Mission Sunday Special: Build the Wall by Ps. Sibi -August 26th 2018

John 13:1-17 talks about Jesus washing the feet of His disciples. The most profound principle at work here was this -The feet were dirty because the walk was on different dirty grounds, gathering different types of dirt. Yet, Jesus became a servant to wash the feet.

Remember, they were dirty, stinky feet. Even worse was the fact that Jesus knew who would betray Him; yet he washed his feet.

He asked us to do the same.

When we wash people’s feet in spite of them being dirty, we show that we love that person; this alongside our challenges and weaknesses.

John 3:21

21 But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.

Truth is practiced; taking effort & spending time in cultivating it. What comes naturally to us is sin and all that Satan represents.

Practice also means falling the nth time and getting up, dusting yourself and practicing again for the (n+1)th time. As this process keeps occurring, God’s truth becomes our goal, God’s passion becomes ours and His righteousness covers us all.

 

Mission of New Life Fellowship Church:

To establish Christ-centered, Spirit-filled, Bible-based churches that Grow& multiply across nations, so as to transform lives and communities.

We must be –

  • Christ -centered, not people-centered.
  • Spirit-filled. We may not be there yet, but this should be our road to fulfillment.
  • Bible-based, not my-understanding-based. Even though, experience plays apart in our Christian walk, we must make sure that every bit aligns itself accurately with the Word of God.

Our whole point is not to turn people for our gain. To illustrate, look at the vaccine Polio.

UNICEF & WHO knew that the only way to irradiate the deadly, maiming disease would be to vaccinate the whole world. They had the cure, they went to the whole world with it!

If we know that Christ is the only cure for the disease of Sin, then how much more should be we out in the world spreading the vaccine to every soul!

Another illustration would be –

If a man is fallen in a sewer and is crying for help, your first order of things would be to reach out in assistance.

Then, wash the man to remove all the dirt the man has on him. Is it sufficient to remove the dirt outside? Or should we be cleaning the man on the inside also, as there is a possibility that he may have consumed some of the drainage.

It is not enough to remove the man from the sewer, but remove the sewer from the man.

There is a world out there that is helpless and dying with the disease of Sin. We have the cure for mankind – Jesus.

Let us focus not be on our work and family but also in preaching and teaching the world about Jesus. When we die, which is highly evident, only that which is done for Christ will remain.

This should be our mission. To broadly classify and list it out –

  • Edify through word, worship, prayer and fellowship
  • Equip through discipleship.

This is quite important. Being baptized into the community of the church is a commitment that to follow Jesus. This requires learning in discipleship.

  • Envision through intersession, inspiration and impartation.
  • Empower by laying of hands and releasing resources.

The church of Electronic City has a God-given mission –

Isaiah 42:6,7

6 I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness,

And will hold Your hand;

I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people,

As a light to the Gentiles,

7 To open blind eyes,

To bring out prisoners from the prison,

Those who sit in darkness from the prison house.

Notice this –

  • called You in righteousness” – God is the one who equips
  • will hold Your hand; I will keep You” – The profound faithfulness of Him who has called us
  • give You as a covenant to the people” – We are the ambassadors, sent ones
  • light to the Gentiles” – We are the light to expose the darkness
  • open blind eyes, bring out prisoners from the prison” – Our purpose and passion.

 

Isaiah 61:1

1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,

Because the Lord has anointed Me

To preach good tidings to the poor;

He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,

To proclaim liberty to the captives,

And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

Isaiah 60:1-3

1 Arise, shine;

For your light has come!

And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.

2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,

And deep darkness the people;

But the Lord will arise over you,

And His glory will be seen upon you.

3 The Gentiles shall come to your light,

And kings to the brightness of your rising.

 

The Mission to rebuild the Wall

Nehemiah 1:1-11

1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah.

It came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the citadel,

2 that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.

3 And they said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.”

4 So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

5 And I said: “I pray, Lord God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments,

6 please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father’s house and I have sinned.

7 We have acted very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.

8 Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations;

9 but if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.’

10 Now these are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great power, and by Your strong hand.

11 O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”

For I was the king’s cupbearer.

Context –

  • in the twentieth year” – Possibly, Nehemiah was living under the king for 20 years.
  • survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem” – The temple was constructed and a remnant were living there.
  • wall of Jerusalem is also broken down” – The temple was built but no wall around it.

In modern Christianity, there is a form of godliness but no walls. What then is the use of walls?

  • We can easily be attacked.
  • We have no boundaries
  • The world is allowed to mingle with the separated ones.

When there is no wall, our priorities get defined by the world and not by the word.

The church must grow in her –

  • Purpose
  • Presence
  • Persecution

If you notice, all the churches in the world are praying for the same things –

  • Unity
  • Boldness
  • Passion for His Word and His Presence
  • Anointing

The church is rendered useless because the walls are broken.

When Nehemiah realized that the walls surrounding the temple in Jerusalem lie crumbing, he did the following.

  • Recognize the crumbling walls:

If we are to build walls, we must realize that the walls that exist are broken. People around us have broken walls; in our family, church and across the Entire church.

  • Fast & Pray:

The endeavor being undertaken is impossible to complete without God’s hand working through us.

Fasting and praying is mere humbling yourself before God, recognizing the insufficiency and inadequacy of your strength to complete this stupendous task.

Isaiah 41:10

10 Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

Our general reaction when faced with the problems of this life is always looking toward and inside yourself, for strength and resolve to face and solve it; this is where we fail!

Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” – This surely and foundationally removes all subjectivity and allows the consideration of God as the sole proprietor of this task!

Nehemiah didn’t just pray for a day or two.  “mourned for many days” & “I pray before You now, day and night” – This shows the fervor he had for something he recognized he could never accomplish, the passion he had for something he never thought he’d ever see or recognize again.

  • Seek forgiveness:

The primary thought of Nehemiah was to seek God’s assistance by weeping for Israel’s sin.

It was the sin of Israel that led to her being destroyed. It was the sin of Israel that Nehemiah repented for. He did not differentiate himself form their sin but took upon himself the sin of his fathers and his nation to pray.

  • Remember God’s promises:

If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations; but if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.”

This suggests that Nehemiah took God’s promise and stood on it.

Isaiah 55:11,11

10 “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,

And do not return there,

But water the earth,

And make it bring forth and bud,

That it may give seed to the sower

And bread to the eater,

11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;

It shall not return to Me void,

But it shall accomplish what I please,

And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

God’s promises are ever binding and will accomplish that for which it was sent out for. Its His promises and His name is on the line.

  • Plan of Action:

let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.” For I was the king’s cupbearer”

Nehemiah had a plan of action. He did not fast and pray with empty hands, but with plans which he laid out before God.

Do you have a plan for what you want to see God accomplish in your lives?

A vision that God has placed in your heart?

Nehemiah was a cup bearer to the king but he wanted to be a civil engineer!

Does your mission and plan look absurd and Impossible? If you are willing, God will lead you to accomplish.

Rom 12:1,2

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

  • by the mercies of God” – It’s by His mercy that God allowed us to be reconciled to Him. It is by his mercy that we can offer our lives as a living sacrifice.
  • present your bodies a living sacrifice” – This is required of every believer; a life of sanctification. A willingness to die to ourselves and a resolve to offer our bodies to Him.
  • prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” – Before you want to know the perfect will of God for your life, what are you doing with the revealed will of God – His Word?

God will fulfill His will in your life, when we

  • Put ourselves on the altar as a living sacrifice
  • Transform our mind and do not conform to any pattern of the World
  • Practice the revealed will of God

Start your journey with Obedience to the Word of God, Offer yourself as a living sacrifice and be willing to transform your thinking in accordance to His word.

Comparisons and its comrades by Ps.Melven-19th August 2018

The world is on the edge of collapse and we call it the end-of-days. When the persecution comes, which it will, we have to have our basics/foundations right to remain strong.

Revelation 12:15-17

15 So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood.

When there’s a crack in the foundation, perhaps due to a overgrown root or accumulation/stagnation of water causing the foundation to collapse.

To recapitulate what we spoke about, we can broadly classify the consequences of bitterness as –

  • Deception
  • Defilement/Stained
  • Depression

So, what can we do to have this removed?

  • Plant

Psalms 92:13,14

13 Those who are planted in the house of the Lord

Shall flourish in the courts of our God.

14 They shall still bear fruit in old age;

They shall be fresh and flourishing,

  • Water it

Psalm 1:1-3

1 Blessed is the man

Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,

Nor stands in the path of sinners,

Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,

And in His law he meditates day and night.

3 He shall be like a tree

Planted by the rivers of water,

That brings forth its fruit in its season,

Whose leaf also shall not wither;

And whatever he does shall prosper.

  • Fertilize it

Luke 13:6-9

6 He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none.

7 Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it [b]use up the ground?’

8 But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it.

9 And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’ ”

All this arises and concludes into one promise –

2 Kings 19:30

30 And the remnant who have escaped of the house of Judah

Shall again take root downward,

And bear fruit upward.

One of the prominent roots that needs to be addressed is – Comparisons.

Where do you first experience comparisons?

As a child – “Oh look. She resembles her mother so much

This may have been innocent but, as life flies by, comparisons roots itself so deep that it becomes second nature.

John 21:18-23

18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.”

19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”

20 Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?”

21 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?”

22 Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”

23 Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?”

To provide context –

Jesus is talking to Peter about feeding His sheep. As he does so, Jesus also mentions how Peter is going to die a martyrs death.

Peter may have been afraid to die a martyr’s death and hence, it is highly evident that, that is the reason he betrayed Jesus. Nonetheless, Jesus reassured him that he would die a martyr’s death.

Now, Peter turns around and points to John and asks (in plain words) “What about Him? He is also going to die a horrible death also?

The Curse, Effect and Cure for Comparisons.

Curse of Comparison:

  1. Creates a Inferiority or Superiority complex:

We either feel inferior or superior to the person we are comparing to; in other words, Insecurity or Pride.

  1. Produces an anger toward God:

Before any sort of comparing, we know that God is in control and He gives/take away. In the process of comparison, we show our bias or anger toward God.

When we see our fellow bother or dear friend enjoying life, eating and making merry, we tend to gravitate our anger towards God as a result of our envy.

Produces anger towards people around you & toward yourself.

This generally trickles down from God towards people, as anger consumes you and then it finally falls on top of you. The weight of comparisons will breed hate toward yourself.

Matthew 27:37-40

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Loving God is partly full as the love and fervency you have for God should not find any other place. However, loving ‘your neighbor’ originates  within yourself.

If you do not love yourself, how then can you love your neighbor?

  1. Opens the door for Satan:

 

James 3:14-16

14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth.

15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.

16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.

Envy is jealousy toward a persons good possessions or good times. This is an open door to the demonic.

Psalm 106:16,17

16 When they envied Moses in the camp,

And Aaron the saint of the Lord,

17 The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan,

And covered the faction of Abiram.

Also, Pilate knew that Jesus was delivered into his hands because of the envy of His own people.

Causes of Comparisons:

Remember, this may not be easy to read or live out, but Jesus promises to be there with you every step of the way!

  1. Lack of acceptance:

Lack of acceptance of what God has made/designed me to be. It can also appear the form of hating what gifts & abilities God has placed in your life.

The Lord does not give anyone the whole package. Only Jesus had this in Him.

This is the reason God, in His  stupendous foreknowledge, choose uneducated fishermen & educated teachers to reach our to us, educated folk. And, without seeing the magnificence of the greatness of God, we act uneducated and foolish to compare ourselves with the world or our fellow brethren.

Each one of us have a part to play in building up of the whole architecture of the Church. Each one of us is important.

1 Cor 12:7,11

7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:

11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

Should we then get envious of the gifts others have? God knows which gift(s) you can handle.

