My Race towards Jesus by Sis. Joy Avecilla

I’ve joined a marathon in our school during college years. It’s an event where in all college departments were required to join. I’m not fond of  it but it’s a requirement from school so I was forced to participate.

I remember, I easily got tired from walking and running because I’m not used to it. So when I had the chance, I stopped for a while and took a rest. Me and my friends bought ice cream to refresh ourselves. While resting, eating and enjoying my ice cream, I saw other students how they struggled hard to continue with the race and how focus and dedicated they are to finish the lane. And I noticed, they seemed to enjoy it, despite the thirst, sweat and hot weather.

Then I comforted myself saying, “it’s ok eventhough I will not be the first to finish the race. Anyway, my goal is not to compete with them but to finish the race with them.

To tell you honestly, out of hundreds of students who participated, I was the very last to finish the race. But, I am not ashamed of it. Hahaha. In fact, I was very happy and feeling accomplished because of all my struggles and difficulties, I still managed to finish the race and received my certificate as a reward.

Past 15 years later, I am again participating in a race. This time, it’s a spiritual race towards the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

In a physical race, maybe it will take at least an hour to finish the 5km, 10km lane etc.

Let us bear in mind that our spiritual race will not only consume an hour of our life… but a lifetime. As long as we have the breath of life, our race goes on.

Now, the struggles and difficulties are not because of sweat and hot weather… but because of spirits and principalities.

The Lord is right in Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV) saying, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Whenever I feel tired and discouraged, eating ice cream to refresh myself will no longer do.

Because, it is my mind, my heart and my soul which is tired and discouraged. I need to come to Jesus to find rest. God’s words are refreshing and as the song goes, ‘Times of refreshing here in Your presence” Amen!

Rest is biblical and is fine, but we have to make sure, we rest in God’s arm and not in Satan’s arm. And while we rest, let us also take a glimpse of other brethren’s life to draw strength and inspiration. How they manage to keep moving and running their own race inspite of their own struggles and difficulties.

You see, we are all together on this spritual race, brothers and sisters.

But we are not here to surpass or compete with each other. Amen.

What matters most is that, may we all finish the race together, and receive not just a certificate, but a crown of life given by our Lord God Jesus Christ. Amen and amen!

Rejoice! Because the spirit of the Lord is within us to give us comfort, strenght and endurance to withstand the trials, as we continue running the race towards Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

Mom is blessed

She had not stepped out of the home for few days. She was experiencing pain and discomfort in her stomach. Upon examination doctor said her uterus has started to sag and there is infection. She was administered injection and put on antibiotics. Condition was not improving and we sought a second opinion.

The senior doctor immediately recommended hysterectomy. But my mom had just turned 80 couple of days ago. At this age how can she withstand a major surgery? The doctor was uncompromising and told us the dire consequences if the surgery is not done at once.

My mom agreed for the surgery. Upon admitting her in the hospital, due to anxiety her blood pressure and sugar level started rising. Medicines were given for two days. Ulcerous tissues were not healing due to old age. Doctor increased the antibiotics and slowly she was healing and getting ready for the surgery.

The date and time was set. I messaged Pastor Chris to pray and GCM family started praying for her recovery. Odds were very high due to her old age.

An hour before the surgery I was called by the anesthetist. He explained to me about the procedure and explained that initially they will sedate her from waist down like in C section delivery through her lower spine and if that does not work they will sedate her fully, but the risks are very high.

I signed few declaration sheets to commence the procedure. My wife kept talking to my mom and building her faith and confidence.

After half hour preparation she was wheeled in to the operation theatre. Time passed. Our anxiety grew. Hours were passing. After 4 hours we were informed that the surgery was successful, but critical due to rise in blood pressure. She was transferred to ICU and kept under observation. After an hour I and my wife were allowed to see my mom.

I was delighted to go and see her. But little did I know that I was stepping into knowing life and pains.

I saw my mom trying to writhe in pain. I looked up the anesthetist who was trying to put some medicine through the nerve tubes already pierced in her elbow. It was obvious that the sedation had started to wear off. He said that he cannot sedate her anymore or give strong pain killers due to old age and rise in blood pressure.

Obviously there was big blood loss and they had to inject plenty of donor blood in the process. Although my blood matched, they could not take mine due to high blood pressure that I was experiencing that time and the pain medicines I was taking for my problems. By God’s grace the hospital arranged for enough blood for the surgery.

Pastor messaged me that it is good sign that she is not having Hypovolemia (excess loss of blood)

The doctor met me outside and said, “Sir it was a major surgery. The entire region was ulcerous. Along with removing the Uterus they had to scrape and clean the area”. The doctor showed us the extracted part and the infected tissues. A chill ran through me.

My mom was refusing to place the oxygen mask due to the shooting pain she was going through. Tears started to fill my eyes. I inched towards her bed. She turned her head and was still in some sedation. She looked at me and clenched my hand and pleaded…”please dear, do something to reduce the pain. I am not able to take it.” And she added, “Life is just nothing, this pain that I am going through is taking away my life. I am not even able to pray. No one on earth should feel this agony. People should stop being greedy, jealous, unkind etc. In the end there is nothing….”  And she was getting a little delirious.

