Taking Ownership by Ps. Sam & Somey - (22nd April 2018)

Mark 2:1-12

1 And again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house.
2 Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them.
3 Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men.
4 And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying.
5 When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.”
6 And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts,
7 “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
8 But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts?
9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’?
10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic,
11 “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”
12 Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

This miracle took place during the beginning of his Jesus’ ministry. Let’s divide the whole passage into 4 parts and look deeper into what God’s word is showing us.

  1. Taking Ownership of the place

This was a small town on the northeast shore of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus made his headquarters during his ministry.

Thing to note here – It was a small town/village.

Wherever the Lord has placed you, you taking the ownership of the place is the primary responsibility and principle when spreading God’s teaching or His word

When Jesus gave the ‘Great Commission’, He said -Acts 1:8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

To Jerusalem > Judea > Samaria > Ends of the Earth

Today, no one wants to go to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria but everybody wants to do all over the world.

Looking at the life of Jesus, the ministry of the apostles, their witness was place-to-place & where-God-placed-them. Then, they went all over the world.

This happens to be a fishing village where writer of ‘The Gospel according to Matthew’ says “and came to His own city.

Matthew 9:1, 2
1 So He got into a boat, crossed over, and came to His own city.
2 Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed.

It was probably

  • Jesus’ Headquarters
  • Jesus’ would have adopted it

This is so because,

  • Majority i.e… 5 apostles were from this place.
  • It was called his city.
  • Jesus’ fulfillment of the prophesy in Isaiah 9:1,2 referenced in Matthew 4:12-16
  • This was where Jesus began his ministry.

Also, this was a hard city which the Lord Jesus ever ministered in his life.

Matthew 11:23, 24

23 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be[d] brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
24 But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the Day of Judgment than for you.”

This teaches us to – Take ownership of the place where God has placed you and commanded you to minister.

This is where the Lord placed you! This is the place the Lord gave you! This conviction should be deep in our hearts
Be active in taking ownership, lest it slip away from your hands!

Testimony:

“The Lord divinely led my wife and me to Karnataka in 1983. It was not how you see it today. In the ’80’s, if any ‘Kannadigas’ were coming to Christ, the missions would highlight about their photos, news saying “amazing testimonies – Kannadigas coming to Christ”. It would be an exciting report when a person from Karnataka would join the ministry.

When the Lord let us to Mangalore, we slowly took ownership of the land and led people to Christ. It’s true that the progress we had was not our ability or our anointing or Charisma, but simply the principle – We learned to take the ownership. Karnataka was in our hearts. Mangalore was our heartbeat.”

  1. The place of Indifference of the paralytic man

What information do we get out of this picture?

  • Has life and was not dead
  • Could not move and dependent on others.

Also, notice that in all the miracles that Jesus ever performed, all sick/diseased men cried out to the Lord requesting for a healing. The miracle was in response to the people’s request of faith.

But this paralytic man is indifferent to his situation. He is neither asking for help or anything indicating the same. Absolutely no record of it. He was habituated to his surroundings.

He might be enjoying his parents or friends feeding, nursing and taking care of him. Absolutely no motivation to find strength in yourself.

If we draw a parallel to our spiritual life, this is the most dangerous lifestyle of a believer.

We have a life but we are indifferent to the things of God, our relationship with Him or the need around us. We get born-again, baptized, settle down in the church, play in the choir, and preach from the pulpit – A place where we are comfortable with our things and not moving forward with what God wants us to do

Let us constantly remind ourselves that the most important thing in a Christian’s life is –

  • Who you are
  • What your supposed to do

This is what revives your spiritual life. Not the ‘One-a-year’ fasting prayer, ‘One-a-year’ community meeting and so on. There should be a constant hunger asking the Lord “What shall I do? Where shall I go?, Whom shall I share your love to?”

What do you think ‘Nominal Churches’ are? They were the most dynamic churches at the beginning of their mission. More radical in conviction and powerful in preaching of the gospel and lifestyle. When time passed by, all this became habituated program – Reading the bible, fasting on Friday, gathering together once a week – All without any deeper conviction or need to hear further from God.

As a born-again believer, we must constantly re-affirm our position –

  • Where do I stand today?
  • Am I close to fulfilling my purpose?
  • Why do I do what I’m doing? What are my motives?

A life of constant examination makes sure to stir up our lives which will not cause a stinking swamp of habituation.

However, the only positive thing about this man is when Jesus asked him to “rise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”, he didn’t argue or reason with.

  1. Persistence of the Friends

The next important point to be noted in this story is the 4 friends of the paralytic man.

Let’s start by munching on this question – What makes up a genuine friend?

  • Present at the time of need
  • Persistent even when you are absolutely no help to them
  1. Love –

If it were up to me, I would visit my friend once.. Thrice at the most, inform that he’s being kept in prayers and leave. It’s hard to keep a friendship of a person who does not contribute anything to the relationship.

Look at these friends who loved the paralytic man so much to take him to Jesus, the Healer. How many of us have friends that are this genuine? Do we ask the Lord to be surrounded by friends like these?

Jesus is the best friend that anyone can ever have because whatever be the situation, problem or concern, He will be present with you – Sometimes He may say no to your requests, but He’ll be there to help you through it.

These are the words of God –

Isaiah 49:15

15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child,And not have compassion on the son of her womb?Surely they may forget,Yet I will not forget you.

We have a companion who will never forget us. What an amazing God and a friend we have in Jesus!

When you see mountains and valleys in your life, do you ask where God is in all this? He is there right beside you and He will rescue, strengthen and guide our life.

How many of us have friends or are friends who when our fellow companion is in trouble, we point out saying –

  • “It’s your unbelief”
  • “It’s your sin”
  • “It’s your curse”

This even the unbelievers do! Now, take these 4 friends for example. What do you think they would be doing siting around their paralyzed companion?

  • How can I help my friend?
  • What can I do to make my friend be normal or give a sense of being normal?
  • Can we take our friend to Jesus?

“Anything we do for the Kingdom of God must be based on our love for God and the people”

Is there a love for people around, where you gather to worship or pray? They may be rich or poor. They may have everything they need to live every day, but do they have the love of Christ?

1 Corinthians 11:26 “ For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.”

This declaration of the Lords death must not stay within the church but go out into the world.

I was reading a story about a woman in Hong Kong who was an atheist but came to know Jesus. When asked whether she ever believed in God, she said “No. That was until I met one of your church members

We may not have much freedom to declare with the mic on the streets, freedom to distribute tracks, go home to home sharing the love of God. But,

“Our testimony as a born again believer cannot stop people from noticing the difference.”

  1. Amazing faith –

Our faith in the church may be amazing. But what about outside the church?

The friends were willing to carry their friend up to the roof. Notice this – Generally, a paralytic man, if taken care of, will be fat due to the lack of exercise.

Let love be our motivation and Faith be our action, all pointing towards Jesus.

Many people expressly put weightage on confessions. The more you confess, the more possibility that you’ll receive.

James 2:26 “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

Confession will have no impact unless it’s translated into action. When a need arises, confession of the Word of God is made, faith is put into action and God will miraculously bring the need to completion.

The Word of God has Power. But, it should be translated into our lives as actions for the Power to be released.

  1. Commitment –

The friends could not enter the house because it was full of people. Did they give up?

How many of us give up on our faith, prayers because it didn’t come to pass the first time around? The second we see that our prayers did not bring the answers we wished, we assume – It’s not Gods will. 

How many people went around the world and died in their mission fields because of their love and commitment for the people.

Coming back to the 4 friends – The houses in those times were similar to ours, here in India. Mud bricked houses with clay tiles on top.When they encountered a problem, instead of giving up, they tried finding a solution.

When you are in crisis or you are facing a problem, find a solution instead of giving up!

Was it easy to carry the paralytic man up the roof, removing the roof tiles and lowering their friend to where Jesus was?

Expression of Faith is hard work. It requires constant commitment.

Anything that we do for the kingdom of God must be hard work. The 4 friends had an amazing faith in the Lord Jesus, an amazing love for their friend to be healed that it was worth the risk.

Are we self-centered in our lives that we do not take the risk of sharing the gospel with others? Do we ask God to fill our hearts with the love of people?

The people around the 4 friends may have shouted at them for trying the impossible; explaining to them that it was not worth the risk.

Faith is not little preaching, little reaching and so on. It comes out from the depth of our hearts as the expression of our confidence in God and love for the people to manifest the power to do what God wants us to do!

  1. Leadership –

Think about the friends climbing up to the roof without a plan and leadership.

“When walking around our ‘Reaching Hands’ orphanage home, I noticed a snake. After catching it, one person said, “Hit the head or else it won’t die”. Someone else said, “Hit the head and burn it”. Another said, “bury it or else other snakes will smell and come”. Several people had several suggestions on how to manage a situation.”

To make sure their friend received his healing, they walked in unity; worked in unity. The bible never talks about the debate they had on who should do what and how they should do it.

