Category: <span>thoughts by Palitha Jayasooriya</span>

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It is said that Missionary John Paton’s mission house was once surrounded and on the verge of being attacked by hostile natives. As darkness fell and the threat became more serious, Paton and all in the compound, used the only weapon they had; prayer. As they prayed, the attack did not materialize and the threat ended. Much later, as one of the tribal chiefs turned to Jesus, it was discovered that on the eventful night, the attackers had seen a vast army (God’s army) surrounding the mission house with a protective cordon. They realized it would be futile to attack as the compound was securely and strongly protected.

Living in an increasingly insecure world has its real challenges. Dangers, terrorism, new strains of viruses, economic struggles and broken/displaced families surround us on all sides. In the midst of these tensions that can crush our peace and increase our levels of anxiety, it’s comforting to know that we can look to our God, the living God, to surround us with His protection.

The composer of Psalm 125 gives us a vivid picture of what God’s protection looks like. He says,

As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people both now and forevermore” (vs2).

We hear a lot today about ‘surround sound‘. This is ‘surround protection’!

In 2 Kings 6:13-17, the Prophet Elisha was in grave danger in a city called Dothan. The King of Aram was desperate to get his hands on Elisha and sent a strong armed force to surround the city by night. When Elisha’s servant awoke the following morning, he was terrified by the sight of the vast army surrounding the city. Elisha however was unperturbed and said,

Don’t be afraid, those who are with us are more than those who are with them‘ (vs16).

As the Lord opened the eyes of the servant, the scripture says that

he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (vs17).

God had surrounded His Prophet with His mighty protection!

He is the same God today. Doesn’t the Bible say that

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8)?

The Apostle John further adds,

Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4KJV).

Doesn’t this include anything satan or the world can throw at us? Let’s therefore trust God to surround us with the protection needed for ourselves and our families.

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance”. (Psalm 32:7)

PrayerLord may your mighty protection surround us every day. Keep us confident in that trust! We pray In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Thought – No evil can surround us when we remain surrounded by God’s protection!

By Palitha Jayasooriya
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FURTHER READING

Fear or Love?
• Fear, Faith and Migraines by Dr. Muriel Larson
Why Worry Yourself Sick? – by Muriel Larson

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Thoughts by Men thoughts by Palitha Jayasooriya

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In 1969, Reggae singer Jimmy Cliff recorded a song titled, ‘Many Rivers to Cross’. Jimmy Cliff mentioned that the song was birthed out of the frustration and helplessness he felt after moving from Jamaica to the UK. The feelings came about because unlike what he had expected, nothing significant seemed to be happening in his career at that time.

The lyrics go like this:

Many rivers to cross
But I can’t seem to find my way over
Wandering I am lost
As I travel along the white cliffs of Dover

Are you feeling like that today? Surrounded by turbulent waters that you can’t seem to cross? It is a fact that many people are facing turbulent waters today, especially with the ripple effects of COVID-19. In the midst of such challenges, the Word of God gives us great hope and assurance.

Here is a thought from the Bible that encourage us to have hope when surrounded by turbulent waters.

Turbulent waters cannot drown us

In Isaiah 43:2, the Lord gives great assurance about His protection on His children as they face deep, turbulent waters. He says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you” (Isaiah 43:2). What a great encouragement it is to know that He will not let us drown or be swept away when confronted by what the scripture calls ‘rivers of difficulty’ (Refer Isaiah 43:2 NLT).

Closing:

So friend if you are facing turbulent waters right now hold on to the promises of God and stand firm in your faith. As you do so, Jesus will speak to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!”   Mark 4:39.

By Palitha Jayasooriya
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Devotional on Psalm 11

David was facing extreme dangers when he wrote Psalm 11. His enemies were waiting in the shadows to shoot their arrows at him ( 2). This could refer to verbal attacks and very definitely, to attacks on his life.  King Saul had already been using him as target practice to enhance his skills in javelin throwing (1 Samuel 19:10)! As his very foundation was being shaken (3), David’s close friends had encouraged him to flee to safety.

Let’s look at David’s responses to this extreme challenge.

1) He refused to flee in fear (1)

David refused to ‘flee like a bird to the mountains‘ as advised by His friends. He would trust the Lord to deliver him.

