An atheist journalist's search for truth ultimately gets him to understand the real truth.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
An atheist journalist's search for truth ultimately gets him to understand the real truth.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
I received this scripture through email from one of the daily mailing services and it triggered my heart to look at it in a whole new perspective especially the last phrase. Here it goes;
“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12”
I was thinking it would’ve been great if it had said “quick to discern if you are a Christian with a Christian name” or “quick to discern if you are a regular church goer” or even if it said “and quick to discern if you pray and read the Bible everyday”. The stuff that I’ve mentioned above can be publicly justified and it’s very easy to outwardly display them. But the sad news is that God does not look at “how” we are but “who” we are. “How” can be easily displayed in public but “who” takes a great deal to accomplish because it is justified by who we inwardly are.
That is why Jesus had to meet the widow who dropped just two mites at the offering box and her story is mentioned in the Bible. There were so many explicit Godly people who brought their offerings in public. But the widow being too ashamed to reveal her petty offering thought to secretly cast it into the box. But of all those who offered to God that day Jesus honored the widow’s offering because “Word of God (Jesus) discerns the thoughts and attitudes of the heart”. I was encouraged to see Jesus saying “She (the widow) of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living – Mark 12:44”. I loved the last phrase again “even all her living”. Did she sell all her possessions and household things to give to God? No! But yet God referred to it as “all her living”. The truth behind it is that when we have the right attitude God honors us as though we have sacrificed our entire living though it may not be.
On the other hand we read about another person in the Bible named Ananias (Acts 5) who sold all his possessions in an act to give to God but kept back a “part of it” only, and laid the rest at the apostle’s feet. When the word of God discerned the thoughts and attitudes of the heart, they fell short of the expectations and had to die because of their wicked attitude. When you compare the two givers, the widow and Ananias, both gave to the Lord. The former gave only two mites and latter gave most his possessions but God judged the thoughts and attitudes.
The question we need to ask is, Are we mere explicit children of God? Do we just exist like a child of God outwardly with all evil intentions and wicked thoughts inwardly? It’s time to retrospect our lives to see if we match the expectations of God. More than anything else our attitude needs to be Godly and everything else would follow. Amen
Friday, July 3, 2009
“The Delhi High Court pronounced a historical judgment decriminalizing homosexuality”
I’ve kind of lost my hope in our judicial system when I heard one of the High Court’s judgments about smoking on screen by celebs. I had many friends in College who started smoking just because their favorite hero on screen smoked and did many stylish tricks which attracted the heroine much. I was able to clearly see that the judicial system in India does not have a clear distinction between logics and morals. Logically, smoking on the screen is right but morally, it’s perilous. But the court had to succumb to logics more than morals. FYI, that’s where we are heading to!
I would like to pose a scenario where a mother of two, living happily with her husband and family, met with another man whom she thought was “the man of her dreams”. Logic may suggest that she should follow her heart’s desire, but morals would just keep her from deserting the family structure and live faithfully as a great mother. Same with another man who met a “woman of his dreams” but unfortunately she was married then. He being an extremely successful person, smart-looking, could allure her and shatter her commitment with her husband and strike an affair, “logically”. Yet morally, he backed up.
I’m trying to quote these two scenarios as this is very much our society and we ourselves. Though there are so many secret desires, lures and temptations, morals keep us on track. That’s what our families are made up of; morals and not logics. It is a moral commitment for a father to look after his children. Logically, why should a man strive hard for another human! It is very clear that morals are pivotal to a society and especially ours.
Who decides the standards for morals - What is moral and immoral? The answer is no one! Society frames the morals. It would try various things and eventually a basic moral framework would be set. Anything below that line would be immoral. For e.g. sex between legitimate couples is morally accepted. But if they are not, it’s the same sex, but the act is immoral. Why? No one knows! But that’s how the society is. Culturally rich countries like India, thankfully, even today have these moral values “as a society”. Please note the quoted phrase “as a society” because no one can claim that all Indians individually are morally, culturally rich. But fortunately our society still is. That’s why we still have strong family bonds. Parents don’t decide to separate at will…they try to mend inconsistencies and carry forward. Children grow up seeing parents, their commitments and they know the value of a family and that is what has been driving India morally.
The difference between LGTB and Eunuchs.
I would like to request the Honorable Supreme court of India not to relate the LGTB community with the eunuchs. These two are two different cases. The former is a handicap mentally where as the latter is a handicap, biologically. The Eunuchs deserve the right to live like other humans…there is absolutely no doubt about that. It’s the same as a physically challenged person and they need to be treated loyally. But why are the LGTB involved in this reservation. They have a problem mentally… against nature. It is natural for a man to love a woman and vice versa … Same sex attraction is unnatural and a mental disability. Even if there has to be special laws for the Eunuchs, the LGTB community needs to be exempted for the law to make sense.
How does this Law for LGTB bring down the morals of our society?
As I have told before, the moral standards of our society has been set. Often different thinkers may prop up claiming to revisit the moral standards to make sure it really is humanitarian. If it doesn’t there would be voices raised and depending on the justice it makes, would be accepted or discarded. But the reforms brought up and widely accepted till today, made sense…like abolishing sati, widow discrimination which has taken our moral values up. LGTB is a mental issue, unnatural feeling for which a law cannot be proposed. It would then justify persons having unnatural attraction within own family members (incest) also. Terrorist killings could be justified as they could claim they have a natural tendency to kill people. Even child abusers could justify their natural instinct towards children which could later breed into a great community claiming rights for their own.
Where is our society heading to?
It’s high time we decide whether to be logically correct or morally correct. The government and the court would stay silent because of the 70 million vote bank. Educated mass may also choose to be neutral to pacify the LGTB community which is mostly the elite. When it comes to making a decision, logics might be most admired than morals as morals are a little old fashioned in our current vibrant sophisticated social framework. Slowly, moral laws would be modified to make logical sense. The end is for you to presume!
Religiously, is it correct?
I follow the Bible and the Bible treats the act of homosexuality as an abomination, a curse that is detestable before the eyes of God. Read it in the Holy Bible. Do you know why? It’s because God instituted a Holy and most divine institution called “Marriage” between a man and a woman. So far this institution has worked wonders and we are what we are because our forefathers and our parents relentlessly held on to the morals established. I know there is no widely accepted religion that legalizes or supports homosexuality.
I believe when there are riches, intellect and sophistications in abundance, the human mind tries new theories like these just because their basic needs are already met. People in most down trodden countries today have no time fighting for gay rights as they are fighting for their next meal. Even in India, not long ago, 15 years back when India was counted as an underdeveloped country by westerners, none dared to bring these issues up as we were struggling for our basic necessities. Fathers had no choice than to earn little and mothers wisely used that little to raise their children. But today with globalization and international exposure, earning exuberant salaries has become easy. The concept of living content is gone and craving for new sophistications is talk of the town. Western lifestyle is the new mantra; “breaking-up”, pizzas, burgers, harmful beverages, branded apparels, swanky cars and gadgets have become an invincible part of our lives. There’s no doubt a lot of these new theories are propping up. Wait and see… worse is yet to come!