I knew that the only way I could succeed in my ministry was the leadership that was given to me. I had people around me who were different in every aspect; language, culture, tribe & tongue. But, they stood strong with me 30-39 years and still pushing us forward.

The effect of a good leadership is the continuous expanse of the vision from whence it caused the leader to take it up.

Love:

1 Corinthians 13:13 “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

If our hearts are filled with love and passion, God can use any one of us for his Glory. He used a donkey to speak to a prophet!It was because of the love that Jesus had for us that he withstood the cross.

Hebrews 12:2 “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Can we ask God to fill us with the same love that Jesus had, the love on the cross to reach out to the people around us? His love will flow into our hearts and overflow into others.

Faith:

How do I increase in faith to do the works that God asked me to do?

Romans 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Hearing includes listening and having it turn into revelation in our hearts. Otherwise, it is useless. So many Bible scholars have learnt the bible without knowing who Jesus really is.

The 4 friends brought 1 friend. Can we ask God for one person to whom you & I can share the love of Jesus? Can this be our every thought? Be our vision?Can we ask God to consume us in finding opportunities, places, people, and resources to share the love of God to people?Does not matter who it is. Start asking God for one person. Just 1.

“The chief danger that confronts the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, heaven without hell.”

― William Booth

 

The Holy Spirit by Joshua - (15th April 2018)

We know that the Godhead is triune – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

We are all aware of the work of the Father in the Old covenant, the work of the Son in making the new one but we stop short of knowing the triune God. Sometimes we call Him, ‘it’ or a force, or a power.

Take a journey with me to know who the Holy Spirit is and how is He related to me….

 

 

The Holy Spirit at creation:

Genesis 1:1,2

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 

2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

Notice two things –

  • The Spirit of God (aka The Holy Spirit) is present at the advent of creation. Rather, than creating, He is, as if ever listening, waiting for something…
  • Hovering –

Hebrew word: rachaph  Meaning: to brood; to be relaxed and flutter, move. 

Hovering/Brooding:

To get a better idea of ‘brood /hover ‘, check this out –

Matt 23:37

37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.  

Notice the phrase ‘hen gathers her chicks under her wings‘ is the image we get when the Spirit was hovering over the uncreated world – as if, gathering to Himself the world even before it was created.

In the Beginning, Unified instead of Numeric:

 

John 1:1

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

We clearly see that the ‘Word’ was present with God in the beginning. But, where then is the Spirit?

Gen 1:26

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

Notice the word – ‘Us’. Interesting isn’t it? Who in the world (beginning of it, obviously) was God talking to?

The hebrew for ‘Us’ has two words –

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Godhead is Three in one.

They are –

  • Inseparable
  • Co-Eternal
  • Co-Existent
  • Co-Equal 

The Person:

Eph 4:30 “ And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

He, The Holy Spirit, has feelings & emotions. He is not just a power, but God Himself in person, personality and character.

 

His job description:

  1. Conviction:

John 16:8

8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment

Acts 2:37

37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

John 16:8-11

 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 
9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 
10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 
11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

All these verses indicate that it’s the job of the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin. He brings the consciousness of sin & shows the world the need of a savior. Much more than that, He bring the sweet realization that Jesus is coming back again and prepares us to meet Him as a bride adorned with white.

  1. Born-Again Experience

 

John 3:5-8

5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 

6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 

8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

The Holy Spirit hovered over the earth ‘in the beginning‘ and He hovers over our lives at the moment we are born again.

 

  1. Sealed

Ephesians 1:13,14

13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 

14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

The Holy Spirit comes & dwells within us after we are born again.

 

  1. Helper

John 14:16

16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever

The words ‘Another Helper’ is wonderfully insightful. Let’s take a look –

Another

Two Words in Greek.

  • Allos – ‘another one but of the same sort/kind’.
  • Heteros – ‘another one of a different sort/kind’

Another One, but of the same kind. For me, the only word that comes to remembrance is – REPLICA. EXACT REPLICA. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is just like Jesus.

So, He does the same thing that Jesus did on the earth. In addition to that, the Holy Spirit is with us forever.

John 14:16-18

16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever

17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 

18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

John 14:25,26

25 “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you.

26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. 

Moreover, He teaches us all things and reminds us of God’s word & God’s promises – provided you read them!

It’s like having your own personal Jesus in you.

IN YOU! ALWAYS! AT ALL TIMES!

He is Omnipresent-At the same time, within all of us.

Helper

Parakletos

‘summoned, called to one’s side, especially called to one’s aid, one who pleads another’s cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defence, legal assistant, an advocate, one who pleads another’s cause with one, an intercessor, in the widest sense, a helper, succourer, aider, assistant, Comforter, one called alongside to help.

To be alongside with us & help us.

Succourer : Someone who gives help in times of need or ditress or difficulty.

What do we have then?

Allos Parakletos – Another Helper!

I’m already excited. Lets seek more…

  1. Revealer of Jesus

John 16:7

7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.

Jesus needed to go for the Holy Spirit to come.

John 16:12

12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 

The disciples were not yet ready for all that Jesus wanted to tell them.

John 14:1

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.

The disciples hearts were troubles because Jesus was going away.

What Jesus couldn’t teach or impart to His disciples in 3 years, the Holy Spirit would carry on & continue to teach us and guide us.

John 16:13-15

13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 

15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.

Takes from Jesus & reveals to us. Whatever belongs to the father, belongs to Jesus.

God the Father reveals to Jesus His heart, who in-turn gives it to the Holy Spirit, after imparting his Grace and Love into it. The Holy Spirit takes this Heart infused with manifold Grace and Love reveals it to us with power; what we call revelation.

 

  1. Witness Jesus

John 15:26,27

26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. 

27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

Holy Spirit comes from the father & testifies about Jesus. Our main aim is to testify about Jesus.

 

 

  1. Greater Things

John 14:1

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.

John 14:12

12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.

The Holy Spirit lives with us & in us – EVER CONSTANT.

When Jesus was with His disciples on the Earth for 3 years, he wasn’t there with them at all times, wasn’t omnipresent. Holy Spirit is with us at all times. 

 

  1. Power

Acts 1:8

8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me[a]in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Hold on, we are just starting…

 

 

He is our –

  • Helper
  • Comforter
  • Counselor
  • Intercessor
  • Advocate
  • Strengthener
  • Stand-By

 

 

  1. Comforter

2 Cor 1:3,4

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 

4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Acts 9:31

31 Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.

The Holy Spirit comforts us in our trials and hard times so that we can be a comfort to others. This is love manifesting in and through us.

 

More to come people of God… Hold on to your seats. To be continued…

Adversity by Sunitha Luke - Part 2 (8th April 2018)

Part 2: Advancing through Adversity

On our previous lesson, we learnt what adversity is. To recap,

Adversity by definition means, a difficult or unpleasant situation, state of adverse conditions, misfortune or calamity that befalls man.

We understood through scripture that there are multiple sources for adversity to come from and we talked about a new perspective on viewing adversity.

Now let’s learn the various reasons for adversity.

Reason 1: Building Strength & Character

Through experience and watching people’s lives, we can infer that generally, the circumstances that we see as setbacks often launch us into periods of intense spiritual growth .Once we begin to understand this, adversity becomes easier to bear.

Rom 8:28

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

We quote this verse quite often. But do we recognize that this is a conditional promise?

This refers to-

  • People called according to his purpose (if you know Jesus as your Savior & Lord, then this is you!)
  • For those who love God.
  • Work together for good.

 

Sometimes this ‘good’ may be blessing in various forms but, it can also refer to a lesson or depth of character developed as a result of adversity.

The reason so many of us struggle with adversity is that we do not see it from Gods perspective. If you read the lives of bible characters, their stories don’t end with “And they lived happily ever after”. Most of them go through just the opposite way. But, we call them legends and heroes.

Spiritual men and women emerge from adversity thankful about what God has taught them. Carnal men and women often emerge bitter and angry with God. Most often, we point out that “all things don’t work together for good” and conveniently forget the second half of the verse.

God wants far more for us than simply living a life that is problem free. He put them through the test of adversity to build us to be more like Jesus. If you are called for a purpose, then God will equip you with the resources and strength you would need. This means, trail by fire sometimes builds character and strength.

James 1:2-4

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness(endurance).And let steadfastness(endurance) have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

The implication here is that by reacting to adversity incorrectly, we short-circuit the maturing process. By resisting adversity we rob ourselves of the work God desires to do in our lives.

God knows exactly how much pressure each of us needs to advance in our spiritual life.

Notice how a butterfly has to come out of the cocoon by itself without any external agency/help. If we help and make the process easy, the butterfly can never fly because the wings have not been strengthened enough. It needs the struggle; the struggle of coming out of the pupa (cocoon) to strengthen its wings

THERE IS NOTHING WORSE THAN A LIFE FILLED WITH ADVERSITY FROM WHICH NOTHING GOOD EVER COMES.

