Saturday, April 26, 2008

Are We To Welcome Storms?

"Awake , north wind, and come south wind! Blow on my garden, that it's fragrance may spread abroad. Let my lover come into His garden and taste it's choice fruits."
Song of Solomon 4:16

This is supposed to be what the bride is saying of her beloved. It is a comparison to us the bride [the church] and Jesus Christ.

The interesting thing is, the bride is calling the opposing North and the South wind to blow, so that the flowers and the fruits get crushed and the fragrance will come out to please her lover.

Clashing of winds is not a pleasant experience. Yet only those bring out the fruit and the sweetness of our nature which God expects to see in us.

I was wondering how many of us will welcome such crushing experiences? Whether we invite them or not, they do come. When we face them, do the fruit of the spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self control come out of us? [Gal. 5:22] Most of the time we wish that we escape misunderstandings, unkindness, abuse, expressions of anger, insults, etc. It is easy to exhibit self pity, hatred, bitterness, complaining and murmuring. Sometimes we even start doubting and questioning God.

God allows us to go through such breaking experiences to make us strong and to develop the natures [fruits], He desires us to possess.

Through these testing times, we learn more than we would in any other situation. These are growing times as we learn the extent of our own commitment, weakness and utter dependence on God.

It is comforting to know that during such times we can call on God for His strength to endure the trials and temptations that we face and ask for the wisdom to learn from it. God is faithful; He will strengthen us to posses all the qualities that are expected of His bride.

May God lead us according to His way and help us to learn from Him.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Looking to God is the Best Solution

"Therefore I will look unto the Lord. I will wait for the Lord of my salvation. My Lord will hear me."
-Micah 7:7

The days that Micah lived in were very much like our days. He could not find an upright person anywhere in the land. [Mi.7:1-4] Even today, uprightness (honesty, integrity) is difficult to find. Society rationalizes sin and even Christians sometimes compromise Christian principles in order to do what they want. It is easy to convince ourselves that we deserve a few breaks, especially when everyone else is doing it. They fail to realize that the standard for honesty comes from God, not from society. We are to be honest because God is truth, and we are to be like Him.

Micah sets a good example for us. Instead of being depressed, argumentative or revolting, he showed great faith in God. He knew that God hears and saves when help is needed; God will bring his people through when times are tough. Israel [the people of his country] must be patient in punishment, because God would bring them out of darkness and their enemies would be punished.

Don't we see shocking things happening around us? What about the vandalism in the streets to celebrate a victory? There were some who thought it to be not too bad! The sense of right and wrong seems to be disappearing. Doesn't this make us fear for the future of our children? I think what Micah said is a timely example to follow.

We too can have confidence like Micah's. It does not take unusual talent. It simply takes faith in God and a willingness to act on that faith.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Dancing in True Worship

We had a beautiful service on Sunday with songs, lifting up of hands, rejoicing and dancing, which was Biblical [Ps149:3; 150:4; Ex.15:20; 11Sam.6:14]. While most of the people were dancing, there were a few who were quietly praising and singing, even raising their hands but not dancing. I was one of them.

Why did the few not join in the dancing? Were they shy? Or think it was unholy? A cultural difference perhaps? As for me, I am not used to dancing. In my days and culture, dancing was not part of worship. I was also wondering if all those who danced so joyfully, were doing it in the spirit: In every party they dance. Dancing is part of the culture of Canada and the west. Was their worship genuine? In the presence of God, the attitude should be Holy. The critical thoughts of those who refrained from dancing may have polluted the Holy atmosphere and the presence of God would have been hindered! There would not have been perfect unity in the worship! Somehow the enemy wants to spoil the true worship of our great God!

The Lord led me to read Psalms 95 the next morning. It was a call to worship. The last verse speaks of hardening of the heart. A hardened heart will be a thankless, complaining heart. It will not be able to worship the Holy God. The Lord loves genuine, holy, joyful, worship from humble hearts.

Our heart could become hardened because of unanswered prayer, pride, criticism, stubbornness, ungratefulness and a lack of humility. Hardening the heart is dangerous. We will not be able to enter into the rest. [Heb.3:13] I recalled the warning given in Hebrews 4:4-11.

