Monday, June 23, 2008

The Graduation Day.

My grand daughter's graduation was a great exciting day for me. The beautiful ceremony was very touching. Memories of her first day at school passed before my eyes. At last the day had come to finish her High school days!

I had a gift ready for her. She was very pleased with it. It was a cute standing snoopy dog with a graduation cap and a neat place to tuck in money or a gift card. It will sing to you when it's stomach is pressed. I bought it in states, when she had just started her 11th grade. I had it hidden for her so long . Then it looked as though Iwould have to hold on to it for a very long time. But the time seemed to fly and the day arrived for her to get the gift, I longed to give her. She deserved it too. I can not describe how thrilled she was to get it!

My thoughts went to the gift our lord has prepared for us to reward us on our graduation day. The Bible says,"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived, what God has prepared for those who love Him" [1Cor. 2:9]. He has decided the date, though we do not know it. It appears so far away, but soon we will be there.

I like the way T.L Moody described his departure from this world for his graduation. He said, "The earth recedes. Heaven opens before me. It is beautiful. It is like a trance. If this is death, it is sweet. God is calling me. I must go. Don't call me back."

At death, his work on earth came to an end. He would have had his graduation reward in heaven! True to his earlier preaching: 'I was born in flesh in 1837, born of the spirit in 1855. That which is born of the spirit shall live for ever', he he went to be with the Lord in 1899.

I wish I too could say like him when my graduation day arrives at last.

How about you?

Monday, June 16, 2008

God's Protection in the Midst of Danger

There were two bomb blasts in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka in the month of May. The first was in a bus: My sister and my niece were at that bus stop. Since the bus was getting late and they did not want to be late for the prayer meeting they were going to, they took a taxi and left the place.

About five minutes later, the bomb blast took place. Many waiting for the bus got injured. It was God who preserved my family. The other one happened on the train: My nephew normally returns home on that train after work. That day, he decided to take the later train and he escaped the blast. These people, because of the uncertain, precarious situation in the country, always pray and give themselves to the protection of the almighty God.

I believe that it is God who is keeping them safe.

When I said this to someone, she said, "Oh, they were fortunate" and "It so happened that they decided to take the other course.". Another said "Your people always have such stories.". To them, these are not miracles of protection from God. Some call these coincidences. For God's children, nothing happens by chance or coincidence. When we trust God, Psalm 91 becomes a real daily experience.

"If you make the most high your dwelling, even the Lord, who is my refuge, then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent." [Psalms 91:9,10]

It is good to remember that God does not promise a world free from danger, but He does promise His help whenever we face danger. When we believe His promises, we will experience His miracles.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Love Knows When to Speak

The trial scene of Jesus before the Sanhedrin, spoke to me of the love of Jesus for everyone. [Mark14:55-65]

There were many false witnesses against Him: The truth that He preached was misrepresented [v. 58], yet Jesus kept silent. Why didn't he speak out and explain what he meant or call one of those whom he healed or followed him, as witnesses? He could have explained that the temple he referred was not the building but his body [v. 58]. It was because his motive was to save all, even those who were against him and jealous of him.

Yet later He answered the high priest's question! I wondered why.

Not answering the fabricated accusations was wiser than trying to clarify them. But if Jesus had refrained from answering the question: "Are you the Christ the son of the blessed?" [v61], it would have been taken as denial of his mission. Jesus not only answered, "I am.", He also predicted a reversal of his role, that one day, He will be judging the world! Yes that day is fast approaching! All of us are waiting for that day... [Rev.20:11-13]

Jesus had the divine wisdom to know when to answer and when not to. His silence for the first time, not exposing the false witnesses who sinned, not knowing what they were doing, would have spoken to them and brought them to repentance later.

His answering the second time established the fact that He was Christ the son of God, the saviour of the world. The answer infuriated the pharisees to condemn him to death, which fulfilled the purpose for which he came to earth.

Our speech or silence should be motivated by love for God and others, regardless of the consequences we may have to face. When we are confronted or falsely accused, to think only of a of a way of escape will be selfish. We should decide whether we want to be popular with man or God.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Are Out Casts Accepted?

I see many kinds of 'out casts' in the world today. People are ostracized, excommunicated, dissociated, or condemned for various reasons: Being born in a low cast family, a particular nationality or race, peculiar life styles, not conforming to the code of conduct or rules, are some of the reasons. Adultery, fornication or criminal activities are other genuine causes. These' cast aways, whether they deserve it or not, definitely feel despised, lonely, sad , bitter and angry. Those who did the casting away too feel hurt and angry.

How did Jesus view such a situation? This question probed my mind. The Bible says that Jesus associated with them. He received the despised sinners, publicans and harlots. He DID NOT approve of their actions but loved them as human beings. That kind of love changed them to be better persons. How do you know this, you may ask:

I saw the healed blind man being excommunicated by the religious leaders for believing in Jesus, who gave him sight. [John. 9;35] Jesus asked the man, 'Do you believe in the son of man?'. When the man knew that Jesus was the ' son of man, he said,' Lord I believe' and worshiped Him.