Think about it – Why not tell the Lord , “Lord I don’t like it, but by faith I rejoice that you are up to something good in my life.”

Eventually you will begin to see the ‘good’ mentioned in Romans 8:28 and will begin to experience peace.

Reason 2: May I have your attention, please?

One of the reasons God allows adversity in our lives is so that He can get our attention. It is easy to get caught up in our own activities, our goals, careers, families, and other personal concerns that we neglect to prioritize our lives and we lose our spiritual sensitivity.

The process of becoming spiritually insensitive is not something we are usually aware of. It generally slips upon us ; that too, very slowly. Whatever the case, God knows when it is time to plan an interruption to get our attention.

Ask yourself – How many sermons we sat through, without change? When all is well, we drift into a state of comfort and self reliance. Our prayers become lifeless. ,

To see this in effect, try sharing the gospel to an unbeliever who has no problems in life. It will come to no affect. However, if God has got that persons attention, the gospel breathes life into them.

Such is the strength of adversity. It brings even the most strongest and stubborn person to their knees… It causes us to loosen our grip on things that are of little value and hold on tightly to the only one who can deliver us.

A Biblical example would be – Paul had to be struck blind to get Gods attention. Paul’s temporary blindness was his turning point and through him, the gospel was preached to both the gentiles and Jews, and churches were planted across the roman world.

What about you? What do you think God could accomplish through you if He had your undivided attention and loyalty? He knows; very well, I must mention not only our past but also our potential for the future. And so He will do whatever it takes to steer us in the direction that will fulfil his plans for our life.

Reason 3: Ahem… A not-so-gentle reminder?

One of the reasons we fall into sin so easily is that we forget God will discipline us when we step out of bounds. We forget that His complete knowledge of sin and its consequences compels Him to take drastic measures with us.

But, how far is God willing to go? How much pain will he inflict? Is there a limit to the adversity he may send?

Hebrews 12:5-6

And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

He blinded Paul, he brought Jonah near death. The answer is God will do whatever it takes. He hates pain, but hates sin still more.

 ‘nor be weary when reproved by him’ implies that when we are being disciplined by God, we have a tendency to be discouraged. We will be dangerously open to suggestions by others that cast doubt on the goodness and justice of God. If we are not careful, we will interpret Gods discipline for the opposite of what it really is.

Hebrews 12:10-11

 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Gods goal in discipline is not simply to make us behave like our parents used to, but His purpose is to make us Holy, to bring us into conformity with his Son. He wants to build into our system a hatred for sin, similar to His own.

Reason 4: Examine yourself

Adversities are a way of looking beneath the surface. The winds of adversity blow off the surface issues and force us to cope with things on a deeper level.

Getting at the root where pride, prejudices, selfishness, materialism, anger, bitterness, jealousy, grudges &a judgmental spirit, emotional wounds such as hurts, fears, insecurities  exist and lurk.

We start seeing ourselves for what we really are and not what we pretend to be.

An Example would be of a tile on the floor of a house. A hollow sound in certain areas of the room makes us aware that the area underneath is hollow. If it’s not fixed or re-laid, it will cave in exposing only cement when least expected.

Earlier we discussed about God trying to get the attention of believers who r spiritually insensitive. In this section or reason 4, we can come to a conclusion that those who are committed to doing the will of God and having a desire to grow can go through adversities, to show the truth of the person.

Gods expectations of new Christians are different from those who have been Christian’s for many years. Things such as character development, discernment, surrender of rights and possessions – these are areas of the spiritual life that take a lifetime to develop. He wants to weed out wrong attitudes, incorrect ideas we were taught as children. He wants us to correct our thinking about ourselves as well as our perception of Him. These issues are not dealt with just by confessing sin, it takes much more.

God may either work through the conflict between you and a friend or he may use your spouse, a church member, your pastor, your finance or even your own children. We then become aware of the annoying creaks in the floor of our life.

We can take this a bit further – Those people who are afraid of what the doctor may find and therefore put off the examination are the ones who get themselves into trouble. Its foolish to ignore the warnings your body sends, it’s even more foolish to ignore the warning from God.

Reason 5: Humbling Experience

God allows adversity to root out pride from our lives.

God used Jonah in spite of his rebellion. He used David in spite of his immorality. He used Abraham even after he lied to Pharaoh.

But, what about Nebuchadnezzar? Interesting thought isn’t it? Can you guess what went wrong?

 Proverbs 16:18

Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.

James 4:6

 “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble”.

Satan knows that nothing forfeits mans or woman’s usefulness to God like pride does. NO other sin neutralizes and brings a ministry to nothing as quickly as pride. A believer who becomes proud is living in complete opposition to God and His character. A Christian life is designed to be dependent on God, but the essence and spirit of pride exudes self-sufficiency.

 

Reason 6: Strength and Power in weakness

The greater the odds, the better it is for God. But, your biggest weakness is Gods greatest opportunity. Although, this may sound exciting, read on…

1 Cor 1:27-29

 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God

Adversities always handicap us in some way. They either slow us down physically or drain us emotionally and mentally. They keep us from functioning at 100%. Our minds get divided. Our energy level is low. Even the simplest tasks become major ordeals. Our tempers shorten and the least little thing irritates us to no end.

Adversity is always unexpected and hits us unawares. Yet in the hands of God adversity becomes the means through which His supernatural power is demonstrated.

God allows adversity to cause us to rely on His strength instead of our own.

2 Cor 12:9-10

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

After asking God thrice to remove his thorn in the flesh, Paul finally received an answer. Not exactly what Paul expected.

God told him that He would not remove the thorn. He would however, supply extra strength to carry out His work. God wanted Paul to minister and live out of his weakness not his strength.

Think about this for a moment – The weaker something is, greater its need for strength. When the weak is finally strengthened, the presence of renewed strength is more noticeable by comparison.

Your biggest weakness is Gods greatest opportunity. Instead of complaining and begging God to change your circumstances, why not ask Him to fill that void with His strength? His power will be perfected in you and as you make yourself available. His power will be demonstrated through you, into the lives of others.

Reason 7: Revealing Himself

God is in the process of engineering circumstances thru which He can reveal Himself to each of us.

God’s faithfulness does not always take the form of deliverance from adversity. Many times God demonstrates His faithfulness by sustaining us through adversity. He provides for us what we need to survive through the tragedy. He does not change our painful circumstances. He sustains us through them.

Heb 4:16

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

If you are a believer in Jesus, you have made a decision to trust Christ with your eternal destiny. If our lives are free from pain, turmoil and sorrow our Knowledge of God will be purely academic. That’s not the kind of relationship He wants with his children.

When we are in need God will provide us with mercy and grace. However, this does not talk about change of circumstances, freedom from pain or deliverance from enemies. When God told Paul, my grace is sufficient for you, it meant, “Paul, you will continue to suffer but if you hang in there with me, you will make it.”

Reason 8: Comforted to Comfort

God sends adversity to equip us to comfort and encourage others who are facing similar situations.

2 Cor 1:3-4, 6

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.

To comfort others is to impart strength and hope to them. Me, becoming an effective comforter is not just a byproduct of suffering, but a part of Gods purpose. The best comforter is one who has struggled with pain or sorrow of some sort and has emerged victorious thru the comfort of another.

By strength, I mean Christ’s strength. The job of a comforter then, is to move the other person from relying on their own strength to that of Christ. Sometimes when we hear a testimony, we feel comforted. Why? We come out thinking if God sustained that person through all those trails, He will sustain me as well.

To impart hope is to enable others to take their focus off their immediate circumstances and place it on eternal things. Much of our sufferings will be understood only when we meet Jesus face to face.

2 Cor 4:16-18

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Your response to adversity will determine whether or not God can use you to comfort others. Pointing a person towards eternity is not an act of desperation or a last resort.

Experience alone is not enough. Simply experiencing adversity does not automatically prepare a person to comfort others. Comforting someone is more than saying ‘I understand’ or ‘the same thing happened to me’.

Paul said in 2 Cor 1:4, that he comforted others with the same comfort he had received from God. Only people who have allowed God to comfort them are ready to comfort others. Many Christians are so thrown off course when adversity strikes that instead of turning to God for comfort, they turn away in anger. When that happens they miss the purpose for which God allowed adversity to strike in the first place, they also disqualify themselves as comforters. People who are harboring anger in their hearts cannot comfort anyone.

Did you know?

God is in the process of making you a comforter. He is structuring your experience to prepare your for a ministry in someone else’s life. Dear friends, the world is full of people who need someone who understands. This is the ministry to which God has called each one of us.

Reason 9: Not I, But Christ

Our goals and perspective on life determine our response to adversity. Gods goal for you and me is not ease, comfort or pleasure. Neither is it that we simply have to escape hell and be in heaven.

Ephesians 1:3,4

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.

We discussed several reasons why God allows adversity. These can be thought of as the spokes of a wheel. But what is God really trying to accomplish in all this? Why deal with our pride and independence? Why discipline us? Why make us better comforters? The answer goes back once again to Gods goal for his children.