A Word to LGTB
The law says more than the law breaker the one who instigated to break the law should suffer more punishment. Please do not conduct a Pride rally or something of that sort, primarily because there is nothing to be proud about and secondly you create a lot of unwanted publicity. Many ignorant young people may want to follow you just because of this publicity. After all who has the right to supervise your secrecy but don’t make it public. But remember, there is a time coming very soon when the gold will be put to test and refined. Only what is pure and moral would stand and all impurity would be cast out.
Malachi 2:17 says “You have wearied the LORD with your words. But you say, "How have we wearied him?" By saying, "Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delights in them." Or by asking, "Where is the God of justice?"
And Malachi 3:2 says “But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver;”
The people during Noah’s time were very similar to this age… No moral values and when the test of time came, there was no time to repent. I’m praying for you to repent!
“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.” – Romans 6:12-13
God loves you ... He's waiting for you to mend your ways. "He(Jesus Christ) will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. - Micah 7:19"
- John Manoah
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."
Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. - 1 Corinthians 1:18-21
God Bless you.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
“In the day that God created man, in the LIKENESS OF GOD made he him” – Genesis 5:1.
One of the most precious gifts that God has bestowed on mankind and something that everyone should be excited about is the fact that we carry the form of God in us. Isn’t astounding to know that we actually look like God? Yes! God created man and woman in the LIKENESS OF HIM. Genesis 1:26 says “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”. Next time you see yourself in the mirror shout a big thank you to God. Never complain about how you look for you are created by God in His own likeness. Today let us look through the Bible how man lost this impeccable form and regained it.
Genesis 3 narrates the fall of man because of his disobedience. The serpent tricked Adam & Eve to believe a lie that he formulated and made them betray God. This sort of betrayal is not just eating an apple against God’s will rather a higher form of betrayal where man replaced satan for God. His right as a son of God having the likeness of God was despised to satisfy the lust of his eyes. Esau, in Genesis 25:32 lost his birthright for he didn’t value the sonship that he was entitled for. Esau resembles the fallen man. Thus when man despised God he actually started to lose the form of God as God was no longer his father but it was satan who snatched that place by his craftiness.
God had to send man out of the garden of Eden because he betrayed him. In chapter 6 the Bible says that men began to multiply on the face of the earth. If you furl a few chapters back you would notice something peculiar. God sent Adam & Eve out of the Garden of Eden for their disobedience. Adam knew his wife and bore a son and named him Cain. Then she bore Abel. If you notice the characteristics of Cain and Abel, Abel chose to be a shepherd and was pleasing to God. Genesis 4:4 says God had respect on Abel and his offering. But v5 says that God did not respect Cain and his offering. I was wondering why God portrayed this favoritism. On reading these chapters again and again I got this revelation – when man disobeyed God, he bore the fruit of sin within him as he walked out of the Garden of Eden. He knew his wife during this period of guilt and the seed of sin came out as Cain. But man did repent for his transgressions and the God of grace did grant him repentance. Abel was born during the period of repentance. That is why right from the beginning Cain had bitterness towards Abel and wanted to kill him as there was an enmity between the son of man (Cain) and son of God (Abel).
Later Eve bore Seth and she considered him as another seed instead of Abel. So Adam and Eve had two descendants Cain and Seth, the former being a seed of sin and the later seed of God. Now when they began to multiply Cain’s descendants lost their identity with God whereas the descendants of Seth resembled God’s form. It’s until chapter 6 when the sons of God mixed with the sons of men that they all lost the likeness of Christ. V4 says that there were giants on the face of the earth, a form of man that God didn’t intend to be. God’s prime purpose to create man in his likeness was no longer worth it as he already destroyed it by his sin. Now when God saw that every thought of man was only evil, he had no other resort than to destroy him because he lost the form of God.
Surprisingly Noah and his family kept themselves from mingling with the sons of men and still had the form of God. So Noah found grace in the eyes of God and his family was spared. All the giants and mighty men who lost the form of God were destroyed in the great deluge. Thus, though we were about to lose the likeness of Christ we were able to regain it because of Noah’s righteousness. Noah is a shadow of Christ in the Old Testament. He resembles Christ as through him we regained what we thought we almost missed.
I still argue with historians and atheists that the fossil remains of pre-historic man are true. It’s nothing but the remains of guys who simply didn’t value God’s likeness and became disfigured. Sin separates us from God and we start to lose the likeness of Christ as we move away from Him. This is a warning to each one of us to understand how we need to conduct ourselves as told in 1 Corinthians 6:19 – “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”
Lord Jesus, thank you for making me in your likeness and help me value your form in me and live a life worthy of it. Amen
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Romans 12:2 – “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
One of the areas where we often tend to make a wrong move is at ‘knowing God’s will’. Our life needs to be according to His ways. Proverbs 3:5,6 talks about how God could direct our paths when we lean on Him. But the problem is when we don’t know whether or not it is His will. Paul talks about a transformation to renew our minds which would help us test and approve God’s will. Interestingly he points out the characteristics of God’s will as Good, Pleasing & Perfect. Satan works around this area. It is easy for him to divert us at the point of choosing God’s ways so that our entire destination changes. This process is slow that we do not recognize we have drifted away.
When we read the life history of Abraham, choosing a life partner for his son was one of the greatest challenges. Like any other God fearing parent, he wanted it to happen according to God’s perfect plan. In Genesis 24 Abraham sought the help of his eldest servant, Eliezer, to go to his father’s country and find a suitable partner for his son. Prayerfully, Eliezer and his team set out a journey trusting God completely. Please note that God’s will is pivotal in this circumstance because it’s his master’s earnest desire and as a faithful servant Eliezer need to discern God’s will in spotting the right one. When he reached the city of Nahor, it was evening time when the daughters would come to the well to draw water. Eliezer prayed to God. His prayer is of great importance as he proposed to God what he would like the girl to be. He wanted to choose the girl who is willing to water him and his servants and willingly water the camels too.
As Eliezer was praying, Rebecca was there at the well. Verse 16 describes her beauty and how anybody would like her at first sight. As she drew water from the well, Eliezer ran to her and asked for some water. She immediately lowered her jar and gave him water to drink. Moreover she said “I will draw water for the camels too until they have done drinking”. This is the first part of knowing God’s will! “You would encounter exactly what you wanted”. But beware satan could mimic your expectations and bring the fake one before you actually see what’s destined for you. That’s why Paul uses the term “test & approve” God’s will. This is where the wisdom of God is displayed through Eliezer. Instead of jumping into conclusions, he nodded his head for Rebecca’s offer as she ran down to fetch more water.
Verse 21 is the key – “Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful.” Eliezer waited patiently to see if Rebecca was able to fulfill the promises she made. It is clear that she had to go down to the well to fetch water and taking into account how much water each camel would drink, it would’ve been a tiring job for Rebecca to water all ten camels. Eliezer watched carefully to “test and approve” if it was God’s will. As he expected, the next verse says “When the camels finished drinking…” which means Rebecca tirelessly completed what she promised.
