Aug 22, 2013

Faith like Enoch - Walk with God


Gen 5:21-24 (KJV)
Gen 5:21 And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah:Gen 5:22 And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:Gen 5:23 And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:Gen 5:24 And Enoch walked with God: and he [was] not; for God took him. 
We read the first few chapters of the bible, and we’re struck by a mix of emotions. The first chapters deal with the creation and the more you meditate on it, the more glorious it becomes. The next chapter deals with Adam and his sin. And we read about the seed of Adam proving it’s tendency to sin in Cain. We continue to read about the diverging genealogies of Seth and Cain and we reflect on the loss of fellowship that man experienced.

In the midst of that gloom comes Enoch – A man whom the scripture records had “Walked” with God. Oh behold the glory of a man once again restored to the pre-sin state of being able to walk with God. Before Adam sinned, he walked with God. He fellowshipped with God. He conversed with God. God must have shared his heart with him, for Man was made for fellowship with God. And then came the serpent and the sin in Adam – where Adam hid himself from God and stopped the fellowship.
Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].

Enoch must have read the record of Adam handed down to generations (about his initial walk with God, about sin, about the lord’s sacrifice to cloth them, Abel’s sacrifice, etc). This man must have believed that there was indeed a God. He must have got a revelation that there is a God who likes to talk and walk with men. I imagine Enoch initially talking to God softly – and saying “God – talk to me”. And then as God talked, Enoch talked back and continued into an “awesome” relation. I imagine the joy the lord felt during this fellowship was the same that Jesus felt when he talked to the woman at the well (for that was the will of the father). It is likewise for us – for when we initially sit with the word of God, we may speak to God tentatively – unsure of our standing with him. Once we speak and once the word speaks to us, we start growing in the love relation with the father. It's humbling that Enoch managed to do this, at a time when the neither the holy spirit was sent down nor the Word of God existed. 

As he talked, he also walked with Him. The bible says 
(Amos 3:3) Can two walk together, except they be agreed
Here was a man who was agreeing and completely finding himself acceptable to the creator of the universe – because he agreed with the principles taught by God. We need to come to a state where we accept the principles of God without rebelling. I see so many beloved children of God who love the lord but are not prepared to agree with him on many godly principles – like worshiping him alone, experiencing death and resurrection through the ordinance of water baptism, tongues, etc. When we agree and obey to the small commands of God, he leads us into a fuller experience of himself.

To walk with someone means you have to walk at his pace. Not faster, not slower. Enoch slowed down his life to enjoy the fellowship of the Father God. The scripture records nothing of Enoch except for the fact that he had offsprings and he walked with God. The other aspects of his life were not significant enough to be recorded in the word of God. He may have been a farmer or a shepherd – but it doesn’t matter to God. All it matters is, he continued the line of God and he walked with God. In a way, God is speaking to his beloved children (the blood-cleansed believer) – all it matters is that you have spiritual children and that you walk with God.

When you walk with someone (imagine, with your earthly father), there may be times when you don’t speak much, but still enjoy your fellowship. And there may be times when there’s profuse conversation. Times of sharing of plans and concerns. Times of correction as a mature son. We’re certain that Enoch received many revelations and prophecies. I wish to remind you of two of those recorded in the word.
  • The flood – The flood of Noah was made known to Enoch – God must have revealed to him his heart of sadness for the evil that abounded the earth. Enoch prophetically named his son “Methuselah” – meaning, “It (judgement) shall happen when he dies”. It is a picture of the longsuffering of God that he was the man who lived longest on this earth.
  • Coming of the lord with 10000’s of his saints – This was literally at the other end of the timeline of earth. God must have revealed his heart to Enoch (like giving him a preview of the book of revelation)

Jude 1:14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,Jude 1:15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard [speeches] which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

365 years on this earth, and Enoch achieved more than what any man had till then. In those days, 365 years was like 30 years of today. But those 365 years were spent in full fellowship with the lord. And the love relation between them got so intense that the lord must have said “Enoch, I want you here with me. I cannot be away from you.” The wages of sin is death, but here was Enoch who overtook death and was taken up into the heavenlies by God. Likewise we are to be blameless and walking with God so that the lord will find us ready when he comes down to rapture his saints. (Yes I do believe we're living in the times when the lord will come and we will be with him in the heavenlies)
Heb 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
This man sought the lord all the days of his life. He walked with him. He was cleansed by the lord’s presence and fellowship. And the lord rewarded him with an eternal joyous fellowship.

Dear Christian friend,
We live in very perilous times – every sign is there of these being the days like the days of Noah and Lot where sin abounded. The few verses of Enoch in the word is speaking to us the heart of God
  • Be in fellowship with God
  • Use the presence of the word of God (bible) and the holy spirit (who was given to you when you got saved) to experience the fellowship of God
  • Walk with God at his pace and Agree to his commands
  • Make time for your daily hourly fellowship with your father
  • Christianity is a joy of being restored in relation with the Lord God
  • Have faith that the lord will talk, answer you
  • Let us wait in the joyful hope of the imminent coming of the lord and savior Jesus Christ !


