was doing it, I got a bit frustrated that I have to do the same thing all the time, as I don’t have enough cooking and cleaning. Why was he doing it – it is a bit of a mystery, or was God testing my heart? I don’t really know. But once I prayed about it, my heart took a radical change almost immediately towards the same situation. I was PLEASED TO SPOT his jacket hanging off the gate or left on the chair. It gave me another opportunity to remember to pray for him. Naturally I should of been beyond myself and threw him across the room once he got home, isn’t it? So, what is the difference between my case and that man’s case who killed his little daughter? The difference is: to have love of God or the lack of it. That’s simple.

If you have EVERYTHING today, but NOT God & His ETERNAL LOVE, who need it & how long it will last, shall we honestly ask ourselves….

A water rat & River pearls.

Coco Chanel was convinced that no fashionable lady could do without pearls. Such attitudes about power jewels reinforce each other, suggesting that they are about equally alluring today, neither one monopolizing all the glamour. Yet, historically, there is no question that pearls have long been far more prestigious. The taste for diamonds coalesced at the court of Versailles just three centuries ago, while pearls, the “Queen of Gems,” have been coveted worldwide for millennia. Pearls, ever in vogue among high-status and pedigreed women, will surely continue bewitching them for generations to come.’


Today I’m compelled to wrap up about the fear issue, but the topic is endless because every time after the very minute a God-honoring decision has been made, with much prayer and meditation on God’s word, Mr. Fear pays a visit in a company of Ms Doubt. What is interesting, Mr. Fear in no doubt what he wants to do: to spread his influence in every area of a believer’s life. Some Christians even struggle with their faith regarding salvation from time to time. By the grace of God I’ve never hit that place spiritually, so I can’t speak much about it. But I know exactly how it feels to be swept by the floods of doubts. The enemy knows well that this path will only lead to God-honoring, satisfying circumstances in life, which he hates so much.Now I have to re-tell the stories from my walk with the Lord to my children in order not to forget how great and personal God is, what a grand adventure life by faith could be. 

It is a joke to explain to an unbeliever what marvelous things God has done in my life. The fact that I experience His presence daily. It is almost the same as trying to explain to a man how to give birth to a baby. My life is one giant quest of faith and God’s supernatural interference, which is a task  to explain in mere  words. But will try anyway.

The very first massive promise from God, once I became a believer, was about going to study in the capital of Russia. That was rather ‘ an ambiguous promise’ considering that I had no money left or family residing there to help. God miraculously fulfilled that promise. A promise that followed was about going to the Bible College in CA, USA. I had a huge obstacle, no passport to travel, but once again inexplicably the Lord had provided and opened the door wide.
Another immense promise was about my future husband. The Lord handpicked and showed to me who my husband is going to be. In spite of all obstacles and many doubts believe it or not, God did put us together wiping my fear with His word ‘for nothing is impossible with God’ Luke 1:37.  So we got married.
When I look back, I see God of personal miracles all along, so it is not an irrational thing for me to believe other miraculous events that are mentioned in the Bible. On the contrary, I anticipate it.
In my recent discussion with an atheist, I was challenged about everything I believe about God. I was surprise myself on the affect that it had on me, so I’m taking time to chew over it. This exchange of ideas and personal convictions went back and forth for about three weeks. He raised a lot of challenging questions, but the main thread in all of our conversations was  ‘there is no evidence for the existence of God’ and there is no such thing as a ‘Christian scientist’ either.  While I had no problem explaining his misconceptions about Christianity, my unwavering faith in all-powerful God who performs miracles, he wasn’t able to listen or receive this information. That was truly amazing. His reasoning was:‘it makes sense to believe in good of humanity rather than God’, ‘live for the moment rather than consider eternity.’ ‘No, the fact that we have morals doesn’t point to a moral -Giver, believe because you want to believe, not because there is evidence or Christian scientists discovered anything and ect. Fox News announcement about Noah’s Ark being found can’t be valid!‘ Not that I had no evidence or complete lack of knowledge of God. Anything I pointed him to wasn’t true for him or good enough! This passage of Scripture comes to mind:    

        About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching. The Jews therefore marveled  saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. (John 7:14-17 ESV)