Colossians 1:21-23

And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,  he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard,

Rom 8:29

 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

God’s ultimate goal for us is to be conformed to the image of his Son, in other words Christlikeness. We rarely take time to look beneath the surface and examine why we do what we do and in whose strength we operate. In stead of getting involved with Gods agenda, we spend our energy trying to get Him involved with what is important to us like, Prosperity, peace, acceptance and so on. As a result, we become religious but not Christ like.

Christlikeness is not ‘self’ camouflaged in Christ like activities. It is an attitude that flows from the very life of Christ Himself as He indwells in the believer. God is not satisfied with well-mannered, respectable ‘self’ on the throne of our lives. He wants to remove all traces of self so that we can be presented to Christ, holy and blameless.

Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

God wants the self-life crucified. He does not want it dressed up, patched up, under control, decorated, or ordained. He wants it crucified. Christlikeness is not simply the imitation of a life. It is the impartation of new life-His life.

Can people come to the cross without having their whole life ripped apart? Absolutely! Taking ‘self’ to the cross is Gods number one goal so far as a person’s sanctification in concerned. Once He begins, He will not let up until self is dethroned and crucified. Then and only then, will you be free to experience the very life of Christ flowing through your personality. Then God will no longer be a means to an end. He will be the end. To know Him will be enough.

The idea of total surrender will no longer leave u paralyzed with fear. Instead it will be the most exciting challenge in life. Christianity was never meant to be a form of self-improvement. God is not interested in improving self. His concern is crucifying it.

Friend, is God marching you to the cross? Is so, does He have to drag you kicking and screaming or do u go willingly? The one who engineered what may appear to be unbearable conditions is the same One who gave His only begotten Son to die for your sins.

How are you responding?

Some common ways people respond to adversity are:

  • Blame game
  • Fight the truth
  • Denial
  • Self-pity

Responding incorrectly to adversity prolongs the agony especially if there’s something specific God wants to teach you. He will not let up until He has accomplished His will.

Don’t waste your sorrows. Work with God not against Him.

Any of the above responses can easily turn into bitterness toward the person/ organization/ God through which adversity comes. At this stage people think about revenge. Whenever there is a routine of imaginary confrontations that go on in your mind, it’s a good indicator that bitterness has set in. Holding on to anger and bitterness is always self-destructive. Both are poisonous. They poison your relationships, decision making ability and your testimony.

How to respond?

When your adversity is the result of Sin:

  • Assume the responsibility: don’t play the blame game
  • Confess and repent of your sin: Agree with God, tell God your have sinned. Repent and make a decision not to return to it. May include ending a relationship, giving back stolen goods, asking somebody’s forgiveness, leaving your job.
  • Do not complain
  • Don’t spend your time gaining people’s sympathy. Use your energy to get things right with God.
  • Ask God to show you that area of weakness through which sin creeped into your life: Do u have any philosophy which you hold dear that’s contrary to scriptures? Do u have a friends who’s a constant source of temptation?
  • Recognize that God wants to use this adversity in your life. In the hands of God any situation works as the right tool.
  • Thank God for not allowing you to get by with your sin. True repentance is followed by genuine gratitude

When your adversity is from God or Satan:

Remember: If God is behind it, He is going to use it for your good. If Satan is behind it, know that he works under Gods Omnipresent, Omniscient & Omnipotent supervision.

  • Reaffirm your position in Christ:
    • I know that I am a child of God.
    • I am saved.
    • I have been placed into Christ.
    • I am sealed with the Holy Spirit.
    • My eternal destiny is determined and nothing can change that.
    • The Lord will never leave me nor forsake me.
    • The angel of the Lord encampeth around me.
    • Nothing can touch me apart from what my loving heavenly father allows.
    • All things work together for my good since I love God and have been called according to His purpose in Christ Jesus.
  • Ask God to remove the adversity from your life
  • Reaffirm the promise of Gods sustaining grace.
  • Thank God for this unique opportunity to grow spiritually
  • Receive adversity as if it were from God.
  • Read and meditate on scriptures describing the adversities of Gods servants – Joseph, Moses, Abraham, Noah and other legends.

Choice is yours

Psalm 119:67

“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word”

Psalms 119:71

It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.

Psalms 119:75

I know, Lord, that your laws are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.

Psalms 119:92

If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.

Final Thought

Suffering is unavoidable. It comes without warning. It takes us by surprise. It can shatter us or strengthen us. It can be the source of great bitterness or abounding joy. It can be the means by which our faith is destroyed or the tool thru which our faith is deepened. The outcome hinges not on the nature or source of our adversity but on the character and spirit of our response. Our response in turn is mostly determined by our reason for living, our purpose for being on earth, from our perspective (as we see it).

If you are child of God and your heart’s desire is to see God glorified thru you, adversity will not put you down. There will be those initial moments of shock and confusion. But the man or woman who has Gods perspective on this life and the life to come will always emerge victorious!!!

 

Adversity by Sunitha Luke - 8th April 2018

Everyone goes through adversity. Tough times are always present. We do get discouraged, disoriented and disturbed when this occurs. What do we know about adversity? What does the Bible speak about adversity?

Adversity by definition means, a difficult or unpleasant situation, state of adverse conditions, misfortune or calamity that befalls man.

Who is behind it? Does the Bible give an answer to this question?

  1. God

John 9:2-3 (NKJV)

2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.

The disciples assumed that the sickness/illness was a sign of Gods judgement on that man. They saw it as a result of something sinful and evil  which either him or his parents did. However, Jesus’ answer is astounding. “works of God should be revealed in him” – This means that the blindness was from God! Wouldn’t it have been more comfortable or pleasing if Jesus would have said “This man is blind because he sinned, but God is going to use it for His glory”?
Tough to hear, isn’t it? Hold on. Let’s get one more.

Exodus 4:11

11 So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord?

This just seals the deal. This isn’t something that we can escape from. Sometimes, God is the engineer of adversities.

2 Corinthians 12:7

7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me..

Notice the following:

  • What was the purpose?

Paul should not be “exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations

  • Whose idea was this?

Gods.

  • Who carried it out?

Satan.

This a new testament example. Paul, the apostle had adversities, one of which he calls the thorn in the flesh. I agree that the Satan was sent to buffet (afflict over a long period) him, but the above verse clearly states that God allowed this ‘thorn in the flesh’ to affect Paul so that he was not “exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations“.

What can we infer here? God allows adversity to affect our life for various reasons.

As a personal testimony, My family under went adversity due to the condition of my son. After the treatment, severe cases of seizures traumatized my son everyday. Blood from his wounds caused by him falling was an everyday sight. But, God with the loving kindness and mercy showed me a writing on the wall – Be prepared to drink the cup I have planned for you.

This sustained me throughout, holding on to the truth that God was with me through this adversity as it was part of his sovereign will.

  1. Our Sin

James 1: 14-15

14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

The best example would an man addicted to alcohol. His choice to take that path brings near the consequences of his desire leading to sin and finally death.

An example from the Bible would be the sin of rebellion. Adam and Eve sinned causing the earth to experience death.

But Jesus our savior, saved us from this very rebellion which brought death. As a foretaste of the life that we would be experiencing, He ministered to the sick and healed ALL of them. That’s life in abundance, which He promised.

  1. Our Doing

Revelation 21:3-4

3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.

4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Pain was not God’s original purpose and is not His ultimate plan. That’s exactly why Jesus came to rescue us.

Gods goodness and power are not to be measured or questioned in the balance of the tragedy and adversity we experience. If His goodness is to be questioned, let it be done in light of his original purpose leading into His ultimate plan.

  1. Satan

Satan’s involvement in adversity extends far beyond his activity in the Garden of Eden. One example from the Bible is the story of job.

Job 1:1

“There was a man in the land of UZ, whose name was job and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.  And the Lord said to Satan, “have you considered my servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.”

Here comes a difficult point for those who believe that adversity must be caused by sin of some sort.  In this story, God seems to be vouching for Job’s character.  As we read through chapter 1 of Job, we understand clearly that Job’s adversity was from Satan and that God permitted Satan to touch Job.

1 Peter 5: 8-9: 

“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  But resist him, firm in your faith…”

This passage is often used to talk about Satan’s involvement in our temptations, but the real context is suffering. Satan wants us to suffer, for suffering often destroys our faith in God. However, we are exhorted to be on the alert so that we will not lose sight of who God is to us, that we may throw ourselves upon our Father for our deliverance in His time and according to His purpose.

Determining the cause of our adversity:

It is often difficult to determine the source of our adversity.  Adversity related to personal sin may be easy to identify.  However, often things are not very clearly identified.  We don’t want to rebuke the devil for something God has orchestrated.  Neither do we want to just grin and bear it if there is something we can do to put an end to our suffering.

The bible does not give us any formula to help identify our source of adversity, and there may be an important reason it is not doing so, because far more important than the source of adversity is the response to adversity.  

