Jan 4, 2016

A new walk with the Lord

Here's wishing you all a blessed year 2016 ahead ! 

The lord reminds us that his grace and mercies are new every morning. Another year gone, another year closer to eternity. Let's desire to walk closer to the lord, a new way pleasing to Him.

We may all be in different stages of life, in different levels of spiritual maturity, varying degrees of closely walking with the lord; Yet the lord desires that we press on towards another degree of knowing Him, obeying Him and pleasing Him. Growth is a sign of life - and a christian doesn't have the luxury of stopping His growth.

In the old testament we see the first miracle that Elisha performed - regarding the healing of the waters of Jericho.
(2Kgs 2:19-22) And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city [is] pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water [is] naught, and the ground barren. And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein. And they brought [it] to him. And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the LORD, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren [land].So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake.

Often we see that the situation of the world that we live in is pleasant - but the state beneath reveals a want, and certain barrenness and death. We may have increased in knowledge and technology, but a deeper looks reveals a moral and societal breakdown.

What did the man of God do there ? He takes a "new" cruse filled with salt, and applies it to the source of the poisonous springs - and the waters are healed and the land is cured.

Today, the lord is looking for new cruses - people like you and me - to be filled with the salt to bring about a healing of the lands we live in. The main thing we need to do is to bring about a newness in our lives. Unless we are renewed, we will continue in our old lusts and paths, and will fail in the divine commission. But if we choose this day, to be renewed, the lord promises to use us as vessels of his glory.

The lord jesus said - unless we are renewed, we cannot be vessels holding the new wine. Luk 5:37-39. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.

Remember friends, we are near to the time of the coming of the lord Jesus ! and the word of God indicates a time of world-wide revival and renewal. The church is not going to go out in a whimper but there will be a time when millions will flock to the church and the real men and women of God because we have known the lord and we have the answers. That will be preceded by a time of tremendous outpouring of the holy ghost exceeding even the pentecostal experience of the first church. But to be able to hold the new wine of the holy ghost, we the vessels have to be made new ! The lord wants us to be made like new wineskins before he can pour out his new grace and power and wine of the holy ghost into our lives. new wineskins are soft and supple - they can hold the new wine. old bottles become tough and leathery and will split and break when the new wine is poured.

For us to experience a renewal, the lord desires that the old things in us must be put out and replaced by the new grace of God.

1. Old sins and burdens -
Heb 12:1-2  let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of god

There are old sins and thought patterns which seem to always be successful in bringing us down and defeat us. They are the sins which so easily entangles us and produces an evil fruit from us. It may be anger, it may be an unlawful relation, it may be a toxic habit or a substance abuse, alcohol or pornography. But the lord says - lay it aside. As simple as that. The responsibility is with us.

Likewise, there are burdens and weights that we carry, and it gets worse year after year. The lord says - cast your burdens on me, for I care for you. it may be a hurt that someone has caused, it may be a grief that has never passed, it may be a bitterness or a deep unforgiveness. But the lord says - throw it away this year. Beloved, we are in a race (the christian journey is always pictured as a race in the new testament) - and one who runs a race, runs with just the right amount of clothing needed. Have you seen a mountaineer pack his sack? It is to ensure that nothing hinders his progress. Let's remove those burdens and continue on our race for the lord, without letting His grace failing in our life.

2. Old traditions -
1 Pet 1:18 , Col 2:8 - they did it wrong, you are doing it wrong.

ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, [as] silver and gold, from your vain conversation [received] by tradition from your fathers But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot

Often, we get trapped in the traditions of men - whether it be a religious tradition or a world-wide tradition. Often the traditions carry with it a source or origin of ungodly nature. (for example, the Christmas trees evolved from the worship of baal and asherah, Easter bunnies are an ancient symbol of fertility, Christmas wreaths and other decorations also springing from such tradition).

