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

A poncho.

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             ‘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!!!

Why are you so bubbly?

I got a text from a friend this week. She was offering to babysit while my husband and I can go out on a date. Since I could not recall when we were on a date last, I thought it would be mad to miss an opportunity. So I quickly agreed.

As usual, the day went like a rocket,  looking after the children. After a prolonged winter, we were happy to be in the park, soaking up the sun. At 5 pm my friend was at the house, ready to take over. But I was not ready. By 6 pm during dinner’s noise or lack of it, everyone were eating chicken soup in great concentration, we slipped out. Towards freedom & silence!

Almost one foot out of the door, my husband asked our friend: ‘Any suggestions for places to eat?’

‘The pub in Buxhall is good.’

‘A meal under a tenner?’  We all laughed.

My husband knew the answer well, but it is ALWAYS good to hope for the impossible!

The evening was still sunny.  Still rather early to eat out. The village was just around the corner. So we went on a long drive in the country, listening to a comedian on a radio. No children. An amazing experience if you haven’t done it for a long time.

After driving for about an hours on country lanes, watching the sunset, watching out for rare sports cars zooming by, we spotted our pub.

‘A bit small,’ – my husband, a city man could not help noticing.

‘The smaller, the better quality,’ – I overruled as our family nutritionist pro.

Still, we sat there looking at each other, deciding who is going to make a choice.

‘It is going to be so much money.’ True.

Because  I didn’t fancy spending my only free evening in the car park, I started rapidly calculating in my head : ‘Let’s see. Last time we were out, it was my husband’s b-day which is July, it will be about 9 months since we were out on a date!’

Look, we have not been out on a date in 9 month. That is full term baby! (Since I’ve five children it is easier to count in babies sometimes to get the point effectively). That was the last straw for the argument to eat out. I don’t think my husband (definitely not me) is ready to even think about another baby!

A tranquil looking pub, going back to the 17 century stirred my imagination. Would be amazing to pip through history spyglass how life used to be here.  To enter, we had to bend out heads. Are humans taller now, must be! The first thing that greets you was the fire! There is nothing more desirable than cozy fire on a fresh April’s night. Especially this year! After getting our drink, we sat on the sofa right next to it, ready to go to sleep. Also, no one is about to ask: ‘Dad, look at this case on ebay. That’s what I need. Can you bid, please?’

The food was heavenly. We ordered ‘beef bourguignon with dumplings’. The meat simply was melting in our mouths. The pub was almost empty on a Friday evening. All villagers probably snag near their own fires. A few locals came in with their beautiful dogs, probably just to get out of the house for the dog’s sake.

I was surprised they let them in. ‘No, you don’t leave a dog like that outside. It would be gone in a moment.’ That was my husband’s verdict.

After we practically licked the plates, I was sure, no matter what the cost, I can’t leave until I’ve tried the ‘chocolate pot’. It was advertised as six pounds per any desert. The main dish was that impressive. At last, after 12 years in Britain, I’ve found a pub that can produce impressive food. It is not some ‘unidentifiable mash’ or ‘everything over fried’.

The ‘chocolate pot’ was so tiny, I had to look at it for 3 minutes or so.  I expected a massive pot with chocolate rolling off the edges. Why good things often come in small portions?!!!

Anyway, the experience was unforgettable. My husband had a few pints of local beer, good thing I could drive us back home. I checked on the children & got a text back: ‘They’ve been great so far. No need 2 hurry back.’ But we did anyway. What can you do in a village after 9 pm except drink more?

The minute we walked in, I began to share our dinner experience & answering all the questions that children had  at the same time. My daughter was baking and I glad she did. So we sampled her cakes and biscuits. My friend looked at me, laughing: ‘You are so bubbly. Have you been drinking as well?’ Guess what? Not a drop. Just one glass of pure orange juice. I think it was the joy of the Lord spilling over as the chocolate from that pot should. I was so happy to be out in public, treated to a perfect dinner, not worrying about the children (my friend is not only capable, she is a Christian, deeply spiritual woman you can entrust your children), having a good time. Somehow this reminded me of  Jesus’ return. Right now, as we carry on with our lives, going out to restaurants or not, some of us Christians are in prisons and under severe persecution. Only because of spiritual convictions. The dogs are treated better today! Can you imagine not being able to go out and see sun when you please? No eating the food that you like? Not touching your children as you used to? Their love for the Lord had cost them everything. That gives me an idea how these brothers and sisters are praying from the depth of their hearts: ‘Come, Lord Jesus, Come Quickly!’

This analogy of going on a date also reminded me that those who are imprisoned  & suffer all manner of difficulties, will enjoy heaven, God,  so much more. As I did, because I haven’t been out without the children to enjoy myself in nine months. But I only have a faint idea myself, when compare my life to theirs. At least so far… But if all good things come in small portions now, they will never end in God’s presence!

Happy Easter to all !!

Today, at the service my husband (our pastor)  mentioned all the probabilities what had actually could have happened with the tomb of Jesus. It was fascinatingly funny to hear what some people imagine took place. But after examining all the evidence & probabilities, we came to conclusion that believing a bodily resurrection of Jesus took place, is the easiest & logical way to believe. God went an extra mile for people in history to make it plain & simple.

What drew my attention the most, was  the devotion of women to Jesus.

Often we, as females are challenged with lack or total  absence of logic. This is something men blessed with we are reminded.

Well, those women who went early to the tomb had no logic. You would be right here. Jesus was dead. He was already anointed with spices & perfumes, why He needs more?  The tomb blocked by a massive stone they could not possibly roll away. Still. Out of their love, devotion & grief towards someone who made an impact on their souls, the women went.

The result was, love driven & loyalty bound against all human logic, the women managed NOT to miss the most epic event in all history of humanity of all times!!!

Next time someone calls you ‘a female without logic’, just remember this story & smile.

  • ‘Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.  And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.  And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men.  But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.’

Let this devotion of women be inspiring to us all.

Happy & truly blessed Easter to all ! Our Lord has risen & that is all that matter in the Universe the most. Our hope is solid.

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….