Why?  Because adversity, regardless of the source, is God’s most effective tool for deepening your faith and commitment to Him.  The areas in which you are experiencing the most adversity are the areas in which God is at work.  If God is not doing anything in your life, you will not have any problems.  God uses adversity regardless of the source; however, your response to adversity determines whether or not God is able to use it to accomplish His purposes.  

Adversity can destroy your faith if you don’t respond correctly.  It can put you into a spiritual tailspin from which you may not recover.  Everything depends upon your response.

If we spend too much time trying to answer the WHY question, we will miss what God wants to teach us. If it is Gods sovereign will to reveal it to us, it will be done as we respond correctly.

The Power of Perspective

It is often difficult to determine the source of our adversity.  Adversity related to personal sin may be easy to identify.  However, often things are not very clearly identified.  We don’t want to rebuke the devil for something God has orchestrated.  Neither do we want to just grin and bear it if there is something we can do to put an end to our suffering.

The bible does not give us any formula to help identify our source of adversity, and there may be an important reason it is not doing so, because far more important than the source of adversity is the response to adversity.  

Why?  Because adversity, regardless of the source, is God’s most effective tool for deepening your faith and commitment to Him.  The areas in which you are experiencing the most adversity are the areas in which God is at work.  If God is not doing anything in your life, you will not have any problems.  God uses adversity regardless of the source; however, your response to adversity determines whether or not God is able to use it to accomplish His purposes.  

Adversity can destroy your faith if you don’t respond correctly.  It can put you into a spiritual tailspin from which you may not recover.  Everything depends upon your response.

If we spend too much time trying to answer the WHY question, we will miss what God wants to teach us. If it is Gods sovereign will to reveal it to us, it will be done as we respond correctly.

How we see things matters – Because that’s how we will act out.

Lets take an example of Jesus and the raising of dead Lazarus.

John 11:1-10

1 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
2 It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.
3 Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.”
4 When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
6 So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was.
7 Then after this He said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.”

Now let’s concentrate this sentence –

So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was.

Some background –

  • Jesus loved the family of Lazarus
  • Jesus was informed of Lazarus’ sickness before died.

Now the big question – How could He know what he were going through and yet stay away and do nothing about it?

Jesus loves this family, yet he makes no move to relieve their suffering. He knew when Lazarus got the sickness yet he did not move. He knew what Mary and Martha were grieving, yet He did not move. When he died, Jesus stayed more 2 days where He was at.

Strange? What was He thinking? What was going through his mind?

Possibly, the answer to this question will unlock the mystery of Gods perspective on Adversity.

We can infer the following after His miracle:

  • His goal was more important than the suffering and death of His dear friend, Lazarus.
  • His mission was more important than the agony of Mary and Martha.

Much more, was it worth the possible destruction of their faith in Him?

It is at this point – the time between when we ask God for help and the time that He actually does something , that we have our greatest struggles.

One very important note – Jesus’ knowledge of the future did not keep Him from identifying with the sorrow of those around Him. He too cries, you know; with you and along side you. Can you hear him?

Hebrews 4:15

15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Whatever He is in the process of accomplishing through our suffering will always be for our best interest. But the degree to which things actually work out is determined by our response.

Back to the Dead Lazarus –

His purpose was not to cause Lazarus to die, or to cause mental and emotional anguish for Mary and Martha.

His goal was to

  • bring glory to God (John 11:4 When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”) and,
  • to cause others to believe in Him (John 11:42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.”)

Some things to pick up here –

  • More important than keeping everybody healthy was moving people to faith.
  • Nothing gets the attention of an unbeliever like a saint who is suffering successfully. Our words become more significant when they are spoken from a life filled with pain.
  • God still allows suffering that others may come to faith in His son.

Faith Challenger –

If Martha hadn’t removed the stone she could not have seen the Glory of God or seen people coming to faith.

  • Are there stones in your life you are not willing to remove?
  • Have you attached your faith to those things which are dead?
  • Have you allowed your pain to so consume you so that you have forgotten God may have something to accomplish through all this?

What to do when God is silent?

When we read the bible it seems as if God is always speaking to the bible heroes.. Peter through an angel), Paul in the third heaven ,Isaiah, Jeremiah.

What about you?

  • You maybe one among the thousands of singles in this city who is waiting for the right spouse. You are faithful to Gods standards and committed to waiting for Gods best, but nothing is happening. So you wonder is their any point in ‘waiting on God’?
  • You may have a job or career in which you are unhappy. You pray but feel no peace about staying or leaving. You are willing to do the right thing, but God doesn’t seem to be saying anything.
  • Maybe you are dealing with the loss of a loved one or seeing somebody really close to you go through a terminal illness. You are doing your best to make yourself believe that God has a purpose in it, that He has not abandoned you. But in your heart you wonder may be there is no God. If there is on, maybe He is not interested in me.

Slowly your faith begins to shake.

Heroes underwent tests too.

“We can be in our day what the heroes of faith were in their day – but remember at the time they didn’t know they were heroes.” – A. W. Tozer

Joseph never new that God was setting the stage for a key move in His plan to bring salvation to the world.

God had decided to train His chosen people as slaves to a pagan nation. Then by miraculously freeing them from a super power, He would demonstrate to every nation that He was the only true and living God.

How would God get His people out of the land He had given them through Abraham and bring them to a foreign nation?

God chose to accomplish all of that thru one man Joseph. Once he was appointed second in command, there was almost nothing he cud not do. He could invite his entire family to Egypt to settle during the famine. Joseph was the key player in one of the most strategic episodes in the story of salvation. And he never knew it.

What can we learn from the life of Joseph?

  1. Gods silence is in no way indicative of His activity or involvement in our lives. He maybe silent but He is not still.
  2. Gods involvement and interest in our lives cannot be judged by the nature of our circumstances.
  3. His involvement is measured by 2 things- development of our character and the fulfilment of His plan.

Joseph spent about 13 years facing one adversity after another. God was involved in every step of the way even though He was silent. It was through those adversities that He was accomplishing His will. And God will use adversity to accomplish His will in our lives as well.

So what are you supposed to do in the meantime?

Just Trust God!

 

Appointed or Disappointed by Pr.Sibi George - 4th March 2018

 

An opening thought, in the book of The Acts of the Apostles we read about the Athenians: “For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.”
Acts 17:21 KJV

What ‘new things’ does a believer want to hear? Are we just hearers of the word or the doers of His Word too?

Acts 17:22-31
In verse 26
And hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
Acts 17:26 KJV .

The Bible says that God has determined the time and place for us. Do we believe it and recognise it? If we don’t recognise that we are appointed in this time of history, we can be disappointed with God and self.

What are the symptoms of a disappointed person?

God becomes unknown to the disappointed. He seems too far. We may be religious like the Areopagus, but still God can become unknown.
Are we having a daily relationship with our God our Maker, or is He unknown?
Do we call unto Him as Abba father or is He unknown?
The disappointed do not believe their existence is in God alone.
The message of the cross seems foolish to the disappointed .
‘For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.’
1 Corinthians 1:18 KJV

What is the message of the Cross?

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Matthew 16:24 KJV
Are we denying ourselves and taking up our cross and following our Lord? Or are we full of ourselves?
Are we quick to judge, easily angered?

God is constantly reminding us to turn away from our sinful ways and seek Him.
“Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”
Acts 17:30‭-‬31 NKJV

What is preventing us from repenting and seeking God?
Primarily, our Pride. We wish to define our own standards of good and evil. Either we are judging others or condemning ourselves.
God is reminding us :
‘Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
Isaiah 41:10 NKJV

He again assures us through Peter in the book of Acts of the Apostles,
Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.
Acts 10:34‭-‬35 NKJV .

When we seek Him , He is found.

by Pr. Sibi George

Who is leading you? by Pr.Sibi George - 4th Feb 2018

 

Who is leading you?

Acts 13:4-12

This passage draws our attention to three people. Paul, on who knew the truth, lived and preached it with conviction. The proconsul, who was seeking the truth and Elymas, the Jewish false prophet who was deceitful. Here we see God’s power being demonstrated, one man’s eyes was blinded and other’s was opened. The proconsul saw and believed. Elymas knew, was deceitful and was blinded and in his sorry state instead of turning to God he looked for someone to lead him.

Is Jesus leading us or are we looking for others to lead us through, is it the blind leading the blind.

What is it to have Jesus leading us?

1. To be set free from the slavery of sin John 8:31-36
2. To deny ourselves and carry the cross to follow Him
Matthew 16:24-26
3. Learning to love
Matthew 5: 43-45

We many a times fail but as the Bible says in Romans 13 ‘ There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus’ , when we confess and ask God to intervene, being filled with the Holy Spirit we are more than conquerors.

Like the proconsul we may many times be deceived or may be ignorant of the truth, but when God reveals Himself we need to humble ourselves and acknowledge the truth, only then can we transition ourselves from a seeker to one living with conviction like Paul.
But there are times we know the truth but are deceived and also deceive others , like Elymas we are blinded and are just looking for someone to lead us thru. Our justifications to why we sin may be the deception we are living in.

by Pr. Sibi George

The Parable of the two Builders - 28th Jan 2018

Why do you think Jesus told this parable?

