Captive in Iran

I just finished reading this wonderful book and I can’t fathom the depth of its impact to me as follower of Christ. This book was written by two brave, faithful, zealous and on-fire Daughters of GOD. Their story, what they’ve been through is really remarkable and inspiring. Their heart and eagerness to share GOD’s love, grace and mercy to their fellow countrymen is really encouraging.

This book is the story of two Iranian women (Maryam and Marzieh), who both seek for the truth and both met and continue experiencing the TRUTH. Both were very determined to share the love that they found in GOD that their former belief never even tackled. Both have the heart to make a difference in the community they belong and share the new relationship they found in JESUS. They want to share this by meeting with their people, talking to them and sharing what they received has made a turn of their life. They gave away New Testament Bible to people they met discreetly. Little did they know they were being monitored and spied on by authorities. Later on, these authorities who are spying on them plot a scenario that put them in jail. And this was the turn of a grand design of GOD to their passion and heart. In the prison, they met different kind of women who are dealing with different issues in their life, mostly victims of the society and culture who have little regard with women. They were faced with different difficulties due to broken system that favors the power and who is in power. They took this opportunity to open and introduce their faith to their fellow prisoners. Prayer was a huge factor to penetrate even the hardest hardest broken hearts in their quest to honor and show GOD that they are partners with HIM. Almost all the prayers they lift up to GOD were answered that made these recipients all the more believed that Maryam and Marzieh’s GOD is alive and very caring. Through these answered prayers, these women felt loved, protected and for the first time, they felt that they were not ignored, that they are special.

Finishing the book made me think of my current partnership with Daddy GOD. It made me think a lot of ways how to be this on-fire for HIM. Talking behind the pulpit is not enough, serving is not enough, transporting brethren is not enough, reading and mastering the Bible is not enough… has to be something big, it has to be something extraordinary, it has to be something bold and scary and dangerous and bone wrenching act. I desire to be used in a way that I couldn’t imagine. I desire to be extraordinary for HIS Kingdom thinking that all HIS creation is important to HIM and should be with HIM…..for HIS glory, for HIM, through HIM and to HIM….one day!

Eversince, I met Jesus, it has been my desire to be _________! Paul was trained by Jesus for three (3) years in the wilderness (Galatians 1:11-24) and look how he have turned! It is taking ages for me but I believe it, in JESUS’ Name. Amen!


Self – Evaluation ✔︎

My life is perfect! ✘
My currect situation is desirable! ✘
I am work in progress! ✔︎
I need life-auditing! ✔︎
There is nothing wrong with me, I am perfectly fine! ✘
I am totally human! ✔︎
I look at others life or situation as something more serious than my own situation! ✘

These questions were inspired by the conversation we have awhile ago on the way home. Regarding this mother-daughter situation where the daughter always looks fancy and buys expensive clothes while she never give to her mom. Then on my way home, there was an idea / “other sense” that passed through telling me and asking me that, “Claire you talked about these people like your life is perfect! Like your situation is desirable and nothing wrong with it! You talked about them like they are not talking about you and your situation as well when you are not around.”

Wow! It was really humiliating and demoralizing. I totally agree! Why can’t I just shut my mouth and mind my own business? I have my own issues in life to deal with?! I am no perfect at all (well, I never said I am)! It is just this human nature in which we are all far-sighted, we can be able to see the flaws and what’s wrong with the situation of others like there is nothing wrong with our situation. There was this verse in the Bible where it says, “For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” (Galatians 6:3 NASB).

I am guilty as charged! And mind you it takes gut to admit that you are wrong. And I thank that moment when the “other sense” just talked to me like that and told stuff that I sometimes don’t realize and make me realize. But of course , don’t just stop with realization, it should be topped with action as well.  When there is a circumstance like that, you change your way of thinking about others. You change yourself from becoming hypocrite. You improve and be transformed from being “others-evaluator” to “self-evaluator”.

