Who’s Driving?

November 8, 2019 by Discerning Dad


“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 ESV

When my son was around 3 years old, my wife was getting ready to leave to run some errands. As she was getting ready to go to the car, my son said, “I don’t want Mommy to drive.” I said, “Why?” He said, “Because I love her.” This comment gave me some ammo to playfully ask my wife why our son was worried about her driving (to be fair she is a very safe driver…).

While amusing at the time, I’m not sure what my son meant at his young age asking who was driving and since then neither of my kids have ever worried about who was driving. They may ask which car they are going in, but they are never worried about either one of us driving because they trust us fully. It honestly shouldn’t be something they should worry about.

Many years ago I took a giant charter bus with a group of people to a mountain to go skiing. It was early morning and we were driving on this narrow path with a steep ledge on the side of the road. The bus was going fast winding through the mountain and it was snowing. My nerves kicked in and I had to remind myself that the driver was a professional (I hoped), had done this many times (I assumed), and would get me safely there (which he did). Once I gave over control to the driver, I was actually able to sleep the rest of the way and wake up safety at the ski resort.

My fear and need for control is the same reason I have a problem with flying, I don’t fully trust the pilots or the process and imagine we are doomed to go down in a fiery ball of death. In reality, flying is one of the safest modes of transportation (they say) and pilots are extremely reliable and have a lot of experience. Only once I breathe, relax, and focus on other things can I get through the experience with some of my sanity still intact.

It’s easy to want to control every aspect of our lives, after all God has given us control of certain parts and allows us to be good stewards with what we have. We have to be faithful to raise our families with structure and love. We have a responsibility to our career to be diligent as we work “unto the Lord.” And with finances, we have to be wise with how we use our money, giving charitably and not spending frivolously.

If God is ultimately in control of your life and IF you have given it over to Him, He should be the one steering your life in the direction that He has planned out for you. We should simply be along for the ride, acting in obedience along the way, and fully trusting in the direction we are going even though we can’t see the destination.

Nothing is worse while you are driving than being subjected to a backseat driver (that is sometimes at the front seat in the form of your spouse). When someone tries to interject comments to try and “help” it usually ends up being a distraction unless that help is specifically solicited.

When we try and take the wheel, so to speak, from God and give Him advice on where we should go, it is no different than my children telling me how to get somewhere. It is not helpful.

Our need for control tries to take away attributes of God through our assumption that we know better. Instead of trusting in God as omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, we subjugate Him to our servant, a genie who we command to give us what we want.

We, however, are not all-knowing. Just like my kids do not see the upcoming construction in the road or the alert I got on my phone for traffic that caused me to take a detour, God may be taking us down a different path than what is “normal” or “comfortable.” It might be a path that leads us into safety and not comfort. It might be a path that enables our growth and not stagnation. It might just be a path that brings life and not death.

God has been down every road before, nothing is surprising to Him. We may be unsure of where to go but we can trust our Guide.

Our need for control can and does get in the way of the purposes and plans of God for our lives. He does not force His will on us, sometimes He has to shake us, but He would much prefer to find a willing vessel that doesn’t fight Him every step of the way.

The Bible says-

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

We want our plans to be glamorous, to bring us glory, to bring wealth, peace, health, and safety. However, Jesus said the “last will be first.” Many times the path He has for us is a road less traveled, a narrow path that forges us into the holy disciple that He can then trust with for more. And sometimes THAT path, to quote Robert Frost, makes ALL the difference.

Discerning Reflection: Have I given God control of my life while still being a good steward with the responsibilities I have? Can I trust in the path God is leading me even though I can’t see the destination?

Prayer: Lord, help me trust in you despite my need for control. Help me be ok with not knowing every detail but trust that you know the future and that I can trust you with mine.

Tim Ferrara

Who’s Driving?

Armenian Orthodox Leader: ‘We May Forgive One Day … But We Will Never Forget.’

Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, on what comes next after US House recognizes Armenians’ “legitimate claim” of genocide.
Armenian Orthodox Leader: ‘We May Forgive One Day ... But We Will Never Forget.’