Aug 14, 2013

The Lord Glorified in me

John 12:23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.
John 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
John 12:25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

Praise the lord Jesus Christ ! This is one of the most emotional moments in Gospel of John where the lord has just met with his dear ones and is announcing the hour of his death. This was the lord almighty – the King of heavens who was saying that the most glorious moment of His life was here – the hours of his greatest grief – his separation from the heavenly father – the times of torment for all mankind – His moments where he became as a snake of moses bearing the sin and reproach of all the world. The Man Jesus was about to face the darkest of his hours on earth. Yet, here he was saying that is the moment of glory. Spiritual life is very much like this. There are times of trouble for us – which are God ordained. As we approach these times, as the storms and clouds gather announcing the darkness ahead, we need to say that the lord is Glorified in our darkness. For where is the spirit of Christ most revealed if not in the way a Christian ( a true born again child of God) faces trouble.

We are to be in a process of dying to ourselves – as indeed the picture of baptism is there in Rom 6. The good seed in us sprouts and bears fruit only when we (the external cover holding the seed) dies and the seed meets the ground. If we hold on to the life dearly, we disqualify ourselves for the heavenly ticket since John 12:25 warns that we will lose our life if we hold on too dearly. Like how eve was taken out of the side of Adam in his sleep, The Church, the glorious bride of Christ was taken from the side of Christ – purchased through the blood that flowed from the side.

The next chapter talked about the love of God and the last supper where he instituted the new covenant. And then the lord says – now is the son of man glorified and the God is glorified in Him.
John 13:31 Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.

Ultimately, the main fruit of the spirit that the lord expects us to bring forth is LOVE. As Jesus says in John 13:35, the world shall know that we are the disciples of Christ through the love that he sees in us.

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
John 13:35 By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

This love is not possible till we die to ourselves. The members of the church of Christ is a motley bunch. We sometimes make it very difficult for others to love us. But here is the lord glorified, that we the disciples of Christ should die to ourselves and love each other! Let’s be commited to this as a first step of the great commission and discipleship.

Amen.

Lord – Help us to be filled with the Holy spirit to bring forth the fruit of the spirit, love, without which all else is rendered useless. Help us to obey this simple command of yours by dying to ourselves daily. In this are you glorified. We ask this in Jesus Name, Amen.

Aug 12, 2013

Christian comics - a God Sent tool for teaching kids

I usually don't post non-devotional stuff on this blog. But this is indeed something that the holy spirit put on my heart. so there it goes ! 

Dear parents : I found a truly amazing series of Christian comics. I rate the comics very highly (they are packed with sound family values and are very well themed and crafted). 

Spire Christian comics
http://www.carpsplace.com/spire/spire.htm
Leaving my liking for the comics aside, the best testimony for this is from my 5-year old. He loves the Barney bear series in this set and enjoys it when I read it to him. Given that these are made in the '70s and are out of print, it's a joy to find them hosted in this site. (I've been on the look out for christian comics and funnily enough, even the paid comics of these days cannot compare with the ones available on the site)

Also in the series is a book called "Theres a new world coming" - the best introduction to the book of Revelation that I have seen in my life! 

They also have Christian Archie comics ! Something for your teenagers ! 

The files are available as pdf. 

Hope you (and more so, your kids) enjoy these !

Aug 9, 2013

Strange Incense – An abomination before a Holy God

Praise the Lord Jesus Christ!

Lev 10:1 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. Lev 10:2 And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.

This scripture portion caught my mind when I was reading the book of Leviticus (and my mind was also seeking guidance from the lord about false charismata). I believe this thought is relevant for the church of God today since we are called to be kings and priests before the lord. (1Pet 2:9)

For me, this chapter (Lev 10) represents one of the saddest moments in the glorious times that Israel went through.
  • They had just completed building the tabernacle of God according to the design that God gave them. Lev 9:23-24 describe the culmination of the inaugural sacrifices which God himself blessed and made his presence felt. 
  • Firstly, they were enjoying the deliverance from sin (through the sacrifices). 
  • Secondly, they had received detailed instructions for ministry of priests (and the promise of ongoing sacrifices in Lev 8 & 9. 
  • The high priests had just blessed them and the glory of the lord was with them and showed his approval of their obedience to his design by consuming the sacrifice with heavenly fire. 


Nadab and Abihu were in the centre of this glory, being the sons of Aaron. At the next moment, we see that they did the things which brought down the fire of God’s wrath on themselves. They offered strange fire and for the same reason, God consumed them and they died.

Why such a harsh judgment ?
Let us meditate on why this action was so despicable for God that he (who is full of grace and long-suffering and mercy) consumed these 2 priests on the spot. A few of my thoughts below.
  • They acted over and above what God had commanded. The festivities of the day were over. The lord had shown himself. After the fire consumed the sacrifice, Nadab and Abihu wanted to continue the glorious site. They tried to replicate the glory of God. Our God is a jealous God and if anyone tries to do an imitation of the real thing, he shall consume them. 
  • It was strange fire. They took fire off another source. The incense was supposed to be burnt only with the fire from the brazen altar. God is only pleased with a sacrifice which is done according to the will of God revealed in his scriptures. The source of worship has to be sanctified and holy (not a strange or unholy source of fire). This was warned in Exo 30:9. 
  • To offer incense offering, one had to enter into the holy of holies. This was reserved for the high priest and not for the other priests even the children of the high priest. 
  • Some people even say that they offered strange fire under intoxication (which was revealed in a rule in Lev 10:9 immediately after this)

This was a period where the covenant and tabernacle was being established before the Israelites. The severe judgement of God came on Nadab and Abihu since God wouldn’t allow such callousness amongst his priests and anointed. Similar to how Ananias and Safira were dealt with for their sin of hiding from the lord in the new testament church age, this was a cancer which had to be cutoff else, it would cause greater corruption amongst the chosen nation for the lord.