So, did the Jews believe much?  Not at all.    As the Lord graciously suggests in another passage of Scripture it is about time we stop throwing pearls before pigs (Matthew 7:6). It is time to move on and find someone who is open-minded and willing to be challenged I guess…
After being through such an emotional challenge, my rival particularly had deep hatred towards the ‘Christian god’ who doesn’t even exist! Interesting logic.
In the end I had to say: ‘I’m speechless.’ And that brought the whole discussion to a permanent stop.
An illustration by Jesus from a parable really helped me to cheer up. At first, I was disappointed that this OU student I had discussion with, wasn’t even any closer to consider the Lord. But I knew that as long as I’m praying for him Holy Spirit will do His work, I’m not left alone to convince him. The more I thought about it, the more I’ve realized:’Bingo, the truth is mine to keep!’ Jesus explained about the kingdom of heaven comparing it to a pearl of great price. This is mine to keep no matter whether others believe or not, challenge my faith or agree with me. The pearls are staying and their value remains.
A few years ago my mother brought me river pearls from Russia. They are my greatest material possession, but they could be just stolen. The truth once you received it – can’t be. Jesus said you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. I had this discussion going via e-mail while talking to a ‘Christian friend’ by texts. She professed to be a believer, now she was saying that my truth is true for me, but she has her own truth that is true for her. According to this thinking there is no such thing as absolute truth. Wow! That was more that sad for me. I could only ask her: ‘Can you be absolutely sure about it?’ During our life as a Christian, we will be challenged by both believers and non-believers alike. Because our walk with the Lord is so very different from each other.
Recently, while waiting for the dentist, I came across an article on Stephen Lawrence. He was an accomplished young man who got killed in Britain about 19 years ago in a racist attack. His mother said that she thought it was something that happened on the TV, not in real life. I don’t think she will ever get over the shock that took her son and consequently broke her home up. Even though she set up a Charity Fund for less fortunate young people and blessed over 100 of them with real help, she would rather have her son back. This is a matter of perspective again – she has no guarantee that she will ever see him again. Ever. So much for the good of humanity! Yet another example that contradicts.
While we as Christians are being ridiculed in today’s Britain, we know that our faith is only a start for the thing yet to come, the spiritual reality that is still veiled by the Lord.
Have you ever stayed or lived in a proper castle? I did once. The feeling is incredible. I think Castles only exist for one reason only – to give a taster of what Jesus’ mansion will be like with many rooms! Not even a close visual, but at least a weak visual is better than nothing for us so physical and so human beings.

Considering all that, God with His unfailing promises, why atheist pity us Christians is a big question still. What is so much better that they have to offer? I wish someone gave me a convincing answer yet. Believers know their Maker, Father, Lord, Master, Friend, Comforter, Strong Tower – the list is inexhaustible really personally and this knowledge impossible to fake. You either met the President, or not. Simple as that. We know not of him, but met with him. That’s exactly how it works with the Lord.

To end this entry, I would love to quote a passage from one of the oldest books in the Bible, Job. A man who knew His God intimately both is great sorrow and great prosperity. This is what he has to say:

And where is the place of understanding?

Man does not know its worth,

and it is not found in the land of the living.

The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’

and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’

It cannot be bought for gold,

and silver cannot be weighed as its price.

It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,

in precious onyx or sapphire.

Gold and glass cannot equal it,

nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.

No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal;

the price of wisdom is above pearls.

The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it,

no can it be valued in pure gold.

“From where, then, does wisdom come?

And where is the place of understanding?

It is hidden from the eyes of all living

and concealed from the birds of the air.

Abaddon and Death say,

‘We have heard a rumour of it with our ears.’

“God understands the way to it,

and he knows its place.

For he looks to the ends of the earth

and sees everything under the heavens.

When he gave to the wind its weight

and apportioned the waters by measure,

when he made a decree for the rain

and a way for the lightning of the thunder,

then he saw it and declared it;

he established it, and searched it out.

And he said to man,

‘Behold,  the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,

and to turn away from evil is understanding.’”