The Armenian Orthodox Church is one of the oldest Christian churches in the world. According to tradition, Armenia was evangelized by Jesus’ disciples Bartholomew and Thaddeus. In 301 A.D., it became the first nation to adopt Christianity as its official religion.

An Oriental Orthodox church, the Armenians are in communion with the Coptic, Syriac, Ethiopian, and Malankara (India) churches. They differ with Catholics and Protestants over the 451 A.D. Council of Chalcedon decision to recognize Christ as one person with two natures: human and divine. Oriental Orthodox Christians declare Christ has one nature, both human and divine.

The Armenian Church is governed by two patriarchs, entitled Catholicos. One, Karekin II, is Supreme Patriarch for all Armenians and sits in Armenia.

CT interviewed Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, which was once located in modern-day Turkey but since the Armenian Genocide relocated to Antelias, Lebanon, five miles north of Beirut. His jurisdiction includes the Armenians of the Middle East, Europe, and North and South America.

Aram I discussed the genocide, the US House of Representatives resolution this week to finally recognize it, and Armenians’ desired response from Turkey.

How do you respond to the US resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide?

Yesterday I made a statement welcoming warmly this action taken. I believe it is very much in line with the firm commitment of the United States of America in respect to human rights. The rights of the Armenian people are being violated. After more than 100 years, we tried to bring the attention of the international community that the Armenian Genocide is a fact of history.

Whether we call it genocide or massacre or deportation, the intention is important. The intention of the Ottoman Turkish government at the time was to destroy [and] eliminate the Armenian people for political reasons. The presence of Armenian people in the western part of present-day Turkey and [historic] Cilicia was an obstacle to their project of pan-Turanism.

This is our legitimate claim: that the international community make a visible, tangible manifestation of their concern in respect to human rights, and recognize the Armenian Genocide. It was carefully planned and systematically executed by the government at the time.

Our people all around the world warmly greeted this action of the House of Representatives. It is our firm expectation that the Senate will reaffirm their decision.

To what degree are you responsible for the Armenian genocide file in your church?

I am not the only person, but I am on the forefront—a dedicated spiritual soldier of this combat, for the restoration of our human rights. This center is a victim of the genocide. My predecessor was in Cilicia, in Sis, present-day Kozan [in Turkey’s Adana province]. The Holy See of Cilicia [now in Lebanon] was there for centuries. With his bishops, he was forced to leave.

The very existence of the diaspora is due to the genocide. It is an imposed reality. You saw the chapel, the relics of the genocide: Did they come from heaven? We didn’t decide to come here; the circumstances forced us.

The pursuit of our rights has been one of the top priorities in our agenda. The human rights issues are part of the mission of any church. We want to help our people continue this struggle.

For the first time, we took a legal action against Turkey. We filed a case demanding the return of our Holy See in Cilicia. Let’s see what will happen. What we are doing is the restoration of historical truth. Turkey has through illegal ways questioned our claim, but the historical reality and evidence is there. No one can deny that.

If Turkey really wants to establish contacts with the Armenian people and open a narrow window of opportunity to turn that page, if they have a good will, this case is their chance. So far, their reaction is negative.

What would the restoration of your legitimate rights include? How is the injustice of 100 years made correct today?

We may get different answers to that question. We must make a distinction between rhetoric and concrete reality. We should not be emotional.

The first step could be the return of the Holy See of Cilicia and the churches, monasteries, and community properties. We can limit our expectations to within the church. In politics, we have to be down to earth. Any package deal might not lead us in the right direction. We have to move step by step.

If Turkey shows “a good will,” what are the different visions of a second step?

I don’t want to anticipate anything. Nobody knows what will happen. Some of these churches have been converted into restaurants or mosques. In the last 100 years, some have been totally destroyed, some partially destroyed. But the Holy See of Cilicia can be a first step, as it has a profound symbolism—spiritual, national, and to a certain extent political. But it should not be mixed up with politics. For us, the church is the people. It is not just a piece of land.

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The creation of good will is very important in international relations. But the American resolution comes at a moment of profound “bad will” between the US and Turkey. Does the resolution threaten to damage the good will necessary to restore Armenian rights, since only Turkey can grant them?