It’s sad that when things get tough, many people decide to run away, seeking relief elsewhere. As a result, they run away from a difficult marriage, a hurting relationship, a challenging job, a financial crisis and other trying circumstances. Christian leaders run away from the challenges of a struggling ministry. Some run away from finding true love because they were hurt once in a relationship. The scriptures record how Elijah, a man of faith and anointing, ran away when confronted by Jezebel (1 Kings 19:2-3).

Are you in that place today? Are you ready to give up? Throw in the towel? Let’s take heart from the faith shown by David.

2) He knew where his security lay (4-5)

David saw that the Lord was still in control of his life because He was on His heavenly throne. His eyes were on God and not on the dangers surrounding him! He saw this just and righteous God (7), closely observing everything that was happening (4). He therefore placed his security in the Lord’s hands, knowing that God was well able to protect him (6).

Yes, God closely observes everything his children go through. While sometimes it may seem like He is inattentive, He never takes His eyes off us and will answer at the right moment. He not only saved David from this challenge, but from every challenge he faced in a colourful career.

 3) He sought God’ presence

David says, ‘upright men will see His (God’s) face’ (7). He clearly knew the joy and beauty of being in God’s presence – ‘You will fill me with joy in Your presence’ (Psalm 16:11). David also knew that the key to seeing the face of God was to live uprightly before Him, even in the most difficult situations.

Are you spending quality time in God’s presence? Are you living uprightly before Him, especially in the midst of extreme challenges? Let’s resolve to do so as the Psalmist shows us.

As we live uprightly in God’s presence, we realize that He is our refuge (1). We can therefore face every challenge our enemies throw at us.

Prayer Lord, help me to stand strong in You in the most difficult challenges facing me today. May I know that You will never fail me and that my security is in You alone. May I remain in your presence and strive to live uprightly before You. Amen

By Palitha Jayasooriya
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Did You Know that You are Someone Special?

A Poem of Hope

Reasons to be Thankful


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My mobile phone crashed a few months ago and I had to switch to my wife’s old one as a temporary measure. On the first day of using the phone, there was one particularly important feature that neither I nor my wife could   grasp, though we tried to figure it out for a while. My small son, who was watching us all the time, then boldly mentioned that he could help us figure it out. We ignored his offer of help and kept grappling with the problem unsuccessfully on our own, even though he repeatedly kept offering his help. Eventually, maybe more out of irritation, we handed the phone to him. Lo and behold, he sorted it out within a few minutes!!

Relieved and I guess quite surprised, my wife and I expressed our appreciation and admiration to him. His casual reply, said almost in despair was, ‘The problem with you two is that you never ask for my help”! He was just 7!!

It struck me that sometimes, we too may be the same. We try to solve our problems in our own strength and ability and in every other possible way, (many times to be disappointed), without first going to the Lord in prayer! it’s good to remind ourselves today that Jesus said. “Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete” (John 16:24).

So, if you are battling a challenging situation today,

1) Turn it over to the Lord in prayer. He says, “Call to me and I will answer you….” (Jeremiah 33:3).

2) Have the confidence (Faith) that he is strong enough and well able to help you. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for ” (NLT).

3) Testify of His goodness when the answer comes.

Jesus is always willing to help us.

O what peace we often forfeit
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer   (Joseph Scriven)

By Palitha Jayasooriya
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“You are a shield around me, O Lord; You bestow glory on me and lift up my head”. Psalm 3:3

Too often at social meetings, worship meetings and at hospitals, I see people with their heads hanging low, bowed down by the burdens they are carrying. Some of them may have no one to talk to, while others show no sign of hope in their eyes. They are desperately looking for answers. Many more have given up and resigned themselves to the challenges they are battling with.

What about you?

Is your head bowed down today because of a burden you are carrying? Are you desperate for God to come through?

When we are downcast or gazing downwards, our eyes are fixed only on a small area of the floor around us. What we see therefore is a very limited space and Satan will do everything possible to keep our gaze on that small space. But, when God lifts our head up, we will see the whole horizon before us; the largeness of what He has created for us to enjoy! Imagine yourself on a beach at dusk, looking down. You may see a rock, some sea sand and maybe a few shells. However, if you lift your head up, you will see the entire horizon, the beautiful sky, maybe a ship or two in the distance, and the beauty of a setting sun! You then realize how big the Creator God is!!