Another tradition that has trapped many a naive christian, is the unbiblical practice of child baptism. Baptism , as mentioned in the bible, is always by full immersion in water, after you have been born again and you accept and believe Jesus Christ as your lord and saviour, after your repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But the traditions of men have caused many to be baptized as an infant, deceiving millions to think they're going to heaven when they are not.

What are the traditions that are binding you dear friend? in the new year, decide to put off those and walk as it is mentioned in the bible.

3. New shoes for a new walk -
Luk 15:21-22 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet'

The prodigal son had gone far from the father's house, distanced himself from the father who loved him, and walked the continuously declining path of sin. He finds himself amidst abject poverty and craves for the filth that pigs eat (and as you know , pigs eat anything - even the stuff found amidst human refuse). At that low point in his life, he comes to his senses and begins his walk back home, wishing to be just accepted to the old household as a servant.

As the loving father of the parable sees the wayward son trudging home, unsure of his acceptance, the father throws his exalted bearing to the winds and runs towards his son and throws himself on the neck and hugs and kisses him. And at the first admission of the son's guilt and sign of genuine repentance, the father gives him 3 gifts.
1) a robe - the imputed righteousness of God - a reminder that he is accepted back into the beloved
2) a ring - a sign of authority and a power of attorney - acknowledging him as a business partner of maturity
3) new sandals - I want to dwell a moment on these new sandals. The prodigal had gone far into the dirty and filthy walks of life. His walk was tainted by sin and immorality. now that he is restored to the father, the Father wants him to walk in newness of life (Rom6:4). Not the old paths friend; You'll again dirty your shoes. But the new paths - avoiding the old paths of sin.

i pray that we'll walk a new path, dear friend. Life is all too short and precious to waste in testing the patience and long-suffering of God in rebelliously continuing the paths of sin.

4. a release from the old man -
Rom 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin

This is the time that we need to realize that the lord has kept a huge treasure inside of us. When we are born again, God himself comes and lives inside of us. To release the God-life into our daily experience, we need to experience the death of the old man and the self-life. The bible says - except a corn of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains a seed. if it dies, it produces the fruit.  John 12:24

One of the great truths of the gospel is the commandment of water baptism. through it, we walk in newness of life -
Rom 6:4. Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 

The process starts at our baptism, and follows every day as we deny our 'self' take up the cross and follow Jesus our lord. As we start off on our christian journey, our 'old man' is significantly stronger than our 'new man'. This power balance is the key to a victorious christian life. As we dig the word of God, understand it, and obey it, as we pray to the lord, as we speak in tongues and edify the inner man, as we walk in the light, as we quickly confess and turn from sin, as we are filled with the love for our lord, our inner man grows stronger. As we deny the older man the former lusts in which he walked, as we resist and mortify the sin by the spirit of God, our older man becomes weaker. And we realize that we're now able to walk in victory as the lord gives us grace.

The lord promises to give us a new heart and a new spirit (Ez 36:26-27) and when we walk thus, the new covenant becomes a reality in our lives. And as we present our bodies as living sacrifice, we are renewed in our minds and we will prove the perfect will of God. Rom 12:1-2
ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God

Beloved friend, in summary, flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. We are being prepared for a new eternity, in new heavens and new earth to be in new Jerusalem with our heavenly bridegroom. And only a renewed person can thus be in the eternity with God. And only a renewed person can become a plate to hold the salt to purify the waters of impurity. (2Ki 2:20)

For all the weaknesses and hindrances that we have in our lives, can we take a step forward and say - Lord , we are yours. Help us to be renewed in the inner man. Lead us by your spirit. Preserve us from sin and evil - till we are with you in Eternity. In Jesus name, amen. 

Nov 27, 2015

Flee from these sins

We are in a war where the lord expects us to fight the world, the Satan, the flesh and the self inside us. Yet, there are some situations we have to flee from, according to the bible.