  1. Lack of identity:

Lack of what we are in the Lord. Possibly the desire for a title or the apprehension of taking on one.

2 Corinthians 10:12

12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

Do we dare ‘class ourselves‘ – This is the major issue occurring in church today!

When we begin to compare, it becomes demonic, sensual and earthly. Envy & Jealousy are the associates of comparison.

Envy is related to the objects/things in someone’s possessions whereas Jealousy is specific to people.

  1. Covetousness:

Col 3:5

5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

In a basic sense or if covetousness is , bluntly, greed with a mask.

E.g.: You are not happy with what you have but would like to have someone else’s things.

How can covetousness  become idolatry?

When something takes the place of God, it becomes Idolatry. And, taken at its literal context, covetousness  keeps the thing/possession you want in the place of God.

Rom 1: 21-25

21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,

23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves,

25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

Things to notice –

  • They knew God” – Do you know God, like He wants to be known?
  • nor were thankful” – The entire passage revolves around being thankful and the negative aspects of not being thankful.

Thankfulness is the basic aspect of Godly-Living.

How to glorify God?

When your focus is on things/people other than God, then you are attributing to them the glory due to God.

In simple terms, what can you do to make sure you glorify God.

Cure for comparisons:

  • Magnification:

The process of magnification is quite simple. What you place before the magnifier, magnifies.

Ask yourself this – What is the big picture in your life today?

Magnifying anyone/anything other than God gives access to the devil.

  • Thankfulness:

Showing gratitude towards God.

Gratitude is Grace-attitude. When you believe that all that you hold & have today is God-gifted; something that you don’t deserve, the natural reaction is heart-filled thankfulness.

How you respond to the grace of God is imperative!

  • Renewing your mind:

Rom 12:2

2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Col 3:2

2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

How do you renew one’s mind?

Luke 10:27

27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

The only way to love the Lord is to spend time with Him –

  • Reading his Word
  • Praying and resting in His presence

When you choose the Lord and His word above all else, then you magnify & glorify Him.

Again, all this boils down to one promise.

2 Kings 19:30

30 And the remnant who have escaped of the house of Judah

Shall again take root downward,

And bear fruit upward.

Shall again take root” – Remember, God is grace & grace always gives second chances.

 

The Root of Righteousness by Ps. Melven : 5th August 2018

 

As we spoke on a previous occasion, we noticed the devastation and consequences of having a root of bitterness. We specifically outlined the symptoms of having a deep root of bitterness.

Today, we will delve into what a root of righteousness can do and how to plant, water and grow it.

As an introduction, lets read some scriptures that should give us an overall picture and basis to frame this topic on –

Proverbs 12:3

3 A man is not established by wickedness,

But the root of the righteous cannot be moved.

Proverbs 12:12

12 The wicked covet the catch of evil men,

But the root of the righteous yields fruit.

Col 2:6,7

6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

Romans 11:16

16 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

Imagine the above scriptures, but with a root of bitterness. One cannot bare to see the corruption this will cause to the person whose rooting it and also the people around you.

 

How do you root out the bitter ones while plant the righteous ones?

  1. Righteous roots have to be planted

2 Kings 19:30

30 And the remnant who have escaped of the house of Judah

Shall again take root downward,

And bear fruit upward.

If the fruit has to be borne upward, roots have to be planted downward.

Notice the word “again“. To provide a context of the above scripture, Judah along with all Israel seriously messed up. But the promise of God is – “again“.

To take this in a contemporary sense, how many of us have messed up? Remember, nothing is lost. God can redeem your life and your character. He is a God of second chances.

What do I do then? Plant good ones. But how do I plant? Use a seed!

A seed has to planted into the soil. That necessitates digging the soil deep enough for the seed to take root. A seed will not grow if left neglected anywhere.

In every sense of the statement made above, a seed has to be planted in one’s life. It does not matter how many sermons, messages or teaching you have learnt. Every nugget of God’s word has to be planted.

  • Invest your time in the Word (not once a week but daily)

Psalms 92:13,14

13 Those who are planted in the house of the Lord

Shall flourish in the courts of our God.

14 They shall still bear fruit in old age;

They shall be fresh and flourishing,

What is the house of the Lord?

The place we gather with our brothers & sisters to seek Gods face is the house of the Lord.

What do I do next?

You must plant righteous seeds. This translates – Application of the Word of God.

 

  1. Righteous seed has to be watered

Jeremiah 17:7,8

7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,

And whose hope is the Lord.

8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,

Which spreads out its roots by the river,

And will not fear when heat comes;

But its leaf will be green,

And will not be anxious in the year of drought,

Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

Notice –

  • will not fear when heat comes”. Imagine a life without any fear because you are solely trusting God and will stand strong no matter the heat.
  • leaf will be green”. Even when the heat is bearing down on it?
  • will not be anxious in the year of drought”. When no water exists, the tree stands reflecting the glory of the sun on its green leaves
  • will cease from yielding fruit”. We need a lot of this in our lives.

Psalm 1:1-3

1 Blessed is the man

Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,

Nor stands in the path of sinners,

Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,

And in His law he meditates day and night.

3 He shall be like a tree

Planted by the rivers of water,

That brings forth its fruit in its season,

Whose leaf also shall not wither;

And whatever he does shall prosper.

Notice –

  • That brings forth its fruit in its season” – Everything part of your life has its season. God works with you and in you to yield appropriate fruits in its season. God generally takes a person on a journey to cultivate this fruits.
  • whatever he does shall prosper” – This part of the promise is quiet pleasing. In order to get the last part, we must plant and water the seed.
  • Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly” – We often neglect to see this. What happens in the organizations we work in, when a rule/procedure is not followed but bypassed knowingly for either monetary or positional benefits?

Do we accept it and walk in it? Or we stand apart saying ‘NO’ and become side-lined? This may result in you forgoing your promotions, increments or bonuses.

What is watering?

  • Reading the Word of God
  • Meditating on the Word of God
  • Hearing & studying it.

The more you dig the Word, the more rooted will you be, the more fruits will you yield.

Our God is one who gives second chances. Even if you offer him a resume filled with your un-accomplishments, He will gladly take them and use you to shame the wise of the world.

Revelation 12:15

15 So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood.

Isaiah 59:19

19 When the enemy comes in like a flood,

The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.

Notice –

  • after the woman” – This the church of God.
  • serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood” – Have you ever been in a situation or a point in life where everything seems overwhelming, people pointing fingers and accusations flying like arrows?

Resembles the flood of the serpent, doesn’t it? The flood of words or circumstances.

Deception is so convincing because the lies are masked under the guise of truth.

This is the reason why the Word of God is important and much needed in our lives. Hence, we must plant and water the Word of God so deep in our lives that no matter the wind & rain, heat & drought, the Word will nourish you.

 

  1. Righteous seed needs to be manured and fertilized

Luke 13:6-9

6 He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none.

7 Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it [b]use up the ground?’

8 But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it.

9 And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’ ”

Notice –

  • until I dig around it and fertilize it” – The fig tree was not bearing fruit. However, another chance was given to be nourished and fertilized.

Some part of our lives are dark and needs fertilizing.

What is fertilizing?

Prayer of course! It helps the seed take root and grow in the soil in order that it may bear fruit upward.

2 Kings 19:30

30 And the remnant who have escaped of the house of Judah

Shall again take root downward,

And bear fruit upward.

This is an interesting story and when looked in context, reveals so much wisdom.

2 Kings 18

1-4 In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz began his rule over Judah. He was twenty-five years old when he became king and he ruled for twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. In God’s opinion he was a good king; he kept to the standards of his ancestor David. He got rid of the local fertility shrines, smashed the phallic stone monuments, and cut down the sex-and-religion Asherah groves. As a final stroke he pulverized the ancient bronze serpent that Moses had made; at that time the Israelites had taken up the practice of sacrificing to it—they had even dignified it with a name, Nehushtan (The Old Serpent).

Notice-

  • He was twenty-five years old when he became king” – God does not need only old people to become kings. Anyone who follows his Word is enough qualification.
  • In God’s opinion he was a good king” – This was not man’s opinion but Gods. Hezekiah was good in the eyes of the Lord. But, know this – Even Hezekiah dint do everything right.

13-14 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the outlying fortress cities of Judah and captured them. King Hezekiah sent a message to the king of Assyria at his headquarters in Lachish: “I’ve done wrong; I admit it. Pull back your army; I’ll pay whatever tribute you set.”

14-16 The king of Assyria demanded tribute from Hezekiah king of Judah—eleven tons of silver and a ton of gold. Hezekiah turned over all the silver he could find in The Temple of God and in the palace treasuries. Hezekiah even took down the doors of The Temple of God and the doorposts that he had overlaid with gold and gave them to the king of Assyria.

Notice-

  • I’ve done wrong; I admit it.” – Even a king can go wrong and can have the boldness to admit it.
  • eleven tons of silver and a ton of gold.” – A modern equivalent would be 47 crores & 276 crores resulting in 323 crores.
  • Hezekiah turned over all the silver he could find in The Temple of God and in the palace treasuries. Hezekiah even took down the doors of The Temple of God and the doorposts that he had overlaid with gold and gave them to the king of Assyria.” – Hezekiah stripped down the temple of God to pay the king Assyria. In simple terms – He stole the tithe.

17 So the king of Assyria sent his top three military chiefs (the Tartan, the Rabsaris, and the Rabshakeh) from Lachish with a strong military force to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. When they arrived at Jerusalem, they stopped at the aqueduct of the Upper Pool on the road to the laundry commons.

18 They called loudly for the king. Eliakim son of Hilkiah who was in charge of the palace, Shebna the royal secretary, and Joah son of Asaph the court historian went out to meet them.

19-22 The third officer, the Rabshakeh, was spokesman. He said, “Tell Hezekiah: A message from The Great King, the king of Assyria: You’re living in a world of make-believe, of pious fantasy. Do you think that mere words are any substitute for military strategy and troops? Now that you’ve revolted against me, who can you expect to help you? You thought Egypt would, but Egypt’s nothing but a paper tiger—one puff of wind and she collapses; Pharaoh king of Egypt is nothing but bluff and bluster. Or are you going to tell me, ‘We rely on God’? But Hezekiah has just eliminated most of the people’s access to God by getting rid of all the local God-shrines, ordering everyone in Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You must worship at the Jerusalem altar only.’

23-24 “So be reasonable. Make a deal with my master, the king of Assyria. I’ll give you two thousand horses if you think you can provide riders for them. You can’t do it? Well, then, how do you think you’re going to turn back even one raw buck private from my master’s troops? How long are you going to hold on to that figment of your imagination, these hoped-for Egyptian chariots and horses?

25 “Do you think I’ve come up here to destroy this country without the express approval of God? The fact is that God expressly ordered me, ‘Attack and destroy this country!’”

Notice-

  • He said, “Tell Hezekiah: A message from The Great King” – The enemy speaks and that too loudly. Moreover, when the enemy ask you to do something in exchange for his silence, he will never keep the deal.
  • You thought Egypt would, but Egypt’s nothing but a paper tiger” – The whole world knew what had taken place when Israel was set free from slavery in Egypt.
  • Hezekiah has just eliminated….all the local God-shrines” – Hezekiah had demolished and destroyed all the shrines and temples of the pagan gods and asked the people to worship at Jerusalem.
  • I’ll give you two thousand horses if you think you can provide riders for them. You can’t do it?” – The enemy insults leading to condemnation. The enemy is basically saying – I’ll give you the weapons if you can fight.
  • Do you think I’ve come up here to destroy this country without the express approval of God? “ – When the enemy comes to taunt, he does so saying – God allowed this to happen.