All these are written as severe warnings for us living in this age of grace. We are the New Testament church, the priests ministering to the lord. Let there be no blemish in us which makes the lord want to consume us in his wrath. Let’s meditate on some of our learnings from this piece of the word of God well chewed and digested.
  1. Learn to discern between the fire of God and the strange fire : Today, there are many places where there seems to be a lot of fire. But look closer – and see the source of that fire. It’s not from the altar of God – but from some strange unholy source. 
  2. Learn to be satisfied with the glory of God alone : When God stops doing miracles, let not man trigger a counterfeit revival to “keep the fire going”. Have the heart of Elijah who wanted a fire only from God (and who watered the sacrifice and the base of the altar to test that the fire was truly from God himself)
  3. Understand that when you try to create strange fire, you die. God in his mercy may not physically snuff you out, but the spirit in you grieves and is made defunct. He is grieved and stops giving you further advice. 
  4. When the elders understand that the modern day Abihu’s and Nadab’s have died spiritually, obey the voice of God to not mourn for them & to carry them outside the camp
  5. The lord says : (Lev 10:3) I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. The lord we present is holy, and hence, be Holy ! And in your simple sacrifices and humble spirit, is Our God glorified. 
  6. Beware of false worship and charismata. There is a true and glorious worship in the spirit. But to recreate the same effect, if a person tries to counterfeit it, remember the end of Nadab and Abihu. And there are indeed miracles which our lord does daily (and we’ve seen it!). But there are also false miracles in the hands of false prophets (Gold dust, anyone ?)


The lord warns that in the last days, there will be a falling-away and the evil spirit of darkness will seduce even the elect. Let’s hold onto Christ so that we will not be swayed by soulish displays and every slight of doctrine that comes our way.


Indeed, he has promised that He who has begun the good work in us will complete it in the day of the lord! Glory to His name. Praise the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Jul 20, 2013

Residents of the Lake of Fire

Rev 21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
Rev 21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
Rev 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
Rev 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

In this marvelous portion of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the holy spirit records the wondrous sight of new heavens and new earth and new Jerusalem. This is indeed the pinnacle of the redemption plan of God (all else – including the life on earth, etc are just temporary structures before the grand plan of God is revealed). The lord kindly reassures of the eternity in Glory and says – in v 5 – that these words are True and Faithful. Then He promises that the ones who overcome shall be the inheritors of all things, and his promise of eternal godship and sonship. (Rev 21:7)

Then we see the exact standard of God. These are times when we should realize the things that the lord loves and what he hates. In the pristine pure new heavens and new Jerusalem, there is no space for anything corruptible. The holyspirit warns that the people who possess one or more of the qualities will find their way into the eternal lake of fire (which is the second death). For a more detailed look at the same, I include below an excerpt from the Amplified Version of the new testament.

Rev 21:8 (AMP) But as for the cowards and the ignoble and the contemptible and the cravenly lacking in courage and the cowardly submissive, and as for the unbelieving and faithless, and as for the depraved and defiled with abominations, and as for murderers and the lewd and adulterous and the practicers of magic arts and the idolaters (those who give supreme devotion to anyone or anything other than God) and all liars (those who knowingly convey untruth by word or deed)--[all of these shall have] their part in the lake that blazes with fire and brimstone. This is the second death.(6)

It is to our benefit to introspect if we be found with any or all of these despicable qualities. Those who introspect and cleanse themselves with the blood of Jesus urgently will be able to spend eternity in the glory of God and others will have their part in the lake of fire (this is the reality whether we like it or not). We also see that God’s view regarding the “grossness” of Sin is different from our diluted human perspective.

For example, If I were to throw someone in a lake of fire, I may have given that punishment to the abominable, murderers, whoremongers (to what I consider to be a higher degree of sin). But look at the mind of God which reserves this extreme eternal punishment to all these categories of sinners. (For in the eyes of God All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God – Rom 3:23)
  1. Cowards : Those who fear men or the world system more than God
  2. Unbelieving : plain old unbelief – lack of trust in God – lack of faith in his eternal promises
  3. Abominable : Depraved and defiled with abominations – a real picture of the current times indeed
  4. Murderers : Good old-fashioned killers and the ones who mentally kill their brothers through gossip or anger
  5. Whoremongers : Lewd and adulterous generation – Can we stop pointing to others and look at the thoughts ? God sees all thoughts (Jer 17:10)
  6. Sorcerers : practitioners and admirers of dark arts and magic (harry potter, anyone ? divination ? palm reading ?)
  7. Idolators : the breakers of the first commandment – those who give their supreme devotion to anything or anyone other than the one true living god
  8. All Liars : let the holyspirit guide us to this truth –  This really touched my heart – how do I purify myself of this ?