The Good News is that Jesus is well able to ‘lift up your head’ and He is waiting to do so! Psalm 3:3 says, “But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory and the lifter of my head”(ESV). God, through Jesus, wants to show you a glimpse of His glory and to “lift up your head “. Will you call upon the mighty name of Jesus and ask Him for help now? It will change your outlook on your problem!!

PrayerLord, my head hangs low with the burdens I am carrying. Be my shield, show me your glory and lift my head up now. In the mighty name of Jesus I pray. Amen!

By Rev. Palitha Jayasooriya
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How much we worry and how many of our worries are unfounded?

Unhealthy worrying can cripple us to the point of making us ineffective and unable to cope with life’s challenges. It can also lead to depression. We worry over sickness, viruses, finances, family, children, salt, sugar, unforeseen dangers and many other things.

The Longman Dictionary describes worry as ‘an uncomfortable feeling in the mind, caused by a mixture of fear and uncertainty’.

Sadly, according to experts, worry can also take a heavy toll on our physical and mental health. Dr. Charles Mayo once said,

‘Worry affects the circulation and the whole nervous system. I’ve never known a man who died from overwork, but I’ve known many who have died from doubt’.

So, what are you worrying about today?

A lot of our stress and discouragement is caused either by unfounded or maybe even real fears and anxieties. The Lord Jesus however said in Matthew 6:34 

“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own”.

He was advising us to take each day as it comes, trusting Him. That’s a great antidote for anxiety and we should consider doing so for the following  reasons.

  1. Because We Can’t Control Tomorrow

There is no point in worrying about tomorrow, because no one is assured of a tomorrow. God holds the times and seasons in His hand. Proverbs 16:9 tells us that “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps”. That’s a good reason to commit each day and our future plans into God’s hands and to receive His strength for our anxieties. Only He can control our tomorrow.

  1. Because There Is Enough Trouble For Today

In Matthew 6:34, Jesus said.  “… Do not worry about tomorrow, …Each day has enough trouble of its own”.

Not only can’t we control tomorrow, but we do not know what may happen today. In fact, some of us going through severe crisis situations may dread the dawning of a new day. I once read that there are two possible ways people could wake up in the morning. One group cheerfully says, ‘Good morning, Lord”, while the other says, ‘Good Lord, its morning’! Let’s place our today in God’s hands for He is always in control. We are then assured of His providence, protection and provision.

It is interesting that God identifies Himself in the scriptures in the present tense as, ‘I am’. He is therefore a God of the present; a God of today. Sadly, many people are either living with regret over the past or with anxiety over the future. For those living with regret over the past, Paul says in Philippians 3:13‘But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind….I press on..’, while for those worrying over their future he says, “Do not be anxious about anything” and then encourages us to trust in the power of praying to God (Philippians 4:6). Paul trusted in God’s grace every day.

By  Palitha Jayasooriya
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1 Samuel 30:1-20

Are you staggering in an unexpected crisis right now? Maybe some challenge has hit you out of the blue? Crisis situations don’t warn us before they hit, do they?  However, in God’s plan, the crisis may well be leading you to a ‘Divine Appointment’.

In 1 Samuel chapter 29, God had just helped David and his men get out of what was a difficult situation, in having to fight their own countrymen. In chapter 30, as they returned home, obviously with much thanks for God’s intervention, an unexpected crisis had struck. Their home city, Ziklag, had not only been raided and torched by the Amalekites (30:1), but their families had been taken captive (30:2). In the midst of the unimaginable sorrow they were feeling, David’s faithful men were even talking of stoning him (30:6). In this crisis situation however, the Bible says, ‘David found strength in the Lord‘. As he did so, God began to turn the crisis into a ‘Divine Appointment’.

Under God’s direction David began to pursue the enemy, and eventually, in a vast land area, he unexpectedly found the very person who could lead him to the raiders (30:8-11). This was the dying servant of an Amalekite official who had been deserted, as he was sick and a burden. Since David spared the man’s life, he was more than willing to lead them to the raiders’ camp (30:15). As a result, David and his men won a great victory before any harm could come to their families and received back much, much more than what they thought they had lost (30:18-20).