I felt very sad. I could not see her in so much pain. I have never heard her speak about life ever before. Most of the strength in my life was because of her positive attitude. But now she was in unbearable pain. The lady who brought me into this world and sacrificed so much in life to see me happy and never rested all these years was here lying helplessly crying in pain. I cried out in silence, “Lord reduce my mom’s pain. You have blessed me with opportunity to help others in their distress, but here is my mom for whom I can’t do anything”

As she was holding my hand trying to press as she felt piercing pain, I did not know what to do. I was trying to hide my welling tears. I had to tear away from her as I can’t stay long in the ICU. Nurses and doctor were running tests and monitoring the heartbeat and administering very mild pain killers

I was looking at the doctor imploringly. Doctor’s eyes were sad and helpless.

My wife started to cry too. Painfully I left the ICU room and went down the stairs to the guest room. My world had turned black. Am I going to lose my mom in such grueling pain? My heart started to pound fast. It was 10.30 pm, 2 hours past the surgery.

I was feeling pain in my right shoulder for two days and the area had redness and swelling. I was on my regular green pill. I went down to the guest room, sat on the edge of the bench bent my head down clasping my hand I started to cry and told my wife to go up again to the ICU , place her hand on my mom’s forehead and pray.  As my wife left, I started praying very hard, “Jesus, please show mercy, forgive me for my sins, walk to the bed in ICU and alleviate the pain my mom is going through”.

I got deeper in prayers and faith build over me fully. I forgot the world around and focused on the healing. I uttered, “Lord Increase the pain in my right shoulder and ease my mom’s pain.” I was ready to give myself for the soul that gave me life. I prayed that the medicines should start to work on my mom and I swallowed my green pain pill saying prayers.

Next one hour was excruciating for me. The pain in my right shoulder spread and travelled down to the color bone and surrounding area. I started moaning in pain. I had never experienced that kind of pain before. I could not rest my head anywhere. Shoulder to ribs. the skin had turned red. I got up holding my shoulder and walked up and down.  My cousin ran down to the pharmacy and brought a hot bag to reduce the swelling. I said let me endure this pain. It is given by the lord as per my wish. I closed my eyes as my wife kept pressing the affected area. In 30 minutes we got news that my mom is sleeping now.

My wife later related that as I was praying in the guest room and she was placing her hand on my mom’s forehead she felt sudden goose bumps and confident healing flowing through her hand. I knew the same instant that prayers from all of you in GCM is manifesting in decreasing the pain.

In the next one hour, I slept too. It was miraculous. I just couldn’t explain what happened in those agonizing moments. All I knew was that God was there and showed his miracle.

My faith was reinforced once again.

Morning we found her smiling and all pains had subsided. Our hearts filled up with inexpressible gratitude. We never told her about my pains as she will get worried that may affect her condition given the fact that she just turned 80.

I cannot narrate or express this ordeal and blessing, as people will not believe me in this digital era. I have felt it and feel so blessed.

In conclusion all I can say is that God is with me all the time and is with everyone who have belief and faith.

Feel this protection in the heart and don’t feel alone in the face of trials and hardships. Call out in belief and faith and he will make his presence felt through a blessing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                               Bro. Raj

STAY FOCUS

In a world of constant distractions, learning to achieve and sustain a laser-like focus on your priorities gives you an enormous competitive advantage in the marketplace – as well as enormous benefits to your personal life. If keeping your focus has never been harder, the payoffs have never been better. How do you achieve laser-like concentration? I’m going to share with you seven principles of achieving and sustaining an intense, productive and energizing focus.

  1. Keep the Big Picture in Mind. To successfully sustain you focus, you must first have a big-picture view of your goals and priorities, and a clear vision of what you hope to accomplish. After all, achieving an intense and sustained focus is not an end in itself, but a powerful means of achieving your long-term goals. The clearer, and more specific and more vividly you visualize the big picture of what you hope to accomplish, the more successfully you can focus on the means of achieving it.
  2. Set Goals That Excite You. One characteristic shared by virtually every highly successful person is that they had big dreams and specific goals. The higher you aim, the higher you’ll go – even if you fail to hit your target. And if you shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll still land among the stars.
  3. Be Mindful. By targeting your attention with laser-beam accuracy to the matter at hand, you are literally unable to entertain destructive thoughts. Concentrating on the present reality eliminates fear of future possibilities. In this way, being mindful not only increases your effectiveness, it enhances your peace of mind.
  4. Track Your Progress. When you see the advances you have made, it is easier to concentrate on covering the ground that remains. Tracking your past progress enables you to enter unfamiliar terrain with the confidence that comes from success and experience. Some strategies that will help enable you to monitor and accelerate your progress include setting deadlines, taking time for re-evaluation and allowing for adjustments.
  5. Use Time As Your Servant. Counting time is not nearly as important as making time count. Here are some management strategies that will help you stay focused:
    ----Tackle the most difficult aspects of your mission during your “prime time” – your period of greatest productivity and energy.
    ----Deal decisively with interruptions. Think and write down ways to prevent such interruptions from happening in the first place. It is best to avoid them whenever possible.
    ----Learn to say “no.”  Sustaining your focus on your priorities will require that you decline invitations, refuse requests, and even pass up some interesting opportunities.
  6. Keep Your Balance. The purpose of keeping your focus is to enable you to spend your time and energy on the people and things that are most important. Just as keeping your balance is essential to enjoying the benefits of your achievements.
  7. Anticipate Obstacles. To sustain your focus and achieve your goals, you must not only anticipate obstacles, you must prepare for them

When the well runs dry....