Let the truth settle into our hearts and bring us back to repentance so that we be counted amongst the overcomers and not the partakers of the lake of fire. 
God bless us!

Jul 18, 2013

A Healthy Curiosity about the Divine

Exod 3:2-4 (KJV)
Exod 3:2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush [was] not consumed.
Exod 3:3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
Exod 3:4 And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here [am] I.

We see the Man of God Moses being called from his humble setting as a shepherd for his father in law and given a heavenly mission – the redemption of the Children of God – the precious tribe of Israel. This was not an easy mission by any chance. The nation of Israel was numerous – numbering to about 700000 men alone, and along with the children and women, made up a substantial number about 3 million. And they were a motley bunch (as are we!) – Leading them took a lot of training. Moses was first trained with the pharaoh’s palace for 40 years (mainly to ensure he had the ability to record the foundational scripture of the bible – the Pentateuch) – Then he was broken and trained with Jethro for 40 years before he was able to lead the nation.

Moses saw a vision which was probably common in that wilderness setting. A burning bush – one can fathom that the intense heat would occasionally lead to a bush burning. But here was a fire with a difference – the fire was there – the bush was not getting burnt and consumed. Moses decided to turn and see why the bush wasn’t consumed. This may seem like a small thing for us, but in my mind, I see it as a key reason why the lord appeared to him.

The call of God is as meaningful as the mission. Here we see the desire of God to find a man who has a healthy curiosity. Lord loves seekers – Even the truth seekers in other religions and ethics. If you are a lover of the truth, be prepared to have an encounter with a God who steps down from the heaven.
Heb 11:6 But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is (God), and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

In Exo 3:4, the word records that the lord called unto him out of the midst of the bush when he saw that Moses had turned aside to see. We are often on a journey to accomplish many earthly things. But when we see signs of a fire (of revival) and of a godly presence, we rush past that and ignore it. It’s almost like putting God on mute. Pause. Be like moses, who turned aside to look at the burning bush. Take a look around and see where the fire of God is burning and where the presence of the lord is. Look beyond religious and denominational biases and come to a real knowledge of God through his son Jesus Christ. In my heart, I see the thought of Moses. He knew he wasn’t in the centre of his calling yet, and he knew a visit from God was due some time. It is this anticipation which caused him to pay attention to a divine activity and to inspect it and to finally hear God in the midst of it.

For the believer who is IN Christ, this vision bears a great meaning (and as scripture is so dynamic, it can have different related meanings to us in different context). Any fire is enough to consume a bush. But a bush which stands in the presence of the lord will not be consumed. I remember an example that a preacher gave once. A man was caught in the midst of a forest fire. He was cornered and survived the fire by starting an opposite fire. Whether the incident is true or not, the example is clear – as the lord saved Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, once the fire of the lord is surrounding us, no other fire can consume us.

God bless us as we wait in the joyful hope of the coming of our lord and savior Jesus Christ. 

Jul 17, 2013

Judgment of Christ

John 19:13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.

The life of our lord and savior Jesus Christ was characterized by multitudes of people who underestimated His power and either ignored him or dealt with him wrongly or actively opposed him. We recollect Joshua (in Josh 5:13) in a similar state. He sees the angel of the lord and asks Him “are you for us or against us” – and he replies, nay I am come as the lord of hosts). Likewise Gideon saw the angel of the lord (Judges 6:22) and quite impertinently puts him on hold till he finishes his work! (A good point to note here, that the Angel of the Lord is a theophany – a presence of the divine) Likewise, Satan when he tempted the lord was quite unaware of the fact that the fullness of Godhead was there. Oh so many are there, who saw Christ up close yet missed him completely.

The man in this passage was one such. Here was Pilate who was about to judge Christ. What a joke! ! !  If he had any idea who this man was, would he have put his seal of judgment and send Christ to the cross ? Here was the divine law giver (yes, indeed the one who wrote the law was Jesus Christ himself) being judged and sent to the cross though he was proven innocent.
 Isa 33:22 For the LORD [is] our judge, the LORD [is] our lawgiver, the LORD [is] our king; he will save us.

We see him trying to pass a judgment on someone who will be seated on the white throne and he shall judge the world of the living and the dead.

Ps 96:13 Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.
2Tim 4:1 I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

How will Pilate stand before Jesus on that day ? Will he be able to excuse his ignorance ? Can he expect to receive mercy without having accepted jesus as lord and savior ? Can you imagine his state of being in a place for eternity (defined as a very very long time!) where the worm doesn’t die and the fire is not quenched ?

And yet, so many people today ignore the message which all true Christians tell them – that Jesus is the ONLY WAY to God and heaven and salvation. Till we repent and turn to Jesus, there is no salvation. Till we accept him as our lord and savior, heavens cannot help you. God is constrained by the law that he has put in place – that Man has to accept the personal sacrifice of Christ to be made part of the eternal family of God in heaven. So many people (Hindus, Muslims, atheists, nominal Christians) actively reject the love of God and the provision of God in Christ Jesus. They try to work their way into heavens. They try to pay their way into heavens. But you cannot cheat your way into the presence of God. You have to play by His rules – which is through Christ alone according to his eternal covenant with Man. The bible is God’s rulebook and instruction manual for man.