I prayed that whichever way we worship, help us to be genuine in seeking the presence of the Holy God in humility and be blessed by Him to be a blessing to others.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Buffet of Promises

This morning, the Lord reminded me that there are so many promises we could hold on to in times of need. You too, may help yourself and be benefited by them. Here are some that encourage me:

"Listen to me ... you whom I have upheld since you were conceived and have carried since your birth. Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am He. I am He who will sustain you, I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you."
-Isaiah 46:3-4

Isn't His love so enduring and endearing that He gives me the assurance that He will care for me through out my lifetime and even through death?

It is amazing that the one who is giving this promise is the Lord God of the universe! "This is what the Lord says, Your redeemer who formed you in your womb, I am the Lord who who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself" [Isa.44:24]

I was happy that I have accepted his Love for me. I believe His promise. It gives me comfort, confidence and security.

I prayed: "Do not cast me away when I am old. Do not forsake me when my strength is gone" [Ps.71:9]. Also, Lord may all those who have not intimately known you yet come to you before it is too late. May all your children learn to enjoy the variety of promises you have given us.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Recipe for Constant Joyfulness

I heard a teaching from the book of Philippians today. St. Paul, who said: "Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice." [Phil.4:4], did not just say it. He really experienced that kind of joy in his life.
The unbecoming conduct of some Christians, some preaching the Gospel for selfish reasons and lack of unity among the Christians were troubling him. Besides all this, he was in prison. These factors could have killed anyone's joy, but not Paul's. Instead, he taught them that their life should be worthy of the gospel, they should realize that they are all working for the same cause, eliminate disunity and have clean hands and pure hearts.

To have that kind of joy all the time, we should learn to take the bad things in life and turn it for good. In the midst of a problem, don't focus on the problem, focus on the good thing that came out of it [Phil.1:15-19]. Look at the people who are praying for you. These things will give us joy, advised Paul.

I realized how true it is. There are times when we do not want to tell our problems because it may paint a bad picture about others who are involved in it. Or for fear of publicity we may not want to confide in someone and carry the burden all alone. such an incident took place a few weeks back and my heart was far from rejoicing.

Then, my sister from Sri Lanka,called and said that two people from a powerful prayer group inquired from her about me. They had said that they were urged to pray for me. My sister did not take it that seriously as she knew that I was in good health. When she told me about this, though the problem which weighed me down remained the same, an unspeakable joy came to me. The thought that the Lord raised up people who do not know anything about me, to pray for me, gave me a fresh love for the Lord.

The Lord understood what I was going through inside. The thought that He was working on the matter I was praying about and that He cares for me, revived me. An inexplicable kind of joy filled me. Without thinking, I began to sing a chorus I knew:
"All that I have is in Jesus, He satisfies, Joy He supplies, Life will be worthless without him. All things in Jesus I find."

Don't you think that we have a loving, understanding, wonderful, almighty God?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What's in a Day Date or Name?

A few weeks ago there was a lot of controversy going on about the correct date, day and the name Easter. No one can dispute the fact that Christ died, taking our punishment upon himself, on the cross and rose again on the third day. This is a historical fact. It remains true whether anyone believes it or not.

All that is expected of us is to believe it, call upon Him, avail ourselves of the forgiveness He offers, lead righteous lives in this world and be assured of eternity with Him.
All other things attached to Easter are accessories. The Easter eggs, the bunnies and lilies have only commercial value.

Church services help us to meditate worship and draw near to God. The bottom line is: Do I believe that Jesus died for me? Do I believe that Jesus rose from the dead? Do I believe that He is alive today? These are unique to Christianity alone.

Believing these will make a difference in our lives.The risen Jesus will love us, save us and bless us, if we worship him in spirit and in truth.

The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is a proven fact. If you are not sure of it, it is important that you make sure. There is a lot of evidence: Acts 10:40-41; Rom. 1:4 ; the Gospels. Just joining the crowd in discussion or being carried away by the commercialization, is a waste of time. We've got to benefit from the truth and and the Gospel of Christ.

Easter is over. It was just a day to remember Christ's victory over death. For a believer in Jesus Christ, everyday is a day of resurrection.

These thoughts bring me to pray that the risen Jesus will keep us pure, holy and open the eyes of those who are unable to accept the truth.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Charged for the Day with the Powerful Name

"When nothing works, try the name of Jesus.", is a true saying. The name of Jesus is above every other name.

I studied why it is so:

His name shall be called Jesus. Luke 1:3
His name is power ... the mighty God. Isa. 9:6
His name is peace: The Prince of Peace. Isa.9:6
His name gives forgiveness. Luke 24:47
His name is above every other name. Phil.2:9
His name gives life. John 20:31
His name is healing. Acts 3:6, 16. [I recall my many personal healings I received]
His name is deliverance. Acts 16: 18

The name of Jesus is able to break every stronghold within us; It has power to set free every captive.