26 Eliakim son of Hilkiah and Shebna and Joah said to the Rabshakeh, “Please, speak to us in the Aramaic language. We understand Aramaic. Don’t speak in Hebrew—everyone crowded on the city wall can hear you.”

27 But the Rabshakeh said, “We weren’t sent with a private message to your master and you; this is public—a message to everyone within earshot. After all, they’re involved in this as well as you; if you don’t come to terms, they’ll be eating their own turds and drinking their own pee right along with you.”

Notice –

  • We weren’t sent with a private message to your master and you; this is public—a message to everyone within earshot.” – When the enemy attacks you, he does not do so in private. Its generally for public display.

Shame generally follows when one is brought low in front of people.

  • they’re involved in this as well as you” – Remember that when conducting spiritual warfare, the people around you are as much involved as you are.

28-32 Then he stepped forward and spoke in Hebrew loud enough for everyone to hear, “Listen carefully to the words of The Great King, the king of Assyria: Don’t let Hezekiah fool you; he can’t save you. And don’t let Hezekiah give you that line about trusting in God, telling you, ‘God will save us—this city will never be abandoned to the king of Assyria.’ Don’t listen to Hezekiah—he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Listen to the king of Assyria—deal with me and live the good life; I’ll guarantee everyone your own plot of ground—a garden and a well! I’ll take you to a land sweeter by far than this one, a land of grain and wine, bread and vineyards, olive orchards and honey. You only live once—so live, really live!

Notice –

  • Don’t let Hezekiah fool you; he can’t save you. And don’t let Hezekiah give you that line about trusting in God, telling you, ‘God will save us” – Isn’t this the same war we have in our heads? One side says ‘let go’ while the other side says ‘don’t let go’.
  • I’ll take you to a land sweeter by far than this one, a land of grain and wine, bread and vineyards, olive orchards and honey” – This is what the Lord promised to the people of Israel. Now this illusion is being offered to the Israelites in the middle of siege.
  • You only live once—so live, really live!” – Isn’t this the philosophy of the world? Now we know where it originated from.

32-35 “No. Don’t listen to Hezekiah. Don’t listen to his lies, telling you ‘God will save us.’ Has there ever been a god anywhere who delivered anyone from the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? And Samaria—did their gods save them? Can you name a god who saved anyone anywhere from me, the king of Assyria? So what makes you think that God can save Jerusalem from me?”

Notice –

  • Don’t listen to his lies, telling you ‘God will save us” – This was the same the day eve eat the fruit, it was the same when Hezekiah fought the Assyrians and now it will still be the most prominent strategy of the devil.

36 The people were silent. No one spoke a word for the king had ordered, “Don’t anyone say a word—not one word!”

37 Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace administrator, and Shebna the royal secretary, and Joah son of Asaph the court historian went back to Hezekiah. They had ripped their robes in despair; they reported to Hezekiah the speech of the Rabshakeh.

1-3 When Hezekiah heard it all, he too ripped his robes apart and dressed himself in rough burlap. Then he went into The Temple of God. He sent Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace, Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, all of them dressed in rough burlap, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. They said to him, “A message from Hezekiah: ‘This is a black day, a terrible day—doomsday!

Babies poised to be born,

No strength to birth them.

Notice –

  • he too ripped his robes apart” – When you are in a difficult situation, don’t do things by yourself. Make sure your faith is in the word of God.
  • to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz” – Here enters a character who was deep rooted in the Word of God and knew God intimately.

4 “‘Maybe God, your God, has been listening to the blasphemous speech of the Rabshakeh who was sent by the king of Assyria, his master, to humiliate the living God; maybe God, your God, won’t let him get by with such talk; and you, maybe you will lift up prayers for what’s left of these people.’”

5 That’s the message King Hezekiah’s servants delivered to Isaiah.

Notice –

  • Maybe God, your God” – Does it look like Hezekiah gave up hope? Isn’t God, Hezekiah’s also? When faced with a difficult situation, it happens to the best of us. We do not see any hope and give it up. That’s when your family – The Church, comes into play, both in prayer and strengthening by fellowship.

6-7 Isaiah answered them, “Tell your master, ‘God’s word: Don’t be at all concerned about what you’ve heard from the king of Assyria’s bootlicking errand boys—these outrageous blasphemies. Here’s what I’m going to do: Afflict him with self-doubt. He’s going to hear a rumor and, frightened for his life, retreat to his own country. Once there, I’ll see to it that he gets killed.’”

Notice-

  • Isaiah answered them, “Tell your master, ‘God’s word: ” – Isaiah was ready with the answer because he was seeking Gods face long before the event occurred.
  • Don’t be at all concerned” – Isn’t this the most inappropriate thing to say when you are faced with a very concerning situation?
  • Afflict him with self-doubt.” – When encountering a difficult situation when your standing for righteousness sake, God will be fighting for you and create a fire in the enemy camp.

8-13 The Rabshakeh left and found that the king of Assyria had pulled up stakes from Lachish and was now fighting against Libnah. Then Sennacherib heard that Tirhakah king of Cush was on his way to fight against him. So he sent another envoy with orders to deliver this message to Hezekiah king of Judah: “Don’t let that god that you think so much of keep stringing you along with the line, ‘Jerusalem will never fall to the king of Assyria.’ That’s a barefaced lie. You know the track record of the kings of Assyria—country after country laid waste, devastated. And what makes you think you’ll be an exception? Take a good look at these wasted nations, destroyed by my ancestors; did their gods do them any good? Look at Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, the people of Eden at Tel Assar. Ruins. And what’s left of the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of Sepharvaim, of Hena, of Ivvah? Bones.”

Notice-

  • So he sent another envoy with orders to deliver this message to Hezekiah king of Judah” – Even on the way out, the enemy will spew insults, threats and curses. But, know that our faith rests in Gods word alone!
  • You know the track record of the kings of Assyria” – when threats don’t work, the enemy changes tactics – Bring your history to weigh In condemnation. ‘You have faced failure before. What makes you think you’ll win now?’

14-15 Hezekiah took the letter from the envoy and read it. He went to The Temple of God and spread it out before God. And Hezekiah prayed—oh, how he prayed!

Notice-

  • He went to The Temple of God and spread it out before God.” – This is what we were talking about. Fertilizing. Laying before God what looks like a hopeless situation and allowing him to deal with it.

22 Who do you think it is you’ve insulted?

        Who do you think you’ve been bad-mouthing?

    Before whom do you suppose you’ve been strutting?

        The Holy One of Israel, that’s who!

Notice-

  • We should ultimately realize that when we offer vengeance to God, He will come at it with His fury along with an awesome redemptive power.

23 You dispatched your errand boys

        to humiliate the Master.

    You bragged, “With my army of chariots

        I’ve climbed the highest mountains,

        snow-peaked alpine Lebanon mountains!

    I’ve cut down its giant cedars,

        chopped down its prize pine trees.

    I’ve traveled the world,

        visited the finest forest retreats.

24 I’ve dug wells in faraway places

        and drunk their exotic waters;

    I’ve waded and splashed barefoot

        in the rivers of Egypt.”

25 Did it never occur to you

    that I’m behind all this?

Long, long ago I drew up the plans,

    and now I’ve gone into action,

Using you as a doomsday weapon,

    reducing proud cities to piles of rubble,

Notice-

  • now I’ve gone into action, Using you as a doomsday weapon” – God sometimes uses our enemies to humble us and make us the instruments by which people around us can see the power of God.

26 Leaving their people dispirited,

        slumped shoulders, limp souls.

    Useless as weeds, fragile as grass,

        insubstantial as wind-blown chaff.

27 I know when you sit down, when you come

        and when you go;

    And, yes, I’ve marked every one

        of your temper tantrums against me.

Notice-

  • know when you sit down, when you come and when you go” – God knows all things and has his eye on you all the days of your life. Be it in darkness or in light.

28 It’s because of your temper,

        your blasphemous foul temper,

    That I’m putting my hook in your nose

        and my bit in your mouth

    And turning you back

        to where you came from.

29 And this, Hezekiah, will be for you the confirming sign:

This year you’ll eat the gleanings, next year

    whatever you can beg, borrow, or steal;

But the third year you’ll sow and harvest,

    plant vineyards and eat grapes.

30 A remnant of the family of Judah yet again

    will sink down roots and raise up fruit.

This is how Hezekiah become deep rooted downward and bore fruit upward.

Remember this:

When the enemy messes with you, he is messing with one of Gods own. Lets be rooted, planted and fertilized in his Word.

Luke 13:8,9

8 But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it.

9 And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’ ”

We had Jesus giving us another change on the cross. Now that we have been set free, lets take up the mantle to live our lives in freedom.

 

 

The Gospel – Do we know it?,Do we believe it? by Ps. Sibi George-22nd July

Mat 28:18-20

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

This is called the Great commission that Jesus commanded each of his disciples. There are 3 parts –

  • Go to all nations
  • Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
  • Teach them to observe all things that was commanded

Jesus also gave a 2 fold promise –

  • All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth”
  • “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Most of us think that preaching the gospel to the people is evangelism and when accomplished, one’s assignment is complete. However, the Great Commission says otherwise. It involves baptizing & teaching the masses.

Luke 24:44-48

44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”

45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.

46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,

47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

48 And you are witnesses of these things.

The Great commission that Jesus gave can be called – Witnessing. Hence, we witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ. But, what is the true & full gospel? Do we believe it?

Mark 16:15-18

15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;

18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Jesus promised the following when He commissioned the disciples to preach –

These signs shall follow he who believes –

  • Cast out demons
  • Speak with new tongues
  • Take up serpents
  • Drink deadly and will not hurt them
  • Lay hands on the sick & they will recover

The list seems like the things that Jesus would have done when on earth. Whereas, do we have the faith to believe that it can be accomplished through us?

One thing is for sure. It’s not us who do “these signs” but Jesus through us. This means, when we go and preach the Gospel, God WILL follow His message with Signs & Wonders.

Are we ready to believe and head out?

Now, we know from scripture that God has our back and we can preach the Gospel. So what is the gospel?

1 Cor 15:1-8

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand,

2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,

5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.

6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.

7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.

8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.

Acts 10:34-43

34 Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.

35 But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.

36 The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all—

37 that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached:

38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

39 And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree.

40 Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly,

41 not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.

42 And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead.

43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”

The above 2 passages cumulatively taken, comprises of the gospel in its entirety.

  • Jesus was anointed by God with the Holy Spirit & Power, went about doing good & healing all who were oppressed by the devil
  • Jesus’ arrival was proclaimed & was fulfilled which was written in the Law, Prophets & Psalms.
  • Jesus died according to the scriptures, was buried and rose again according to the scriptures.
  • Jesus was seen by more than 500 people at once and we are His witness
  • Jesus is coming back as He is ordained by God to Judge the living & the dead.
  • Anyone who believes in Jesus will receive remission of sins.

 

Roots of Bitterness by Ps.Melven-8th July

Some of us have roots of bitterness like the roots of a dates palm in the desert. It’s very important to have understanding on what these are and like sin, it buries itself deep.

No matter if the stem is chopped off; the root still remains! Like a tree, it miraculously appears again.

To begin, everything has a root cause; be it sickness, addiction, anger, lust or bitterness. What then is the root cause?

Remember – Sin is like a tree which grows. You have to nip it at the root.

Let’s read about the root cause that precedes all the other causes.

Heb 12:14-16

14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:

15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;

16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.

Something to think about: What happens to a family when bitterness takes hold? Destruction? Mayhem? Chaos?

What does bitterness do?

  1. Deception:

2 Corinthians 11:3

3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

As a passing point, remember that the Word of God is simple. Never complicated; only we make it so.

Satan deceived Eve in the beginning of mankind. The account of Genesis gives that in detail.