Large crowds of people followed Jesus Christ, but they had no idea why they were following. Most times they followed Him because He taught well, some for the miracles that he performed. Jesus knew their enthusiasm did not match their conviction. He spoke this parable to them, asking them to evaluate their commitments, ” Why do you follow Me?”

The three myths we suffer from, today:

1. If we think we are sincere therefore we are right , this is being foolish.

2. Speaking truth statements is the same as being truthful, this is deceit.

3. The truth I claim to live by doesn’t need to be validated, this is arrogance

Jesus spoke this parable to underline the fact that hearing is of no use, it has to be translated into action.

The following are the observations from the parable:

1. Both men built and did exactly the same thing. The parable doesn’t say that one was hardworking and the other lazy. Both worked hard. Working hard is not the same as working right. Working right is working within the will and purposes of God , yes this involves hard work.

2. Both houses were useful until the flood . Usefulness is not an indication of being right. ‘Am I obeying God?’ is the more important question than ‘ Am I useful?’ Our lives are never right until we are right with God.

3. Both the houses were subjected to the same flood.
Experiences in life are not always an indication of your walk with God.*Building on a strong foundation doesn’t guarantee a trouble free life. Problems and difficulties in life always doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with the foundation

Then how do I evaluate my life? On what basis do I know my relationship with God is right?

What caused the collapse of one building?

The flood was the occasion, the reason was the wrong choice of foundation.

Calamities and tragedies doesn’t cause people to lose faith, it lays bare the foundation on which the house was built. It exposes the foundation on which our faith stands.
Adversities can strengthen our faith by revealing to us that our faith is built on a firm foundation.

Both men built a house, but one man dug deeper and built it on a rock. He was not interested in just building a house but he wanted to build it on a rock so that it could stand inspite of the flood. He chose to persevere to dig deep to find the rock.

The rock is the promise of God, it is our Salvation.

Sometimes the rock is difficult to find. Keep digging, don’t give up. God is faithful.
Our faith in God is not an abstract idea , it is a by product of our daily living and our relationship with God.

Jesus challenges us to examine our beliefs. What is our goal for life? What do we live for? Will it last for a lifetime or will it collapse with the first sign of trouble?

Our problem is not flood, but the choices we make.

The important thing in life is not where you are going, but whom you are walking with . Walking with the right person you will always be right. Jesus said ” I am the Way”- If you are walking with Him, you will never be lost.

by Dr. Sunny Philip

The Christmas Story- 17th December 2017

The Christmas story is the greatest Supernova mankind has ever witnessed. An infinite God becoming a finite being, the Creator God coming down in midst of His creation.

As we look into the account of the birth of Jesus Christ, we see God didn’t choose the palace or the elite to be born in our midst. He chose ordinary people to accomplish the extraordinary.

He was born in a stable and placed in a manger, a place no man would choose to bring forth their beloved child. But God chose this mess to bring forth the Messiah only to once again affirm that He is able to bring forth His deliverance in any messy situations if we allow Him to.

We see the Angels declare the birth of Jesus to the Shepherds, what an amazing God who chooses to reveal himself to the lowly. But what are the wise men doing here? In the Bible we see the mention of the wise men in the book of Daniel in the context as that of the astrologers. Were these wise men really sent by God to seek the Messiah or were they the deception of the evil one to draw the attention of king Herod, who in his insecurity ordered the boys below the age of 2yr in Bethlehem to be killed?
Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.
Matthew 2:16 KJV

Something to ponder upon.

Yet we see what was intended for evil God redeems it and reveals Himself.
And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
Matthew 2:12 KJV .

We also see how the evil one time again attempts to thwart the plan of God. The wise men who were not Jews brought Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh to offer to the child which was against the Jewish law.
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child, they opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
Matthew 2:11 KJV

As we continue to read the account of the birth, we see how God intervenes each time and speaks to Joseph thrice in a dream and directs him so as to protect the vulnerable child. We see how Joseph and Mary’s obedience and willingness to go through any inconveniences caused the fulfillment of the prophecy.

Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Matthew 1:22‭-‬23 KJV

This Christmas story is unlike what we have heard in the past. This account completely goes against the idea of luxurious, sparkling clean stable depicted in the Nativity scenes set during Christmas season, the ‘Wise’ Men’s visit to proclaim and celebrate Christ’s birth, the Star appearing to the lead the wise men.

Isn’t Christmas more than the Nativity scene, Star and the visit of the Magi?

Are we missing the true essence of the His Birth?
Are we deceived or are we led to the truth?
Are we willing to be like Joseph, willing to obey the voice of God and discern the end time deceptions?

A Lesson from ants - Pastor Luke - 3rd December 2017

Ants, though they seem so small and insignificant,teach us so many valuable life lessons.

Proverbs 6:6-8 :6 Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! 7 It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, 8 yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.

1. Planning & Stratergy : Ants plan months in advance regarding their food & its storage.

2. Unity : Each ant has unique roles & responsibilities in the ant community.

3. Team-Work : Ants work together to achieve seemingly impossible tasks.Who would believe that Ants even construct their own cities from scratch!!!

4. Humility : Ants are humble and have no qualms about serving fellow ants and helping them with important information, ecspecially regarding danger and food sources.

5. Hard-Work: Ants are very hardworking and carry loads several times their own weight.!!

6. Perseverance : Ants keep working through most of the day and keep going even under the most extreme circumstances.

7. Comeback-ability : They bounce back from the most dire situations.They start building from scratch ,even if months of labour gets destroyed in a few seconds.

Purpose of your mission - 26th October 2017 - Ps. Melven Pereira

What is your purpose in life?
Does your life have any purpose or meaning?
Do you feel at times that you’re on a journey and you dont know where you are headed?

Well i always feel this , especially when i’m having a bad day or going though the furnace that the world throws at me.
Each one of us are created uniquely for a purpose. If we don’t surrender ourself to the Lord Jesus Christ , we eventually are going to surrender ourselves to something like ego, money, lust , pride, anger, fear, expectations of others, unworthiness etc. It is very important to know the purpose for which we are created .

At the beginning of time, God knew that we were going to need a Savior because of our sinfulness. God could have done this in many different ways, but the way He chose to do this was to send His only begotten Son to this Earth. Now God could have immediately sent Jesus to this Earth, but instead He waited many years.

If you look at the genealogy of Jesus Christ in Matthew 1:1-17 and understand the past life of the individuals mentioned in the genealogy , we understand that God used the most unusual cast of men and women to be in the line of the Savior. In simple words He uses the most imperfect of people to do His perfect will.
Philippians 4:13 (NIV) “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

The purpose He created us is to have a relationship with Him. God gives us different talents to serve others. Once you start to put your faith in God, you start to life a life without fear and realise that all things are possible. God chose to dwell within us. Just imagine the possibility of things that we can do , its limitless !!
Ultimately the Children of God, through Jesus Christ our Saviour become a “LIVING STONE “, being built as a spiritual house as mentioned in 1Peter 2:4.

Arise mighty warrior, sons of Issachar - 29th Oct 2017 by Mohan Kumar

Saul had banished David, David was hiding in the caves. When the  word reached David’s friends, they came to visit him.  1 Chronicles 12

Who were these men?
1 Chronicles 12:1 mighty men of war
1 Chronicles 12:2 skilled
1 Chronicles 12:8 men of valor
 
Each of their names are mentioned, why?
1 Chronicles 12:3-13
When you turn up for the battle, your name will be mentioned. 
 
Portrait of a warrior:
When a warrior turns up for the battle, he is armed. 1 Chronicles 12:2
A warrior has only one thing on his mind. Not his home, not his loved ones nor his possessions, but only the enemy.
There is a celebration when he is inducted 1 Chronicles 12:40
He is Skilled 1 Chronicles 12:2
His Appearance 1 Chronicles 12:9
If the foot soldiers were so skilled (1 Chronicles 12:14), then imagine what their chief was capable of (1 Chronicles 12:3).

Saul was a king, someone whom you didn’t want to mess around with. Then why did these men set out to meet  David? 1 Chronicles 12:38. They were Saul’s men, but they came to make David the new king, the Lord’s anointed one. Decide for yourselves to whom your loyalty belongs. 1 Chronicles 12:23. When David was down, they were with him to tell him ” You are the Lord’s anointed one, I am with you, I will pray for you, I will fight for you.” I need a friend the most when I am down, when I have failed, when I am guilty to assure me, pray for me, to fight with me. 
 
They were skilled men, the best. Where are we sending our best men? Christians have better business than to be minor officials in short lived kingdoms. Are we like the Sons of Issachar, who understand the times and know what to do? 1 Chronicles 12: 32
Is our every moment focused on equipping ourselves with the word of God, so that we can turn up for the battle? Do you want to turn for the battle is not the question. The battle will come, are you ready?
 