Psalm 139:1 (NASB) says, “O Lord, You have searched me and known me.” HE (GOD) only knows who we are; our thoughts, our circumstances, what we are undergoing through, our difficulties, our goings and comings, our everything. So who I am I to judge or evaluate others situation or circumstances, right? My job is to love, to show compassion, to care, to encourage, etc. Anyway, Romans 8:28 (NASB) says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Maybe their situation is how GOD deals with them to their way to maturity. Maybe GOD is allowing their situation to draw them closer to HIM and become dependent to HIM that without HIM we are nothing or we can do nothing. Why would I assume that GOD gave me the task of checking other’s life? My life is not perfect at all! It has flaws here and there and who knows that is how HE deals with me also to know that I am such a wretched woman who needs saving daily, who needs GOD’s grace and mercy daily. I am not at all entitled to give any opinion about other’s life or choices in life. I have no right!

And that I am thankful indeed for this “other sense” checking on me to evaluate myself and what’s wrong with how I view others.

Relationship vs. Religion

This is a repost note!!!

Religion vs. Relationship
by Paul E. Hamilton

I hate religion. Yes, you heard me right. I hate religion. Since I was a little kid growing up in the Baptist church, I hated religion. I never liked people telling me what to do and I sure didn’t want rules. Every time I encounter religion, it strikes me in the wrong way. Throughout my life, I have met people who tell me they are Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Methodist, Assemblies of God, and many, many others. Each one of their denominations has the teachings from the Bible and then adds a man-made set of rules, regulations, stipulations, judgments, and then . . . more rules. Now don’t get the wrong idea. I like church. I love to get together with people who love God. I love the Bible. It is a source of life and strength for me. I like people of all denominations. I have nothing against people who belong to one. But I hate religion.

I grew up in church. I was probably in church soon after leaving thehospital nursery and I was there almost every single solitary Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday night of my childhood. My parents were upright, moral, and loving. I went to Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. So when I talk about being in church, I know what I am talking about. But I grew up missing something. It was not my parent’s fault. It wasn’t the fault of the ministers and teachers that I had, but something was missing in my life. Something that I did not find inside the church. I found it at my lowest part of my life. I found it when I was down and out. I found it out in the world when I was at my wit’s end. That is when I found what everything is truly about. That is when I found true relationship. But not just any relationship. I found a relationship with Jesus, my best friend.

Now before you toss this newsletter aside as just another story from a pastor, I want you to understand what I mean when I say relationship. Promise me that you will read this whole article and truly like about what I have to say before you pass judgment. I promise that it will change your life.

Relationship is a very hard thing to define. We all have a lot of relationships in our lives. Parents, children, brothers, sisters, friends, coworkers, the list goes on and on. Each relationship is different. Each one has a deeper level of meaning and commitment to it. Your relationship with your spouse is different than the one you have with your boss. Your relationship with a sibling is different than one with your parents. The closer the relationship is, the deeper the meaning behind it and its importance to you. When my kids were younger, I used to play a little game with them when I tucked them into bed. I would kiss them on the forehead and then say “I love you”. Then they would say, “I love you.” Then I would say, “I love you more” and they would reply, “No, I love you more.” And we would go back and forth for quite a while. The truth is that they cannot love me as much as I love them. No child truly understands unconditional love until they have children themselves. I would give up my life for them without hesitation. If I had to give up a vital organ and die so that one of them could live, I would. Would I do that for a stranger?

Maybe. Would I do that for one of my children? In a heartbeat.

So what does all of this have to do with hating religion? Simple.

Religion is a dead, man made organization. Relationships are about interaction, about communication, about love, and vibrant life. Jesus did not come to Earth to establish religion. It was already here when He arrived. The Jewish religious leaders, the Pharisees, had rules upon rules upon rules. They called it “The Law”. It was so packed full of regulations and requirements that no one could keep it, not even them. What Jesus was about was life.