Listen to His call. If you repent today, if you accept Jesus as lord and savior, if you believe that Jesus died and was risen from the dead on the third day, if you loath your old life of sin and crave for a new life on a new slate, that is exactly what Jesus has in store for you. I welcome you into the family of God.

Heb 3:7 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear his voice,

Heb 3:8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:

Jul 16, 2013

Obedient to the heavenly vision

Acts 26:19 Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:
Acts 26:20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and [then] to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

In this little snippet from Paul's life in the word of God, we see one of the ingredients of the making of a mighty man of God. Obedience to the heavenly vision. When we get the call, it is accompanied by a heavenly vision (If not immediately, in due course). Atleast God shows the path ahead in some form (as clear as the maturity of the called person, maybe). Here was a man who was fanatic about the doctrine of the pharisees, passionately rejecting christ when he was initially ignorant of the truth, and then equally passionately defending Christ in all forums, right up to the king's palace. The words of Jesus about Paul’s calling clearly conveyed the details of whom to convey the word to, and the glory of suffering for Christ’s sake.

Acts 9:15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
Acts 9:16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.

Here in Acts 26, we see Paul being a very effective witness before one of the people whom God commissioned him to go to. King Agrippa (Remember, his calling included to witness to kings). He humbly starts with a brief on his times of ignorance which the lord winked at – the times of misguided zeal which the lord broke on his steed’s back (kind of zapped him to obedience!). This was a man who traversed many countries to persecute the true church of God – thinking it to be against the doctrine which he was familiar with.

We also have been part of this grave error – where we have often brutally criticized the real doctrine of God according to the word of God (often in defense of the religious observations which we were familiar with – which were formed by traditions of men and which were against the word of God). How kindly has God dealt with us in bringing us back to the right doctrine and how mightily he is still using many Paul’s and other zealous men after they have been broken by him. Now he is humbly addressing the king Agrippa as well as Festus, cleanly defending his position and even an insanity charge (Act 26:24).

Acts 26:16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
Acts 26:17 Delivering thee from the people, and [from] the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,
Acts 26:18 To open their eyes, [and] to turn [them] from darkness to light, and [from] the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

We see Paul fully committed and obedient to his real calling in Christ. Oh the glory and reality of a call from the heavenlies. I crave for such clarity and presence of God in my calling (yet, in my heart I know, the same God who spoke to Paul is still there – and he is very much alive and yes, he is still speaking to us). Such obedience will result in mountain-moving evangelism – and Agrippa himself testifies. The king finds him blameless and lets him go.

Acts 26:28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.

PS: When we see the rest of the word, we also remember humbly the sufferings that paul went through.
A few afflictions of paul as mentioned in 2Cor 11:23-27 (KJV)
2Cor 11:23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I [am] more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
2Cor 11:24 Of the Jews five times received I forty [stripes] save one.
2Cor 11:25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
2Cor 11:26 [In] journeyings often, [in] perils of waters, [in] perils of robbers, [in] perils by [mine own] countrymen, [in] perils by the heathen, [in] perils in the city, [in] perils in the wilderness, [in] perils in the sea, [in] perils among false brethren;
2Cor 11:27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

 Finally it's all about being obedient to the heavenly vision – at any cost. Since the suffering is just while we are soujourners on this earth. But the glory in the lord’s presence is for eternity ! And eternity is a long long time ! Let us patiently work for the eternal things and worry less for the things of this earth.

2Cor 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory;

Jul 13, 2013

A Divine Choice

Acts 22:13 Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him.
Acts 22:14 And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.

The real walk with Jesus starts here – after you have received your sight. We were blind in our sins – we were quite comfortable in our past life. But the lord came and met us, and made us uncomfortable! (Remember Saul fell down from his steed and onto his knees before the lord!) Praise the lord for his mercy of giving that holy unrest till we are settled IN HIM. Oh what false comfort is there in the arms of a Delilah! But the night will end, the comfort will end; the world has nothing of eternal value to offer. Arise, awake and decide to dedicate ourselves to the Person who made us uncomfortable in this world, and prepared (and is preparing us) for eternity. How many have slept and not woken up ?! And yet, his mercy rests on us today for having given us this day to live for his glory. He (Jesus Christ) came to give sight to the blind and to set the captives free. Yes , that includes me and you; we who are blind to the things of the spirit were given the heavenly wisdom and vision when we received the gift of the holy spirit. We who were in the clutches of the world were truly given deliverance and freedom when Christ came into our lives.

When the calling of the lord is on you (and it is on every believer – Heb 3:1), the best thing that you can do initially is to realize that the calling is there. Oh so many have wasted their earthly lives in pursuit of the profane (and not the holy) gaining themselves huge sheaves of hay which shall be burnt up on the day of the lord. Let us prepare to refine our pursuits to make it aligned to God’s plan, so that we may use our lives to gain gold and precious stones which will be revealed when tested by the Holy fire.

A few of the thoughts from this passage (Acts 22:13-14) :-

Ananias: Please note that Saul (of a high estate) didn’t look to Ananias for his calling. Ananias was just a vessel used by the lord in those days to announce the calling to the mighty apostle of God. (And Paul was indeed baptized by Ananias). The calling was from God and Paul submitted to it.