We all have heard stories and I personally have witnessed young people taking hasty decisions especially in choosing life partners. They have expectations and when they encounter one which appears to closely match theirs, they immediately jump into it without testing and approving. Only later they understand it’s not what God had planned and regret in that irrecoverable state. In all other matters of life we tend to make this blunder which is prime reason for guilt and regret. The fakes come with false promises and could never accomplish those. To test and approve one needs to wait patiently and see the results just like Eliezer did.
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for your will is perfect in my life. Help me to test and approve your will that is good, pleasing and perfect for me. Amen
Friday, April 18, 2008
1 Corinthians 1:28 – “He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are”. I was in a conversation with one of the topmost persons of a conglomerate who once was a devoted child of God, now an atheist. He commented something about Jesus Christ that made me pen down this article. He said “I don’t know why Jesus related himself only with people of low state like the sick, poor and the illiterate. That is why I cannot relate myself to Him as I am always with people of high state”. Though I was perplexed about how this generation has already raised themselves above God and the pride of life has blinded their eyes, I was on the other hand thrilled about my Jesus who though being the Master of this universe still was humble enough to consider the lowly…Aren’t we fortunate to have a father like Him?
God’s wisdom, His majesty, His wealth, His riches cannot be fathomed. He designed this humungous universe and the tiny little atoms. He is there from infinity to infinity. He formulated the seasons. He gave rules for the stars to shine, the planets to revolve. He defined nature, the rain, the sunshine etc. He chiseled our brain and placed rules what it is supposed to do. It’s funny using this petite invention of God, we have started to question the creator Himself!
That is why God’s ways are always interesting. He being such a great God still came down for the lowly and even died for them. In John 1:45, the Bible talks about a person called Nathanael. The Bible does not describe much about his ancestry, but when Jesus saw him coming towards Him, He remarked, “Here is a true Israelite in whom there is nothing false”. Here we see God himself giving approval of Nathanael’s conduct. Jesus further prophesied about Nathanael saying he would see heavens open and angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man. In simple words, Nathanael was a perfect minister of God. But this is where Jesus stands out…instead of appointing Nathanael as His assistant, He let him go. Do you know why? Jesus was interested in a denying Peter, doubting Thomas, timid John and Mathew instead of a spotless Nathanael.
God is absolutely interested in the invalid. Jesus isn’t compared with a goldsmith who takes the most precious metal to bring out a beautiful ornament. He is compared to a potter who takes the dirty clay and makes a beautiful pot out of it which is honored in par with a gold ornament. Unlike gold, clay is extremely fragile, incompetent and irksome. In Jeremiah 18, God asks the prophet to go down to the potter’s house. What he sees is very interesting. There was a potter who saw that the vessel he made was marred. He immediately smashed it and redesigned a new pot out of it the way he intended it to be. God chooses the invalid and moulds them the way He wants them to be.
Ruth was a Moabite. Genesis 19:30-38 describes how the very inception of the Moabite clan was an abomination before God. Moab was cursed right from birth. Yet God chose Ruth from that cursed generation and lifted her up to be the great grandmother of Jesus. Moses had a stammering tongue, very inarticulate and timid. God chose him to lead Israel to the promised nation. Right from Genesis the Bible is full of examples of how God chose the invalid and made them valid.
Today you may be feeling inferior because of your poor state, sickness, low education, sin or anything that isn’t up to God’s standards. If you are one feeling so, CONGRATULATIONS!!!! YOU JUST GOT SHORTLISTED FOR BEING GOD’S CHILD! God would choose you more than anybody else only because you are invalid. Isn’t He wonderful on contrary to the world which would love you only if you are valid? It’s a joy serving the Lord and seeing Him molding us into finer vessels though we were invalid once. Do not listen to the lies of the devil but keep up the fervor…Remember God is there backing you up always amidst your inabilities.
Dear Father, my King my brother, my sweet friend, it’s a pleasure to be your child and thank you for the grace that you have bestowed on me to make me valid. Thank you once again. Amen.
Posted by John Manoah at 5:01 PM
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Judges 12 - Before King Saul became the king of Israel, judges led Israel. Jephthah is one among the notable judges. He was a Gileadite and a mighty warrior with valor and known for his mission against the Ammonites. He devastated the Ammonite lands and subdued them. After this victory, the men of Ephraim provoked Jephthah for not involving them in the battle against the Ammonites. He tried to explain how he had called them for the battle but they refused to join. Unconvinced, they still persisted in provoking him. His anger flared against them that he called together his men and fought against Ephraim.
The Gileadites struck the Ephraimites and captured the city of Ephraim. Jephthah was determined to completely route the Ephraimites. So he decided to kill every Ephraimite entering or leaving the city. Since it was very difficult to figure out one’s origin from mere looks, the Gileadites framed an interesting strategy. Whenever a man would pass through the gate, the Gileadites asked if he was an Ephraimite. Obviously he said he wasn’t, fearing death. They would then ask him to repeat the word “Shibboleth”. The Ephraimites could not pronounce the sound “sh”. If he said “Sibboleth”, because he could not pronounce the word correctly, they seized him and killed him. A whooping forty four thousand Ephraimites were killed because they could not pronounce the word correctly.
Isn’t it strange? No wonder it says in Proverbs 18:21, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue”. James 3 talks about the power of the tongue. It is compared to the small rudder that determines the direction of huge ships. Yes, though it is a small part in the body it can prove to be a threat if misused. It is also said that no man can tame his tongue because it is a restless evil full of deadly poison. We need watch our words and speak wisdom because what we speak is what we are.
Our ministry depends on two prime factors: Words and Action. What we say is what we do and that is what people around see in us. That is why Proverbs 13:3 teaches us to think before we talk. Unless our words are gracious (Proverbs 22:11), comforting (Job 4:4) and beneficial (Proverbs 20:15) we aren’t making the best use of the tongue. As the tongue could determine life and death, isn’t it easy to choose life as the option?
But today’s children of God are so caught up in the conspiracy of the devil and he has rightly struck the precise organ to propagate his ministry; the tongue. That is why there is so much of gossips, offensive remarks, words of hatred, enmity and strife even among believers. It’s high time we understand the power of the words we speak and use it for the glory of the Lord. Just like how the Ephraimites lost their lives because of a word, we may lose our lives because of our words! The only difference between the words 'Shibboleth' and 'Sibboleth' is the letter “h” and one minister of God referred to it as “Holiness in Words”. If there is no holiness in your words, it may take the very life out of you!
Here are a few questions to evaluate yourself.
- Am I using wisdom in words? (Proverbs 10: 31,32)
- Do I impress the wisdom of God’s word to others around (Deuteronomy 6:6, 7)?