Gen 3:1-5

1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;

3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”

4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.

5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Remember that deception always happens with a pinch of truth. Satan twisted the words commanded by God, given to man, which led to deception.

2 major points of deception:

  • God knows that in the day you eat of it…you will be like God“- This is incorrect because God created man (Adam & Eve) in his image and likeness
  • God knows that in the day you eat of it…knowing good and evil” – This is incorrect because, Adam & Eve knew good and bad. Free will exists only when one has to choose.

Knowledge of evil – The result is truly evident today as we thrive in search of knowledge. Although the Word of God is Spirit-knowledge-filled and not worldly-knowledge-filled.

Satan’s deception was to turn Eve’s heart bitter against God, convincing her that God was withholding something precious.

However, this is not the root of bitterness. The origin of bitterness was the cause Satan fell from Heaven (Isa 14). When Satan could not fulfill his desire to become God, he because bitter and now passes down to Eve.

Heb 12:15 “looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness…”

How can one fall short of the Grace of God?

  • Living an evil life – ‘I will live the way I want, irrespective or ignoring the consequences
  • Legalism – ‘I will earn my relationship & righteousness with God

Paul in Galatians speaks –

Gal 3:1

1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you [a]that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed [b]among you as crucified?

Bewitched means to deceive with magic. Magic is deception; asking one to look one place when the trick is established elsewhere.

Satan uses this trick when he asks you to look at what God is not doing for you; not what God has already done.

Example:

  • Prosperity Gospel: Claim it & get it.
  • Poverty Gospel: God has chosen me to suffer. Hate money.

The truth is the Gospel of Provision “God provides so that I can advance His kingdom and bless others“.

  1. Defile

Heb 12:15 “looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled”

Defiled means staining yourself or to dye. Bitterness causes defilement which stains (latches on) our body & soul.

It defiles our thinking, way of life and everything you love.

However, the blood of Jesus cleanses us form all defilement. Do we believe and accept it?

Heb 12:16 “..lest there be any fornicator or [f]profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.

Every instance we read scripture, we know that Jacob deceived Esau. However, this scripture shows us the value that Esau placed on his birthright.

When Esau recognized that Issac’s blessing was upon Jacob and not him, bitterness took over.

Gen 28:6-9

6 Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Padan Aram to take himself a wife from there, and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan,”

7 and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and had gone to Padan Aram.

8 Also Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan did not please his father Isaac.

9 So Esau went to Ishmael and took Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife in addition to the wives he had.

Esau did what his father forbade him to do. Bitterness grows.

When we get angry with someone, we resent them. But, we defile ourselves with bitterness and hurt ourselves.

Jacob’s blessing led to Esau’s bitterness which grew. This further caused rejection and found no place for repentance.

Heb 12:17 “For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.

When Naomi’s husband died along with her sons, she blames God saying ‘God has done this to me’

Ruth 1:20, 21

20 But she said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.

21 I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?”

Leave it unattended, bitterness grows.

When we see things we don’t like, do we question God?

  • When you get angry with someone because of some injustice/hurt done, do you know that you inherently ask God, ‘Why didn’t you do something about it before it happened?
  • When you see someone who you dislike gets blessed, do you question God, ‘Why are you blessing that person and not judging them?

  1. Depression

Root of depression is bitterness. This translates into anger and rebellion against God.

Heb 12:17 “For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.

Esau carried the rejection all through his life even though he sought repentance.

Deuteronomy 28 is called the ‘Blessing & Curses’ chapter.

Curse in part means consequences. So, when God says –

Deut 28:15

15 “But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:

It means that the result of one’s disobedience is consequences.

Deut 28:18

18 so that there may not be among you man or woman or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations, and that there may not be among you a root bearing bitterness or wormwood;

What is wormwood?

It’s a root when out into water, turns bitter. Studies show that a drug derived from wormwood causes hallucinations, mental deterioration’s and dementia. Possibly used by witches in the old days against people.

New Testament reference to wormwood –

Revelation 8:10, 11

10 Then the third angel sounded: And a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water.

11 The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter.

How is wormwood related to what bitterness and applicable to us?

Jeremiah 9:15

15 therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Behold, I will feed them, this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.

Psalm 69:21

21 They also gave me gall for my food,

And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

Mat 27:34

34 they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink.

Taking an overall picture, we see that bitterness –

  • Begin with Satan
  • Deceived into Adam & Eve
  • Passed down to Esau
  • Now appears to Jesus

Jesus was tempted too; that too at a very crucial & venerable moment – At the cross. Jesus was offered ‘Wine mingled e with gall‘ to drink which Jesus refused.

His words after refusing bitterness was –

Luke 23:34

34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

Jesus overcame bitterness and because of His sacrifice, we take part in his kingdom releasing all bitterness.

Getting rid of bitterness:

  • Coming to the cross
  • Asking for forgiveness
  • Asking help from the Holy Spirit to reveal the root and uproot it form our lives.

 

 

The Lord’s Prayer by Ps. Vandana-17th June

 

Matthew 6:9-13

9 “This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

10 your kingdom come,

your will be done,

 on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us today our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts,

    as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,

    but deliver us from the evil one.’

 

Before we begin, let’s do an activity.

  • Make teams of 2 or 3
  • One be god & the others, the worshipers.
  • Let your requests be made known to the god.

Now, all the gods – Be sure to act like it. Imagine how a god would be like when prayers are being offered.

All the worshipers – Be sure to act with reverence! Also, be sure not to forget the ‘thee & thou’s’!

Let’s de-brief:

  • All the gods:
    • What was your reaction when prayers were being offered?
    • What did you feel?
  • All the worshippers:
    • How did you pray knowing that god was before you, looking all haughty and mighty?

Now, imagine this –

We do this daily with our Father in heaven who is so near and dear to us!

To all the earthly fathers – Do you allow your children to sit on your lap? Yes?

Then why are we not sitting on our Fathers lap?

Sometimes, when you look at your children, all you want to do is wrap your hands around them and tell them how much they mean to you. You don’t do this because they might get lost! You don’t do this because your children may forget you!

Absolutely not! It’s a time of intimacy between the child and the father.

It’s almost weird to think that your child would come to you when called with hands joined – as if praying, body bent as if bowing down and walking slowly towards you.

 

What picture is being painted here?

Do we enter a time of prayer with an attitude of –

  • A slave being summoned by his/her master?
  • A son/daughter sitting on the lap of his/her father?

Did you know?

There is not one reference in the bible that commands me to close my eyes, bow my head or fall on my knees during prayer!

Obviously, we have been shown the posture of prayer by the ones who have gone before us. But, we choose to close our eyes so that we don’t get distracted by the things around us.

 

  1. Our Father

Jesus talking to us about prayer asked us to pray like this – Our Father…

What Jesus did in that one statement was profound! He broke down and smashed the entire belief system of a nation who saw God as an avenging One, All consuming fire pouring out his wrath!

Ask yourself this –

Do you find it hard to acknowledge God as your father? If yes, then why?

If I hold a filter that my earthly father is not good, the same view gets superimposed on our perception of our Heavenly Father.

Most often than not, we superimpose our perception of our earthy fathers to our Heavenly Father.  It’s like looking through a pane of stained glass at the world and wondering why it looks funny.

If Old Testament looks to you like a God who is an avenger who has split & contrasting personality between the New, check this out –

Gen 4:3-15

3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord.

4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering,

5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?

7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”

“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

10 The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.

11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.

12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”

13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear.

14 Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”

15 But the Lord said to him, “Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.

16 So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

This is a story we know so well. Let’s look at this a little differently!

  1. Who is God talking to?

After the rejection of the offering that Cain had brought, who was God talking to?  Was it Cain?

Wasn’t Abel the good boy? Wasn’t Abel’s offering accepted? Why then, was God talking to Cain?

In our workplaces, who are the people who you would like to spend time with? Possibly meet first thing in the morning?

The good friends or bad? Good?

  1. Didn’t God know?

When God asked Cain – “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast “, didn’t God know that already?

Coming home from a busy day and your loved ones ask you –

  • What happened?
  • Why are so looking so down?

What does that make you feel?

  • Do you know what I’m going through?
  • Do you even know my name?
  • Do you know what my heart is crying for?
  1. Again, who is God talking to?

After the rejection of the sacrifice, Cain takes his brother Abel out into the field to murder him.

Now, God being omniscient and knowing the heart of Cain, why didn’t God talk to Abel and prevent the world’s first cold-blooded murder?

Abel heard nothing from God! But, Cain – God was conversing with him the whole time!

  1. Seriously?

Yet again, after the murder God is conversing with Cain!

  1. Not again!!

Cain leaves Gods presence with a mark of protection on himself. Cain has the audacity of reminding God that the punishment for murder is too heavy to bear!

God replies – “Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.”

Loving Father & a Protecting God

Can you see God protecting the offender? A Father unwilling to leave his child alone? God pursuing the Lost?

Mind you – Abel was not lost! He may have left the temporary existence on planet earth. But God is pursuing Cain in order that he may come to a realization of the treachery committed.

Cain having committed a murder, audaciously makes known to God the fear of dying and wandering alone. God does not condemn him but says, “Yes I know. Notwithstanding, I will protect you!”

 

Luke 15:30-32

30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.

32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

This is another one of the familiar stories – The return of the Prodigal son!

We know about the feast that was held in honor of the youngest son, the robe & gifts adorned on him and being given his rightful place.

Notice this – What does the father do for the elder brother?

  • “You have always been with me and everything I have is yours”

Luke 15:28

28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him.

The younger son is inside the house with the friends & family, food & drink while the elder son is outside refusing to go in.

Where is the Father and who is he talking to? Did He go into the house to enjoy the party with his son?

The Elder son!

We always use this passage to preach against pride and its many forms. It is true that the elder son was proud, angry and bitter against his younger brother.

But, the Father was right there beside him. He did not ask the elder son to sort out the issues with the younger and left him alone.

That’s our Father in Heaven! He chooses to stay and put up with you like Cain. Do you believe this?

Do you believe the promise that the Father said “I will never leave you nor forsake you!”

God the Father is willing to stay and put up with you like Cain & the elder brother! Do you really think that your sin is greater than theirs?

The significance of the words “Our Father” is so meaningful and portrays Him not as a despot or an evil persona but a Father who wants a relationship with his children.

  1. …. In Heaven

When we refer to ‘our Father who art in heaven’, what does it mean and refer to me?

Let’s take an example to contemplate this –

Everybody uses Google maps to move around. We trust it so much that we don’t even second guess it.

Did you ever ask “Google! Do you know where you’re going? Are you in a state of mind to take us to that place?”

Why do you trust it? I don’t trust it because the man who runs it is trustworthy and a close friend of mine!

A simple understanding of science should help us answer this question – Multiple satellites orbit the earth getting a birds-eye view of the surface allowing personal on the ground to see what it sees.

If we can trust a satellite which is hovering just above the circumference of the earth, how much more a Father who is in heaven, beyond the reach of the matter and confines of time!

Do I believe in the sovereignty of God? I may not understand my present or I may not know what my future holds, but I trust in a Father who is in heaven beyond the reach of sin, matter and constraints of time that He will work all things good for me!

Isaiah 55:8-9

8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,

Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.

9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

So are My ways higher than your ways,

And My thoughts than your thoughts.

This is the trust that you can place on our Father! This is the advantage of a Father who is in heaven. He knows better than me!

 

  1. Hallowed be your name.

What does hallowed mean?

  • Holy
  • Consecrated
  • Separated
  • Unique
  • Pure

Psalm 92:15

15 To declare that the Lord is upright;

He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

Jeremiah 29:11

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope

Do you believe that your God is holy and not evil?