Here are some things I learned about surviving when the well runs dry.

  1. Recognize the Adversary. According to I Peter 5:8, we have an adversary who seeks to devour us. Satan’s strategy is seen throughout the Scriptures – to strike shepherds and scatter the sheep. For instance, he assaulted Timothy with insecurity and inadequacy. I was Timothy. Satan harassed me with thoughts: You’re a failure. You’re a terrible pastor. Your aren’t gifted enough. The church would be better off without you. You’ve missed your calling. They hounded my mind continually, and I began to believe them. Then I had to trust that He would equip and enable me to get the job done. I went to the Scriptures that speak of endurance and perseverance. Deep down I knew I had to press on, and God would see me through. He did. I’m thankful I didn’t quit.
     
  2. Settle the Commitment Issue. Another breakthrough came by committing myself anew to the call of pasturing. Discouragement caused me to entertain ideas of quitting the ministry and focusing to my medical professions. Mentally I packed my bags daily. The fantasies provided brief oases in my desert, but ultimately they sucked me down into deeper depression. Indecision frustrated and complicated my state of mind. I became angry that the ministry forced me to say “No” to other options. Then Jesus’ words began to impress my thoughts, “Whosoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it.” (Matt. 16:25). I was trying to save my life. Leaving the ministry would be a cop-out and would cost me long-term blessings and character development. Therefore, I determined to stick with it and be faithful to the call. Even if it killed me, I would give myself to the ministry. It was a turning point. The distracting, conflicting desires faded. Contentment came, followed by genuine joy.
     
  3. Help From Others. Another turning point came when my wife and I sought counsel. We had talked about the need to seek help, but I was reluctant to bother others with my problems. So I kept putting it off. That week we made an appointment with Pastora Lucila and Brother Henry. As I spilled the sewage of my soul, they listened with nodding heads. Although they didn’t tell me anything I hadn’t already heard, being able to unburden my mind gave birth to a new perspective. Having the prayer and emotional support of others has effected definite change in my life.
     
  4. Distinguish Between Yourself and Your Ministry. I learned, however, that such sharing needed some boundaries. I had to learn to confine the situation to its appropriate territory, including disciplining my thoughts during off-hours. Resisting the temptation to discuss matters at home, and developing a pattern of prayer that focused on personal and family issues rather than church business.
     
  5. Keep the Momentum. Each of these disciplines has served as underground water sources to replenish my well – nothing spectacular by themselves, but together they’ve provided refreshment to me and to those I pastor. They don’t change circumstances or shelter me from problems; however, as I maintain them as an ongoing part of my life, they bring me into contact with God’s strength – the only reliable well from which to draw.

2018 GCM Worker's Night was successful

The Great Commission Ministries in the Kingdom of Bahrain launches our yearly worker's Night in the Upper Room last January 19, 2018. The GCM brethren were encouraged and motivated in the Ministry. I would like to share the following motivational strategies to our GCM Workers.

Motivating yourself to get going and gain momentum is one thing, but inspiring others is another. It starts with your own motivation and continues with strategies that speak to your people. Use the following ideas to give those around you an extra boost of motivation:

• Communicate with Clarity. Before you try to motivate others to act, be sure you know exactly what to ask for. Then communicate it as simply and clearly as you can. After all, people cannot do what they do not understand. We have a strong group in Viber that spreads our information in seconds. We can communicate through this interface and share our thoughts with regards to the Church activities.

• Be Committed to a Purpose. The one common denominator of all great people in history is that they believed in what they were doing. They were dedicated and committed to their vision and purpose. People will always be persuaded more by the depth of your convictions than by the height of your logic. So, to motivate others, always show them your commitment.

• Give People Recognition. Few things motivate us better than praise. When you tell others that they are doing a great job, it makes them want to work even harder to continue earning your praise. We all have a desire to feel needed and important. For that reason, recognition can be the most dynamic of all motivating factors. During the Worker's Night, most of them were blessed and they were recognized according to their faithfulness and dedication in the Ministry.

• Believe in Them. How you see people determines at what level they will perform. If you see them as problems, that’s what they become. If you see them as successes, they’ll be successful.

Successful leaders are able to fulfill their vision not only through the contribution of others – because they understand people and know how to motivate them.

We are looking forward to have a dedicated and spirit-led workers in the year 2018!