- Are my words comforting to people? (Job 2:11, 4:4)
- Do I speak on behalf of the innocent? (Proverbs 31:8,9)
- Do I gossip knowingly or unknowingly? (Proverbs 20:19)
- Do I talk too much? (Proverbs 10:19)
- Do I offend people by my words? (Proverbs 15:1)
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you reminding the power of my words. Please help me to use it to bring life for your glory. Amen
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
1 Samuel 4 – The Israelites waged war against the Philistines. The Israelites were losing and so planned to bring the Ark of the Lord to the battle field. But surprisingly the Israelites still lost the battle as they didn’t inquire of the Lord on how to go about the war instead took their own ingenious stand. The Philistines carried away the Ark to their country. The Lord’s hand was heavy upon the Philistines and they realized that it’s because of the Ark of covenant which is in their country. Knowing the power of the God of Israel and His mighty acts in the past, the Philistines intended to send the Ark back to Israel with all respect. After consulting with their wise men they set up the Ark on a cart and sent it on the way to Israel, to a place called Beth Shemesh. From there the Ark of the Lord was taken to Kiriath Jearim and the Ark stayed there.
Later in 2 Samuel 5, David conquered Jerusalem and became King over Israel. In chapter 6, he initiated the return of the Ark of the Lord back to Jerusalem. What did he do? He called thirty thousand men and went to bring the Ark of God. He casually set the Ark of God on a new cart and brought it down from the hill. There was great rejoicing and the men were celebrating before the Ark with songs, lyres and tambourines.
Who is Uzza? – Uzza is one among the thirty thousand men David chose to bring the Ark of the Lord. He had the advantage of walking close to the cart. He and his brother “Ahio” were guiding the cart. Everything seemed to go pretty well until at one moment the oxen of the cart stumbled and Uzza reached out to take hold of the Ark from falling down. The Lord’s anger burned against Uzza for his irreverent act and struck him right there and he died. All the men were dumbstruck by this sudden disaster that came upon Uzza and panicked. The celebration was brought down to mourning because of this incident. David was afraid and didn’t know what to do and then said, “How can the ark of the Lord ever come to me?” (v9) – a question too late to be asked!
Did you notice David’s response? After sacrificing one of his men, he realizes the mistake he made. In Exodus 25:12, the Lord describes the design of the Ark where He commands Moses to place 4 rings, 2 on either sides of the Ark. A pole needs to be placed inside the rings and the Ark should be carried using the poles. This was God’s commandment and was followed ever since. During the fall of Jericho, God commanded Joshua to carry the Ark of the Lord around the wall. He obeyed and promptly employed priests to carry the Ark on its poles (Joshua 6:12).
Leadership matters – David didn’t realize the divinity of the Ark and the way it ought to be handled. He treated it with contempt by not following what God commanded. He learnt a lesson at the cost of Uzza’s life. It’s surprising to know after David realized his error, in v13 it says, “When those carrying the Ark had taken six steps he sacrificed a bull and a calf” which means he employed priests to carry the Ark, the way it should be done. Anyways his former negligence resulted in the death of one of his valuable men, Uzza.
Isn’t daunting to know how we leaders need to watch our every step. It’s a call to all fathers, mothers, church leaders, husbands, wives, managers, team leads and all who are in a responsible position, to understand their responsibilities. A small slip could result in a big blunder, especially in matters of God, we need to be further watchful. Everyone is called to be a leader and knowingly or unknowingly people are watching us. The way we conduct ourselves is pivotal in living a Christian life. Only a constant relationship with God can mould us and impart Godly characters in us.
If we fail, it may prove fatal. So let’s look onto God for conducting ourselves as good leaders in the place we are.
Lord Jesus, thank you for reminding my responsibility as a leader. Help me to watch my ways and guide others in the right way. Amen
Friday, March 28, 2008
“A truth that's told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent.” – William Blake.
Genesis 2:16-17: And the Lord God commanded the man “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” This is the commandment that the Lord God gave Adam regarding the tree of good and evil. God cannot lie! Hebrews 6:18 says that it is impossible for God to lie. Yes, we serve a God who is Holy and true and there is no unrighteousness in Him – Psalms 92:15. Here we see God commanding Adam not to eat of its fruit or else he will surely die.
Later in chapter 3:4, the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die”. John 8:44 says that ‘there is no truth in the devil. He is a liar and the father of all lies’. Satan is a liar…he lies to swallow you into his den of liars. He had to instigate a plan to pull man away from God in the Garden of Eden. His only weapon in hand was the great lie which he executed and unfortunately won the victory. Man fell for the devil’s fleece.
The last two paragraphs talk about two distinct statements made by invariably the most contradictory characters; the Most Holy and the most evil! One declaring death for disobedience and the other denying it. What happened in the end is something that we need to delve into. Man transgressed. But whose declaration came true? God told man that he would die and satan told he wouldn’t. Did man die when he disobeyed? The most shocking and something that you least wanted to hear is yet to come! Unlike God told and like satan told, man didn’t die.
Did God lie? In this case, yes! Did satan tell the truth? In this case, yes again! Please don’t get mad at me…if that is what you thought, read on. Satan is a deceiver. He wants bad things to happen to us. We are God’s creation, the work of His own hands. Satan would want us to turn against God because we are God’s most precious possessions. On the other hand God wants good to happen to us. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son”. We could see how God displays a sacrificial love on man. If we look into the benefits of satan’s truth in this context, man believed satan’s truth and what did he ultimately attain? Separation from God and His blessings. It’s better to believe God and live with him than to obey satan and separate ourselves from God.
To summarize, what God meant was not physical death. God warned Adam about “spiritual death” i.e. separation from God or friendship with the devil. That’s why when man sinned he actually didn’t die but suffered pain more than death because of his separation from God. On the other hand, what satan meant was physical death which he ruled out, hiding the real truth behind which is spiritual death. Man fell for his malice and rejected God. To reemphasize, God cannot lie! Even what appears to be a lie from God is actually the truth. It’s up to us to obey or disobey his commandments. The same applies for satan…what may appear to be the truth from the devil is always a lie. It could never benefit us and would only take us away from God.
Satan biggest tool today is camouflaging the real truth. Whenever I counsel the youth, they tend to justify their sinful life and I wonder how well satan has hidden what is supposed to be truth. Dear all, watch out…satan’s on prowl. The world and its charm are so compromising that we would never know until we fall deep down. Better to believe God and suffer for a while than to believe the devil and suffer forever.
Dear Jesus, help me to cling to you whatever may happen. May my ears be attentive to you and not to the lies of the devil. Amen.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
2 Samuel 11 begins by saying “At the time when kings usually go for war…” In ancient times it was during spring season that kings generally plan their battles. It is too hot in summer and too cold in winter. But during spring the weather is always pleasant and with abundant supply of water. The soldiers wouldn’t want to carry extra clothing or water to manage the battle. So even if there was a need for a battle during summer or winter, wise kings schedule it during spring time.