Brother: Ananias calls Paul Brother. This is the amazing consequence of new birth. When we are born again, we are introduced into the family of God (Eph 2:19) and we are brothers (and sisters) with the rest of the saints of God. God becomes our father and Christ our elder brother. I have believer brothers and sisters who are closer to me in fellowship than my own blood relatives (because the holy seed takes precedence over earthly seed)

Receive thy sight: In our earthly ministry, we are reflections of how Jesus ministered on this earth.
Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

And if he gave sight to the blind, so shall we when the lord commissions us for the same. Thus Ananias spoke the word which unlocked his sight in the heavens. And for a person who needs to minister to the needs of others (spiritual), he has to have his spiritual eyes opened. Else, it will be the state of the religious churches and world religions (where the blind are leading the blind on a fast track to eternal destruction)

Divine choice: The God of our fathers has chosen you. Amen. (Gal 1:15, John 15:16) It is always the will of the Father and Son that chooses us into any work for the lord. I really believe it. Even if we have no solid disposition towards Christian ministry and work, when the calling of the lord is on you, he will equip you (though he does take the person through a breaking process – Paul had to go to Arabia in isolation to learn of the holy spirit all the things which would later become foundational for the operation of the new covenant churches). It remains for us to make our calling and election sure.
2Pet 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

Know His will: This is foundational for us – to know His will for us. The safest place for us is always to be in the center of the perfect will of God for us. Not the permissive will of God (which is always less than the perfect). Not as my will, but let it be according to your will. If you have really given the lordship of your life to Jesus, it’s always to be according to His divine will.

See that Just one: See the just one, the BRANCH, Jesus christ. All endeavors for the lord has to start with a fresh vision of the lord. The bible doesn’t say – see your resources, your intelligence, your ability, not even your anointing. But look to Jesus. Behold Him – whose face you should seek daily.

Hear the voice of his mouth: It is so easy to get lost in our heavenly pursuits when we hearken to the voice of the self, the flesh, other men or the devil. Yet, the lord promises to speak to us directly in this new covenant age (while he only spoke occasionally to the prophets and a few select ones in the old testament times). Continuously hear his voice – not just the “Saul, Saul” call in the beginning, but a continuous voice of the holy spirit who always speaks only from the will of the father and who leads us to Jesus always.

May the lord bless us as we desire to respond to the continuous call of God in our lives.


Oct 23, 2012

Dedicate the walls


(Neh 12:27) And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites out of all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem, to keep the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings, and with singing, [with] cymbals, psalteries, and with harps.

In the Song of Solomon, there's a great warning which goes
(Song 2:15) Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines [have] tender grapes.
When the walls of our garden are down, we tend to have the little foxes come and spoil the fruit (these refer to the subtle sins, the sins which are easy to justify, etc). The little foxes need to be driven out before we can bear sweet fruit for the lord. We need strong spiritual walls that protect us from the attacks of the evil one.

The entire book of Nehemiah is about rebuilding the broken walls of Jerusalem. We are the temple of the living God. (1 Cor 6:19) The holy city of God. The garden of our lord. We are supposed to maintain our walls with care, lest the cares of the world and the snares of the evil one find its way into our heart. The walls have such a spiritual significance in the life of a believer.

Indeed, we (even the believers) find ourselves in a state where our walls are broken. This is the state that the Israelites found themselves in the books of Ezra, Nehemiah. But praise God for a generation of people who get up to repair the broken walls, who are not satisfied with the walk of mixing with evil. Nehemiah had such a burden, and through the book, he takes us on a journey of spiritual restoration. The book tells us a story of a project - an impossible project by human standards. We also see the opposition that he faced when he embarked on such a project. But when God has a person who is determined to do His will, no opposition can stand strong against the power of God manifest in a believer. He built the walls of Jerusalem in 52 days flat.

The first verse is a joyful moment on the dedication of the rebuilt wall. The moment of savouring the sweet success of being restored into the lord's calling and presence.

Are your spiritual walls burnt down by the evil fires of this world ? Does the world enter you freely due to the broken walls ? Do you often enter the world due to the broken walls ? Do you still want a restoration to your spiritual life and your spiritual walls to be built up ?

Read the book of Nehemiah to experience this restoration. It's hard work. But it's worth it.

Praise the lord Jesus Christ

Oct 22, 2012

Hearts of flesh


One of the first steps to being a Christian is to understand the need for Christ and salvation. And one of the first tenets we discover in our initial few days of bible study is the difference between law and grace. In the old testament, we see that law was given by God as asked by men. While the law in itself is good and essential, the old covenant or law didn’t provide a means for us to understand how to obey the law. The best person in the old covenant couldn't keep all the commandments - he could at least attempt to keep the 9 commandments (externally) but never could he keep the 10th commandment - which was to not desire what belongs to another. Since this was in the mind, people kept on hiding the sin which perpetually occurred in their minds.  Here comes the need for Christ and the holy spirit
a.       God needed someone to present a perfect sacrificial life of obedience and this was Christ the son of man.
b.      The holy spirit was to be the counselor who will make us walk in the ways of the lord, enabling us and changing us from within.