In the word of God, the lord asks us to wage a good warfare (1 Tim 1:18), he expects us to fight as steady battle, for a christian (one who is born again, and baptized to Christ) is in the midst of a waging war which started eons ago. We have been given the blessed weapons of warfare (Eph 6:10-18) which are strong and mighty (2 Cor 10:4), being spiritual weapons, not carnal. You see, the battle being a spiritual one can't be fought with worldly wisdom. The church is in the process of being formed, cleansed and prepared as a bride without spot or blemish for the mighty King of Kings and Lord of lords, our lord and savior Jesus Christ. (Eph 5:26-27) The church is aware (mostly) of the spiritual weapons and the power of the word of God, but in today's devotion, I hope to share what I found to be an extremely useful spiritual warfare tactic.

In my pre-conversion days, When I used to play Quake III (a multiplayer shooter game) with my friends, one of the consistent top scorers was not the most aggressive fighters who shot up everything on his path; Rather he was a person who was an expert runner. He used to avoid getting killed in the deathmatches, and used to pile up decent scores. He'll flee from the areas of danger and get his kills by stealth.

Fleeing from danger is an excellent warfare tactic. A good general is one who knows when to advance his troops and also when to retreat.

We are in no means required to flee from the devil , for the word of god says in Jas 4:7 Submit to God, resist the devil, he will flee from you. Once we are submitted to the lord Jesus, that submission gives us an authority, by which if we resist the devil (in the name of Jesus christ), he will have to flee from us.

But there are conditions which the word asks us to flee from. There is an element in us which wants us to sin and be enticed by what satan, the world offers. The flesh . Rom 7:19,23-24  God wants us to be able to stand in full fellowship with him and boldly before him always. The world, devil and flesh are planning to keep traps before us to entice us into sin, and thereby lose the precious favor of our lord - so run fast from them.

When we sin, we hide like Adam, hiding, afraid of coming into God's presence. So God advises us to flee from the following situations which are traps that the evil one lays for us. The bible says, Jas 1:13-14 we are enticed by our own lusts. The devil has a history of our past failures which his agents have reported. He knows what are our pet sins, he knows what has trapped us in the past, and unless we are careful he knows we'll fall again. The lord Jesus allows us to be tested and proved, so that we can finally emerge as victorious overcomers who are victorious over the world, the flesh and the devil. remember, the lord has broken the snare of the fowler and given us grace (Tit 2:11-13  ) power to lead godly lives and not submit to these unclean sins.

What are some of these situations or things we have to flee from ?

1) Flee fornication 1 Cor 6:18-20 

Fornication is a big word. And it represents a lot of the evil world that we live in today. The literal meaning of the word is sexual immorality - and it covers an entire gamut of sins ranging from adultery , illicit sex, incest, bestiality, lesbian/gay sex, right down to the lusting and the sins of the mind by which we desire unclean sexual experiences. Remember, Jesus says - he that looks at a woman to lust has already committed adultery with her (Mat 5:28). God is not to be mocked. And if you are still wondering , it includes pornography as well. (the greek word for fornication in this verse is πορνεία/Porneia and it is the root word for pornography). Yes, all these are habits and sins which are drawing billions away from the lord - and the world is really full of people and systems which encourage us into this lifestyle. It zaps a believer of all his spiritual vitality and the presence and favour of the lord is lost immediately and forever unless we repent and come back!)

The bible says - these are sins that destroy your body and your soul (1 Cor 6:18). We are designed to be the temples (dwelling place) of the most holy God. We are brought for a price (1 Cor 6:20) and that price was the blood of Jesus Christ ! what a costly transaction ! When we are purchased, we lose all our rights to "do our own thing". have you ever purchased a chicken to have it refuse to be roasted when you came home? Lets yield to the spirit of God and repent if we have not guarded ourselves. 

2) Flee Idolatry 1 Cor 10:14  

This is a sin that the lord hates from all of the old testament. How can man replace the glory of the one true living God and turn to idols (Rom 1:21-26) ? and yet, I believe almost all of us have fallen prey to this sin at some point. If there are idols in our life, let's confess and forsake and burn the idols, repent and turn to accept jesus as our only lord and saviour.