David is considered to be one of the greatest kings in the Bible as well as history. His accomplishments out numbered those that of the other famous kings ever known. He always consulted God for his proceedings and God had a personal relationship with this great king and guided him all through. His initial life wasn’t that great though. He started as a shepherd running after his sheep risking his own life, wrestling with wild animals. He was the youngest in the family and was always bullied and ridiculed. He was considered immature and childish. A break-through happened when he went forward and killed Goliath and saved the Israelites from the Philistines. But right then he earned Saul’s jealousy and ran around to save his own life hiding in caves and forests. To summarize, it took him a while to settle as King. But once he firmly established his kingdom, it was time for David to recline after all the hardships he endured.
It was during such a time that he decided to take a break and hang around. So even though it was the usual time for war he still remained at the palace sending his subordinates for the battle. Verse 2 says, “In the evening time David arose off from his bed and walked on the roof”. Surprising isn’t? David was supposed to be fighting a battle but lingered. And now after sleeping all day long got up from his bed, not knowing what to do, started to stroll on the roof top. There is a proverb that says “An idle man’s mind is devil’s workshop”. When you don’t do what you’re supposed to do, you will end up seeing a bathing Bathsheba! That’s the rule.
It was no different for David. His lethargy resulted in eying at another man’s wife. It’s surprising to know how a great king like David who had a great relationship with God, could willfully sin at first sight. He decided to get her on bed and further reading would reveal how a small thought in his mind blew up to two great sins, adultery and murder. The next chapter begins by saying “And the Lord sent Nathan unto David”. Remember God usually dealt with David personally and did not require a prophet to talk with David. When David drifted away and isolated himself from God, He had to use a third person to reach David. All because of his decision “Not to do what he was supposed to do as a King”
Today, you may be a student, a software professional, a minister of God, a responsible parent etc. Always remember, do what you are supposed to do in your state. If you miss the mark you would surely end up with a bathing Bathsheba and ultimately isolating yourself from God. If you are student, do your best to study well. If you are software professional, do your best to meet your deadlines and go that extra-mile in your performance. If you are a minister of God, keep going forward in your ministry and so on … Take a decision to understand your responsibilities, to keep working towards those and not to waver. God always honors genuine desires and would certainly second your initiatives. It’s really a joy to hold God’s hand and keep doing His will. Try it and you’ll never know how awesome it feels!
Lord Jesus, help me to do what I am supposed to do and not to waver from your path. Help me to know my responsibilities and concentrate on them so that I do not end up in sin. Amen
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Among all great relationships in the world, a father-son relationship is very special. Every father loves his child more than himself and would dare to sacrifice anything for his benefit. I’ve seen how my dad always used to and still keep the best for me even though I don’t care to do that to him. The children are very secure when their father is around because he is a source of strength and encouragement. A little boy once said, “I was so embarrassed on stage during my first piano recital. But among the serious staring crowd I saw my dad smiling and waving at me. I got all the courage and my fears flew away that instance”
There’s another incident when the father dropped his kid at school and promised that he would be back to pick him up. The kid took those words to his heart. Later that day there was an earthquake and the kid was stuck deep down. But he kept pondering on his father’s promise to come and pick him up for sure. He waited patiently. His dad arrived and somehow spotted his son’s class room among the debris and started to dig through. All the fire-fighters gave up and requested him to give up as there was no more hope that anyone could be alive any longer. But the dad kept digging. Two days later when he moved a wooden plank he saw his kid sitting inside confidently waiting for his dad to rescue him. When the kid saw him he didn’t seem to show much of a surprise as he was sure his father’s going to come and pick him up at any cost.
The Bible talks about so many father-son tales and one story caught my attention, Abraham and Isaac. Isaac was born to Abraham when he was 100 years old. Imagine what kind of a special kid he would’ve been in the family. His father couldn’t take his eyes of his kid. He admired, loved, cared and gave the best for his special son. Isaac felt secure with his father and considered him his best friend. But things went the other way when God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. It should’ve been the most painful request to fulfill. But Abraham quietly decided to do it for the Lord. In Genesis 22, Abraham and Isaac took off for the sacrifice. In this whole incident Abraham kept his cool and proceeded. The key is v8, when Abraham replied Isaac “God himself will provide a lamb for a burnt offering”. Somehow from the beginning he kept trusting God that He will not forsake him. He was sure that he will climb down the mountain with his son Isaac. God honored his faith and at the moment when he was about to sacrifice his own son, the angel of the Lord shouted “Stop”, the word Abraham was dying to hear. Isaac on the other hand did not even speak a word even when his father was tying him to the altar because he knew his father would never let him down. Both were honored that day and left the hill happily praising God for his wondrous acts.
Several millenniums later a similar incident took place. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son…” If you watch closely it is similar to the Abraham-Isaac tale. But unlike for Abraham, God the Father didn’t have anyone to run for solace. Like Isaac, Jesus quietly obeyed His father and somewhere deep down had faith that God will not forsake him and so prayed at the Garden of Gethsemane (Mathew 26:36). His sorrow was so much to the point of death that he knelt down and cried, “Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me”. I am not able to control my tears as I write this when the Father on seeing His son cry to Him for help, turned His face away and let Him suffer, something that no other father would dare to do. Jesus humbly accepted that denial from His father and went ahead to suffer and die on the cross for us.
That's the key! “For Us”. God, the creator and the very form of grace couldn’t use that grace to save His son. He had to see His son suffer right before His eyes. It’s because “He loved the world i.e. You and Me” more than His son and was willing to sacrifice Him. Abraham had a father to trust on but God didn’t. Isaac’s trusted his father and so did Jesus. But Isaac was spared but Jesus wasn’t. That is the power of sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary.
During this season of Good Friday and Easter, could we ponder on God’s sacrifice and how precious it is because He denied His only son for us? Such is the sacrifice. I was deeply touched by this song by Stuart Townend “How deep the father’s love for us”. Please take time to listen to every word so that you understand how great His love is for us. Amen.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
The book of Ecclesiastes was written by King Solomon, the son of King David. If you unfurl the history behind, Solomon was born to David when he had firmly established his kingdom. Imagine being a prince spending life in a palace and that too with God fearing parents! Yes, here’s a prince with all the riches & being bought up with the fear of God. When Solomon grew he succeeded David as the King and the Bible says there was peace on all sides and people rejoiced during Solomon’s reign. 1 Kings 4:20-28 describes Solomon’s splendor and his daily provisions and how the kingdom cherished under his rule.
Moreover, when the Lord appeared to him, instead of asking for wealth and security from enemies Solomon sought wisdom. God was pleased and granted him wisdom, great wealth and security from enemies. Thus Solomon lived a complete life; Wise, rich & God fearing. He wrote 3000 proverbs and wise men from all over the world came to meet him and marveled at his wisdom. But somewhere down the line Solomon’s perspective towards life changed and his writings started to reflect how meaningless everything under the sun is! Do you want to know why? In the prime of his youth, it says in 1 Kings 11:1, Solomon loved many foreign women. He slowly drifted from his way and ended up in sin. But it was too late for him to realize and revert back. So he wrote Ecclesiastes as a warning to the other young people.
