Friday, May 30, 2008

Be A Victor, Not A Victim

"Be self controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers through out the world are undergoing the same kind of suffering.

And the God of Grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while will himself restore you and make you strong , firm and steadfast."
1st Peter5:8-10

This is great advice given by Peter, the apostle of Jesus Christ!

Peter knew what it was to be tempted by the enemy, to fail, to repent and to be restored by the Lord. We know how mightily he was used of God after that.

He compares the devil to a lion which roars to frighten his prey. The lions attack the sick, young or staggering animals. They choose their victims who are alone and not alert. Peter warns us not to be careless and focused on problems; that is when we become vulnerable. We need not be scared of the lions threats by roaring. We are to stand firm on the faith. During times of suffering, seek the the support of other Christians. Don't be alone or be self confident. Feeling alone, helpless and cut off from other believers, we may focus on the problem, give in to self pity and fall into the trap of the enemy.

We are to resist the devil, standing firm on the faith. Then, "he will flee", as James said [James 4:7]

The suffering is not going to last long. The Lord will soon restore and make us strong. The night will pass and the morning will come soon bringing joy and light. Remember: We have the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Jesus Prayed for Peter!

"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you Simon, that your Faith may not fail. and when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."
Luke 22:31-32.

It was encouraging and comforting to read the above verse this morning.

It is true that, as Jesus predicted, Peter failed and denied Jesus because he relied in his own strength to stand firm in the faith. When he repented, he was not only restored [Luke 22:54-62; John 21:15-19]; he became a great leader and an apostle. He became a bold and daring witness for Jesus. [ Acts Acts 2:41]

I thought that the Lord was reminding me, that the enemy is out to destroy our faith. The things that are happening around us today, are attacks of Satan; The new theories introduced in movies, media, books and talks are aimed to rob the faith that Christians have in Jesus as the Lord and Saviour of the world.

We are also being sifted like wheat. The chaff, which has no grain in it , will be blown away, when the sifting takes place. Jesus has already prayed for us too, that our faith should not fail. So we need not allow ourselves to be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine or be blown away altogether. That confidence is enough to defeat the enemy.

I thought of the Christians who are going through religious persecutions in some parts of the world. Like Jesus, we are to pray for them to have strength. They are brothers and sisters.

Maybe some of us have failed. Be encouraged. Our loving God is waiting to restore anyone who repents. He will strengthen and enable us to strengthen others. What a great God we have!

I thanked God for the revelation, that Jesus prayed for us and is still interceding for each one of us.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Salt of The Earth

"Salt is good, but if it loses it's saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other."
Mark 5:50

These were the words of Jesus Christ, the prince of peace. He also said, "You are the salt of the earth." There seems to be a close connection between having peace and being salt.

Jesus paved the way for us to be reconciled with God, by helping us to remove the sin that separates us from the Holy God. When we repent for our sins and decide to live for Christ, we become born again. This act brings peace with God and peace within us. We begin to grow like Jesus. Then we are expected to be salt in society and be a positive influence.

Salt prevents decay, preserves, gives flavour and promotes life and growth. In order to be a good positive influence around us, peace with others is essential.

I like to quote what St. Paul wrote in Romans 12:16 to 18: "Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of every body. If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with every one."

I see that it is pride that prevents us to ask for forgiveness and to forgive? Having humility helps us to be at peace with everyone. We cannot be salt in our society, which the Lord expects from us, unless we desire to please God and not our 'Self.'

I realized that I have to work much in this area. I am sure that many others too need to change. I asked the Lord for strength and grace for all of us.

If each one of us take this to heart and act on it, this world will a better place to live and God's name will be glorified.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Danger! Run for Protection!

"He shall cover you with His feathers, under His wings shall you trust. His truth shall be your shield and buckler"
Psalms 91:4

I remembered an interesting scene I witnessed, when I was a child in the countryside: A mother hen and her brood of about twenty or more chicken were having a cool time in the sun. The chicks were running all over the garden fearlessly, learning to get food and playing too. Suddenly, the mother hen made a noise. Immediately, all the chickens ran from wherever they were and hid under the hen's wings. Somehow the hen's two wings hid all the chickens and I could not spot a single one of them. The chicks were hidden under the wings till the danger passed. As a hawk flew away from the area, the mother hen let the chicks out of her wings into the open again. The little chicks hid themselves because of the warning signal the mother bird gave. The little ones understood it and knew what to do.

Above them, the hawk flew round and round, at times stooping down and then going up. It was aiming to get the chicks. The hen knew the danger and hid the chicks under her wings, where they rested safely and comfortably under the soft feathers! Had any one of the chicks turned a deaf ear to the mother's warning, that one would have been prey to the hawk that day!

The verse above compares the protection our Lord desires to give us, to that of the mother hen.

There are so many dangers waiting to prey on us in this world. The danger alerts are in the word of God. The Holy spirit too, warns us. Only those who heed the warning and act on it, will be safe from danger. Some may think lightly of it and not listen. Others may not want to obey and run for protection. Others still, may seek protection in the wrong places. They will be the losers.