Moses was away in the mount receiving the law - Ex 32:1 - and he was delayed in coming down. 40 days in the presence of God away from the children of Israel. Time delays can bring out idols in us,especially when the lord seems to be absent (they didnt ask aaron when moses was around). Ex 32:4-6,8 . Idols are your own inventions in the times of testing - Psa 106:36-40

What is an idol? - Anything that you consider more important than god, anything you substitute instead of god - can be your self, intelligence, money, job, relatives. Experiencing the cross of Jesus is denying all these and following christ daily (Luk 9:23 ). i pray that we all have a deep cleansing period of cleansing our lives of ALL idols that make it polluted.

3) Flee love of money 1 Tim 6:9-11 

Jesus says - no man can serve two masters (Mat 6:24) - God and mammon are the two masters. We have to choose who is our master. It's either God or mammon. (mammon = money). Money is a very good slave - but a terrible master. Money is good to consume for god-appointed purposes, but it's a sad day when you take decisions based on the finance involved there. (example: if you are getting 2 job offers, dont blindly take the one with the higher pay. Ask god His will. )

The rich fall into all sorts of temptations and snares and they are drawn to lusts and drown in destruction and judgment. It's difficult to extract them from those. (1 Tim 6:9). the word of god says - money is the root of ALL evil. Some , desiring more money and chasing after it, have coveted, they have strayed from the simple faith in christ, and have pierced themselves with many sorrows. (1 Tim 6:10). So paul commands timothy to stay away from this risk and to flee from this love of money and pursue the eternal things (righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness (1 Tim 6:11)

today, let's remember the wise verse from the same chapter - 1 Tim 6:6 - Godliness with contentment is great gain - let's be content with food and clothing !

4) Flee youthful lusts 2 Tim 2:22 

How do I define a youthful lust ? apart from the sexual sins listed above, it's a desire for thrill, sensation, power, sensuality, admiration, ego-trips, typically seen in younger people. It may manifest in strange ways - may be the desire to travel at the top speed of a car, seeking adventures (even in mission trips), desiring a lot of fans, desiring to be the most admired, a desire to see the world with wanderlust, a desire to travel business class, a desire to have many cars, a desire to have nubile girlfriends, a desire to look and feel younger, etc.

This warning comes to us because it is even possible for old men to fall prey to this temptation. Timothy must have been a serving elder in the church for many years (about 35-40 years of age) when he got this letter from Paul. It was possible for him also to fall prey to these - else Paul wouldn't have warned him.

Today, shall we allow the lord to inspect our hearts and cleanse any such lust that may pave way to greater sins and issues in our life

These are some of the top sins and conditions to watch for if we are to please God. These are the sins with which satan tempts even the elect men of God. Rev 21:7 God wants us to be victorious over every wile of the devil so that he can give us our inheritance.

How can we do this ? we have victory in the blood of Jesus. the word says - 1 Cor 10:13 we will not be tempted beyond our ability and the lord will make the way of escape. 1 Cor 15:57 says we have victory through Jesus Christ.

May god keep us pure and holy in these days. Jude 1:20-21 says - build yourself up in your holy faith, praying in the spirit, keep yourself in the love of god ! Mat 24:13  says - He that shall endure even unto death, the same shall be saved.

Dear friend, as we read the above, I would urge you to look back into your life remembering the pits where you have fallen. The patience of the lord causes him to want us to repent (2 Pet 3:9) - I would urge you to repent of the past sins and failures (1 John 1:7-9), and receive the cleansing from the blood of Jesus when you confess those sins to Him (not to a priest!). Decide this day, to walk a new walk , one where you consecrate yourself to Him, and decide to please Him and not your self.

God bless you !