I exactly don’t remember where I read about a woman in the prime of her youth got addicted to immoral activities. When she found that she could earn more money by being immoral she dove in and very soon was considered the queen of adultery. Men took advantage of her beauty and earned a fortune. But as days went she started to lose her beauty (Proverbs 31:30) and was ignored by the same men who once admired her. It was too late for her to realize her mistake. Rejected by her family and friends for her conduct, she decided to get a baby for herself and run to some corner of the globe and live a peaceful life. She somehow got pregnant and left to new town. When you forget God in your youth, you are actually stacking up curses. And in her case, curses on her baby. She gave birth to a sweet baby but without limbs. In medical terms the baby was considered to be a ‘vegetable’ meaning it cannot do anything. The baby could breathe and that is all it can do as long as it lives. So the doctors decided to mercy kill the baby and with tears the mother fed the last spoon of milk to her own baby. Wounded and heart-broken she spent times lonely thinking how she had spoilt her youth. Later she was paralyzed and spent her life on an electric wheel chair spending time with physically challenged children.
I guess you are able to get the gist of what I am going to say. Most of the techies who read this blog are below the age of 35 and that means they are in the prime of their youth. The world is so alluring and the charm of youthfulness yearns to join the fun and celebrate along. Take my word, beauty and charm is not going to last long. Every time you take a step to do something, think ahead! What will you be doing 40 years from now…regretting what you are doing or cherishing your youth? The choice is yours. Wealth and fame will not last long either. It’s the respect and conduct that you earn today that is going to be with you when you are old.
A few who are reading this passage may already be deep down in sin and guilt. But do not worry…Christ died on the Cross of Calvary to wash our guilt and make us pure as snow. It’s never too late with our dear Jesus. So it’s high time to consider our ways and make sure we live a memorable life on this earth. The rule is simple -
“Remember thy creator in the days of thy youth”
Lord Jesus, thank you so much for reminding me of my responsibility to watch my ways in this wicked world. Help me follow your foot steps that I don’t regret when I am old rather cherish your goodness. Amen
Thursday, March 6, 2008
In today’s world, relationships are extremely fragile. The concept of ‘breaking-up’ has crept into people’s heart. Every relationship is built with the option of breaking-up if things don’t go pretty well. Right from marriages to acquaintances it’s very common to see relationships break-up and surprisingly, it isn’t a great flub any longer. I’ve seen software professionals breaking commitments with their companies because the coffee vending machine doesn’t work or the air conditioning is too cold!
By the way, what is the Rubber band theory? The rubber band would break only if both sides are pulled the opposite way until it could no longer stand. But even if one side “gives-in”, the rubber band never “breaks-up”. Interesting isn’t? In today’s article, let’s see how to enrich this divine quality called “giving-in” and how the Bible teaches us on this theme
“Giving-in” is a term whose real meaning is “being at the sacrificial end”. When I searched the Bible for testimonies, I couldn’t get my eyes off Jesus who went to the pinnacle of sacrifice, by laying down His Kingship and stepping down from the throne and appearing on the earth as a poor little child and endured pain up to the cross of Calvary where He was sacrificed as an offering for us. What a divine sacrifice! John 15:13 says “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”. Jesus stands out as the best example of “giving-in”. He never considered himself equal with God but took the nature of a servant and humbled himself to the point of death – Philippians 2:5-11. Jesus’ life is the perfect example of how we should develop the quality of sacrifice.
The biggest enemy of sacrifice is the “Why Should I” attitude. The WSI phenomenon is very much prevalent in our generation. Even Christians who boast about their spirituality often tend to display WSI when it comes to giving-in. I commute to office through the KR Puram underpass everyday and there is havoc almost every single minute because of traffic congestion. The 4 lane wide road suddenly converges to a single lane at one point and everyone at that point thinks “Why should I” wait for the other one to pass. Imagine each vehicle taking 2-3 minutes to pass that point when 200 vehicles are stacked on either side. If only we could develop an attitude of giving-in in every little thing we do, the world would be a better place to live in.
Today, the ball is in our court. We cannot be waiting for the others to change when we ourselves need to change. It’s high time you sit and think how many relationships you could’ve saved if only you had sacrificed your ego, status etc. Huge software projects require team members to work cohesively, but how many times have you refused to give-in which resulted in delays or failure. How many times have you fought with your spouse which could’ve died down if only you gave-in. Are there instances in your life when you refused a ministry call because you weren’t ready to sacrifice?
Sacrifice is often painful but the joy reaped is overwhelming. The fruits may not be evident right away but you are sure going to receive the reward for giving in. Always try to place yourself at the sacrificial end so that how ever strong the other side may pull, you can still keep the rubber band from “breaking up”!
Lord Jesus, thank you for your sacrifice and I ask you to grow in me the attitude of giving in. Let me make a world of difference by changing myself. Amen.
Friday, February 29, 2008
Acts 13 talks about the early church praying fervently waiting for God’s guidance in their next step in ministry. The Bible clearly tells us that while they were fasting and worshipping the Holy Spirit himself called out Barnabas and Saul for carrying God’s word to the places around. With the assurance of God’s call, both set out from Antioch and proceeded towards Seleucia and then to Cyprus and reached Salamis.
While the two were ministering in Salamis, from nowhere a third person joins their team whose name is ‘John Mark’ and Bible says that he was their helper. It’s definitely very appreciative of John Mark to willingly help them in their ministry. From Salamis they moved to Paphos and interestingly John Mark was still following them and helping them all along. In v13 there is a twist in the story when they reached Pamphylia, John Mark left them and returned to Jerusalem.
If you notice carefully, John Mark is talked about only in two verses; when he enters the scene and the next time when he abandons the ministry. It’s evident how when the spirit of God is not involved in the calling for ministry, people easily waver. But Paul and Barnabas continued to work their vision for the Lord in the places where they travelled.
Two chapters later, in Acts 15:36, we see how Paul wanted to go back to each of the places they had visited earlier to encourage the believers. Accordingly when they reached Antioch, they met John Mark again. Something peculiar happened here…Barnabas, who was chosen by the spirit of God, insisted on taking John Mark again with them. But Paul who had witnessed his lack of commitment in Pamphylia, objected. A disgraceful event took place when there arose a sharp disagreement between Paul and Barnabas and they split!
Could you believe, two people called out by the spirit of God and who had been together ministering all the while, separating because of a deceiver like John Mark? I am surprised about the decision of Barnabas to support John Mark though he forsook them in between. The reason is Barnabas was influenced by John Mark for some reason. Instead of waiting on the Spirit of God whether to involve John Mark or not, he wanted him at any cost. Hence their ministry split. Paul chose Silas and Barnabas chose John Mark.
It’s pathetic to know that Barnabas and John Mark didn’t make any impact later. In fact there’s nothing that the Bible talks about their ministry ever again. But on the other hand Paul and Silas shook the places where they went and thousands were added to the church.