When Christ came to give us the new covenant, he made the law simpler but more acute (lusting was equal to adultery, anger was equal to murder, the thought was considered as bad as the action!) But he also helped us through the abiding presence of the holy spirit to know how to obey the law of the spirit !!
§  We are the testimony of Jesus christ. 
§  We are the good news which many people will see.
§  We are the only bible that some people would read.
§  We are the temple of the living God and in us resides God himself (holy spirit) as we reside in christ.

 (2Cor 3:2) Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:
(2Cor 3:3) [Forasmuch as ye are] manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

God has written the law in our hearts of flesh causing us to walk in his ways. But our hearts were not always fleshly and soft. We had a hard hearted past as it is written in ezekiel. It's only in a born-again person can the law be written in the heart. The stony heart is a picture of the law, and the fleshly heart is a picture of grace.

(Ezek 36:26) A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

Praise God for doing all it takes to live in his ways
·         He found us even when we were sinners with stony heart
·         He gave us a new heart and a new spirit
·         He wrote the law in our hearts
·         He gave us the holy spirit
·         Even when we fail, he doesn't give up on us, but gives us his hand to help us up again
·         He watches over us in love

What a wonderful God we serve!

Praise the lord Jesus Christ

Oct 3, 2012

Our ministry - the ministry of Jesus Christ


Luk 4:17  And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
Luk 4:18  The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
Luk 4:19  To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
Luk 4:20  And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
Luk 4:21  And he began to say unto them, This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears.

We the believers are called to be ministers by Jesus - he has proclaimed that we are a group of ministers to the lord, a holy priesthood, made royal by the sonship to the father. (1pet 2:9) In this day, God has given us a ministry as he had given to Jesus Christ. In the words above, we read the fully fulfilled prophesy of Jesus's ministry while he was on this earth. We (the believers) are the body of Christ on this earth today. And by inheritance, we get his ministerial calling. We are called to

a.       Preach the gospel to the poor : We are to be conveyors of the good news to the people who are spiritually poor (i.e. those who know that they don't have what it takes to make it to eternity in heaven). Always, the people who take time to come to the lord are the ones who are full of themselves. Self-emptying is a crucial process before we can come into a fullness of salvation. Indeed, preaching the gospel is our first calling to the ministry of Jesus Christ.
b.      Heal the broken hearted : know anyone who is broken hearted ? I know many ! Our calling is to offer the ointment of Gilead ( Jesus Christ) as the medicine for binding up the hurts of many who, in their deep hurt or rejection, are even moving away from God. Our ministry is to offer the healing by giving them Christ.
c.       Preach deliverance to the captives : Many in this world think they are free, but are bound by sin and habits. It may be drinking, gambling, lust, pornography, unnatural tastes, love of money, love of self, idolatry, roving eyes, self-exaltation , pride, unbelief, and so many other evil characters (even things we find so easy to condone, like lying, stealing, etc). The Christian (the believer) has to be first delivered from all these life-breaking habits by faith and by the 'change of nature' that the new birth brings in us. And then he/she has the freedom to go to the world which is lying captive and offer this message of freedom. Yes. Believe it or not, we can truly be delivered from these habits and sins by Jesus!
d.      Sight to the blind : There are so many people (in the faith and outside the faith) who are blinded by the evil one, into hating/rejecting the message of freedom that Christ offers. There are people who are blinded to the spiritual consequences of their actions and thoughts. Like how Jonathan's eyes were made clear when he ate honey, when we consume the delicious honey (i.e. the word of God), we receive spiritual eye sight. And once we receive the spiritual eyesight, we can see only Jesus first. And then we will start seeing every one as how our lord sees them. And our eyes are opened to seeing the spiritual activity (like how Elisha's servant was able to see the heavenly activity once his eyes were opened) Friends, this is the real eye sight we need to pray for. Life changes once we have this eye sight.
e.      Preach the acceptable year of the lord : Often, the reason why we live the way we live is because there is no imminence of anything good or bad happening. We tend to think our bad ways will not receive the punishment it deserves purely because  it seems slow in coming. Yet, there is a judgment to look forward to. There is the second coming of Jesus to look forward to. And there is the right time for people to change their direction of life, repent and truly come to the lord (which is now, really!) Our ministry (an unpleasant task often!), is to remind people of the inevitable judgment and so make people understand the need for salvation. No one enjoys being with a doomsday prophet or preacher. Yet it is an inseparable part of our ministry of Jesus Christ.

Do you realize the grandeur of the calling to take up the ministry of Jesus christ ?

Before we minister to others, the most important thing is to minister to the lord (through our constant dependence on him and spending time with him in our daily prayers). Unless we minister to the lord, we can only offer our empty powerless hands to others. When we minister to the lord, we get the spiritual supplies for our ministry from the Lord himself - and hence can take the spiritual riches to the needy.

Thank God for the men (and women) of God who are moved to be His ministers! :)

God bless you!

Praise the lord Jesus christ 

Sep 28, 2012

Jesus - our city of refuge


A message for the children of the Lord needing protection (from people, from evil, from thoughts, from depression)

(Josh 20:2) Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses:
(Josh 20:3) That the slayer that killeth [any] person unawares [and] unwittingly may flee thither: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood.