An unexpected crisis can truly be turned into a ‘Divine Appointment‘ by the Lord.

Illustration: At the age of 24, I faced an unexpected crisis as I developed a serious problem on my spine that needed surgery. I spent 25 days in hospital and life as a whole, as well as my future, looked extremely bleak. God had however planned a ‘Divine Appointment‘, and many, many years later, thanks to His healing touch, I still haven’t had any surgery on my spine! He is the God of ‘Divine Appointments’.

Thought: Trust God to turn any unexpected crisis in your life at present into a ‘Divine Appointment’.

By Palitha Jayasooriya
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This past week I’ve had to pray with people battling heavy odds against cancer, children’s health issues, relationship problems, addictions, emotional distress, a burnt down house and many other issues. They all felt overwhelmed and that the odds were stacked against them.  Are you too struggling against overwhelming odds today?

In 2 Chronicles 20, a coalition of armies had come against Judah. This strong army (verse 2-4) brought a sense of terror upon the people.  King Jehoshaphat realizing the seriousness of the challenge before him, cried in desperation, “We have no power to face this vast army… We do not know what to do…” (verse 12). Maybe you too are saying ‘I don’t know what to do’?

However, God brought about an amazing victory for Judah. We can therefore learn how to find victory against overwhelming odds by looking at 4 responses shown by King Jehoshaphat.

  • Resolve to trust God in Prayer

Prayer is the greatest weapon God’s children have over every challenge. A famous quote by Alfred Lord Tennyson says, “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” So, when facing overwhelming odds and when you may not even feel like praying, there is only one thing to do. Keep on praying!

Jehoshaphat inquired of the Lord and proclaimed a fast throughout the land. The people responded in unison as the King cried out to God (verse 3-5). He was depending completely on God’s strength!! (verse 6-12).

God sometimes permits staggering odds to come against us to drive us to our knees in prayer.

  • Receive a specific promise for the situation

Verse 14 – 15 tells us that the Prophet Jahaziel, under the anointing of God’s Spirit, began to prophesy over the situation. He said, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. … stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you”.

Similarly, God has a specific promise for every challenge we face; especially when overwhelming odds are against us.  It can come through a scripture, a song, a sermon, a prayer, wise counsel or a prophecy.  Once we receive such a specific word from God, we should hold on to it and not give up till the victory is final (refer verse 20).

  • Realize the battle is the Lord’s

The Prophet Jahaziel said, “You will not have to fight this battle… Stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you,…”. He further emphasized “the battle is not yours, but God’s” (verse 15 –17)).  Therefore, realize that the Lord is always fighting on your behalf.

So often I hear powerful testimonies of people who have experienced God’s delivering power in challenging situations.

  • Meditate on God’s unfailing love through worship

When the army went out for battle the following morning, Jehoshaphat “appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise Him for the splendor of His holiness (verse 21).” These singers were focusing on a well- known worship refrain about God’s enduring love. They sang, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever (verse 21).”

In response, the Lord brought disarray to the enemy’s camp. Their armies began to annihilate each other and an amazing victory unfolded (verse 22-23)!! As you stand against overwhelming odds, meditate on God’s unfailing love which endures forever. He will come through for you, often in unexpected ways!

God will surely give us victory against the overwhelming odds that are against us today.

By Palitha Jayasooriya
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Psalm 145:1-6

The first few verses of this beautiful psalm of praise by David show us 3 practical ways in which we can honor our Lord daily. Following these 3 steps will strengthen and enhance our walk with Jesus. They are:

  • Praise Him every day

“Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever” (vs 2)

There is so much to praise God for and we should be lifting our praise to Him every day. Let us start our day with praise and end it with praise! Let us praise Him as we walk the streets, as we sit at our desk and as we travel. Praise is contagious and soon others will follow your example.

Illustration – I remember a Christian leader saying that as he was traveling in the bus one day and enjoying the beautiful scenery around him, he couldn’t help humming the powerful hymn ‘How Great Thou Art’. The person seated next to him soon turned and said, ‘Feels so true doesn’t it’? A short while later, a few others in the bus started humming the great hymn! That’s the power of praise!