Let me answer your question in a different way. America acts according to two principles: geopolitical interests, and human rights values. Sometimes—very often—you see contradiction between the two. I understand that reconciling them is not easy.

The United States has established relations with Turkey. This is reality. But the role of the church is always to remind and challenge the state authority to give serious consideration to human rights values—to go beyond the narrow geopolitical interests of a country.

How does the church’s spiritual role for forgiveness and reconciliation apply in the issue between Armenians and the Turks?

Forgiveness is an essential element of our Christian faith. But forgiveness comes when there is confession. The Armenian church said, ‘We may forgive one day when justice is done, but we will never forget.’

The church has a prophetic role to play. It must take a clear stand. I don’t believe in easy forgiveness, or easy reconciliation. Easy forgiveness may lead us in a wrong direction. The church must have the guts to say “no”; not always “yes” [and] not always “we forgive.”

The church’s role is one of reconciliation, but it is the result of a long process that implies accepting the truth and practicing justice. There is no real, lasting, permanent peace without justice—without accepting the truth.

The Turkish denial for 100 years of the genocide committed by their forefathers created an image of “enemy” with the Armenian people. We have a problem, and that problem is solved by the people and state accepting there was a crime committed. This is our legitimate claim.

In every “battle,” there are often others working behind the scenes to facilitate an eventual peace, even while the fight is going on. Is the Armenian church also involved in spiritual outreach to soften the hearts of the Turkish people or government, as the legal battle for rights is being waged?

The atmosphere in Turkey needs to be changed, and I see certain emerging positive signs. Some intellectuals have started referring to the genocides, using that word. And more than a million Turks have started saying openly that they have Armenian origins, and were forcefully converted to Islam. This is a new reality. They are born as Turks, but have identified their roots as Armenians. We have not yet discussed this issue: Muslim Armenians? This is a new phenomenon.

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I hope these signs increase day-by-day, and the people will come to realize that something very bad has happened against the Armenians. Erdogan, from time to time, refers to that. I hope he goes further, and says it was a crime, carefully planned and executed by the government at the time.

On the level of states, reconciliation is easier. They tried to open borders and start diplomatic and economic relations without mentioning genocide. But on the level of nations [peoples], I think it is very difficult.

The genocide is deeply rooted in our common consciousness. You cannot uproot it. You cannot solve this problem around the table, by coming to dialogue. The atmosphere must change.

Five years ago, I invited the first Turkish intellectual who had written a book recognizing the Armenian Genocide to come here. I told him, “My predecessors will anathematize me if they see from heaven that a Turk has come here. But they will see you in a different way.”

My telephone rang: It was my father, who heard I had invited a Turk to come here. When he gets angry, he starts talking in Turkish, because he was born in Turkey. He started criticizing Turkey with harsh words, and the author was sitting next to me.

“How have you accepted a Turk here in our church?” he said.

I said to the author, “I’m sorry for this embarrassing situation.”

He said, “No, this is the old generation, how they react.”

I told the author, “The new generation in Turkey should change this atmosphere of animosity, by taking certain concrete steps. And one of these steps could be the return of Armenian churches and monasteries.”

This does not have to be a political action. It can be an act of good will in accordance with international law and human rights.

The European Court of Human Rights has said that churches and monasteries need to be returned to their legitimate owners. We’re expecting this. Let’s see.

Read more: Will US Genocide Resolution Satisfy Armenian Christians?


The Prayer Of The Publican!


November 7, 2019 hepsibahgarden


Two people went to pray in the temple. Luke 18:10-14.

One was a Pharisee and the other a Publican!

While the Publican’s prayer was justified, the prayer of the Pharisee was condemned. Why? What was so special about the Publican’s prayer?


And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. Luke‬ ‭18:13

We can see 4 important aspects in the Publican’s prayer:

  • He stood afar off inside the temple – This was because the Publican acknowledged his sinful life before God — he admitted his position and stated as he was.
  • He was unwilling to even lift his eyes to heaven – He did this because he understood his unworthiness in God’s presence. Perhaps, he lived an unjust life like Zacchaeus.
  • He kept striking his chest – This is a sign of deep sorrow. He was crying out to God, desperately seeking for forgiveness.
  • He prayed, God be merciful to me a sinner!