After my discussion with a man who preferred to believe in good of humanity, death, no hope of better things to come, great uncertainty about his eternal destination, I felt rather ill in my spirit.  The very same week as we were abut to have lunch at home an old water rat crawled into the garden and was lying right outside of our big dinning room window. We all lost our appetite. She was so miserable and somehow it was so unpleasant even to look at her. We knew that she was still alive, but about to die any moment. A friend who happened to come over for some business finished her off with one blow on the head. Often that all it takes to finish off all the arguments against existence of God if we have the opportunity. But the only question that matters in the end: ‘Who’s got the pearls?!!

A gift beyond price.

A Gift Beyond Price or the UGGs.

Nurturing five young children is anything, but easy. Our family had a routine   dental appointment. My husband and I decided to walk by the beach first; the dental surgery was not far from the pier. It all ended up in a big rush. Parking in tiny street spaces was a challenge. My husband was repeating as a consolation: ‘When they were building towns in England, they didn’t have cars in mind.’

 ‘Yes, the world is changing.’ The children were already miles ahead when it came down to the computers.  I’ve prayed that they will be just as hungry for the spiritual knowledge.

The minute we came in, an elated receptionist enquired for our surname. There was a generous selection of magazines on the display. My four-month-old baby, who just recovered from a nasty chest infection, seemed content. The older children were already absorbed into an imaginative make up game.

‘What bliss,’ I thought, landing in a chair. I knew why God intended for believers ‘to be fruitful and multiply’, they will long for heavens rest more! My eldest, Laura, was immersed in the world of fashion. She found it entertaining to look at the price tags. Maths is her favourite subject.

Soon Laura was tagging onto my sleeve.

‘Look, mum’, she pointing at a plain blouse with a tag of 180 pounds. ‘Why pay a fortune for a top?!’

‘Mum, have a look at this!’

She passed the magazine.  A framed tropical heaven, where women sat, with pearly teeth and ocean matching eyes, on white sand in UGG boots, lured you in. Turquoise water was shimmering in a distance.

 Our holiday to Greece came to mind. We visited a Turtle nesting beach. The cigarette butts covered the sand. Turtles were nowhere in site. Here, even if the sheep’s skin weren’t your preferred footwear, the boots reflected an ultimate fusion of comfort and fashion, with an inaccessible paradise as a backdrop! As almost implying: ‘Buy the boots and you feel the same as us.’ Looking at the price tag, I closed my eyes. ‘Who would not pay to imitate such a dream?’ I knew from experience. Exchanging looks with my daughter, we had a hidden secrecy run between us.

My boys enjoy skateboarding. Comfortable shoes are vital. Re-energized, I faced the boys. I knew that when the Holy Spirit gets involved, it is a success.

‘Would you like to hear a fascinating story?’

‘What is it about, mum?’ – inquired Daniel, a fact collector.

‘Boots and faith.’

‘Go on.’

‘Look at this photo,’ I’ve passed the magazine closer to them.

‘These are genuine sheepskin boots. One of the best on the market.’

‘They’re pricey,’ – my fact-collector observed.

‘Highly skilled people worked hard to produce them.’

‘I would not mind having a pair, Laura cut in promptly.    

‘We had tried to buy a pair on the Internet, but fell right into the fraud net!’ Laura’s face showed that she hasn’t forgotten about it.

‘Remember a parcel that arrived with a fake sheep skin boots?’

‘Life can be just like that,’ I continued. ‘Often we come across people who are not genuine. They will disappoint or hurt us.’

Seeing that I got all of their attention, I pressed on:

The Bible says: ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’

‘As long as you believe these words, you don’t need to fear. This fact makes all the difference.’

I’ve made an eye contact with Laura:

‘You might not have these boots. Remember what God offers – the pleasure of being in His presence forever. He sent His Son to be slaughtered as a sheep, that you and I have a chance of knowing and enjoying Him. God’s word says only faith is required. No price tag.’

They all were staring at me amused, as something had illuminated them.

‘Who’s in?’ – I extended an invitation.

‘I am, I am, I am,’ all three boys shouting at once, while Laura seemed lost in her thoughts.  

The Holy Spirit had unveiled eternally rooted, unchanging truth to their small, yet inquiring minds.  

The dental nurse opened the door, with look of astonishment, staring at the boys:’ One at a time, please, you are eager to check your teeth!’