Today message is: John Marks are all out there in the world. We never know how they come and how they disappear. But they certainly influence us in the little while they are. We may later dare to argue with God for their sake … yes, John Marks like comfort, pride, laziness, sensuality and what not. They just rub gently and disappear and before we could realize we are already deep down there.
What or Who is your John Mark today? If you examine yourself you may be surprised about how many John Marks that have blinded you from your real vision. Chuck the John Marks out in the name of Jesus and head straight towards your destiny in Christ and be a History maker!
Lord Jesus, please remove any hindrances that may come in between in my race towards my goal. Help me to obey your words and work according to Your will alone. Amen
Saturday, February 23, 2008
When the Israelites were under the Roman regime, the Romans made use of the opportunity and enslaved them in every way they could. One of the many means they employed slavery was ‘tax’. They extracted every pie in the name of tax. Since it was a blatant misuse of power they employed ruthless inconsiderate tax collectors who usurped hard earned money from the Jews. The Jews hated the tax collectors and generally referred them as ‘sinners’.
On the other hand, the tax collectors had a ball of their life time. Since they had power and authority with fear of people, they grew rich. Most of the money they snatched from the people didn’t reach the government but filled their own pockets. The Jews became accustomed to paying tax without questioning fearing whipping and thumping on refusal.
Among the tax collectors, the Bible talks about one Chief tax collector in Luke 19 who was very rich, had authority and earned the fear of people on him. One thing he lacked was that he was short unlike the other tough, muscular tax collectors. Zacchaeus, though being a sinner (Chief sinner in his case!) he had an urge to see Jesus(v3). I love that part than all the others…He wanted to see Jesus!
The street in Jericho was swarming with people. Everyone was eager for Jesus’ arrival. It was like the whole of Jericho squeezed into a street. Not an inch of space was available. Every single spot was occupied and everyone was waiting for that moment for Jesus to enter. Zacchaeus arrived just in time and found that he wouldn’t be able to see Jesus because of the crowd. He would have certainly tried to squeeze himself into the crowd to reach for the front row so that he could get a glimpse of Jesus. But the tall sturdy Jews wouldn’t let him in because of their hatred towards tax collectors.
This is the most important part…Though Zacchaeus took a decision to see Jesus, the circumstances didn’t allow him to do that. Remember Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector, a person of high state in the government. All he could do was to humble himself to a point where he could himself come and see Jesus. But as things around him didn’t seem to help him by anyway, it would have been a perfectly valid resort to backup and head home. He could later use his power and authority to bring Jesus to his home!
This is where Zacchaeus stands out…the reason why his name is mentioned in the Bible is because circumstances didn’t matter to him. At that moment, his decision became his determination. He determined to see Jesus whatever it may cost! He spotted a tree and climbed on it. Could you imagine a Chief tax collector climbing a tree? Yes, when you are determined to see Jesus, you would dare to at any cost. My Jesus can never forsake a yearning heart. Among the thousands gathered there, Jesus stopped by that tree, looked up and called him by name, “Zacchaeus, you come down from there. I want to stay at your house today” (v5)
Later, when Jesus entered his home, true salvation came and Zacchaeus gave half of his property to the poor and returned four times what he usurped from the people (v8).
Today we may have been a Christian for a pretty long time now. Every time we decide to seek Jesus we falter on the way due to circumstances. Generally these circumstances are so genuine that we justify ourselves and compromise. It is only when we determine, take a stand to see Jesus at any cost, we would see His face and He would stop by, call us by name and walk into our homes. That is true salvation.
Lord Jesus, help me to have a determined heart to seek you. Whatever may hinder, let me determine to see you alone. Amen
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
The Bible begins with the creation of the earth and everything within it. The Bible says God said and it was there. In the process God created man and woman and placed them on the earth and gave them authority over all His creation. The Garden of Eden was such a beautiful place to live and Adam & Eve enjoyed the beauty of God’s creation.
In Genesis 2:9, it says God made trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. The next verse goes on to say that the tree of life and the tree of knowledge were in the middle of the garden. It’s like this - every time Adam and Eve saw a fruit, they felt good because it was pleasing to the eye and good for food. They would immediately reach for it and satisfy their hunger. It became a day by day routine for them to just go ahead and have what God has provided for them. But remember, whenever they saw the forbidden tree, though it was pleasing to the eye and good for food like all the other trees, they reminded themselves of God’s commandment and withdrew.
Later we see how the serpent with his craftiness hit a conversation with the woman. Chapter 3:1-5 describes how satan was able to convince her in no time. A startling climax to this whole epic can be noticed in verse 6. It says “When the woman saw the fruit was good for food and pleasing to eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it”. Did you notice that 3rd point-of-view, “and also desirable for gaining wisdom”? This is called the “3rd Perspective” (3P) and the credit goes to satan for inventing it!!
Everything God created is awesome. It has its best use when used properly. Satan’s primary job is to exaggerate and bring a new perspective to it which always leads us to sin. That was exactly what happened in the Garden of Eden and is still continuing in our everyday lives. We are able to praise God for His goodness and are willing to obey His laws. Life seems to be pleasant with this kind of a set-up. It is when we allow satan to influence our lives, he brings the 3P to take us away from God.
With faith and trust in God, unwanted theories about God’s existence is 3P
With Wealth and prosperity, lust for more money is 3P
With love and faithfulness in marriage, extra-marital pleasure is 3P
With sincerity and commitment in work, desire to reach high by immoral means is 3P
and the list goes on...
As I say in all my other posts, the best way to keep away from the evil one is the Word of God and Prayer. The more you meditate on His word and keep a constant relationship with God, farther goes Satan and closer you go to God. There can never be an instance for satan to even give you an idea about 3P as you walk with God.
Beware of 3P!
Lord, help me to get closer and closer to you by meditating Your Word so that I keep away from satan and all his craftiness. Amen
Monday, February 11, 2008
Vision closely relates to sight. Yes, a child of God without a vision is supposed to be ‘spiritually blind’. We need to catch the vision from God and work towards it. That is the very purpose of our calling. A man of God once said, “You are called to do something”. The vision that I am referring to is the burden for ministry God places in our hearts once we accept Him. It may be different for each one but there is a vision for each one of us for sure.
In Esther 4:14, Mordecai’s message to Esther was to do what she was supposed to do in her state. He adds that if she is not willing to do it God will use someone; “If you remain silent help and deliverance will arise from another place”. It means that God has kept us in the place where we are to accomplish His visions through us. If we fail He may use someone else but we would lose a great opportunity to serve the Master.
Today, if you are yet to catch the vision or struggling to work it out here is a simple principle that could help you; the 3 I’s or the “Three Eyes” principle.