Holiness is consecration but it’s not something distant. More than that, it is to realize that the God that I call upon is upright and not evil. He cannot think bad nor do anything evil in Him.

Mind you – Anything EVIL on me. Not talking suffering or pain. He CANNOT bestow any wickedness on anyone!

 

  1. Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done

In the Bible, what does the Kingdom refer to?

  • Peace
  • Joy
  • Righteousness

Do we yearn for this on earth as it is in heaven? Do we ask God to bring Justice & Righteousness on this earth?

Or are we sliding all the wickedness under the carpet of ignorance with the knowledge that one fine day we will be in eternity?

Matthew 11:12

12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.

What are we taking and from whom are we taking?

Let’s think about this – Do you stay quiet when there is injustice around you? Do you excuse yourself saying ‘I’ll pray about it’?

This passage in its basic principle is saying – God, is there anything I can do to help?

When we pray ‘Let your Kingdom come & your Will be done’ we are inquiring of God – How can I help You?

Psalm 15

1 God, who gets invited

    to dinner at your place?

How do we get on your guest list?

2 “Walk straight,

    act right,

        tell the truth.

3-4 “Don’t hurt your friend,

    don’t blame your neighbor;

        despise the despicable.

5 “Keep your word even when it costs you,

    make an honest living,

        never take a bribe.

“You’ll never get

blacklisted

if you live like this.”

This is a criterion for an audience with God. Also, this marks His Kingdom!  The little things of our daily living is what God is interested in.

 

  1. Give us today our daily bread

It is God’s will to lead abundant lives and have peaceful healthy lives but always isn’t!

Is Jesus talking here about our daily provisions or is He taking something beyond?

John 6:35

35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

What does this signify? Can we eat Jesus? What is Jesus hinting at?

Matthew 4:4

4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”

So is Jesus talking about reading the bible?

Do I see God as my provider or my provision? Am I able to say “God, You are more than enough for me. I am aware of my shortcomings and strengths and knowing this, You are more than enough for me”?

2 Peter 1:3, 4

3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,

4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the [a]corruption that is in the world through lust.

  • Do I covet other persons Bread?
  • Do I covet other person’s belongings?
  • Do I covet other persons gifting’s?
  • Do I covet other persons anointing?

Take an example – When your parents are travelling, do you call and ask them, “When your luggage is reaching home?” or to you ask, “When are you reaching home?”

It may be true that there might be goody things.

When I look to God as my provision, whether there’s a lack or abundance, He is more than enough for me! Through calm and the storm, He will take you through! In lack I will see Your provision & in abundance I will see Your blessing!

Giving does not necessarily mean monetary but it can also mean giving in gifts!

 

What God has invested in me, He will multiply it! I will not covet someone else’s blessing or gift!

Contentment is not just about meeting my need or what I have but to know that Jesus in me is more than sufficient!

 

  1. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

 

We have heard a lot on forgiveness and yet we struggle.

Why is hard to forgive while it’s easy to ask forgiveness from God? What does forgiveness do to me?

 

Matthew 18:21-35

21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.

24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.

25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made.

26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’

27 Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.

28 “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’

29 So his fellow servant fell down [e]at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you [f]all.’ 30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.

31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done.

32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me.

33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’

34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.

35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother [g]his trespasses.”

What is un-forgiveness? What do you do to yourself when you don’t forgive?

Imagine this – Person A did something nasty and I took offence. I was hurt and I am angry with him. When I say I don’t want to forgive him because he always does this to me, I am binding him to me using un-forgiveness and roaming with it.

After tying yourself to him, do you think I can get away with it?  No, because I hold the chords! Any amount of asking God to remove the person A from your sight will not help because he is tied to you willingly and I hold his release!

Holding un-forgiveness causes you to carry that person unwillingly wherever you go; be it home or church. Even the pulpit! Even the restroom and your sleep! Even In your quiet time with God!

The un-forgiving servant in Matthew 18:32-34 was put in prison. Do you notice that the other servant who owed an infinitesimal amount also remains jailed?

Remember – When I forgive, I am not reminding God to deal with the person mercifully! Forgiveness is telling God, “He/She hurt me and I’m hurt. But, I give this to you. Deal with him in mercy.

Many times we don’t want to forgive because we know that God will deal with that person mercifully, like He is doing with us.

Jonah 3:10 – 4:2

10 Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.

1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry.

2 So he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.

When we see a person set free by a court who had done a heinous crime, we are in uproar! We know that God will deal with that person mercifully and redeem. We want justice and vengeance displayed.

What should I do with my hurts then?

Psalm 137:4-9

4 How shall we sing the Lord’s song

In a foreign land?

5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem,

Let my right hand forget its skill!

6 If I do not remember you,

Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth—

If I do not exalt Jerusalem

Above my chief joy.

7 Remember, O Lord, against the sons of Edom

The day of Jerusalem,

Who said, [a]“Raze it, raze it,

To its very foundation!”

8 O daughter of Babylon, who are to be destroyed,

Happy the one who repays you as you have served us!

9 Happy the one who takes and dashes

Your little ones against the rock!

Can you see the bitterness and deep hurt with which this Psalm is written?

This was the same anger and resentment that Jonah had when the Ninevites had come and plundered Israel, left their children orphans and homes desolated. And here comes God, who asks Jonah to preach the message of repentance.

 

Can you be honest with God? Yes!

Can you give your hurts to Him? Yes!!

In addition to giving up your hurts and anger, give also the person who has hurt you. Moreover, give God the desire for vengeance!

The beauty is God will redeem that person for eternity and He in the meantime, He heals my broken heart.

 

  1. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Can God tempt you? What is Jesus saying here?

If you’ve seen sheep moving across a pasture, you’ll notice that they NEVER walk in a straight line! Additionally, if they find green grass, they move in that direction!

Who then brings the sheep back into the herd? The shepherd!

It is a heart-cry of an aching heart telling God, “My heart is prone to wander. Lead me not into pastures of pleasure but draw me back to you.”

Whenever the sheep wanders, the shepherd draws it back! But for how long? As long as it takes!

Do we struggle with sin? Yes.

Do I ask God for help? Yes.

How long? As long as it takes.

For some, the deliverance is over-night; some till the end of their lives. Yet, we can have assurance in this –

James 1:13

13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.

1 Corinthians 10:13

13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

There is no pit so deep that God cannot reach! There is no greater temptation that God cannot rescue you from!

When I ask God to not lead me into temptation, I am in-turn saying, “I am willing to be obedient”.

“Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love,

Here’s my heart. O take and seal it; Seal it for thy courts above.

Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wandering from the fold of God,

He, to rescue me from danger, Interposed his precious blood,

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love.

O to grace how great a debtor Daily I’m constrained to be!

Let they goodness, like a fetter, Bind my wandering heart to thee

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love.

Here’s my heart. O take and seal it; Seal it for thy courts above.”

  • Come Thou Fount, David Crowder Band

 

“Let they goodness, like a fetter, Bind my wandering heart to thee”

Fetter is a chain or manacle used to restrain a prisoner, which is typically placed around the ankles. This is saying, “I’d rather be with you God, then elsewhere.”

 

  1. Thine be the Kingdom, Glory and Power

Do you know why Jesus asked them to pray?

The disciples wanted to do something. But here is God saying, “Before you do something, first know Me”

You’re doing must be an outcome of knowing God. It should not be to please God. We can never please God in our strength!

I pray not because I can change God’s heart, but because I can have a glimpse of my God in eternity! When lives daily challenges wear me down, I want to hear from Him that He is more than enough for me!

When I cannot forgive, He reminds me how much damage I’m doing to the other person and myself!

I pray knowing that God is holy and upright; who cannot conceive any evil!

I pray knowing that God will put up with me like Cain & the elder brother!

“If I wander too far from your path, Lord break my legs! I’d rather be found with a broken leg on the shoulder of God than to be on green pastures elsewhere”

Here’s a video to have a glimpse of the Fathers heart – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPCK4THZtng

 

The Sway on the Way by Ps.Sibi-10th June

 

Our everyday thoughts should be just this – “I want to get back to God. Repent”. When we repent and we pray, we find out strength. That’s when the power of the Holy Spirit is manifested to walk in obedience to his word.

Supplication results in application.

All throughout the bible, we notice one constant cycle.

God does something good and because of Sin, everything turns sour. Let’s Adam & Eve; everything is good for about a chapter and then darkness falls over. But God’s redemptive plan is already in place.

Take Noah as our next example. One person preaching the incoming doom whiles the millions around him walking in darkness, mocking him.

Abraham stories show a life of struggle and blessing with God by his side.  He walks away sometimes, made Ismael, pimped his wife and still is called the ‘Father of Faith’.

Then the judges, prophets, kings following a life of struggle, full of pain and suffering.

All this is about one thing – Leading people from sin, evil, wickedness and pointing them to God’s ways.

We sometimes are too proud to turn away from our sin. When we actually think about it, we may not have anything that’s of worth that we can rightfully ours! Yet, we are so proud and arrogant.

The bible says Moses was the most humble man on earth and he could see God’s face.

When we stand before God, we cannot give someone else’s account neither will it be asked of you. You will have to give an account of my own ways.

Instead of the usual message, let’s try answering the following questions and introspect.

 

  1. Some easy questions that makes us uneasy –

Here the answers can be

  • A definitive Yes or No
  • Maybe, mostly or probably.
  • Am I abiding in Him every day?
  • Am I obedient to His Word?
  • Do I love Jesus?

What did Jesus say?

John 14:15

15 “If you love Me, [a]keep My commandments.

  • Do I love my neighbor the way God wants me to love?

When Jesus said love your neighbor, He talked about a person out on the street. But here we are, unable to love our brothers & sisters inside the church!

  • Am I faithful with the resources God has given me?
    • Do we believe that God is the one who provides all our resources? Sometimes we think & speak as though we have gathered ourselves and our resources.

Think about it – We stand on the pulpit with His word, His ability to speak, I am the work of His hands, all the intricate workings in my body are all His works, the intelligence & skill comes from Him and yet, we claim that we have all these things. We speak as though we did all and are proud.

  • Am I faithful with the resources that God has placed in my care? Are you faithful with your body? With the health that God has blessed us with?
  • Am I faithful in my relationships?

A son to my Heavenly Father, Husband, father, brother, Pastor. Are we faithful in our relationships?

Your Father longs for you every day. Do we honor him by yearning for Him? He longs to hear your voice!

We call people in our community church as brothers & sisters. Did you ever think whether they have food at home?

  • Am I faithful in my work and my responsibilities?

Do we spend the time that’s given to us to work, idling away?

  • Am I fruitful?

Are we producing fruits? Are the people around us seeing Love, Joy, Peace, Kindness and so on?

 

  1. Some humbling questions that make us grumble.
  • What stops me from abiding in Him every day?

We blame our spouse, children. If we were actually humble, we would say ‘I am the problem’! Mostly we grumble about someone or our situations.

Do our lusts & temptations stop us from abiding in Him every day?

  • What stops me from being obedient to His Word?

When God asks us to Love, we say “Is that person lovable?”

  • What stops me from loving Jesus?
  • What stops me from loving my neighbor the way God wants me to love?
    • We have a yardstick by which we measure whether someone is lovable. If they fall in the correct category, we will extend our hand to help. If we are not using the measuring stick, we use a hockey stick beating people who we don’t want to love.
    • We use a template and measure people; whether they fit our criteria. Based on our assessment, we deal with people. This is how we have been groomed to live in this world. Always competing and comparing.

Imagine God measuring us the way we measure our neighbors. Do you think we would be able to stand his criteria?