Humility was evident in the Publican’s prayer and therefore he went back to his house being justified by God. But the Pharisee, even though he religiously followed every law, yet, he failed to humbly pray to God. His prayer was rather self-righteous and that’s why he went back condemned.

God looks into our hearts and knows who we really are! He is an impartial God and those calling out to Him from the depth of their hearts are sure to be heard. ❤️😊

Be blessed 💕


Original here

During family crisis, here’s how the Helper offered solace


By Anne Graham Lotz


As my husband Danny’s health deteriorated due to Type 1 diabetes and its complications, I stopped traveling for the most part and embraced the joy of being his caregiver for three years. On an August afternoon, he was sitting by the pool, playing with our dog, and just relaxing in the summer sun. I stayed in the house to get some work done.

Suddenly, I realized it had been over an hour since I last checked on him. I ran to the window, looked toward the pool, and saw he was not there. With relief, thinking he had come in without my awareness, I ran through the house, looking for him and calling his name. No familiar voice responded. Only silence. A deep foreboding gripped my heart as I ran back to the window and saw our dog sitting by the water’s edge. When I called to him, he refused to come. I flew down to the pool and found what I knew I would.

There are no words to describe my desperate cry for help as I jumped into the pool, pulled my husband to the steps, and cradled his head on my lap. Even as I called his name over and over, even as I cried out to God for help, I knew I was looking at a man who was already seeing his Lord. The expression on his face was one of strength, confidence and utter peace.


What transpired next required all the Helper’s assistance to get me through: staying on the line after my emergency call to 911, EMS arriving, medics running through the backyard and dragging Danny out of my lap, news helicopters swirling overhead, sheriff’s deputies standing by the pool and guarding the property, cars filled with curious onlookers lining our street — and then the scene indelibly impressed on my mind when Danny was placed on a gurney and wheeled out of our yard as he left the house for the last time.

In His great compassion, the Helper sent visible helpers also: a chaplain with the sheriff’s department who quietly stood by me as the EMS team worked on Danny, my son-in-law who put his arms around me as Danny was wheeled away, my children who came to sit with me in the small hospital ER waiting room, our doctor who appeared at Danny’s bedside and urged me to put my husband on life support … just in case.

As I walked through the valley of the shadow that climaxed in Danny’s official homegoing on the morning of Aug. 19, 2015, I experienced moment by moment the quiet, gentle, loving presence of the Helper. Two days before our 49th wedding anniversary, instead of enjoying a celebratory dinner together, I buried my beloved husband.

If I spent the rest of my book describing to you the Helper’s aid and assistance to me during that time, I would still run out of pages. He poured out His help as I found myself in the position of comforting friends and family, speaking on Aug. 21 to over one hundred men at the Bible study Danny had led, planning the service of celebration, and overseeing funeral arrangements. The incredible evidence of His supernatural help was revealed in the joy, peace, strength, and clear presence of mind that carried me through not just somehow but with absolute triumph! I will never cease to praise God for the One who “is my helper.”

Recently when I went through my mail, I came across a note from the wife of a man who had served with Danny on the national board of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Her husband had just died. She wrote that she had been his caregiver for over five years. Then she testified, “Never could I have carried the ‘thankful load’ without my dependence upon the Holy Spirit.” And I knew exactly what she meant.

What is your testimony? Whether you are a widower or a widow like me learning to live in a new reality, or a caregiver expending your life for an ailing spouse or elderly parent or disabled child, or a parent trying to raise your children to be followers of Jesus in a wicked world, or a businessperson operating according to biblical principles of integrity, or a politician walking a tightrope between truth and political correctness, or an educator teaching values along with the curriculum, or a cancer victim trying to navigate the maze of surgical options and treatments, the Helper is available to assist, aid, or furnish you with relief. I know. Just call on Him.

Excerpted from Jesus in Me: Experiencing the Holy Spirit as a Constant Companion. Copyright © 2019 by Anne Graham Lotz. Used by permission of Multnomah, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.