Mission Impossible - 22nd October 2017

We are on a Mission and that is to do the impossibility through Jesus, Our Mission fields may be different, based on God’s calling in our life , some of us may be the only saved member in our family , that a mission field for you , some at our work places , community etc., but all of this has a common problem. what is it ? We always find ourselves stuck in impossible situations. We face situations like , death , sickness , unforgiveness, broken relationships, habits that we feel impossible to break etc…
But there is hope this is what Jesus said in Mathew 19 : 26 ” “Jesus looked at them and said, with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible”All the disciples in the bible have gone through all this situations, what were they thinking is something we need to understand.

1. Assumptions.
We are often afraid of our assumptions of a particular situations. My all time favourite person in the bible is Peter , he always like to put his head into every thing and then later realise what has he done. Lets read Mathew 14: 22 to 33 , for now verse 26 When the disciples saw him, they screamed in terror, thinking he was a ghost.
The situation is in verse 24 they were scared and wanted help and when their help came, Jesus was walking on water and they assumed it was a ghost. Our assumptions are influenced by the world and the people around us. We need to be very careful with who we listen to . People around us can be classified under two categories
 Very Negative Thinkers– — They see difficulty in any situation
 VIP-Very Inspiring persons– -they see the opportunity in every situation

2. Abilities
In Verse 28 “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you by walking on water.
Here Peter was a an expert fisherman with a PHD in fishing and Jesus was just a carpenter. Peter knew Jesus was just a carpenter and i guess that why he asked Jesus in Verse 28 saying ” If it is you command me to come to you on the ater”.
We often look to our credentials and evaluate, sometimes project, what we can accomplish with our earned skills and abilities. Our skills and abilities are only tools that God uses to accomplish his work in us, with us and through us. In any situation we need to seek His plans first , it may be difficult but yet not impossible. We need
to know God’s will in anything we do . What is practical in the worldly sense in impractical in the spiritual sense .

Peter did not ask the Lord, “Tell me to come to you by swimming…”, he said, “Tell me to come to you by walking on water” – an unusual request from an educated man in swimming. That’s a practical attitude about doing something that looks impossible with men – but possible with God and it comes down to one point A vision without action is just a desire; an action without vision is plain disaster. If we need to start something great for God, start it.
Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5. Paul further elaborated on that passage, “For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.” Php. 4:13.

3. Comfort Zone.
“So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.” v.29 Peter a PHD in fishing knew that the safest place in the sea is the boat , had he not ventured out he would not have experienced the miracle of walking on water. We love to serve God in our comfort zones . But when the days are tough and stormy we re-assess our commitment, and often retreat. In terms of commitment and passion for the Lord’s work, we find two types of disciples:
 The cheering Disciple : The other disciples who were in the boat must have cheered with their fists in the air, “go, Peter, go”, when they saw him walking on sea waves. They are quite satisfied to observe what God is doing. We have many disciples of this type in our churches. They are faithful to attend church events and worship services; they love to see people getting saved, others healed, some others reporting great feats in their ministries; but they themselves are still painstakingly carrying their decades-old struggles.
 The chasing Disciple: But there are a few disciples who come out of their comfort zones and endeavor to discover what God can do through them in the unknown. If we want to experience something of great magnitude, we need to get out of our comfort zones and boldly venture into the unknown. It is there that we can experience God’s mighty works!. “The Journey of a Thousand Miles begins at ONE STEP!

4. Anxieties
When we are about to embark on something new which we have not yet done before , we have a lot o anxiety , can we do this , what will go wrong etc… When Peter walked on water and was enjoying the glory of that miracle. That was when his eyes were on Jesus. We plunge and emerge; rise and fall. Peter’s experience teaches us the following.
a. Don’t get Disturbed in your Focus The waves were pounding the boat, and the wind was fierce, when Peter went over the side of the boat but those did not disturb him. So suddenly, when he was disturbed by the same waves and winds that he brushed aside few minutes earlier, his gear shifted to reverse and his miracle sail went into turbulent sea current. The world distracts us; delays us; and detours us. Our circumstances will still be there in the coming year. Don’t get disturbed or distracted in your focus. Focus on Jesus alone.
b. Don’t get Defeated by your Fears. When his eyes were on Jesus, he had faith; when he was out-of- focus on Jesus, he had fears. The devil has no power to directly harm us if we have been sheltered under the blood of Jesus. But the one tool, and a very effective one, that he can use is fear. He prowls around like a roaring lion, not to
bite or devour us, but to scare us. We live in a world of fears, but there is always a light at the tunnel’s end. And it radiates the face of Jesus, to whom we must focus our attention. Romans 8: 17 , we have not been given a spirit of fear. We sometimes think that our Mission is Impossible? No longer. Jesus said, “With God all things are
possible!” Let us do our part, and experience God’s mighty works transpire in our lives, and our ministries:

1st October 2017 -  Pr. Sibi George

 
We can see the story of what Ananias and Sapphira did and what has happened as a consequence of their lie in Acts 5:1-11. But was it just that lie that killed them? Were they justly justified by God? After all, it’s just a lie that many of us may say every now and then. Did they deserve death?
 
As we read through the lines, the issue truly was not just the lie but both of them conceiving the sin in their hearts for over a period of time (while they were planning to sell their property) by the thoughts filled by satan like pleasing people, fake belief, untruly repentance etc. They were hypocrites and did not truly repent. It is our intentions in our heart that matter to God more than what we actually end up doing. Hence, we need genuine obedience and true repentance that comes from our hearts to receive the forgiveness of our sins. And we need to take every step that takes us towards the right path.

Facing our Giants - Pr. Joshua Senthiappan

1Samuel 17 : David vs. Goliath 
 
1. Fear of man
 
The Israelites were terrified and paralyzed due to Goliath; for 40 days they did nothing.
Proverbs 29:25- Fear of man is a trap. 
David didn’t fear the King or Goliath,he only feared God. David knew his standing before God and knew that only His opinion counted and not others’. 
Daniel chose to Honor God ,rather than the King of Babylon. God honored Daniel and he was  found to be ten times better than the rest. Daniel 11:32 -Those who know their God will do great exploits. Daniel gave God first place in his life and God honored him. Matthew 16:33 Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.
 
2. Fear of failure
 
David didn’t think about failure. He didn’t go into the battlerfield with a back-up plan. David didn’t say – “what if”  
David trusted God. His faith in God was unwavering. 
Psalms 125:1 Those who trust is God are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken ,but endures forever. 
Samson didn’t contemplate defeat when he faced the Philistines one final time. God remembered Samson and gave him the courage to face his fears.
 
3.Fear of Rejection
David didn’t fear rejection or not getting a chance to fight Goliath, he bravely stepped forward. Eliab,David’s elder brother had roots of Rejection,since he had been rejected to become Isreal’s next King. Eliab carries that root of rejection and shooes away David from the battlefield. Rejected people reject people. Eliab felt rejected and hence,rejected David. David wasn’t a victim and didn’t allow himself to get affected.
 
Moses felt rejected since he felt that his parents had abondoned  him while placing him in a basket, albeit to save his life. Moses was carrying the hurts of his childhood when he became a young man and wanted to prove himself to the Israelites. He ran away to midian when he was rejected agian by the Israelites. God had to call him from the burning bush. Inspite of seeing the burning bush,Moses was still afraid. Exodus 4:1 – Moses was afraid of his own people not believing him.
 
  1. Fear of making mistakes

David wasnt afraid of the stones falling short or not reaching their target. He knew that God was the one going before him. David wasn’t afraid about the future,he lived in the present.Isaiah 43: 1&2 -“Fear not,for I have redeemed and called you by name.You are mine.Dont fear the waters and flames.I am with you.”

I John 4:4- Greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world.

Knowing and understanding that God is always with us. Isaiah called himself a man of unclean lips. Jeremiah said that he was too young and people wouldn’t listen to Him. Jer 1:5 – God reassures Jeremiah that even before he was formed in his mother’s womb, He called him and set him apart. When they entrusted themselves into God’s hands ,God blessed them and made them a prophet to the nations. 1Tim 4:12 – Don’t let anyone look down upon you because you’re young, but be an example in every way. Whatever little we have,God will take it and make use of our weaknesses for his glory.

  1. Fear of feeling incapable (inadequate)

David felt pricked when he heard David defying the armies of God. Goliaths barbs at God stirred David up. David knew that the battle wasn’t His,but the Lord’s. He challenges Goliath back in the name of the Lord. David know that all his inadequacies would be covered by trusting in God’s name. David who was the youngest and smallest at home,was also the youngest among the Israelites,but he gave the battle into God’s hands. God did the rest.

Isaiah 59:1 – The arm of the Lord is not too short to save or his ear too dull to ear.