  • Sometimes we ask God to pass judgement on someone who hurt us. In the eyes of God, both your hater and you are sons to Him; one walking in his way and the other outside the way leading an evil life.
  • Do you think God will call judgement on the other son? God would want the lost son to be saved. God would want the righteous son to help turn the evil son into the right way!

Do we have this heart?

  • We see others faults much easier than our own and pass judgement. We measure others using the Yardstick keeping YOU as the basis for the measurement. This is called Self-righteousness.
  • What stops me from being faithful with the resources God has given me?
    • Does the lack of priority or lack of the knowledge to use our resources stop us from being faithful?
    • Do we recognize the need around us and put our resources to good use?
  • What stops me from being faithful in my relationships?

Do you recognize the need of your spouse and your children?

  • What stops me from being faithful in my work and my responsibilities?
    • Does our bosses arrogance and irritability cause us to stop working?
    • Does the lack of a good salary and fair treatment stop you from being faithful in your workplace?
  • What stops me from being fruitful?

 

  1. Some tough questions that makes us rough
  • How can I abide in Him every day?
    • Do you have control on the way you lead your life? You get up in the morning and life goes on.
    • Do you let things happen and let live your life?
    • Do you make a point to keep aside time for His word and for prayer?
    • Do you have any semblance of a boundary around your life to organize it?

 

  • How can I be obedient to His Word?
    • Do you first, know His word to be obedient? This may call for spending a lot of time in His presence.

A parallel can be drawn on spending time with God. A parent must spend a lot of time with their child to feed it and comfort it, in order for it to grow.

If we think about it, if God were to shine His light on us, we may resemble; in our spiritual walk, a kid who is immature and not grown up! Small kid with huge bodies.

Many years of knowing God, yet our spiritual life can resemble a baby just born, crying for every small thing.

  • How can I love Jesus?
    • Loving Jesus means denying yourself. Do we recognize ourselves before others or let Jesus take over?
    • Are we so obsessed with ourselves; megalomania? I, me and myself?

If we prayed for a person and he/she got well, we go around telling that we prayed and God heard.

If we prayed and nothing happened, it’s the other persons fault for not believing.

We can love Jesus by giving our life on the cross. Just like He gave His life on Cross, we must.

  • How can I love my neighbor the way God wants me to love?
    • Remove the Yard Stick. We can read this and convince ourselves that we don’t use the Yard Stick. But, move to the next line and we begin measure.
    • Not to judge. Our perceptions show us that we are flawed and cannot make the right decisions towards people. Hence, Jesus commanded us not to judge.

Sometimes we do not know how we behave as its subconsciously etched into our minds. Our emotions are entangled with our thoughts whose basis is sinful. Thus, thus results in a powerful combination of egoism tending to narcissism. We then become subjective and not objective, until we realize that it’s our roots that are sinful that we seek help.

  • How can I be faithful with the resources God has given me?
    • Knowing that God helps and provides beyond our imagination.
  • How can I be faithful in my relationships?
    • Knowing the needs of those around you; your spouse, children, friends and yourself. Once you recognize, we can ask God for provision and watch God provide.
  • How can I be faithful in my work and my responsibilities?
    • We tend to categorize our life as either Spiritual or Worldly. We are his children working to bring His Kingdom to earth. We often ask God to bless the work of our hands. We never say – Lord, I’m going to my secular work. Please don’t bless it.
    • Do we have the audacity to give up our promotion and Salary so someone else can get it? Do we appreciate the people in our workplaces?

Daniel served under a pagan king. Even though it was against all that he learnt, he was respectful & with honor, served the king. He was faithful.

Did you ever realize that it is God who places you in places to show His Glory?

If God wants you to sit on the throne, no man or prison can stop you.

  • How can I be fruitful?
    • Only in tough situations can you be fruitful. Think about it – What love can you show when everyone around you is loveable? What peace do you need when everything around you is peaceful?

We can show love, Joy, Peace and so on only in situations where there is turmoil, hardships, persecution and so on.  The traits that is called virtues is deemed so only when it is displayed in touch situations.

The only reason we are in awe and gratitude of Jesus is because of what He did on the Cross. He loved us when we were unlovable. Can we dare say – We love the unlovable?

There are no shortcuts to achieve the above, it involves a daily dependence on Him, and it involves a discipline of obedience, living worship.

 

Story:

There was man named Manu was travelling on the way. Before he started his journey, a wise man told him –

Always stick to the way! At no cost, move away from it.

Taking this treasure of wisdom, the man headed on the journey which could be defined as life.

 

The Pleasure House

One day he came across a huge estate with an enormous house beside the way. The man stopped by and noticed a person swinging on a swing and shouting-

“The greatest pleasure of pleasure are in here .Walk in! You’ll have a ball of your lives!”

Manu gets in and looks around to see all the beautiful pleasures. But, he notices something – People who came in like him are in cellars like prisons. They seem to enjoy what they are doing but are unable to get out of it.

Now that he starts questioning it, he notices that he too is drawn to a craving hidden in a cellar but the warning that the wise man had given strikes him.

Immediately, he walks out of the house and starts praying for the people who are imprisoned inside. He gets the boldness to speak to the people inside asking them to look around their imprisoned situation and volunteered to help.

Some ignored and some shouted back; half dreamy and half in reality saying “We are enjoying this! Leave us alone.” Some realized the darkness of the cellar and they escaped the house.

 

The swinging Wreaking ball

Now walking on the way with the new friends he got, Manu notices a huge wreaking ball swinging on the road. In hopes of avoiding it, he tries dodging it but it fatally crushed him and his friends.

Pushed to the side and crying out in pain, they lie confused thinking – What did we do to deserve this? We walked away from pleasure to seek the Road!

Again, as if like a stealthy wind, it comes to him –

Always stick to the way! At no cost, move away from it

Broken legs it may be, he starts dragging himself unto the way. With a lot of effort, he finds strength and he walks.

 

The Rocking Swings

As he walks pushing himself to makes sure to obey the words of the wise man, he fails to notice a giant swing coming and hitting him.

The momentum causes him to lose balance and fall towards the side but saddest of all, it breaks his legs.

When the intense pain had calmed down, he notices swings on both sides of the road – All like a pendulum swing away from the road, and coming with the stored kinetic energy towards the middle of the road.

He notices this and thinks to himself – What use am I if I’m sidelined like this. Let me sit on the swing also.

After much searching, he finds one empty, makes his way to it and starts swinging. When doing so, he notices something –

When they are swinging away from the middle of the road, all the people start singing and praying. When the swing brings them towards the middle of the road, they look at the person on the swing opposite to them and start cursing!

All manner of words start flying off when they come near to each other! But as if on cue, they stop and sing praise!

 

Swinging and Singing, Saying and Swaying, cursing and praising

Confused and disoriented, Manu starts a conversation with the people on the swing. He talks to the person opposite to him and says, “Sir, you are the one who broke my legs. Why then are you shouting at the person opposite to you?”

The person replies with a tone of contempt, “You don’t have any clue what happed to me. That man broke my legs when I was walking on the road!”

Manu looks the other person and asks him too. “What happened to you?” The man replied, “Same thing as you. A person came with a force of a truck, hit me and left me broken. Thank god, he’s dead! He was a jerk!”

 

The warning

Manu recalls immediately the words of the wise man.

Always stick to the way! At no cost, move away from it.

Gathering all the courage he had, Manu lifts himself off the swinging swing and falls to the ground. Mustering all the strength he has, he starts crawling.

Amazingly, as he starts crawling, he finds strength in his legs. Every inch crawled forward, a bone is mended & a muscle healed.

With excitement, Manu starts crawling with vigor, stumbles and walks again. Perplexed but amazed, Manu looks back at the people swinging and cries out to them – “Get out of your swings, catch the road and you’ll be healed!”

A few people listened and walked out from among the swings. Manu understood the importance of staying on the swing and continued. When he looked back he noticed that a multitude were following him. As a consequence, the followers were in-turn helping others get off the swing!

 

Matthew 13:1-23

1 On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea.

2 And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.

3 Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow.

4 And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them.

5 Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth.

6 But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away.

7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them.

8 But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

9 He who has ears to hear let him hear!”

10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”

11 He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the [a]mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.

12 For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.

13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

14 And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:

‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,

And seeing you will see and not perceive;

15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull.

Their ears are hard of hearing,

And their eyes they have closed,

Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,

Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,

So that I should heal them.’

16 But blessed are your eyes for they see and your ears for they hear;

17 for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

18 “Therefore hear the parable of the sower:

19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.

20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;

21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.

22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he, who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

 

Which swing are we on?

  • The House of pleasures? The temptations and lusts that gratify our flesh?
  • The swing of our circumstances? The things that cause us to question the goodness of God.
  • The swing of affliction? The things that people say and do that hurt us.

‘The swing of success’ taking us toward the competition and ambition of the world?

‘The swing of un-forgiveness’ letting us brood over all the hurts people have launched towards us.

‘The swing of death’ letting us grieve over and over the death of a loved one.

‘The swing of persecution’ causing us to look at ourselves more than the perishing people around us.

All this and not realizing that getting unto the way can fetch our healing.

Your say on the swing is a sting while your say on the way will move the people form the sway to the way!

Stand on the way and speak to the people! Show them the miracle that you got while keeping to the way.

When you sing on the swing it’s just a song, but when you sing on the way, its praise and worship!  It becomes deliverance to people all around you.

 

John 15:1-14

1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.

2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.

10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.

12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.

 

Let’s make a decision today to get off the swing you are on and start walking on the way!

 

Children’s Day Special-June 3rd

The Fruits of the Spirit by Pastor Natasha

 

Let’s begin with a story –

Once there was a boy named John who had a house in a garden. It was a beautiful garden full of flowers and trees which bore fruits.

He took care of his garden well, eat the fruits and was happy.

But something was not right. The boy never shared the garden or the fruits with anyone.

One fine day, an old man came into town and was really hungry and tired. He had traveled a long way and was looking to sit under a shade and eat food.

Unfortunately, all the food was eaten and his stomach was roaring.

With his eyes searching around, he passed the John’s house and saw all the fruits on the tree.

But John did not pay any attention because he never allowed anyone into the garden. The old man called out to him many times but the boy ignored.

Finally, the old man offered something precious in return for something to eat. The boy finally relented and allowed the man to enter.

When the old man had his full, the boy looked at him with stern eyes, “Old man, you better not tell this to anyone. I don’t want anyone from the village pillaging around in my garden.”

The old man thought a while, smiled and held out his hand. Curled between his fingers were seeds. The old man replied, “I will not tell anyone that I eat from your garden. As promised, here is something in return for your kindness.”

John was initially excited but looking at the seeds, he burst out in anger and exclaimed “This is not precious. Can’t you see, old man, that I have plenty of seeds?”

The old man calmly replied, “These are not ordinary seeds. Plant them and watch all kinds of different fruits grow out of a single tree.” After a pause, he continued, “But beware! If you eat one of the fruits, there will be no turning back!”

John reluctantly took the seeds and when the old man left, planted them; half curious and half skeptical.

Months later, the tree grew and bore fruit. There was all manner of it on the tree.

“The old man was crazy after all” thought the boy as he plucked one.

As he was going to eat it, he remembered the warning.

Beware! If you even eat one of the fruits, there will be no turning back!

So, dismissing the warning, John ate.

The fruit that he initially picked was a lemon. As he eat it, his face went sour just like his mouth.

What you do think this fruit was?

 

Fruit 1: Lemon full of Love

John 13:34

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

1 Corinthians 13:13

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Question: Why is this kind of love not a warm-fuzzy-feeling kind-of love?

Because its all about the decision to love. God loved and loves us unconditionally. Jesus poured out his love and commands us to love with the same standard.

Its hard and most of the time sour. But, in Christ, we should love one another, just like God did.