Have you praised God today? Read the rest of the Psalm (21 verses in all) and list down the many reasons David praised God ‘EVERY DAY’.

“My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord” (vs 21)

  • Meditate on His works

“I will meditate on your wonderful works” (vs 5b)

The works of God are revealed in His powerful Word. We also see them in creation, in our own lives and in the lives of others. Let us meditate on His Word and His works. Meditating on His Word and His works lifts our faith whenever a new challenge comes our way.

A preacher once mentioned that meditating on God’s Word can be compared to a cow ‘chewing the cud’. As the cow receives help with its digestion when it chews the cud, so we too can receive all the strength contained in God’s Word as we spend a few minutes or more, meditating on it. It is interesting to note that The Collins English Dictionary describes the term ‘chewing the cud’ as follows – ‘to reflect or think over something’.

“Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.” (Psalm 119:97)

  • Proclaim His Great Deeds

“.. I will proclaim your great deeds” (vs 6b)

What has God done for you recently? How did He bring you to salvation? Have you been telling others about His blessings to you? Have you been sharing them with your children? I rejoice in the fact that my 2 sons aged 12 and 10, love to hear my stories about God’s interventions in my life and ministry. In fact, they often ask for repeats!

“One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts” (vs 4).

Why should we proclaim God’s great deeds?  We need to do it “so that all men may know of your (God’s) mighty acts” (vs 12).

Last week, at our midweek service, I was praying at the altar with a young man over a burden he was carrying in a very personal area of his life. As I shared my own testimony in that particular area of life and how God came through for me, his eyes lit up and he shouted, ‘Yes, I now believe God can do it for me too”!

There is power in proclaiming ‘His great deeds’, more so, when we tell people about His mighty ‘saving grace’ in our lives! They just might want what you have!

Prayer: Lord help me to honor you every day by praising you, meditating on your works and by proclaiming your great deeds. Amen.

By Palitha Jayasooriya
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Read: Psalm 107: 1-38

O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever.
Psalm 107:1

Soul singer Lionel Ritchie was once deeply impacted by a speech in which his father had honored his mother, on their 37th wedding anniversary. In his speech, Ritchie Senior had lovingly thanked his wife for sticking by him through the ups and downs of life. Said Lionel, “What a great story because I pass through my house every day and I don’t say thank you. I just take for granted that certain things be done”. That speech moved him to compose one of his best loved songs, ‘Three Times a Lady’.

How much we too forget to be thankful to God for the blessings He gives us. We often take them for granted. In Psalm 107, the author earnestly encourages the people to be thankful to God, by repeating the phrase, “Let them thank the Lord for His steadfast love, for His wonderful works to humankind” on four occasions (Psalm 107: 8, 15, 21, and 31).

The Psalmist also describes the many ways in which a loving God has been faithful to His children by reflecting on His deliverance (Psalm 107:6), guidance (Psalm 107:7), provision (Psalm 107:9), protection (Psalm 107:29-30) and blessings (Psalm 107:35-38).

As I was reflecting recently over this psalm, the Lord reminded me of how He had brought deliverance through trials, guidance in difficult situations, provision in unexpected ways, protection from targeted attacks of the enemy and individual blessings to each of our family members. So much to be thankful for!

May we truly learn to be thankful to God every day!

PrayerLord, may I never forget all the blessings You have given me. Like the Psalmist, help me to be thankful today through a prayer or a song of praise. Amen.

By Palitha Jayasooriya
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“…, people brought the sick into the streets and laid then on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by… and all of them were healed” Acts 5:15-16

As you think of the Apostle Peter’s ministry in the book of Acts, what comes to mind? Is it fearlessness, anointing, miracle worker, dynamic preacher?

Yes, all these are true and God used Peter powerfully. Through Peter God healed a crippled (Acts 3:6-7) and a paralyzed man (Acts 9:32-35), raised the dead (Acts 9:36-43), opened prison doors and gates (Acts 5:19, 12:8-10) and brought thousands to salvation [Both Jews and Gentiles] (Acts 2:41, 4:4, 10:44-46). As the opening scripture in these Devotional records, people even expected to be healed by having Peter’s shadow fall on them as he passed by.