Then I saw an adulterous woman caught red handed, condemned and ready to be stoned to death according to the law, being brought to Jesus. She went away forgiven and accepted by Jesus. Jesus told her, ' neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.'[Luke 7:47]

The most amazing is the acceptance of the dying thief on the cross: Condemned by law, yet he accepted Jesus as the savior who was going to establish a kingdom for the forgiven righteous ones. Jesus did not shun or ignore him . He said " Today you will be in paradise with me.[Luke 23: 43

Jesus received despised sinners, publicans and harlots and loved them unconditionally. He advised them to believe on Jesus as the savior and give up their sinful ways, after being forgiven. The willingness to give up the old ways is very essential for the healing of rejection and hurt.

The condemned and those who cast them away, need Jesus because only he can heal them. He understands them and loves them. He is able to forgive and change them. Even the indifferent ones need Him.

I praised God for the grace He poured on me and accepting me as I was. And I prayed for those who need Him.

Love Your Enemies - Mathew 5:44

One of the hardest teachings of Jesus is "Love your enemies." He set an example by laying down his life for us, who were His enemies.

Who are our enemies?

Our enemies are not some country or people who live far away from us. We find our enemies in our homes, work places and churches. People who hurt us most are those who live close to us. In this fallen world, people whom we thought we could trust most, sometimes let us down. Those we love, hurt us deeply and at that point, or at least for that moment, they have become our enemies. If we are honest enough to admit it, we have become their enemies as well. These people can be your spouse, children, brothers, sisters or the church family.

Christians often hurt each other deeply and repeatedly; then love is lost and they become enemies in their heart.

It is easy to ignore them and go on having the hurt within us. But that will go against Jesus' commission to love and bless them.

How do we love our enemies?

I want to pass on some good advice I heard on the Back to the Bible broadcast, which blessed me:
1. Greet them graciously without avoiding them.
2. Disarm them by doing good to them.
3. Refuse to speak evil of them, as words have power. [Prov.18:21]
4. Stop talking of what they have done and start forgiving them.
5. Thank God for them. Your enemy is sent to you by God's design and with his approval, to bring something good out of it.
6. Pray for them. They need your prayers more than anyone else. If you hate them tell that also to God.
7. Ask God to bless them: Whatever blessings you are asking for yourself, ask for your enemies too.

When we pray like that the pressure goes off. We have done exactly what Jesus has asked us to do. Thus, if we release our enemies, we will be set free from our anger and bitterness. We will be able to love our enemies.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Weighed And Found Wanting

"Weighed and found wanting" is a sad and hopeless pronouncement to be heard from heaven.

Belshazzar, the king of Babylon lacked nothing. He had health, wealth and happiness. While having a great feast, he forgot the creator God and praised the gods of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone. Suddenly, he was terrified to see the fingers of a human hand appear and write something on a wall. None of the sooth sayers could explain it. Only Daniel, who served the living God, was able to read and give the meaning of the writing. [Daniel 5:1-10]

"Mene, mene, Tekel, Parsin.", were the words of the writing. Daniel read them and gave the meaning: He said, God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end; you have been weighed on the scale and found wanting; Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.

Those things did happen. It was because he forgot to humble himself and give glory to the living God, who had done a great miracle in his family. Knowing God's greatness, he did not honor Him.

I pondered over the words, "Weighed and found wanting". We are also weighed by the same God all the time. The standard weight on the scale is Jesus. Any other will be counted as false weight and will not be accepted.

We are called to reach the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. [Ephesians 4:13]

As the measuring is done some things have to be taken off and some must be added.

All the necessary instructions are given in God's word. If we take heed and observe them, we will hear the praise, "well done", instead of "found wanting".

I lifted a simple prayer: "Lord teach me your ways and help me obey."

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Our God is Able to Change Anyone

The other day, I thought of some of my past failures and those of my family. I know for sure the Lord has forgiven and forgotten them. It was the enemy's scheme to bring it up to torment my mind.

Just a look at the Lord, in my mind, was enough to get an answer from Him to calm my mind. I have learned by experience to "nip things in the bud". Give a little room to the enemy, he will take full charge of things and it becomes fatal to the spiritual life. So I told my concern to Jesus.

The Lord reminded me of His mercy and justice through the story of Manasseh, the most wicked of the kings of Judah. He not only did abominable things in the sight of God and went away from God, but he also led the whole nation of God astray. [2nd Chronicles 33]

God had to correct him. God's punishment was severe: It was defeat and exile in the hands of the Assyrians. It was really a hopeless situation.

God showed justice to to him in warning and punishing him. Yet, He showed mercy and changed him when he repented.

The Bible records: "The king in his distress sought the favor of the Lord: He humbled himself greatly before the Lord God of his fathers. When he prayed, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea. So He brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manassah knew that the Lord is God". [2nd Chronicles 33:12, 13.]

That is the mercy of God!

Until death, no one is beyond the reach of God's forgiveness. Our merciful God is able to change any one who comes to Him with repentance, through Jesus Christ.

I want to praise God for His mercy today. I pray with faith that He will change all those who need a change of heart and nature, in my family.