The city of refuge in the old testament were instituted by God to be a place of safe harbor for the person who kills another individual without intent of harm; He could rest there with protection (from the relatives of the person who was killed) till the judgment for the case was made. This is a type of rest or protection that we (the spiritual israel) will have in Christ Jesus. This is indeed the relief the gospel provides for repentant souls - who can find their true rest and protection in the lord. Indeed it's Christ whom we flee to for protection from the curse of the law and the wrath of God.

Romans 8:1 [There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Once you are in Christ (i.e. through the genuine repentance, a turning back from the path that leads to destruction, by accepting him as lord and savior and walking after the spirit) , you don't face condemnation. It's like you are safe in the city of refuge as the people were in the old testament. No one can condemn us since we are God's elect, whom he has justified and Christ is there at the right hand of the father and even now is in intercession for us.

This assurance (of salvation) is a strong anchor for us. It's says so in the book of hebrews. Even when we are beaten about by the storms of life, the anchor will not fail.
(Heb 6:18) That by two immutable things, in which [it was] impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
(Heb 6:19) Which [hope] we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;
In Ephesians 6, we have the thought that Salvation (the assurance) is the helmet. It's the part that needs most protection. Even when we fall, this protection is there with us.

David was a man who used to run to the lord for refuge. He who has trusted in Him as a refuge has not failed. The lord is our righteousness, he is our salvation, he is our forgiveness. The name (or nature of God) is a strong tower, the righteous (in the lord) run to it and are safe.
Psa 62:7  In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.

Let's meet at that city of Refuge - Our lord and savior Jesus christ.

God bless you

Praise the lord Jesus christ !

Sep 27, 2012

Leaning on the lord Jesus


(John 13:23) Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.

Praise Jesus ! In the Old Testament (and generally in the word of God), we see that God (who is no respecter of persons) has always had his disciples in various levels.

Look at the time that the Lord met with Moses. The entire Israel was assembled at the foot of the mountain. God chose to meet with the 70 elders, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and Moses on the mountain. Moses and Aaron were allowed to climb up to the next level. And Moses alone went to the top level.

Similarly, amongst the disciples, we see a hierarchy. Jesus chose 70 disciples to go and do his works (Luke10). He had 12 apostles with whom he was closest. Amongst them, Peter, James and John were the nearest (as we can see in Him choosing them to accompany him in the mount of transfiguration). Among these, John is the disciple mentioned as the one who was closest to Jesus.

We can choose and restrict the level of intimacy we share with God. I believe man was created with the primary purpose of being with God and fellowshipping with him. Often we see people in the bible that decided to go all the way with the lord and were highly rewarded with his presence and a revelation of his will. For me, John is one such who had a heart-knowledge of Jesus Christ. One can know Jesus in many ways. Even an atheist scholar would know much more about Jesus than we believers. That remains as an academic knowledge and is not useful for eternity. Once we know Jesus as our lord and savior and redeemer, we get to know him more through the Holy Spirit whom the lord gives into our heart.

I thought of the following hallmarks of someone who loves the lord , primarily from John's example – but also from Jesus and David’s life!

1.       He leans on Jesus bosom - i.e. he brings himself near to God. The scripture says, if you draw near to God, he will draw near to you. John caused Jesus to draw nearer to him.

James 4:7  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
James 4:8  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

2.       When you are leaning on Jesus bosom, you can hear his heartbeat. You can know the will of God. The lord will reveal his heart to you. The lord will reveal his burden to you. You will pray and act according to the burden, will and direction that God places in your heart.

3.       You will know God's will :- The most excellent knowledge that we can get is to have a knowledge of God's will for us. Do you really understand what God desires in your life ?
(Col 1:9) For this cause we also, since the day we heard [it], do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
This comes from a two-way working of God's word (which we should consume) and the holy spirit acting on us to reveal the excellency of his will

4.       You will not just know God's will, but delight to do his will :- Hear the sound of The lord Jehovah saying "This is my beloved son , in whom I am well pleased". This is the sound that resonates in the heart of everyone who delights to do God's will. Jesus lived for the sole purpose of doing his father's will. He delighted to do the will of the father. (and so did David!)
(John 4:34) Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

5.       Actually does his will and completes the purpose : God is glorified when we complete the work that he gives us. (This was shared in our bible study today !)
(John 17:4) I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
What a blessed state be during your life, and at the end of your life.

When a person is in tune with the will of God and has a heart for god, he is rewarded. (not the way the world rewards though!). John received a pile of tribulation and strife all through his life and even when he was 90, he was banished to the Isle of patmos for preaching the word and sharing his testimony (Rev 1:9) - a place filled with death and evil - a place where people were known to become cannibals, a place so extreme in weather, no or limited supply of food. Yet , here was a place where John was "In the spirit"
(Rev 1:10) I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

Here's where he got the pinnacle as a child of God - he saw Jesus in Glory. He saw the most beautiful prophecy even until the end of the world. In other words, he saw the end of the book and saw that he had indeed chosen to side with the person with whom was victory!

Child of God, choose wisely to lean onto Jesus - and know his will all your life, to delight in doing his will, and completing his will in your life on this earth.

God bless you

Praise the lord Jesus Christ.