Now John understood why the old man had warned him. As he finished the fruit, he felt so bad that he had talked rudely to the old man. A thought occurred In his head.

Can I share this tree with the other children? Perhaps! So, he went and called them into his garden. He did something, he never did before!!

John told them about the old man, the tree and the fruits. He picked another, curiously inspecting it to find out what it was.

But, he could not hold it still. It was shaky, wobbly and John gulped it in; before it fell down. His eyes  brightened!!

What you do think this fruit was?

 

Fruit 2: Jelly of Joy

Romans 15:13

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 100:1, 2

1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.

2     Worship the Lord with gladness;

    come before him with joyful songs.

True Joy is in Jesus. We can even say –

J- Jesus

O – over

Y – you

True Joy comes when God becomes #1 in your life. When you put God first, He will pour in to your life blessing that your joy will be full and it lasts forever.

Question: How is that feeling happy different from being full of joy??

Happiness is dictated by the happenings around us, but joy is what we have when we have God in our lives.

Now John had a hop in his step, a song on his mouth. He could not stop smiling and laughing! The other kids were astonished as to what happened to John.

He is….. Different.

Looking at this, the kids went around the garden playing all over. But John noticed that they were disturbing the garden. It was neat and tidy. But now. The leaves that were gathered together were all over the place! The sand was being thrown around and it was no longer neat.

John suddenly felt something weird. Neither was he angry but it was something he never felt before. He wanted to know what it was.

So, before the kids destroyed the garden, he plucked another fruit and eat to know what he was experiencing.

What you do think this fruit was?

 

Fruit 3: Peach of Peace

Isaiah 26:3

3 You will keep in perfect peace

    those whose minds are steadfast,

    because they trust in you.

John 14:27

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Question: In what way can we be at peace during a really bad time?

Jesus is our prince of peace! There is no need to be troubled or afraid because we trust in a powerful God! He bring peace into our hearts, calm us down and help us get along with others.

 

Fruit 4: Pineapple of Patience

James 1:4

4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Hebrews 10:36

36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

Romans 8:25

25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Question: How do we practice patience when things are not going your way?

‘Patience, patience is worth the wait!’

Being able to get along with people even when you are very different takes time and understanding!

Trying over and over again to be better after you’ve made a mistake takes time & effort!

Waiting is hard! But trusting in Gods timing is perfect! Good things come to those who are patient and don’t grumble about it!

 

Fruit 5: Kiwi of Kindness

Proverbs 16:24

24 Gracious words are a honeycomb,

    sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Ephesians 4:32

32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Luke 6:35

35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.

Question: How can showing kindness change a persons day?

Being kind can be bring helpful. Acts of kindness can be helping those in need.

A sweet word, a thoughtful prayer or a good deed might be just what a person may need from you!

 

Fruit 6: Grapes of Goodness

2 Thessalonians 1:11

11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.

Psalm 145:9

9 The Lord is good to all;

    he has compassion on all he has made.

Psalm 100:5

5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;

    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Question: Can you think of a time when you’ve shown goodness to others the way God has shown it towards you?

God is good to us all the time! Therefore, our goodness to others comes from God. We have to let his ways be ours.

 

Fruit 7: Faithful Fig

Psalm 36:5

5 Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,

    your faithfulness to the skies.

2 Samuel 22:26

26 “To the faithful you show yourself faithful,

    to the blameless you show yourself blameless,

Question: What great responsibilities can God put you in charge of when He trusts you?

God is faithful because when He says he will do something, you can take it to the bank!

A faithful person is someone who can be trusted by their parents, friends and by God.

 

Fruit 8: Green Apple of Gentleness

Matthew 11:29

29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Galatians 6:1

1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.

Question: How do mothers/fathers show gentleness to their children?

God shows gentleness through his love and mercy. People can see God in use when we are gentle with others.

 

Fruit 9: Strawberry of Self-Control

1 Timothy 4:7

7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.

Psalm 141:3

3 Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;

    keep watch over the door of my lips.

James 1:19

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,

Ephesians 6:1

6 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

Question: How do we show self-control when we are around others that are making bad choices?

You are in-charge of the choices you make! We can always ask God to control your thoughts & actions.

Additionally, we can be careful in everything that we do so that God can bless you.

Jesus is the perfect example for self-control because He always chose Gods ways.

 

Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven by Pastor Amit-27th May

 

Matthew 18:1-10

1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them,

3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

5 Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.

6 “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

7 Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!

8 “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire.

9 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.

10 “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.”

Although this is not the topic being spoken of today, its too important to miss out on.

“Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.”

This is a serious warning that Jesus spoke about. If any one causes someone who is a child

  • who just came to the faith or,
  • Just started to crawl along with Father,

And you look down on them, remember their angels are in heaven looking at the face of their heavenly Father.

I wish to put it in this manner –

The moment the eyes of the Father starts tearing up, the angels will run down against those who are creating trouble for these young ones.

Who is the Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?

In-addition to Matthew 18:1-10, lets read another passage to get some clarity –

Mark 9:33-34

33 Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, “What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?”

34 But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest.

The summary is as follows:

  • Jesus & his disciples came to Capernaum
  • They were arguing as to who is the greatest among them.

We encounter stress in our daily lives, regardless of whether you’re an office worker or a home maker. Imagine the stress on Jesus when the disciples who spent 18 chapters with him don’t realize the reason for Jesus’ visit to earth.

The constant issues with the disciples was that they had to be constantly reminded the purpose of Jesus. They were constantly asking Him,

  • When are you taking your sword and declare yourself as King?
  • Who will you appoint as the greatest – your next-in-line, in your kingdom?

Possibly the argument would have gone like this –

  • “Jesus said that on me, He would build the church”, said Peter proudly. ” Hence, I should be the greatest in His Kingdom”
  • Andrew chuckled and stopped Peter saying, “You don’t even know what a church is. I am the greatest in the Kingdom because He is fond of me.”
  • Philip sneered at Andrew and replied, “No brother! It has to be me. He saw and called me before all of you; when I was siting under the tree”
  • “Jesus loves me and I love Him. I am close to his heart.” John quickly replied joining the already heated up argument, “It has to be me!”

Truth be told, grown ups have this issue of ‘Who is the greatest’. Some may not show it but some wear it proudly.

Now, Jesus knows what the argument is about and He responded to this quite nicely.

Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted [Changed, Transformed, Different from your existing self’s] and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Let me ask you a question – Who can become a child? Who has the potential to become a child?

According to the words of Jesus – An adult! A child cannot become changed into a child. But, an adult truly has the potential!

Another point to make is that this was not a statement but a truth. From the words of Jesus, we hear – “Assuredly, I say to you” which means, “I tell you the truth”.

This is a statement of truth from Truth Himself!

Moreover, one has to humble himself to become the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

As a child, I wanted to grow up! But now, as an adult, we must grow down humbling ourselves.

Lets take 4 examples and find out what characteristics we need to become like a child. Lets take stories and compare them to see the Child and the Adult perspective.

 

  1. Reverence:

Child 1: Servant of a War Criminal

2 Kings 5:2-3

2 And the Syrians had gone out on raids, and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on Naaman’s wife.

3 Then she said to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.”

Points to be noted here-

  • Syrians had raided Israel and brought a young girl captive (Prisoner of war)
    • Probably, her parents were either raped, killed or sold off
    • Beaten, shamed, horrified and enslaved.
    • All possessions looted, houses and property destroyed.
    • All dreams burned down.
  • She was made to serve the ‘Commanding General of the Army, Naaman’s’ wife.

Naaman had a disease; Leprosy. The attitude of the servant Girl is note-worthy! Even after all the horrific things done by the man who commanded it all, was thinking only good about him, to remove his suffering ailment.

If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.

How many of us think about our haughty and proud bosses in this manner? Go to God in prayer asking to change his/her life?

Adult 1: Servant of the Prophet

2 Kings 5:21,22

21 So Gehazi pursued Naaman. When Naaman saw him running after him, he got down from the chariot to meet him, and said, “Is all well?”

22 And he said, “All is well. My master has sent me, saying, ‘Indeed, just now two young men of the sons of the prophets have come to me from the mountains of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver and two changes of garments.’ ”

Gehazi, who was living well under the Prophet, becomes greedy; thinking of himself and his profits, and gets the curse of Naaman.

Adult 1 who was living under a man of God, could not see the Kingdom of God being built through the Prophet and was concerned more about himself, whereas, the child 1 was living under an oppressive ruler, could see the Kingdom of God being built through the Prophet and  was concerned about the well-being of her master than herself.

Child 1 revered God in spite of the disastrous circumstances that enveloped her childhood, whereas, the adult 1 living under the Man of God, witnessing miracles did not revere God and was greedy till the point of accepting the curse.

The end of Gehazi is horrifying whereas, the end of the girl (though not mentioned in the bible, but inferring from the miracle, I believe)  was amazing!

 

  1. Faith

Child 2: Boy with a meager offering

John 6:7-9

5 Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?”

6 But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.

7 Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.”

8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him,

9 “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?”

Here is a situation wherein a great multitude had come to listen to Jesus and was hungry. That day 5000 men (excluding women, children, relatives and animals) were fed.

The boy had nothing to give but his lunch meal – 5 loaves and 2 fish. But, the boy knew something that even the disciples did not – Jesus can do miracles!

The Boy had faith; more than all the disciples put together!

Adult 2: Man who used reason.

“Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.”

This was the reason, Mr. Philip gave to Jesus when asked to provide the people with food. Philip saw an impossibility when  he reasoned and counted, and failed the test!

But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.

Testimony: “When I lost my job after leaving Bangalore, my friend lent me rupees 2 lakhs and said, “Start living!”. My son came and asked me one day, “Dad, why are you going to office?”

Until my sons question, I was strong that the money I had will hold my family and myself. But, that day, the adult in me broke down knowing that I; being the bread-winner of my family had no resource to live-of off!

The adult in me could not recognize the ‘5 Loaves & 2 Fish’ opportunities I had, while my children were exhilarated that I was spending time at home with them! Even my wife’s face had lightened up at the thought of me close by her side.

However, in spite of all this, the adult in me was worried! Worried that the money would be spent! But, we continued to pray.

The interview that I attended was awe-inspiring as I did not get the job because I had prowess in that specific field – Quite the opposite, actually!

The Manager told me –

“Your qualifications does not match to my requirements! You don’t have experience in my market! You don’t know the products that we deal with. But, I’m willing to give you this job because someone vouched for your testimony, character and integrity! Your testimony has gotten you this job!”

Child 2 had faith in what Jesus could do with the small gift that he had, whereas, the adult 2 could not fathom the possibility of the miraculous.

Child 2 enjoyed the presence and company of Jesus more than the circumstances in & around him, whereas, the adult had worried himself into an imaginary debt of 200 denarii.

Don’t let the size of your gift stop you from receiving a miracle. Offer what you have to God and expect to be fed!

 

  1. Dependence

Child 3: Dependent on God, afraid of none

Daniel 1:19,20

19 Then the king interviewed them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they served before the king.

20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm.

Again, the King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had besieged Jerusalem and conquered it. He also raided and carried away all the valuable things from the Temple, in addition to enslaving all young men to serve him, in his court.

There comes a time when these men were trained in the ways of Babylon, the King orders that his food be served and eaten by these young souls. But Daniel had purposed in heart to not defile himself and sought to ask to eat only vegetables. The Chief replied –

Daniel 1:10

10 And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king.”

Daniel honored God in a small thing, such as food and showed that his strength, intelligence, knowledge and wisdom came from God. Daniel showed dependence! God will give me what I need.

Even bolder were his friends – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego! When asked to bow down before an Image of Gold they answered –

Daniel 3: 16-18

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.

17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.