“I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.” – John 10:10b

Jesus wanted people to know Him. When He came to a town, He went to where the people were. He would talk to them. He would listen. He would help them right where they were. Look at the Bible has to say about how much Jesus wants to have a relationship with us:

“God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being.” – Acts 17:27-28

“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” – Proverbs 18:24

“My command is this:Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:12-13

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” – John 3:16-17

Jesus came so that He may help us know God better. You see God had a plan when He created everything. He made this planet so that He and us might live here together. Walking, talking, sharing, interacting together as God and His children. But like most kids, we rebelled. You know the whole story about Adam and Eve, the forbidden fruit (No one said it was an apple.), and that sneaky snake. Well, that whole act of rebellion made it very hard for God to have a relationship with us. You see, God is perfect and without any faults. In fact, He is so perfect that He cannot have a relationship with someone who is not. That is why Jesus arrived here on Earth. Not so He could be the subject of thousands of books and Hollywood movies, but that He could help us return to our original purpose for being alive . . . relationship with God.

It works like this: Jesus came to this Earth born of a virgin named Mary. Then He lived a life that was without fault or problem. In fact, He fulfilled every stinkin’ law that the religious leaders of that day had made up. Then He freely gave Himself over to be put to death for crimes He did not commit. He never argued with his captors. He never cursed them as they drove spikes through his wrists and feet. Then, while He was hanging on that wooden cross, He assumed all the responsibility for every bad and horrible act that anyone had ever done or would do. God, being perfect, turned His face on Jesus while He was hanging there. Then, Jesus died. But wait! That’s not the end. After being in a tomb for three days, God gave Jesus the power to come alive and walk out of that tomb. He had done it.

Jesus made a way that we could again be in relationship with God by assuming the responsibility for our actions. It was the death and sacrifice of an innocent man that allows us to have a relationship with God as was the original plan. Jesus freely gave His life so that we might live. In fact, that what the Easter Sunday thing is about. Not wearing funny looking bonnets or dipping hard boiled eggs in colored vinegar, but celebrating what Jesus did for us.

“So that’s it? Jesus died and now I can go to heaven when I die?” Well, that’s is not totally true. There is a part that we play in this whole relationship. But, it is very simple. Yes, Jesus died on the cross and provided us with a way to restore our relationship with God, but if we do not accept this free gift, then we still have a blockage to our relationship with God. It is like gifts under the tree at Christmas. If you don’t accept them and open them, you will never get the gift. So we have to ask God to give us the free gift that Jesus gave with His death and then we are back in relationship with God.

Having this restored relationship is what make us a “Christian”, or “little christ”, which is what the word Christian means. Being part of a religion doesn’t make us a Christian any more than going to McDonald’s makes us a hamburger. We go to church to be able to know how to improve our relationship with God. We go to church to help other people with their relationship with God. We go to church because we want to, not because we have to.

Here at Hole in the Roof Ministry Center, we want to help you in your relationship with God. We want to encourage you, teach you, and help you grow closer to the One who created you. God wants a relationship with you so much that He allowed His Son to die for you and me. Why not come to one of our meetings and see what this whole relationship thing is all about? We promise not to tie you down and make you memorize all the books of the Bible and write a huge check before we let you leave. You don’t have to wear a suit and tie. You don’t have to dress like you are going to a funeral. Come as you are. We just want to help you find the joy of knowing God intimately. I promise that you’ll have fun at church again.


this is the thought i was having yesterday and the revelation from GOD while talking to a colleague. i am surprised and even so amazed that there’s already one who made this thought in writing or who made my thoughts tangible to my senses (coz i can’t construct a chronogical sentences for my thought!). so thank you Paul Hamilton. I’m second the motion.

Many are misled really but hey it’s still not late to establish that geniune thing with GOD, our Father, our Friend, Councelor, Brother, Teacher, Boss, etc., etc.

Posted on Sept. 12, 2010