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.

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.