Nov 10, 2015

Being like Jesus

I happened to chance on a video the other day - one named "Being Poirot" on youtube. If you are familiar with Hercule Poirot, you'll enjoy this video as well. (I used to see the TV episodes with great joy, being an fan of crime and detective stories at one point of time)

In this video, David Suchet, the man who played Poirot for 25 years shares his story about how it went much beyond acting a role, and became a passionate journey of becoming a fictional person.
  • He scanned all the books featuring poirot
  • He made typed lists of every reference related to the person and nature of poirot
  • He noted the character, nature, idiosynchracies, lovable elements, the unpleasant elements, the language, the accent, the origins, his eating preferences, his way of walking, every thing. 
  • His one desire was to know Poirot more, so that he could more realistically represent him on screen
  • He could then intuitively know how Poirot would act and behave in a certain situation. 
  • so much so that, finally people used to call him Poirot when he passes in the street. People didn't know him as David Suchet, but as Poirot. 
At the end of the documentary, I had a heavy heart within me. The spiritual import of what i had seen just struck me. The tears in my eyes surprised me. The lord challenged me in my mind.

We are called to be ambassadors of Christ. We have been saved by his blood, we've been saved to become like him. And yet, how casual is our passion and pursuit of achieving this? If a man could spend 25 years of his life in representing a fictional character on earth, and take the diligence to learn about him more to be like him, How much more should we believers take that step to know and learn to be like the king of kings and the lord of lords and to represent him here on this earth? Especially if we realize that the heavenly position depends on how much we've become like Him here on this earth. The greatest gospel message is a man who is like Christ in every way.

And I am not talking about imitation here. I am talking about transformation.

If we were serious about our faith, we would spend our lives with one desire - to be like him who saved us. We'd scan the Bible to know the nature of God and the nature of his Son Jesus Christ. We'd list every verse in the bible to know the person and nature of Christ. We'd know what makes him pleased, angry and sad. We'd know what delights him. We'd want to become like him. We'd exude the fruits of the spirit and righteousness, because that's His nature. We'd spend our lives for one thing (irrespective of our secular jobs and calling); that is, to pursue His nature and presence. We'd want to move from the realm of Acting to Being. The others would publicly recognize that we're christ like ! Some would be offended as they would be offended if Christ walked here. Others would glow with the receipt of eternal life, as they would have if Christ walked here.

A few verses to show us that this is indeed God's plan for us in the new testament.
  • We're predestined to conform to the image of Jesus - Rom 8:29 - For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 
  • We're to be partakers of His divine nature - II Pet 1:4 - Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust
  • We're expected to have the mind of Christ, as Paul was able to have - Phil 2:5 - Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
  • The Lord says - learn of jesus - and he shall give you rest. Matt 11:29 - Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
  • He is our example - John 13:15 - For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you
  • Follow His steps - 1Pet 2:21 - For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps
  • Walk as He walked - 1 John 2:6 - He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked
My desire is that we , the people who know Him, will walk worthy of the Lord and know Him and be like Him, and lead others to be like him. Simply put, this is the lord's purpose for our lives. May the lord bless you as you embark on this journey of knowing Him.

This is a desire to return to the Centrality of Christ.. may every thought of me be turned to Him, my study be focused on his person and nature, my life focused on living his teachings, my desire to gain His approval, and my goal to turn many to Him, without which all purpose maybe deemed an earthly one, with no eternal value. I know as I begin on this exciting study, the benefit will result in a changed man. For none can meet him and remain the same way as he was earlier. Like paul says - That I may KNOW HIM.