What Happens In A Tsunami?


October 31, 2019 hepsibahgarden

When a tsunami strikes, it brings along terrible destruction — uprooting trees, buildings and whatsoever that comes in it’s way. The huge floods of water sweeps the land clean of everything it had once.

Well, we’ve seen or rather even felt the after effects of a tsunami in the natural.

Nevertheless, can you just try and think of how a tsunami of God’s love poured into our little hearts would be like!! It’s just mind-blowing because all those who have experienced the tsunami of God’s love, have failed to convey their feelings verbally♥️ The whole experience of being filled with God’s love passes all understanding and is known as the Anointing of the Holy Spirit.

The fountain of Living Water that is, the Holy Spirit, sheds His love into our hearts and fills us with His joy. This means when we ask God sincerely for His outpouring of love, what really happens? Floods of revival enters us and we feel completely free and clean inside.

The Spirit of God does a clean sweep of our hearts so we can rebuild our lives in Him. Most don’t understand that and don’t know what to do after the Holy Spirit works in them. What should one do? Forgive all immediately. If you feel you need to ask someone forgiveness, go ahead and ask. Fill your heart with the Word of God so the Holy Spirit continues to work in fullness.

Now is the time of the Holy Spirit. Now is the time of revival for every Christian. Now is the time to build our life in the faith of the Son of God. May God revive, restore, renew and refine us for His eternal glory.

Be blessed 💕

Original here

A Vital Necessity

Have you ever sat down and considered what’s important in your life?



by Pastor Ray Patrick


Have you ever sat down and considered what’s important in your life? What do you consider to be vital or a necessity? What can’t you live without? Most of us would say food, water and shelter. Yes, you need those things to exist, but we can’t really live unless our minds and hearts are set on seeking the Lord who is the giver of life.

Sure, you can exist without a knowledge of God, but you can’t live without Him giving you the breath you need to stay alive, but if that’s all you want from God what’s the point? He has much more in store for you. Besides, you are called to more than just mere existence; you are called to live — to thrive — to enjoy your life abundantly!

Today, set your mind beyond mere existence, set your heart on seeking the Lord for all He has for you! Write down your needs and wants, match them up to God’s promises in scriptures, commit them to memory. Whenever you can, think about those verses. Meditate on God and His infinite love. When you see the Lord as a vital necessity in and for your life, you will truly live and enjoy the abundant life He has in store for you! Hallelujah!

“Set your mind and heart to seek (inquire of and require as your vital necessity) the Lord your God…”

(1 Chronicles 22:19, AMPC)

Pray With Me
Yahweh, today I choose to set my mind on You. Father, I need You not just for existence, but to truly live, therefore I seek You with my whole heart. God, please show me Your love and character today as You meet my needs and supply my wants. Lord, show me Your ways that I may walk and live close to You, in Jesus’ Name! Amen.


Can Life Be Limited For God’s Child?

Oct 16, 2019



When a child of God lives life based on their convictions(faith), according to the Word of God, he/she is pleasing to God.

Now the question is why should one live according to His Word? Because God set us free from the clutches of sin, the enemy, sickness and death and purchased us with His own blood. The freedom we received in Christ is spiritual and supernatural. It is the highest standard which mankind could ever imagine because Jesus Himself died, was buried and rose again from the dead to save us from death.

But there are times when we feel limited? When is that? When we desire the things of the flesh and in turn become burdened with life; or in other words when we become carnally minded. Secondly , also when we work under organisational and institutional rules, we feel limited. Any rule bound to be followed and isn’t liable to change, becomes tough in the long run.

The fact of the matter is — Everything in this world is limited. As children of God, the freedom we have received in Jesus will always have its challenges as we journey onwards. The more we desire to live by faith the more the opposition increases. The corruption in the world, the presence of evil and selfish desires will always make us feel limited. Therefore we must learn to set our expectations correctly.

Also, know who you belong to. Walk in the freedom of your faith. Let God be pleased with your living and giving. Give freely. May Gods Grace abound in us always!

Be blessed

Original here

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