18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”

Even thought the King threatened them, heated the furnace 7 times hotter, bound them up and threw then into the fire, their dependence on God was unquestionable.

Adult 3: Dependent on the King, afraid even more.

Daniel 1:10

10 And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king.”

The eunuch was too fearful of the King knowing that his head will be chopped off, if found in disobedience. He could not even depend on his pagan god to save his head.

Child 3 depended completely on God for every resource, every wisdom for every day. Adult 3 was dependent on the King for his life.

Child 3 had his focus on pleasing God with his life and was lifted to the highest position, while the Adult 3 had spent his life pleasing the King had only one chapter written of his name.

I don’t need what the world needs, But I need You, God! I choose to depend on You.

 

  1. Obedience

Child 4: One who listened and obeyed

1 Samuel 3:1-10

1 Now the boy Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation.

2 And it came to pass at that time, while Eli was lying down in his place, and when his eyes had begun to grow so dim that he could not see,

3 and before the lamp of God went out in the [a]tabernacle of the Lord where the ark of God was, and while Samuel was lying down,

4 that the Lord called Samuel. And he answered, “Here I am!”

5 So he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” And he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” And he went and lay down.

6 Then the Lord called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” He answered, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.”

7 (Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him.)

8 And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. So he arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you did call me.”

Then Eli perceived that the Lord had called the boy.

9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”

Samuel was called 4 times; thrice he ran to Eli saying “Here I am”. Note the radical persistence in running to Eli ever after he was sent back thrice by Eli.

Samuel was unwavering in his devotion in serving the Lord at the feet of Eli. His constant persistence to hear the voice of God and his radical obedience was unparalleled.

1 Sam 15:32,33

32 Then Samuel said, “Bring Agag king of the Amalekites here to me.” So Agag came to him cautiously. And Agag said, “Surely the bitterness of death is past.”

33 But Samuel said, “As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women.” And Samuel hacked Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal.

When the King Saul himself disobeyed, Samuel obeyed the voice of the Lord.

Adult 4: One who heard and disobeyed.

1 Samuel 4:10-18

10 So the Philistines fought, and Israel was [d]defeated, and every man fled to his tent. There was a very great slaughter, and there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers.

11 Also the ark of God was captured; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.

12 Then a man of Benjamin ran from the battle line the same day, and came to Shiloh with his clothes torn and dirt on his head.

13 Now when he came, there was Eli, sitting on a seat [e]by the wayside watching, for his heart [f]trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city and told it, all the city cried out.

14 When Eli heard the noise of the outcry, he said, “What does the sound of this tumult mean?” And the man came quickly and told Eli.

15 Eli was ninety-eight years old, and his eyes were so [g]dim that he could not see.

16 Then the man said to Eli, “I am he who came from the battle. And I fled today from the battle line.” And he said, “What happened, my son?”

17 So the messenger answered and said, “Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has been a great slaughter among the people. Also your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead; and the ark of God has been captured.”

18 Then it happened, when he made mention of the ark of God, that Eli fell off the seat backward by the side of the gate; and his neck was broken and he died, for the man was old and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years.

The high priest, Eli was heartbroken, fell back and died, when he heard about the Ark of God being taken away by the Philistines. He failed to respond to the voice of God when it was clearly spoken to him by young Samuel.

The prophesy was uttered against his sons and for his abstinence from punishing his sons as per the Law of God. However, Eli only rebuked them and their actions were left unjustified.

 Child4 learnt obedience as a child and remained obedient as a child till his end and was known as the greatest Prophet ever known. Adult 4 disobeyed and was known as the person whom God regretted making King.

Child 4 didn’t go with the flow of what the world said, but what God said whereas, the Adult 4 was more concerned about his image in-front the elders and people of Israel.

Sometimes, we hear the still small voice of God and get so occupied with the noise of this world that we ignore Him.

Who is the greatest in the kingdom of God, but the one who has –

  • Child-like reverence
  • Child-like faith
  • Child-like dependence
  • Child-like obedience

 

 

What & Where is your refuge? by Pastor Melven-20th May

 

Psalm 46:1-3

1 God is our refuge and strength,

    a very present help in trouble.

2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,

    though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,

3 though its waters roar and foam,

    though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

Today, we are going to talk about taking refuge. A lot is happening around the world that is scary. It brings fear not knowing whether we or our children will see tomorrow.

One person who underwent a similar situation was Mr. David (a.k.a King David). Bright young fellow, not-too-shabby to look at but full of God in his heart, got caught in circumstances – mostly of his own doing – and is seeking help.

This is what is written –

God is my Refuge and Strength

Lets ask the following questions-

  1. What is a refuge?
    1. A safe place
    2. Place of peace & calm
    3. Away from trouble
  1. What is your refuge in this world?

(Right here, all the ‘Christians’ say – GOD! Lets take the make-shift Halo from above our heads and rather, put our thinking caps on and think…)

  1. Food
  2. Sleep
  3. TV & Movies
  4. Ice-Cream (Probably, the best of all – in my opinion)

Lets see what the bible says about seeking refuge in places other than God and seeking refund in God.

What happens when we seek refuge outside God?

2 Chronicles 16:12,13

12 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet, and his disease became severe. Yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but sought help from physicians.

13 And Asa slept with his fathers, dying in the forty-first year of his reign.

Lets take a look at another King named, Asa. He was a good King in the sight of God and Israel because He sought the Lord before any decision.

Be it War, Judgement or Guidance, Asa used to go before the Lord to seek His counsel. One time, he went against his mother removing her from her position as Queen because she made an image of a false god.

2 Chronicles 15:16,17

16 Even Maacah, his mother, King Asa removed from being queen mother because she had made a detestable image for Asherah. Asa cut down her image, crushed it, and burned it at the brook Kidron.

17 But the high places were not taken out of Israel. Nevertheless, the heart of Asa was wholly true all his days.

Sadly, when he caught a disease in his feat, his attention went to the physicians and did not seek the Lord.

Yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but sought help from physicians.”

The very next sentence, explains what happened after – “And Asa slept with his fathers, dying in the forty-first year of his reign.”

Asa took refuge in the physicians and not the Lord. Please do not misunderstand and go around proclaiming ‘Physicians are not true‘ or ‘We do not take the sick to the doctors‘.

It’s the Lord who heals and gives wisdom to the physicians to minister healing.

But, the question isn’t – Do we trust the physicians. Rather,

Where do we run to when we need help? Do we seek the help of man or seek first the Lords Hand?

Ask yourself, Where is your refuge?

 

What happens when we seek refuge outside the heart of God.

  1. Distance –

Without realizing it, we create a distance between ourselves and God. It can be taken for with surety that God does not create this distance, but we try and keep our distance from Him.

A sense of independence arises out of rebellion and  the ace of guilt takes over.

This also spreads into relationships in and around us limiting ourselves from people speaking into our lives.

 

  1. Disappointment –

This is the successive wave to hit you when you seek refuge in things other than God. If God is our maker and creator, He surely knows our needs even before we ask.

Yet, we don’t seek Him. We seek earthly and momentary pleasure  and satisfaction which ultimately is, momentary.

Disappointment is the sadness in your soul when the satisfaction & pleasure do not  even come near to your expectations. It leaves you high and dry.

The natural second wave that would overtake a disappointed person, is depression.

When a need I sought outside the being of God and waves of disappointment crashes over your soul repeatedly, depression takes hold slowly building a stronghold.

Nothing seems to matter anymore because “the drink will not satisfy, food turns to ash in the mouth, and all the pleasurable company in the world could never quench lust.”

 

  1. Destruction –

The frivolous end to a pitiable condition. Even when there is hope in God, our eyes are so blinded that we will not see it as we are busy plotting and digressing into hopelessness.

Why do we then, seek the temporary when we have before us eternal?

What would we gain in seeking and making God our refuge?

  1. Strength –

When you know that you have the creator of the Universe,

  1. looking our for you
  2. When He’s got your back
  3. When He said He’d take care of it all,

The first revelation that welcomes you is strength.

Psalms 27:14

24 Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait I say on the Lord!

Isaiah 40:29-31

29 He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might he increases strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall,

31 but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength;

they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary,

they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 41:10

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 43:2,3

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.

3 For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

  1. Help –

“Pray, and let God worry.”

― Martin Luther

David says “very present help in trouble”. Not Yesterday’s help or the help we requested year ago for a situation that happened a year ago.

A VERY PRESENT – Says a lot in just 2 words. ‘Very’ puts emphasis on ‘Present’ which courage to a person seeking refuge.

  1. No Fear

David writes something astounding –

Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,

    though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,

though its waters roar and foam,

    though the mountains tremble at its swelling.”

That is some faith –

  1. ‘Earth gives way’ meaning Earthquakes
  2. ‘Mountains moving into the sea’ meaning Tectonic plates shifting with spewing volcanoes
  3. ‘Waters roar and foam’ means Cyclone and Tsunami
  4. ‘Mountains trembling at its craziness’ means landslides

The best I get when putting this picture together is this –

Now, David says – “We will not fear…

Do you trust your God?

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”

  • Corrie ten Boom

The best promise ever is –

1 John 4:18

18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

When God’s on your side, there is no fear, just pure strength and joy.

 

 

Beauty for Ashes by Pastor Rohini-(6th May 2017)

Some of us are born with beauty spots or get scars.
There is a marked difference between Beauty Spots & scars!!
Beauty spots- A specific mark on our body that is unique to us.Some of us wish that we have them. Some of us who have them, wish that we didn’t.
Scars- Caused by hurts or wounds during seasons of loneliness, betrayal,abuse etc.

Isaiah 61:3 – God promises us beauty for ashes.

And provide for those who grieve in Zion– to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

Let us look at two women in the Bible whose scars were healed & how God used them for his glory after an awful beginning.

1. Hagar
Genesis 16:1-16

Hagar was an Egyptian girl, who came into Abram’s family as one of his slaves.

When you think that your calling is higher, you feel that your life will improve.
We need to ask God for strength to handle the next level.

Genesis 6:4 -Hagar becomes proud.
Sarah considered Hagar as her sister.Sarah might have been thinking of Hagar:’Why is she not feeling my pain?’
Abraham and Sarah -The believer couple.
The believer couple were very hard on their maidservant Hagar.

In the midst of your crisis, God will come and meet you.
Beauty for Ashes : Before the beauty, a price needs to be paid.
The price for Hagar was to go back to the place she was mistreated.

2 Corinthians 1:6-7

Genesis 21:9-21
If you are walking in the desert and the ‘sun’ is too hot, the ‘son’ will come and encounter you.

Isaiah 61:8 – God loves justice.
God brought closure to Hagar when she got gifts from Abraham (Gen 25:6) and also  when Ishmael went along with Isaac to bury Abraham(Gen 25:9).

Your rejection in one season can take you to your destiny in the next.

2.Elizabeth –A Woman of Faith
Luke 1:5-24

Elizabeth had to battle her own pain & rejection, before God used her to be a blessing to her cousin Mary.

The scars you share become lighthouses for other people who are headed to hit the same rocks as you have.


Our Ashes have a twofold purpose:

1. In helping us not to judge someone in a trial.

2.To encourage that person out of that trial/sin.

Encounter with God : Luke 1:41-45

Elizabeth praised Mary instead of judging her. Elizabeth stayed with Mary till she conceived.


Isaiah 61:7 : God will give us a Double portion instead of shame.

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 war1 Chronicles 12:2 skilled1 Chronicles 12:8 men of valor Each of their names are mentioned, why?1 Chronicles 12:3-13When 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 12:2A 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 12:40He is Skilled 1 Chronicles 12:2His Appearance 1 Chronicles 12:9If 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: 32Is 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 RejectionDavid 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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