God had seen and heard the affliction of his children and wanted to save them. Who do we turn to when we feel small? Do we look inward or do we look at our all powerful God? Gideon was called a mighty man of valor. Even before Gideon could become a conqueror, God called him a hero at the threshing floor. God looks at us differently. Gideon’s family was the smallest in the smallest tribe in Israel and he was the youngest in his family. God gave him the boldness and confidence.

Psalms 71:6 – Going in the strength of the Lord.

Psalms 23 :4 – Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,l will fear no evil for God is  with me.

How do we face our Giants?

1.Giving our problem to God.

Psalms 55:22 -Cast all your cares upon Him,cause He cares for you. Matt 11:28 – “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden,and I will give you rest.”

  1. Believing in God and not doubting .

James 5:16 -Dont doubt God when you ask Him.

  1. Spending time in His presence.

God will give us the power we need to face our giant -in his presence. Psalms 91:1 – He who dwells in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the almighty.

4.Trusting in God to bring us through the storm.

Phi 1:6 -The good work He has begun,He will bring it to completion. Trust in Him and rest.

5.Confessing the Word of God.

When we feel afraid ,we need to confess the word of God. Psalms 27:1-3 –2Timothy 1:7 – God has not given us a spirit of fear, but He has given us a spirit of Power,a spirit of Love and a Sound Mind.

Facing our giants-knowing who we are

Whose are we ?

Who do we belong to? Ps 139: 13-15 Created by God.

Knitted together in our mother’s womb,we are His workmanship.We are created in the image of God. Fearfully and wonderfully made.Looking at ourselves the way God looks at us. Proverbs 28:1 – The righteous are as bold as a Lion. Romans 8:37 -We are more than  conquerors through Him who has loved us.

2.He has chosen us.

1Peter 2:9
We belong to Him and He called us to declare His name.

  1. Our worth is tied us with His son -Jesus.

Our worth is not determined by what we own ,but that He bought us and gave His son in exchange for us. Romans 8:15-16 -We are God’s children . We can call him “Abba Father”  and boldly enter His presence. 

4.He loves us just as we are.

Nothing we can do can make Him love us more or nothing that we’ve done can make Him close the door.”This is my beloved son/daughter with whom I am well pleased”.

5.Whose glory do we reflect?

God has given us His Glory-made us slightly below angels.We reflect the glory of the living God

Heart of a Missionary- Pr. George Cherian

 
We are called to go into the World, to make disciples of all men,discipling them and teaching them to obey God- *Seek,Disciple,Baptize and Teach.*
 
Jesus has been given complete authority over all the Earth. Wherever we go,He is always with us. The Heart of the great commission is to go and make disciples. 
The work of the church is to fulfill the great commission. 
*All things to all people, that by all means I may save some – 1Corinthians 9:22*
 
Run to Win – 1Corinthians 9: 24-25 
The great commission is a command,not a suggestion. 
We have been commissioned by the Heavenly King.
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Death alone should stop our mission. 
Jesus said,” As the father has sent me, I am sending you” – John 20:21
 
“You shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem,Judea,Samaria and to the ends of the Earth.”- Acts 1:8

Eternal Perspective -10th Sept 2017 - Pr. Vandana Sibi

1 John 2: 28-29. 
Why is John exhorting the church to introspect their lives so that they don’t shrink away or be ashamed at the second coming of the Lord. More than a joyful anticipation we are gripped with fear or a sense of lack when we hear of the Lord’s coming. 
We should have a relationship with God such that we are prepared to be confident and unashamed to face Him at His second coming by exercising the righteousness which comes from God.
 
The parable of talents (Matt 25:14-21) reminds us that it is expected of us to be faithful stewards of the talents that God has entrusted us.
 
In my understanding after reading 1 Timothy  6:1-15,  I was led to consider these as the ten talents God has entrusted each one of  us with.
 
*’Submission’*  is an inclination to yield to leadership knowing that God is the One who has placed the respective authorities over us. Submission is not about agreeing to everything said, putting the will of the person before the will of Christ nor withholding oneself from voicing out his / her concerns and opinions.
 
Romans 13:1-7 and 1Peter 2:13-25 
*’Excellence’* a quality which is unusually good and so surpasses ordinary standards. This does not mean we need to be perfect in what we do but do it to the best of our ability like we are doing it unto God (He knows our hearts and abilities).
 
Daniel 6:3 and Colossians 3:23 
*’Diligence’* – putting a steady, earnest, energetic effort in everything we do. Diligence is not shown because of the position occupied nor the dependence of the task on oneself. Joseph who was a slave in Potiphar’s house. He had diligently worked day in and day out and God lifted him from a slave to be the prime minister of Egypt.
 
Proverbs 22:9 and Proverbs 31  
*’Discernment’* –  As Charles Spurgeon said it is not about differentiating between the right and wrong but differentiating between right and almost right. When the church is constantly bombarded with so many false doctrines and false teachings, we must  be on gaurd and exercise the spirit of discernment. 
 
1  John 4:1-6 
‘Contentment’-  The Bible calls us to allow our convictions , not our circumstances to govern our sense of contentment. Contentment is allowing God to be more than enough. 
 
Philippians 4:12-13 
*’Humility’*- is not self depreciation but having a modest view of oneself. It is not about looking at oneself but about looking into God
 
John 13:3-4 
*’Righteousness’* – the quality of morally right or justifiable. It is the contrast of wickedness. 
 
Leviticus 19 
*’Godliness’* – The quality of being devout. Devotion is not an activity it is an attitude towards God composed of three elements: the fear of God, the love of God and the desire for God. The practice of Godliness is  a discipline that focuses on God not on oneself. 
 
Luke 5:16 
*’Perseverance’* – pressing on at every point in life. As C.S. Lewis said It is perseverance that helped the snail reach the ark’
 
Revelation 2:10, James1:12 and Ephesians 6:18 
*’Obedience’* – taking the Word of God at face value; and do what God has asked us to do.
 
John 14:23  
We should live our lives with eternal perspective in mind because what we do here on Earth echoes in eternity. Only God can provide us with an eternal perspective as we submit to His absolute authority.

God yesterday, today and forever - 3rd Sept 2017 - by Pr. Natasha Melven

The God who freed the Israelites from slavery, who separated the Red sea, fed thousands, healed many people is the same God whom we serve. He has never changed and will never change (Habakkuk 3:2). 
 
Inspite of witnessing all the unimaginable miracles, the Israelites grumbled, murmured and complained but Moses always encouraged them by reminding them of the good deeds that God has done (Exodus 14:5-27). Sometimes, we also grumble and complain of the difficult situations that we are going through but remember the good things that God has done in your life already and read the Word of God and talk to godly people to get encouraged to face this situation.
 
To face Goliath, David remembered the battles that God has fought for him and believed that God will fight this battle also for him (1Samuel 17:37). All that the woman with bleeding issue had done was to believe that Jesus was able to heal her (Matt 9:20-22). That is exactly what we ought to do.
 
As we introspect ourselves by remembering what God has done for us in the past, we can believe that miracles can happen in our current situations too (Luke 8:50-52). We should have faith like a mustard seed which is perfect round in shape, which means  perfect faith and just falling onto Him who gives you rest. Our God is a God of miracles, He will only allow situations in your life which you can handle. He knows you and loves you.

6th Aug 2017 - by Sibi George

God has called us to be the salt and light in this dark world around us (Matt 5:13-16). He has promised that He will be our defense and we need not fear any evil (Ps 27:1-3). In every situation in our life, we can look up to the cross for hope. However, the way to the cross is narrow which means we need to make an intentional effort to live by godly standards. Our God is holy and cannot accept sin but He is also loving and gracious that He has given His Own Son to die on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins. So, to follow this narrow path, God has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us and help us (John 14:26). Hence it is very vital for a Christian to depend on the Holy Spirit in their everyday lives.

John 7:37-38 says,” 37On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.38Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” which means in times of need we have to run to God first, whom we believe, so that He will give us power not only to face that situation but also the power to touch the lives of other people in similar need. For all of this to happen, we need to stand firm in our faith (2 Cor 1:23) with the help of Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit is a person with whom we can communicate and have a relationship with. We need to testify about God with the help of the Holy Spirt (John 15:26-27). The Holy Spirit will also teach us and convict us about sin, righteousness and judgement which Jesus talked about during His life on earth (John 16:7-11). To please God in our everyday life, we need the Holy Spirit to dwell in us. But usually, as our faith in God ages, we tend to disobey or stop listening to the Holy Spirit due to which His power may not be manifested through us to the fullest. Although our body is full of sin-which is inevitable, He will give us life (spiritual & physical) through His righteousness (Rom 8:9-11). Hence, we need to continuously trust and depend on Him.

Also, the Holy Spirit himself bears witness that we are children of God. And if we are His children, then heirs i.e. fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him so that we may be glorified with Him (Rom 8:14-17). This leaves us with a great responsibility and purpose to stand for Christ and have a relationship with Him every single day, testify about Him and share with many people our understanding of the out-flowing love of God wherever we are placed, to be glorified and have eternal life with God when He comes again.

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