There is protection, safety, provision and security, along with tenderness in the Lord. It is a place we can run to, when we fear. We could rest there in perfect peace of mind and contentment in the midst of the wickedness of this sin cursed world.

Lord help us to discern your voice and obey. May your truth be our shield and buckler.

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Sun, Moon and Stars Reflect the Constancy of God

Recently, my family gave me a surprise party for my 75th birthday. All the wishes and memories of incidents were collected from my loved ones and given to me as a token of love. A few sentences from one of my granddaughter's wishes caught my attention and made me glad.

She wrote: "...You are like a super hero. Your super power being... Constant? Constantly waking up grand daughters! Constantly making food, packing food, ... constantly praying, reading the bible, constantly being awesome! ..." It was a great tribute to me.

I thought of the divine constancy in the love God shows to us. Whatever we do to hurt Him, His love remains constant.

I always admired the constancy of the sun, moon and stars. From the day God created them, till today they continue to perform the delightful, beneficial duty they were made to do! [Gen1:14-18]

The Lord has something to tell us at every occasion: "You are called to be lights in the world", He reminded me. [Mt.5:14 ] Are you spreading the light God has given you through your words, deeds and right attitude in this world full of darkness? Are you being constant in that? I could only answer: "I am trying. Please help me."

The glamourous modern theory of only having faith in yourself and not having faith in God spreads the darkness of doubt and skepticism speedily in the present world. Will your light shine to show God's constant love during this period of grace? The Bible says that eventually, the door of grace will be shut, then it will be too late.

Having the right relationship with Jesus, who is the light will help us shine for Him. [John.1:4]

Lord help us to shine for you and be constant at all times, is my prayer for today.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Negative Effects of Worrying

Everyone knows the ill effects of worry. Here are some that I read recently:

Jesus tells us not to worry about the needs that God has promised to supply, because of the adverse effects of worrying. [Mat.6:31-34] Yet people worry!
  • Worry will damage both your physical and mental health.
  • It will cause the object of your worry to consume your thoughts.
  • It will disrupt your productivity.
  • It will negatively affect the way you treat others.
  • It will adversely affect your emotions.
  • Worry will reduce your ability to trust in God.
[Taken from the Life Application Study Bible]

How many ill effects of worry you are experiencing today? Isn't it better to banish worry altogether and trust God?

Some confuse worry and concern. Here is the difference between worry and genuine concern: Worry immobilizes, but concern moves you to action. We should be concerned and not neglect matters of importance. We shouldn't worry about them and do nothing about it.

In Mathew 6:25-34, seven reasons are given not to worry:
1. The same God who created life in you can be trusted with the details of your life. [v.25]
2. Worrying about the future hampers your efforts for today. [v.26]
3. Worrying is more harmful than helpful. [v27]
4. God does not ignore those who depend on him. [v28-30]
5. Worry shows a lack of faith and understanding of God. [v31-32]
6. There are real challenges God wants us to pursue and worrying keeps us from them. [v.33]
7. Living one day at a time keeps us from being consumed with worry. [v.34]
[Taken from the Life Application Study Bible]

Since God's word is true, we can never fail when we live by it.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Carefree Life

Early morning, my eyes caught a very beautiful sight: Two white pigeons, seated comfortably at the edge of the tallest building in our area, unconcerned about what was going on around them; the heavy traffic on the highway or people going in and out of the crematorium below, the morning news of global warming, war, famine or the rise in the oil price did not interfere with their serene enjoyment of peace.

I remembered a comic I read sometime back: One robin was asking the other: "Why do the humans rush around worried most of the time?" The second robin's answer was, "Perhaps they do not have a heavenly father who feeds and cares for them, like ours!". It is amusing, but we do worry like that! That seems to be the human tendency.

It's no wonder that Jesus, in Mathew 6:25-27, said: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life; what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; They do not sow or reap or store away in barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?". What a timely question for our present day!

According to Jesus, the ones who worry are the pagans, who do not know the true God or those who do not believe in the promise of the the omnipotent God. Jesus added that your heavenly father KNOWS that you have needs. But seek FIRST His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. [Mat.6:33] What a great promise!

Why don't we give it a try and benefit from it? Once we decide to give all our needs for today and the future into His hands, we will experience him as a promise keeping God.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Whose Side Are You On?

Most of us try to have God on our side. We want to do things to please Him; go to church and do many Religious works, just to please God and to keep him on our side. We know, if God be for us no one or thing can be against us.

I heard someone asking: "Are you on God's side?". If I am on His side, then sure He will be on my side. What makes me or marks me as being on God's side?

Jesus said, 'Thine they were and thou gave them to me; and they have kept thy word" [John 17:6] Keeping God's word in truth is very essential.

Lord Jesus makes His disciples His own possession. He expects us to remain in that position. Then God's claim comes first: "He that loves his father or mother more than me; He that loves son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me" [Mat.10:37]. Whatever we do will be to maintain a right relationship with love. Then we will be a perfect delight to Him. We will be entirely His. He is a loving God who delights to Bless those who are entirely His.

Lord, I desire to be a delight to you. Lead me and help me to become what you want me to be, is my prayer today.