Father, I pray that you will lead us all on an exciting journey of knowing Jesus through the word of God, so that we would be like Him. Weak as we are, help us on this pursuit. Holy spirit, open our hearts and give us the desire. In Jesus name we pray; Amen

Friends, if any of you reading this haven't known Jesus as your lord and savior, I'd suggest you read the following blog post. http://believerblogs.blogspot.com/p/the-good-news.html

Nov 6, 2015

Be Ye Transformed

Rom 12:1-2  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Change is at the heart of Christian life. While our election happened while we were yet sinners (Eph 1:4), the desire of the lord is that we are all transformed and rid of our sin nature. (Mat 1:21) The desire of the lord is that the ministers whom the lord has entrusted the believers to, will present "every man perfect in Christ" (col 1:28). God wants us to conform to the very image of His son, and that's the very purpose of his election. (Rom 8:29)

Dear friend, Believe earnestly that the lord is at work perfecting us, allowing us to go through all the circumstances in our life (which he has hand-crafted) in order to bring us closer to this goal.

  • He allows the various circumstances (including the unpleasant ones) to happen in our life to reveal the aspects and attitudes which need correction
  • And then he cleanses us progressively as we repent and ask Him for the necessary overcoming grace

This is how we are transformed from Glory to Glory - 2 Cor 3:18 - through many cycles of repentance, till we behold His face. Man is far from perfect at the time of the call, but as we allow God to work on us and change us, the lord will complete the task according to his promise towards us.

Here's a passage that spoke to me regarding change. Many of us naturally resist change. The lord wants us to embrace the change that he brings about in our life. When we are unsettled by the lord, it means He is in control and about to do something amazing in our lives.
Jer 48:11 Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed

Can you look at your life where God has allowed circumstances where you simply cannot continue as you are ? You may pray, fast, cry out to the lord, rebuke the efforts of satan, exercise the spiritual authority - expecting others to be changed ! After all, isn't it easier that others change and make the world a better place to live? Not so ! God's more keen to transform his children than transforming the world. God wants me and you to change!

What happens if wine stays in the bottle for too long? The dregs are settled. The flavor of the dregs comes into the wine. The good taste of wine is corrupted by the dregs (which is not meant to be consumed). It's taste doesn't get refined. It's aroma doesn't become more robust and full. The wine is spoilt and is good for throwing out or for making vinegar.

This word says - we need frequent pouring out, and unsettling to remove all the bad stuff from us. The works of the flesh, self, pride, love for the world, and every thing contrary to the nature of God has to be sent out of us! For that , we need to accept the occasional captivity that the lord may lead us to. The occasional trial of faith, or the trial of fire, purifies us and gets us more transformed to His image.

Dear friend, anyone who has wanted to be used by the lord has gone through this process. The word of God has many analogies for this process; It's likened to a refining of metal, it's likened to washing to make clean, it's compared to the process of creating a pot. May we always understand that the hand of the maker is never far from us in the life situations which he ordains to change us!

All men of God have gone through this process. There's so much in us which we have to rid of! And yet, see the patience of the lord that He doesn't give up even when he sees our (sometimes) bitter attitude. Phil 1:6 says - Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ.

Moses was a man who had serious shortcomings as a person chosen to shepherd the children of Israel through the wilderness. But to qualify for that, he had to have his heart of anger (formed in the worldly and princely training of Egypt) transformed into a soft and gentle heart that a shepherd needs. The lord in his mercy broke him in the wilderness, when he (as a man on the run) was made a shepherd over his Father-in-law's sheep. There are few things more degrading for an Egyptian prince than that. And yet, at the end of the 40 years of breaking and molding, Moses was a transformed man who had lost his self-confidence and gained a lot of God-confidence; Who had lost all his anger and gained the heart of a father and a shepherd to even intercede for the children of Israel when they angered God. God says Moses was the most faithful in all his house (Num 12:8). In fact, the word of God records moses as the meekest man on the face of earth. (Num 12:3)

Can we humbly submit before the careful hands of God for Him to pour us , to transform us, to mold us, till he sees His purpose and design reflected in us?

Father, I pray that you be in charge of our lives, that in every situation we go through, the hand of God will prevail and help us to be transformed. We consecrate our body , soul and spirit to do your will. Give us the strength and desire lord ! In Jesus name, Amen.

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.


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
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.