Initiative – Take the initiative yourself, today! There’s never a tomorrow in doing God’s work. Proverbs 21:31: The horse is prepared for battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord. Did you notice the first part? The “making ready” is our part and victory is His part. We need to take the initiative first for God to make it a success for us. When Ruth clung to her mother-in-law and returned to Bethlehem, which was a foreign country for her, she caught the vision that God has something to accomplish through her. In Ruth 2:2, she herself came forward and said “Let me go to the fields…” It was in the fields she met Boaz and ended up being his wife and later became the great grandmother of Jesus Christ. Unless you make the first move, it is foolishness to wait for God to kick-start your vision.
Innovation – We live in a competitive world. Unless your ways are unique you are never going to make it. Whatever you do, do it in style, in a unique way so that you make it faster and easier than others! The same applies for ministry. When you have a burden, do not try to do it the old-fashion way. Try to add some spice by being innovative. Genesis 30 talks about how Jacob chose an innovative approach to gain all the healthy and strong among the flocks. Innovation is attained through God’s wisdom and if you lack wisdom, God’s promise in James 1:5 says “God will generously give”. All you need to do is ‘Ask’. So the next time you do something, be innovative!
Industrious – Somehow, initiatives and innovations do not make sense unless you put into action and complete it. This is where ‘being industrious’ comes to the picture. Many struggle at this point. They are able to take the initiative and sometimes be innovative too but somewhere down the line lose track because they are not willing to work for it. Proverbs 6:6 shows an example of how ants though being weak insects, work during summer and gather food during harvest. Laziness is satan’s tool to keep you from accomplishing God’s vision. Proverbs 6:10, ‘A little sleep and a little slumber and poverty will come to you as a bandit’. You need to take that extra effort to reach that extra-mile. You need to run the race and complete it to receive the prize. 'Being industrious' is the key!
Lord Jesus, please help me take the initiative, be innovative and work tirelessly until I accomplish Your vision for me. Amen.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Hebrews 11 is supposed to be the absolute tutorial for faith. The author begins with the definition of faith and goes on to explain it. This chapter details how faith has taken its place right from the creation of the world and how impossible it is to please God without faith (v6). I love this chapter because the author keeps emphasizing the fact that it was through faith that all the men of God were able to attain what they wanted from God.
Today, I am going to brush up a little on the levels of faith so that we could evaluate ourselves where we stand in our level of faith. Faith needs to grow and reach levels. We could categorize the levels of faith as
Little Faith – Mathew 8:26। A basic level of faith prevalent in spiritually immature Christians. Everything is perfect when everything else is perfect but their faith tosses as the boat tosses. The disciples in their early stages were of little faith. They were able to enjoy the company of God and second His miracles but when it came to facing troubles they wavered. Today, are you of little faith?
Faith with visible proofs – John 20:25। Here we see Thomas, a disciple of Jesus, who had been with Him and witnessed all His miracles, heard His teachings and the things that are going to happen, now doubting Jesus’ resurrection. He says “Unless I see the nail marks on His hands & put my hand and test myself, I will not believe it”. Did you notice the phrase “I will not believe it”? Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as being sure of what we do not see. Today, are you ready to be sure of what you do not see?
Faith in action – Every miracle that Jesus did turned a whole bunch of crowds to Him। People questioned His authority, but were ready to believe Him if they witnessed a miracle. This attitude is more of a “He did it so I believe Him” -typically a faith that depends on actions. These people may easily waver when later a miracle is delayed or not done because they have faith in actions and not in the Miracle Worker. Today, is your faith based on what God did?
Real faith or Faith of Faiths – Daniel 3:13. This chapter talks about 4 young men refusing to bow before an idol. The king ordered them to be thrown into a furnace of fire. When the king questioned them they replied “O king, the God that we serve is able to rescue us”. I love the verse (v.18) which says “But even if He doesn’t we will still not bow before the idol”. Did you notice the level of faith where they stand? They decided that whatever God does is for their good; if He saves them or doesn’t. Their faith was not on the miracle but on God. So whether God saves them or not wasn’t important.
This is called the real faith or Faith of Faiths where we do not believe God for what He does or can do, but for what He really is! God is far beyond miracles and wonders. He is God Himself, superfluous, humungous, omnipresent and omnipotent. We worship Him for what He is. Our faith needs to stand on Him.We may expect many things which God may or may not grant, but our faith should not be based on what He could offer. God is God, period!!
God, give me an attitude of faith where I trust in you and you alone. I know you have the best plans for me and help me accept whatever you have in store for me. Let me to look up to you and not on what you can offer. Amen
Friday, February 1, 2008
‘A composite is a product formed out of two other products’. Today we are going learn about a composite that Jesus taught when He was on His grand mission to earth. In John 14:12 Jesus made it clear that true faith in Him is doing more than what He did. That means what Jesus did was a sample and we ought to do more than what He did to save the world.
Of the many principles Jesus taught the two most important are
Love – In John 15:13 Jesus narrates what real love is। He says, ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ There is a huge difference between the love the world teaches and practices with what the Bible teaches. Love today has acquired new meanings and has lost its value. But Jesus’ definition of love is to ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’. Very tough isn’t? It is very easy to love our dear ones. But how hard it is to love our neighbors that too if they are not worthy of it! In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul talks about all the spiritual gifts but concludes saying ‘...but let me show you the most excellent way’. He continues to emphasize in chapter 13 that love is greater than all things. Please note, Paul is talking about the same love Jesus taught. Jesus practiced the same love and went to the pivotal of love when He considered His life as nothing and stripped himself on the cross for this unworthy world. Love is the greatest gift of all!
Prayer – A tool to commune with God. Prayer increases our faith and gets us closer to God. Prayer gives us confidence and helps us face the world and escape the eyes of the evil one. Paul writes to Ephesians in 6:18 to keep on praying in the spirit. Well, do you realize that prayer is self centered? Don’t get mad at me…read on! Prayer is generally God and you. You put your requests to God, talk personally to God, thank God for all His mercies to you. Did you notice the “You”s in prayer. Prayer is usually where “God” and “I” are involved and that is what it is meant to be. In Mark 14:32, Jesus prays to God in the garden of Gethsemane. If you observe carefully the whole prayer is about Jesus himself and God, a typical example of what prayer is.
In school I remember learning Hydrogen combines with Oxygen to form water. Similarly Love (to love someone as you) and Prayer (talking with God) combine to form a new product called “Intercession”. When you talk to God for yourself you pray, but when you talk to God in prayer for someone else with Godly love, that’s Intercession.
In Luke 23:34 we see an excellent example of Intercession where Jesus intercedes on behalf of those who are crucifying Him, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing”. Today’s Christians do well in prayer, i.e. asking God for their personal needs. But little do they realize that prayer has a new dimension to it called Intercession. There is nothing wrong in praying for our personal needs, but it’s important we also intercede for others just as Jesus did on the cross. Love is powerful and so is Prayer. Could we make use of its combined avatar to profess God’s love to the world?
Lord Jesus, help me spend time interceding for others during my regular prayer time. Help me to stay committed and increase my time for intercession day by day. Amen.
Posted by John Manoah at 5:08 PM