How did such a dramatic change happen in the life of a man who had so callously denied Jesus on 3 occasions? The obvious answer would be the anointing received as Peter and the other disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. How true that is and what an anointing they received!

I would however like to suggest another reason why Peter’s ministry was so effective. I believe it was also because of the power of a prayer. In fact, it was an intercessory prayer that was made on his behalf  by none other than the Lord Jesus himself. Jesus told Peter at the Last Supper “Simon, Simon, satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32). The final result of that prayer was quite amazing as we have seen in Peter’s powerful ministry.

That shows the power of a prayer!

Friend, never underestimate the power behind a prayer. While we may not sometimes see immediate results, be sure the Lord hears every fervent prayer. Therefore, as the Apostle Paul recommends, “Never stop praying” 1 Thessalonians 5:17.

By Palitha Jayasooriya
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Popular singer Tom Petty passed away recently after a highly successful career. One of Petty’s most loved songs was titled ‘I Won’t Back Down’. It says:

Well, I won’t back down.
No, I won’t back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell,
But I won’t back down

While Tom Petty was probably singing about the human challenges he had to face, the Apostle Paul says something similar regarding the spiritual battles we face as God’s children. He says, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13). The imagery is that of a well-trained soldier, planting his feet firmly on the battle field and refusing to back down. In other words, Paul may be saying, ‘don’t back down’. Ever!

The senseless shootings at a church in Texas and others disasters, bear witness to the fact that we live in dangerous times. It is at a time like this that the church of Jesus Christ and individual Christians should stand firm, find renewed hope, minister to the hurting and refuse to back down.

In Daniel 6, Daniel was about to receive the ‘promotion of a lifetime’, being the likely candidate for Prime Minister. The appointment may have brought privileges in the form of a brand new vehicle (the latest chariot?), unlimited power and added bonuses. That’s when envy set in as the other powerful officials rose up against him. Their devious plans meant Daniel would have to either back down from his commitment to God or face the ‘lions’.

Daniel refused to ‘back down’ and God sent an angel to shut the lions’ mouths. Maybe He tranquilized them, maybe He assigned them to a 12 hour fast, or maybe they just lost their appetite. Whatever may have happened, it was a powerful work of God

Similarly, God is with us in our battles. Let us therefore stand firm and be encouraged by the words in James 4:7 that says, “Submit yourselves, then to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you”. Whatever challenge you may be facing today, don’t back down God’s grace will carry you through.

By Palitha Jayasooriya
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“..She has done a beautiful thing to me.” Mark 14:6 (NIV)

I read in a local newspaper of how a Christian Organization had used its funds to help many farming families in the Polonnaruwa District in Sri Lanka, seriously affected by the silent killer, Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). Through a beautiful act of love, this organization has so far built 8 out of a targeted 15 ‘safe water’ community wells with filtration units, to provide pure drinking water for over 8000 people. In one village, the land to set up the unit had apparently been donated by a farmer who himself was dying of CKD (Another beautiful act).

In Mark 14, Jesus was at the home of Simon the leper when a lady came up to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume. She broke the jar and anointed Jesus’ head with the expensive perfume (Mark 14:3). Although she was scolded harshly by some who were present since they felt that her gracious act was a waste (Mark 14:4-5), Jesus looked at it very differently. He mentioned that she had anointed his body for burial (Mark 14:8) and called her act ‘a good thing’ (Mark 14:6). The NIV translates it as ‘a beautiful thing’. He also confirmed that her ‘beautiful act’ would be remembered forever (Mark 14:9)!

We too are called to do ‘beautiful things’ for God so that the lonely and hurting could feel His love in a tangible way. When David took care of his faithful friend Jonathan’s crippled son Mephibosheth, it was a ‘beautiful thing’ that lasted a lifetime (2 Samuel 9:7). Similarly, when Barnabas befriended Saul and found acceptance for him among the disciples who were suspicious of Saul’s motives, it was a ‘beautiful act’ (Acts 9:27). What about you?