Today I hold on to the promise
"What so ever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the father may be glorified in the son" [John14:13]

I know from experience it works. So, Jesus, I call on your holy name to answer my prayers today.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Praise Casts Out The Spirit of Heaviness

Praise is the antidote for being depressed and heavy. How to praise and for what to praise, when you are sad, you may wonder. This morning, I was in very low spirits. People's actions, words, attitudes, disapproval, rejections and disappointments can easily be joy killers. I am glad our Lord does not want us to remain in that state. This is how I got over it:

First, I tried to read the Bible and pray but my mind revolved around things that happened and were going to happen. Remembering a Sunday school song, "Just a little talk with Jesus makes it right!", I told Jesus all that I felt. He reminded me of a verse from Isaiah 61:3. I read it a few times:

"To appoint unto those who mourn in Zion to give beauty for ashes, oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified."

God's word combined with prayer worked a miracle. The Lord, within minutes, took my heaviness completely from me. I was able to praise Jesus for what He did on the cross for me, to make me accepted by God. If the Almighty God loves and accepts me what does it matter if others consider me not worthy enough to be in their function? All the feeling of hurt left me. I sang I am free. Thank you Jesus you have done it all for me.

I was able to pray the following for the wedding party with sincere love:

Lord, bless the couple, embarking the new boat, in the sea of life today, starting a a new family, keep them under the shadow of your wings. Protect them from every storm and strife of tongues, as they busy them selves in your service. Help them discern what is right.

May love for You and for each other fill their hearts. May they understand others' views. Use them to bring healing to hurting hearts.

Bless the Pastor who is uniting them. May his heart be free from hurts and offenses, so that your blessings flow from his prayers to the trusting couple.

Bless the loving, trusting, followers as they sing your praises to bless the couple this morning.


Thursday, April 3, 2008

God has Set Eternity in the Hearts of Men

"God has made every thing beautiful in it's time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; Yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to the end."
Ecclesiastes 3:11, said by King Solomon, who lacked nothing in this world.

This means we are never going to be satisfied with earthly pleasures and pursuits. Because we are created in God's image, we have a spiritual thirst. We have eternal value and nothing but the eternal God can satisfy us.

"He has built in us a restless yearning for the kind of perfect world that can only be found in a perfect rule. He has given us a glimpse of of the perfection of his creation. But it is only a glimpse, we cannot see into the future or comprehend every thing. So we must trust Him now and do his work on earth." [From the Life application study bible]

I find this quite true. I don't think any one could deny or debate it. God has, in a simple way, stipulated how we ought to live; in His word and how his kingdom will be established in our hearts. As we implicitly obey whatever He says, things will become clear. Submission and obedience are essential for spiritual growth. Till we reach the character of God, which is His image, no one or nothing else can satisfy us.

Holy spirit, our helper, guide us till we reach that stage, is my prayer today.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Hope Deferred Makes the Heart Sick

A few nights ago, after a prayer meeting, what one of the brothers said, set me thinking: He was going to bring a common friend, from the depressed peoples' home for a day, as he had no place to go to. "What a good Samaritan!", I thought.

This sick person, was a good Christian with a lovely family. What happened to him? His family said that he was violent, but this brother did not think so. Is it a case of Christians behaving differently at home from how they behave outside? Such double faced Christians bring shame to Christ and His cause. They are not Christians, though they call themselves so. What do I know. Who am I to judge?

There seems to be an increase in people becoming depressed or going insane suddenly. Daily, we hear of inexplicable crimes and shootings by the young and old. People getting depressed, harming others or committing suicide has become very common. "What is happening to mankind??", I wondered!

This morning I had a Bible verse: "Hope deferred makes the heart sick."[Pro13:12]. The hearts of people become sick, bringing mental and physical sicknesses upon them. How could this be prevented?

Hope is a good thing. Hope has no limits. Every imagination can become a hope, even if it a bad one. If what is hoped for is something good, which is God's will, it will materialize. If it doesn't, then a God fearing person will know, that "all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose." He will not become depressed about it, which may lead to detrimental consequences. When we have such faith, whether the thing we hope for happens or not, we will be able to go on in life, knowing that is not the end of the world.

Tomorrow is another day. I am God's. He is mine. He has reserved the best for me. May we all have such wisdom, is my prayer.