May God use us to do ‘beautiful things’ for Him. Someone said, ‘Duty makes us do things well; Love makes us do them beautifully’.

Prayer – Lord help me to spread your beauty wherever I go by doing beautiful things to glorify You.

By Palitha Jayasooriya
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The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.Zephaniah 3:17

The book of Zephaniah was written to warn of impending judgment on Judah. In the midst of the doom however, the book ends with a promise of restoration, forgiveness and blessing. In Zephaniah 3:17, we find the powerful truths shown below.

The Lord is among His people

What a comfort it is to know that God is with His people even in the most challenging circumstances. Grab a hold of that fact without allowing your feelings and your circumstances to control you. He has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

The Lord is always with His people even though we may not feel like it at times.

He takes delight in you

Today, many people battle an identity crisis. They struggle with rejection, feeling unloved, low self- esteem and a sense of unworthiness. The situation worsens when we go through regular failures.

What is your condition today? Unloved? Rejected? Feeling worthless? Does it seem like everything you touch turns to tears? If so, rejoice, because God knows you by name (Isaiah 43:1) and He takes great delight in you.

Will you rather believe your feelings, others opinions, or the truth of God’s word.

He is mighty to save

When we trust Jesus, His resurrection power works in us. That power will deliver us from every attack of the evil one for nothing can overcome us when God is on our side (Romans 8:31).

If I were walking down a dark alley and two strong men were waiting to overpower and rob me, it wouldn’t be too difficult since I am not a strongly built person. However, if the Heavyweight boxing champion of the world was walking by my side, the end result would be totally different!!

How much more secure we are when Jesus, the living Savior, dwells in us!! He is mighty to save.

With His love He will calm (quiet) you

In a world filled with stress, God gives His children lasting peace. It is a peace that passes human understanding (Philippians 4:7) and calms us when we feel overwhelmed.

In the midst of a serious spinal problem I had in my mid-twenties, it was only the peace of God that sustained me through 25 days of hospitalization, heavy and discomforting traction (sandbags) on both legs, negative words spoken by many people and what seemed like an uncertain future. Many years later, I still haven’t needed surgery!!

Let’s be encouraged by the words of Zephaniah 3:17 and trust our Lord at all times.

By Palitha Jayasooriya
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My name is

“…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. Isaiah 43:1

We all like to protect our name. In fact, most people would do anything to stop their name being misused or abused. It always makes me happy when my name is spelt or pronounced correctly. The satisfaction is even greater when someone that I may have met only fleetingly, remembers my name.

I have at times faced some level of embarrassment when the name of a person I’m talking to has eluded me. On a few occasions, I have even struggled to remember the name of a person I was praying for at the altar!

How comforting it is therefore to understand that Our God knows and calls us by name! He says, ‘I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Yes, He knows you by name.
Let’s look at some Biblical examples to clarify this:

· A senior Citizen had most probably given up on his youthful dreams and ambitions and settled down to a quiet, nomadic life in the desert; until he had a life changing encounter with God. The sight before Moses in Exodus 2:1-6, probably reflected a modern day television as he saw a picture of a burning bush, with a voice speaking from within the bush! What were the first words God spoke to Moses? He said, ‘Moses! Moses (verse 4)!” God called him by name!

God knew Moses by name and He knows you too.

· In 1 Samuel 3:1-10, a young boy serving in the Lord’s temple was probably trying to figure out what his future in ministry would be like. He was surrounded by leadership examples that were quite horrible (Read chapter 2). Then God spoke, and God called him by name! In fact, God probably called him by name at least 5 times that night!

God knew Samuel by name and He knows you too.

· Peter denied the Lord at the most crucial hour and was handling a failure that could have haunted him for the rest of his life. He may have even considered giving up ministry. When Jesus rose from the dead however, an angel told the ladies at the tomb, “But go, tell His disciples and PETER, He is going ahead of you into Galilee.”

Peter was identified by name and so are you.

So friend, be assured that God knows you by name. That shows how personal His love is towards you.

Before I was born the Lord called me; from my birth He has made mention of my name.” (Isaiah 49:1)

By Palitha Jayasooriya
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Thoughts by All Thoughts by Men thoughts by Palitha Jayasooriya